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ADVENTURE Want to experience remote coastline, polar regions or get up close to nature? Then adventure cruising is for you. Here’s a quick guide to what’s available. Words Roderick Eime Adventure cruising has its roots deep in

healthy resurgence, adventure cruising, or

the human psyche. It stems from our innate

expedition cruising as it is also called, is

desire to inquire, explore and expand the

booming. This tallies with recent studies

boundaries of our environment. One could

that indicate travellers are more in search

name great navigators such as Magellan,

of “experience-driven travel”. But how do

Cook, La Perouse and Pytheas as some of

you tell an adventure or expedition cruise

the best known “adventure cruisers”.

from the regular fun-afloat type? The following is a list of qualities to watch for:

however, is transported in vastly different vessels to those great adventurers. Gone are the days of deprivation, scurvy and mythical sea monsters. These days you sail with state-of-the-art satellite navigation,

n Products driven by the destination and

experience rather than the allure or cachet of a particular vessel. n Fewer passengers, typically less than

first-rate medical facilities, gourmet cuisine

500, but often as few as a dozen. This

and comfortable bunks.

enables operators to better deliver a

Just as cruise travel is enjoying a 30 spring 2006

more personal and fulfilling experience.

Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland

The 21st-century adventure cruiser,

Learn more about the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem spring 2006 31

ADV E N T U R E Exploring an island near the Antarctic Peninsula

Photo: Sue Werner - Aurora Expeditions

Many see Orion as a “crossover” product, retaining the glamour and facilities of a big ship whilst pursuing itineraries and destinations usually reserved for smaller, more spartan vessels.

Facilities: Lounges with panoramic views,

of new experiences, places and discovery,

narrow and shallow waterways

dining room, cocktail bar, baby grand,

whilst enjoying the comfort of luxurious

inaccessible to regular cruise ships.

video, elevator, library and gift shop

surroundings”. On board you’ll eat fine

Beginning in 1970 as a day-tripper, dinner

cuisine and drink great wines. Many

take into account changing conditions

and “coffee cruise” company offering trips

see Orion as a “crossover” product,

and opportunities.

around Sydney Harbour, Captain Cook

retaining the glamour and facilities of a

Cruises now has 16 vessels, five of which

big ship whilst pursuing itineraries and

program, often with a choice of several

have sleeping cabins. CCC has vessels

destinations usually reserved for smaller,

disembarkations per day.

in Sydney, Cairns, Mannum in South

more spartan vessels.

n Smaller vessels capable of navigating

n Flexible and adjustable itineraries to

n An extensive shore excursion

n Destinations often have little or no

Australia, and Fiji. Its primary “adventure”

tourism infrastructure and focus

product is Reef Endeavour. It operates out

Company: Coral Princess Cruises

instead on natural, cultural and

of Cairns where naturalist guides and dive

Vessels: Oceanic Princess, Coral Princess I

ecological attractions.

instructors enrich the Great Barrier Reef

and Coral Princess II

and Cape York itineraries.

Capacity: Oceanic Princess carries 72

n Cruise crew includes lecturers

drawn from academia and science

passengers in 36 cabins and suites while

who are able to impart an enriching

Company: Orion Expedition Cruises

Coral Princess I carries 50 passengers in

interpretation during the voyage.

Vessel: Orion

27 cabins and Coral Princess II carries 46

Capacity: 53 suites and staterooms for 106

passengers in 24 cabins


Facilities: Dining room, library/bar/lecture

Facilities: Fine dining, boutique, sauna,

room, Jacuzzi, Zodiacs, aluminium tenders

Here is a selection of vessels and

Jacuzzi, elevator, library and 10 Zodiacs

and water-sports equipment

itineraries that are within easy reach of

Orion burst onto the scene amid great

Coral Princess Cruises bills itself as a

Australia or New Zealand. They’re often

fanfare in early 2005. Founder and

pioneer of Australian expedition cruising,

accessed by simple domestic airline link.

managing director Sarina Bratton

beginning in 1984 with an ex-World War

brought with her many years of top-level

Two submarine chaser. Currently the

Company: Captain Cook Cruises

cruise industry experience and Orion is

company operates three vessels, with

Vessel: Reef Endeavour

an amalgamation of Bratton’s vision for

the one-year-old Oceanic Princess taking

Capacity: 75 cabins for 150 passengers

“people who seek the mental stimulation

pride of place as its flagship.

n Premium pricing.

Products close to home

32 spring 2006

ADV E N T U R E Learn more about other cultures

Replacing the company’s older, smaller

winter, Discovery relocates to Queensland,

Coral Princess I and II, stay close to home,

While the two smaller vessels,

vessel of the same name, the new True

visiting Hervey Bay and Fraser Island with

operating primarily from the company’s

North regularly wins awards for its

a new three-night offering.

base in Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef,

Kimberley cruises. It cruises the area from

Cape York and to the Kimberley, Oceanic

March to September and visits Papua New

International cruises

Princess ventures much further afield.

Guinea from November to December.

Here is a list of companies offering cruises

Since her launch in early 2005, she has

to various remote parts of the world.

circumnavigated New Zealand and

Company: World Heritage Cruises

Tasmania, visited Papua New Guinea,

Vessel: Discovery

Company: Lindblad Expeditions

Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the

Capacity: 12 suites for 24 passengers

Flagship: National Geographic Endeavour

Solomons and spearheaded itineraries

Facilities: Fine dining, lounge, sun deck,

Capacity: 61 cabins for 110 passengers

in the Kimberley.

two fast tenders and kayaks

Facilities: Dining room, gym, pool, bar/

Based in the idyllic former logging port of

lounge/theatre and Zodiacs

Company: North Star Cruises

Strahan on Tasmania’s rugged west coast,

No coverage of expedition cruising would

Vessel: True North

this small ship company is best known for

be complete without mention of this truly

Capacity: 18 cabins and suites for

its relaxed day cruises along Macquarie

pioneering company. Spawned from his

36 passengers

Harbour into the pristine Gordon River.

father’s (Lars-Eric Lindblad) ground-

Facilities: Dining room, two lounges,

Branching out with a new luxury vessel,

breaking company Lindblad Travel, young

alfresco bar, internet café, sun deck, six

Discovery, the century-old family company

Sven-Olaf Lindblad launched Lindblad

tenders and a helicopter

now offers overnight cruises further up

Expeditions in 1979.

Western Australia’s own North Star

the Gordon River. The five-day expeditions

Cruises operates the much acclaimed

go to remote Port Davey and Bathurst

a fleet of vessels of which the 3100-ton

True North, which was launched in 2004.

Harbour and, during the harsh Tasmanian

National Geographic Endeavour is

34 spring 2006

The New York-based company operates


The Florida-based Ecoventura claims to offset its vessels’ carbon output with a variety of projects including reforestation and methane recapture.

Get close to King George Falls in the Kimberley perhaps the best known. She travels,

“carbon neutral”. The Florida-based

Zodiacs, observation decks, and

quite literally, to all corners of the globe

Ecoventura (previously known as

open bridge

including the South Pacific, Antarctica

Galapagos Network) claims to offset its

This is a Swedish company offering small

and the British Isles.

vessels’ carbon output with a variety

group adventures primarily to remote

of projects including reforestation and

Antarctic and Arctic destinations. It has a

methane recapture.

particularly good Spitsbergen cruise. The

Company: Quark Expeditions Flagship: Kapitan Khlebnikov

company also works in conjunction with

Capacity: 54 cabins and suites for

Company: Heritage Expeditions

112 passengers

Vessel: Spirit of Enderby

Facilities: Two dining rooms, bar, theatre,

Capacity: 24 cabins for 48 passengers

sauna, pool, library, elevator, Zodiacs and

Facilities: Dining room, lounge/bar/library,

two helicopters

Zodiacs and hovercraft

Arguably the most pre-eminent expedition

Formed in 1985 by experienced New

cruising company in the world, Quark

Zealand biologist and naturalist, Rodney

transports passengers to truly iconic

Russ, this family company offers expeditions

destinations such as the deepest Antarctic,

to the Russian Far East, the Antarctic and

the Canadian High Arctic, Siberia and

sub-Antarctic, and southwest Pacific.

even the North Pole. Quark was founded in 1991 and immediately began setting new

Company: Oceanwide Expeditions

benchmarks in adventure travel. It uses

Vessels: Grigoriy Mikheev and

a fleet of seven, predominantly Russian,

Aleksey Maryshev

vessels including world-record-holding

Capacity: 23 cabins for 45 passengers

icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov and the

Facilities: Dining/lecture room, lounge/

world’s most powerful icebreaker, Yamal,

bar/library, infirmary, sauna and Zodiacs This Dutch company operates high-quality

Company: Ecoventura

expeditions to the Antarctic, Arctic and

Vessels: Eric, Letty and Flamingo

Atlantic Ocean destinations. It also

Capacity: Each has 10 cabins for

utilises ships Professor Molchanov and

20 passengers

Professor Multanovskiy.

Facilities: Dining room, lounge/bar/library, kayaks, snorkelling and scuba equipment,

Company: Polar Quest

and tenders

Vessels: Origo and Stockholm

This Galapagos specialist operates

Capacity: 12 cabins for 24 passengers

vessels it recently self-accredited as

Facilities: Dining room, lounge/bar/library,

36 spring 2006

other operators mentioned here. n

Get going Booking directly with any of these international companies is possible, but often it is easier if you book via one of the experienced adventure travel tour operators based in Australia. It allows you to maintain personal contact with a specialist consultant and compare similar products, vessels and destinations without pressure or obligations. Here is a list of some of Australia’s most experienced and respected companies: Adventure Associates Ph: (02) 8916 3000, toll free 1800 222 141 Aurora Expeditions Ph: (02) 9252 1033, toll free 1800 637 688 Peregrine Adventures Ph: 1300 854 444 within Australia or (61) 3 8601 4444 outside Australia Fax: (03) 8601 4344

In Pursuit of Adventure CP25  

from CRUISE Passenger Magazine

In Pursuit of Adventure CP25  

from CRUISE Passenger Magazine