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What Is An Expedition Ship?

  |   Cruise Tips

An expedition is a journey, in our case to explore the Amazon. Sure, there is an A to B, but it is much more than that. Every step of the way is part of the experience, part of the collection of memories that will shape the stories you will endlessly tell once you return. 

Expedition Ship? What is it?

Expedition Ship- Sea Voyager

Expedition Ship- Sea Voyager

Most people are familiar with the term cruise ship, but it is rare to find someone inexperienced with boats that knows exactly what an expedition ship is. That is largely because cruise ships are firmly a part of the public imagination. Movies such as Titanic have lodged the cruise ship into our minds: a luxurious, epic vessel for an once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Some consider that an expedition ship is, technically, a cruise ship also. Like a cruise ship, an expedition ship will be used primarily for the purpose of pleasure, or for the sake of travel. Where expedition ships can vary is in size and detail: a cruise ship might carry thousands of passengers on a sea-bound journey, but an expedition ship is much smaller in size. This makes maneuverability much easier and, therefore, allows an expedition ship to take its passengers on much more intriguing journeys to hard-to-reach corners of the earth where the path may be winding and difficult to navigate, such as an Amazon River tour. This, as you may have guessed, is where it gets the name.These are not just luxury cruises – these are adventures; journeys; expeditions.

Cruise ships often focus overtly on luxury, enticing a passenger to stay on the vessel contently for the duration of their cruise. The intent of an expedition cruise is different. Passengers are encouraged to explore their surroundings on various stops, giving weight to the name ‘expedition cruise’.

The vessel itself is not the trip, but rather the base-camp for exploring various different points; achievable thanks to their sleeker size. So, if you’re on an Brazil Amazon tour, you can expect to pull up on the river’s banks and explore the dense, spectacular jungles that decorate the land. These are parts of the world that only relatively few people get to see, and it’s an incredible, unforgettable experience.

Expedition Ship through Ice

This is not to say, however, that comfort is sacrificed. Since airplane travel is so popular today, expedition ships need to offer luxurious trips to their passengers in addition to the spectacular, up-close journey through the landscape that they will receive. Many expedition ships feature all the expected amenities of a cruise ship; however some might sacrifice the discos and Jacuzzis in favor of a sleeker shape that can ease through more difficult waters.

A journey in an expedition ship is the best way to visit many of the world’s hardest to reach places. They offer comfort, but more importantly they offer remarkable journeys that passengers treasure forever. They are ships that capture the true meaning of adventure and travel, and that bring you closer to nature than almost any other form of travel. Trips in these ships aren’t just excursions – they are expeditions. To view some of our Amazon river cruises, look here.

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


Geri Daniel loved her vacation with Rainforest Cruises.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on the cruise. Thank you again for the trip of a lifetime.
— Geri Daniel, Austin, TX
The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
We had a wonderful time. We were all impressed with the efficiency and organization of the trip from start to finish.
— Jeanette Johannson & Family, USA