Cruising is a great way to see the world in a new and unique light. Though the first thing that comes to mind is often a sun-soaked jaunt in the Mediterranean or a sojourn amidst the Caribbean Islands. However, there are tons of diverse options on offer nowadays so you can make your cruise into something a bit more unusual.
Why not consider a travel adventure, on board a ship heading for the Arctic, the rivers of Russia or the wilds of Africa? If you fancy something original for your sea-born holiday, here are a few suggestions on where to head.
The North Pole
If you’re a fan of exploratory travel but don’t fancy months of trekking through ice and snow, there is another way to visit the Arctic Circle.
The North Pole is one of the world’s last, unexplored regions and cruisers are offered the chance to experience it up close and personal from the safety of a luxury liner. With some of the most breath-taking scenery on the planet, it really is best seen first-hand and for those after a unusual last minute cruise deal this summer, you can hardly get much more off the beaten track than the remote Lofoten Islands or the northernmost fjords of Norway.
There’s also wildlife aplenty, including seabirds, walruses and even polar bears strutting their stuff across the ice. And during the long days of summer, you can literally stand at the top of the world and enjoy the spectacular midnight sun.
River cruises are becoming more and more popular these days, with many inland waterways being opened up to explorers hoping for a unique view of their country of choice. Russia is a beautiful European gem and a cruise along the river Volga will afford you the chance to take in more than you could on a static holiday.
Experience the splendour of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, pass through the mighty Lakes of Onega and Ladoga and see the traditional towns of the ‘Golden Ring’ like Uglich. Russian river cruise operators often indulge their passengers in a fantastic itinerary of opera, art and ballet in grand stop-offs like Moscow to really enhance the overall experience of their magical country.
The Cape Coast, South Africa
There is such a diverse range of cultures and traditions across the continent of Africa that it can be difficult to decide where to explore first. For adventure-seekers, the Cape Coast could just be the perfect destination. With its spectacular coastline, flanked by dramatic mountains, Cape Town and the surrounding area is a great place to visit by sea and there are some first-rate excursions.
Ride a cable car to the summit of Table Mountain, visit game reserves populated by everything from baboons to bontebok antelopes or indulge in a spot of wine-tasting at the Anura or Spier vineyards near the city.
With options for adding on trips up the western shore to the deserts of Namibia or Ghana’s Gold Coast, cruising really does give you a fantastic insight into this part of the world.
Julia Benson writes both destination guides and holiday advice for a number of travel sites. She is currently debating whether her next adventure will take her to East Africa or New Zealand’s South Island.