Top Five Unique Cruise Destinations

June 8, 2011


Unique Cruise Destinations

Over the years cruise lines have spanned all four corners of the world to bring you just about any destination your heart desires.  In fact, you can now go so many places on a cruise that it’s hard to know where to go next.  At The Cruise Line, we’re always on the look out for exciting itineraries to far-off places to suggest to our customers, especially if they’re on the look out for something a little out of the ordinary.  Here are the top five unique cruise destinations that we have been recommending recently:

The Kimberley’s, Australia

The Kimberleys

A far cry from the buzzing cosmopolitan energies of Australia’s major port cities, the Kimberley region offers the intrepid cruise enthusiast a delightful mix of outback-living, red-rock scenery and a coastline untouched by wear and tear of modern civilisation.

Located in north-western Australia, the Kimberley’s is dominated by mountain ranges in the north and tropical grasslands in the south.  It’s the perfect setting for a cruise as the mountains are visible from the rugged coastline, offering a backdrop of awe-inspiring scenery throughout your time spent navigating the serenely calming tributaries and waterways.  Throughout your cruise, you’ll be in a prime position to take in a plethora of waterfalls, gorges, savannah plains, blue waters and secluded beaches.

Cruising the Kimberley’s is recommended if exploring history-rich landscapes is high on your list of priorities – a cruise navigating the Kimberley’s offers a fascinating insight into the Australia of a bygone era, with the opportunity to explore indigenous culture and art at close quarters

The Cruise Line recommends:

Orion Expedition Cruises – Kimberley’s Itineraries

The Hebrides, Scotland

The Hebrides

When one thinks of exciting cruise destinations, it’s unlikely that a cluster of islands situated on the outer reaches of western Scotland would factor high on the list of considerations.  It may come as some surprise then that the Hebrides have been delighting a small minority of cruisers for years, offering a myriad of islands and inlets ripe for exploration and far removed from the stresses and strains of modern living.

A rugged landscape of rolling hills, lush valleys and deserted coastlines, the Hebrides comprises of over 100 islands (with just 15 of them inhabited) and boasts a mysterious history that stretches back as far as 55BC.  Recommended for nature lovers and budding photographers, the region is flush with a rich spectrum of wildlife, which can include regular sightings of Golden Eagles, whales, porpoises and dolphins.

For those in search of culture and history, the Hebrides has much to offer, particularly on the Island of Lewis.  One of most densely populated Hebridean Islands, Lewis, is home to Lews Castle, a Victorian -era castle built in the 1840s using the proceeds of the Chinese opium trade, and the Callanish Stones, a formation of rocks similar to Stonehenge that date back to 2900BC (Scottish folklore claims the stones are actually the remnants of giants who refused to be converted to Christianity).

The Cruise Line recommends:

Hebridean Island Cruises – Hebrides Itineraries

Komodo Island, Indonesia

Komodo Islands

On the face of it, Komodo Island is a ‘typical’ Indonesian island, a relaxing, peaceful haven of sandy white beaches, crystal blue water and no shortage of colourful fauna – in fact, some might say it sums up everything that is truly beautiful about this part of the world.

However, venture further inland by way of a tour or shore excursion and you might be lucky enough to come face-to-face with the island’s most famous inhabitant – the Komodo Dragon.  Unique in appearance and vigorously protected by island traditions and it’s proud inhabitants, the Komodo Dragon has roamed these shores for over 40 million years, a true relic of the past that you’re unlikely to see anywhere other than this part of the world.

Komodo is also ideal if you enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving as it enjoys a marvellous mixture of marine life, including whales, dolphins and turtles.

The Cruise Line recommends:

Cruises to the island are often part of larger Far East or Indian Island cruise itineraries with lines such as Silversea Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises both offering Komodo as a port of call on their itineraries.

Svalbard Islands, Norway

Svalbard Islands

The Norwegian Fjords might get most of the attention when it comes to cruising this part of the world, but keep sailing north into the Arctic Circle and you will soon arrive at the beautifully remote Svalbard Islands.

The Svalbard Islands were officially discovered in the 17th century by one William Barrentsz who was in search of the Northern Sea Route, though there are also various indicators that suggest they may have been visited by Norse travellers in as early as 1200.   For the modern day visitor the Svalbard Islands make a perfect stop-off on any polar cruise itinerary, offering stunning arctic scenery that lends itself perfectly to exploration and photography.

Alongside the huge glaciers, twisting fjords and immense snowfields, one of the other main reasons for the Svalbard’s popularity is its community of polar bears.  With numbers nearing 3000 (compared to 2500 human inhabitants), the polar bear has become a symbol of the region with sightings extremely common.  On your cruise you might also be lucky enough to also see seals, walruses and reindeers whilst some cruise lines even offer whale-watching as an additional activity.

If you do choose to visit the Svalbard Islands, then taking advantage of the shore excursions on offer is particularly recommended, with unconventional activities such as ice-caving, snowmobile safaris and fossil hunting on offer for those who wish to try their hand at something a little different.

The Cruise Line recommends:

Hurtigruten – Svalbard Cruises
Hapag-Lloyd – Svalbard Cruises

Mekong River, South Asia

The Mekong River

Still in it’s infancy as a cruise destination in it’s own right, the Mekong River is a ‘must-do’ for river cruise lovers searching for an alternative to standard European tours through the Danube and Seine.

The 12th largest river in the world, The Mekong River flows through six of south-east Asia’s most colourful and intriguing countries, including China, Thailand and Vietnam.  Often referred to as the ‘Mother of all Rivers’, the Mekong has long been an integral part of the lives of those who reside near it, whether through providing agricultural and industrial developments with an endless source of water or for assisting in sustaining subsistence fishing.

A great way of seeing the best of this magnificent region in a short space of time, cruising the river offers a tantalising glimpse of the diversity that is such a feature of this magnificent region and as such your memories of lush rainforest scenery, magnificent temples, mountain vistas and ancient temples will stay with you long after you return home.  From the hustle and bustle of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City to the charmingly rugged heartlands of Cambodia, a Mekong River cruise is guaranteed to delight and amaze at every twist and turn.

The Cruise Line recommends:

APT River Cruises: Mekong River Cruises
Pandaw River Cruises – Mekong River Cruises
Heritage Line Cruises – Mekong River Cruises

If you would you like to recommend somewhere to other travellers, leave a comment below!

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