Top 5 highly recommended destinations for expedition cruising

Here at Back Track, we love small ship cruising. The type of voyages that provide travellers the opportunity to explore remote and isolated destinations, sometimes only accessible by sea, and marvel at exotic wildlife and dramatic coastlines.

Expedition cruises allow you to get to know your like-minded fellow passengers and provide the opportunity to learn from the expert expedition team. Itineraries are quite often flexible, and you may even have the opportunity to watch the Captain and Expedition Leader at work as a lot of these smaller ships have an open bridge policy.

And with a focus on the safety and wellbeing of passengers through strict COVID protocols, it’s no wonder that expedition cruising bookings are flourishing!

Here’s some of our favourite expedition cruising destinations:

author photo

Leanne has travelled to all seven continents, so ask her anything. The  countries she has been to most recently are Uganda, Cambodia and India. Her favourite holiday is anywhere in South America!

1. The Sub Antarctic Islands of Australia & New Zealand

Home to some of the most unique flora and fauna on earth, these remote islands of the Southern Ocean are strictly protected by the Australian and New Zealand governments. These islands are a paradise for birders and photographers alike with the opportunity to discover multiple species of birds found nowhere else in the world, not to mention the incredible megaherbs.

Macaroni Penguin

Photo credit: PONANT / Nathalie Michel

2. Antarctica

There just aren’t enough superlatives to describe Antarctica, and you really do have to see it to believe it. Each part of the 5 month-long season offers something different and expedition ships allow you to step ashore and bear witness to it all. Whether you want to see wildlife courtship rituals early in the season, the hilarious antics of penguin chicks later on, a 360 degree vista of ice, or experience the thrill of the polar plunge, Antarctica is a destination that will leave you speechless

Antarctica

3. Spice Islands and Raja Ampat

Boasting world-class diving and snorkelling, lush forests full of exotic native birds, and fascinating history, these archipelagos of Indonesia are a must see. Venture beneath the glittering turquoise water to discover a kaleidoscope of colourful coral and fish, hike your way to breathtaking views of karst islands, and learn about the centuries of trade that gave the Spice Islands their name.

Spice Islands

4. Russian High Arctic

About 20% of the world’s largest country lies above the Arctic Circle. In addition to a mammoth 24,000km of coastline, there are remote archipelagos that offer the opportunity to spot whales, walrus, seals, seabirds and of course the King of the Arctic, the polar bear. Following in the footsteps of polar explorers, you’ll explore abandoned stations and huts, while also marvelling at enormous glaciers and icebergs.

Puffin

5. Kamchatka & the Kuril Islands

Forming part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the geothermal activity in this area of Russia’s Far East has shaped a unique landscape that is home to an abundance of marine and bird life (not to mention most of the world’s volcanoes). You may also be lucky enough to spot brown bears. Sparsely populated and incredibly isolated, this region is Mother Nature’s showcase.

Arctic Fox
Bonus 
destination
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The Kimberley

We’re cheating a bit here because you can see The Kimberley by land and not just by sea, but to truly capture the essence of this amazing corner of Australia, it’s definitely worth combining an expedition cruise with an overland adventure. Afterall there’s 12,000km of coastline to explore! Imposing cliffs, incredible waterfalls, stunning waterholes and Indigenous art and culture don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what awaits in the Kimberley. And it books out fast, so make sure you plan early for your Kimberley experience.

If these destinations are on your bucket list, dive in to know more here.