Expedition Cruising is on the Rise

by Holly Riddle

Sep 22, 2019

© Hornblower Cruises

Trends / Top Trends


Small-ship expedition cruising is on the rise, according to AdventureSmith Explorations. According to the cruise provider, year over year from 2013 to 2018, its booked passenger count grew by more than 150 percent. As such, the provider expanded to offer new cruising itineraries in more exotic destinations. High-demand destinations include Antarctica, Alaska and the Galapagos Islands, where small ships are generally better for travelers seeking immersive experiences. Emerging destinations include the Arctic, Indonesia and Australia.


According to the brand, the typical expedition cruise passenger is a college-educated member of Generation X or a Baby Boomer. However, these older cruisers also show some interest in travel trends more attributed to millennials and Gen Z, such as sustainability.


Additionally, AdventureSmith Explorations points to a growth in young, solo female travelers. Many millennial travelers are choosing expedition cruises to help them mark certain, hard-to-reach destinations off their bucket lists, and there are more young travelers looking to reach all seven continents by the time they reach the age of 30.


Small-ship expedition cruising also caters to all age groups looking for sustainable travel options, as small cruise ships carry a smaller passenger count, often work with more local partners and contribute more to the local economy. Additionally, many small cruise ships offer passengers the option to get involved in local outreach during their itinerary, with activities such as beach clean ups or visits to destination nonprofits.


“Expedition cruising is a perfect match for travelers seeking to check off hard-to-reach, bucket-list destinations sustainably and actively,” said Todd Smith, founder, AdventureSmith Explorations. “Flexible routes allow for spontaneous exploration and that spirit of adventure that today’s travelers value.”


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