Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises with spas, fitness centers and waterparks on board are no longer as exciting or exclusive as they once were. For a more unusual cruise experience, head to a unique destination, book your trip on a cruise ship that boasts unique onboard activities or find a themed adventure.
Unusual Cruise Destinations
Every continent, as well as islands throughout the world, welcomes cruise ships into their ports. If you’re bored with the standard, popular cruises, try one of these unusual cruise destinations, boasting breathtaking scenery and unforgettable memories!
For pristine land and intriguing wildlife, cruise within the multiple Galapagos Islands. Experience incredible natural beauty, culture and bucket list adventures, from Machu Picchu to the Amazon Rainforest, in Chile and Brazil. Make a stop at the world’s southernmost city in Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Head to the other corner of the Americas for a cruise through the small towns on Greenland’s coast.
Europe and the Middle East
The Middle East offers some of the most unique cruises, where you can explore fascinating ports, cities, history and attractions. Take the Nile River to Egypt for incredible pyramid skyline views, ancient history and activities like snorkeling and safari walks. Eastern Mediterranean itineraries departing from Athens or Venice might even include stops in Albania.
Instead of touring Europe capitals along the Danube or Rhine, try a more exotic and unusual cruise along the Tisza or Sava River for stunning architecture, authentic cuisine and fascinating wildlife. The Suez Canal offers an unusual cruise experience, as you sail from cities such as Rome and Athens through the Canal to the Red Sea.
If you start near the North Pole and travel down Norway’s coastline, you can explore rugged mountains and peaceful, yet cultural villages. Many of the cruises that stop in Greenland, Spain and the United Kingdom will also journey to Iceland, or choose an Iceland circumnavigation itinerary.
Africa, Asia and Australia
Cape Town, South Africa is part of many unique cruise itineraries, including Dubai to Cape Town and Cape Town to Singapore, as well as cruises that explore the southern end of Africa exclusively. Itineraries on Africa’s Atlantic coast offer culturally rich, off-the-path experiences at stops like Lomé, Togo and the tropical Cape Verde Islands.
For kayaking excursions, fishing and more adventure, take a cruise on Ha Long Bay and enjoy stops at Tai Chi and Toi Sang Cave. A river cruise is one of the best ways to explore Myanmar because of the country’s undeveloped road system. Indonesia is made up of over 17,500 individual islands. Besides Bali, there are so many lesser-known gems to explore, including Banta, Rinca and Moyo.
Kimberly, located on the western coast of Australia, is a wonderful addition to a cruise among the islands of the Indian Ocean. Head to Cairns and experience the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea on a cruise excursion. Or hit Melbourne, Australia’s cultural capital, home to museums, art galleries and beautiful architecture.
Unique Onboard Activities
Unusual cruises aren’t limited to unusual destinations. Choose a cruise with unique onboarding activities for a more exciting and unusual cruise experience! Many of today’s largest cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, are incorporating unusual experiences into their onboard offerings. Laser tag, rock climbing, ice skating, zip lines and glass-bottomed spaces, to name a few, are popular among passengers of all ages.
Also among entertainment options are learning experiences, such as hands-on classes and lectures. Instead of laying by the pool during your trans-Atlantic journey, learn how to cook, make jewelry or create craft cocktails. Lectures on topics ranging from Spanish lessons to the history of cruise ships are offered on many ships as well.
Themed Cruise Experiences
Themed cruises make for fun and unique travel experiences. Immerse yourself in your favorite hobby with like-minded people during a themed cruise. Experiences vary from trip to trip, with one of the biggest differences being whether the theme is taking over the entire ship or only a small block of rooms are taking part.
These unique cruise experiences cover almost any topic imaginable, with music festivals, wine cruises, continuing education credits and sports among popular options. The themes are carried throughout lectures, parties, meals and excursions.