Embark on an Unforgettable Journey with Swan Hellenic: A Guide to Expedition Cruising with Jane Wilson

Ever wondered what makes a great guide or how expedition cruising differs from traditional cruising? We caught up with our Expedition Operations Manager, Jane Wilson, to get her take on this and more.

New horizons: the appeal of expedition cruising

How did you first become involved in expedition cruising?

Jane: As a young scientist, I had the chance to work on Macquarie Island as part of an expedition team. It’s halfway between Australia and Antarctica, and one of the most remote places in the world. I thought it would be interesting to use my scientific knowledge and boat-driving skills. I did that in 1997, and I'm still involved.

What was that first expedition like?

Jane: Sailing on a small ship, and visiting remote places was very exciting! And it’s still fantastic today when I set off on voyages with Swan Hellenic. One thing that’s always struck me is that it takes a lot of will to communicate decisions, flexibility, and changes. To get people ashore and show them things in a safe and environmentally responsible manner really takes teamwork.

What appeals to you about expedition cruising with Swan Hellenic?

Jane: At the heart of my drive, it's all about helping people have firsthand experiences in amazing places. I believe if you show someone something extraordinary, they'll want to protect it. It’s about broadening horizons and valuing what you learned from the experience.

Exciting expeditions: the onboard experience with Swan Hellenic

Can you tell us about your time with Swan Hellenic?

Jane: I started a couple of years ago, helping plan itineraries in Asia Pacific. My experience as an expedition leader led to me recommending interesting landing sites, and staff with good knowledge to enhance upcoming itineraries. I dived in and ended up as one of the gang!

Why do you think expedition cruising is so popular with our guests?

Jane: When you go somewhere remote, you get a sense of where you are on the planet. Our guests leave what they know at home, and are open minded about different things and different places. When you go to cultural areas that are different to Western countries, you think 'Wow, how do these people live? What makes them happy? What makes them special because of their cultural traditions?’

Why is expedition cruising with Swan Hellenic the best choice?

Jane: It all stems from our exciting itineraries and the amazing destinations we visit in all the oceans across the globe. The company is hungry to keep the expedition cruising spirit alive with new and ambitious itineraries. And our guests get to become adventurers, while traveling on an elegant, unpretentious floating boutique hotel.

Can you describe the expedition experience for us?

Jane: Well, you become shipmates on a small ship. The crew and passengers are often all there for the same reason – to experience great things, and it really brings you closer together. Guests come on board to have a nice, unusual cruise, and they step off as explorers, and feel like they're part of what we do.

Expedition Guides: they make a difference

What do you think makes like a great expedition guide?

Jane: Well, firstly, there's no room for big egos. You have to operate safely, professionally and as part of a team. Secondly, you have to have a commitment to being environmentally responsible. You don't just tear off and get your guests closer to the whales because you think that's a good idea. You've got to operate within the environmental and cultural realm.

And what kind of personality does a good expedition guide need to have?

Jane: I think ideally they bring something unique. For me, it was science experience on Antarctic and sub Antarctic stations. So I could really bring something special and authentic to the table. This is something our industry is losing, and it's one of the things I'm working hard to bring back, through our guides and guest lecturers. Other than that, they need to be positive, team players, passionate about what they do, communicate clearly and be educationally engaging. Swan Hellenic work really hard to get the right people – unique people with unique skills, who bring that passion and team spirit!

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