Girl in jeans, red shirt & tan hat walks alone under an oak tree in garden with Azaleas in bloom on a Low Country cruise.
Two women hikers walk througha Live Oak & Spanish moss forest on Cumberland Island, Georgia, with Palmettos in foreground.
Close-up of hands weaving straw into a round disc, seen on Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Cruise.
Water rushes past pieces of wood standing straight up with a tree in the distance, at dusk, seen on low country cruises.
Roseate Spoonbill bird with white body, long dark legs, long pink beak & feathers of various pink & blue hues flies over marshland.
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North America East Coast Cruise

Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Cruise

On this 8-day Charleston to Jacksonville cruise aboard 62-guest Nat Geo Sea Lion, explore a wealth of wildlife habitats and a fascinating cultural heritage. On these Low Country cruises where Sea Islands hug the mainland, take in undulating dunes, meadows, marshes, and forests that teem with birdlife and other creatures, as well as an intricate web of waterways that beg to be explored. Discover these stunning wilderness areas with onboard naturalists and delve into the complex history of the South in charming coastal cities and on barrier islands where the West African-influenced culture of the Gullah-Geechee people continues today.

Enjoy opportunities for daily adventure and learning. Kayak in salt marshes and coastal lagoons rich with wildlife including American alligators and dolphins. Get acquainted with the fascinating Gullah-Geechee culture of the Sea Islands, a blend of West African and English languages and traditions developed by enslaved people in the 18th-century. Meet researchers at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island; and enjoy excellent spring birding, watching for roseate spoonbills, wood storks and tricolored herons, and up to 20 species of migrant warblers. And experience the historic city centers of the south on walking tours through Brunswick, Savannah and Charleston.

Aboard 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion, guests are in the most excellent company. Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader and five veteran naturalists, including a National Geographic certified photo instructor, plus a wellness specialist. The expedition staff’s knowledge and passion for the Low Country is the key to this once-in-a-lifetime, active cruise experience.

Read on for details about this Charleston to Jacksonville cruise, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s East Coast cruises.



Itinerary

Northbound Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Itinerary

Northbound Low Country cruises begin in Jacksonville, Florida with a transfer from the airport to embark the ship in Fernandina Beach, later disembarking in Charleston, South Carolina.

Route map of Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Cruise between Florida & South Carolina with visits including Brunswick & Savannah, among offshore islands.
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Day 1
Arrive Jacksonville, Transfer to Fernandina Beach, Florida & Embark

Arrive in Jacksonville and transfer to Fernandina Beach to embark the ship. Meet the crew and team of naturalists, and set sail toward St. Mary’s River.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Cumberland Island, Georgia

This morning, cruise north into Georgia, following the Intracoastal Waterway to Cumberland Island, a designated National Seashore of wild beaches, vast marshes and intriguing history. Inhabited over the centuries by Native Americans, enslaved people, missionaries and the famous Carnegie family, the island offers insight into life and culture of the southeastern seaboard over the centuries. Visit the haunting ruins of the Carnegie Dungeness estate, abandoned after a fire in 1959. Then set off on foot to discover feral horses and other fascinating flora and fauna amid pine forests and dunes.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Jekyll Island & Brunswick

Sail into the Golden Isles region of the Georgian coast this morning. On Jekyll Island, pay a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to meet researchers who rehabilitate injured sea turtles, study sea turtle behavior and raise awareness about the conservation challenges they face. This afternoon, stroll the historic center of Brunswick, visiting the ornate 19th-century Old City Hall and Victorian-era Oak Grove Cemetery. Or take in the view of the surrounding wetlands from Marshes of Glynn Overlook Park and see the “Lover’s Oak,” a magnificent tree that is said to date back more than 900 years.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Sapelo & Ossabaw Islands

Georgia’s fourth largest barrier island, Sapelo Island protects the fragile habitat of the Altamaha River Estuary and harbors rich wildlife. With its 28 transitional habitat areas, the island is an important piece of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. While now largely undisturbed and returned to nature, the island has been inhabited for some 4,500 years, from prehistoric indigenous people to Spanish missionaries, through the dark years of slavery and on to the freedmen and women who established the community of Hog Hammock still in existence today. This is one of the isolated barrier islands where the Gullah-Geechee culture emerged, drawing on West African languages and traditions. After lunch on the ship, sail to Ossabaw Island and, if conditions permit, launch kayaks and Zodiacs to explore the backwaters that teem with wildlife.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Savannah

Arrive in stately Savannah, Georgia’s oldest city. Explore the city on foot, starting off with a stroll among the Spanish-moss-draped trees of Forsyth Park, where there may be northern parula warblers amid the hanging moss. Stop by First African Baptist Church, the oldest African-American congregation in the country, founded in 1773. Savannah’s 22 historic squares each have their own character and interesting story. Visit several of them, including Greene Square, named for Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, where the Emancipation Proclamation was read and soon-to-be freed enslaved people were promised 40 acres and a mule.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Daufuskie & Turtle Islands, South Carolina

Go ashore at Daufuskie Island, a hub of Gullah culture and language. Some residents continue to speak Gullah to this day. Get immersed in the mystique of the island, soaking up the local culture and learning about the rich spiritual traditions of its residents, who paint their trim “heaven blue” to ward off evil spirits. After lunch, continue to nearby Turtle Island. Comprised of coastal dunes, salt marsh and upland southern pine habitat, the island has been designated as an Important Bird Area. The wide variety of species that pass through here include the endangered least tern, Wilson’s and piping plovers, and black skimmers.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Charleston

Founded in 1670, Charleston is steeped in history and charm, from its cobblestoned, lantern-lit streets to its romantic mansions. On the way into the city, cruise past Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Set out on a walking tour of this picturesque city, strolling through Rainbow Row, where historic Georgian homes are painted in bright, lavish colors. Continue to lovely White Point Garden at the southern tip of the peninsula on which Charleston sits. Here, meander past cannons and other relics of the Civil War and enjoy expansive views of Fort Sumter and the Charleston Harbor.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Disembark Charleston, South Carolina

After breakfast this morning, disembark and transfer to the Charleston airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations aboard ship per itinerary; all meals as indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of equipment; expedition fees; all port charges, service taxes and airport transfers to and from ship.

Exclusions

Immigration fees (if applicable); air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot), including a booster shot for those eligible. There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The northbound Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston cruise begins in Jacksonville, Florida (JAX) and ends in Charleston, South Carolina (CHS). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Consult your Adventure Specialist for arrival and departure flight recommendations.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include historic site visits, walking tours, kayaking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Southbound Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Itinerary

Southbound Low Country cruises begin in Charleston, South Carolina and disembark in Fernandina Beach, Florida, ending with a transfer to the airport in Jacksonville, Florida.

Route map of Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Cruise between Florida & South Carolina with visits including Brunswick & Savannah, among offshore islands.
Read More
Day 1
Embark Charleston, South Carolina

Arrive in Charleston and head to the harbor, where the ship awaits. Meet the crew and team of naturalists at a welcome briefing and dinner this evening.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

dinner

Read More
Day 2
Charleston

Founded in 1670, Charleston is steeped in history and charm, from its cobblestoned, lantern-lit streets to its romantic mansions. On the way into the city, cruise past Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Set out on a walking tour of this picturesque city, strolling through Rainbow Row, where historic Georgian homes are painted in bright, lavish colors. Continue to lovely White Point Garden at the southern tip of the peninsula on which Charleston sits. Here, meander past cannons and other relics of the Civil War and enjoy expansive views of Fort Sumter and the Charleston Harbor.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Daufuskie & Turtle Islands, South Carolina

Go ashore at Daufuskie Island, a hub of Gullah culture and language. Some residents continue to speak Gullah to this day. Get immersed in the mystique of the island, soaking up the local culture and learning about the rich spiritual traditions of its residents, who paint their trim “heaven blue” to ward off evil spirits. After lunch, continue to nearby Turtle Island. Comprised of coastal dunes, salt marsh and upland southern pine habitat, the island has been designated as an Important Bird Area. The wide variety of species that pass through here include the endangered least tern, Wilson’s and piping plovers, and black skimmers.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Savannah, Georgia

The first stop in Georgia is stately Savannah, the state’s oldest city. Explore the city on foot, starting off with a stroll among the Spanish-moss-draped trees of Forsyth Park, where there may be northern parula warblers amid the hanging moss. Stop by First African Baptist Church, the oldest African-American congregation in the country, founded in 1773. Savannah’s 22 historic squares each have their own character and interesting story. Visit several of them, including Greene Square, named for Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, where the Emancipation Proclamation was read and soon-to-be freed enslaved people were promised 40 acres and a mule.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Ossabaw & Sapelo Islands

Spend the morning on Ossabaw Island and, if conditions permit, launch kayaks and Zodiacs to explore the backwaters that teem with wildlife. Then sail to Georgia’s fourth largest barrier island, Sapelo Island protects the fragile habitat of the Altamaha River Estuary and harbors rich wildlife. With its 28 transitional habitat areas, the island is an important piece of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. While now largely undisturbed and returned to nature, the island has been inhabited for some 4,500 years, from prehistoric indigenous people to Spanish missionaries, through the dark years of slavery and on to the freedmen and women who established the community of Hog Hammock still in existence today. This is one of the isolated barrier islands where the Gullah-Geechee culture emerged, drawing on West African languages and traditions.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Jekyll Island & Brunswick

Sail into the Golden Isles region of the Georgian coast this morning. Stroll the historic center of Brunswick, visiting the ornate 19th-century Old City Hall and Victorian-era Oak Grove Cemetery. Or take in the view of the surrounding wetlands from Marshes of Glynn Overlook Park and see the “Lover’s Oak,” a magnificent tree that is said to date back more than 900 years. On Jekyll Island, pay a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to meet researchers who rehabilitate injured sea turtles, study sea turtle behavior and raise awareness about the conservation challenges they face.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Cumberland Island

Today, explore Cumberland Island, a designated National Seashore of wild beaches, vast marshes and intriguing history. Inhabited over the centuries by Native Americans, enslaved people, missionaries and the famous Carnegie family, the island offers insight into life and culture of the southeastern seaboard over the centuries. Visit the haunting ruins of the Carnegie Dungeness estate, abandoned after a fire in 1959. Then set off on foot to discover feral horses and other fascinating flora and fauna amid pine forests and dunes.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Disembark Fernandina Beach, Florida, Transfer to Jacksonville & Depart

After breakfast this morning, disembark in Fernandina Beach and transfer to the airport in Jacksonville for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations aboard ship per itinerary; all meals as indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of equipment; expedition fees; all port charges, service taxes and airport transfers to and from ship.

Exclusions

Immigration fees (if applicable); air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot), including a booster shot for those eligible. There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The southbound Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston cruise begins in Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) and ends in Jacksonville, Florida (JAX). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Consult your Adventure Specialist for arrival and departure flight recommendations.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include historic site visits, walking tours, kayaking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

Apr 08 - Apr 15, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 8 days
green northern galapagos islands directional icon
From $5760USD
Per Person
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Apr 15 - Apr 22, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 8 days
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From $5760USD
Per Person
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Apr 22 - Apr 29, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 8 days
green northern galapagos islands directional icon
From $5760USD
Per Person
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green southern galapagos islands directional icon Southbound
Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Sea Lion

National Geographic Sea Lion is a tried and true educational-based 62-guest expedition ship. Onboard experts from National Geographic make this ship, and its twin the National Geographic Sea Bird, unique.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Groups Save 5% On National Geographic Expeditions

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on National Geographic expeditions in this special deal.

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Save 10% On Two Consecutive National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

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Offer expires October 31st, 2022
Cruise Both U.S. Coasts With National Geographic & Save 20%

Book your 2022 U.S. West Coast cruise and receive 20% off any U.S. East Coast cruise in 2022 or 2023.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

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Sail round-trip from Charleston, South Carolina on a short, enriching getaway to explore windswept islands, wildlife refuges and picturesque neighborhoods aboard 62-guest Nat Geo Sea Lion.

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On this 8-day Bahamas small ship cruise, go beyond the all-inclusive resorts to some of the archipelago's most far-flung islands. Board 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion for a unique journey into the islands' remarkable culture & wildness, including blue holes, thick mangrove forests, coral reefs and spectacular beaches.

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Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Cruise

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