FAQ

How do I make a reservation?

It’s easy. Just call 1-855-EXPLOR1 (1-855-397-5671), or email info@explorcruises.com. Or see your travel agent.

What kind of clothing do I need to bring?

UP-CLOSE, CASUAL AND PERSONAL Our style is always informal. It is also very active. Pack light – (For example, no more than a combined 20 Kilos (44 pounds) of luggage may be checked on flights to or from the Galapagos Islands. These restrictions do not include small carry-on flight bags or camera cases.) – and bring comfortable clothes. Clothing in “layers” is always a good plan. Depending on the destination, you may encounter a range of climates and temperatures.  On our Ecuador programs, the highlands  of Quito and Cuenca are generally cooler than the lowlands of Guayaquil and Galapagos Islands for instance.

A special note about footwear: As you can imagine, the wrong footwear can ruin your travel plans. Good walking shoes are essential. And waterproof, close-toed sandals or shoes are best for “wet landings” and island explorations. Consider “Keen”, ”Teva” or similar brands.

What will I do each day on an EXPLOR CRUISES ship-based tour?

Our programs are specially designed to give guests a unique, up-close, and personal perspective and insight about the destination, wherever it may be. The details will vary by itinerary, but typically there will be at least one, and sometimes  two or more excursions or events each day. We usually land somewhere that gives you a choice of activities: a short walk or a longer hike, bird watching, snorkeling ,  beachcombing or cultural or historic tour. Instead of bingo, floor shows, or other typical “big ship” diversions, there will usually be intellectually stimulating presentations concerning the destination including flora, fauna, culture and history.

What are EXPLOR CRUISES’ ships like?

Our ships and yachts have been specifically selected as being the best available, while offering a range of offerings. They are “small” by today’s standards, and range in size  from 16-guests to about 150-guests. They are all comfortable, have a generous amount of public space, and are specially equipped to travel in the particular destination, whether Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, Greek Isles, Alaska or the Great Lakes. You will not find casinos, floor shows, or other typical big ship features. The focus is on the destination, rather than the ship. The ships are small enough that you will get to know other guests and the crew, adding to the development of meaningful experiences and memories.

What are Zodiac (Panga) landing craft that your ships carry?

Carrying small inflatable landing craft is one of the keys to our style of expedition cruising. These small landing craft allow us to go almost anywhere, anytime. We can venture to places where larger vessels can’t go, such as remote bays and inlets. We can get ahore where there are no docks , or simply explore up close where even our small ships cannot go. With the combination of our agile ships and our fleet of Zodiacs, we’re not tied to larger ports of call. In many areas, such as the Galapagos Islands, they are the only way to get to and from the ships, as there are no docks or piers to accommodate vessels.

How is EXPLOR CRUISES different from any other tour?

Our slogan – “UP-CLOSE, CASUAL AND PERSONAL” says it all. Our EXPLOR-ations bring you up close to the scenery, wildlife and cultural sites of a destination, giving you a deeper appreciation of each place we visit. You will be guided by experts, and you will typically have “insider” experiences not available to most visitors. And it’s important to note that you’ll be in a small group, where you receive personal attention.  But perhaps most importantly, it is the personal attention of our founder, Dick West, who has developed an art of designing, planning, and operating small ship cruises and tours around the world with a focus on the guest experience. He believes each tour is a production that relies on coordinated timing, logistics and an unwavering commitment to detail and the guest experience. Dick personally approves every itinerary, hotel, ship and restaurant used in our programs, Whenever possible, he visits each destination, selecting the best “ingredients” to create lasting memories. He goes above and beyond to scout out the best features and special highlights overlooked by other tour operators. The result has been thousands upon thousands of happy guests who have returned home with unforgettable memories.

What about sightseeing - are there extra costs?

Activities and shore excursions as outlined in the itineraries are included in the cost of every EXPLOR CRUISES’ journey. We don’t want you to miss out on anything. With EXPLOR CRUISES, all program activities and sightseeing are included – from guided walks to museum entrance fees to water activities like snorkeling. Sharing experiences creates memories and relationships with other guests that add to the overall travel experience. So we include activities that will be appropriate for our guests. There may be optional activities available at extra costs that are more specific to a particular guest’s interests and abilities, such as scuba diving, river rafting, or fishing.

What will we do in the evenings?

Entertainment onboard stems from the day’s explorations or the particular itinerary: perhaps videos  and informal talks about the destination, perhaps a performance by local dancers or musicians. Most evenings, we gather in the ship’s lounge for an EXPLOR CRUISES’ tradition called “Daily Recap,” where the cruise director, or expedition staff members talk about what you experienced that day and what to anticipate tomorrow.

Are there low-fat, low-salt, vegetarian or Vegan dining options?

Every destination has a “flavor.” And we believe our guests should have every opportunity to “taste” the destination. A great deal of thought goes into what is served. Full buffet breakfasts, casual lunches, and leisurely dinners with plenty of choice are served in our comfortable dining rooms in an open, single-seating dining environment, or on deck. If you have special dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance and we will accommodate you.

What's included or not included in the cost?

EXPLOR CRUISES’ rates are all-inclusive:

  • All ship and hotel accommodations
  • All meals aboard ship and most meals ashore as indicated.
  • Taxes, port charges and service charges
  • All included shore excursions and sightseeing, entrance fees, special access permits
  • Transfers as indicated in itinerary
  • Use of kayaks (where available), snorkeling gear and panga excursions
  • Services of Exploration Team and Naturalist Guides

Airfare to the program point of origin is a separate cost. Many of our travelers prefer to use their Frequent Flyer miles. There may also be departure taxes due at airports, if not included in your air ticket.

Are there any special incentives I should know about?

We offer a few special programs to encourage early planning:

Early Booking Discount – Explor Cruises may offer Early Booking Discounts (EBDs). Our intent is to reward those who book early, which helps us and our vendors plan more efficiently.

Group Discounts – For your party of ten people or more, booked together at the same time, you may receive an additional 5% discount off the cost of your cruise- tour with EXPLOR CRUISES. A deposit of 10% of the trip cost is required at the time of reservation, and an additional 25% is required 120 days in advance. Final payment is due 90 days in advance.

Note: if taking advantage of this discount, a variation of the cancellation policy may apply. Please ask upon making your reservation.

Our Policy on Combining Offers – If the cruise-tour with Explor Cruises that interests you provides more than one savings opportunity (e.g. it is eligible for EBD and Group savings), we won’t make you choose between them. You may combine any of the applicable savings offers. Discounts will be applied sequentially, with smallest discount taken off first. (IE: Early Booking, then Group discount).

Is EXPLOR CRUISES a good choice for families traveling together?

Families are welcome at any time on any of our expeditions. Some ships impose a minimum age, IE 8 years old, except on “Family Cruises”, when minimum age is 3 years old. Multi-generation travel with EXPLOR CRUISES is a popular way to create lasting family memories and bonds. And no one has to cook or clean!

Destinations with an emphasis on nature are perfect for families to share in the expedition experience. Kids and parents or grandparents can, for example observe the wildlife, walk through rain forests, swim from isolated beaches or kayak in remote waters. Everyone’s on the same wavelength, sharing life-enriching experiences that create lifetime memories.

I am traveling alone, please tell me what I can expect?

A growing number of men and women are traveling alone today, either by choice or necessity. EXPLOR CRUISES has always welcomed the independent traveler. You’ll find expedition life is very conducive to traveling solo. You’ll travel with fellow guests who have similar interests, making it easy to mingle. In the Dining Room, meals are served in a single seating with unassigned tables-so it’s easy to pull up a chair and make new friends.

Some of our ships and yachts have single cabins, or do not charge a single supplement. So please ask. Or, if you’d like to share cabin costs, we are glad to try to find a same sex roommate for you.

Will I have access to e-mail and the internet? May I bring my laptop?

Most ships and yachts are equipped with satellite communications for e-mail and internet access, telephone and fax for which additional charges may apply.

Tell me more about the ship cabins and shipboard amenities.

Air conditioning Most ships are climate controlled throughout. Some cabins have their own thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature level in your cabin. A few ships do not have air conditioning.

Cabin Amenities You may expect standard hotel style amenities, including beach towels. If you choose to bring your own shampoo and/or conditioner, we recommend that you bring biodegradable products.

Communications Prior to your departure date, we will provide you with a list of port contacts and phone numbers, indicating how you can be reached in case of emergency.

Currency and Credit Cards On most ships  the currency is the US Dollar. All services and products purchased on board the ship may be paid for by cash, or credit card.  Travelers Checks are not generally accepted aboard ships or ashore anymore.

Dining There will generally be one open seating for all meals, with tables unassigned to encourage mingling. The meal hours will be posted in the Daily Program.

Doctor There may be a doctor on board certain ships. There may be a fee charged for discretionary medical services.

Electrical Appliances In general, each cabin is equipped with at least one 110v (American) or 220V (European) electrical outlet which can be used for electric razors and other small devices. Hair dryers may be available in each cabin or from the Hotel Manager..

Elevator A few small exploration ships are equipped with an elevator providing access to all decks/guest areas.

Expedition Staff Knowledgeable and professional guides both ashore on land tours and onboard ship will ensure you have an intellectually enlightening, as well as enjoyable, travel experience. They may join you for meals and social hours as well.

Gratuities Gratuities are included on some cruises, such as Silversea Expeditions.

Laundry Laundry services may be available at an additional charge aboard some ships.

Library Each ship features an onboard library with a selection of books pertaining to your destination.

Smoking For the comfort of all our guests, we use ships where smoking is permitted only in designated outdoor areas, if at all.

Snorkeling Snorkels, masks, fins and beach towels are available on board our ships where such activities are available. To ensure a perfect fit, you may want to bring your own mask and snorkel. In certain areas  wetsuits  may also be available for snorkeling. Our goal is to ease packing restrictions and provide added comfort in the water.

Valuables Some vessels are equipped with safety deposit boxes in the rooms and cabins. Others may have small locking drawers with a key where you can keep your valuables.  Or you may leave valuables with the Purser, Captain, or Hotel Manager.

Wellness Program Exploring the world can be a powerful reenergizing tonic. To that end, we are delighted to offer you more options to tap into your own personal wellness goals and help you rest and rejuvenate as best we can. Some of the ships we use offer spa and massage services at reasonable rates.

Zodiacs and Pangas Key to exploration cruises  is the use of Zodiac-style inflatable watercraft, or pangas, which are used to land on remote islands, communities  and beaches that would otherwise be inaccessible.

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