Small-ship and Expedition Cruise fans have been waiting for cruise lines to emerge from the pandemic quiet. The choices for expedition cruising are growing with offerings in all categories from hard-core adventure to ultra-luxury expeditions. While it’s next to impossible to keep up with the many changes, the following is a current snapshot.
Albatros Expeditions will introduce the Ocean Albratros in 2022. The vessel will have 93 cabins.
Atlas Ocean Voyages
World Navigator is planned to launch in July 2021 in the Black Sea. It will carry 196 passengers for warm water cruises and 186 for cold water cruises.
World Traveler will launch in 2022. It will carry 200 passengers
World Adventurer in 2023. It will carry 200 passengers
World Seeker in 2022. It will carry 200 passengers
World Discoverer in 2023. It will carry 200 passengers
Adventure Smith Explorations
Galapagos Islands are currently open and several Galapagos small ship cruises are operating. The 6-10 person Belize Catamaran Charter cruises are currently operating. Westward Voyages in the Sea of Cortez just completed the cruising season operating December 2020 through March 2021. Next season begins in December 2021.
This summer 2021 all Alaska Small Ship Cruises plan to operate as expected. Requirements are changing rapidly. The State of Alaska has eased testing requirements although some operators may require negative tests and/or vaccines.
Mediterranean small ship cruises resumed operation last summer, although they were not open to Americans. These cruises plan to operate as expected this summer.
Australia cruises have resumed, but are not yet open to Americans.
Alaskan Dream Cruises commenced sailing in Alaska in April 2021 and will continue until the end of the season.
Aurora Expeditions will take delivery of a new x-bow expedition ship, the Sylvia Earle in October, 2021. The ship will carry 126 passengers and will be used for itineraries in Alaska, Baja California, the Russian Far East, Raja Ampat, and West
Coral Expeditions will launch the Coral Geographer in early 2021. This ship will carry 120 passengers.
Crystal Cruises The new Crystal Endeavour will depart beginning July 17, 2021 in Iceland. The 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor is designed to function as a hybrid luxury cruise ship and a purpose-built expedition vessel.
Ecoventura will debut the Evolve in April 2021 for Galapagos Island cruises.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will debut the Hanseatic Spirit in 2021. It will carry 199-230 passengers.
Hurtigruten will debut a hybrid electric powered expedition ship in 2021.
Lindblad Expeditions is scheduled to resume sailing in June 2021 in the Galapagos.
Pandaw River Expeditions
- Pandaw plans to resume operations in late 2021as follows, however dates are being adjusted as the situation warrants:
- Classic Mekong Cambodia & Vietnam – October 2, 2021
- Red River and Halong Bay – September 7, 2021
- Mekong River in Laos – October 15, 2021
- India Ganges and Brahamaputra Rivers – October 8, 2021
Polar Latitudes will begin operating the MS Seaventure in 2021. This ship formerly sailed as the MS Bremen. It will carry 164 passengers.
Quark Expeditions Arctic expeditions will resume at the end of June with their newest vessel, Ultramarine. Sailings for May and June 2021 were cancelled. The Antarctic season will proceed as planned commencing in November 2021.
Scenic will introduce the Eclipse II in 2022 with 228 guests.
SunStone Ships will introduce the following vessels, each carrying 160 passengers, in 2021 and 2022:
M/V Ocean Explorer in January 2021.
M/V Ocean Victory in January 2021.
The Sylvia Earle in Fall 2021.
M/V Ocean Odyssey in March 2022.
M/V Ocean Discoverer in September 2022.
M/V Ocean Albatross in October 2022.
UnCruise Adventures will launch their Alaska season starting on May 10, 2021, operating six ships with one on reserve for increased demand. They will be offering itineraries from Seattle, Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan.
Victory Cruise Lines will launch the Ocean Discovery in September 2022 and sail in Alaska in 2023. The ship will carry 200 passengers.
Viking will debut two expedition ships, the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, in 2022, carrying 378 passengers each.
Cover photo: Greater flamingos, Floreana Island’s Flamingo Lagoon (Galápagos) ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews