10 Off-the-Beaten-Track Cruise Holiday Destinations

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Consider a cruise holiday, and most of us think of the  Caribbean or French Riviera: eternally popular and for good reason!

But the best thing about cruise holidays is that you can pretty much travel to any location and you’re still going to have the comfort of the finest accommodations, food, and amenities. We’ve picked out 10 incredible destinations that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a cruise holiday. We hope you find these as inspirational as we do!

1. Chile

Chile. Flickr Creative Commons: @Doug88888

This uniquely-shaped country (4300 km long and 175 km wide) is home to many diverse climates, ranging from the world’s driest desert (Atacama) to fjords and glaciers. For one of the ports of call, Valparaiso in Santiago is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and you’ll probably have a hard time leaving once you step off your ship.

2. Barbuda

Cocoa Point, Barbuda. Flickr Creative Commons: A bloke called Jerm

The chances are, you probably heard of Antigua, a massively popular cruise destination in the Caribbean. But Antigua is just one of the islands in the region and Barbuda is not to be missed. The lesser-known sister of Antigua, Barbuda is an up-and-coming cruise destination that hasn’t yet been spoiled by ambitious development.

3. Iceland

Bruarfoss waterfalls, Iceland. Flickr creative commons;: Moyan Brenn.

Akureyi is an Icelandic town situated just 100 kilometres from the Arctic Circle. Its temperate climate and the vast botanical gardens with over 2000 species of flora make Akureyi another unique cruise destination.

4. Los Roques

Los Roques. Flickr Creative Commons: capiotti

This archipelago off the Venezuelan coast boasts a wide variety of marine life and birds, which is always good news for wildlife enthusiasts. You’ll think you’ve arrived in paradise upon arrival to this tiny island, with crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches stretching as far as the eye can see.

5. Indonesia

Komodo Island, Indonesia. Flickr Creative Commons: ...your local connection

Komodo is one of over 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia. The Komodo National Park is home to the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world, but even if you don’t like reptiles, it’d be difficult to pass up a trip to this magnificent park that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Indonesia offers a great deal in terms of history, culture and natural beauty and is an ideal alternative cruise destination.

6. Alaska

Alaska cruise. Flickr creative commons: Kass Lamb.

Alaska is not exactly on the top of the list for cruise-goers. This is all the more reason to visit, as its wildlife and landscape are unforgettable and it’s not overwhelmed with tourists.

7. Antarctica

Penguins in Antarctica. Flickr Creative Commons: Hamish Moffatt

Navigating the Drake’s Passage is no small endeavour, and not for the weak hearted! But if you have the endurance, courage, and adventurous spirit for it, you’ll be rewarded handsomely with a lifetime’s worth of storytelling rights. Antarctica is truly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of destination, and is ideal for those looking for something special.

8. Portugal

Portugal's west coast. Flickr Creative Commons: michael clarke stuff

Portugal is one of the lesser-visited countries in Europe in terms of cruise passengers, but not because it’s not worth a visit! While most tourists flock to the Algarve, the west coast is a criminally over-looked region of the country and is a must visit. Small coastal towns and epic cliffside walks are what Portugal’s western coast is all about.

9. Japan

Tokyo. Flickr Creative Commons: Marufish

Japan is a fascinating country with something for just about everyone. Whether you want to explore the history and cuisine of Tokyo, Kobe or Otaru, or if you’re just keen to experience a different way of life from what you’re used to in the West, Japan is a wonderful alternative cruise destination.

10. Galapagos Islands

Sea lion in the Galapagos Islands. Flickr Creative Commons: Derek Keats

If you want to be inspired in your own way and have your mind opened up to new ideas just as Charles Darwin did in 1831, choose the Galapagos Islands for your next cruise holiday. With incredible wildlife and majestic scenery, the Galapagos Islands should be anybody’s ‘natural selection’.

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Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Don McCullough, Doug88888, A bloke called Jerm, Moyan Brenn, capiotti, …your local connection, Kass Lamb, Hamish Moffatt, michael clarke stuff, Marufish, Derek Keats

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Sandra Conreen

Sandra has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years and has gained an extensive knowledge of the cruise industry. Sandra regularly writes for the Cruise 1st blog on a wide range of topics from destination guides to cruise line news.

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