When it comes to choosing a cruise, certain destinations probably immediately come to mind. Locations in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and along the U.S. Pacific Coast are some of the most popular cruising destinations in the world. However, with cruise travelers craving more adventure and the opportunity to explore less-touristy locales, cruise itineraries have expanded tremendously. Here’s a look at five of the most unique cruise destinations in the world.
River cruising is extremely popular, and Viking River Cruises offer a pretty special itinerary along the Nile that gives you a chance to sail the world’s second longest river and see some of its most important history firsthand. A Nile River cruise typically includes some time in Cairo and Luxor first before you head out on the river and cruise to destinations like Aswan, Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo and more.
Book a Nile River cruise and experience a one-of-a-kind trip in Egypt. You’ll explore the pyramids, the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens, the Necropolis in Thebes and a variety of other important Egyptian sites.
The North Pole is definitely one of the most unique cruise destinations you can imagine. You get bragging rights to say you’ve stood on top of the world and marvel at some of the most stunning unspoiled landscape. Wildlife sightings are pretty epic here with polar bears, walruses, seals and more. If the weather permits, you can do a tethered balloon ride. Quark Expeditions offers a two-week North Pole itinerary that departs from Murmansk Russia after an overnight in Helsinki.
When you think about French Polynesia and the South Pacific, your mind likely drifts to gorgeous overwater bungalows in Bora Bora. However, for about the same price that three or four nights would run you in one of these fancy suites, you could spend a week or two cruising to even more beautiful islands throughout the South Pacific.
Paul Gauguin Cruises is a small cruise line that specializes in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and other islands in the South Pacific. If you pick an itinerary that includes a visit to Fakarava, this unspoiled atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for rare wildlife and marine species that call the island home. You can even visit a church made from coral.
This lesser-known gem in Croatia doesn’t get the attention it deserves when compared to nearby destinations like Dubrovnik. Opatija has been called the Queen of the Adriatic by some, and this idyllic port town lies at the center of the Adriatic Riviera. It’s credited as being the destination that launched tourism in Croatia, and it’s also home to the Kvarner Hotel, the first hotel on the Adriatic.
Aside from its gorgeous Lungomare promenade, beautiful beaches and elegant hotels, Opatija is an ideal jumping off point for cruising some of Croatia’s smaller islands. Katarina Line specializes in small-boat cruising, with the largest ship capacity at 38 passengers. They even have a number of vintage wooden sailing ships in their fleet. With these cruises, you can leave your formal wear at home, as it’s a very casual and laid-back vibe onboard.
Several cruise lines now offer itineraries along the Amazon River, including Rainforest Cruises. Cruises typically depart in Peru, and select itineraries even visit the remote Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, which is one of the largest protected wetland reserves in the world, and it’s also one area with the highest biodiversity.
Some of these ships are quite high-end, offering a variety of luxurious amenities and services. The Delfin I has just four suites on board, so you definitely won’t be overrun with thousands or even hundreds of other tourists. Each suite has its own private terrace and there are floor-to-ceiling paneled windows, so you won’t miss a single thing when it comes to rainforest views.