Adventure cruises don’t come cheap, so agents who get to grips with selling in this sector stand to make good money. The options are enormous, from sailing the ice-strewn waters of the poles to discovering the balmy warmth of the croc-ridden seas off the Kimberley in Australia. There are cruises that take passengers tip-toeing around wildlife in the Galápagos and up close to vast glaciers around Cape Horn; voyages that explore the Great Barrier Reef and islands of the South Pacific. These voyages are very different to the cruise norm, comprising small ships, erudite lecturers, trips ashore in Zodiacs and the excitement of visiting remote places tricky to reach other than by sea. It’s enough to make clients who say they will never go on a cruise eat their words, so agents need to be selling beyond their usual cruise database. By their very nature, clients prepared to go off piste are educated sorts, financially secure and desperate to start planning a post-Covid getaway after months at home. We look at options for Antarctica, the Arctic and Galápagos.
With many luxurious ships now sailing to the White Continent, it’s not the rough and ready dorm-sharing experience it used to be. Nevertheless, it rightly remains top of every adventurers’ playlist for its fabulous landscapes and comical penguins. Ships visit in the austral summer, between November and March, and most hold just 200 or so passengers. For the ultimate adventure, suggest a longer cruise adding South Georgia and the Falklands.
Who? Crystal Cruises
Where? Antarctic Peninsula
When? November 18, 2021
How long? 11 nights
How much? From £10,688pp
Crystal is moving into the world of expedition cruising with next year’s launch of the 200-passenger yacht-like Crystal Endeavor. This voyage, round-trip from Ushuaia, starts with a night in Buenos Aires and spends eight days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Price includes flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, trips ashore, drinks, some speciality dining and gratuities.
Who? Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Where? Antarctica and South Georgia
When? December 5, 2021
How long? 16 days
How much? From £12,455pp
This is the ultimate South Atlantic adventure, packaging the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic peninsula into one holiday. The cruise is on the Hanseatic Inspiration, a ship launched last year that caters for German and English speakers and carries just 199 passengers in polar regions. Price includes return flights from Buenos Aires, speciality dining and mini-bar drinks.
Who? Aurora Expeditions
When? November 23, 2021
How long? 16 days
How much? From US$18,795pp
Astronomer and BBC TV star watcher Pete Lawrence will be accompanying this cruise around the Antarctic Peninsula, which is timed to coincide with a solar eclipse over the Weddell Sea region. The cruise, round-trip from Ushuaia, is on the 134-passenger Sylvia Earle, a new ship launching next year. Price includes a pre-cruise night in Ushuaia, drinks with dinner and trips ashore.
Sell with confidence. Clients wouldn’t consider cruising off piste if they couldn’t afford it
Island-hopping around the Galápagos and getting up close to wildlife that has no fear of humans is a truly unforgettable experience. Blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, sea lions, giant tortoises. Passengers will see them all. Cruisers usually get to visit two islands a day for walks ashore with naturalists from the National Park. They can take their pick from small yachts to luxurious craft. None is allowed to hold more than 100 passengers.
When? August 7, 2021
How long? Seven days
How much? From £8,100 including flights
Everything from frigate birds and sea turtles to a giant tortoise breeding centre are promised on this cruise from Baltra to San Cristobal on Silversea’s new 100-passenger Silver Origin. Passengers visit 11 islands for guided walks ashore or Zodiac cruises through mangroves. Price includes two nights pre-cruise in Quito, transfers, drinks, trips ashore, snorkel equipment wi-fi and tips.
Who? Celebrity Cruises
Where? Galápagos Outer Loop
When? August 1, 2021
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £5,549pp
This cruise, round-trip from Baltra, visits 12 landing spots and bays on six islands in the week. It’s on Celebrity Flora, a 100-passenger vessel launched in 2019 with a host of Galápagos-friendly features such as easy-access tenders for trips ashore and an oceanographic research lab. Price includes drinks, guided excursions, snorkelling equipment, tips and wi-fi.
Who? G Adventures
When? August 7, 2021
How long? 10 days
How much? From £2,702pp
Galápagos cruises don’t get much more intimate than this G Adventures cruise on Eden, a yacht that holds just 16 passengers. The cruise, from Baltra to San Cristobal, zig-zags around six islands for walks ashore, zodiac cruises and snorkelling trips. Price includes pre and post-cruise hotel nights in Quito, return flights from Quito to the islands and trips ashore.
Learn, learn, learn. Don’t send clients to see polar bears in the South Pole
A chance to see polar bears? Get close to glaciers? It’s another dream holiday for adventurers, wildlife lovers and everyone who has tasted polar exploration on a cruise to Antarctica. There are all sorts of Arctic cruises, which makes this even more of a money spinner. Start clients off with Spitsbergen’s polar bears and wild landscapes, then move them onto vast icebergs in Greenland and the ultra adventurous Northwest or Northeast Passages.
Where? The North Pole
When? July 24, 2021
How long? 15 nights
How much? From £21,140pp
French line Ponant’s 270-passenger icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot will go to places expedition ships can only dream of when it launches in May next year. On this cruise, from Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen to Reykjavík in Iceland, that means 90-degrees North, aka the Geographic North Pole. Price includes a flight from Paris to Longyearbyen, trips ashore, drinks and wi-fi.
Think beyond cruisers. Adventure cruises are perfect for wildlife lovers and those who want to travel off the grid
Where? Greenland and Baffin Island
When? August 20, 2021
How long? 20 days
How much? From £9,375pp
Giant icebergs, polar bears, Inuit culture and a sneak peek at the entrance to the Northwest Passage await clients on this cruise around Baffin Island round-trip from Kangerlussuaq in Greenland on the 530-passenger hybrid expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen. Price includes return flights between Copenhagen and Kangerlussuaq, transfers, trips ashore, drinks with meals and wi-fi.
Into the wilds
Where? Greenland and Spitsbergen
When? August 3, 2021
How long? 16 days
How much? From £11,416pp including flights
Luxury goes off-piste on this cruise from Reykjavík in Iceland to Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen as Scenic Eclipse, a stylish yacht with two helicopters, a seven-man sub and just 200 passengers, explores Greenland’s east coast wilderness and seeks out Svalbard’s polar bears. Price includes pre and post-cruise hotel nights in Reykjavík and Oslo, transfers, drinks, trips ashore, wi-fi and tips.