Seabourn’s Ultra-Luxe Expeditions will be Led by Elite Group of World-Renowned Experts

Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit will offer their widest range of luxury expedition activities in Antarctica, each led by a world-class expedition team of 24 scientists, scholars, naturalists, and other experts.

SEATTLE, WA – Nov. 28, 2023Seabourn, a specialist in ultra-luxury voyages and expedition travel, invites guests to embark on adventures guided by elite, world-renowned Expedition Teams aboard Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit, the company’s new purpose-built, ultra-luxury expedition ships. These passionate, engaging, and eloquent experts, drawn from diverse fields such as geology, wildlife biology, volcanology, ornithology, and conservation, will lead unforgettable expeditions during the ships’ voyages to Antarctica between November 2023 and March 2024.

A Symphony of Expertise

“We meticulously assembled an exceptional team of talented, world-renowned experts with diverse experiences, including being among the top expedition canoeists in the world, starring in a BBC series, serving 20 years in the Royal Navy, and lecturing at California State University,” said Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn. “Our goal was to curate extraordinary experiences for these once-in-a-lifetime adventures, and our experts bring these unique destinations to life. From guided tours and onboard lectures to conversations over lunch or dinner, we believe that these interactions are what make Seabourn’s expeditions so special.”

Unveiling Antarctic Wonders

Aboard Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit, the Expedition Teams will orchestrate a world of meticulously planned adventures, offering a myriad of opportunities to view wildlife and experience Antarctica’s natural wonders. They will guide expedition experiences via Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and hiking. The Expedition Teams also include knowledgeable submarine pilots who will take guests below sea level via the ships’ custom-built U-Boat Worx Cruise Sub 7 submarines capable of descending up to 300 meters.

Enriching Interactions

Beyond their roles during expedition experiences, the Expedition Teams will regularly interact with guests throughout each sailing, sharing insights and in-depth knowledge on the history, ecology, and culture of respective regions. Their valuable insights are offered in complimentary formal presentations and in more casual conversations throughout the ship, over meals or at the guest’s leisure.

Handpicked for Excellence

Carefully selected for their expertise and experience at bringing expedition cruising alive, the Expedition Team members for Seabourn’s Antarctica season are:

Expedition Leaders 

Juan Restrepo – Born in Manizales, Colombia, surrounded by the Andes, Juan has a deep fascination for everything around him. He earned a graduate degree in geology and began his career in the expedition industry as a divemaster before venturing to the Polar Regions. 

First time to Antarctica: 2006 / Sailings to Antarctica: 70+

Luciano “Luqui” Bernacchi – Abundantly experienced in adventure travel and eco-tourism, Luqui has worked as a mountain guide, ski guide, naturalist guide, and birding guide throughout Argentina, including expeditions across the Patagonian Ice Field and ice walks on the Perito Moreno Glacier. 

First time to Antarctica: 2006 / Sailings to Antarctica: 70+

Dominic “Dom” Del Rosario – Dom’s exposure to luxury expedition cruising imbued him with a desire to further experience amazing wildlife, human cultures and rarely visited places around the world. Dom has worked on ships for the last 20 years, including expedition voyages to the Antarctic, Arctic, Russian Far East, Kimberley’s of Australia, Asia, and the South Pacific.

First time to Antarctica: 2009 / Sailings to Antarctica: 50+ 

Nicki D’Souza–Nicki brings more than 25 years of experience in expedition cruising, along with a passion for nature, exciting new destinations, people, and cultures. Born in Bavaria, she has travelled around the globe to all seven continents, exploring everything from the Arctic to Antarctica to the tropics and remote gems in between. First time to Antarctica: 1999 / Sailings to Antarctica: 50+ 

Adam Jenkins –For 25 years Adam was a field biologist for NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Antarctic Program as an expedition leader and science project manager supporting marine mammal and ecosystem researchers in Antarctica and the coastal waters of the Eastern Pacific from Alaska to Cape Horn. 

First time to Antarctica: 1990 / Sailings to Antarctica: 85+

Ignacio “Iggy” Rojas – Iggy has dedicated 20 years to expedition travel, introducing travelers to the wonders of remote destinations like Antarctica and the Amazon. With a strong background in tropical ecology and extensive experience, he has led numerous expeditions across the globe, including 20 uninterrupted seasons in Antarctica.

First time to Antarctica: 1992 / Sailings to Antarctica: 100+ 

Assistant Expedition Leaders 

Patrick Demus – Patrick’s lifelong fascination with aquatic life began as a child, leading him to become a passionate fish enthusiast and a certified Diving Instructor. With a master’s degree in Animal Behavior from the University of Vienna, he conducted research worldwide before venturing into the expedition industry. 

First time to Antarctica: 2018 / Sailings to Antarctica: 5+ 

Fridrik Fridriksson –Originally from Iceland, Fridrik moved to Svalbard to become a guide in the High Arctic. A certified Senior Polar Guide and Norwegian Nature guide, Svalbard Guide, skipper, Wilderness First Responder, and a ski instructor, Fridrik now exclusively works in expedition cruising, specializing in the polar regions. 

First time to Antarctica: 2019 / Sailings to Antarctica: 12+

Expedition Coordinators 

Claudio Schulze – Claudio has 32 years of experience in the luxury travel business, having explored destinations from Patagonia to Siberia and Mallorca to Al Ula in the Saudi Arabian desert. 

First time to Antarctica: 2016 / Sailings to Antarctica: 20+ 

Chris Clarke – Chris has travelled for six seasons with Seabourn Quest to Antarctica as Destinations Manager which opened her eyes to the Great White Continent. She fell in love with the ice, the amazing ice sculptures, the colors of the sky and the wildlife. 

First time to Antarctica: 2016 / Sailings to Antarctica: 30+ 

Submarine Pilots 

Dr. Merel Dalebout – With a background in botany and marine biology, Merel has worked on small expedition ships around the world since 2013. She is based in Australia where she leads group walking holidays. Joining Seabourn in 2022, she has recently undergone intensive training as a submarine pilot.  

First time to Antarctica: 2013 / Sailings to Antarctica: 18 

Travis Wadeley  – Travis has spent the past 10 years on expedition ships working across all seven continents in some of the most remote, unique and untamed places on earth. Travis is a highly skilled Zodiac driver and has gained much knowledge about the flora and fauna of the world, especially wildlife found in Antarctica. Travis is a highly skilled Zodiac driver and has gained much knowledge about the flora and fauna of the world, especially wildlife found in Antarctica. 

First time to Antarctica: 2012 / Sailings to Antarctica: 50+

Isaac Blanquez — Isaac’s travel & tourism career spans over 20 years, both in the oceans and the air. He has a dual degree in Environmental Biology and Geology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and loves to apply his education in his professional life. He also holds a flight instructor license and is a submarine pilot. 

First time to Antarctica: 2017 / Sailings to Antarctica: 10+ 

Seb Coulthard – An award-winning sailor, engineer and adventurer, Seb began his career on ships 20 years ago when he joined the Royal Navy as a helicopter engineer. As an expedition guide and lecturer, Seb shares his knowledge on the history of exploration, particularly focusing on the maritime challenges sailors face. 

First time to Antarctica: 2012 / Sailings to Antarctica: 70   

Kayak Guides 

Robert Egelstaff – 2020 Paddler Magazine identified Robert among the 20 top expedition canoeists in the world. He has paddled in all seven continents and achieved major world expedition firsts including crossing the Bering Strait by kayak in 1989 and descending Wilberforce Canyon by canoe on the Hood River, Canada in 2005.

First time to Antarctica: 1993 / Sailings to Antarctica: 50+ 

Tim Thomas –Tim Thomas has 40 years of outdoor guiding, instructional and educational work history. Mostly retired now, Tim teaches wilderness medicine for NOLS in the US, and works on ships in the Antarctic as a sea kayak guide. 

First time to Antarctica: 1999 / Sailings to Antarctica: 50+ 


Dr. Rachel Cartwright – Dr. Cartwright holds a PhD in Conservation Biology and joins Seabourn as a marine mammal specialist. In her research, Rachel focuses on early development processes in humpback whale calves. Her research has been published in high profile scientific journals and covered by major media outlets such as National Geographic and The New York Times

First time to Antarctica: 2020 / Sailings to Antarctica: 1 

Dr. Lida Teneva – Educated as a geologist, oceanographer, climate scientist, and marine conservationist, Lida has lived and worked in more than 15 countries, leading research projects, large conservation programs and expeditions, contributing to the discovery of new ocean species, helping create marine protected areas, and shaping ocean policy.

First time to Antarctica: 2023 / Sailings to Antarctica: 2

Ross Ellingwood –Ross received his undergraduate degree in Geology from Oregon State University focusing on volcanology. His career in the outdoor industry includes guiding sea kayaking trips in Glacier Bay in Alaska, rock climbing in the Grampians National Park of Australia, and ice climbing around Haines, Alaska.

First time to Antarctica: 2018 / Sailings to Antarctica: 15

Michael Woodward – Michael combined his engineering career with his love for outdoor adventure, becoming the senior facilities engineer for the Palmer Station, a U.S. research station in Antarctica. He is passionate about Antarctica and loves every visit, especially when sharing the excitement with people on their very first journey.

First time to Antarctica: 2017 / Sailings to Antarctica: 12

Brent Houston – For more than 30 years, Brent’s wildlife research has taken him on more than 450 expeditions visiting 100 countries. His ship-based expertise includes seabirds, penguins, polar bears and whales. He is a contributing editor and photographer for field guides, as well as for The Encyclopedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans.

First time to Antarctica: 1989 / Sailings to Antarctica: 130

Alexandra Nemeth – Alex is an international mountain leader, expedition guide and photographer based in St. Moritz, Switzerland. One of her greatest projects was climbing the ‘7 Summits’, the highest mountain on every continent, completing the quest on the summit of Mt. Everest. She also works as a professional guide and photographer to motivate people to spend time outdoors and explore mountains and Polar Regions.

First time to Antarctica: 2014 / Sailings to Antarctica: 8 

Pepe Rojas – Pepe has more than 30 years of expertise in guiding and research and holds a degree in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. His guiding experience spans from the Arctic to Antarctica, and he has led expeditions with renowned organizations and institutions. Beyond guiding, he has contributed to conservation efforts and participated in biological expeditions, making him a multifaceted advocate for biodiversity and sustainable tourism.

First time to Antarctica: 2019 / Sailings to Antarctica: 1 


John Shedwick — John is a landscape and adventure videographer and photographer living in the stunning U.K. Lake District. A dedicated member of the local mountain rescue team for the last 12 years – he always encourages adventure, exploration and pushing personal limits while maintaining safety throughout. He has explored the heights of the South American Andes, climbed the ice falls of Écrins National Park and wild camped through the Japanese Minami Alps. 

First time to Antarctica: 2022 Sailings to Antarctica: 5 

Taylor Gray – Taylor is a well-recognized photographer and filmmaker based in the San Francisco Bay area, specializing as a videographer in the expedition cruise industry. In addition, he has worked on several natural history TV productions for National Geographic and the BBC. 

First time to Antarctica: 2023 / Sailings to Antarctica: 1

An Unforgettable Journey Awaits

With Seabourn’s ultra-luxury expedition voyages, guests will embark on an unforgettable journey to Antarctica’s pristine landscapes, guided by an exceptional team of experts who will elevate their understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary continent.