Whether you’re a veteran cruiser or a first timer still getting your sea legs, you’ll know that sailing the high seas is about much more than shuffle board and sun beds. From the most spectacular ports to cruise out of, to adrenalin-inducing ship life activities, here’s our Listopedia on cruising experiences.
Away from the crowds of the larger cruise lines, you’ll find new levels of luxury aboard smaller vessels. Small ship such as Crystal Cruises and Seabourn have staff to guest ratios that enable everyone on board to be spoilt. The biggest Seabourn ships have just 450 guests and are all inclusive – food, wine and spirits. If you’re not a big drinker, don’t worry. How about Caviar in the Surf? A Seabourn specialty, imagine swimming on an island to suddenly see staff in full inform floating around with champagne and caviar on a surfboard.
One of the boons for Aussie cruisers is the increase in ships sailing down under. During the peak cruising season, September-January, ships depart Sydney for the South Pacific and New Zealand on a daily basis. Not only do you have your choice of itineraries, you’ve got the chance to sail out of one of the most spectacular harbours in the world. A sunset sail away past the Opera House is a must-do for any cruiser –it’s the best view in town. The Sail Away party always kicks off a cruise and cocktails as you pass by Sydney’s most iconic location is a great way to kick off a holiday.
On the other side of the world, a European cruise is a great way to see famous cities without spending all day on a bus or train. A cruise out of Venice, the City on the Water, is an experience like no other. Cruise ships currently dock in the terminal at the mouth of the Giudecca Canal, from there the sail away takes you out of the Venice lagoon via the Grand Canal. Head up to the top deck of your ship and look down on Marks Square and the Doge’s Palace as you cruise on by. Be quick though, restrictions on cruise ship size and frequency will be enforced from November.
Herodotus said Egypt was “the gift of the Nile” and if you’re keen to experience this ancient country, a Nile River cruise is the way to go. Forget the feluccas – smaller sail boats often without creature comforts – luxury river cruisers are the best way to get around. Hop aboard your vessel in Aswan and cruise down to Luxor, stopping on the way at the country’s famous temples and tombs. Political unrest has decreased the number of ships on the river, but itineraries are still running.
Driving on or bike riding over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is on plenty of bucket lists, but what about going under it? Cruising into San Francisco is a great way to see the city’s most famous landmark up close. Ships small enough to fit underneath the bridge take their time coming into the Bay, often opening up restricted sections of the decks and getting the live bands to mark the occasion. Expect the rails of the upper decks to be packed as people jostle to get a view of the underside of the bridge. It doesn’t take long to glide underneath, but the build up and the unique perspective are a once in a lifetime experience.
Are you a bird watcher, diver or lizard lover? The Galapagos Islands are probably already on your bucket list and a cruise is a great way to get an introduction to the best this archipelago off the coast of Ecuador has to offer. From blue-footed boobies, iguanas and seals to albatross, penguins and giant tortoises, wildlife experts will take you ashore to see some of the world’s most unusual creatures of the land, air and sea.
You can cruise the rivers and seas all over the world, but don’t forget about the experiences closer to home. Wild luxury is the best way to describe the itinerary that hug the top end of Australia, departing from Broome and ending up in Darwin, with stops along the Kimberley Coast. You’ll hop off the ship and have the chance to see the famous Bungle Bungles, King George Falls and Mitchell Falls – areas you’d be stopping into after hours and hours on a 4WD tour if you weren’t sailing the coast.
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