There are few better ways to experience the world's wildlife havens than on a cruise. Places like the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica boast unspoilt scenery and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems. The unique flora and fauna of these areas are best observed from a boat, which makes cruising the perfect way to explore these remote regions.
Best Places to see Wildlife
Located around 1000km west of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are famous for its unique wildlife unaffected by external influences and inspired Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The big ticket attractions include the giant Galapagos tortoise, fur seals, blue footed boobies and marine iguanas. On the other hand, Antarctica is home to penguins, polar bears, orcas, seals and blue whales. Smaller cruise liners that visit Antarctica take passengers onto the ice by Zodiac inflatables and adventure cruisers can even spend a night camping on this frozen landscape.
Other wildlife cruise options include visiting an orangutan sanctuary in Borneo, spotting caribou and walrus in Arctic Norway, seeing bears in Alaska and swimming with dolphins in Egypt.
Best Time to Go
All year round is ideal for a Galapagos cruise as the climate is consistently suitable for cruising. December to May is the warmer season when the water temperatures are best for snorkelling and scuba diving. June to December, while cooler in temperature, is the most active time for birds and sea mammals.
The Antarctic cruise season goes from November to March with up to 20 hours daylight at the height of the Antarctic summer. While it is summer, temperatures rarely rise above freezing so follow your cruise line's advice on clothing.
Who Goes There?
A huge range of smaller ships sail around the Galapagos Islands. The largest ships carry 40 to 100 passengers, such as luxury cruise ships Celebrity Xpedition and Lindblad's Islander and Endeavour. Smaller, but no less luxurious, yachts such as the M/Y Coral I carries a more intimate 20 passengers.
Cruise lines including Cunard, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Silversea and Hurtigruten offer Antarctica cruise itineraries. Peregrine Adventures, Orion Expedition Cruises and Aurora Expeditions are among providers of expedition and adventure cruises to Antarctica.