THE SEVEN MOST BEAUTIFUL CRUISES IN THE WORLD
Nature, like everything else, seems differently from the deck of a cruise ship. Cruise ships can take us to remote locations and show us sights that would otherwise be inaccessible to us.
From the deck of a cruise ship, you can see some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, from the fjords of Norway to the tight passes of Maine.We’ve compiled a list of the seven best sightseeing cruises in the world.
NORWEGIAN FJORDS CRUISE
The fjords of Norway are like another planet, with their towering waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and crystal blue, deep waters. These cruises are relaxed and unhurried, allowing passengers to take in Norway’s stunning scenery, fascinating local animals, and bucolic countryside at their own pace.
Bergen, a charming city, and Flam, a small village of only 400, are only two of the many ports in Norway. Beautiful landscape may be found at every turn, but the Geiranger Fjord and the Sognefjord, which reaches halfway to Sweden, offer some of the most breathtaking vistas in Norway. The “Norway in Nutshell” tour is a great way to see the highlights of Oslo, rural Norway, and the fjords in a short amount of time. Trains leave from Oslo and go across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau to Myrdal, where passengers transfer to the miniature Flam Railway for the final leg of the journey to the fjordside settlement of Flam.
From there, visitors take a 2-hour ferry ride through the fjords before catching a train to Bergen.
FRENCH POLYNESIA CRUISE
French Polynesia is a stunning destination thanks to its clear blue oceans, verdant islands, and powdery white beaches. It’s easy to see why this part of the world is a favorite with cruise-goers. Moorea Island is a beautiful place to visit, and cruise ships frequently stop there on their way to more popular islands like Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Huahine.
Despite making up one-tenth of the Earth’s surface, Antarctica only sees about 30,000 visitors annually. There are thousands of penguins, whales, seals, and birds for tourists to see.
The greatest way to see this snowy landscape is from the comfort and security of a cruise ship. The South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, which is 1,000 miles long, are common stops on many cruises.
Although Antarctica lacks true ports, attractions such as Deception Island, Half Moon Island, and the Lemaire Channel make up for it. Depending on weather and the likelihood of a safe journey, plans may be altered.
Larger cruise ships have observation decks, while smaller ships’ inflatable landing devices allow passengers to explore the surrounding area. The majority of cruises to Antarctica set sail from South American cities.
WINDJAMMER CRUISE IN MAINE
Windjammers in Maine are true to their 19th-century tall-ship heritage in that they rely on the wind for propulsion. Maine Windjammer Association sails thirteen classic schooners, each with its own character and itinerary.
Several of the vessels are protected as National Historic Landmarks since they were constructed at the turn of the century.
Penobscot Bay serves as the starting and finishing point for cruises; it is a sheltered bay dotted with numerous islands and surrounded by miles of rugged Maine shoreline. Because of factors like the weather and the captain’s whim, no two cruises are ever the same.
Prices average about $160 per person, per day, with trips lasting anywhere from a weekend to a week. Every windjammer has clean, comfortable cabins and serves tasty meals like the classic lobster bake.
Maine Windjammer Association is the place to reserve a trip.
When to go: between the months of May and October
GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK, ALASKA CRUISE
Visiting Glacier Bay National Park on an Alaska cruise is an unforgettable experience. Since there are no roads leading into the park, cruising is a great option for seeing its wild splendor up close.
Cruise ships can easily navigate the fjords, offering passengers breathtaking views of the surrounding ice walls, tidewater glaciers, and snow-capped mountains. There are more active calving glaciers in Glacier Bay than anyplace else in the world, and the sound of ice breaking off and plunging into the sea is deafening.
Animals as diverse as humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, and Pacific white-sided dolphins call this habitat home. Even though it may be frigid in Alaska, visitors can enjoy the scenery from the comfort of a deck chair with a large blanket and a mug of hot chocolate.
FRENCH RIVIERA CRUISE
The French Riviera has been attracting creative types for ages, and with good cause. The glitz, turquoise waters, and stunning landscape of the Côte d’Azur in southeastern France are well-known.
Ports along the French Riviera, such as Nice, Cannes, and Monaco, are regular stops for Mediterranean cruises. Villefranche, a charming village in France, is a popular vacation destination. The town’s deep port is used by luxury cruise liners to anchor, and tender boats bring passengers ashore.
This lovely village, perched precariously on a slope above the port, looks like it was frozen in time around the 14th century. The city’s 16th-century Citadel, which now houses city hall and many museums, and the Chapelle St. Pierre, which features works by artist Jean Cocteau, are both major draws.
Disney Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, Holland America, and Cruise Maritime Voyages are all excellent options when booking a cruise.
April through October is the best time to go.
DOUBTFUL SOUND, NEW ZEALAND CRUISE
Fiordland (or Fiordlands, as the Kiwis name it) National Park is a hidden gem on the southern island of New Zealand. The area’s magnificent mountain peaks and rich biodiversity have earned it the nickname “Switzerland of the South Pacific.” Several movies have used it as a setting, notably “Lord of the Rings.”
One of the greatest ways to see the national park is on a cruise through Doubtful Sound. Getting to Doubtful Sound requires a bus ride over Wilmot Pass, the toughest sub-alpine tourist route in New Zealand, and a 45-minute boat ride across Lake Manapouri.
The Fiordland Navigator, a 70-passenger sailing yacht with individual cabins, a dining space, and full food service, is used for overnight excursions by Real Journeys, a reputable local firm.
Doubtful Sound is home to the uncommon Fiordland Crested Penguin, as well as bottlenose dolphins and fur seals. The Fiordland Navigator anchors daily so that passengers can kayak through the many inlets and bays. There are also day cruises to choose from.
Real Journeys, Fjordland Cruises, Fiordland Expeditions, and Holland America are some good options for booking a trip.
When to go: Cruises depart at all times of the year, but some passengers want to go during the summer (December–March) so they may swim.