Expedition Cruise Operators Plan Summer Restarts: Line by Line

Here’s a look at when some of the leading expedition cruise brands plan to restart operations.

First sailing: June 4, 2021
Ships: National Geographic Endeavour II, National Geographic Venture and National Geographic Quest
Regions: Galapagos and Alaska

Lindblad Expeditions is planning to relaunch operations in the Galapagos with the National Geographic Endeavour II. Starting on June 4, the 96-guest vessel will explore the remoteness of the Ecuadorian archipelago on a ten-day itinerary.

Starting on June 5, the company also plans to restart service in the Alaska, using its fleet of U.S.-flagged small ships.

Ventus Australis

First sailing: September 25, 2021
Ships: Ventus Australis and Stella Australis
Region: South America – Patagonia

Australis is currently planning to restart service sailing a full 2021-2022 season in Patagonia.

The first cruise is scheduled for September 25, with the Ventus Australis. The Stella Australis follows nearly a month later, on October 23.

Ponant ship

First sailing: June 25, 2021
Ships: Le Lyrial, Le Dumont D’Urville, Le Boreal, Le Bellot, Le Bougainville, L’Austral, Le Jacques Cartier and Le Champlain
Regions: Iceland, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Black Sea, Svalbard and Greenland

Ponant is currently planning to restart its cruise operations in June, offering itineraries in several regions.

According to its website, the company could have up to eight ships back in service by the end of July.

The vessels are slated to sail in destinations such as Iceland, Svalbard, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.


First sailing: May 23, 2021
Ships: Plancius, Ortelius and Hondius
Region: Arctic

After cancelling its entire 2020-2021 season in Antarctica, Oceanwide is ready to restart service in the Arctic. Starting in May, the expedition operator plans to operate its three ships in the region.

The return to Antarctica will take place in October and includes the new Janssonius, currently under construction in Croatia

Crystal Endeavor

First sailing: July 17, 2021
Ship: Crystal Endeavor
Region: Iceland

The Crystal Endeavor will sail five 10-night immersive voyages circumnavigating Iceland beginning July 17, 2021.

Coral Geographer

First sailing: In service
Ships: Coral Discoverer, Coral Adventurer and Coral Geographer
Region: Australia

Based in Australia, Coral Expeditions restarted sailing in October, offering domestic expeditions.

The 75-guest Coral Discoverer was the first ship to reenter service, followed by two other vessels, including the newbuild Coral Geographer.


First sailing: June 2, 2021
Ships: Ocean Adventurer and Ultramarine
Region: Arctic

Quark Expeditions is planning a service resumption in the Arctic, featuring its first newbuild, the 200-guest Ultramarine. The new vessel is set to enter service on June 25, offering expeditions to Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and even a Northwest Passage cruise.

The first ship to reenter service for the company, however, will be the Ocean Adventurer. On June 2, the vessel starts its Arctic season, sailing from Oslo on a Norway and Svalbard cruise. 

Greg Mortimer

First sailing: June 1, 2021
Ship: Greg Mortimer
Region: Australia

Aurora Expeditions has replaced its Arctic 2021 season with an Australia program. The Australia-based cruise line plans to start the domestic operation on June 1.

The company’s only ship, the Greg Mortimer, will offer voyages around Australia, Commonwealth Bay and the Ross Sea (East Antarctica).

Destinations include Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, the Kimberley, the Coral Coast, South West Edge, Ningaloo Reef and more.

Metropolitan Touring

First sailing: In service
Ships: Isabela I and La Pinta
Region: South America – The Galapagos

Last August, Metropolitan Touring became one of the first cruise lines to resume service in the Galapagos.

The Ecuadorian brand offers expedition cruises in the archipelago with a three-ship fleet.

Sea Spirit

First sailing: July 9, 2021
Ships: Sea Spirit and 50 Years of Victory
Region: Arctic and North Pole

Poseidon Expeditions is planning a July restart, with cruises in the Arctic on the Sea Spirit. The 50 Years of Victory icebreaker is also scheduled to sail to the North Pole for the brand in July.

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