Best Scenic Cruises

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Beautiful scenic views are more priceless than rare works of art. As travelers become more adventurous and seek unique experiences, cruise lines are charting courses to more remote corners of the Earth. Some are even stepping up their game with smaller luxury ships that get passengers closer to the sights. While globetrotting in a private plane is one of the best, most comfortable ways to travel the world quickly, a cruise will change how you look at it. Take a private jet to catch one of the best scenic cruises offered.

Madagascar

Photo by Frank Vassen

Photo by Frank Vassen

Madagascar is like the Galápagos of the Indian Ocean, as you can’t find 90 percent of its wildlife anywhere else on Earth. The native flora and fauna evolved in relative isolation when the island split from the Indian peninsula millions of years ago. Madagascar is so big (it’s the fourth largest island in the world) that some call it the eight continent. As you cruise the waters, you’ll see teeming coral reefs, dense forests, immaculate beaches and volcanoes.

The best time to travel to Madagascar depends on what you’d like to see. Humpback whales occupy the waters from July to September. Anytime between September and December is great for seeing wildlife. To make the most out of your trip, consider a cruise with Zegrahm Expeditions, as it offers tours that devote more than one day on the extraordinary island.

The Kimberley

Photo by NeilsPhotography

Photo by NeilsPhotography

Located in northwestern Australia, the Kimberley is one of Western Australia’s nine geographic regions and one of the earliest settled areas of the continent. Its white sands and rugged red cliffs make it one of the most stunning and wildest coastlines in the world. In this part of the world, where the Timor Sea and Indian Ocean meet, you can only reach its remote islands, isolated gorges, cascading waterfalls and other must-see sights by boat. Be on the lookout for wandering saltwater crocs.

Charter a private flight to one of the world’s last wilderness areas and hop aboard a Coral Expeditions cruise during the region’s dry season, April to October. The months of April and May are the best for seeing waterfalls in all their glory.

Antarctica

Photo by Jason Auch

Photo by Jason Auch

Travel to the far end of the Earth, the seventh continent, to a land that has barely changed since early explorers first discovered it. Antarctica is home to world’s largest concentration of wildlife, along with giant blue and white icebergs, and endless snowcapped mountains. During a cruise in the Southern Ocean, you’ll encounter plenty of whales, seals and penguins.

Many Antarctic adventures begin in Argentina or Chile. The best time of year to travel far south is from October to March, when the daylight lasts at least 18 hours. December through February is perfect for seeing baby penguins. The whales return in February and March. Quark Expeditions is one of the leading cruise operators in the area and has boats designed for the region’s conditions.

Arctic

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

In the northernmost part of Earth, an icebreaker expedition takes you to the places of folklore and fairy tales—the North Pole and Arctic Circle. The Arctic region spans Greenland, Norway, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Canada, Sweden, Finland and the U.S., providing a lifetime’s worth of exploration. During your trip, you’ll see lands that Vikings conquered, Inuit settlements, Arctic wildflowers, sparkling glaciers and an abundance of wildlife. You’ll go home with plenty of pictures of polar bears, walruses, beluga whales, narwhals, musk ox, reindeer and ice-bound archipelagos.

The best time of year for an Arctic cruise is from June to August, when the days are long. Quark Expeditions and Hurtigruten’s MS Fram are both excellent choices for a polar excursion.

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