Expedition Cruising

Commonwealth Bay (Courtesy of Orion Expedition Cruises)    

Heli-Fly-Fish Patagonia
On any given day on this weeklong trip with Orvis Travel, you'll be casting a seven-weight rod in crystal trout streams where you might be the first visitor. The 28-passenger MV Atmosphere sails from Puerto Montt, Chile, shuttling in and out of remote fjords. Expect glaciers, blue whales breaching near your 30-foot Zodiac, and impromptu daily helicopter flights to wherever the fish—big, sea-run brown trout—are biting. February 26­March 5, 2011; from $9,850 per person; orvis.com/nomadsjason

See Antarctica's Really Wild Side
Most Antarctica cruises sail from South America, for the shorter crossing, but trips from Down Under, landing in East Antarctica, can take in wildlife-profuse subantarctic islands on the way down. Orion Expedition Cruises' 19-day Commonwealth Bay voyage allows ample time to explore sanctuaries like Macquarie Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site teeming with elephant seals, albatrosses, and four species of penguins. Once on the continent, you'll go ashore for four days exploring Commonwealth Bay, discovered by Sir Douglas Mawson on his 1911–14 Aurora voyage, and set foot in his seldom visited hut. December 28–January 15; from US$16,460 per person; orionexpeditions.com

"Un-Cruise" Alaska's Inner Passage
Southeast Alaska sees its share of behemoth cruise ships, but you can leave them all in your wake and anchor in calm, grizzly-frequented bays on InnerSea Discoveries' eight-day Juneau-to-Ketchikan trips. On this multisport cruise, you'll be off the boat daily, kayaking in the shadow of immense glaciers, watching pods of humpbacks feed, and spelunking in ice caves. The company, targeted to a younger crowd without unlimited budgets, launches in May 2011. Thirty-two departures, May–September; from $1,795 per person; innerseadiscoveries.com

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