From wide-open oceans to European waterways, Amazon river exploring and winding through Australian gorges, there are many ways you can choose to cruise. Our guide below will help you decide between ocean, river, small ship and more.
Nothing beats sailing on an ocean cruise to some exotic, far off destination. Ocean cruising offers the best of two worlds – fun filled shore excursions and typically, sea days where you can enjoy all the amenities found on board.
Unwind with a massage in the day spa, lounge at one of the pools where you can catch the sun’s rays, order a cocktail and relax with a good book.
If you like to keep busy, there are countless activities in which to enjoy. Art classes, cooking classes, social groups, dancing, trivia competitions or bingo – the options are numerous. And if you’re on one of today’s super-liners, you may even find outdoor adventure activities, from wave and surf rides to rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks and even theme rides and water slides.
Frequent ocean cruise itineraries depart from Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne, Cairns, Adelaide and Sydney, with seasonal departures from other ports.
Popular international ports include Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Southampton, New York, and many ports around Europe.
Popular ocean cruises: Caribbean, Australia, Trans-Tasman and South Pacific, Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, Mediterranean and Trans-Atlantic.
The river cruise is fast becoming the preferred method of travel, especially through Europe. However, river cruising is also on the rise in China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
The Americas too offer some intriguing destinations. In the United States, the mighty Mississippi River, the Ohio and the Cumberland rivers take visitors to such iconic cities as Nashville, Memphis, St. Louis and New Orleans.
And in the Southern Hemisphere, the rainforests of the Amazon come alive in Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
What makes river cruising so special is the small ship aspect and the accessibility of the city to the ship and port. A typical river cruise will carry between 100 and 200 guests, which makes the boarding and disembarking quick and easy.
Of course, you’ll find many of the same luxuries on a river cruise that you will find on the larger ships. Top notch food served in a stylish dining room, a day spa and gym for a massage and a work out, and best of all, a large viewing deck on which to admire the passing scenery.
In Europe, the scenery often includes quaint villages with castles, chateaus, vineyards and churches.
Popular river cruises: Amsterdam to Prague on the Danube, Bordeaux and the South of France, the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia, The Douro through Portugal, luxury paddle boat on the Mississippi River.
Luxury and Small Ship
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to cruise the Mediterranean or the Caribbean on a personal yacht, then a small ship luxury cruise is just the thing for you. With 5-Star dining, luxury suites and even butler service, nothing is overlooked on these luxury cruises.
Small ship luxury ships range in size, but typically, passenger numbers range from just a few dozen, up to 300 guests. Vastly different to today’s large ship cruises, where passenger numbers can reach into the thousands, the small ship experience affords greater levels of service, comfort and privacy.
Equally beneficial, the smaller ships can access an even greater number of ports, allowing for stops at remote locations or small towns. And for those looking for a true cultural or outdoor immersion, these smaller ports are often the most memorable, where visitors are able to fully indulge in the local way of life.
For some, a cruise isn’t just about relaxing on board with a drink or a book. Adventure cruising is all about the destination, with interesting land tours making up the bulk of the holiday experience.
In fact, luxury sailing and adventure often go together. Because luxury small ship cruises often stop at remote locations and smaller ports, the access to natural highlights like the bays of Alaska, the fjords of Norway, or even Antarctica or coastal Africa, make for ideal holidays which are open to exploration.
But there are plenty of cruises where luxury isn’t a top requirement. Basic but comfortable quarters are the norm, and you’ll find all the required outdoor equipment onboard too, such as kayaks, zodiac boats and even bicycles for shore excursions.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow for the smaller ship experience, today’s big name cruise lines offer an excellent array of adventure based shore excursions. From scuba diving and snorkelling to hiking and ATV tours, finding that fun filled outdoor experience is easy on almost any cruise.
Adventure cruise line options: APT, Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions, Scenic, Silversea, UnCruise Adventures, Windstar
A Cruise to Adventure
Galapagos – Roughly 900 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador in South America, this chain of islands has been captivating explorers and outdoor adventure seekers for centuries. Thankfully its natural habitat is still very much undisturbed. The volcanic islands are popular for wildlife spotting and marine activities.
Costa Rica – Central America’s favourite little country, a full quarter of its landscape is devoted to national parks and protected lands. Experience the rainforest on a hike, or better yet, a zip-line, or head to the clear blue waters for some scuba diving, snorkelling or kayaking.
Antarctica – Who hasn’t dreamt of setting foot on the world’s last remaining frontier? This vast, icy continent not only boasts spectacular coastal scenery in the way of cliff tops and glaciers, but the marine life sightings are equally spectacular. Adventure cruises take guests to shore on their own zodiac boats for an easy and fun filled excursion. Step foot on shore and admire the penguins and sea lions!
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