Oh look, Chris is writing one of those obnoxious listicles. All that’s missing is that ‘before you die’ in the title. Must be a slow day at the office.
Truth be told, I’ve been so busy juggling my various freelance gigs and my alcohol-fueled social life here in Nanjing that I’ve not had time to have any adventures more exotic than a walk around Xuanwu Lake Park.
In the meantime, my old friend, Fuzz has been posting near daily updates on the count-down for his upcoming all expenses paid, booze included pleasure cruise around the Pacific.
Having never done a cruise myself, but being loath to do something that everybody else is doing, it got me thinking about some of the more unique cruises there are out there.
5 Unique Cruise Experiences
There is no shortage of cruises catering to those who just want to sunbathe, drink, eat, see pretty beaches, and come back with a smile on their dial and some pretty pictures on their phones.
I don’t begrudge people their enjoyment of this kind of thing – hell, I’d probably enjoy it myself – but I’ve decided to instead highlight cruises that offer something a little more unique than palm trees and smiling locals looking to hawk their shell and bead necklaces at the docks.
#5 – Nile River Cruise
Any student of ancient history has an abiding fascination with Egypt and the vital role that the mighty Nile played in the empire’s prolonged power in the region.
Even as Egypt modernizes, much of its mysterious charm still remains in the form of its ancient monuments and the river’s complete lack of care about all of that human nonsense. The Nile has been there for a hell of a long time, and it’ll be gone long after we nuke/zombie apocalypse ourselves to oblivion.
Viking Cruises’ Pathways of the Pharaoh cruise is a mixture of two cruises (one on the Nile and one on Lake Nasser) and some sight-seeing in and around Cairo, making it a good way to see Egypt for the first time while also seeing it from a different perspective than most tourists.
Prices start from around $4,200 USD per person.
#4 – Cruising the Kimberly Coast
Part river cruise and part ocean cruise, a trip along Western Australia’s Kimberly Coast might just be one of the most visually stunning cruises you’re ever likely to find.
Alternating between the windswept WA coast and the river canyons of stark beauty, Northstar Cruise’s True North cruise is a 13 night odyssey of harsh desert canyons, towering waterfalls, man-eating crocodiles, unbelievable sunsets, and adrenaline activities like jet boating.
Australia isn’t usually thought of as a cruise destination as much as a starting or ending point, so this is something extra special.
Prices start from around $19,000 AUD.
#3 – Cruise East Asia
I’m a tad biased in this regard, but why settle for tiny islands and coral reefs when you could visit some of the oldest and most fascinating cultures on earth?
Stretching out over an entire month, Sun Cruises do a trek that takes you from Sydney all the way to Yokohama. Stops along the way are anything but ordinary, with Kota Kinabalu, Shanghai, Seoul, and Vladivostok just a few of the international ports of call along the way.
Southeast Asia and the Pacific might be more traditional cruise destinations, but take me to cities with the history of Beijing or islands with the volcanic beauty of Jeju and I’m a happy traveler.
CruiseAgency.com.au has cruises like this for as little as $5,000 per person.
#2 – Cruise on a Cargo Freighter
If you’re one of those ‘luxury travel is for posers’ people who scoffs at the well trod tourist paths, perhaps spending your holiday time on a no-frills cargo ship is more your style?
Definitely not one for those looking to meet beautiful women and relax on deck, the huge variety of cruises available on Freighter Expeditions range all share a sedate pace, more down to earth accommodations, and a range of unusual stops chosen for their nautical importance rather than their tourist appeal.
You’ll get a lot of reading done and see some unusual stuff, but these are far from social cruises.
A 93 day round trip between Brisbane and China is likely to set you back around $13,950 AUD, although shorter treks are available.
#1 – Antarctic Cruise
The ultimate goal for any traveler with a desire for completion, a visit to Antarctica is something to save all of those dollars and cents for.
Exploring the last great terrestrial frontier is one of the last true adventures out there, and while you’re not exactly slogging through sub-zero temperatures with snot frozen in your nose and the immediacy of death over your shoulder, an Antarctic cruise is about as close as most of us will ever get.
Departing from South America, trips range in length from 10+ days, and feature a mixture of being amazed by the scenery from the deck and heading to the shore to experience a little taste of Antarctica for yourself.
Antarctic cruises with SilverSea range in price from $10,000 USD to much, much more.
Are any of the above on your bucket list?
Have you been on an unforgettable and unique cruise you’d like to recommend?
Featured image courtesy of Anthony Topper.