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For the last few months, my fiance and I have been trying to decide where to go on our honeymoon. While many consider this the “fun” part of wedding planning, I’ve been overwhelmed. Given my profession in the travel industry, perhaps it’s not surprising that I’ve already visited so many of the “obvious” post-nuptials destinations.
After considering tried-and-true countries (and continents, for that matter), we began researching Antarctica. My partner proceeded to look up YouTube videos of the White Continent, and we quickly found ourselves in a black hole of terrifying footage depicting ships attempting to sail through Drake Passage, the infamously choppy waters between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.
Now, I knew of Drake Passage’s reputation as a difficult body of water to sail through, but I never imagined just how bad it could be in a storm. The videos reminded me of scenes from the film “Titanic,” and gave me an empathetic bout of nausea. I soon found myself second-guessing our choice — until I remembered how Aurora Expeditions, the line I’m considering sailing with, is launching the region’s first ship featuring an Ulstein X-bow. The design, an inverted hull at the fore of the ship, pierces waves with greater stability and reduces impact and pitching in rough conditions. The line’s Greg Mortimer vessel launches this fall, and while it claims to be the first Antarctica-bound ship to feature the X-bow, it certainly won’t be the last (Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endurance will sport an X-bow when it launches in 2020).
This issue’s cover story, “Profiling the Future Expedition Cruiser” (page 10), details how expedition cruising is evolving and becoming better than ever, thanks to innovations in hardware and a desire to meet the expectations of the luxury clients who can afford these expensive sailings.
As expedition cruises become some of the most sophisticated and unique products offered within the entire industry, you can bet that clients with the means — and even those saving for aspirational honeymoons — will be asking where to sign up. It’s a reminder that while adventure travel once seemed niche and reserved for only the most intrepid clients, that’s increasingly no longer the case.