Inside the £ 1,200-a-night expedition ship, with a submarine and butlers for all

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If you were at Greenwich Pier on Monday evening, you would have noticed an unusual addition anchored in the middle of the Thames. A 200 passenger ship, a piece of shiny white that rivaled for attention with the restored Cutty Sark nearby. It looked like a yacht but substantial, measuring 539 feet long and 76.7 feet wide.



Crystal Endeavor in Seydisfjordur - Bruno Cazarini


© Bruno Cazarini
Crystal Endeavor in Seydisfjordur – Bruno Cazarini

Equipped with 18 zodiacs, 14 kayaks and a submarine, Endeavor is designed to navigate between icebergs and on rough waters. Those who book for a trip to Antarctica (once our government’s travel rules allow it) will enjoy all-inclusive excursions led by a dedicated team of 20 experts, including a marine biologist, ornithologist, and geologist, among others. . Hiking, wildlife viewing and yoga on secluded beaches are just some of the activities on offer.

I boarded Endeavor on the Thames to get a taste of what it’s like to stay on Crystal Cruises’ first expedition ship, which made its maiden voyage – a circumnavigation of Iceland – in July. He was stopping in London for the night before leaving on an 11-night cruise to Lisbon. Cruise itineraries often claim to include a port of London, while the ship actually stops at Tilbury or even Southampton. Greenwich’s maritime grandeur – with Shard’s Point, Walkie-Talkie Slab, and other city skyscrapers framing the skyline – puts you firmly in the capital.

The gray layer that had covered the sky that morning had, by 6:30 p.m., turned clear blue, the sun casting flashes of light on the water. The tip of the Meridian Line, connecting the North Pole and the South Pole, is a great place to immerse yourself in the concept of expedition cruising.



Endeavor Penthouse Suite


© Provided by The Telegraph
Endeavor Penthouse Suite

On boarding, it quickly became clear that the adventure offered directly from the ship (passengers equip themselves in “mud rooms” before boarding the zodiacs and kayaks), did not mean skimping on luxury. . A palette of jewelry tones – amber, emerald, and jade – is featured in public spaces and cabins. And the space is plentiful. Endeavor was carrying around 65 guests when I joined it. However, even at full capacity, she has the highest space-to-guest ratio of this type of vessel. Mask-wearing and social distancing are still in effect in common areas – except when eating or drinking, of course.

The cabins are also generous in terms of space. The luxury suites are the entry-level option but are equipped with a living room (with a two-seater sofa, a TV and a desk), a balcony, a king-size bed, a mini dressing room, a good bar. tidy, a large bathroom (with seated shower) and a separate toilet.

Those with their eyes on something more spacious can choose from a Penthouse Suite, an Expedition Penthouse (with a separate living room), or – for complete luxury – an Owner’s Suite or an Expedition Suite. This latest pair is outfitted with Jacuzzi tubs, separate dining areas, and details like glass-enclosed faucets. Book in an owner’s suite with veranda and be prepared to pay up to $ 171,398 (£ 127,482) for an 11-night cruise.



Dinner by the water aboard the Endeavor


© Provided by The Telegraph
Dinner by the water aboard the Endeavor

24-hour butler service is standard. A dedicated cabin steward is typical among some cruise lines, especially the upper segment of the market that operates small vessels. My butler’s demeanor was a bit more in-order than you might expect from Downton’s most illustrious staff than the more laid back flight attendants I had encountered on other small ships and river vessels.

The luxury continues in the onboard restaurants, which include Waterside (the main dining area), Marketplace (which is around the sundeck aft) and three specialty venues (Umi Umi & Sushi Bar; Prego (an area seating 36 serving Italian cuisine) and The Vintage Room (a private dining venue for wine pairing dinners) Breakfast and lunch are also available in The Bistro.

At the Marketplace, you can look forward to such dishes as Salmon Gravlax with Gin, Seared Atlantic Halibut, and Orange Creme Brulee. At breakfast the menu switches to treats such as Belgian waffle and raisin and cinnamon brioche, French toast. “Have both!” the waiter insisted while my table mate deliberated between a main beef tenderloin and a braised beef cheek or grilled king crab legs.



Crystal Endeavor Dining Room - Emma Featherstone


© Provided by The Telegraph
Crystal Endeavor Dining Room – Emma Featherstone

Entertainment and cocktails are offered each evening at Palm Court and Crystal Cove. There are also slots for guest speakers here.

While we were eliminating pitchers of chocolate martinis, I enjoyed a sample of the repertoire of Salvatore, an Italian singer and musician whose lineup spanned Celine Dion, Lionel Ritchie, Tom Jones, Bruce Springsteen, and Diana Ross (not to mention name a few). His instrumental skills included harmonica, piano, saxophone, and drums (again, they probably went beyond what he had revealed during his time on stage). The pinnacle was his point of view We are the world, the American charity song. His voice oscillated between the tone of the 21 soloists who appeared on the record. It would be easy to forget, drinking in the evening atmosphere, that you were sailing to the ends of the planet. Of course, once you step out onto the deck and spot a chunk of ice in the distance, you’ll feel a new twitch of wonder.

When the ship sails around Drake Passage on a wildlife expedition or to the glaciers and fjords of Greenland, its high-tech equipment kicks in. This includes the submersible, or submarine, a drone and remote-controlled cameras that send images back to the ship for viewing on television in the comfort of the suites. Without forgetting the zodiacs, kayaks and snorkeling equipment. At the opposite end of the high-tech spectrum is the humble library, but a well-stocked reading paradise for adventurers.



Luxury Suite, Crystal Endeavor - Roger Pimenta Photography


© Provided by The Telegraph
Luxury Suite, Crystal Endeavor – Roger Pimenta Photography

Expedition trips tend to be expensive. Cruises on Crystal Endeavor are no different. Book for 14 nights round trip from Ushuaia next February – and you’re looking at a cost of at least £ 18,008. This comes down to £ 1,286 per night.

With all-inclusive food (it’s $ 30 / £ 23 per head extra to dine at specialty restaurants; some drinks are free), tours and butler service – not to mention marine biologists and submarines at your fingertips throughout your journey – expedition cruising is an experience that cannot be duplicated as an independent traveler. There’s a reason expedition cruises tend to sell out months in advance.

Over the next year, Endeavor will also undertake trips from Tokyo to Taipei, Bali to Cairns, Tema (Ghana) to Dakar (Senegal). See the full list of trips and learn more about the ship at crystalcruises.com.

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