Are you ready to start planning your next cruise vacation? You can visit a wide variety of destinations on a ship, and some of these places just beg to be explored via a cruise. To help fuel your wanderlust, here are five locations best visited aboard a cruise ship.

French Polynesia

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French Polynesia is not necessarily an inexpensive vacation destination, especially if you want to book an iconic over-the-water bungalow. Rather than spending that money on a few nights at a resort, you could explore multiple islands for less on your own floating hotel. Cruise lines like Paul Gauguin specialize in French Polynesia and often run regular deals — including airfare to Tahiti from several destinations. Imagine waking up with a different island view every morning. You won’t get that if you opt to stay only on land in French Polynesia.

Ships that explore this region are also smaller, typically with only a few hundred passengers. These smaller ships can visit islands that larger cruise ships can’t. Depending on the itinerary you choose, you may also have the opportunity to spend the day on a private island.

Alaska’s Inside Passage

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Visiting Alaska on a cruise ship is the most popular way to explore the Inside Passage. The Inside Passage is the panhandle that runs alongside British Columbia. Given the unpredictable weather, it’s also better to trust your Alaska vacation to the experts who specialize in visits to the region.

On an Alaskan cruise, you’ll be treated to incredible scenery and wildlife. Cruise along spectacular fjords and marvel at the gigantic icebergs. The Inside Passage is a maze of islands, mountains and fjords that you can only explore from the water. If you do want to explore Alaska on land, you can combine your cruise with a multi-day tour of other iconic attractions like Denali National Park.

Amazon River

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What better way to explore the world’s longest river than on a cruise? The Amazon River is becoming a popular cruise destination where travelers can choose from small ship experiences in Peru or larger boat rides in Brazil. Given that the environmental conditions in this area can be unpleasant at times, with bugs, rain and humidity, taking a cruise can add a luxurious respite between adventures. It will also serve double duty as it’s like a mobile observation station as well.

The Amazon is such a unique ecosystem; you don’t want to stay in just one place. A cruise provides travelers the opportunity to explore an expansive amount of flora and fauna. Amazon river cruises offer flexible itineraries that will vary by season. Rainfall, wildlife migrations and water levels can alter the accessibility of some trails. Your cruise line is well-prepared for this and has plenty of alternative options ready just in case.

Antarctica

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Exploring Antarctica on a cruise isn’t just the best way to see the continent; it’s pretty much the only way — unless you’re a scientist. Accommodations on land are limited to scientists, which means travelers who are interested in visiting the white continent do so by cruise ships. Some passengers are hesitant to book an Antarctica cruise out of fear of the Drake Passage, which can be extremely rough on some voyages. However, some cruise lines offer the option to fly to the South Shetland Islands to meet your cruise ship instead.

When comparing Antarctica ships, you want to look for itineraries that include multiple landings and have plenty of shore excursions, so you are getting the most out of your cruise.

Norway

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Cruising through some Norwegian fjords elevates the experience of visiting the country. You can find voyages that last a week or longer journeys that may include other nearby destinations.

As you weave through the fjords, you’ll see mind-blowing scenery in every direction. And, unlike other cruise destinations where you are visiting industrial city ports, your Norwegian fjord cruise takes you to postcard-worthy villages and towns. Look for cruises that include plenty of shore excursions to see even more dramatic scenery, waterfalls, glaciers and more. You might spend a day at a rural farm or a historic church in a scenic village.

If you are fortunate, you might see a hint of the northern lights. October through March afford travelers with the best opportunity to see the lights. Choose an itinerary that visits the northernmost part of Norway during winter. However, the trade-off is worth it for most cruise passengers who are willing to brave the bitter cold for a chance at seeing such an awesome spectacle.