On this day, in 2 months, I will be in Buenos Aires preparing to set off for Ushuaia. This most southernmost city in the world, is where we embark for the Antarctica on the Nat Geo/Lindblad Explorer. 10 days at sea. 24/7 sunlight. Crazy!
- Our first two days will be spent crossing the Drake Passage. Apparently spectacular on multiple levels: lots of whale sightings but also some of the choppiest waters in the world.
- I’m not particularly prone to seasickness but I am asking my doctor for some meds just in case. And you traverse it coming and going!
This will also be the largest Nat Geo group I’ve traveled with – 148 vs. my usual 75. I’m hoping the social dynamics will be as good as on all my previous expeditions.
One of the positives of starting the expedition with the Drake Passage: it makes for instant bonding with fellow passengers. From what I’ve read, it creates a sense of camaraderie, excitement and an even more adventurous experience. Fingers crossed.
EXPEDITION CRUISING (smaller boats going to more remote and untouched places) is a very hot trend. Most of the big cruise companies are making it a priority and are building smaller ships to appeal to the travel connoisseur who is looking for adventure and the most memorable and unique experiences. It’s going to get busy on those “remote” routes. Glad I’m getting in now.
READ ON BELOW for the top luxury cruise trends for 2018.
Adventure and Expedition Cruises (well YES I can vouch for that)
The most popular itineraries are to the polar regions, the Galapagos, and Borneo:
- Silversea’s Silver Cloud will be launched as an expedition ship to cruise the polar regions
- Crystal Cruises will have its first purpose-built, expedition-style Crystal Endeavour sailing the polar regions next August.
- French luxury Ponant will introduce two explorer-class vessels, Le Laperouse and Le Champlain next year to be followed by another two in 2019
Healing and Wellness Cruises
Cruises with wellness and “personal healing” appeal to passengers recovering from long illnesses as well as those dealing with grief or divorce:
- Regent Seven Seas is introducing new holistic wellness programs next year on board their Canyon Ranch SpaClub
- Lindblad/Nat Geo’s Exploration, Transformation, Mindfulness Voyages are conducted with Exhale Spa.
- Silversea Cruises’ has a new wellness regime with Zagara Beauty Spa which allows guests to “personalize’’ the spa experience.
Rise of the Millennial Cruiser
U by Uniworld, geared entirely to millennials, ages 21-45, is being closely watched by other cruise lines who are interested in reaching this demographic.
- Sailings begin in April 2018 on two 120-passenger ships — The A (formerly Uniworld’s River Ambassador) and The B (formerly Uniworld’s River Baroness).
- They are also planning to launch in Asia with a brand-new ship on the Mekong River.
- The ships offer farm-to-table cuisine, rooftop yoga sessions and adventurous excursions like treasure hunts through the Louvre museum, rock climbing and whitewater rafting.
- Ships also have nightlife covered with international DJs and cocktail mixologists
Food and Wine Cruises
Specialist food and wine river cruises are a big lure for foodies who also like to learn the tricks of the trade from celebrity chefs.
- Seadream Yacht Club will partner with Schug Carneros Estate Winery of the Sonoma Valley in California for a wine-themed cruise
- AmaWaterways will offer more than 50 wine-focused cruises hosted by North American winemakers.
- Select sailings of Silversea ships offer L’Ecole Des Chefs by Relais & Chateaus – a high end cooking school concept including knife skills workshop, sommelier pairing and slow food experience.
Additional Sources: CruisePassenger.com