You don’t have to be an avid hiker to soak up some seriously gorgeous mountain views. The cruise industry has ensured you can now do it from just about anywhere – including the deck of a ship. What’s more is that some of the best mountain view cruises also hit major cities, so you won’t spend all of your holiday out in the sticks.

If a holiday in the great outdoors that still features all the swish and glamour of a cruise ship sounds right up your alley, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve got a round-up of top cruise destinations for mountain views – as well as a rundown of the lines that will take you there.

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay is a stunning mash-up of browns, whites and neon blues that straddles the line between southeastern Alaska and Canada. It’s a landscape made up of icy bays, glaciers and a horizon made craggy with sky-high mountains. The tallest is Mount Fairweather, rising up to an incredible 4,700 metres.

Needless to say, the views here are pretty breathtaking. At 25 million acres, the Glacier Bay National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the world and is home to animals as varied as sea lions, brown bears, wolves and red foxes. There’s certainly no shortage of space to explore here either – the only trouble is deciding where to start.

Best cruises to Glacier Bay – Princess Cruises is the unsung leader in mountain view cruises, running a scenic trip up to Glacier Bay where you can do some animal-spotting with the help of a park ranger. They also offer a month-long voyage that starts in Asia and winds its way down to the bay. Seabourn also brings its country club atmosphere to this chunk of Canada, as does Holland America Line.

Norwegian fjords

While not officially mountains, the Norwegian fjords might as well be – they’re certainly tall enough. In technical terms, a fjord is a long and often narrow inlet bordered by steep cliffs. These passages were created over thousands of years of rock erosion and are now so big, they can even accommodate cruise ships.

Cruising through a fjord, you’re afforded with some seriously incredible views. They can be found in places like Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and beyond, but Norwegian fjords are especially popular among the cruising world. Cruise expeditions here tend to be more outdoorsy and low key, featuring kayak and hiking excursions, as well as ports located in small villages and mid-sized Norwegian cities.

Best cruises to the Norwegian fjords – Because Norwegian fjord cruises are so popular, just about every line provides one to some extent. Hurtigruten is based in Norway, so they immediately have the upper hand and expertise where Norwegian fjord cruises are concerned. They’ll take you to big time cities like Bergen and Oslo while still affording some seriously spectacular high-flying views.

The Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains are a sight to behold, cutting through the southern United States and stretching all the way into western Canada. They were formed millions of years ago and rise all the way up to more than 4,400 metres at Mount Elbert – the highest point.

Cruises that go into Rocky Mountain territory visit the Canadian Rockies and typically involve outdoor activities in the shadows of snow-capped peaks. The scenery here is stunning, to say the least, complete with glaciers, lakes and endless forests.

Best cruises to the Rocky Mountains – Princess Cruises does an especially fantastic route up to the Canadian Rockies, starting in Calgary and visiting lakes up into the mountains before stopping off in Vancouver and boarding a ship that will then take you down to Alaska.

Three Gorges

The Three Gorges are three adjacent gorges, located along China’s Yangtze River. They make up some of the most important natural scenery in all of China, rising up on either side of the river in towering proportions and peppered with greenery.

The gorges that make up this impressive site are the Wu Gorge, the Xiling Gorge and the Qutang Gorge, all of which run up alongside towns and settlements. The Three Gorges used to be a potentially treacherous ride for passing ships, but the construction of the Three Gorges Dam has made the river more placid and easy to navigate.

Best cruises to the Three Gorges – Viking Cruises offers a Yangtze adventure that hits Shanghai along the way and ends with a flight into and out of Beijing. It’s on this cruise that you’ll get a window into Chinese culture and history, walking along the Great Wall and marvelling at the famous Terracotta Army.

Cape Horn

The Three Gorges are three adjacent gorges, located along China’s Yangtze River. They make up some of the most important natural scenery in all of China, rising up on either side of the river in towering proportions and peppered with greenery.

The gorges that make up this impressive site are the Wu Gorge, the Xiling Gorge and the Qutang Gorge, all of which run up alongside towns and settlements. The Three Gorges used to be a potentially treacherous ride for passing ships, but the construction of the Three Gorges Dam has made the river more placid and easy to navigate.

Best cruises to the Three Gorges – Viking Cruises offers a Yangtze adventure that hits Shanghai along the way and ends with a flight into and out of Beijing. It’s on this cruise that you’ll get a window into Chinese culture and history, walking along the Great Wall and marvelling at the famous Terracotta Army.

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