From the Amazon to the Arctic: six life-changing expeditions to book this year
Chart a course to some of the world’s most extraordinary destinations on a ship with every luxury on board
When it comes to remote destinations, one of the best ways to explore them is on the water – and Seabourn’s state-of-the-art expedition ships are equipped for anything. It’s a chance to sail through cinematic landscapes and encounter some truly special wildlife, from shaggy-furred Amazonian sloths to Antarctica’s king penguins. Rated PC (Polar Class) 6, the Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit are impeccably appointed, with all-veranda suites, exceptional service and five-star facilities, including first-rate dining. Ready to explore? There are Zodiacs, sea kayaks and (in the polar regions) submarines on board, while Expedition Teams include scientists, biologists and ornithologists. Your trip is all-inclusive – and tips are neither required or expected – leaving guests free to focus on the adventures each day brings. In search of the extraordinary? Here’s where to find it.
For primaeval caves and flying foxes: the Kimberley
Welcome to the wilderness: the remote, northernmost region of Western Australia (opening image). Bounded by the Indian Ocean and Timor Sea, this is a place of epic landscapes, from tangled mangroves and desert plateaux to savannahs and sandstone peaks. Sail though horizontal waterfalls, explore the world’s largest inshore reef, and watch out for the resident wildlife, from saltwater crocodiles, basking in the sun, to noisy flying foxes.
Don’t miss: The incredible Aboriginal cave art at Raft Point and Jar Island, whose sea turtles and warriors predate the pyramids.
For polar adventures: the Arctic & Greenland
With its ice-strengthened hull, the Seabourn Venture is tailor-made for polar exploration. You’ll voyage through some of the most incredible landscapes on the planet, from glass-like fjords to floating ice fields, framed by turquoise-tinted glaciers. Kayak amid the icebergs, spot polar bears and playful Arctic foxes, or cruise aboard a Zodiac past cliffs of squabbling seabirds. Connecting with Indigenous communities is another highlight, as are the Expedition Team’s tales of gallant explorers.
Don’t miss: Watching whales and walruses from the comfort of the spa: even the sauna has floor-to-ceiling windows.
For spectacular wildlife-watching: the Amazon
Whether you’re kayaking though a submerged forest as squirrel monkeys chatter overhead, or meeting caboclo communities, the Amazon will blow your mind. Guided by the sharp-eyed Expedition Team, alert to every rustle on the bank, you’ll see all kinds of creatures, from raucous macaws to pink river dolphins. Itineraries are tide-dependent but can venture as far as Iquitos – the largest city in the world that can’t be reached by road.
Don’t miss: Sloth-spotting in the Boca dos Botas flooded forest. Languorous and long-clawed, they’re surprisingly speedy in the water.
For a voyage of discovery: the South Pacific
Myths swirl around these atolls and islands: tiny, verdant dots in the endless blue of the Pacific that few travellers have visited. Among Seabourn’s three itineraries is a voyage to Easter Island, with its awe-inspiring moai (giant heads), then on to far-flung Pitcairn, where The Bounty’s mutineers fled. Another expedition explores the shores of New Guinea and Indonesia. It’s thrillingly remote and a paradise for wildlife-spotters.
Don’t miss: Scuba-diving and snorkelling at Raja Ampat, an Indonesian archipelago with otherworldly coral, neon shoals and pygmy seahorses.
For starkly lovely landscapes: Antarctica
Nowhere on earth does epic like Antarctica, with its ramparts and skyscrapers of glacial ice. Land in a Zodiac to hike across pristine snow, or kayak through the floes of the ‘Great White Continent’. It’s a dazzling stage for all kinds of wildlife encounters, from cruising past pods of orcas to watching portly penguins belly-slide across the ice. Keen to see king penguins? Opt for an expedition taking in South Georgia, where you’ll find around 450,000 pairs.
Don’t miss: The ship’s ‘Caviar In the Ice’ gatherings, with gourmet hors d’oeuvres served on deck, ringed by glittering glaciers.
For scenery and seabirds: the British Isles
There’s plenty of scope for adventure around the British Isles, from discovering lesser-known islands to exploring Neolithic villages. See puffins on Canna’s sea stacks, kayak on serene Scottish lochs, or take in natural wonders, such as the basalt-columned Fingal’s Cave. While the scenery is sublime, there are manmade wonders, too, from Newcastle’s sweeping suspension bridge to Oban’s famed malt whiskies.
Don’t miss: The chance to get up close to nesting seabird colonies, including guillemots and puffins on the Unesco-listed Cliffs of Moher.
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