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the northern lights

The world’s top five expedition cruises

By LLM Reporters on 23rd October 2015

Expedition cruising is one of the hottest trends in global travel innovation and it seems that everyone is talking about it. Providing the opportunity to explore destinations off the beaten track on smaller, more exclusive ships are the key.

Laura Lamb, Head of Product & Media at Reader Offers Limited, picks her top five cruises that will help to bring out your innermost explorer.

1. Antarctica

Antarctica
Antarctica is one of the harshest locations in the world

Possibly one of the harshest locations in the world and yet what Antarctica lacks in population, it makes up for in its dazzling abundance of sea life.

The weather dictates that expedition cruising can only take place between October and February. We have a 20-night itinerary aboard the MS Midnatsol, which offers a truly unique experience in a wonderfully relaxed environment. Starting off in Montevideo, Uruguay, it makes its way down the coastline of South America stopping in Peninsular Valdes, Argentina and the Falkland Islands before reaching its crescendo. Four awe-inspiring days, in the utterly spectacular isolated terrain of Antarctica, travellers may see whales, alongside seals, seabirds and penguins of varying species.

The splendour of this incredible cruise continues as you leave Antarctica and head for two days sailing the Chilean fjords: a remote land of beauty depicted by dramatic mountain peaks and iconic wildlife including dolphins and elephant seals, before ending in Santiago.

2. The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are depicted by their year-round warmth, blue skies and calm seas

Unique and extraordinary are two fitting words to describe The Galapagos Islands. We can organise an 11-day itinerary, which includes seven days of expedition cruising aboard the luxury Silversea Galapagos. Home to almost 2,000 different species of wildlife not found anywhere else on earth, the Galapagos Islands sit 500 miles west of Ecuador in South America. The inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the islands are depicted by their year-round warmth, blue skies and calm seas where an abundance of animals including giant tortoises, iguanas and sea lions roam free and unafraid.

This all-inclusive luxury cruise heads out from Ecuador and encompasses all of the major Galapagos Island stops during which you can trek this unique land.

3. Arctic Explorer and The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights is considered the most spectacular light show on earth

Beyond doubt Norway offers some of the most stunning scenery in the Northern Hemisphere and a winter Arctic Explorer cruise with the renowned Hurtigruten fleet of ships between October to February offers the chance to experience the most spectacular light show on earth: Aurora Borealis. More commonly known as the Northern Lights, it truly is a sight to behold. Taking place 100 kilometres or more in the night-time Arctic skies, this natural phenomenon is a vibrant and hypnotic light display that is caused by electrically-charged particles, high in energy, entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

With the Northern Lights the pinnacle of this Arctic adventure, there is still much to see including dog sledging in the Arctic town of Tromsø, the wild and rugged North Cape and a trip to Hammerfest, the world’s northernmost town.

4. Grand Norwegian Adventure and Icelandic Quest

Arctic coast Norway
Norway’s captivating Arctic coast is awash with Alpine mountain peaks and magical islands

This 45-night ‘no fly’ cruise aboard Swan Hellenic’s MV Minerva to the icy north sees you sail through the majestic fjords of Norway to the incredible icy peaks of Iceland in search of elusive wildlife and views of some of the world’s most impressive natural sights on one unforgettable cruise holiday.

Iceland, named ‘the land of ice and fire’ offers some of the most remarkable experiences of natural beauty such as whale and dolphin spotting while still leaving time to enjoy the compact capital city of Reykjavik as well as some spectacular days at sea along this striking coastline.

Norway’s captivating Arctic coast is awash with Alpine mountain peaks and magical islands with the list of sights endless. From the unforgettable Lofoten Islands to the enchanting Helgeland coast with the Seven Sisters mountain range and views of the Svartisen glacier. Then finally as you venture further north, the land of the Midnight Sun awaits!

5. Christmas in the Amazon

Amazon rainforest
You don’t get much more remote than a cruise on the Amazon

You don’t get much more remote than a cruise on the Amazon and the sheer scale of this immense ‘ocean river’, whose vast waters emblazoned with colourful wildlife run from the heart of the Brazilian rainforest from French Guiana to Peru, offer adventure at every turn.

Aboard the stunning Adonia, one of the smaller P&O ships, it makes exploration here possible, whilst also providing the setting for an intimate cruise experience.

Beginning and ending in the Caribbean Islands – taking in a host of islands including Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts and Martinique – this 29-night itinerary sees you spend Christmas in the Amazon.

Nothing could be more impressive on this trip than the Amazon itself, which includes stops at Santarem, Parentins and Manaus which, known as the Jungle City, is some 1,000 miles inland and the Amazon’s farthest navigable port.

For more information on the destinations mentioned or for details regarding exclusive offers, telephone 0845 604 7479. Alternatively, search to find your cruise at readeroffers.travel/info.

Reader Offers is the UK’s number one cruise specialist and has spent the past 20 years’ working with the world’s most exclusive cruise lines to create tailor-made luxurious and inspiring cruise holidays. Clients also benefits from Reader Offers’ Cruise Miles programme, which enables members to accumulate Cruise Miles and benefit from savings with every booking.