While many cruises cater to those of us who love to kick back and relax, cruising can offer so much more. If your idea of a vacation is to get out, explore and take in the world, there are plenty of cruises right for you. Here are eight adventure cruises for those among us who can't sit still.
Float by the Fjords of Norway
The Arctic is a fantastic destination for adventurous cruisers. Cruising past staggering glaciers, white-topped mountains and wild landscapes will be sure to fire-up your sense of adventure. Travel in inflatable boats and skim close to icebergs and glaciers as you look out for arctic foxes, walruses and polar bears. Later you can get to know the indigenous animals better as you dash through the snow on a husky sled or take control and build up even more speed on a snowmobile safari. Leave the warmth of the ship, stay at a snow hotel and try your luck at spotting the Northern Lights. If you need to reach new heights, take a once-in-a-lifetime hike to get the best view of the Seven Sisters waterfall or kayak in the icy waters below.
Sail up for an African Safari
What better way to reach the heat of the African grasslands than on the breeze of a boat? Cruises are limited to their locations, so logistically you’ll be heading to one of the game reserves close to the coastal ports, but with places like the Addo Elephant National Park to choose from, you certainly won’t be missing out. Take ranger-led drives around the 445,000-acre park and look out for the big five along with smaller yet equally intriguing creatures. Finish your adventure off in Cape Town with a cableway trip up Table Mountain and gain some heady inspiration for your next trip.
Drift to the Dalmatian Coast
The dazzling scenery of The Dalmatian Coast will make you itch to get closer. Larger cruises will take you from Venice to Rome. Start by trying your hand at rowing a gondola and then let someone else do the hard work while you cruise to your next stop. Walk in the footsteps of your Game of Thrones heroes in Dubrovnik or jump on a trip to the Kravice falls in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not only can you stand and gaze at the beauty of the magnificent waterfalls but you’re allowed to swim right under them. If you still can’t sit still then take a hike in Malta or head underwater on a SCUBA mission.
Explore the Australian Wilderness
For a wilderness adventure like no other, the inhospitable area of Kimberley in Western Australia is the cruise destination you need. The northern region is sparsely settled and known for large swaths of wilderness, rugged coastline and dramatic gorges. Visit from April to September when the torrential rains have eased and explore its harsh beauty. Activities include sport fishing, reef walking and snorkeling. Get your heart pumping with hikes up million-year-old gorges and then cool off with swimming adventure. Watch out for the saltwater crocodiles and if you’re brave enough even go swimming with sharks.
Hop Around the Pacific Islands
The smaller islands in the South Pacific are rarely reached by plane, making cruising the perfect way to explore. Visit some of the well-known islands like Fiji, Bora Bora and Samoa. Then discover ones you’ve never heard of. Smaller cruise ships will take you to islands so remote you won’t even spot them on your map. While you’re there, embrace indigenous traditions and warming welcomes from the locals. Then it's time for a dive into the Pacific’s coral seascape.
Plough Through the Antarctic Peninsula
The Antarctic Peninsula plays witness to the survival of nature in the most colossal and uncompromising of environments. Cruise through the glossy, gunmetal-grey waters while staring up at chiseled, snow-laden mountains. From the bigger cruise ships, you’ll only be able to sail on open water and won’t get ashore. Pick a smaller vessel with around 150 or fewer passengers and get the real Gulliver experience. Push through the sea ice in Zodiacs, ice-strengthened inflatables, and make your landing. Once ashore you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the continent. Walk among the penguins and practice life on ice.
Navigate the Nile
A cruise down the Nile is the ultimate adventure for Egypt enthusiasts. Gaze at riverbanks and fields of crops to the sound of muezzins calling people to prayer, all while your ship’s dedicated Egyptologist fills your mind with wonder. Cruise to all the hotspots at the perfect time so you’re truly exploring without the throngs of crowds. Immerse yourself in ancient marvels from the Great Pyramids to the temples of Luxor. Then, cool down after all the excitement with some incredible snorkeling in the Red Sea.
Gallop to the Galapagos Islands
A wildlife cruise through the Galapagos Islands will get you up close and personal with a spectacular array of endemic species. Sail along the length of the archipelago, one of the most extraordinary natural landscapes on earth, and imagine how the many creatures evolved. Visit the colonies of sea lions on Espanola Island, the Galapagos Tortoise Breeding Centre and spot reef sharks and marine iguanas off Las Tintoreras. Explore Isabela Island and take your chances gazing down into Sierra Negra, one of the most active volcanoes in the region.