Top adventure cruising locations in 2018
Adventure cruising is evolving at a faster rate than any other form of travelling, with big names constantly bringing new and innovative offerings to holidayers and expanding the possibilities of cruise. This means that the cream of the adventure cruise crop doesn’t stay at the top for long, and soon something even bigger and more exciting arrives on the scene.
We spoke to Gavin Murray, head of expedition sales at Exclusive Expeditions, about his favourite adventure cruising locations. He picked out his current top five.
The real heart of any tropical destination is its wildlife, and the Galapagos Islands is able to boast some of the most unique wildlife in the world – including species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world! The animal life is the Galapagos’ biggest draw, from giant tortoises to unique breeds of iguana to Darwin’s finches, but the islands also include some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth. The Ecuador-owned islands consist of 15 main islands, 4 smaller islands and 107 rocks and islets, and their position on the equator provides some truly tropical weather. Cruises to this area also include visits to South American highlights such as Ecuador’s Maccu Piccu.
Honeymoon capital of the world, Hawaii is brimming with inviting features, from its beautiful weather and unique biodiversity to its widely-loved culture and endless choice of extreme outdoor activities. The state is made up of six islands, flanked by tropical rainforest and built upon a number of volcanoes – some of which are still active. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of Hawaii from the skies in hotspots like Honolulu, where helicopters regularly tour over the islands, or discover the state’s rich past in one of its many historic sites and monuments. And of course, visitors can try their hand at Hawaii’s official individual sport – surfing! Vessels headed for Hawaii give you a place to unwind between beach days with movies under the stars, onboard nightclubs and bars and even cigar lounges.
If you’ve had your fill of sunny beach holidays, hop down the other end of the spectrum for the Arctic Circle. Cruise providers have been working on ships that could withstand the harsh temperatures of the poles, and now the Arctic is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for thrill-seekers. Dives in mini submersibles, whale-watching and canoeing are becoming standard excursions on cruises, while vast glacial surroundings and, of course, the famous Northern Lights, make it the ideal destination for photography, hiking and anyone who loves the outdoors. The innovative vessels that make trips so far North are much smaller than your average cruise ship, promising a close-knit social experience onboard. Cocktail bars built entirely from ice are the latest trend to be introduced to ships.
The cruise industry is expanding quickly to make the most of Asia’s diversity and aesthetic allure, and Asian cruises are now emerging as an increasingly popular route. A wide variety of itineraries are available, usually featuring the likes of China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, offering some of the most comprehensive travelling experiences on the market. A melting pot continent of cultures and characteristics, cruises of Asia can cater to any holidaying tastes: ancient temples and castles, mind-blowing modern architecture, extreme theme parks and breathtaking scenery. In order to keep up with the high-tech standards of Asia, some cruise ships specialise in the region, offering a range of once-in-a-lifetime activities onboard the ship, including indoor skydiving, record-breaking viewing decks and rock climbing, as well as service form robot bartenders.
Australia’s no stranger to tourists and adventurers alike, but outside of the likes of Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, some areas are still relatively untouched by visitors. The Kimberley Coast, or the Kimberleys as it’s commonly known, is one of these hidden gems, featuring an untamed wilderness of narrow mangrove channels and deep, narrow sandstone gorges to be explored by true adventurers. Roebuck Bay in Broome, another of Australia’s unique spots, provides a great wealth of experiences, from discovering dinosaur footprints to spotting the country’s extraordinary birdlife, and the ‘moon staircase’ illusion, which can be seen between March and October when the full moon rises over an extremely low tide.
Cruise providers put continuous effort into innovating their offerings, and especially into drawing a newer generation of cruisers. The mould of docile holidaying for retirees has officially been broken, and there is a cruise out there for any demographic or taste.
Exclusive Expeditions is an independent agency specialising in expedition cruises. Based in West Sussex, England, Exclusive Expeditions excels in arranging tailor-made travel experiences with a focus on destination-led exploration and discovery. For more information, visit: exclusiveexpeditions.co.uk.