As far as versatility of destinations goes, cruising is the best way in the world to see the most exclusive and awe-inspiring sights on Earth. With cruise lines expanding their scope year-on-year, we’re able to enjoy a growing number of places to go ashore and experience the culture, nature and inspiration on offer, throughout the world.

Specialist cruise expeditions enable travellers to experience some of the most spectacular sights and fascinating wildlife, all while sailing in the comfort of a fully-equipped cruise ship. If the spirit of adventure burns bright within you, check out our recommendations of some of the top cruise expeditions open to you today.

Sail down the Mekong River

The Mekong River is one of the most exclusive routes in the world. Avalon Waterways has dedicated a Suite Ship® – Avalon Siem Reap – to cruise the Mekong River in style. Because it was created exclusively for the Mekong River, the aesthetics and design are second to none.

On Avalon Waterways’ Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong cruise, guests begin their adventure at Ho Chi Minh City, home to stunning ancient architecture and an interesting mix of cultures. From here you’ll sail on to seven fascinating destinations, including Cai Be–Cu Lao Gieng, where you’ll visit a cathedral and see how rice paper and rice wine are made.

The wildlife of the Galapagos Islands

Perhaps one of the best cruise expeditions in history was enjoyed by Charles Darwin, although we doubt he had access to the kinds of luxuries we enjoy at sea today. Either way, his work on the Galapagos Islands paved the way for modern animal sciences and as such, this precious realm is a prized cruise expedition destination today.

A cruise to the Galapagos Islands is paradise for nature lovers, with penguins, sea lions, many species of tropical birds and fish all spotted here regularly. You may also get to meet a rare giant tortoise on San Cristobal and the whole area is rich in volcanic landscapes. Although countless cruise lines visit the Galapagos Islands today, Celebrity Cruises® brings timeless chic along for the ride, often factoring in the wonders of South America for good measure.

Explore far northern Canada

Many of the best cruises for adventurers take place deep in the Arctic Circle. Hurtigruten offers a huge range of cruises into the northern realms of our world, including voyages that tap into the legends and folklore of Iceland to those that take on the whole Arctic Circle.

One of the cruise line’s most popular expedition cruises sails from Copenhagen to Canada, to meet the cariboo birds. Sailing along the rugged coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador, you’ll be expertly guided to discover more about the region’s fascinating history, as well as to learn about therole of the Vikings in this part of Canada. There will also be opportunities to meet indigenous Inuit.

Make friends with penguins

Of course, we couldn’t feature one of Earth’s poles without mentioning Hurtigruten’s cruises in the other. MS Fram is a cruise ship you’ll often find charting a course through Antarctica, giving you thechance to meet the penguins who dwell there. Such cruises often depart from Buenos Aires in Argentina, itself a spectacular city to visit, before passing through Drake Passage, deep into the Antarctic Circle. Here, around 180,000 of the world’s penguins congregate to mate and bring up their young each year. You’ll be accompanied by expert guides to help you spot the wide range of penguin species, seals and birds.

Tour the Amazon River

Perhaps the most enticing and exotic river in the world, the Amazon slinks through Brazil and South America and connects modern cities with ancient sites and natural wonders. Cruise & Maritime Voyages does so sensationally, weaving the mysteries of the river together with the stunning sights of the Caribbean. Visit the remote jungle village of Boca da Valeria and experience a colourful show recreating the Bio Buma Festival in Parintins. There will also be chances to explore the lush vegetation and wildlife of the region. You’ll then stop off to enjoy the scenery and beaches at the idyllic islands of Grenada, St. Lucia and Barbados.

Swim with turtles in Barbados

Any cruise to the Caribbean guarantees enjoyment, but adding snorkelling off the coast of Barbados, with local guides, into the mix is a truly memorable experience. You can meet colourful turtles who love to swim and swirl around their new friends, as well as explore sunken ships from bygone days that are now considered home by countless tropical fish. As is often the case, Royal Caribbean® is the cruise line to choose for getting involved in some Caribbean cruising and with plenty of shore excursions too, you can explore old fortresses and rum distilleries too.

Explore the Indian Ocean in style

While enjoying the full lap of luxury provided by Silversea, you can cruise alongside marine biologists, ornithologists and historians from mainland Africa out to Mauritius. You’ll stop at Zanzibar where you can explore Zanzibar Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There will also be a visit to beautiful, crescent shaped Assumption Island before landing in Nosy Be, Madagascar, where you can take inland excursions including a ride up Mt. Passot.

Take a grand tour

When you absolutely have to see it all and you’ve got a few months spare for an adventure, take one of the grand tours such as those offered by P&O Cruises. As an example of how grandiose these voyages are,take a look at this itinerary: the cruise starts in Madeira, then sails on to beautiful Barbados and Curacao in the Caribbean. From here you’ll sail through the Panama Canal to Huatalco, Mexico, where you’ll discover more than 32 kilometres of beach to enjoy. Thereafter, visit the exciting cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco before heading on to Hawaii and Tahiti. You’ll then sail to ports in New Zealand and Australia before visiting destinations in Japan, China, Singapore and Dubai.

Whether it’s city trips unlike any other or getting back to nature in the world’s most exotic locales, cruising connects you to the adventures you deserve. Don’t hesitate to see how we can help you make memories across the globe, all while enjoying the finest cruise ships in creation.

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