7 Unique Cruises You’ll Want To Book ASAP

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Last year, more than 14-million North Americans traveled by ship, and with more diverse cruising options than ever, it’s no wonder. The modern industry has moved way beyond the floating resort model and now offers experiences that appeal to adventurers, romantics and everybody in between. Here are some of our favorite out-of-the-box cruise experiences.

1. Ultra-luxe expeditions

The Scenic Eclipse is a brand new six-star luxury expedition yacht that navigates the seas from Antarctica to the Mediterranean. Expert-led excursions include standards like kayak whale-watching and exclusive experiences such as mini-submarine adventures and helicopter tours.

2. Southeast Asia’s riverside communities

In August, Emerald Waterways’ newest ship, the Emerald Harmony, set sail on Southeast Asia’s Mekong River. Itineraries wind through the deltas of Cambodia and Vietnam, stopping for shore excursions in small villages and large cities — unlike similarly sized ships on this route, the Emerald Harmony can sail directly into Ho Chi Minh City.

3. A wind-powered adventure

Star Clippers’ yachts hoist real, working sails to offer a green and exciting alternative to typical cruising. With itineraries in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, the award-winning tall ships harness the wind up to 80% of the time, access small ports and less-visited islands and provide ample opportunities for adventure, such as climbing pirate-style to the crow’s nest or riding in style on the bowsprit.

4. British Columbia’s remote wilderness

British Columbia’s coastal inlets and communities, such as Haida Gwaii or the Great Bear Rainforest, offer a mix of remote wilderness and rich cultural experiences. Go old school on the Passing Cloud, a 70-foot wooden schooner celebrating its 45th anniversary, or hop on the Cascadia, a 138-foot boutique catamaran launched in May 2019.

5. Theme cruises are a thing

Cruise lines small and large are launching all kinds of tightly targeted theme experiences in 2019. Notoriously adventurous Uncruise has added itineraries around birding, wellness, photography, and more. And in November, the MSC Grandiosa will become the world’s first immersive fine art experience with “Degas Danse Dessin.”

6. Wildlife wonders of the Galapagos Islands

The ecological diversity of Ecuador’s isolated Galapagos Islands has inspired scientific theory and UNESCO recognition. Today, nature lovers can tour the archipelago in style aboard intimate boutique cruise ships such as the 8-cabin Sea Star Journey or opt for an expedition experience on a bigger boat such as the National Geographic Endeavor II.

7. Get moving

Active cruises are increasingly the rage as the industry seeks to attract a more diverse clientele. While Uncruise Adventures is known for its sometimes challenging outdoor experiences, cruise lines such as Star Clippers and Emerald Waterways offer options for the physically inclined, including water sports, on-board fitness classes, and movement-oriented onshore excursions.

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