Credit: Atlas Ocean Voyages/Seabourn/Viking/Heritage Expeditions

New expedition cruise ships 2022 - full list of maiden voyages this year

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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New expedition cruise ships are arriving on the cruising scene this year, with some very hotly anticipated indeed. This is the full list of maiden expeditions cruises for 2022.

Expedition cruises have gained oodles of popularity over recent years and with everyone trapped at home over the last two years enthusiasm to hit those bucket list destinations has never been greater.

There are a plethora of new expedition ships launching in 2022, thanks to major brands such as Viking and Seabourn as well as smaller cruise lines.

These are all the expedition cruise ships sailing their maiden voyage this year.

American Queen Voyages: Ocean Victory

Launching: Spring 2022

American Queen Voyages will launch its new 186-passenger expedition vessel, Ocean Victory this year. Closely related to Aurora Expeditions’ ship Greg Mortimer, it features an unusual ‘X-bow’ hull, with a prow that leans backwards rather than forwards as on a conventional ship. This is specially designed for smooth and safe sailing in the icy waters of Alaska, with less noise and lower fuel consumption.

Onboard, guests will love the vessel’s spacious suites and staterooms with their panoramic views, while a unique viewing platform that slides out over the water will give incredible views of the area’s rich marine life.

Adventure-lovers will also get the chance to leave the ship and experience this beautiful but extreme environment at close quarters aboard kayaks and Zodiac boats.

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Atlas Ocean Voyages: World Traveller

Launching: July 2022

This new luxury expedition line will be launching its second vessel, World Traveller, this summer. As the ship sails to some of cruising’s most spectacular destinations – including the Arctic and the Galapagos islands – each of the 196 passengers on board can expect sky-high standards of luxury, with suite guests enjoying butler service.

- READ MORE: Full list of ocean ships sailing their maiden voyage this year -

Taking a lead in green technology, Atlas has equipped the ship with a GPS that allows it to maintain its position without dropping anchor – which means it can travel to remote and ecologically sensitive areas without harming the delicate seabed.

World Traveller also has a large open deck, complete with The Water’s Edge – a viewing area with heating for cooler-weather cruises.

Atlas Ocean Voyages will be launching its second vessel, World Traveller. Credit: Atlas Ocean Voyages

Heritage Expeditions: Heritage Adventurer

Launching: May 2022

New Zealand-based, family-run cruise line Heritage Expeditions will soon be welcoming a new flagship – Heritage Adventurer. For her maiden voyage, the 140-passenger vessel – which some cruisers may recognise as the former Hapag-Lloyd ship MS Hanseatic – will be circumnavigating Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido.

- READ MORE: 9 of the weirdest cruises in the world -

A world away from the popular image of contemporary Japan, this rugged landscape is famous for its volcanoes and hot springs – and ornithologically-minded guests might just get lucky and spot a rare red-crowned crane.

Onboard the new ship, passengers will enjoy deeply immersive expedition cruises led by knowledgeable teams of scientists, botanists and ornithologists. There are some great itineraries available, too, including trips to the Russian Far East and Siberia.

Seabourn’s new 132-cabin expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, will depart from London. Credit: Seabourn

Seabourn: Seabourn Venture

Launching: April 2022

On April 10, Seabourn’s new 132-cabin expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, will depart from Greenwich in London, travelling around the UK on its maiden voyage.

- READ MORE: Discover polar bears on Seabourn’s Arctic cruises -

Designed with a Polar Class 6 hull and marking the luxury line’s first foray into expedition cruising, the ship carries an expedition team of no fewer than 26 specialists, including an intriguingly named ‘bear guide’ (well, you wouldn’t go grizzly-spotting on your own, would you?).

Just as you’d expect from Seabourn, the guest accommodation is stylish, sumptuous and contemporary, with generous open deck space too. Guests can learn in detail all about their destinations at the Discovery Centre, then explore for themselves on the ship’s array of Zodiacs, kayaks and even mini-submarines.

Ice-class expedition vessel Vega passengers will find sophisticated Scandi-style interiors. Credit: Swan Hellenic

Swan Hellenic: SH Vega & one other

Launching: 2022

Much missed by many British guests, one of cruise’s most familiar names will be returning to action with the debut of two ice-class expedition vessels – Vega, launching in April, and a yet unnamed sister ship.

- READ MORE: 10 amazing cruises to Antarctica -

Vega will carry 152 passengers and 120 crew, with a Polar Class 5 ice-strengthened hull and large stabilisers to make the journey as smooth as possible, even in the most inhospitable waters.

Onboard, passengers will find sophisticated Scandi-style interiors, expert guides and lecturers and extensive outdoor spaces. Sometime later this year, Vega will be joined by her slightly bigger 192-passenger fleetmate.

The spectacular Viking Octantis voyaging to some of the world's most amazing destinations Credit: Viking

Viking: Viking Octantis & Polaris

Launching: January & August 2022

In its 25th birthday year, this ever-expanding line will enter the expedition market with twin expedition ships – Octantis and Polaris. Each carries a maximum of 378 guests and is designed to be small enough for sailing in remote polar regions and the St Lawrence River in the US, but large enough to handle the roughest seas.

- READ MORE: Inside new Viking Octantis cruise ship -

In an industry first, both ships feature The Hangar, an in-ship marina that allows the launch of small excursion craft through multiple doors. And look out, too, for the vessels’ two six-person yellow submarines, featuring revolving seats and spherical windows for a truly unique underwater viewing experience.

Viking has also partnered with some of the world’s most prestigious scientific institutions to offer guests the chance to talk to renowned experts while on board.

Viking Octantis will make her debut in January 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Great Lakes; Viking Polaris will set sail in August 2022, offering itineraries in Antarctica and the Arctic.

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