Immersive, authentic, educational, adventurous vacations await! 💫

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! You may be reading this newsletter from your February vacation. Hidden Gem Travel clients are having a blast in Costa Rica, the Netherlands/Amsterdam, and the Caribbean this week. Weather is always a factor for winter getaways as it may impact your air travel. Luckily, everyone made it out of the US unscathed – phew! I track flights to make sure I know what’s going on in case I need to jump in and help so I always breathe a sigh of relief when all goes to plan.

This week’s topic is a short primer on Expedition style cruising. It’s an amazing way to immerse yourself in remote locations on a ship with an educational focus and less than 200 passengers. 

It’s a fallacy that you have to rough it on an expedition cruise; the range of style starts with functional and peaks at luxury. If you desire to experience the world beyond the usual destinations and in an immersive manner, then an Expedition cruise could be an ideal fit.

Read on for the scoop with information and inspiration for Expedition cruising, week four of ‘wet February’…

Is Expedition Cruising a Fit for You?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if an Expedition style cruise is right for you:

  • Do you dream of experiencing parts of the world that are more remote and less heavily traveled?
  • Do you love the natural world?
  • Do you have a adventurous spirit and sense of curiosity?
  • Do you value the educational aspect of travel?
  • Do you prefer immersive, authentic travel experiences?
  • Would you like to meet and get to know your fellow travelers and the onboard staff aka Expedition team?
  • Do you enjoy an active vacation?
  • Do you consider bucket list travel to be worth a healthy financial investment?

You’ll notice that there’s no question about age. Expeditions cruises can be perfect for families with school-aged children as well as those who are 55+ who have time for longer and/or farther journeys. As long as you’re reasonably physically fit, although activities will be offered for a range of fitness levels, and have a sense of adventure and curiosity, and like an active vacation, it’s well worth considering an Expedition cruise.

Photo credits above:  Lindblad Expeditions

Global Destinations

Now that you know that an Expedition cruise is a fit for you, consider the variety of global destinations. Many people associate Expedition cruises with the polar regions – Antarctica and the Artic Circle. These remote location experiences are life changing. You’ll see incredible icebergs and marine life and learn about these incredible places from a crew that includes researchers, scientists, photographers, and true destination experts. In Antarctica, the most adventurous travelers can snorkel or scuba! What a story to take home and share.

If you prefer warm to cold, the second most popular Expedition cruise destination is the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador. It’s essentially a 22 island ‘safari’ with wildlife that’s unique in the world… perfect for families. 

But there are others places to consider such as Alaska, Asia (islands of Japan for example), Africa, Northern Europe (ex. Norway’s fjords), Central and South America (ex. Amazon and Costa Rica), and the South Pacific (ex. the up and coming Kimberley region of Australia).

Shore excursions aren’t you typical cruise options. Smaller ships visit places that big ships can’t. So you may spend a day at a remote beach or rainforest. Polar days can be spent seeing penguin colonies with naturalist or kayaking with a marine biologist in the icy blue waters. You may take a hike on land with a professional wildlife photographer or ornithologist. 

It’s important to review the itinerary in close detail to make sure that the activities offered speak to you. Staying on the ship isn’t a good use of time on an Expedition cruise given it’s all about exploring and experiencing the destination first hand.

💎Hidden Gem Tip: Bottom line – the best Expedition cruise (cruise line and itinerary) for you is uncovered with professional help. PLUS you’ll get some nice, valuable perks as  Hidden Gem Travel client. Reach out to me any time about ocean (and river, yacht, barge, and expedition cruises).

Ships, Staff & Sustainability

Many Expedition ships are ‘destination built.’ In the Polar regions, they are icebreakers. In tropical regions, they’ll have a marine deck for water sports and exploration. 

As mentioned, the ships range from functional in style and true luxury. The more bells and whistles, the pricier but these trips are well worth the investment as bucket list level experiences. Do you enjoy ending your day with a delicious meal paired with wine and excellent conversation? Sharing stories with your fellow like-minded passengers and crew is a key part of the experience often leading to friendships beyond the trip.

Expedition cruises have a highly trained and knowledgeable crew/staff. Some are there to pursue their professional research as well as educate the guests. Others are destination experts (have personally visited the destination many times) who bring things to life when you’re both on and off the ship. This aspect makes Expedition cruising unique in the larger cruise space.

Sustainability is a critically important consideration for Expedition cruises. Exploring remote and less traveled places makes salient the need to leave no trace if not leave things better than you left them. Sustainability also extends to ship design and minimizing the impact on the environment. Review the sustainable practices of the Expedition cruise lines you’re considering to better understand their range of practices that protect the environment – both land and sea.

Inspired? Reach out to me now to get your questions answered and begin the planning process.

Wishing you amazing travel adventures,


NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  2024 Travel Trends – Adventure Travel

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) was polled in January about top trends for 2024. Not surprisingly, sustainability was ranked #1 with 59% of members ranking it as a top trend. Overtourism was ranked a close #2 with 56%, and off season/off-the-beaten-track destinations ranked over 50%. 

The message relates to the increasing interest in Expedition cruising, the topic of this week’s newsletter, which focuses on traveling sustainably to remote, global locations with destination immersion in an active, educational, and adventurous travel style.


Follow my Facebook/Instagram pages this week for more travel inspiration: or Instagram:

Make your own Wanderlist for 2024! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you. Check it out here:  

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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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