When someone mentions a cruise, more likely than not, you imagine the balmy Caribbean or the grandeur or Alaska. Maybe 2015 can be the year you think outside the boat, and consider taking a cruise to a more unusual and unique location.
How about an expedition cruise to the Arctic Circle or Antarctica? Want to travel during the winter? Go south to Antarctica. You’ll have about 20 hours a day of sunlight. On a journey to Antarctica on a ship like the National Geographic Explorer or Orion you can spend your days experiencing the dramatic landscape of mountains and icebergs, kayaking or walking among the icebergs and penguins, ride a zodiac as you look for other indigenous wildlife. National Geographic experts accompany passengers on each expedition. Are you going to travel during the summer? Travel north to the Arctic Circle where you can see spectacular scenery, see wildlife and visit remote villages. See Aurora Borealis – The Northern Lights. Sail among the fjords of Norway or Finland. Your cruise could include a visit to Spitsbergen National Park, the wildlife capital of the Arctic. Your ship will move through the ice, looking for the polar bears, seals, walrus and other arctic wildlife.
You may see the Ilulissat Icefjord on Greenland’s coast, a UNESCO world Heritage site where the Jakobshavn Glacier calves huge chunks of ice and floes travel over 130 feet every 24 hours.
Want to travel to a warmer locale? Take a rive cruise down the Mekong River. Can experience the unique cultures of both Vietnam and Cambodia while exploring the beautiful scenery along the Mekong River. You may visit Angkor Wat, often considered the eighth wonder of the ancient world. The temple, built in 1113, was one of the largest Hindu temples in the world. You’ll probably make a stop in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. You may choose to tour this bustling city on a cyclo, a three-wheeled bicycle taxi. A visit to the Tuil Sleng detention center museum, one of the Khmer Rouge execution centers, while educational, may not be for everyone. As you travel through Vietnam, you may be able to ride a rickshaw, visit a floating fish farm. You may leave your boat to board a sampan (a small open boat) to visit small factories where everything from bricks to noodles to candy is made.
Craving a beach oriented cruise, but want something more exotic? Consider a cruise from Fiji to the Cook Islands. You will sail among the archipelagos of the South Pacific, visiting isles and reefs that are not seen by many people. If you enjoy scuba diving, you’ll be able to dive in many locales, especially Niue, a coral atoll that offer spectacular diving. When stopping in Fiji, not only can you enjoy the beaches and diving, you can visit the waterfalls at Bouma National Heritage Park and take in the views from the almost 4000 foot des Voeux Peak. As you cruise to the Cook Islands, you’ll be able to see sea turtles and a number of birds. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to visit Palmerston, discovered by Captain James Cook.
Don’t want to venture too far from home? Consider a trip along the Columbia River as you follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. Sail along the Coat of Maine. Or take a paddlewheeler as you cruise the Mississippi River enjoying everything from New Orleans all the way up to Minneapolis.
There is a cruise for every lifestyle. Regardless of where your cruise takes you, be prepared. A lot depends on where you choose to travel. Except for trip insurance. While most cruises provide basic medical care, you want to be assured that if something happens to you, you can get the medical care you need. Purchasing trip insurance for both your flights and your cruise protects you against the unknowns of trip cancellation, trip interruption, illness and theft.