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7 amazing expedition cruises closer to home

Travel Advice
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We tend to think of expedition cruises as being so completely different from what we are used to, that they must be a long way away and involve a complicated journey with many flight changes - just what many of us are not looking for in the current climate.

But in fact there are plenty of extraordinary places to visit within easy reach of the UK. Add to that the opportunity to travel on some the newest, most technologically advanced ships, enjoying a high level of comfort, and you have a list of irresistible expeditions, some of which are bound to make their way to the top of your bucket list.

1. The Bijagos Islands with Ponant

In partnership with National Geographic, Ponant have created this magical journey on board L'Austral departing 30th March 2021, sailing from the islands of Cape Verde to the Bijagos archipelago. Home to ancient traditions and unique wildlife, the little visited Bijagos islands are the jewel in Guinea-Bissau's crown, an archipelago of 88 islands that have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bijagos archipelago, Guinea-Bissau

2. The Azores with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Hapag-Lloyd's new purpose-built expedition ships have a fresh Nordic style, comfortable and spacious accommodation and a whole variety of dining options. On this unusual itinerary departing Madeira on 15th April 2021, you will visit the fascinating islands of the Azores, with their abundant plant life and stunning scenery, before travelling on to northern Spain to disembark in Bilbao.

Expedition cruise to the Azores

3. Scotland to Svalbard with Quark Expeditions

Travel to Aberdeen to join Quark's Ocean Adventurer on 1st May 2021 as she sets forth to visit remote Fair Isle and the rugged Faroes, before setting a course for one of the world's most rarely visited islands, Jan Mayen, with its breathtaking volcano. If you are lucky enough to land you will have enjoyed a rare privilege, before sailing on to explore the icy Svalbard archipelago.

Puffin on Fair Isle, Scotland

4. The British Isles with Silversea Expeditions

On 31st May 2021, the newly refurbished Silver Wind with her 274 guests leaves London on a 14-day itinerary visiting lesser known islands and hidden gems of the British Isles, the perfect way to explore the history, wildlife and rugged beauty of our own home. This voyage is virtually sold out, so we will probably need to waitlist you to get you on board.

Gannets on St Kilda, Scotland

5. Northern Norway & Svalbard with Seabourn

Seabourn's first purpose-built expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, sails from Tromso on 27th July 2021 to explore the northernmost reaches of Norway before setting course for the Arctic. Visit Bear Island and the Svalbard archipelago in search of walrus, polar bears and more.

Polar bear in Svalbard

Get your free Arctic guide

Our expedition cruising guide to the Arctic will tell you everything you need to know, including when to visit, what to see and how to get there.

6. The Northern Lights with Hurtigruten

Throughout the winter's dark, from October 2021 to March 2022, Hurtigruten's Maud will sail from Dover every 14 nights on a special winter expedition cruise under the Northern Lights. See the best of Norway's coastline and take part in exciting excursions to really discover this winter wonderland. Visit fascinating fjords and tiny coastal villages to get close to the authentic heart of Norway.

Northern Lights cruise on Hurtigruten

7. The British Isles with Crystal Expedition Cruises

A comprehensive 14-night itinerary takes you from Greenwich in London to Leith in Edinburgh, departing 25th May 2022 for 14 nights and creating a convenient no-fly option visiting some of the most remote and beautiful regions of the British Isles. You'll be travelling on board the new Crystal Endeavor, the most spacious expedition ship in the world, combining exciting adventures ashore with stylish luxury on board.

Northern gannet over Unst, Shetland Islands
Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Adventures.

More about Edwina

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