With more cruise lines getting into expedition cruising, travelers have more options about how they want their expedition cruise experience. From the extremes of barebones to the ultimate in luxe? The choice is yours.
We sailed onboard a Seabourn expedition cruise to the Arctic this summer, and discovered that the ultra-luxe cruise line has perfectly adapted its celebratory style of cruising to the remote, active, and adventurous realms of expeditions.
That includes turning memorable moments into ceremonies, and presenting guests with pop-up experiences where you least expect them – but that elevate an incredible interaction with breathtaking wilderness, unforgettable Arctic scenery, including icebergs, glaciers, fjords and sunsets – into a celebration of living your best life with your newfound friends in the social atmosphere on board.
Here are just some of the ways we celebrated adventure on our Seabourn expedition cruise to Iceland and Greenland:
Is that champagne in a zodiac? Yes it is. One of the joys of expedition cruising is its spontaneity. When the Seabourn Venture paused to 1) map the uncharted - yes, uncharted! - ocean floor along our route in the southern waters of Greenland, 2) the ship's expedition team got out the zodiacs for guests to explore the icy waters dotted with (unfiltered color!) blue icebergs around the ship. And 3) in typical Seabourn style, the hotel team got into the spirit of discovery, launching a champagne zodiac for guests to pull up beside and take a glass to toast the moment.
It also warmed us up for the polar plunge later that day! The phenomenal Seabourn expedition team member Sierra Phillips (top and below) in the zodiac and held my hand on my first polar plunge - she knows how cold it's going to be and she's still smiling into the gopro! I look terrified!
Seabourn is famous for its signature caviar parties: Caviar in the Surf in warmer climes, and in cooler zones, on deck while surrounded by spectacular scenery.
It doesn't get much better than with the Seabourn Venture pulled up next to a glacier in a fjord for a spectacular setting for a Caviar on Deck party. Caviar is, for many of us, shorthand for 'special celebration,' and again, the hotel team did it up in outstanding style, with your choice of champagne or vodka.
It's hard not to get into the spirit of the moment and even let someone convince you the best way to eat caviar is off your hand so the flavor isn't spoiled by contact with any spoons or even blini! Yes, pack your grannie's vintage fur stole and wear it with jeans on and around the ship - you'll be toasty and perfectly dressed for the weather and to feel like you're going to a party!
Not all the celebration is outdoors, even on an expedition cruise. Every day, we gathered to celebrate the discoveries of the day and learn what's in store for tomorrow in the Expedition Lounge, where special guests, like indigenous storytellers, help created context for our explorations.
And for a Seabourn expedition cruise in Iceland - the 'Land of Fire and Ice,' what could be more celebratory of our location than a cocktail in The Club with a fiery spirit and a charcoal rim? Paired with sushi from the new sushi bar in The Club along with scenery, that in mid-summer, just won't quit as the sun barely sets for even a couple of hours.
Mother Nature herself turned on one of our most memorable celebrations during our Arctic cruise, with an unexpected showing of the Northern Lights just after midnight, when it got just dark enough to see her spectacular light show - all the better for being on our verandas in our pajamas!
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Images and story: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/ travel journalist and expert.
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