Lines also view shoulder-season expeditions as a way to offer somewhere new to guests who have already been to the poles. Silversea Cruises maximizes its time in the polar regions in response to growing demand, said Bob Simpson, the line’s vice president of expeditions and product development, but it has developed shoulder-season itineraries for guests who want more expedition options.
“Many of our guests have traveled to these regions multiple times as they have a strong affinity particularly to the expedition team and our luxury expedition product,” Simpson said. “Whenever we have the opportunity to develop new itineraries, and especially during the months ‘between the poles,’ we find that our past travelers will gravitate to any new exploration itineraries and, in fact, are typically the first to sign up.”
Silversea is also offering new itineraries next year. The Silver Cloud will operate the line’s first voyages through South Africa and the Indian Ocean next year, with planned calls at Walvis Bay, Namibia, and Port Nolloth, South Africa, introducing travelers to the area’s culture and history. In 2025, the same ship will sail itineraries in Australia’s Kimberley region, Papua New Guinea, Bali and Indonesia, including Komodo National Park.
Some of the newer expedition brands are also eyeing the Kimberley region. Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, which has been a river cruise operator for much of its history, is planning itineraries there next year on one of the two expedition ships it launched over the past four years, the only two expedition ships that have helicopters.
The Kimberley “is becoming a very hot region that everybody’s talking about,” said Ken Muskat, managing director of Scenic Group, which oversees the brand.
The line also plans to sail its expedition vessels in the South Pacific, such as an itinerary from Papeete, French Polynesia, to Nadi, Fiji, next year.
“Those are not expedition the way we think about it from a polar region perspective, but they’re still very much discovery and expedition for us,” Muskat said. “It’s around going to the destination, each round taking our helicopters to unique places that nobody can go to otherwise, it’s around the unique wildlife, it’s around exploring the culinary aspects of what the destination has to offer and bringing that back onboard.”