Fancy unleashing your inner Sir David Attenborough or Bear Grylls? Here are our top tips for going off the beaten track…
TOP TIPS FOR THE FROZEN PLANET
Only 100 passengers are allowed to land at one time on Antarctica, so small ships are best.Go in November/December to see penguins or in January/February to see whales.
“Whether you want to follow in the footsteps of Scott and Shackleton, be overwhelmed by the number – and smell – of the penguins or just witness the serenity and beauty of wind-sculpted ice then the Antarctic will be your ultimate challenge. The spectacular wildlife includes orcas, humpback whales and sea birds.”Deborah Stone, Contributing Editor
Most Antarctic expedition cruises start from Ushuaia (Argentina), followed by a two-day sail across Drake’s Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. Captain’s Choice has luxurious trips to Chile and Antarctica
Interested in learning while you cruise? Specialist cruise lines such as Voyages to Antiquity(voyagestoantiquity.com) have well-known lecturers on board to help you discover more about the history and culture of the places you’re visiting.
Specialist cruises tend to be casual, and entertainment will be a lecture about geography, history or culture. They usually involve early morning starts to help you make the most of the destinations you’re visiting.
Luxury cruise line SeaDream (seadream.com) has Asia cruises for diving and snorkelling in Komodo Island’s National Park. And one of the hottest trends right now is cruise and safari. Spend a few days in Namibia or Kenya and join a game drive before heading off for your cruise. Fred. Olsen, Voyages to Antiquity,Cunard, MSC and P&O all offer cruises to Africa.
Voted winner of Best Destination (Rest of World) in the 2013 Cruise International Awards, the untamed landscape of Alaska is a cruise adventurer’s dream, where you can experience everything from whale spotting to dog-sledding and white-water rafting. And in the Arctic you disembark and explore by zodiac boat, taking you up close to glaciers and icebergs.
Cruise to the Galapagos Islands to see giant tortoises and flamingos. Variety Cruises (varietycruises.com) visit the Seychelles for rare black parrots and the bird nature reserve on Cousin Island, while Princess Cruises (princess.com) offers a range of cruises to South America and the Pacific.
Go in search of the Northern Lights on a Scandinavian cruise. The best time to catch this natural phenomenon is between autumn and early April when it’s dark from 6pm to 1am, and the best spots are above the Arctic Circle. Hurtigruten (hurtigruten.co.uk) has cruises departing from 1 November to 31 December 2014 with snowmobile safaris and reindeer driving.
UP THE AMAZON
A cruise on the Amazon River takes you into the heart of the jungle, past villages and banks covered by dense rainforest, plus the chance to spot wildlife including spider monkeys, three-toed sloths and macaws.Fred. Olsen sails the Amazon and the Caribbean on 22 March 2014 (fredolsencruises.com).
WHAT TO TAKE
For cruises to the Arctic take rubber fishing boots, with extra-thick soles, to keep feet warm and dry. You’ll also need waterproof trousers and layers to stay warm. For the Amazon, you’ll need insect repellent, sturdy footwear, antihistamines, anti-diarrhoea tablets and rehydration sachets may be useful. Always check with your GP in case you need any vaccinations before travelling, and travel insurance is a must.