Home Travel News

Global roaming: What’s hot in luxury expedition & soft adventure cruising

Expedition cruising of all types is booming as cashed-up travellers look for life-changing journeys to explore different cultures, remote wilderness areas and get up close to wildlife.

Expedition cruising of all types is booming as cashed-up travellers look for life-changing journeys to explore different cultures, remote wilderness areas and get up close to wildlife.

Although no new expedition ships are set to launch in 2024, the luxury expedition cruising and soft adventure space is expanding at a rate of knots.

Japan and the Kimberley are among the most sought-after destinations, more small, luxury expedition ships are heading to the polar regions than ever before and French Polynesia’s far-flung archipelagos are magnets for adventurous travellers.

A&K’s luxury expedition cruise picks

A crafternoon in Japan. Image: A&K

“Our big contenders this year are Japan in autumn, our inaugural sailing to the North Pole, and our new expedition to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands,” said an A&K Luxury Expedition Cruises spokesperson.

The 14-day Wonders of Japan land and cruise tour departs on 20 September 2024, sailing on Le Soleal; the 18-day North Pole Expedition, aboard luxury icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot, departs on 10 July 2024; and the 14-day South Pacific PNG & Solomons cruise departs on 17 October 2024.

expedition cruising with Abercrombie & Kent_Le Commandant Charcot_Ponant
Le Commandant Charcot in the North Pole. Image: Ophelie Bleunven

A&K boasts an award-winning, expedition cruising legacy of more than 30 years. The world-renowned travel company exclusively charters ships that accommodate a maximum of 199 guests, every stateroom has a balcony and fares are truly inclusive.

There’s good news for solo travellers, too; for a limited time, A&K is offering 75 per cent off the single supplement on 12 incredible luxury expedition cruises – including the three mentioned above – throughout 2024.

For more info, visit abercrombiekent.com.au

Aranui 5: all aboard for the Australs

Aranui 5 arrives at Tubuai in French Polynesia’s Austral Island Group. Image: Tom Fowlks

Aranui Cruises offers one of the few remaining cargo cruise experiences in the world. It has delivered freight and guests to the far-flung Marquesas for 40 years and next year adds Austral Islands voyages to its popular program.

Aranui Cruises Regional Representative ANZ Laurent Wong said: “We have watched on proudly as Aranui became an integral part of the Marquesas’ island communities and helped create a sustainable flow of tourism in an isolated part of the world.”

Marquesan locals greet Aranui 5 on horseback. Image: James Morgan

“Now we hope to put the Australs on the map in a similar fashion, working with the remote southern communities to develop their economy and tourism in a slow, sustainable way while also opening up their beautiful islands for a privileged few to see.”

With cargo delivery, as well as local crew, cuisine and culture, Aranui 5 is the most authentic way to explore French Polynesia. There’s even a tattoo studio on board!

For more info, visit aranuicruises.com.au

Aurora Expeditions reaches sustainability milestone

The Greg Mortimer expedition ship in Bartolomé Island, Panama. Image: Conrad Weston

The award-winning expedition company is “thrilled and proud” to be a certified B Corporation.

Aurora Expeditions CEO Michael Heath said: “This achievement is not just a badge; it represents our dedication to rigorous standards of verified performance, accountability and transparency, aligning with the values of the global B Corp Movement.”

Kayaking around the Greg Mortimer at Port Lockroy, Antarctica. Image: Al Bakker

Aurora Expeditions has operated small-ship expeditions to some of the world’s most remote and untouched wilderness destinations for more than 30 years and is recognised as a pioneer of polar travel.

“B Corp Certification has been a natural progression as part of Aurora’s overall portfolio of sustainability programs and this journey reflects our deep commitment to our purpose – to create ambassadors for the planet. It redefines what successful expedition tourism can look like when a business is a force for good,” he said.

For more info, visit auroraexpeditions.com.au

Ponant pioneers luxury expedition cruising in Japan

Ponant’s Ryo Ijichi piloting a Zodiac in Japan. Image: Julien Fabro

Ponant spent two years designing luxury expedition cruises in Japan and this year introduced an exciting collection of new itineraries that will link ancient towns, small villages and beaches by Zodiac – a first for an expedition ship in the island nation.

Ponant Expedition Leader & Commercial Manager for Japan Ryo Ijichi said: “People often think of Japan as modern Tokyo and traditional Kyoto so I designed the routes in this region to demonstrate that my country is full of remarkable, diverse places.”

Ponant_ Le Jacques Cartier at sea _credit Mike Louagie_cruise
Le Jacques Cartier at sea. Image: Mike Louagie.

“For example, a visit to the fishing village of Ine will take guests back in time to the miraculously preserved traditional wooden stilt houses.

“And to fully reveal the charms of the different regions of the archipelago, what better way than to immerse yourself in the daily life of the Japanese people by interacting with them and discovering new dishes that will then be cooked on board or falling in love with the local crafts?”

For more info, visit au.ponant.com

Seabourn Pursuit’s maiden voyages Down Under

Snorkelling with Seabourn in the South Pacific.

Seabourn’s newest purpose-built expedition ship Seabourn Pursuit makes her debut in the South Pacific in 2024. From March to October, the eagerly anticipated ship (which carries two mini-submarines, 24
Zodiacs and a 24-strong expedition team) will sail a series of expedition cruises in PNG, Micronesia, Guam, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Kimberley.

Seabourn President Natalya Leahy said: “Our warm-weather expeditions offer guests the opportunities to dive and snorkel over incredible intact coral reefs, visit friendly locals and explore historic sites … in the comfort of our signature Seabourn ultra-luxury offerings and service.”

Seabourn’s mini-submarine.

Itineraries range from 14 to 20 days between Chile and Melanesia in March and April and September and October 2024, with longer combo voyages also available.

In May and June and again in August and September 2024, Seabourn Pursuit will operate 15-day voyages in PNG and West Papua then moves to the Kimberley for six 10-day voyages between Broome and Darwin in June.

For more info, visit seabourn.com