Sea Voyager ExpeditionsJuly 17, 2012 By: Rick Spears Travel Agent
|Manual Antonio National Park in Costa Rica is included on a number of Sea Voyager Expeditions itineraries.|
For the adrenaline seekers among your clientele—those intrepid travelers looking for more out of their adventure cruise—check out Sea Voyager Expeditions. Headed by former executive director of International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators and ecotourism expert Denise Landau, this array of experiential itineraries is positioned to fill the more intense void in the adventure cruising market.
The line, which launches this year’s voyages with Sea Voyager on August 31, will serve Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador year-round, continually transiting the Panama Canal. The goal is to pay calls to areas of untouched wilderness, small villages and indigenous peoples (think the rain forests of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica; and Colombia’s Arawak, Catio and Embera tribes). These voyages offer interesting experiences for both the guests and the inhabitants of the islands they visit, as the Sea Voyager frequents ports that had never seen Westerners before.
“When you think of an expedition ship, you tend to take people to remote places,” Landau says. “Because of Sea Voyager’s small size, we can go to places other ships normally wouldn’t be able to. So it gives guests an opportunity to visit places they wouldn’t have a chance to see.”
|Nature is a prime focus of Sea Voyager journeys.|
Naturalists and guides will accompany guests on each excursion, and cruisers are encouraged to participate as much or as little as they wish. This could be hiking the forest trails one day and relaxing on a secluded beach the next. The naturalists available on these expeditions are experts across the sciences, from birds and marine animals to plants and history.
“We have five guides with varying expertise,” Laundau says. “For what we do, it’s important to have a balance of skills.”
Sea Voyager, formerly part of the Lindblad Expeditions fleet, has been completely refurbished with new engines, an emergency generator and lifeboats. The rooms all boast ocean views, meaning no guest is confined to the inside of the ship. “On larger ships you aren’t guaranteed a porthole,” Landau says. “We are a smaller ship, and all of our rooms have windows to the outside.”
The expedition ship has a capacity of 60 passengers and will be staffed by a crew of 30. All of the crew members are employed locally and will be able to provide local flavor and details to guests.
“From a Colombian standpoint we’ve brought several opportunities for employment to the area,” Landau says. “The crew is from the area, and they understand where they are at all times. This is a great help, because they bring their experiences from living in the area onboard with them.” Additionally, Sea Voyager employs an English teacher who keeps busy by offering English lessons to the crew members to facilitate communication between the passengers and the crew.
What sets Sea Voyager apart from other adventure cruising ships is the flexible way it approaches its content. “When we came up with this concept, I didn’t want to put people on buses and make it a completely structured tour,” Landau says. “When we want to visit a location we simply anchor the ship and kayak to shore. We absolutely don’t want to make it a bus tour.”
Landau explains that if a guest expresses interest in a certain aspect of the local culture or environment, the crew of Sea Voyager will make note of it and make strides toward working it into the itinerary. The trip emphasizes wildlife and culture.
|The Sea Voyager has windows in all cabins and throughout the ship that afford fantastic ocean views.|
Landau claims that the essence of the Sea Voyager Expeditions experience will be more akin to a private yacht than a traditional cruise, with additional programs focusing on nature and culture. The vessel arrives at each destination in the pre-dawn hours, thus giving passengers the opportunity to rise early and take photos, go birding or partake in a zodiac ride.
All meals on the ship will be prepared using indigenous ingredients, freshly caught seafood and locally grown coffee. Currently in the works are menus that will take advantage of local produce in the area as well as spices available in the region. Local wines will be served gratis at dinner, and cocktail recipes are also in the works to include rums from the area.
“There are fantastic local markets in the areas that we operate, and because we are in the tropics the fruit grows all year long,” Landau says. “We looked at what is available locally and worked with our chefs to develop recipes that use local ingredients without being unrecognizable to us.”
Landau also mentions that sometime in the future, Sea Voyager hopes to begin offering internship opportunities to students attending Colombian universities.
Sales for Sea Voyager Expeditions are being handled through Global Voyages Group and queries can be answered with a call to 888-912-2572.