Skip to content
Our travel experts are always ready to answer your questions & booking requests at 1-877-412-8527.
3 min read

The Transformative Power of Expedition Cruising

Get a personal view from the Founder and CEO of Expedition Trips, Ashton Palmer, and...

Travel has an incredible power to inspire and transform us, and it's an activity I've always held dear. This passion for exploration ultimately led to the creation of my business - a testament to the idea that if you follow what you love, success will follow. I founded our company, Expedition Trips, in 1999 to specialize in what's called expedition-style travel or cruising. But what does that mean?

Instead of the vast cruise ships that carry thousands of passengers, our focus is on smaller vessels, typically accommodating 300 passengers or less. This form of travel offers a distinct advantage - the ability to visit locations that larger vessels simply cannot reach. Instead of fighting your way through buffet lines or seeking onboard entertainment, our style of travel emphasizes exploration and connection with the natural world. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a type of vacationing that truly resonates with those seeking unique and intimate experiences in the world's most breathtaking locations.

Imagine being on an African safari, where you lodge in stunning, luxuriously outfitted tented camps. During the day, you venture out in safari vehicles to witness wildlife in its natural habitat. Once back at camp, you enjoy a splendid, relaxing experience. In many ways, expedition cruising is like taking that safari on a ship.

©StudioPONANT/Romain Farge

Expedition cruising leverages ships because they provide access to places with little or no infrastructure - places like Alaska's Inside Passage, where roads don't exist, or Antarctica, an unspoiled wilderness untouched by human development. This type of travel allows a transformational experience, letting you witness awe-inspiring wilderness areas without compromising on your comfort or convenience.

During the day, you engage with nature, observing wildlife, doing light hikes, or maybe kayaking. At the end of the day, return to the ship for a delectable meal, a glass of wine, a rejuvenating spa treatment, or simply to relax in your comfortable cabin. This experience allows you to explore and appreciate these remarkable places without leaving a footprint.

Furthermore, expedition cruising is an excellent choice for families. As a parent to four teenagers, I can personally attest to its appeal. It offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation that suits travelers of all ages.

There's a unique charm in embarking on such journeys with your family or a close-knit group of friends. Sharing adventures, witnessing incredible sights together, and then reconvening at the dinner table to relive those experiences - these shared moments turn an expedition trip into an unforgettable bonding experience.

The time spent together while expedition traveling is literally life changing; and, I’ve always felt there is no present - like the time.

– Ashton Palmer Founder & CEO of

Born and raised in England, Ashton moved to the United States in 1992. In 1999, he decided to turn his passion for travel and exploration into a business. His travels have taken him to many extraordinary places and allowed him to witness numerous incredible wildlife encounters. Ashton has taken more than 50 trips to Antarctica, navigated over 20,000 miles of the Amazon River, and had close encounters with polar bears in the Arctic. One of his greatest privileges has been to sit with the Aboriginal people of Australia, and countless other places in between.
Even after all this, embarking on a new trip continues to spark immense joy in Ashton.