Best cruises for nature lovers
Cruises for nature lovers
On cruises for nature lovers not much comes close to the accessibility, diversity and comfort. They generally cater to a wide variety of needs and requirements, with some travellers opting for a packed schedule of daily Zodiac landings, hikes, snorkelling or kayaking, while some prefer more gentle tours. What you’re guaranteed however is access to some of the most exciting wildlife in the world, all while enjoying the comfort and holiday feel of a cruise holiday.
Celebrity Cruises - Galapagos
Known as one of the world's premier travel destinations for wildlife, the Galapagos Islands offer the opportunity to see a breadth of weird and wonderful creatures, many not found anywhere else on earth! The archipelago is so remote and the wildlife population so concentrated, this environment inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Celebrity Cruises' 98-passenger Xpedition offers all the comforts of a cruise while the ship itself is more than capable of expedition travel. The vessel is based year-round in the Galapagos, anchoring at two or three of the islands each day, so you can go ashore and experience the diversity in wildlife and scenery from island to island in one of the world's last pristine environments.
You'll witness a variety of animals in their untouched, natural habitat, including sea lions, penguins, iguanas, pelicans, flamingos and even get up close with Galapagos' most famous resident – the giant tortoise. More active-inclined travellers will also have the opportunity to see the extensive sea life by snorkel, and take in the incredible vistas while hiking the volcanic terrain. While cruising between the various islands you'll be able to relax in luxury, contrasting the adventure and expedition feel of the trip with comfortable en-suite accommodation, quality dining and by kicking back in the sauna or hot tub.
Princess Cruises – Alaska’s Inside Passage
Cruising Alaska's Inside Passage gives travellers and wildlife aficionados unparalleled access to North America's vast, rugged northern landscape and it's plethora of native animals. Departing from the American cultural hotspot of Seattle or Canada's west coast metropolis, voyages make their way north into Alaska's Inside Passage and its pristine landscapes, brining you as close as possible to the awe inspiring glaciers and wildlife. A variety of shore adventures catering to a range of activity levels insure everyone can get the most out of their trip, from singles, families, seniors and those with limited mobility there's something for everyone.
Wildlife highlights include seeing breaching whales in open water up close from the ship's deck, fierce grizzly bears and giant caribou roaming the coastlines, exotic birds such as soaring eagles and huddles of puffins, seals and sea lions and of course pods of marine giants combing the surface of the water such as humpback and orca whales!
You can spend your time on board dining in one of the many restaurants, chilling by the pool, taking in a show, grabbing a drink at the bar or training in the state-of-the-art gym all while taking in the fantastic scenery.
Windstar Costa Rica
Costa Rica is about as ecologically diverse as it gets, boasting the highest biodiversity of any country in the world. This relatively small Central American country contains an extremely wide range of environments including tropical rainforests, Atlantic and Pacific coastline, volcanos, cloud forests and more. It’s also home to a huge number of endemic wildlife species which aren’t found anywhere else on earth.
On your Costa Rican adventures you can explore the amazing natural landscapes, zip line through the jungle, explore the coastal waters by snorkel and kayak and visit rainforests with trees over 300 years old. You’ll be taken tours through a variety of habitats where you’ll be able to spot howler monkeys, ocelots, crocodiles, armadillos, sloths, anteaters, egrets and a plethora of tropical birds of paradise.
At night you’ll be able to relax in luxury as your vessel waits for you to return from your day’s exploring. Enjoy a cocktail on deck, treat yourself in the on board gourmet restaurants, test your luck in the casino or just chill out by the pool.
Silversea Southern Africa
You can’t discuss wildlife holidays without thinking of Africa. Home to some of the world’s most iconic animals, you’ll be hard pushed to find someone who wouldn’t relish the chance to see one of the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo and elephant - in their natural habitat. The continent is home to a vast diversity in landscapes and animals, and with cruises visiting various ports up and down the coast you’ll be able to take in this diversity in luxury and comfort on Silversea’s Silver Cloud.
You’ll have the chance to visit the wildlife meccas of Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and of course South Africa. Travelers will witness first-hand the dramatic landscapes these countries have to offer, from the mountains to the plains, coast to jungle and everything in between. Safari excursions will take you as close as possible to some of the most infamous predators on earth along with the giants of the savannah– lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos, wildebeest, buffalo and more.
Stopping off at the island of Madagascar gives a glimpse into one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with over 90% of the island’s animals and plants found nowhere else on earth. This is due to the island’s separation from the Africa-South America landmass over 135 million years ago, leaving its flora and fauna to evolve in total isolation. The world’s 4th largest island also boasts an extreme diversity of landscapes, including plains, mountains, coasts and dense forest, so much so that it has earned the nickname ‘the eighth continent.’ The star of the island is undoubtedly the instantly recognisable ring-tailed lemur, but with such a concentration of wildlife you’ll be spoiled for choice as you spot tropical birds, reptiles, countless variations of lemurs, chameleons and the cat-like fossa.
Even if you’re main purpose is to experience this exotic locations wildlife and scenery, your time on board will be undeniably luxurious. As Silver Cloud isn’t an expedition ship, all the cabins are suites with views, restaurant meals offer a culinary experience of their own, and the pool and spa offer relaxation after a day of sightseeing.
Royal Caribbean International Australia and New Zealand
Australia is known for being home to some of the quirkiest creatures in the animal kingdom, and the sheer expanse of landscapes in the land-down-under make cruising one of the best ways to take it all in in one trip. The obvious must-sees for wildlife lovers are the iconic kangaroos, however you’ll also have the chance to see koalas, tazmanian devils, emu and the platypus. Australia is also home to the largest coral reef in the world – The Great Barrier Reef – and as such is home to an incredible diversity of marine life. Passengers will spot some of the 1500-plus species of fish that live there, as well as sea turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks, stingrays and more.
A cruise in Australia and New Zealand is a great way to combine wildlife and natural tourism with some city visits and beach chilling. While on board you’ll also enjoy all the comforts of a luxury cruise, with restaurants, shopping, swimming pool, spa and more, so you can unwind and recoup between each wildlife experience.
- 11th October 2016
- Dougal Crawford