Top adventure cruises for the trip of a lifetime - Cruise International

Top adventure cruises for the trip of a lifetime

By Josephine Price | 13 Aug 2014

Whether you want to explore the remnants of ancient civilisations or experience a walk on the wild side, these cruises will take you on an unforgettable adventure


South American Treasure

Has the World Cup inspired you to discover Brazil? South American cruises can take you to Rio, Manaus (for the Amazon) and great destinations such as Puerto Montt, Chile, to see the glacial lakes and towering volcanoes or the charming Buenos Aires in Argentina from where you can visit Iguazu Falls and Cape Horn, South America’s most southerly tip. For those looking for more, selected shore excursions will take you to Peru’s famed UNESCO-listed site of the Inca people, Machu Picchu.

An eight-night cruise on MSC Magnifica departing 7 March 2015 from Buenos Aires and calling at Rio starts from £679pp excluding flights ( 3426 3010).


The Panama Canal

Regarded as one of the wonders of the modern world, the Panama Canal cuts right through the heart of Central America in a marvel of modern engineering. The man-made waterway connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through a series of locks that pass through the emerald rainforests of Central America. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the historic quarters of Panama City and its old-world charm before you start your cruise. The 10-hour continental crossing is unparalleled but cruises also take in the tropical delights of Costa Rica, Mexico and Honduras where you will get the chance to experience South America’s nature, cuisine and culture from every angle.

A 19-day Panama Canal cruise on Queen Victoria from Los Angeles to New York departing 6 April 2015 costs from £2,049pp ( 374 2224).


Into the wild

The vast open plains of South Africa’s national parks are juxtaposed against the cool cosmopolitan cities in this vast country. The remarkable scenery sets the tone for a fascinating journey as you discover the wildlife and the history that has long captivated travellers. Begin your adventure in the capital city of Cape Town, nestled between the foot of Table Mountain and the South Atlantic. Jet out to Robben Island to find out more about Nelson Mandela, and travel up the Garden Route to the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, a gateway into safari territory. Combine a safari with a cruise holiday and experience the vast, golden wilderness. Alternatively, take a river cruise along the Zambezi or Chobe for an explorer’s eye view.

A 15-night round trip cruise from Cape Town departing 22 December 2014 costs from £4,709pp including flights with Oceania Cruises ( 505 1920).


Explore down under

From the Outback to the Blue  Mountains, reefs teaming with tropical fish to expansive sandy beaches, and cities including Melbourne and Sydney, there is something for everyone in Australia. If you have time for a cruise-and-stay, visit Ayers Rock (Uluru); and of course the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef boasting jewel colours and beautiful marine life, is not to be missed. Cruises take in the great Australian cities and beaches and the neighbouring islands of Fiji, Samoa and O’ahu in Hawaii, where you can visit Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach.

A 23-night cruise departing 31 January 2015 from San Francisco, calling at Australia and Hawaii costs from £3,459pp including flights ( 373 0111).


Light fantastic

If you enjoyed the BBC’s Stargazing Live, you’ll be longing to see the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis. The multi-coloured lights that veil the sky are one of the world’s great natural phenomena. The best chance to see the lights is in spring. You’ll be dazzled by their beauty, but you’ll be equally impressed with the journey to find them. Hunting the lights will take you through the Nordic beauty of northern Norway and the Svalbard Islands. Untouched wilderness and dramatic landscapes provide plenty to keep you occupied from arctic fishing to husky sledding. Cap it off with a stay in an igloo hotel for a unique experience.

A 16-night In Search of the Northern Lights cruise departing 21 February 2015 starts from £1,399pp from Southampton ( 322 8936).


The Nile

Acknowledged as the world’s longest river, the Nile, stretching from East Africa to the Mediterranean, is your pathway to the pyramids at Giza with its ancient monuments, constructed by one of the world’s oldest civilisations. A Nile cruise lets you tick off items on your bucket list on a daily basis, as you traverse the great river in comfort and style, taking in the extraordinary Valley of the Kings, Jordan, the temples in Luxor and the Red Sea.

A seven-night all-inclusive Nile cruise departing 8 July 2015 costs from £752pp including flights ( 231 4691).


Holy Lands

Discovering the hallowed lands of Israel and the ancient history of Greece are fantastic cultural experiences. Stopping off in Israel allows you to travel between the great biblical sites: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Cana and Haifa – climbing Mount Carmel gives panoramas out over Haifa’s beautiful bay. The Greek Islands are idyllic but the real adventure begins at the ancient Greek and Roman sights dotted around the Mediterranean.

A 17-day Path of the Crusaders cruise from Jerusalem to Athens departing 7 November 2014 costs from £2,195pp ( 437 9737).


St Helena

The British Overseas Territory of St Helena is a tiny speck in the South Atlantic, and getting here is an adventure in itself. The deep blue seas that surround the craggy coastline are best explored by boat where you can join a fishing expedition or simply go out in search of marine life – dolphins and whale sharks are common. The island’s highest point, Diana’s Peak, showcases the island’s unique, native flora and fauna and is an explorer’s paradise.

A 10-day trip from Cape Town on RMS St Helena excluding flights starts from £2,206pp ( 7575 6480).


The Falklands

The archipelago of more than 770 islands in the South Atlantic is an ideal cruise destination, an untouched wilderness ideal for those seeking something different. You can get involved in an off-road trek, explore the Bluff Cove Lagoon, teeming with wildlife, or venture down to Volunteer Point to see the islands’ famous birds. King penguins gather on the sandy headland making it a perfect photo opportunity. The capital of Stanley is dotted with colourful houses that line the harbour but the countryside, known as Camp, with its rich heritage and stunning wildlife, offers an off-the-beaten-track adventure. Ecotourism is important in the Falklands and a cruise here allows you to see the smaller islands that are difficult for land-based tourists to reach.

A 14-day Cape Horn Route to Rio cruise departing 3 January from Rio to Santiago, stopping at the Falkland Islands costs from £1,199pp excluding flights ( 374 2401).


The White Continent

Nothing will prepare you for the vast, stark beauty of the Antarctic. No wonder the White Continent has captured the imagination of so many explorers including Scott and Shackleton. A cruise is the best way to visit the final frontier, which is unlike anywhere you’ve ever been in your life before: there are no towns, or even trees. Wildlife-lovers will be in their element with the stunning colonies of king penguins and whales as well as seals; and there are endless photo opportunities, including the jagged icy ravines that perforate the skyline. Cruises take you down Iceberg Alley where the towering icebergs make you feel like a real explorer in unchartered territory amongst glaciers and frozen mountains. An Antarctic cruise is probably the ultimate adventure.

An 11-night Classic Antarctica cruise from Chimu Adventures starts from £2,970pp ( 7403 8265).

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