Bucket List Expeditions: Adventure Canada

by Jill Gleeson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Dec 30, 2018

EDGE's must-go recommendations for 2019 include four cruise and sailing companies that each offer a unique opportunity to experience travel from the water. Our editorial staff and contributing writers take a deeper dive into each company, and we encourage you to set sail in the coming year!

They don't call them expeditions for nothing. After all, Adventure Canada specializes in thrilling voyages that take clients deep into the last wild places on the planet. Trips for 2019 include In the Wake of the Vikings: a Voyage from Iceland to Greenland, High Arctic Explorer, as well as sailings in warmer climes, like the Galapagos Islands.

But AC passengers don't have to sacrifice luxury for exhilaration. Onboard indulgences include a well-appointed spa, cabin attendants who provide detailed, personalized service and inspired cuisine featuring locally-sourced ingredients. The company, which boasts a gay general manager, doesn't just pay lip service to welcoming diversity within its ranks and onboard its ships, either.

Brothers Matthew and Bill Swan and their buddy, David Freeze, were whitewater rafting guides on the Ottawa River and founded Adventure Canada in 1987. After a few years of offering land tours into the Canadian wilderness, they realized water crossings would allow them to ferry clients further into the Arctic and in greater comfort. Adventure Canada expedition cruises were born.

Ice Ice Baby

Today, the next generation of the Swan and Freeze clans head the company and work onboard the ships. This brings a warm, homey vibe to the enterprise, which welcomes every passenger aboard as family, according to general manager Ashalee Mohamed.

"Adventure Canada's essence is celebrating and connecting different cultures, peoples and places in the remote regions we visit," she says. "On our trips and in our offices, with our guests and teams, we promote an inherent culture of inclusion regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, age or ethnicity. As a gay, out and proud person myself, I wouldn't have it any other way."

The company has become renowned for the scientists, culturalists, artists, musicians, historians and adventurers they employ on every sailing, who share a wealth of knowledge with passengers that contextualize and enrich their journey. In addition, Zodiac shore landings (think tender boats in the form of heavy-duty inflatable vessels) provide the chance to not only explore some of the most exquisite landscape in the world but also spend some cherished time with the people who call it home.

Like their fathers before them, the latest generation leading Adventure Canada refuses to rest on its laurels. New offerings include Taste of Place, which will be available on the Newfoundland Circumnavigation voyage through next year. The culinary program, which highlights unique cookery from the region, will ramp up foodies' fun with onboard and onshore meals and special events. Look also for double kayaking excursions to debut in 2019. They'll be offered on all trips aboard the Ocean Endeavour, the company's chartered ship.

Where to Go in 2019

While bold Arctic expedition cruises like In the Wake of the Vikings, which will depart July 14, 2019, from Reykjavik, Iceland, remain what Adventure Canada is best known for, there are plenty of other rousing itineraries available.

Ireland Circumnavigation (June 9-20) provides the best views of the Emerald Isle's gorgeous coastlines, delightful fishing villages and iconic natural wonders, like Giant's Causeway's basaltic columns. There will also be plenty of onshore time to partake of Ireland's cities, castles, handicraft shops and, of course, pubs.

Or, get to know another Celtic charmer with Scotland Slowly, which begins June 21 and doesn't wrap up until July 1. The voyage will visit the country's legendary Shetland, Orkney and Hebrides islands, giving passengers the chance to spot wildlife like whales and puffins. Other highlights include visits to distilleries, ancient archeological ruins, medieval castles and bustling, modern cities.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.


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