Of the various ways to take a vacation, heading off on a cruise ship is definitely one of the most popular. Starting with steamboats in the early Nineteenth century, we eventually got bigger boats in the form of steamships which became very popular during this period as they were used as a primary form of public transportation from one continent to another. But then following the maritime disaster of the RMS Titanic, which was the biggest steamship in the world at the time, and the introduction of the airplane in the 30s led to a decline in the use of steamships for transportation purposes. Nowadays, they’re primarily used for entertainment purposes which is primarily done through cruise ships.
Started in the mid-1800s, cruise ships offer a wide variety of venues onboard that keeps the passengers entertained while also taking them to several exotic locations along a particular route. But while some routes like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean are more typical routes to go on, there are some places that don’t have as many cruises offered. Yet recently, these lesser-known places are becoming increasingly popular which are listed here in this article for anyone to check out if they’re getting bored with the usual cruises.
30 Kimberley Coast - Lots of Cliffs
For those who are fans of the southwestern regions of the world, whether it be the Grand Canyon or Salar de Uyuni, but still crave the ocean will find their heart’s desire on this beautiful coastline in the northwestern part of Australia. As the picture above shows, this place is known for its “Fiery red cliffs” as described by TripsToDiscover which come with impressive waterfalls that pour into the sea. Of course, one thing to keep in mind are the saltwater crocodiles which are pretty common in this area. So maybe keep an eye out for them before swimming there.
29 Three Gorges - River Journeys
Resting in the Yangtze River, which is one of the longest in the world, this series of gorges stand like impressive stone giants that have eroded with time and had vividly green foliage grow all over them. There is also a dam of the same name in this area that has attracted some controversy. While it does help reduce flooding in the region during the rainy seasons, many archeological sites from ancient times "Were flooded to create the dam" in the first place as stated by The Planet D. So now, these relics lie at the bottom of the river.
28 Amazon River - Green and Wild
Because the rainforests are gradually shrinking every year due to excessive logging and burning of entire acres to make way for land development, there’s never a better time to visit the Amazon Rainforest than now! For the best way to experience it without traversing through the actual jungle, where there’s big cats giant insects poisonous frogs and even parasites, one should consider traveling along the Amazon River in a riverboat. The reason for this is that apparently larger boats such as cruise ships can only sail “As far as Manaus” TripsToDiscover says which is the capital of the Amazonas State.
27 Waterways of Russia - Slavic Greetings
While Russia is known for a variety of things, including a complicated history and messy relations with other countries around the world, one can’t help but admire the splendor coming from the largest country on Earth as well as its distinctive culture that is neither European or Asian. So if one wishes to see the best parts of Russia, which include the cities of St. Petersburg and the capital Moscow, there’s a convenient series of waterways that connect the two. Consisting of several rivers, these waterways allow tourists to see various buildings including “15th- and 17th-century cathedrals” TripsToDiscover says.
26 Antarctica - Unexpected Beauty
While it may seem strange to go all the way down to the coldest continent on the planet just for a cruise, it’s becoming an increasingly popular thing to do. Though according to The Planet D, it is “A more expensive trip than most” which is saying a lot considering how much the average cruise costs. Yet despite the rough seas and subzero temperatures that one tends to associate with Antarctica, it’s better to go there during the warmer months when these natural elements are toned down significantly. Plus, getting to see beautiful glaciers and penguins is pretty neat!
25 The North Pole - Top of the World, Ma!
Unlike its southern counterpart, which is dominated by the continent of Antarctica, the North Pole has no continent to speak of. Bordered by the northern edges of countries like Canada and Russia, the rest is just layers upon layers of frozen ice (which is aptly demonstrated by the above picture). Yet in recent years, the North Pole’s glaciers have been gradually getting smaller which in turn is affecting the world’s oceans and the creatures that live there including Polar Bears whose very existence depends on these things. So with that in mind, it might be worth seeing sooner than later.
24 Suez Canal - Desert Kingdoms
Between the Mediterranean and Red Seas, this artificial canal stands. Serving as an important passage for maritime trade, it was built in the 1800s despite having precursors dating back to the time of Ancient Egypt. It’s also become the center for several conflicts including the Suez Crisis and Arab-Israeli Wars. With that said, though, it does offer access to some famous tourist sites such as the ancient city of Petra in Jordan as well as the modern city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates via cruise lines. The canal itself even has “Endless beautiful beaches” according to TripsToDiscover.
23 Ha Long Bay - Asian Paradise
Off the coast of Vietnam lies this pretty gem of an area that stretches out toward the South China Sea according to The Planet D. As this picture shows, the bay consists of a series of tall rocky formations known as Karsts which are made from limestone that emerge from waters that are emerald-green in color. Accessible by boats both big and small, tourists are not only able to sail the breadth of the bay itself but also explore the caves and a lookout high above which The Planet D says has a great view of the whole bay.
22 Indonesian Archipelago - Isles of the Dragons
Though Seychelles may have the most islands, they are quite small compared to the ones throughout the country of Indonesia. Large and volcanic in shape, these islands are not only tropical climate-wise which makes them an ideal tourist location but they’re also known for certain creatures that live there. Among the most famous ones are the Komodo Dragons, which is a misnomer since they’re just giant lizards and don’t actually breathe fire or fly for that matter. Nevertheless, a majority of them reside in the appropriately named Komodo National Park which TripsToDiscover says is “On the island of Moyo”.
21 Lefkada Island - Seaside Mountains
Though it’s technically an island, Lefkada is connected to Greece via a causeway much like the Passage du Gois in France. While this place isn’t well-known compared to some of the other islands in Greece, it has become known for a couple of things. These, as stated by TravelPulse, include “Mountain villages and seaside towns” as well as “Mountain cliffs and sapphire blue water”. To perfectly exemplify these elements, let us examine the picture above. Apart from the seaside village and cruise ship that are partially visible, we have impressive mountains cliffs along the coast and incredibly blue waters.
20 Hebrides - There Can Only Be One!
In one of the northernmost parts of Scotland, there is a large group of islands known collectively as the Hebrides. Consisting of two parts, with the Inner Hebrides being closer to the Scottish mainland while the Outer Hebrides are further out to sea, these islands are revered for their impressive geography as exemplified by the above picture. Then if one decides to take a cruise out this way, there’s the chance of spotting various kinds of whales during their yearly migrations. These include Minkes, Humpbacks, and Orcas as claimed by TripsToDiscover though the most common marine mammal here is seals.
19 Kerala - Serene Palmtrees
Along the southern edge of India is the state of Kerala, which is known for its local fishing and exotic-looking canals. This includes the city of Alleppey, now known as Alappuzha, where canals are one of its primary features. In fact, one can book a houseboat for cruising purposes such as the ones seen in the above picture. There are also lakes such as Vembanad, which is India’s longest. On top of that, the people are another aspect that makes this place attractive including those who participate in the Kaathakali dance which “Tells ancient Hindu legends” according to TripsToDiscover.
18 River Nile - A Trip through Time
Home to one of the earliest civilizations, the River Nile was ruled by Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs while places like Giza and Thebes (not to be confused with the city of the same name in Greece) had massive pyramids and temples built. These include the Luxor Temple, which is known for its intricate stone carvings, and the Valley of the Kings where the tomb of Tutankhamen (aka King Tut) was found. While these places are still revered to this day, they aren’t visited as much due to political tensions in Egypt according to Lonely Planet but they’re still worth checking out!
17 Borneo - Going Bananas
In the Malay Archipelago, which includes the country of Malaysia, lies the island of Borneo which is considered to be “The third-largest island in the world” as stated by TripsToDiscover. Apart from the tropical landscape, this island is especially famous for one thing: Orangutans! One of the largest apes in the Primate Family, these fuzzy orange guys can be seen in the wild along various trails and parks on the island including a rehab center. Borneo also has a wide variety of birds and offshore from it are tropical reefs filled with a lot of marine wildlife as well.
16 Naxos - Home of the Cloud-Gatherer
Within the Aegean Sea, there is a group of islands called the Cyclades. Though many of the islands are uninhabited, the people have a unique history and culture that is distinct from their Greek neighbors north of the Aegean Sea. For this reason, more tourists have started showing up though in particular the island of Naxos which is the largest island in the entire archipelago. Famous for its ancient ruins such as the one shown in the above picture, Naxos also has Mt. Zeus (named after the Greek god of the same name) which is its centerpiece according to TravelPulse.
15 West African Coast - Capes and Canaries
Stretching all the way down to the Cape of Good Hope and reaching as far north as the Canary Islands, the West African coast has a variety of places to explore and visit including a variety of pristine beaches. For instance, the beach pictured above is known as the Chaves Beach on the Boa Vista Island that’s part of the Cape Verde Islands (also known as the Republic of Cabo Verde) which is near the Canary Islands. As described by African Travels, it’s got “Open landscape and soft sand” making it about as ideal as any beach can get anywhere!
14 Seychelles - Tiny but Pretty
Lying between the eastern side of Africa and the western coast of India, this lesser-known nation resides. Consisting of an archipelago of islands, 115 to be exact, this place has become increasingly popular for its beaches (such as the one shown above). In fact, they are considered to be “The world’s best” according to TravelPulse. Apart from the beaches, there’s also the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin Island. Known for its wide variety of trees and animals, the most famous species include the coco de mer (aka Lodoicea) palm tree and Seychelles black parrot Lonely Planet states.
13 Scotland and Ireland - Land of the Gaels
Though this seems like the coast of California, it’s actually the coast of Portsoy, Scotland, which lies on the northern coastline. So as one might imagine, it is pretty cold given how far north Scotland is compared to Britain. The same can be said for Ireland, despite it being a little bit south of Britain though not by much. Yet during the summertime, these places do get warmer due to the tropical air that flows up from the Caribbean Sea further south. But if the cold isn’t an issue, there are cruises that go through their waterways as TripsToDiscover claims.
12 Alaska - Adventures Awaiting
For those who are more adventurous and don’t want to go on a cruise just to relax, then why not go up to Alaska for a change? Being the northernmost state among the United States of America, it’s not only got temperate rainforests in the southern part but also icy tundras in the northern parts making it the perfect place to explore for any would-be adventurer. One of the highlights, for instance, is Glacier Bay which has a national park of the same name and includes real glaciers. In recent years, though, these glaciers have started to shrink rapidly.
11 Newfoundland - Pining for the Fjords
Officially known as Newfoundland and Labrador, this region in Canada resides along the eastern coast of North America which was primarily occupied by the French. To this day, one of the few French-controlled areas in Canada is Saint Pierre and Miquelon Island (also known as the Overseas Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon) which is near Newfoundland. But what really draws tourists to this place are the amazing coastlines which contain the “Largest navigable fjords in North America” according to TripsToDiscover. As shown in the above picture, these fjords are extremely steep and very tall on top of that.
10 British Columbia - Cool Wilderness
On the western coast of North America, there is an area called the Inside Passage. Running along the southern part of Alaska and part of British Columbia, Canada, it’s become a popular cruise line route for tourists to take. The main reasons for this include the beautiful scenery along the Canadian coast and surprisingly diverse wildlife the area has to offer. From Bald Eagles soaring along the coasts to “Whales and porpoise” swimming in the waves as stated by TripsToDiscover, who wouldn’t want to visit here? Plus, one can either dine onboard a cruise ship or hike in the wilderness.
9 Tórshavn - Viking Country
Named after Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, this northern town is considered to be the largest on all the Faroe Islands. Located “Halfway between Iceland and Norway,” TripsToDiscover says, it was originally occupied by Vikings who were notorious for their raids along the British and French coastlines (though a majority of them were actually farmers and tradesmen). These days, the town is known for having brightly colored houses with some having roofs made of grass (such as the house on the left side of the above picture) while the coastlines consist of fjords that are impressive to look at.
8 Myanmar - Tropical Royalty
Once known as Burma, this country has been in the news lately due to some ethically questionable things that have happened. But regardless, the place has a great deal of history that spans thousands of years. For instance, the city of Pagan is famed for being the country’s historic capital and its 3,000 monuments as claimed by TripsToDiscover. The country is also known for its royalty and its religious aspects (as exemplified by the beachside pagodas in the picture above). Hence, TripsToDiscover says, there is a royal palace in Mandalay and monasteries in Salay that are made from teak wood.
7 Piran - Mediterranean Comforts
Near the border of Italy and the country of Slovenia (which was formerly part of Yugoslavia) resides this seaside fishing village called Piran. While the town itself is situated in an Eastern European country, it does have “Touches of Venetian style and food” as claimed by TravelPulse. As the above picture shows, the town’s architecture has the same red-tiled roofs and multi-colored houses that are found in Venice only without the canals. Though given that the city of Venice is gradually sinking and the place is overpopulated by tourists, Piran seems like the smaller and quieter alternative by comparison.
6 Maine Islands - Sail Away
While sailing is seen as romantic to many people, it’s a passion for some. So for those who want to tick that off their bucket list or scratch that sailing itch after being out of practice for a while, taking a cruise to the small islands surrounding the state of Maine might just be the right cure! Now according to TripsToDiscover, these cruises include acquiring one’s own schooner (which is a small sailing boat for those unfamiliar with the term) and charting their own course through the islands themselves. Though the above picture indicates nice weather and greenness, it’s deceptively cold.
5 Cook Islands - Famous by Association
Located near New Zealand, these self-governing islands reside which are largely unpopulated with the exception of Rarotonga Island. Yet despite their tropical climate and pristine waters, they went largely unnoticed by the rest of the world until one television show brought major attention to them. That show was Survivor, which filmed a season on these islands in the mid-2000s. Nowadays, there are various cruises that travel to the islands including Aitutaki which TripsToDiscover claims is “So flat you can see the ocean from any point on the island”. Then one airplane flight away reside the nearby Society Islands.
4 Micronesia - Reefs Aplenty!
While the region of Micronesia is just a series of tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean, this place is known for what lies beneath the waves. In Palau, for instance, there is a lake where tourists can swim with jellyfish that don’t sting (although tours have recently ceased in wake of the jellyfish mysteriously disappearing according to Palau Dive Adventures). Though a few miles south lies the Great Barrier Reef, which is known worldwide for its diverse marine wildlife and hundreds of coral which have been going through some negative changes due to the increase in algae so it might be completely gone soon!
3 Opatija - Queen of the Adriatic
Below the country of Slovenia lies Croatia, which was also formerly part of Yugoslavia, whose history shows in this one coastline town known as Opatija. Nicknamed “Queen of the Adriatic,” according to TravelPulse, it prides itself as a resort location for all travelers whether they come by on land or the sea. This place is known for its historical buildings that, “Date back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire,” TravelPulse says, which Yugoslavia originally came from, and stunning European-style beaches as the above picture clearly shows. So this is a perfect place that has European charm in a Mediterranean climate.
2 Ushuaia - Gateway to Antarctica
Moving further south, this place doesn’t seem particularly frigid until it’s revealed to be in Argentina on the southernmost tip of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego in the province of the same name. Therefore, it’s relatively not that far away from Antarctica. With that said, though, this city does have a lot of features going for it that still makes it attractive for tourists such as the Andes Mountains (which are visible in the background of the above picture) along with a special railway that has been nicknamed the “Train at the End of the World” according to TripsToDiscover.
1 Norway’s North Cape - Bundle Up!
If taking a cruise up to Alaska sounds too mainstream, even for the most adventurous types, then how about Norway? In particular, the North Cape which includes steep seaside cliffs and an impressive overlook (as seen in the above picture). Here, one can experience the phenomena known as the Midnight Sun which only happens in the northernmost countries during certain times of the year. As the name implies, it’s when the sun remains on the horizon all day and night thus disorienting one’s sense of time. It’s also the chance to see rare birds, TripsToDiscover claims, alongside whales and reindeer.