SOUTH PACIFIC

Still the most popular international destination for Aussie cruisers, the South Pacific’s wonderful white sandy beaches, clear blue waters and array of countries keeps drawing us back in.


It’s just a day at sea when departing from Sydney or Brisbane and itineraries are generally at least seven days. The South Pacific’s temperate climate makes it a year-round cruise destination for Australians.


Cruise lines such as P&O Cruises Australia, Carnival Australia, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea and Crystal offer a variety of itineraries around the alluring tropical islands.


Fiji is one of the most visited cruise destinations in the South Pacific and it comprises more than 300 islands, of which the two major islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. It has rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and some of the most pristine coral reefs in the entire world, where visitors love to snorkel and scuba dive. Aside from Indian-style curries and kava – a beverage banned as a drug in some part of the world – Fijian cuisine is similar to other South Pacific countries and includes seafood, taro, rice and coconut milk.


The French territory of New Caledonia has beautiful small islands, including the Isle of Pines, and is also known for its palm-lined beaches and the world’s largest lagoons, which is rich in marine life. An extensive barrier reef surrounds the main island and, like its neighbouring countries of Fiji and Vanuatu, New Caledonia is a scuba diver’s paradise. The capital Noumea is home to French-influenced restaurants and luxury boutiques selling Parisian fashion.


Smaller and luxury cruise lines will visit lesser known ports around the South Pacific. Figure-eight shaped Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. With black-sand beaches, lagoons, waterfalls and two extinct volcanoes, it’s a popular destination for remote cruises. Papeete, on the north of the island, is the capital of French Polynesia and features on longer cruise itineraries around the Pacific.


For a uniquely local experience, Aranui sails from the island and offers cruisers a once-in-a-lifetime experience onboard its half-cargo, half-passenger vessels. Passengers will meet locals and even help deliver cargo, for a great immersion into the local culture.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Even during winter, the South Pacific is warm, which makes it a popular destination for Aussies, looking to escape the cold. Pack warm clothes like a cardigan or jumper, as the evenings can be cool, and your swimmers and sun protection.


When can I go?

Sailings to the South Pacific run all year round from Australia, but the most expensive periods of time tend to be during school holidays and around Christmas. While itineraries around winter are more affordable than peak sailing times, you may find the seas rough at times. Shoulder seasons like April and May are the best time to sail if you’re looking for a relatively empty ship.


Where do I sail from?

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane


Who is it for?

Sun seekers looking to escape for the winter gloom, this is the cruise for you. Like the Caribbean, cruises around the South Pacific are relaxed, and there is a convivial atmosphere on the ship. Even smaller cruise lines hold sailings over Christmas and New Year's around the South Pacific, so it’s a lovely way to spend the holidays with the entire family.


ITINERARIES


7-night

Departing from Sydney, a seven-night cruise island hops to places like the idyllic Isle of Pines, Mystery Island and French influenced Noumea. Cruises from Brisbane might be able to fit in another destination, as sailing from Sydney to the South Pacific takes an extra day at sea.


12-nights and more

Luxury lines offer longer itineraries around the South Pacific and they will visit many of the same destinations as the larger ships from Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises. But on longer itineraries, which are sometimes part of world cruises, you’ll visit lesser known ports like the Marquesas Islands.


Shore excursions

  • An aqua safari helmet dive in Bora Bora is one way to see Tahiti’s abundant marine wildlife without obtaining your scuba diving license.
  • The locals in Luganville in Vanuatu have a traditional music and dance performance done in waist deep water, using special water instruments.
  • For the kids, a great way to see the marine life is in a glass bottom boat in Vanuatu.

THE AMERICAS

North and South America might not be big on the cruise radar for Australians, but the region presents many different itineraries showcasing unique landscapes.


In North America, the region is separated by east and west-coast cruising, with ships sailing domestically and internationally from each coast.

Hawaii is a direct flight from cities on Australia’s east coast and there are plenty of sailing opportunities around the state. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America is the only ship based in Hawaii and takes guests to Kauai and Oahu islands.


In California, cruise lines sail out of Los Angeles to destinations in the US, Mexico and Central America. On the southeast coast, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are home to the world’s largest cruise ships, with dedicated cruise terminals for Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Disney Cruise Line. Ships sail from here to Central America and the Caribbean and popular ports in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Turks and Caicos.


The East Coast of America has some charming ports for pre-civil war history enthusiasts. Boston is famous for its well-preserved architecture and museums. The city’s Freedom Trail, which is accessible by foot, takes visitors through 16 sites from early US history including USS Constitution, Paul Revere House and Faneuill Hall.


And of course, if you’re on the east coast, you can’t miss a trip to New York. Cruises departing from The Big Apple will head up to Canada, or sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Southampton in England. One of the most well-known itineraries among the cruise community is the Transatlantic crossing aboard Cunard’s traditional luxury ship, Queen Mary 2.


The vast South American continent presents plenty of cruising possibilities. The major cruise lines cruising South America are Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Holland America Line, with most itineraries focused on the east (Atlantic) coast taking in Brazil and Argentina.


Annual repositions of the expedition fleet to and from Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina for the Antarctic cruise season present unusual opportunities for more adventurous travellers with specially crafted itineraries along both western and eastern coasts.


The most popular cruises for big-ship lovers typically sail between the major capitals of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguy; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, often with stops in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Ilha Grande in the Brazilian Riviera. Other ocean lines swing by as part of round-the-world itineraries or on longer itineraries out of the USA. Several cruise lines navigate the Amazon as far as the deepwater port at Manaus and river cruise operators including Aqua Expeditions and Scenic explore further inland.


South America is best known for small-ship cruises to Antarctica, Galapagos or the Chilean Fjords. The population of Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina swells in the height of summer with the crush of tourists heading to the Antarctic Peninsula. Punta Arenas services cruisers sailing among the Chilean Fjords while north on the equator, Galapagos-bound travellers will fly into one of the two airports on the islands to transfer to their vessels.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

It depends on the time of year you go, but also where you’re sailing to and from – it’s a big area! If you sail Hawaii, pack summer clothing with light layers. But if you are sailing from New York, the weather can be temperamental so it’s wise to pack rain gear and a jacket. Itineraries from South America, if you are sailing during winter, can get cold. And if you are heading on an expedition voyage, you will need good hiking boots, rain gear as well as warm thermal clothing.


When can I go?

To avoid expensive sailings, it’s best to cruise the west coast and Hawaii during the northern hemisphere winter. East coast cruises are best taken in fall or spring when the weather isn’t too hot. And for sailings in South America, summer is a wonderful time to cruise. It’s also the only time to sail to places like the Galapagos as the seas can be rough during the shoulder seasons.


Where do I sail from?

Hawaii, Los Angeles, Miami and New York, USA; Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay.


Who is it for?

Cruises around Hawaii and Los Angeles are great for families, as the lines offer itineraries stopping at idyllic beach ports. There are large cruise lines which sail out of Los Angeles, and often the newest ships with family facilities and activities like go-karts, sail from Miami. Sailings from New York to Canada and along the east coast are perfect for culture lovers, while cruises around South America are for adventure seekers.


ITINERARIES


3-7 nights

A short three-night cruise from Los Angeles will give you a taster of what the ship is like. It’s a cruise to nowhere, but a fantastic opportunity to try new ships without breaking the bank. Longer seven-night cruises from LA sail down the West Coast to Mexico, where you’ll visit places like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.


9-15 nights

Longer cruises from the east coast, departing New York, will sail up to Boston, Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown before arriving in Quebec City. This lovely itinerary centres around America’s pre-civil war history before arriving in picturesque fishing towns in Canada. In South America, cruises departing from Buenos Aires takes you north to Punta del Este in Uruguay as well as a number of stops in Brazil.


Shore excursions

  • If you’re heading to the Galapagos, you have to meet the creatures from the ancient world – the Galapagos tortoise. At The Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora you’ll get to meet the scientists that study these majestic animals.
  • Arica in Chile is a significant site in Andean history. A cruise shore excursion explores the desert where Chilean sculptor, Diaz Fleming has created an homage to the ancient gods.
  • Take a walking culinary tour of Quebec City. Here, you’ll get to try different types of maple syrup, local cider and traditional dishes like poutine and Québécois pea soup.

THE CARIBBEAN

The sparkling waters and friendly smiles of the locals in the Caribbean still make it the most popular cruise destination in the world. There are 7,000 islands to choose from, almost all boasting white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.


The region is divided into eastern, western and southern Caribbean ports. Some itineraries will also call at ports like Belize and Honduras in Central America.


Most of the islands were colonised by either the British, French or Dutch and their influences still remain strong. Many cities and towns still have sandstone cathedrals intact and much of the activity still revolves around the Victorian town squares. Caribbean cruises normally depart from Florida or Puerto Rico but some lines also depart from New York or the Bahamas.


Starting in the western Caribbean, the islands south of Florida include Grand Cayman and Jamaica, as well as the Mexico and Central American coast. This part of the region is rich with Ancient Mayan history. Cozumel, Mexico, is a popular port call as it was once the home to the Mayan goddess of the moon, Ixchel and you will find well-preserved ruins to explore on land and beneath the ocean’s surface. Grand Cayman is a sanctuary for marine wildlife like sea turtles and string rays. Once home to pirates, today there are lots of sunken ships for keen divers to discover. Because there are greater distances to cover on a western Caribbean cruise, you’ll get to spend more time relaxing on the ship.


Eastern Caribbean ports are much closer together, so itineraries are faster paced and you will be stopping somewhere new every day. On St. John, part of the US Virgin Islands, Trunk Bay is known for its vibrant reef trail that has long attracted snorkelers. To the east is an island divided into two; the top half is a French overseas collective called Saint Martin, and the bottom half, Sint Maarten, is part of the Netherlands. They both have rich colonial architecture throughout their towns and the French hub of Marigot is filled with designer boutiques with high end shopping as well as lovely al fresco bistros.


And in Aruba, a trip to the Arikok National Park’s varying landscapes, which you can explore by foot or by car, is worth the money. This is where rugged terrain filled with cactus forests, meets the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. It’s one of the best places to go on a 4WD excursion.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Even during winter months, the Caribbean’s climate is temperate so just pack some light jumpers to layer over your summer clothing. It’s wise to pack dressier outfits, in case occasions call for it. Pack plenty of sunscreen, insect repellent and hats.


When can I go?

While Caribbean cruises run all year round, the winter months from December to March are warm without being too hot. It’s also wise to avoid American holiday periods like Spring Break. For those on a budget, cruise prices drop during hurricane season which is from August to November.


Where do I sail from?

Miami, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Texas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, New York.


Who is it for?

A Caribbean cruise is perfect for all types of cruisers. Especially for families, there’s a large array of things to do on and off the ship, to keep everyone entertained. Luxury lines will take guests to smaller unknown ports. Larger cruise lines like MSC, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean have their own private islands, populated with adult-only sanctuaries on the beach and water parks for the kids, where they dock for a day.


ITINERARIES


4-5 nights

The cruise lines have a number of short cruise options where you will call at one port. For example, if you depart from Miami, you might call at Cozumel before heading back. Other itineraries may include a port call to the cruise lines’ private island. It’s a lovely way to get a taste of the Caribbean.


7 nights and more

Depending on where you depart from, a seven-night itinerary has time for relaxation as well as shore excursions. An example of a western Caribbean cruise will depart from Key West in Florida and call at Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico, and George Town on Grand Cayman.


Shore excursions

  • Go parasailing in Aruba in front of the famous Palm Beach.
  • A mountain bike excursion through the jungle in Belize to see the ancient Mayan ruins of Altun Ha.
  • High-end shopping and dining in the chic and sophisticated city of St Barts.
  • Swim with the stingrays and snorkel with giant starfish in Grand Cayman.

THE
MEDITERRANEAN

It’s the Mediterranean’s rich history, ancient ruins, fresh food, excellent wine and melding of cultures that makes it the European capital of cruise. There are an abundance of ports and, because of the close proximity of the countries, you will be in a new place every day. Spain, Italy, France and Greece are perennial favourites, and one of the hottest new cruise destinations is Croatia.


The region is divided into the western Mediterranean (Spain, Portugal, France and Italy) and the eastern Mediterranean, which includes Greece, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, Turkey and Israel. With such an astonishing spread of cultural cities – Rome, Florence, Jerusalem, Athens – and beautiful locations – the Greek islands, Corfu, Sardinia – as well as lively destinations – Mallorca, Ibiza – there’s something for everyone here.


A major drawcard, the beauty and allure of the Greek islands is legendary, with sapphire-blue waters and stark white buildings. Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini are all visited by at least 14 major cruise lines. Their attractions vary, but you can count on stunning beaches, walled cities, temples, mosaics, sculptures, ruins, great Greek food – and about 300 days of sunshine a year. Plus, there is a fair chance of celebrity spotting.


HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones put Croatia on the bucket list of many travellers, and aside from busy Dubrovnik, there are plenty of ports to visit. Croatia is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites including Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, and the historical centre of Porec.


Some ports are within an hour or so from another major city or region: Civitavecchia for Rome, Livorno for Florence, Cadiz for Seville, Ashdod for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Marseille for Aix-en-Provence, Malaga for Granada, Katakolon for ancient Olympia.


Always fascinating, often jaw-dropping, never boring; a Mediterranean cruise means you will return home with precious memories and immense pleasure that you have experienced this almost land-locked sea, which has seen it all for centuries.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Mediterranean cruises generally halt during the winter months, but there are some cruise lines that keep running even over Christmas. If you’re travelling during summer, make sure to bring lots of summer dresses which you can then mix and match for evening and day wear. And for the gents, linen shirts work well for both day and night. Pack light layers as it can get cool in the evenings.


When can I go?

While a European summer holiday is lovely, it is peak season so not only will many sites, restaurants and cities be busy, it will also be expensive. If you want to experience the summer months without the crowds, July and September are a great time to cruise the Mediterranean.


Where do I sail from?

Barcelona, Spain; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Trieste, Italy; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey.


Who is it for?

This region offers history and culture lovers a wide range of activities. For the foodies, it’s a wonderful place to sample regional cuisine, either through the ship’s shore excursion offerings or on their own. And for those who want to relax, there are lots of beaches for some fun in the sun.


ITINERARIES


7 nights

A seven-night itinerary departing from either Barcelona or Rome will give you a good snapshot of some of the major ports in the Mediterranean. For example, an itinerary from Venice will visit destinations like Palermo in Sicily or perhaps places in Croatia like Dubrovnik.


12 nights and more

Longer itineraries in the Mediterranean can cover a vast number of ports, which gives cruisers more options. Smaller cruise lines and luxury vessels are able to navigate into smaller cities and towns due to their size, such as along the Dalmatian coast or around the Greek Islands. Azamara Club Cruises is known for their immersive Greek sailings.


Shore excursions

  • The Mediterranean is a foodie’s delight and no matter where you are, the cuisine will be sumptuous. Many cruise lines offer food experiences like pasta making classes in Italy or truffle hunting excursions.
  • Take a walking tour of Seville and make sure you spend time at the Real Alcázar. The fortress has Christian and Islamic influences in its architecture as it has been updated over the centuries, but for Game of Thrones fans, this was the home to the Martell family.
  • For your inner Indiana Jones, the archaeological excavations of Kusadasi, Turkey, should be on the list if you’re cruising around the Eastern Mediterranean.

THE MIDDLE EAST

The Middle East is emerging as a major cruise destination which attracts history buffs and adventure lovers. From Egyptian pyramids (which you will see when cruising down the Nile on a river ship) to the stunning mosques in the United Arab Emirates, there is something for everyone. The United Arab Emirates’ two main cities are Dubai and Abu Dhabi; both cities have the highest rated hotels in the world as well as glitzy shopping malls.


Dubai has become the major cruise hub in the Middle East. With its vast air connections across the globe, Dubai is the most convenient destination for the passenger turnaround in the Middle East. Visitors can cruise around the United Arab Emirates and experience shore excursions like desert safaris in destinations like Muscat.


In Abu Dhabi, visit the colossal Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque, clad in Macedonian marble, mosaic tiles, intricate carvings on both the interior and exterior, took nearly 20 years to complete. The mosque is able to hold 40,000 worshippers and is the biggest in the UAE. For a more historical site, visit the Al-Hosn Palace which is also known as the Old Fort.


Muscat, the capital of Oman is completely different from the rest of the Emirates on the Arabian Gulf. It is conservative, restrained and magical. Traditional architecture of the city stands in sharp contrast to its rugged terrain and natural beauty. Hemmed in by terracotta-coloured mountains which gradually turn pink in the early morning sunshine when the call to prayer reverberates across the rooftops. The city has been a thriving port for centuries.


A number of cruise lines visit this region like MSC, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Costa, Silversea, Seabourn, Azamara Club Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

The Middle East can get hot so it’s best to pack light, sweat-wicking shirts which can handle the heat and moisture. If you’re taking shore excursions to the desert, it can get cold when the sun goes down so it’s best to take layers and a jacket. Be aware that you should wear clothing that covers your legs so linen clothing is culturally appropriate while being comfortable.


When can I go?

The best time for Arabian Gulf sailings runs from December through March when the weather is much milder. But repositioning cruises happen in late October to early November and resume in late March and early April.


Where do I sail from?

Luxury cruise lines like Crystal Cruises, Star Clippers, Regent Seven Seas will include calls to Dubai as well as other Middle East ports when they are repositioning between Asia and Europe. Other lines like Holland America, Princess, Azamara, Cunard, P&O UK and Royal Caribbean make overnight stops on world cruises. Lines like Costa Cruises and MSC homeport some ships there.


Who is it for?

The Middle East is for cultural and history lovers, and perfect for older couples. A repositioning or world cruise will take you to some of these destinations, so attracts those who have a bit more time to spare.


ITINERARIES


9 nights

Shorter cruises tend to leave from places like Athens in Greece or Rome in Italy. These shorter more intensive cruises will visit only a few ports in the Middle East. For example, an Azamara cruise departing from Athens will only visit Jerusalem before returning to Greece. Lines that depart from places within the Middle East like Dubai will give you a more in depth look.


10 nights and more

Cruises departing from Dubai offer sailings that will take you to some amazing historical places, juxtaposed with new age cities like Abu Dhabi. For example, a 15-night MSC cruise visits Doha in Qatar, Sir Bani Yas in the United Arab Emirates and Khasab in Oman.


Shore excursions

  • The ancient city of Petra is a fascinating place. It was once the centre of trade and worship until the end of the Nabataea empire. The city thrived until it was damaged by an earthquake and was lost for hundreds of years. A Swiss explorer re-discovered Petra and now the city is open for visitors.
  • Israel’s Dead Sea is at the lowest point of elevation on Earth, and the saltwater lake is known for its muscle healing power. Cover yourself in mud and relax in the lake.
  • The colourful Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is a fascinating place filled with stall holders selling everything from spices to intricately woven carpets. Here, you will see some of Istanbul’s greatest buildings including The Blue Mosque, the Byzantine Hippodrome as well as the Dolmabachce Palace.

THE POLAR REGIONS

High on the bucket list for many intrepid adventurers, Antarctica and the Arctic represents the ultimate adventure at sea.


While an Antarctic cruise remains an exclusive experience, we are seeing more new ships and exciting itineraries planned for coming seasons. This remote, unpredictable region is one of very few cruise destinations that are impossible to visit as an independent traveller. It boasts superb landscapes of mountains and icebergs, abundant wildlife including penguins, whales and seals, and a fascinating history of seafaring and exploration, plus global warming is increasingly raising awareness of its unique, fragile environment.


Wildlife watching is superb, either from the cruise ship, from Zodiacs or on foot across the pack ice, and photography cruises are popular. Increasingly adventurous activities are being offered, including snowshoeing, hiking, ski mountaineering, kayaking and even scuba diving.


Most cruises depart from Ushuaia or other South American ports to the Antarctic Peninsula, though occasionally ships sail from Fremantle in Western Australia, Hobart in Tasmania or New Zealand ports to explore sub-Antarctic islands and Antarctica’s Ross Sea region.


While not as popular with Australian cruisers as the great polar continent of Antarctica to our south, the Arctic also has plenty of unique appeal for cruisers. Unlike Antarctica, which is a continent, the Arctic is defined as the area within the Arctic Circle, including the far north of Europe and North America.


Dramatic landscapes, ice, unique wildlife and indigenous tribes draw visitors during the northern summer months from May to September. Almost endless daylight offers adventurers plenty of time to experience the diverse landscapes of the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Polar bears may top the wildlife-spotting wish list, but there is plenty of other wildlife to see, including whales, seals, walruses, Arctic foxes, musk oxen, reindeer and numerous birds.


As the Arctic covers a vast area, cruise itineraries can be roughly broken up into three regions: Norway; Greenland and Canada; and Svalbard and the North Pole. Itineraries along Norway's coast generally appeal to those seeking a more comfortable or convenient option, while adventure seekers will enjoy more remote sailings. To see polar bears, look at cruises that include Spitsbergen, Greenland or Canada.


Once just for extreme adventurers, the Northwest Passage is opening up to cruise ships, due to the lack of ice in the Arctic in recent seasons. In 2016, Crystal Cruises’ luxury ship Crystal Serenity made the epic voyage through the once impenetrable passage; sailing successfully from Anchorage, Alaska, all the way to New York across the top of Canada in 32 days. Both Ponant and Hapag-Lloyd have also done this and One Ocean Expeditions regularly runs explorations all across the Canadian Arctic, but Serenity was by far the largest passenger vessel to complete the transit. It’s a whole new world for cruising in these normally frozen waters.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Insulation is paramount when cruising in the polar regions – pack long underwear and lots of layers. Both regions require good, sturdy waterproof hiking boots, and good socks. For chilly days, pack gloves, a beanie, a neck gaiter and a thick outer layer, as well as protective sunglasses and lots of high SPF sunscreen.


When can I go?

You can only sail in the Arctic during summer, from June to September, but if you’re cruising further south, you can sail in the region between May till late October. Antarctica sailings on the other hand, run from November through to March. For maximum daylight hours, cruise between mid-December to January.


Where do I sail from?

For Arctic cruises, sail from Aberdeen, Scotland; Tromso, Norway; and Mumansk, Russia and for Antarctica sailings, Ushuaia, Argentina; Invercargill, New Zealand.


Who is it for?

The polar regions are not for those looking for a relaxing cruise, rather for adventurers who want to see the furthest and most remote parts of our earth. In these places, you’ll have intimate experiences with animals and speak to naturalists who understand the region’s fragile ecosystem.


ITINERARIES


7 nights

They are rare, but there are shorter Antarctica cruises. You’ll only get to spend four days island hopping as crossing Drake’s Passage takes two days. But regardless, you’ll see colonies of the adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. And you’ll see an abundance of minke, orca and humpback whales. Short Arctic cruises may depart from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and give visitors a good snapshot of the wildlife in the region.


12-14 nights

Longer cruises give Antarctica explorers more time to see the region and set foot on the ice. In the arctic, extra days are usually spent on a more in-depth exploration of Norway and Svalbard.


Shore excursions

  • Snowshoe through the Norwegian wilderness. A popular sport for the locals, it’s a breathtaking way to see the countryside.
  • In Longyearbyen in Norway, go summer dog sledding when the weather is warm, and the sunlight lasts all day. You’ll get to meet the mushers and learn the basics of the sport.
  • Most expedition cruise lines will have expert photographers onboard your cruise in Antarctica, so take advantage to learn a bit more about snapping great holiday shots.

SOUTH PACIFIC

Still the most popular international destination for Aussie cruisers, the South Pacific’s wonderful white sandy beaches, clear blue waters and array of countries keeps drawing us back in.


It’s just a day at sea when departing from Sydney or Brisbane and itineraries are generally at least seven days. The South Pacific’s temperate climate makes it a year-round cruise destination for Australians.


Cruise lines such as P&O Cruises Australia, Carnival Australia, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea and Crystal offer a variety of itineraries around the alluring tropical islands.


Fiji is one of the most visited cruise destinations in the South Pacific and it comprises more than 300 islands, of which the two major islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. It has rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and some of the most pristine coral reefs in the entire world, where visitors love to snorkel and scuba dive. Aside from Indian-style curries and kava – a beverage banned as a drug in some part of the world – Fijian cuisine is similar to other South Pacific countries and includes seafood, taro, rice and coconut milk.


The French territory of New Caledonia has beautiful small islands, including the Isle of Pines, and is also known for its palm-lined beaches and the world’s largest lagoons, which is rich in marine life. An extensive barrier reef surrounds the main island and, like its neighbouring countries of Fiji and Vanuatu, New Caledonia is a scuba diver’s paradise. The capital Noumea is home to French-influenced restaurants and luxury boutiques selling Parisian fashion.


Smaller and luxury cruise lines will visit lesser known ports around the South Pacific. Figure-eight shaped Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. With black-sand beaches, lagoons, waterfalls and two extinct volcanoes, it’s a popular destination for remote cruises. Papeete, on the north of the island, is the capital of French Polynesia and features on longer cruise itineraries around the Pacific.


For a uniquely local experience, Aranui sails from the island and offers cruisers a once-in-a-lifetime experience onboard its half-cargo, half-passenger vessels. Passengers will meet locals and even help deliver cargo, for a great way immersion into the local culture.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Even during winter, the South Pacific is warm, which makes it a popular destination for Aussies looking to escape the cold. Pack warm clothes like a cardigan or jumper, as the evenings can be cool, and your swimmers and sun protection.


When can I go?

Sailings to the South Pacific run all year round from Australia, but the most expensive periods of time tend to be during school holidays and around Christmas. While itineraries around winter are more affordable than peak sailing times, you may find the seas rough at times. Shoulder seasons like April and May are the best time to sail if you’re looking for a relatively empty ship.


Where do I sail from?

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane


Who is it for?

Sun seekers looking to escape for the winter gloom, this is the cruise for you. Like the Caribbean, cruises around the South Pacific are relaxed, and there is a convivial atmosphere on the ship. Even smaller cruise lines hold sailings over Christmas and New Year's around the South Pacific, so it’s a lovely way to spend the holidays with the entire family.


ITINERARIES


7 night

Departing from Sydney, a seven-night cruise island hops to places like the idyllic Isle of Pines, Mystery Island and French influenced Noumea. Cruises from Brisbane might be able to fit in another destination, as sailing from Sydney to the South Pacific takes an extra day at sea.


12 nights and more

Luxury lines offer longer itineraries around the South Pacific and they will visit many of the same destinations as the larger ships from Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises. But on longer itineraries, which are sometimes part of world cruises, you’ll visit lesser known ports like the Marquesas Islands.


Shore excursions

  • An aqua safari helmet dive in Bora Bora is one way to see Tahiti’s abundant marine wildlife without obtaining your scuba diving license.
  • The locals in Luganville in Vanuatu have a traditional music and dance performance done in waist deep water, using special water instruments.
  • For the kids, a great way to see the marine life is in a glass bottom boat in Vanuatu.

THE AMERICAS

North and South America might not be big on the cruise radar for Australians, but the region presents many different itineraries showcasing unique landscapes.


In North America, the region is separated by east and west-coast cruising, with ships sailing domestically and internationally from each coast.

Hawaii is a direct flight from cities on Australia’s east coast and there are plenty of sailing opportunities around the state. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America is the only ship based in Hawaii and takes guests to Kauai and Oahu islands.


In California, cruise lines sail out of Los Angeles to destinations in the US, Mexico and Central America. On the southeast coast, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are home to the world’s largest cruise ships, with dedicated cruise terminals for Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Disney Cruise Line. Ships sail from here to Central America and the Caribbean and popular ports in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Turks and Caicos.


The East Coast of America has some charming ports for pre-civil war history enthusiasts. Boston is famous for its well-preserved architecture and museums. The city’s Freedom Trail, which is accessible by foot, takes visitors through 16 sites from early US history including USS Constitution, Paul Revere House and Faneuill Hall.

And of course, if you’re on the east coast, you can’t miss a trip to New York. Cruises departing from The Big Apple will head up to Canada, or sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Southampton in England. One of the most well-known itineraries among the cruise community is the Transatlantic crossing aboard Cunard’s traditional luxury ship, Queen Mary 2.


The vast South American continent presents plenty of cruising possibilities. The major cruise lines cruising South America are Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Holland America Line, with most itineraries focused on the east (Atlantic) coast taking in Brazil and Argentina.


Annual repositions of the expedition fleet to and from Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina for the Antarctic cruise season present unusual opportunities for more adventurous travellers with specially crafted itineraries along both western and eastern coasts.


The most popular cruises for big-ship lovers typically sail between the major capitals of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguy; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, often with stops in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Ilha Grande in the Brazilian Riviera. Other ocean lines swing by as part of round-the-world itineraries or on longer itineraries out of the USA. Several cruise lines navigate the Amazon as far as the deepwater port at Manaus and river cruise operators including Aqua Expeditions and Scenic explore further inland.


South America is best known for small-ship cruises to Antarctica, Galapagos or the Chilean Fjords. The population of Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina swells in the height of summer with the crush of tourists heading to the Antarctic Peninsula. Punta Arenas services cruisers sailing among the Chilean Fjords while north on the equator, Galapagos-bound travellers will fly into one of the two airports on the islands to transfer to their vessels.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

It depends on the time of year you go, but also where you’re sailing to and from – it’s a big area! If you sail Hawaii, pack summer clothing with light layers. But if you are sailing from New York, the weather can be temperamental so it’s wise to pack rain gear and a jacket. Itineraries from South America, if you are sailing during winter, can get cold. And if you are heading on an expedition voyage, you will need good hiking boots, rain gear as well as warm thermal clothing.


When can I go?

To avoid expensive sailings, it’s best to cruise the west coast and Hawaii during the northern hemisphere winter. East coast cruises are best taken in fall or spring when the weather isn’t too hot. And for sailings in South America, summer is a wonderful time to cruise. It’s also the only time to sail to places like the Galapagos as the seas can be rough during the shoulder seasons.


Where do I sail from?

Hawaii, Los Angeles, Miami and New York, USA; Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay.


Who is it for?

Cruises around Hawaii and Los Angeles are great for families, as the lines offer itineraries stopping at idyllic beach ports. There are large cruise lines which sail out of Los Angeles, and often the newest ships with family facilities and activities like go-karts, sail from Miami. Sailings from New York to Canada and along the east coast are perfect for culture lovers, while cruises around South America are for adventure seekers.


ITINERARIES


3-7 nights

A short three-night cruise from Los Angeles will give you a taster of what the ship is like. It’s a cruise to nowhere, but a fantastic opportunity to try new ships without breaking the bank. Longer seven-night cruises from LA sail down the West Coast to Mexico, where you’ll visit places like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.


9-15 nights

Longer cruises from the east coast, departing New York, will sail up to Boston, Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown before arriving in Quebec City. This lovely itinerary centres around America’s pre-civil war history before arriving in picturesque fishing towns in Canada. In South America, cruises departing from Buenos Aires takes you north to Punta del Este in Uruguay as well as a number of stops in Brazil.


Shore excursions

  • If you’re heading to the Galapagos, you have to meet the creatures from the ancient world – the Galapagos tortoise. At The Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora you’ll get to meet the scientists that study these majestic animals.
  • Arica in Chile is a significant site in Andean history. A cruise shore excursion explores the desert where Chilean sculptor, Diaz Fleming has created an homage to the ancient gods.
  • Take a walking culinary tour of Quebec City. Here, you’ll get to try different types of maple syrup, local cider and traditional dishes like poutine and Québécois pea soup.

THE CARIBBEAN

The sparkling waters and friendly smiles of the locals in the Caribbean still make it the most popular cruise destination in the world. There are 7,000 islands to choose from, almost all boasting white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.


The region is divided into eastern, western and southern Caribbean ports. Some itineraries will also call at ports like Belize and Honduras in Central America.


Most of the islands were colonised by either the British, French or Dutch and their influences still remain strong. Many cities and towns still have sandstone cathedrals intact and much of the activity still revolves around the Victorian town squares. Caribbean cruises normally depart from Florida or Puerto Rico but some lines also depart from New York or the Bahamas.


Starting in the western Caribbean, the islands south of Florida include Grand Cayman and Jamaica, as well as the Mexico and Central American coast. This part of the region is rich with Ancient Mayan history. Cozumel, Mexico, is a popular port call as it was once the home to the Mayan goddess of the moon, Ixchel and you will find well-preserved ruins to explore on land and beneath the ocean’s surface. Grand Cayman is a sanctuary for marine wildlife like sea turtles and string rays. Once home to pirates, today there are lots of sunken ships for keen divers to discover. Because there are greater distances to cover on a western Caribbean cruise, you’ll get to spend more time relaxing on the ship.


Eastern Caribbean ports are much closer together, so itineraries are faster paced and you will be stopping somewhere new every day. On St. John, part of the US Virgin Islands, Trunk Bay is known for its vibrant reef trail that has long attracted snorkelers. To the east is an island divided into two; the top half is a French overseas collective called Saint Martin, and the bottom half, Sint Maarten, is part of the Netherlands. They both have rich colonial architecture throughout their towns and the French hub of Marigot is filled with designer boutiques with high end shopping as well as lovely al fresco bistros.


And in Aruba, a trip to the Arikok National Park’s varying landscapes, which you can explore by foot or by car, is worth the money. This is where rugged terrain filled with cactus forests, meets the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. It’s one of the best places to go on a 4WD excursion.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Even during winter months, the Caribbean’s climate is temperate so just pack some light jumpers to layer over your summer clothing. It’s wise to pack dressier outfits, in case occasions call for it. Pack plenty of sunscreen, insect repellent and hats.


When can I go?

While Caribbean cruises run all year round, the winter months from December to March are warm without being too hot. It’s also wise to avoid American holiday periods like Spring Break. For those on a budget, cruise prices drop during hurricane season which is from August to November.


Where do I sail from?

Miami, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Texas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, New York.


Who is it for?

A Caribbean cruise is perfect for all types of cruisers. Especially for families, there’s a large array of things to do on and off the ship, to keep everyone entertained. Luxury lines will take guests to smaller unknown ports. Larger cruise lines like MSC, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean have their own private islands, populated with adult-only sanctuaries on the beach and water parks for the kids, where they dock for a day.


ITINERARIES


4-5 nights

The cruise lines have a number of short cruise options where you will call at one port. For example, if you depart from Miami, you’ll call at Cozumel before heading back. Other itineraries may include a port call to the cruise lines’ private island. It’s a lovely way to get a taste of the Caribbean.


7 nights and more

Depending on where you depart from, a seven-night itinerary has time for relaxation as well as shore excursions. An example of a western Caribbean cruise will depart from Key West in Florida and call at Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico, and George Town on Grand Cayman.


Shore excursions

  • Go parasailing in Aruba in front of the famous Palm Beach.
  • A mountain bike excursion through the jungle in Belize to see the ancient Mayan ruins of Altun Ha.
  • High-end shopping and dining in the chic and sophisticated city of St Barts.
  • Swim with the stingrays and snorkel with giant starfish in Grand Cayman.

THE MEDITERRANEAN

It’s the Mediterranean’s rich history, ancient ruins, fresh food, excellent wine and the melding of cultures that makes it the European capital of cruise. There are an abundance of ports and, because of the close proximity of the countries, you will be in a new place every day. Spain, Italy, France and Greece are perennial favourites, and one of the hottest new cruise destinations is Croatia.


The region is divided into the western Mediterranean (Spain, Portugal, France and Italy) and the eastern Mediterranean, which includes Greece, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, Turkey and Israel. With such an astonishing spread of cultural cities – Rome, Florence, Jerusalem, Athens – and beautiful locations – the Greek islands, Corfu, Sardinia – as well as lively destinations – Mallorca, Ibiza – there’s something for everyone here.


A major drawcard, the beauty and allure of the Greek islands is legendary, with sapphire-blue waters and stark white buildings. Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini are all visited by at least 14 major cruise lines. Their attractions vary, but you can count on stunning beaches, walled cities, temples, mosaics, sculptures, ruins, great Greek food – and about 300 days of sunshine a year. Plus, there is a fair chance of celebrity spotting.


HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones put Croatia on the bucket list of many travellers, and aside from busy Dubrovnik, there are plenty of ports to visit. Croatia is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites including Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, and the historical centre of Porec.


Some ports are within an hour or so from another major city or region: Civitavecchia for Rome, Livorno for Florence, Cadiz for Seville, Ashdod for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Marseille for Aix-en-Provence, Malaga for Granada, Katakolon for ancient Olympia.


Always fascinating, often jaw-dropping, never boring; a Mediterranean cruise means you will return home with precious memories and immense pleasure that you have experienced this almost land-locked sea, which has seen it all for centuries.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Mediterranean cruises generally halt during the winter months, but there are some cruise lines that keep running even over Christmas. If you’re travelling during summer, make sure to bring lots of summer dresses which you can then mix and match for evening and day wear. And for the gents, linen shirts work well for both day and night. Pack light layers as it can get cool in the evenings.


When can I go?

While a European summer holiday is lovely, it is peak season so not only will many sites, restaurants and cities be busy, it will also be expensive. If you want to experience the summer months without the crowds, July through to September is a great time to cruise the Mediterranean.


Where do I sail from?

Barcelona, Spain; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Trieste, Italy; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey.


Who is it for?

This region offers history and culture lovers a wide range of activities. For the foodies, it’s a wonderful place to sample regional cuisine, either through the ship’s shore excursion offerings or on their own. And for those who want to relax, there are lots of beaches for some fun in the sun.


ITINERARIES


7 nights

A seven-night itinerary departing from either Barcelona or Rome will give you a good snapshot of some of the major ports in the Mediterranean. For example, an itinerary from Venice will visit destinations like Palermo in Sicily or perhaps places in Croatia like Dubrovnik.


12 nights and more

Longer itineraries in the Mediterranean can cover a vast number of ports, which gives cruisers more options. Smaller cruise lines and luxury vessels are able to navigate into smaller cities and towns due to their size, such as along the Dalmatian coast or around the Greek Islands. Azamara Club Cruises is known for their immersive Greek sailings.


Shore excursions

  • The Mediterranean is a foodie’s delight and no matter where you are, the cuisine will be sumptuous. Many cruise lines offer food experiences like pasta making classes in Italy or truffle hunting excursions.
  • Take a walking tour of Seville and make sure you spend time at the Real Alcázar. The fortress has Christian and Islamic influences in its architecture as it has been updated over the centuries, but for Game of Thrones fans, this was the home to the Martell family.
  • For your inner Indiana Jones, the archaeological excavations of Kusadasi, Turkey, should be on the list if you’re cruising around the Eastern Mediterranean.

THE MIDDLE EAST

The Middle East is emerging as a major cruise destination which attracts history buffs and adventure lovers. From Egyptian pyramids (which you will see when cruising down the Nile on a river ship) to the stunning mosques in the UAE, there is something for everyone. The United Arab Emirates’ two main cities are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Both cities have the highest rated hotels in the world as well as glitzy shopping malls.


Dubai has become the major cruise hub in the Middle East. With its vast air connections across the globe, Dubai is the most convenient destination for the passenger turnaround in the Middle East. Visitors can cruise around the UAE and experience shore excursions like desert safaris in destinations like Muscat.


In Abu Dhabi, visit the colossal Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque, clad in Macedonian marble, mosaic tiles, intricate carvings on both the interior and exterior, took nearly 20 years to complete. The mosque is able to hold 40,000 worshippers and is the biggest in the UAE. For a more historical site, visit the Al-Hosn Palace which is also known as the Old Fort.


Muscat, the capital of Oman is completely different from the rest of the Emirates on the Arabian Gulf. It is conservative, restrained and magical. Traditional architecture of the city stands in sharp contrast to its rugged terrain and natural beauty. Hemmed in by terracotta-coloured mountains which gradually turn pink in the early morning sunshine when the call to prayer reverberates across the rooftops. The city has been a thriving port for centuries.


A number of cruise lines visit this region like MSC, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Costa, Silversea, Seabourn, Azamara Club Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

The Middle East can get hot so it’s best to pack light, sweat-wicking shirts which can handle the heat and moisture. If you’re taking shore excursions to the desert, it can get cold when the sun goes down so it’s best to take layers and a jacket. Be aware that you should wear clothing that covers your legs so linen clothing is culturally appropriate, while being comfortable.


When can I go?

The best time for Arabian Gulf sailings runs from December through March when the weather is much milder. But repositioning cruises happen in late October to early November and resume in late March and early April.


Where do I sail from?

Luxury cruise lines like Crystal Cruises, Star Clippers, Regent Seven Seas will include calls to Dubai as well as other Middle East ports when they are repositioning between Asia and Europe. Other lines like Holland America, Princess, Azamara, Cunard, P&O UK and Royal Caribbean make overnight stops on world cruises. Lines like Costa Cruises and MSC homeport some ships there.


Who is it for?

The Middle East is for cultural and history lovers, and perfect for older couples. A repositioning or world cruise will take you to some of these destinations, so attracts those who have a bit more time to spare.

ITINERARIES


9-nights

Shorter cruises tend to leave from places like Athens in Greece or Rome in Italy. These shorter more intensive cruises will visit only a few ports in the Middle East. For example, an Azamara cruise departing from Athens will only visit Jerusalem before returning to Greece. Lines that depart from places within the Middle East like Dubai will give you a more in-depth look.


10-nights and more

Cruises departing from Dubai offer sailings that will take you to some amazing historical places, juxtaposed with new age cities like Abu Dhabi. For example, a 15-night MSC cruise visits Doha in Qatar, Sir Bani Yas in the United Arab Emirates and Khasab in Oman.


Shore excursions


  • The ancient city of Petra is a fascinating place. It was once the centre of trade and worship until the end of the Nabataea empire. The city thrived until it was damaged by an earthquake and was lost for hundreds of years. A Swiss explorer re-discovered Petra and now the city is open for visitors.
  • Israel’s Dead Sea is at the lowest point of elevation on Earth, and the saltwater lake is known for its muscle healing power. Cover yourself in mud and relax in the lake.
  • The colourful Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is a fascinating place filled with stall holders selling everything from spices to intricately woven carpets. Here, you will see some of Istanbul’s greatest buildings including The Blue Mosque, the Byzantine Hippodrome as well as the Dolmabachce Palace.The Middle East is for cultural and history lovers, and perfect for older couples. A repositioning or world cruise will take you to some of these places. So for those who have a bit more time to spare, it will give you a snap shot of the Middle East.

THE POLAR REGIONS

High on the bucket list for many intrepid adventurers, Antarctica and the Arctic represents the ultimate adventure at sea.


While an Antarctic cruise remains an exclusive experience, we are seeing more new ships and exciting itineraries planned for coming seasons. This remote, unpredictable region is one of very few cruise destinations that are impossible to visit as an independent traveller. It boasts superb landscapes of mountains and icebergs, abundant wildlife including penguins, whales and seals, and a fascinating history of seafaring and exploration, plus global warming is increasingly raising awareness of its unique, fragile environment.


Wildlife watching is superb, either from the cruise ship, from Zodiacs, or on foot across the pack ice, and photography cruises are popular. Increasingly adventurous activities are being offered, including snowshoeing, hiking, ski mountaineering, kayaking and even scuba diving.


Most cruises depart from Ushuaia or other South American ports to the Antarctic Peninsula, though occasionally ships sail from Fremantle in Western Australia, Hobart in Tasmania or New Zealand ports to explore sub-Antarctic islands and Antarctica’s Ross Sea region.


While not as popular with Australian cruisers as the great polar continent of Antarctica to our south, the Arctic also has plenty of unique appeal for cruisers. Unlike Antarctica, which is a continent, the Arctic is defined as the area within the Arctic Circle, including the far north of Europe and North America.


Dramatic landscapes, ice, unique wildlife and indigenous tribes draw visitors during the northern summer months from May to September. Almost endless daylight offers adventurers plenty of time to experience the diverse landscapes of the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Polar bears may top the wildlife-spotting wish list, but there is plenty of other wildlife to see, including whales, seals, walruses, Arctic foxes, musk oxen, reindeer and numerous birds.


As the Arctic covers a vast area, cruise itineraries can be roughly broken up into three regions: Norway; Greenland and Canada; and Svalbard and the North Pole. Itineraries along Norway's coast generally appeal to those seeking a more comfortable or convenient option, while adventure seekers will enjoy more remote sailings. To see polar bears, look at cruises that include Spitsbergen, Greenland or Canada.


Once just for extreme adventurers, the Northwest Passage is opening up to cruise ships, due to the lack of ice in the Arctic in recent seasons. In 2016, Crystal Cruises’ luxury ship Crystal Serenity made the epic voyage through the once impenetrable passage; sailing successfully from Anchorage, Alaska, all the way to New York across the top of Canada in 32 days. Both Ponant and Hapag-Lloyd have also done this and One Ocean Expeditions regularly runs explorations all across the Canadian Arctic, but Serenity was by far the largest passenger vessel to complete the transit. It’s a whole new world for cruising in these normally frozen waters.

NEED TO KNOW


What should I pack?

Insulation is paramount when cruising in the polar regions. Especially in Antarctica, pack long underwear and lots of layers. Both regions require good, sturdy waterproof hiking boots, and good socks. For chilly days, pack gloves, a beanie, a neck gaiter and a thick outer layer, as well as protective sunglasses and lots of high SPF sunscreen.


When can I go?

You can only sail in the Arctic during summer, from June to September, but if you’re cruising further south, you can sail in the region between May till late October.

Antarctica sailings on the other hand, run from November through to March. For maximum daylight hours, cruise between mid-December to January.


Where do I sail from?

For Arctic cruises, sail from Aberdeen, Scotland; Tromso, Norway; and Mumansk, Russia and for Antarctica sailings, Ushuaia, Argentina; Invercargill, New Zealand.


Who is it for?

The polar regions are not for those looking for a relaxing cruise, rather for adventurers who want to see the furthest and most remote parts of our earth. In these places, you’ll have intimate experiences with animals and speak to naturalists who understand the region’s fragile ecosystem.


ITINERARIES


7 nights

They are rare, but there are shorter Antarctica cruises. You’ll only get to spend four days island hopping as crossing Drake’s Passage takes two days. But regardless, you’ll see colonies of the adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. And you’ll see an abundance of minke, orca and humpback whales. Short Arctic cruises may depart from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and give visitors a good snapshot of the wildlife in the region.


12-14 nights

Longer cruises give Antarctica explorers more time to see the region and set foot on the ice. In the arctic, extra days are usually spent on a more in-depth exploration of Norway and Svalbard.


Shore excursions

  • Snowshoe through the Norwegian wilderness. A popular sport for the locals, it’s a breathtaking way to see the countryside.
  • In Longyearbyen in Norway, go summer dog sledding when the weather is warm, and the sunlight lasts all day. You’ll get to meet the mushers and learn the basics of the sport.
  • Most expedition cruise lines will have expert photographers onboard your cruise in Antarctica, so take advantage to learn a bit more about snapping great holiday shots.