Explore the poles in comfort and European restaurants with foodie experts. Madeleine Taylor reports.
Expedition cruises are booming thanks to a “voracious appetite for active, experiential travel to far-flung parts”, says Kate Simon in National Geographic Traveller. From the “chiaroscuro world of snow and raging volcanic rock” off the Norwegian island of Senja to the rare sight of white spirit bears fishing salmon out of rivers in British Columbia, these places contain whole worlds that are usually hidden from view.
“There are no hotels in these regions, of course, so boat access is really your only option,” says James Henderson in the Financial Times How To Spend It magazine. But fear not. New luxury Arctic and Antarctic expeditions are springing up all the time so those wishing to explore the polar ice-caps can do so without abandoning creature comforts. M/Y Atmosphere, a 45m yacht, ranges over the islands along Chile’s southern Pacific coastline, and comes equipped with jet boats for fishing expeditions and two helicopters for skiing almost untouched slopes. Sister ship M/Y Legend boasts an onboard cinema, spa, gym, and snowmobiles for those wishing to venture inland on King George Island. Our winter is the best time to embark on Antarctic adventures, while those wishing to head north should wait for the summer months for optimal weather and daylight.
M/Y Atmosphere costs from £220,000 for seven nights. See PlanSouthAmerica.com
Explore European cuisine with a foodie cruise
“Foodie culture” has made culinary voyages all the rage, but gastro-cruises are more than a fad and offer a relaxing way to explore the cuisine of a region. The award-winning Oceania Cruises, “known as the foodie cruise line”, will whisk passengers away on a food-focused tour from Amsterdam to Lisbon in 12 nights, starting in September, says Sara Macefield in The Times. Guests will be treated to a thorough survey of European cuisines spanning five countries.
“An overnight stop in Bordeaux adds to the gastronomic feel.” There, you will dine at grand châteaux, eat at a chef’s table at the Relais & Châteaux Saint-James restaurant in the village of Bouliac, visit vineyards and tour a cognac distillery, says Macefield. Jacques Pépin (pictured), formerly chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle, is the cruise’s culinary director, and his expertise will be shared with guests in talks and classes onboard ship.
From £2,989 per person. See OceaniaCruises.com
A journey by submarine
“Underwater ruins in Greece, coral reefs in the Caribbean or whales, penguins and walruses in the polar regions”: these are a few of the sights in store for passengers who decide to descend the ocean’s depths via submarine, as they travel the world onboard Scenic’s latest Eclipse cruise, says John O’Ceallaigh in The Daily Telegraph. The newly built luxury “discovery yacht” carries a seven-seater submarine capable of plunging 300m as it completes its course through a variety of destinations, from the Norwegian fjords to the tropical coasts of South America.
And if you’d rather be above water than below, that’s an option too, with helicopters providing passengers with aerial tours. Complimentary beverages are served and there is an onboard spa.
From £3,345 per person for seven days, Lisbon to Barcelona, departing May 2019. See Scenic.co.uk