Jos Dewing explores the emerging phenomena of adventure travel as the new luxury ‘must have’ experience of 2015.
In several of my blogs this year I’ve tried to some extent to define what the term luxury actually means in the cruise context. In my view, the concept of a helicopter lift and champagne infused arrival at a glitzy and marble clad pre-cruise hotel no longer inspires high end travel, this has changed and moved for many, not all, towards the experiential.
Many feel the reason for this is the rise of social media and the ‘share’ culture. Our lives are now so very visible and transparent to others if we want them to be and that has shifted a mind-set from owning a Rolex and flashing the wrist, to testing the depth a Rolex can dive to and sharing the experience online. By this I mean, adventure as we know it is not only an experience and memory to defeat any material asset, but it is also a wonderful thing to share with others. Being the modern day pioneer, being able to travel to true wilderness destinations where very few will and can and being able to do this not just in safety and comfort, but in luxury, is a game changer in the cruise industry.
For so many now, it’s simply not enough to have a luxurious and leisurely break with a glass of complimentary champers in hand, a splash of caviar on plate and a wonderfully decadent outlook for the fortnight ahead. I’m certainly not saying this is not in demand as it’s never been more popular and I myself consider nothing better or more relaxing. However, there is a second travel experience either dormant or active for the very same traveller. And in most cases, the two actually complement each other. What better way to offset the indulgence of the luxurious casual vacation as to have a truly inspirational travel experience. One for the body followed by one for the mind & spirit of adventure we all have.
And this is where we come back to the notion of material possessions and how we trade as social people on what we own and how we live. I was recently walking down a well-known London street when two things happened. On one side of the street, parked up and gleaming, every shining inch of bodywork likely worth in excess of £1,000, was a brand new Bentley. It caught my eye, of course. Similar time, pretty much a social pincer movement in fact, a new posting flashed up on my smart phone. A work partner had posted images of a Brown Bear onto Facebook. This was not a picture from a stock wildlife library with an amusing caption, this was genuine. The other striking fact was, this was not from a zoo or even Alaska, this was a wild bear from the Russian Far East region. A lonely, wild bear wandering along the remote reaches of the Kamchatka Peninsula. These bears are actually scared of humans, because they simply never see them. This is a place only accessible by sea, a true wilderness destination where so very few privileged travellers get to visit.
And this in theatrical terms, is the rub. This is what amazes me now, what impresses me, what fascinates me. I am so very happy for the proud owner of the Bentley, what a wonderful car, only ownable (new word) by the privileged few, a true symbol of success. But the photo of the bear in Kamchatka, that is different. That is so much more inspiring to me, that someone I know, has decided to go to this place where so few do, has seen one of these incredible animals walking free and has been able to instantly share the experience. This is the image that gets the real ‘likes’ socially, not the sports car, those ‘likes’ are unlikely to be genuine in reality.
So in many ways, one of the most contemporary expressions and forms of luxury may well be adventure. You can have experiences like this now on-board a luxurious ship. Silversea Expeditions, Noble Caledonia and Hapag-Lloyd among others have truly evolved the concept of expedition and adventure, it is far more accessible now and it is far more comfortable too. But the output is the same, extraordinary experiences and memories to both cherish as the primary witness and to trade on socially with friends, family and colleagues. The new material asset is entirely experiential in my mind. Those people I know who seek and achieve adventure rank at the highest level of my social interest list, without an #ice-bucket in sight, apart from for the champagne of course.
Although I’ve used it before I have to sign this off with my favourite contemporary quote from a personal hero of mine, Christopher McCandless:
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
You can visit the Russian Far East with Silversea Expeditions, available through The Cruise Line’s new ‘explorations’ team.
Below is one example of a voyage that really does take in off the beaten track, luxury adventure.
Nome to Otaru aboard Silver Discoverer – departing 13 August 2015 for 17-nights
Itinerary: Nome, Alaska | Cross the International Date line | Provideniya, Russia | Gabriela Bay, Russia | Dezneva Bay, Russia | Lavrova Bay, Russia | Verkhoturov Island, Russia | Tymlat, Russia | Karaginskiy Island, Russia | Cape Severo-Zapadnyi, Russia | Nikolskoe, Russia | Chazma River, Russia | Kamenistaya Bay, Russia | Zupanova River, Russia | Morzovaya Bay, Russia | Petropavlosk (Kamchatka), Russia | Shumshu Island, Russia | Atlasova Island, Russia | Onekotan Island, Russia | Lovyshki Island, Russia | Matua Island, Russia | Yankicha Island, Russia | Chirpoy Island, Russia | Tyuleniy Island, Russia | Korsakov | Otaru (Sappo)
Fares for this sailing start from £7,650 per person
Cruise Line Explorations – Making the world a bigger place.
For more information on our Explorations collection, please click the link above or call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677.