These Expedition Cruise Lines Are Operating Right Now

Expedition cruising is no longer a distant dream, with a handful of cruise lines already operating voyages in the Galapagos, Alaska, Iceland, France, the Mediterranean and Australia. More will be joining in later in 2021.

First sailing: In service
Ships: National Geographic Endeavour II, National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest, National Geographic Sea Lion, National Geographic Sea Bird, National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Endurance
Regions: Galapagos, Alaska and Iceland  

Lindblad Expeditions resumed service on June 4, with three vessels entering service in the same week. Now, the company is offering cruises to the Galapagos and Alaska – where its entire fleet of U.S.-flagged small ships will spend the summer.

In July, Lindblad also resumed sailings to Iceland with the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer. The newbuild National Geographic Endurance is also entering service in the region soon, with cruises planned to start on July 21.

First sailing: In service

Ships: Le Bougainville, Le Lyrial, Le Dumont-D’Urville, Le Champlain and Le Bellot
Regions: Europe – Mediterranean, Iceland and France

After resuming service on June 16, Ponant is planning to offer more than 50 departures to Iceland, the Mediterranean and France this summer.

Highlights include over 30 sailings in the Mediterranean, in addition to new itineraries and ports of call. Sailing from Northern France, Ponant is also offering a unique stop at the brand’s namesake islands, Ponant Islands.

First sailing: In service

Ships: Coral Discoverer, Coral Adventurer and Coral Geographer  
Region: Australia

Coral Expeditions continues to offer domestic expedition cruises around Australia. The company resumed service last October, using the 75-guest Coral Discoverer.

Later, two other vessels, including the newbuild Coral Geographer, were added to the active lineup.

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 welcome the guests back in the Galapagos.

The Ecuadorian brand offers expedition cruises in the archipelago with a three-ship fleet that includes the 40-guest Isabella I.

Silversea Expeditions
First sailing: In service

Ship: Silver Origin
Region: South America – The Galapagos

On its maiden voyage, the Silver Origin marked the service resumption of Silversea Expeditions. Since June 19, the newbuild is in service in the Galapagos, offering year-round expedition voyages in the Ecuadorian archipelago.

Three other Silversea Expedition vessels are set to resume service in November, ahead of the 2021-2022 season in Antarctica.

First sailing: July 10, 2021

Ships: 50 Years of Victory and Sea Spirit
Regions: North Pole and Antarctica

Poseidon Expeditions is restarting operations this month, with cruises to the North Pole on the 50 Years of Victory icebreaker.

Starting in October, the company also plans to return to Antarctica, using its main vessel, the 114-passenger Sea Spirit.

Iceland ProCruises
First sailing: July 11, 2021
Ship: Ocean Diamond
Region: Iceland  

Iceland ProCruises is returning to Iceland this summer after a more than a year-long pause in operations.

According to the company’s website, the Ocean Diamond resumes service on July 11, offering a program of five cruises around Iceland and Greenland.

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

Recently named in Germany, the Crystal Endeavor is set to enter service on July 17.

As Crystal’s first expedition vessel, it will offer a series of ten-night immersive voyages circumnavigating Iceland. In September, the vessel will add an expedition to the Norwegian Fjords to its schedule.

Atlas Ocean Voyages
First sailing: August 4, 2021
Ship: World Navigator
Region: Egypt and Greek Islands

Launching service this year, Atlas Ocean announced new summer 2021 itineraries for its first, newly constructed expedition ship, the World Navigator.

The updated inaugural season includes alternating departures from Piraeus, Greece, and Alexandria, Egypt, starting August 4.

First sailing: October 23, 2021
Ships: Plancius, Ortelius, Hondius and Janssonius
Region: Antarctica

According to its website, Oceanwide Expeditions is ready to restart service in Antarctica in October.

With four ships in service, the company will operate a full 2021-2022 season in the region. The highlight is the new Janssonius, which is currently under construction in Croatia

First sailing: October 31, 2021
Ships: Ultramarine, Ocean Adventurer, World Explorer and Ocean Diamond
Region: Antarctica

Quark Expeditions is planning a service resumption in Antarctica, featuring its first newbuild, the 199-guest Ultramarine. According to its website, the new vessel is set to enter service on Oct. 31, offering expeditions from Argentina.

Three additional ships – the Ocean Adventurer, the World Explorer and the Ocean Diamond – are also poised to resume sailings in Antarctica, starting in November. 

First sailing: December 30, 2021
Ships: Ventus Australis
Region: South America – Patagonia

Australis is currently planning to restart service with the Ventus Australis. Based in Chile, the company operates a two-ship fleet in Patagonia.

According to its website, the first departure is now scheduled for Dec. 30, sailing from Punta Arenas.

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