People eat on land instead of on the ship and the excursions are anything but off the shelf: Intrepid, the world’s largest company for adventure travel, is also breaking new ground on the water. How much adventure there is actually in the announced Adventure Cruise, our author tested on the “Harmony G”
Young faces laugh from the Intrepid website, the potential customer is talked about. “As a solo traveler, you share your accommodation with someone of the same sex.” That would be an innovative first for me. The average age of cruisers is just under 60 years. Do you really want to share your cabin at this age? Or will the passengers on the Adventure Cruise actually be younger? And what does “Adventure” actually mean in this case?
Together with Heidi and Phil from Utah, I’m looking for the Greek yacht for a maximum of 42 passengers in the port of Málaga between large cruisers. The two twenties travel with trekking backpacks and say: “We could never go on a big ship on our first cruise.” But they have only had good experiences with the Australian tour operator Intrepid so far.
Does the land philosophy also go on the water?
Authentic experiences in small groups that travel sustainably – this is the goal of the world’s largest “Adventure Travel” company. The adventure consists in foregoing full board, using public transport as often as possible and sleeping in small hostels or even with private families. Tour leaders accompany the small groups on their way, although their task is more of an organizational nature.
Now the company philosophy is to be transferred to the water. “Adventure Cruising” is the name of the company’s latest coup, which with this offer also wants to appeal to more holidaymakers from Europe. The principle of small groups also applies here: Intrepid charter ships for a maximum of 50 passengers and, unlike all other cruise operators, does not offer full boarding. The guests should eat in the destinations, which, according to Intrepid, is also a form of sustainability.
The “Harmony G” trip is adventure light
The saloon on board is slowly filling up. Nobody has to share a cabin, although that would certainly have been exciting. There is an above-average number of women traveling alone. A 33-year-old Mexican celebrates three premieres: She is traveling alone for the first time, in Europe and on a ship. And a 44-year-old newly divorced Australian overcomes her fear of the ship’s movement to have a new experience. For them the trip is probably really an adventure.
Viewed objectively, however, the so-called Adventure Cruise from Intrepid is also a very sheltered form of travel. In almost all ports, passengers travel with their own coach, which runs parallel to the ship on land. And before they go hunting for their lunch alone in a city, the tour leaders offer an “Orientation Walk”.
Sustainability as a leitmotif
“Please remember: we are a sustainable travel company. Buy your souvenirs from small local shops and not from large chains ”, tour leader Fatima reminds her guests before they scatter in all directions. When the aluminum water bottle provided by the organizer is empty, I feel guilty while I fill it up with the contents of a plastic bottle. Avoiding plastic waste is just as much a part of the Intrepid principles as 100 percent climate compensation for all trips and offices on land.
And while large ships have their supplies delivered to the pier by truck, hotel manager Yannis buys the food for the “Harmony G” fresh in the harbor. With 22 passengers and 17 crew members, he can just about manage it himself. The long-term goal is to build his own ships that use renewable energies such as solar power.