Those new spectacular monster cruise ships have a lot to offer.  From surfboarding on your ship to Las Vegas-caliber entertainment and tennis courts at sea, these new cities afloat are indeed a wonder.

But they also have another thing in common with large urban centers.  They’re big, and they can be crowded.  They are also limited to traveling only to those ports of call that are equipped to handle thousands of people.

So if you’re looking for adventure and a break from the big time, you don’t have to skip the idea of a cruise.  Expedition cruising can offer the same level of luxury, only in a more intimate setting, with access to more exotic ports of call.

Incredible New Destinations to Explore

Expedition cruising can take you to out-of-the-way places where bigger ships just can’t go.  From Norway’s fjords to Brazil’s beaches or forbidden Libya, adventure cruises take smaller ships to incredible destinations.

There are plenty of cruise lines offering these interesting vacation choices.  Celebrity Cruises, Voyages of Discovery and Cruise West are just some of the companies offering expedition cruising.  Any travel agent with a specialty in cruising can help you find just what you’re looking for in an expedition cruise.

And it’s not just the exotic new ports of call that are appealing.  Many of the cruise lines that offer expedition cruises know that their travelers want to put the focus on the destination, so they go out of their way to enhance that experience.

Given the emphasis on adventure and learning, expedition cruises often hire artists or historians or scientists to join the cruise, giving lectures to help you gain a greater understanding of your destination.

With the focus on the itinerary, it doesn’t mean these adventure cruises skimp on the onboard amenities.  The ships range in size, and accommodate anywhere from a several dozen passengers to several hundred.  And you will still find well-appointed cabins, swimming pools, restaurants and a variety of on-board activities to keep you entertained.

Celebrity takes its 98-passenger Xpedition to the Galapagos Islands year-round, following in the footsteps of 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin.  With biologists and historians on hand to explain the amazing wonders of this unique corner of the world, you are surrounded by luxury Darwin never dreamed off.  Ocean views from every cabin, two restaurants, a hot tub, sauna and you can cap off your day with a brandy in the Discovery Lounge.

Or you can visit the Black Sea on board Voyage of Discovery’s my Discovery, dropping by sub-tropical spa villages as you’re learning about Byzantine treasures, Ottoman sultans and places such as Yalta, which changed the course of world history.

But the most exotic expedition cruises go to Antarctica.   A number of cruise lines travel to the southern end of the world, all scheduled in the Antarctic “summer” from November to February.  It’s one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible places on earth, and also one of the most spectacular and beautiful.  You can enjoy lounges, fitness centers and barbecue decks on ships such as the M/S Expedition.  And after up close encounters with seals and orcas, and standing on black sand beaches surrounded by penguins, no one comes back from Antarctica unchanged.

So if you’re dreaming of adventure, but feeling put off by the idea of crowds, don’t dismiss the idea of a cruise.  There could be an incredible expedition cruise, just waiting to take to you one of the most interesting and spectacular destinations on earth!

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