Intrepid Travel is expanding its offering in the polar regions with a new programme of sustainable small-group expeditions to Antarctica.

Intrepid Group acquired a 50% stake in Chimu Adventures in 2017 and the charters mark the next stage of their strategic partnership.

The cruises will be onboard the newly refurbished Ocean Endeavour and begin operating in October 2020.

The charters will be operated by sister brand Peregrine Adventures, and will make Intrepid Group a “seven-continent operator”, according to Intrepid Group chief executive James Thornton.

“We know there is a huge appetite for a more sustainable and experiential style of cruise, so we’re thrilled that this partnership will introduce more polar expeditions in our own small group sustainable style,” said Thornton.

The Ocean Endeavour carries 199 passengers and has a health and wellness centre, with saunas, gym, yoga classes, and a salt water pool.

A team of six polar experts in Intrepid’s Brixton office has been set up to take bookings on the trips.

Fifteen departures and five itineraries are available, including Discover Antarctica (10 days) and Best of Antarctica (11 days).

With voyages starting from £3,995, Thornton said the new polar programme makes the Antarctic more affordable than ever before, without compromising on sustainable tourism.

There will be a ratio of one expedition staff to eight guests, “rigorous” sustainability standards, and activities such as sea kayaking, snowshoeing, photography tours and ice-camping.

All departures will be carbon offset and eco-friendly measures will include no single-use plastic onboard, a reusable water bottle for every guest and only sustainable seafood will be served on the ship.

Greg Carter, co-founder of Chimu Adventures, said: “Travellers of all ages are visiting Antarctica; they want to get closer to nature and understand the world we live in.

“Antarctica needs advocates and tourism creates a global constituency of people ready to support – and indeed fund – its preservation.

“When you’re there, you see how fragile the earth is and that really does inspire travellers to come back with a renewed momentum to protect the planet.”

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