An exploration cruise combines the luxuries of life on board a superbly appointed expedition-class vessel with exciting excursions by inflatable Zodiac dinghy and onshore explorations of local wildlife and landscape.
Scandinavian and Arctic cruises are a spectacular way to view the Norwegian fjords and watch for polar bears, while South American and Antarctic cruises sail through the fjords of Chile, or past towering glaciers and innumerable penguins and other birdlife. Whale watching is superb at either pole, depending on the season.
Cruising deep into the rainforest surrounding the Amazon is an exciting option with a growing number of cruise lines, often coupled with a multi-port tour of the Caribbean. Alternatively, a voyage to the Galapagos is a fantastic way to view abundant wildlife, with sailings out of Ecuador and Argentina. Papua New Guinea and Borneo cruises embark in Australia and New Zealand and can be combined with extended stays here whilst African safari cruises can be coupled with a beach and water sports holiday in Mauritius or the Maldives.
Top destinations for Exploration cruises
Glaciers, fjords, a gateway to the Antarctic – an exploration cruise in Argentina offers a sense of adventure, pristine wilderness and a chance to see another side of South America.
Exploration cruises in Europe are the best way to explore Norway and the dramatic, rugged coastline here, whilst you can also push north above the Arctic Circle to discover Spitsbergen and Svalbard.
Discover some of North America's most magnificent landscapes and coastline on an exploration cruise in Canada or the USA, especially in Alaska.
Exclusive and rarely visited, Antarctica can be inhospitable, making an exploration cruise here a genuine expedition, where the rewards in terms of sights and experiences are well worth the effort to travel to the end of the Earth.
South America exploration cruises are great ways to discover the coasts and scenery of Brazil, Chile and Peru as well as remote icons such as Easter Island and the Galapagos Islands.
The allure of Central America is undeniable and colorful, diverse countries such as Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama are well-suited to being explored on an exploration cruise.
Take an exploration cruise in Australasia and the Pacific to see coastlines you can only comprehend from the sea and enjoy experiences that you can't have by exploring Australia, New Zealand or the islands of the South Pacific overland.
Historic and culturally rich, Asia is an exceptional destination for an exploration cruise, with the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Borneo and islands off Japan all waiting to be discovered.
Top itineraries for Exploration cruises
Hurtigruten ships have been an integral part of Norwegian coastal life for more than 100 years, delivering freight, post and passengers to remote communities between Bergen in the south and Kirkenes in the north.
Special fly-cruise fares to the Northern Lights
With direct flights from the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is even easier to access the wonders of northern Norway and go in search of the elusive, magnificent Northern Lights.