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It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Steamship Anymore


Fancy yourself more the thrill-seeking traveller than the cruise-ship type? Sure, you can appreciate the beauty of Mediterranean seas and Nordic fjords, but shuffleboard, ballroom dancing, and sitting tipsy all day on the deck of an enormous luxury hotel-on-water just doesn’t sound like your kind of getaway?

Well, all you off-beat, thrill- (and knowledge)-seeking travellers out there, don’t go writing off cruise ships just yet. There’s literally a whole world of stimulating travel options for you aboard one of the many vessels that call themselves “Adventure Cruises” and plenty of cruise deals and offers out there to keep it affordable.

Let’s check some stereotypes off your anti-cruise-ship list – the ones addressed when you choose adventure cruising.

Don’t want to go where everyone goes?

This concern’s easy to dispel – atypical destinations abound in the world of Adventure Cruising. Ever heard of Svalbard, Bequia, Nesebar, Ushuaia or Marguerite Bay? They’re just off Greenland, part of the Grenadines, in Bulgaria, at the tip of Argentina, and in remote Antarctica, respectively – and they and countless others are yours to explore with the help of specialty cruise lines.

Don’t like laid-back, passive travel?

You’ll be docking in all these cool places, but a quick, close-to-port day trip doesn’t sound like the way you want to experience them? Most cruise ship holidays do offer onshore jaunts, but adventure cruises usually aim to make your shore-leave a highlight, offering just about any land-based activity you can think of: kayaking, trekking, camping, skiing, birding, bear-watching, jungle-forging, you name it. Plus – and this is a biggie – the ship usually carries on-board experts such as naturalists, scientists, and historians to provide you background on the area and answer any shore-leave questions you bring back on-board.

Big-boat burnout?

Another appealing feature of adventure cruises is that they generally use smaller ships. These often-intimate vessels take you places the big boats can’t go, so you avoid the crowd (sometimes sardine) factor that’s often part of a large-ship excursion. Other perks here include more personalised attention, plus greater intimacy with both the crew and your fellow adventure-loving passengers.

So if you’re seeking high-seas adventure with a non-run-of-the mill, rugged explorer twist (though you certainly won’t sacrifice comfort on-board), book yourself an adventure cruise and set sail.

Image of Svalbard by Billy Lindblom used under creative commons licence

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