The sense of remoteness engulfs you, and gives a greater understanding of the remarkable feats undertaken by those famed explorers who strived to expand the map of the world.
One of the most astonishing journeys of the 'Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration' is Shackleton's Endurance expedition. An expedition cruise in Shackleton's footsteps will visit some key sites, giving you a new-found appreciation of the amazing fortitude shown by the men and their captain. Itineraries to the Antarctic Peninsula will aim to visit Point Wild on Elephant Island, where Shackleton left most of his men as he set off on the 800-mile voyage across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia in a tiny lifeboat, the James Caird.
Delve deeper into the history on a commemorative trip with Quark Expeditions, with a special itinerary in December 2021 that coincides with the centenary of Shackleton's death. Sailing on board Quark's new ship Ultramarine, you'll be accompanied by author and explorer Tim Jarvis, who re-enacted Shackleton's voyage on board a replica of the James Caird in 2013. Ultramarine will aim to visit key sites on South Georgia including King Hakkon Bay, where the James Caird landed, and Grytviken, where Shackleton was buried after his death on a later expedition.
One of Shackleton's great rivals was the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Famed for beating Scott to the South Pole in 1911, he was also the first explorer to transit the fabled Northwest Passage, building on the knowledge gained by Sir John Franklin and the rescue attempts that followed his disastrous 1845 expedition, recently dramatised in the chilling BBC series The Terror.
The route across the Canadian high Arctic between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is only attempted in the height of summer. Several expedition operators focus on the voyage, with historians who bring the journey of those first pioneers to life. In August 2022 Hurtigruten's aptly named MS Roald Amundsen commences a 26-night 'Northwest Passage: In The Wake of Great Explorers' expedition from Nome to Halifax.
Of all the expeditions undertaken to further our scientific knowledge, none are more famous than Darwin's journey to the Galapagos on HMS Beagle, where the unique flora and fauna led to the formation of his theory of evolution. Exploring today, you can see for yourself the adaptations of wildlife between islands and numerous endemic species, including Darwin's finches, flightless cormorants, marine and land iguanas, giant tortoises and frigatebirds.
Travel on board Silversea's brand new Silver Origin, the most luxurious ship operating around the islands, and you'll benefit from Silversea's collaboration with the Royal Geographic Society, which played an active role in the planning of many historic expeditions. The partnership provides guests travelling on all Silversea expedition ships with informative and engaging enrichment resources, based on unrivalled access to its two-million-strong collection of maps, charts, atlases, archives, images and artefacts.
Whether it's stories of famed polar explorers or the lesser known expeditions that lay the foundations for those great trips, the overlooked scientific journeys, such as those of Alfred Russel Wallace, co-author of the Origin of Species, around the Malay Archipelago, or the great discovery voyages of Cook, Magellan, Columbus and Marco Polo, there is a rich history to be uncovered on an expedition cruise.