Adventure Cruises: 5 Expeditions You Don’t Want to Miss

— Add some action to your vacation!
boat sailing near islets

When you think of a cruise vacation, what comes to mind? Sailing through the Bahamas on Spring Break? Enjoying the beaches of the Riviera Maya during your port excursion? Or maybe you are considering journeying through the Mediterranean to explore some of the world’s best tourist destinations.

With this wide variety of cruise vacations, many people tend to overlook the adventure cruise. Adventure cruises are exactly what they sound like, cruise vacations with an emphasis on adventure and expedition. On these vacations, smaller vessels take you to the far corners of the globe, where you will discover breathtaking scenery and encounter wildlife in its natural habitat. What sets these experiences apart from other cruise vacations is that they allow guests to truly interact with their surroundings, learning about local customs and traditions in an exciting way.

If you’re looking to add some action to your vacation, here is a list of five incredible adventure cruise experiences that are sure to take you out of your element. 

Antarctica & Patagonia

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This 12-day Disney expedition takes passengers to the end of the world and beyond, starting at the southern tip of South America and sailing towards the Antarctic peninsula. Guests fly from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Ushuaia/Patagonia, where they will explore the infamous Tierra del Fuego National Park. From here, they will begin their sea journey by voyaging south through the rocky Drake Passage and into the icy seas of Antarctica. What makes this expedition truly special is the plethora of opportunities to interact safely and responsibly with the South Pole’s wildlife, including but not limited to whales, penguins, and seals. 

This journey consists of nature walks, hiking, kayaking, wildlife watching, and so much more, allowing guests to enjoy and appreciate one of the most remote places left on earth. With a number of naturalists and Disney special guests aboard, passengers are sure to walk away from this adventure with a newfound knowledge and appreciation for the icy wonders of Antarctica. 

Galapagos Islands

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Another Disney adventure for all the adventurous globetrotters is the Galapagos Islands Expeditions Cruise. This 9-day adventure cruise allows passengers to explore the unique and diverse ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. In this famed location where local wildlife led explorer Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution. Unlike the other adventure cruises on this list, this Galapagos experience allows passengers to pick from four different itineraries, giving them the opportunity to customize their adventure according to their interests. 

While all of these itineraries both start and end in the beautiful Quito, Ecuador, each has a unique route that leads passengers on an unforgettable island-hopping adventure. Included on these itineraries are a number of hiking and snorkeling excursions, a visit to Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado Tortoise Breeding Center, a tour of the Oldest Post Office in the Pacific, and, of course, the opportunity to safely interact with and learn about local wildlife. For those looking for a tropical expedition straight out of an adventure novel, this adventure cruise will not disappoint. 

Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park

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Alaska: America’s final frontier. This adventure cruise is sure to pack a punch, as it leads passengers through Glacier Bay National Park, the sixth largest national park in the United States. This 7-day expedition leads passengers into the Alaskan wilderness, giving them the opportunity to hike remote coastlines, visit larger-than-life glaciers, and search for wildlife such as bears, sea lions, and porpoises. 

Embarking from Juneau, this cruise leads passengers north through the Icy Strait and onto Neka Bay, giving plenty of opportunities to hike through dense forests or observe sea lions in their natural habitat. An onboard naturalist and local expert guides guests through a two-day pitstop in Glacier Bay National Park, leading them safely through remote destinations not-accessible to regular tourists. The remainder of the trip is spent sailing through icy bays and hiking on towering glaciers, all while encountering animals such as mountain goats, wolves, and eagles. This Alaskan expedition is sure to leave even the most adventurous among us satisfied. 

Australia’s Great Barrier Reefs

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Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet. As such, an adventure cruise through Australian waters is bound to be the expedition of a lifetime. This 7-night, all-inclusive package from Outerknown Adventures takes travelers to a number of destinations off the eastern Australian coast. 

Both beginning and ending in the tropical tourist town of Cairns, this cruise guides travelers to the best maritime locations to observe and enjoy the infamous Great Barrier Reef. Passengers get to swim, snorkel, and dive in the pristine Pacific waters, all the while observing the colorful and diverse aquatic wildlife. In addition to experiencing the Reef in all its glory, cruisers also get the benefit of onboard expert guides to teach them about local indigenous cultures and the important work that naturalists and marine biologists are doing to preserve and protect the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. 

For those of you longing to explore everything an aquatic vacation has to offer, this is the perfect adventure for you. 

Vietnam & Cambodia

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Asia is an often overlooked cruise destination, yet its cultural vibrancy and rich biodiversity makes it the perfect destination for travelers looking to add an adventurous edge to their vacation. This National Geographic trip takes passengers on a 13-day expedition down the Mekong River, featuring visits to ancient religious temples, oxcart rides through local rice fields, private dinners with traditional Vietnamese entertainment, and so much more. Guests fly into Siem Reap, Cambodia, from which they will journey to the famous 12th-century temple Angkor Wat. After spending a week and a half sailing through Cambodia and Vietnam, guests get to explore Ho Chi Minh City, meeting with a local expert to learn about modern Vietnamese history. 

Travelers on this cruise are accompanied by National Geographic’s hand-picked team of naturalists and specialists with expertise on local wildlife, ecosystems, history, and cultures, providing passengers with an enriching insight into the destinations they’ll be visiting. If you’re looking for a unique experience in a beautiful corner of the world, this is the perfect cruise for you.

These five expeditions are the perfect cruise options for all of the adventure and adrenaline junkies out there. Whether you want to hike through the Arctic or snorkel with sea turtles, these adventure cruises are sure to give you the experience of a lifetime.

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