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Luxury expeditions couldn’t be hotter these days, and Seabourn Cruise Line combines the attractions of expedition and river cruising for its first season of the new Ventures by Seabourn program in the Amazon. On the initial two sailings onboard Seabourn Quest, guests saw exotic birds, sloths, pink river dolphins and even an anaconda, according to Robin West, senior manager of expedition operations and planning for the company.
Ventures by Seabourn was launched last year in northern Europe as a program of optional shore excursions guided by knowledgeable and friendly expedition teams of scientists, scholars and naturalists. Seabourn Conversations — an initiative to spark discussions that engage passengers — supports the excursions in the Amazon, and Seabourn’s policy encourages experts and passengers to mingle onboard and continue the dialogue. Guests explore select ports by inflatable Zodiac boats or in double sea kayaks launched from the fold-out watersports marina that is present on all Seabourn ships. The program is already in place in Antarctica and will be available in Alaska next year.
In the Amazon, the hands-on exploration program rests on a solid academic base, thanks to an expedition team drawn from all over the world. Members include Costa Rican ornithologist Juan Jose “JJ” Apestegui; Alaskan Kara Weller, whose book Elusive Mammals of the Amazon Rainforest centers on unusual creatures of the region; and Austrian Hans-Petef Reinthaler, an expert on the endangered rainforest.
“Seabourn’s goal is always to provide the most enriching experience for our guests,” said John Delaney, senior vice president of marketing and sales for the cruise line. “The lecturers onboard these excursions are among the finest in their fields, and we have no doubt our guests will find these conversations both exciting and educational on Seabourn voyages.”
The Quest’s success has prompted a return to Brazil next year, and the Amazon Ventures Program will start Feb. 23, 2017, as part of the 21-day Brazil & the Amazon itinerary from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Manaus, Brazil, with overnights in Rio de Janeiro and Manaus.