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So you’ve decided to take your first adventure cruise. Where to go? What to take? Read this first.

1. Read your adventure cruise line’s packing list

They know what they’re talking about. The list will include some critical and some optional items that will enhance your adventure and increase your enjoyment. Important items to look for include: gumboots – are they supplied or BYO?; parkas – some premium cruises will include a deluxe souvenir parka ideal for the destination; thermal underwear for Antarctica – don’t leave home without it.

2. Study your destination

Okay, you don’t have to write a thesis, but it helps to swot up on some of the flora, fauna, history and cultural aspects of your destination. You’ll find you’ll enjoy the experience even more when you understand the significance of the important sites and sightings. You can join in the dinner table conversation or at least know which questions to ask – and don’t be afraid to ask.

3. Pay attention to all safety briefings

Yes, there have been a couple of incidents with expedition ships and it is critical that you know evacuation procedures, how to use a life jacket and where your muster station is. If you panic, you’ll endanger yourself and others.

Other tips: When getting in and out of tenders don’t hold hands – hold arms. Use a strong ‘monkey grip’ and offer your whole arm to a crew member assisting you. Imagine two wet hands trying to cling together. It doesn’t work.

4. Leave your fastidious, punctual, inflexible self behind

Expedition cruising is all about the unexpected and if you’re going to get upset if landings are deferred or even cancelled because of ice, tides or weather, then you’re in for a rotten time. The best expedition leaders always have a fallback plan, so stay alert for updates.

Preparation is the key

  • Don’t take expensive sunglasses and takea spare pair. Sturdy, polarised, plastic ones that float are best.
  • Don’t underestimate the tropical sun. Over-protect yourself with wide hat, high collar and long sleeves. Slap on sunscreen to all exposed skin.
  • In tenders always expect spray and splashes. Wrap your camera or use a casing.
  • Seasickness tablets. If you have them you won’t need them.