What’s it Like to Take a Repositioning Cruise on an Expedition Ship?
It seems like expedition cruising is at the top of everyone’s cruise bucket list these days. New ships with advanced technology and features make getting to some of the world’s most remote locales a breeze. However, just like any vessel, expedition cruise ships relocate around the world for different seasons. Instead of the icy shores of Antarctica or the misty glacier bays of Alaska, guests on board repositioning expedition ships will still enjoy plenty of adventure, just in a slightly different form.
For American Queen Voyages, expedition cruising is a new venture, but after spending two weeks on board their new charter vessel Ocean Victory as it repositioned from its summer home in Alaska to its winter home in Antarctica, it’s clear no matter where you sail, adventure will follow. From San Diego to Costa Rica, Ocean Victory provided the comforts and amenities of a luxury line with the wildlife and enrichment you’d expect from an expedition cruise.
A highlight of the voyage came in the first few days when a duo of Peregrine Falcons decided to make the ship as a home base of sorts as they used their incredible speed and agility to catch other birds and use guest balconies as their dining room. When the birds perched themselves on balcony railings, guests were able to get a good look at the lethal talons and gorgeous feather patterns. Guillaume, the bird expert on the adventure staff, was quick to identify the species and was on hand to check out and give context to photos and videos taken by guests.
You never know what you’ll see on an expedition cruise! This peregrine falcon landed on our stateroom balcony on deck 7 of @AQVoyages Ocean Victory off the coast of El Salvador! #birds #falcon #peregrinefalcon #nature #wildlife #nature #falcons #cruise #travel #birdwatching pic.twitter.com/e7dVN7q0i3— Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine (@PortholeCruise) October 15, 2022
The 186-guest, 342 foot adventure vessel is not only sleek and stylish thanks to the prominent X-Bow front, but it also comes complete with all the toys and tools necessary to really dive deeper into the exploration aspect of each sailing. From the going-ashore staging area known as the mud room to the microscopes in the Observation Lounge, Ocean Victory comes ready-made for exploration and adventure.
While it’s very cool to see a pod of dolphins playing in the wake as you cruise along, it’s even cooler when standing on Ocean Victory’s wildlife platforms which fold down from the forward hull of the ship. From just a few feet above the water, guests get an up close look at the sea life breaching the waves and a very unique view of the X-Bow as it slices through the surf.
From the wildlife surrounding the ship to the shore excursions off of it, American Queen Voyages made sure to put expedition at the forefront. Guests who disembarked had the option to explore on their own, enjoy the cruise line’s included curated excursions or book an excursion like deep sea fishing, chocolate making or touring Mayan ruins along Mexico’s border with Guatemala. Led by the experienced guides and naturalists on board, the excursions add a layer of enrichment to the fun, allowing guests to expand their knowledge while also fully enjoying the excitement that comes with exploring someplace new.
For ports of call without a pier or place to dock, the fleet of zodiac boats onboard served as the tenders, adding another layer of adventure to the experience. In Playas Del Coco, Costa Rica, the zodiacs ferried guests directly on to the dark, volcanic sand beach in what they called a “wet landing”.
Don’t Skip the Daily Lectures
Daily lectures on nearly anything and everything were popular with guests and really helped get the most out of the experience. Lectures ranged from the helpful, like tips and tricks for taking the best photos with a cell phone, to the in-depth and scientific, like how weather patterns and ocean flows affect the type and size of waves found lapping against the shoreline. There’s also a daily debrief before dinner each evening with a recap of the day’s events as well as a preview of what to expect the next day. Guides gave an overview of where the ship would be, the excursions available and any other information, like if it was a tender port, for example, guests may need to enjoy the day to the fullest.
Meal times offered a different kind of adventure, a culinary one, as the dishes prepared by the galley spanned a number of regions and flavors. One aspect of dining on board Ocean Victory that guests seemed to enjoy the most was the preview of each dish that evening found on a sidebar as guests entered the dining room. From the starters all the way to dessert, guests could visualize and craft their perfect meal before even sitting down at a table in the main dining room.
Another highlight of each sailing on board Ocean Victory is a deck barbecue with items hot off the grill like ribs, roasted chicken, and even a full pig roast with various barbecue sauces for each. Also available during the once-a-sailing deck barbecue were burgers, sausages, a full salad bar, roasted vegetables and fresh breads. The sushi lunch another day was also notable as the quality and freshness rivaled any eatery you’d find on land or at sea.
So, can you take a repositioning cruise on an expedition cruise ship? The answer is a resounding YES. When under operation by American Queen Voyages, Ocean Victory delights all the senses and brings plenty of adventure to guests while in port or at sea.
If you’re looking to try expedition cruising for your next vacation, a repositioning cruise certainly needs to be on your list of bucket list itineraries!