What Makes a Secret Atlas Small Ship Expedition Unique?

We are obsessed with small group polar exploration and we see low group numbers as the vital ingredient.

Can you imagine stepping ashore in the untouched wilderness with 12 fellow travellers or 200? There is a big difference!

As the new expedition ships keep on getting larger with a focus on volume rather than experience (some carry over 500 guests), we would like to take this opportunity to point out the reasons our expeditions offer a big difference for those looking for an authentic expedition.

1. We offer the smallest group sizes

Our Micro Cruises in Svalbard and Greenland take 12 guests and our Explorer small ship Expeditions in Antarctica and South Georgia take 48 guests.

yacht expeditions and private charters with secret atlas svalbard photography tour

2. All our guests can land ashore at the same time

On some larger vessels you may have to wait for another group before you can go ashore. In Svalbard we don’t cordon off beaches and our guests are free to roam with their accompanied expedition leader or guide allowing them to experience nature and wilderness firsthand. 

3. Maximum time ashore

Our trips are unhurried and focussed on spending the maximum amount of time ashore. They are perfectly suited to photographers, wildlife watchers, nature lovers and explorers that would like to get a good sense of the place.

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hiking ashore in svalbard

Hiking ashore in Svalbard in a small group

4. Our expeditions are flexible

We don’t follow a set itinerary and this gives us a great deal of flexibility. Every expedition is unique and led by a highly experienced expedition leader who will take you exploring and show you the very best each destination has to offer.  

5. The best guide to guest ratio

We offer the best guide to guest ratio. We have 1 guide for every 6 guests on our micro cruises (and 1:10 on our small ship cruises). Ashore we have the flexibility to split the group, for example if one group would prefer to do a longer hike. 

6. Access all areas on a small ship

Small vessels allow us to reach places larger ships can only dream of reaching. We can visit all landing sites (in South Georgia many landings are restricted to vessels with more than 50 guests.)

zodia cruising in a small group

Our guests exploring Svalbard by Zodiac

7. No waiting times for shore landings

All our guests can fit in the zodiacs at the same time for zodiac cruises and shore landings. This gives us minimal waiting times to go ashore (something you will not have on a larger vessel) and more time to explore.

8. Real expedition vessels

We use built for purpose expedition vessels. Whilst the industry has focussed on luxury over capability, we have gone back to our exploring roots and only use ice-strengthened vessels capable of true exploration.

9. Be a part of a group of like-minded travellers

People that join our voyages all share the same passion and interest for the places we visit. Our voyages have a good community spirit, something that is often lost on larger ships. 

Whilst the focus is on expedition, on all our voyages you will find comfortable cabins, good hearty food and outstanding guides. Of course, the real luxury is the small group size. 

Are you ready to explore?

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