Given his role as president and founder of AdventureSmith Explorations, it’s hardly an exaggeration to say that Todd Smith has his finger on the pulse of the small ship cruise industry.
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith specializes in international small ship, adventure cruise vacations and has grown to be a global leader in its market over the past 15 years.
By Smith’s account, small ship cruises are going through something of a boom right now, and he can easily point to numerous examples of that.
To begin with, AdventureSmith has witnessed a significant 20 percent growth each year for the past several years, culminating in what he described as an off the charts year in 2017.
“Cruises are also booking further in advance and availability is getting tighter and tighter,” Smith added, during an interview with TravelPulse. “And another trend that’s occurring now is that there’s a lot of new ship builds. There’s a lot of confidence in the small ship industry that this growth is going to continue.”
In fact, between 2018 and 2020, Smith estimates that anywhere from one dozen to as many as two dozen new builds are set to launch, all small ships that are being designed to accommodate between 45 and 200 guests.
Poised to capitalize on all of this industry momentum, AdventureSmith has just announced a slate of entirely new cruise itineraries, including opportunities to sail to such places as Papua New Guinea and the islands of Indonesia.
“It’s really exciting,” said Smith. “The new ships, the increased destinations, ships are more clean burning and with shallower drafts, they’re able to get into places that weren’t possible in year’s past.”
Here’s a look at some of the newest small ship itineraries from AdventureSmith for 2019.
The 102-guest National Geographic Orion makes its maiden voyage on the Bering Sea in June 2019. Three distinct voyages connect the Russian Arctic and Alaska by way of the Bering Sea, with visits to the Aleutian Islands, the remote Siberian coastline, Kamchatka Peninsula, Commander Islands and Bering Strait.
Passing the Arctic Circle en route to Wrangel Island guests will be able to spot polar bears and walruses. They will also meet indigenous artists known for walrus ivory carvings. These polar expeditions are staffed with trained naturalists and historians from National Geographic. The per person double rate, per day for 13 days ranges from $1,248 to $2,272.
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Travelers can opt for an 11-day journey or select the most comprehensive 26-day route, which cruises along the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea and through the Indonesian islands of Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.
Participants will visit small villages with intact cultural traditions and unique natural wonders such as a diversity of corals while enjoying complimentary snorkeling, kayaking and exploring via glass-bottom boat.
Scuba diving comes with an additional charge. The per person double rate, per day for an 11-day journey ranges from $641 to $857.
This 11- or 13-day voyage will take place aboard the 72-guest Coral Discoverer exploring New Zealand’s eastern coastline, accessing remote sounds, volcanic islands and marine reserves, including Stewart and White Islands.
The longer itinerary, departing from Auckland, offers a comprehensive trip to both the North and South islands, while the shorter route departing Milford Sound focuses on the South Island.
Travelers will encounter the Maori culture and learn about New Zealand’s history and landscape. They will also be positioned to see rare and unique wildlife, including giant sperm whales in Kaikoura, the Hector’s Dolphin (smallest and rarest in the world) in Akaroa and the yellow-eyed penguin (world’s rarest penguin) in Dunedin. The per person double rate, per day for a 13-day cruise ranges from $587 to $836.
National Geographic Explorer’s newly redesigned exploration of England, Ireland and Scotland begins anew May 7, 2019, and continues into 2020.
From London and on to the Irish Sea, travelers visit numerous islands en route to Bergen, Norway, with opportunities to meander through English gardens, imbibe Irish maritime history and perhaps a stout or two, and visit sacred islands, ancient abbeys and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland.
Onboard the 148-guest ship will be National Geographic guides, historians and photographers. The per person double rate, per day for 15 days ranges from $992 to $1,812
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