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Expedition Cruises

Discover ports and far flung destinations larger ships simply cannot access and enjoy exhilarating excursions in these incredible pockets the globe. Embark on an expedition cruise to the Polar regions, discover the beauty and bays along Australia's Kimberley coastline, island hop through the Galápagos, or cruise around Africa on one of 2,666 small ship expedition cruises.

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Popular Expedition Cruises View all

13 Days Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires

Operator: Scenic

From 22,716
Save 5,287

16 Days Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires

Operator: Scenic

From 33,843
Save 5,342

11 Days Broome to Darwin

Operator: Ponant

From 12,843
Save 320

11 Days Ushuaia to Ushuaia

Operator: G Adventures

From 8,315
Save 4,113

Featured Expedition Cruise LinesFeatured Cruise Lines View all

G Adventures
G Adventures came from a desire to deliver authentic and responsible small group travel adventures that were equally life-changing for travellers and the...more communities they visit. And we’re been doing just that for almost 30 years. Our award-winning trips span seven continents and over 100 countries, giving you meaningful experiences with people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife, as well as offering you the freedom and flexibility to explore on your own. On all of our tours, you get to know locals every step of the way, from the places you visit and stay to where you eat and drink. You’ll also get to experience our ‘G for Good’ social impact initiatives on-trip, including our industry-leading ‘Ripple Score’. This score measures, as a percentage, the amount of money that stays in the local community through on-trip services like accommodation, restaurants and transport.
Cruises Cruises424
Budget:Affordable
Accommodation:Mixed
Silversea
A luxurious cruise means many things to many people but we feel that Silversea’s small ship cruises personify the true meaning of comfort. Our intimate,...more ultra-luxury ships can sail up narrow waterways into the heart of a city, or tie up right at the pier while others must anchor off shore. And for those who yearn to explore the new and unknown, Silversea’s expedition ships can transport you to the furthermost boundaries of the planet. Enjoy free-flowing premium wines and spirits, delicious gourmet cuisine, in-suite dining, full butler service for every suite and of course all gratuities. Whether you long to mingle in the Mediterranean, swim with the turtles of the Galapagos or embrace the glaciers of Alaska, there is something special about knowing that this cruising is all inclusive.
Cruises Cruises153
Budget:Luxury
Known For:900+ Destinations
Fleet Size:11
Viking
A Viking ocean cruise is the discerning traveller’s dream. Whether you choose to visit Scandinavia, Asia, the Mediterranean or the Americas, our itineraries...more are designed to immerse you in the history and culture of each destination. With us, you could be exploring a local food market with our head chef one day and experiencing an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of a world-famous museum the next. Our state-of-the-art small ships take you right into the heart of each destination, and you won’t find any casinos or kids on board. Plus, our fares include just about everything you need - from meals, beverages and Wi-Fi to a culturally enriching shore excursion at every port of call. This unique combination of features has become affectionately known as ‘the Viking difference’. Viking is the world’s leading small-ship cruise line, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board to discover the Viking difference for yourself.
Cruises Cruises156
Budget:Premium
Known For:Thinking Persons Cruise
Fleet Size:14

Discover Popular experiences and highlights on an Expedition Cruise

The Land of Fire and Ice

The Land of Fire and Ice

Discover the raw natural beauty of Iceland, from volcanic craters and sweeping glacial valleys to colossal thundering waterfalls.

<a href='/cruises/kimberley' class='brand-link-color'>Adventures Along the Kimberley Coast</a>

Adventures Along the Kimberley Coast

Board a Zodiac for a ride through Horizontal Falls as water thunders between the steep gorges that frame the turquoise cascade.

<a href='/tours/galapagos' class='brand-link-color'>Island Hop the Galápagos</a>

Island Hop the Galápagos

Discover an incredible ecosystem brimming with wildlife as you weave between the islands of this fascinating and scenically rich archipelago.

African Wildlife Safaris

African Wildlife Safaris

Dock in the heart of incredible destinations along the African coast and access some of the world’s most remarkable wildlife experiences, from spotting the Big Five in South Africa to the unique species of Madagascar's Nature Reserves.

<a href='/cruises/antarctica' class='brand-link-color'>Expeditions to Antarctica</a>

Expeditions to Antarctica

Immerse yourself in the icy wilderness on an expedition filled with bucket list experiences. Keep watch for wildlife on sea kayaking and Zodiac excursions, take an invigorating Polar plunge, and perhaps even camp out on the ice.

Recent Reviews What our clients are saying about their cruise expeditions around the world

Kimberley Coastal Expedition   , NSW, Australia, Jun 2024
Great trip - Broome inclusions were brilliant, flights good and the APT team were fantastic! Cruise was beyond our expectations- excellent food and service, great accommodation and wonderful crew who looked after us superbly - I could not recommend this trip highly enough!
Excellent Kimberley Expedition     , NSW, Australia, Jun 2024
Our Kimberley Coastal Expedition and 3 Day Broome add on (thanks to APT), was a fantastic trip. We travelled with APT who used the Ponant Luxury Expedition ship the Le Laperouse. We went out each day exploring the Kimberleys on zodiacs and had an expert naturalist with us to share their vast knowledge on this beautiful region. We saw loads of wildlife ...read more ranging from turtles, crocodiles, sharks, fish, birds, as well as aboriginal art and fantastic scenery. The ratio of crew to passengers was 1:1 so service was fantastic. The meals and entertainment on board were great and we really enjoyed our daily briefings in the theatre each afternoon. We would like to thank Rachael from Global Journeys, the APT team of Margie and Lauren, all our naturalists especially Kiwi Ed and the Le Laperouse crew, for making this a memorable holiday.
Global Journeys …A fantastic travel company   , NSW, Australia, Jun 2024
Booking was so easy with Hannah. Always quick to answer any queries and very helpful filling in excursions requests, especially for us not so good computer users! Couldn’t speak highly enough for this company, everything went smoothly, especially when having to cancel our first booking and transfer to a new booking. Have booked another tour with Azamara ...read more Cruises. Will always book with Global Journeys in future.
A New Experience Every Day     , QLD, Australia, May 2024
Our trip to the Galapagos Islands was one that was long planned and eagerly awaited, and proved to be everything we had hoped. We had decided that, since we were only going to be there once in our lives, we should spend as much time as we could. I wondered whether the 10 nights on the Grand Queen Beatrix might prove too much, but it was fantastic, ...read more and every day brought a new experience. The wildlife was spectacular and much of it incredibly tame. The opportunity to snorkel every day had us swimming with sea lions, penguins, white-tipped sharks and a huge variety of colourful fish. The unique land and marine iguanas were impressive and birdlife was prolific. Every island was somewhat different and beautiful in its own way.

Intrepid’s Grand Queen Beatrix was a lovely small ship and we were pleased that we had booked one of the balcony rooms. It allowed more air into the cabin and a place to dry wet clothes. The rooms did not have a lot of storage and we ended up with one of us living out of a suitcase, but that worked fine and was not a problem. The crew were wonderful and the guides excellent, food was delicious, healthy and plentiful, which we needed because the high level of activity every day meant increased appetites. We were only filled to capacity (16 pax) for a few days of the trip and our fellow passengers were great company.

The tour included one additional night both before and after the Islands in Quito at Le Parc Hotel. We also booked 2 further nights before and 3 after at Le Parc and made good use of them doing the hop-on/hop-off bus and day trips with to the Mindo Cloud Forest to see hummingbirds and tucans, and Mitad Del Mundo where the equator passes through the outskirts of Quito. We did all these tours with the Quito Tour Bus (quitotourbus.com) which proved good value for money. We also went up the Telerifico Cable Car with expansive views down over Quito and spent a couple of hours in the wonderful Botanic Gardens just one block from the hotel.

I had originally thought I might book a different hotel in the “old town”, but was very glad I had not. Although Le Parc was some distance from the old centre of Quito, it was a comparatively safe area and very cheap to get anywhere by taxi.

For anyone contemplating going to Galapagos Islands and Ecuador, my advice is to do an Intrepid cruise for as many nights as you can afford, and add a couple of extra nights in Quito, where there is much to see and do.

Explore More Your guide to Expedition Cruising

Unveiling Icy Wonders: Polar Adventures with Viking Expedition Cruises in 2024-2025

09 October, 2023

Unveiling Icy Wonders: Polar Adventures with Viking Expedition Cruises in 2024-2025

Viking, renowned for its luxury river cruises, is breaking ice with its collection of expedition cruises in 2024 and 2025. With bucket-list polar voyages to the Arctic and Antarctic, Viking’s immersive itineraries allow guests an in-depth exploration of some of the most remote and captivating...

Bringing You Closer

10 December, 2021

Bringing You Closer

Experts on the Norwegian coast, many of whom live locally, will be by your side as part of your voyage with Hurtigruten, showing you their home and sharing their stories with you.  No guidebook, website, or mobile app can replace the human connection of having one of ...

Explore The Heart of Coastal Norway

27 September, 2021

Explore The Heart of Coastal Norway

Having established the Original Coastal Route along the coast of Norway 128 years ago, Hurtigruten is integral to, and ingrained in, the Norwegian culture and way of life. Their unmatched experience in sailing these waters, makes them the local experts, and no one knows the fjords, wildlife,...

 Discover Antarctica, the Arctic & the Great Lakes in Comfort and Style with Viking

09 March, 2020

Discover Antarctica, the Arctic & the Great Lakes in Comfort and Style with Viking

Following the recent launch of Viking expeditions, you can now look forward to exploring Antarctica, the Arctic and North America’s Great Lakes on board Viking’s two new purpose-built expedition ships. Maintaining its reputation as The Thinking Person’s Cruise, Viking has developed an...

Common Questions Common Questions About Expedition Cruises

What is an expedition cruise?
An expedition cruise focuses on exploring remote and exotic locations and getting up close to the stunning scenery and wildlife of destinations less travelled. Expedition cruises are led by an expedition team made up of experts in fields such as ecology, marine biology and the environment as well as photography....read more Once the choice of hardy adventurers, expedition cruising is now serviced by many luxury cruise operators meaning you can enjoy the adventure without forgoing beautiful cabins, fine dining and a little bit of luxury.  
What is the difference between a traditional cruise and an expedition cruise?
One difference between traditional and expedition cruising is the size of the ship. Traditional cruise ships vary in size from huge to small and intimate whereas expedition ships are always smaller. This not only enables them them to reach more remote areas, but also keeps passenger numbers low which is far more...read more sustainable for exploration in those areas. Traditional cruising involves sailing from port to port all the while enjoying  fantastic eateries, lavish entertainment and an abundance activities on board as well as day excursions at each stop. Expedition cruising is more focused on one destination rather than the cruising lifestyle. Entertainment tends to be educational and a great deal of time is spent off the ship exploring and enriching the passengers understanding of the region.