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cruise and expedition
cruise and expedition

What is the difference between a cruise and an expedition?

Both cruises and expeditions occur on ships over a specified amount of time. Read on to know the difference between the two.

By Cruise Booking Team

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Cruise holidays have grown in popularity over the previous decades, and corporations are extending their fleets and building mega-ships capable of carrying over 6,000 people. These massive ships provide a luxurious experience at sea.

Parallel to this, and under a different appearance, is another cruise business. Expedition-style cruises have grown in popularity since their start in the mid-1960s, among individuals wishing to try something new.

What is the difference between a cruise and an expedition?

These two cruise types are as different as chalk and cheese, and each attracts a completely distinct audience. Continue reading to learn more about the differences so you can determine which is the best for you. 

Ship size

The most noticeable distinction between regular and expedition ships is the ship size. These days, cruise liners are massive, capable of carrying thousands of passengers. Expedition ships, on the other hand, seldom carry more than 250 passengers, allowing them to navigate tight rivers and smaller, shallow bays. The Antarctic Peninsula, for instance, is littered with dozens of islands that can only be navigated by a tiny ship. Larger cruise ships cover more ground in less time. The movement of the sea is always felt more strongly on smaller vessels; however, most current expedition vessels are fitted with stabilizers to lessen movement, and they are effective in my experience.

Experiences at the ports

The emphasis on the destination distinguishes both businesses greatly. Traditional cruises usually stop at a number of ports so passengers may disembark and see a new city each day or two. Guests are able to browse the city at their leisure or follow the cruise line's organized tours during their time at the port.

Expedition cruises focus on exploring wilderness locations distant from any city and, in many cases, civilization. Expedition cruises to the Arctic, for example, search out distant areas such as the Svalbard archipelago, where the scenery is wide and untamed. They concentrate on destinations where tourists may have genuinely exceptional animal experiences, such as Antarctica, Galapagos, and the Arctic. Unlike typical cruises, when you may spend the entire day in a city doing anything you want, beach landings on an adventure cruise are far more sensitive to the environment, depending on where wildlife is observed and how the weather is. You'll have one or two beach landings every day, each lasting around two to three hours.

Also Check: How do you take a cruise on a budget?

Adventure level

There is a significant variation in the manner of activities between standard and expedition cruises. I believe it is fair to say that passengers on mega cruise liners are looking for a relaxing vacation where they can sunbathe by the pool, watch a movie, eat fantastic food, and explore a city at their leisure when docked at a port.
Expedition cruises are oriented on adventure and discovery and hence are not what the majority of people would consider a standard relaxing vacation. You move depending on the weather and make numerous beach landings every day, walk for an hour or two to get up and personal with the wildlife. There will be plenty of time to rest in between excursions, but it won't be in a warm breeze by a pool; instead, it will be in sub-zero temps with binoculars in your hand out on the deck or in one of the ship's observation lounges.

Concluding thoughts

There are obvious distinctions between typical cruises and adventure cruising. Large cruise companies provide visitors with a more conventional form of vacation in which they may soak up in the sun, feel calm and amused, and enjoy city hopping and shopping. Expedition sailing provides a one-of-a-kind peek into unspoiled wildernesses, with an emphasis on wildlife and off-ship excursions.

There is no correct or incorrect answer; everyone's ideal vacation is unique, and both approaches offer advantages. That being said, if you have an adventurous spirit like mine, an expedition cruise might be the adventure you've been looking for.

Get the best cruise or expedition adventure from Cruise Booking today.

Header Image by alexey_seafarer at Freepik

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