8 Adventure Cruises for People Who Hate Cruises

Cruises have had a bad rap for a long time. Voyages tend to appeal to an older crowd with the tackiest entertainment imaginable. But that's not the whole story. Come onboard one of these smaller adventure cruises with just as much to offer off the boat as they do at sea.

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Photo By: Courtesy of Sea Trek

Photo By: Courtesy of Kimberley Cruises

Photo By: Cameron Zegers

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Photo By: evenfh

Photo By: Jennifer E. Hayes

Antarctica and South Georgia

Hop onboard a polar research vessel to ring in the New Year. This cruise from One Ocean Expeditions sails along several Antarctic islands including the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island (if weather permits). This particular journey affords the opportunity to walk among penguins, sea lions and other wildlife on the Falkland Islands. If the weather cooperates, onshore hikes are a part of the plans, too.

Canada’s East Coast

Enjoy the best of four Canadian provinces in this immersive experience. The One Ocean Expeditions cruise starts and ends in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, a fishing village founded in the 18th century. Continuing on, guests can kayak or stand-up paddle off the eastern coastline and hike among all sorts of wildlife on Anticosti Island at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Before it all wraps up, cruisers can get up close to colorful puffin colonies off the coast of Newfoundland.

Bali-Komodo Island, Indonesian Archipelago

Because the sailing season is fairly short (April-September), guests can plan for jam-packed itineraries. Sea Trek Bali ships are smaller and offer as much time in the water as onboard. Cruisers can snorkel, kayak and paddleboard alongside breathtaking scenery. Once ready for land, guests can walk on remote beaches or hike deeper into jungles to explore less-chartered parts of the islands and discover incredible wildlife.

Western Australia

If camping under the stars sounds better than sleeping in a stateroom, look no further than this boutique cruise operation. The "Kimberley Explorer" is a 14-person ship with a crew ready to help make the most of several stays on shore alongside stops like Camp Creek and Camden Harbour. After exploring King Cascade Falls and its freshwater pools, the final night is spent aboard the ship.


Step away from the crowds and onto a 22-person yacht for this intimate voyage with Uncruise. Guests have several opportunities to kayak in larger rivers and smaller inlets along less-traveled areas of four designated Wilderness Areas and National Monuments. Beyond water sports, this boating experience offers hiking on an island known as "Fortress of the Bear" and jaunts through glacial ice gardens (at low tide).

The Maldives, India, Sri Lanka

Consider this an opportunity to step away from the more popular destinations in these countries. This cruise with Expedition Trips offers multiple snorkeling opportunities in areas relatively untouched by tourism. This includes Perumal Par, a coral atoll off India’s western coast. Several smaller city stops are also on the itinerary.

Antarctic Peninsula

Few cruises offer the chance to camp on the Antarctic Peninsula. This One Ocean Expeditions journey goes south along the Gerlache coastline before finding the right spot to set anchor and camp for one night during the excursion. A resident photography guide is also on hand to help capture the perfect images of this amazing experience.

Raja Ampat, Indonesian Archipelago

Diving and bird watching take center stage in this 10-day excursion by Sea Trek Bali. Raja Ampat is an ecological destination with plenty of uninterrupted beauty. Guests dive among stunning coral reefs and see wildlife that only exists in this part of the world. It’s an opportunity to enjoy one of the last remote paradises in Asia.

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