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Cruise adventures for 2020: The most unique trips, from Russia's Ring of Fire to the Antarctic

The i logo The i 14/01/2020
a lot of smoke on the side of a mountain © Provided by The i

In 2019, a cool 30 million people were expected to sail the high seas and an impressive 21 new ships were launched. The beginning of a new decade promises to bring even more to the world of cruising. 2020 will usher more unique, thrilling and extraordinary ways to explore the world, with the unveiling of new ships, new voyages and new destinations to capture the imagination of cruise-goers, old and new. Experts from Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, have shared their recommendations for the most unique cruise adventures for this year.

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World Expeditions: Russia's Ring of Fire — Kuril Islands

Gordon Steer, UK Manager for World Expeditions, says: “This new expedition explores one of the most geologically active and biologically rich parts of the planet. The large number of live volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula and along the Kuril Islands has earned this part of the world the reputation of the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

The trip focuses on the region’s extraordinary biodiversity, spending a week at the remote Kuril Islands, which stretches across the Bering Sea between Russia and Japan. Travelling to the islands is notoriously difficult, with access restricted for international visitors and locals alike. Those lucky enough to get here will have it virtually all to themselves, a land of stunning bays and snow-capped volcanoes, approximately 40 of which are still active. The first landing at the Kuril Islands promises to be a highlight: uninhabited Atlasova, the chain’s northernmost island, is home to the archipelago’s tallest volcano, which forms a quasi-perfect cone rising steeply out of the sea.”

Academy Travel: Naples to Barcelona aboard The Sea Cloud II

The Sea Cloud II

Dr Estelle Lazer, Tour Guide and Archaeologist from Academy Travel, says: “Explore the history and culture of the Western Mediterranean in style, featuring a nine-night cruise on the luxury 50-cabin sailing yacht, Sea Cloud II. Travellers will explore the masterpieces of the great Mediterranean ports from Caravaggios in Naples, to the super yachts of Monaco, Picasso in Antibes and Gaudí’s Barcelona. All this takes place in a setting of remarkable beauty - the dramatic mountains of Italy’s Tyrrhenian coast, the rich colours of southern France, and the exuberance of Valencia and Catalonia.”

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The Sea Cloud II is a luxurious three-masted barque, traditionally created in teak, but with modern features. White cloth sails and understated elegance, creating a unique environment that is both nostalgic and luxurious. Although most of the journey takes place under motor, on some days the crew climb the rigging to set the square sails and jibs so travellers can experience the thrill of ocean yachting.”

Star Clippers: Transatlantic Caribbean

Fay McCormack, General Manager for Star Clippers UK, says: “Twice a year, Star Clipper’s majestic, full-rigged tall ships make a voyage between Europe and the Caribbean, taking just over two weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Without the distractions of regular port calls, guests can savour long days with just the sea, the sky, and the workings of the sailing ship, relaxing far from the stress of the world.”

Daytime activities include lectures and presentations about the ship, the chance to climb 45’ to the first crow’s nest for a true birds-eye view of the ocean and the decks, knot-tying, rope-pulling and learning navigational skills. At night, unpolluted skies in the midst of the ocean give clear views of the constellations, enabling guests to star gaze from teak decks and sleep with the sound of the ocean lapping the flanks of the ship and the wind in the sails.”

Best-Served Scandinavia: Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer

Sue McAlinden from Best Served Scandinavia, the expert in Scandinavian travel, says: “Greg Mortimer - named after Aurora Expeditions’ co-founder and pioneering adventurer - is a brand-new ship, custom-built to polar standards with cutting-edge technology, all the while providing guests with the highest levels of on-board comfort. Hosting up to 120 guests and 62 staff, Arctic explorers will be well looked after while taking in destinations that range from the wild remotes of Svalbard to Greenland’s seldom-explored eastern shoreline.”

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The 'Greg Mortimer'

What’s more, Greg Mortimer’s design is environmentally-focused, with the introduction of new X-BOW technology meaning reduced emissions into the air and sea and smoother sailings. Meanwhile, reduced light and pollution and the lowering of on-board plastic use means local wildlife remains as unaffected as possible - all serious considerations when sailing in such fragile environments. Throughout each cruise, travellers have the chance to explore coastlines by kayak while expert guides share their knowledge of each region. For the adventurous, there’s also the option to add on such unique experiences as polar snorkelling, scuba diving and rock climbing.”

Imagine Travel: M/V Sea Spirit to Antarctica

Grant Greenham, Polar Specialist from Imagine Travel, says: “The deluxe M/V Sea Spirit has excellent manoeuvrability for navigating the narrow fjords of both the Arctic and Antarctic. Cruise itineraries are adventurous, venturing to lesser-visited regions such as Frank Josep Land, and flexible enough to accommodate adverse weather conditions and spontaneous wildlife sightings.”

A fleet of Zodiac boats is available for daily excursions, and the expedition is further enriched by guest speakers and expert guides. The atmosphere on board is friendly and sociable, and the elegant and comfortable cabins are perfect to return to after a day of excursions.”

TransIndus: Laos Encompassed and Anouvong Cruise

The 'Anouvong'

Amrit Singh, Managing Director at TransIndus, says: “Anouvong is Heritage Line’s first-ever vessel to cruise the majestic Mekong River in Laos, and its newest in the fleet will be taking to the river in September 2020. Lesser-travelled than other sections of the Mekong, this journey takes you past peaceful riverscapes, charming villages and delightful temples. This 17-day voyage is a true boutique cruising experience, with a total of only 10 cabins.”

Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show will return to EventCity Manchester from Thursday 16 until Sunday 19 January and to Olympia London from Thursday 30 January until Sunday 2 February.

Destinations Manchester is open Thursday and Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 9.30am – 6pm and Sunday 9.30 – 5pm. Tickets are £8.50* in advance, £10 on the door. Destinations London is open Thursday until Sunday 10am – 5.30pm. Tickets are £11* in advance, £15 on the door.

*£1.50 transaction fee applies for advance booking.

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