Cruises have long been considered the holiday of choice for older generations looking for all the usual home comforts combined with exotic locations. A typical picture of a cruise is people sailing the Caribbean or the Mediterranean enjoying top-class entertainment and a never-ending supply of food and drink.
More recently, however, specialist cruises of every imaginable type have appeared. There are Elvis impersonator cruises, fine art auctions, clothing optional cruises, every imaginable hobby-related cruise, and much more. Even more exciting are the highly specialised cruises that offer passengers unprecedented opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in beautiful destinations. Here we look at 5 of the most incredible cruises the world has to offer.
North Pole Expedition
Polar bear 5 Unusual Cruises in the World
Polar bear (Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada). CC Image by Ansgar Walk.
A destination unmatched in what you can see and experience in terms of nature’s raw power and beauty. It is the remoteness, the harshness and the unrivalled sense of adventure that makes this cruise so attractive to tourists.
The most popular part of an Arctic cruise is seeing and hearing the incredible spectacle of gigantic pieces of ice ripping away from melting glaciers and falling with loud splashes into the sea. The icy landscape is home to some of the most beautiful, and sadly rarest, creatures in the world including the Arctic Fox and the awe-inspiring polar bear.
With the Arctic disappearing generation by generation, cruises here are becoming more and more popular as there is fear this sublime landscape will quite literally cease to exist in a few decades.
Lampis Island river 5 Unusual Cruises in the World
A river into Lampis Island. CC Image by LawrieM.
If you want to see something truly spectacular the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar is a real “once in a lifetime” experience. The Mergui Archipelago is an area of around 800 islands that have been almost completely hidden from the outside world since the outbreak of WWII. This is a diverse paradise and offers an opportunity to see an astonishing array of wildly coloured exotic birds, along with a veritable rainbow of tropical fish. You can also go on land to mix with wild rhinos and elephants and explore unspoilt sub-tropical jungles.
One of the other attractions of cruising in this area is that it is virtually uninhabited apart from members of the Salon tribe who scratch a living as fishermen as their ancestors have done for countless generations. As a cultural and natural experience nothing in the world quite compares.
The Zambezi River Queen is a unique concept, as it is the first in a new generation of cruise vessels that has been created around the need to protect nature. Its engines make very little noise and cause no environmental damage. And with lack of noise, there is little disturbance to local wildlife. This means cruise passengers can get much better close-up views of the indigenous lions, rhinos, elephants and other African creatures.
Despite their eco-friendly outlook these cruise ships still offer all the comforts you’d expect from a cruise. However, the majesty of African wildlife, unforgettable days of trekking off boat and afternoon’s spent watching the zebra, antelope and trying to spot lion are really what matters.
The Mighty Mekong River
Can Tho Floating Market 5 Unusual Cruises in the World
Floating market of Cần Thơ, Mekong Delta, Vietnam. CC Image by Doron.
The Mekong, one of the world’s most impressive rivers, runs through China, Vietnam and on into Cambodia. Huge sections of the river are completely unspoilt and a haven for wildlife – far away from any human disturbances.
The Mekong is an extremely diverse ecosystem that supports an vast range of animals, birds and water-borne creatues. It is also home to the disappearing Irrawaddy Dolphin and the near extinct Giant Catfish.
Still relatively few and far between, cruise passengers can find many opportunities to explore the myriad of temples and ruins along the river, as well as the Asian floating markets, where you can buy hand-produced crafts and local delicacies.
Iquitos Plaza1 5 Unusual Cruises in the World
View of Plaza de Armas in Iquitos. CC Image by Percy Meza.
Encompassing the best part of 50% of Peru, before carrying on through Brazil, the Amazon is without doubt the mightiest river on the planet. Nearly every inch of the banks of the river is covered with virgin Amazonian rainforest, making it a destination on most people’s ‘bucket list’.
A cruise down the Amazon truly is a voyage through the most diverse and rich ecosystem anywhere in the world. Most cruise itineraries begin at Iquitos, a seaport which is the furthest from the sea of any port in the world. It is also the largest city in the world with absolutely no road access.
A cruise along the Amazon offers the chance to view just about every imaginable kind of wildlife, from the most exotic of coloured birds to sloths, monkeys, pink dolphins and a myriad of endangered and unusual species.
These cruises really are some of the most exciting adventures possible on a boat. And since holidays insurance is a must, why not visit Columbus Direct for a policy tailored to one of these incredible destinations.