If you’re looking for a new way to make the most of a destination, try out an adventure cruise. Step aboard a small ship with an intimate group of passengers and embark on the experience of a lifetime.
What is an Adventure Cruise?
When you think of cruises, you may think of huge ships with corny cabarets, long lines, and lots of boat time.
Adventure cruises could not be more different. They’re more about the destination that the trip itself. An adventure cruise offers daily land excursions, opportunities to immerse yourself in local culture, and a small group of people to befriend without the overwhelming crowds.
Aboard an adventure cruise, you’ll have access to world-class facilities and accommodations, as well as gear and equipment to enhance your trip. Adventure cruises have a small crew-to-passenger ratio, so your every need will be taken care of in a personalized manner.
Most of the time, you’ll even have a naturalist guide on board to ensure that you never miss an exciting moment.
Possibly the best part about an adventure cruise is that they take you to remote places that aren’t accessible by larger ships, and allow you to explore lands that have had very little human contact.
You’ll have the opportunity to participate in multi-sport activities both in water and on land, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, hiking, wildlife spotting, and relaxing on the beach.
Keep reading to discover our top 10 adventure cruise destinations!
✨The 1 Thing We Never Leave Home Without…✨
Coming from someone who has been traveling the world for the last 8 years AND has been in the hospital 2x, travel insurance is something everyone NEEDS to get. Get a quote below!
Top Adventure Cruise Destinations
Take a thrilling expedition to a polar region filled with diverse wildlife, breathtaking sights, and endless adventures to be had. Antarctica is a popular destination for adventure cruises as it gives passengers a unique experience in one of the least visited places on earth.
On an adventure cruise to Antarctica, you’ll be surrounded by majestic glaciers, endless sea ice and mountains galore. The small ship is able to take you up close to wildlife, allowing you to see penguins, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises and other species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.
Your trip is sure to include different land excursions with a naturalist guide who will take you trekking, snow-shoeing and more. On smaller boat trips, you’ll be able to visit coves that are unreachable by ship.
Many adventure cruises in Antarctica also have kayaks available for further exploration of the icy waters.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in Antarctica
It’s best to take a cruise around Antarctica between November and March when the weather is mild enough to travel. However, be aware that the earlier you cruise, the colder it will be.
Between December and January, Antarctica has the most sunlight and wildlife is abundant, making it the most popular time of year to visit. You may even catch baby penguins being born!
If you’d like to visit in February and March, the crowds may have died down a bit and whale sightings are common.
Our Antarctica Cruise Pick: Hondius
Rooms: 83 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €390/day
Adventure around Antarctica in style aboard the Hondius!
This ship accommodates up to 176 travelers and offers the experience of a lifetime for those onboard. Choose between trips ranging from a nine-night adventure to a full 22-night expedition where you’re sure to get up close and personal to wildlife, glaciers and other wonders of the polar world.
The Hondius has beautiful accommodations suited to different traveler budgets. There are nine different classes of cabins, all furnished with comfort in mind, and large common spaces to relax when you’re not out exploring.
This is a great choice if you’re interested in adventure cruising in Antarctica.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Hondius
The wilderness of Alaska is calling your name, so hop on a ship and start exploring!
Alaska is an extremely diverse place, offering visitors a wide range of activities and sites to see. From forests to glaciers, wildlife to history, there’s truly something for everyone.
Because of its large size and diversity, an adventure cruise is an ideal way to explore Alaska. With naturalist guides on board, you’re sure to have the full scoop on the surrounding wildlife, the protected areas you’ll travel to, and the indigenous people who inhabit the region.
On an adventure cruise to Alaska, you can count on visiting the Inside Passage which was formed by glaciers millions of years ago, Glacier Bay National Park which is home to the world’s largest UNESCO protected biosphere in the world, and Sitka where the U.S. land purchase from Russia was made official.
While exploring, you’re bound to see animals like seals, sea otters, bald eagles, black bears and mountain goats.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in Alaska
It’s best to cruise Alaska between April and September, but the most popular months are June and July because the weather is warm and the days are longest.
April and September tend to be low season but it’s the best time to marvel at the Northern Lights because the days are shorter.
Our Alaska Cruise Pick: Safari Endeavour
Rooms: 42 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €426/day
Embark on a water safari through Alaska aboard this small ship. Whether you’d like to travel for seven nights or 14, there are several different itineraries to choose from, each guaranteed to show you what Alaska’s wilderness has to offer.
Onboard the Safari Endeavour, you’ll have access to activities like kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and even yoga, all included in the price you pay.
When you’re not exploring Alaska by land, be comfortable at sea on a luxury boat equipped with lounges, bars, hot tubs, and a massage suite. It doesn’t get much better than that!
The Safari Endeavor can take up to 84 passengers in 42 cabins, all furnished with air conditioning, a private bathroom, and a television. There are five different classes of cabins to choose from, making sure that there’s something suited to everyone’s budget.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Safari Endeavour
The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is a unique spot in the world as it offers views similar to Antarctica but with local inhabitants.
On a cruise through the Arctic, you’re sure to enjoy glaciers, sea ice, and frozen tundra, as well as picturesque wildlife. You’ll stop at different ports throughout the trip to get glimpses into local life and culture to really round out the adventure.
While on an Arctic cruise, you’ll likely see animals like polar bears, musk ox, reindeer and arctic foxes on land, and walruses, dolphins, humpback and killer whales at sea. You’ll go on hikes through the glaciers and spend evenings gazing at the Northern Lights. What could be more magnificent than this?
Many Arctic cruises visit places like Norway, Iceland, and northern Canada, all offering unique activities and sights to behold.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in the Arctic Circle
Arctic cruises typically run from May until September, as the ice is melted and ships are able to cruise the region without the hazard of surface ice. This time of year, the Arctic has 24-hour sunny days that make for great photos and easy spotting of wildlife.
If you’re most interested in seeing the Northern Lights and don’t mind bracing the cold, choose a cruise in September for the best views.
Our Arctic Cruise Pick: Panorama
Rooms: 24 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €146/day
The Panorama is a luxury sailboat that offers seven-night cruises around Iceland to take passengers to volcanoes, waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, hot springs and the capital city of Reykjavik.
If Iceland is on your bucket list, the best way to see it is certainly aboard the Panorama.
This boat is complete with 24 cabins that lodges up to 49 guests, all with a private bathroom, air conditioning, a television and more. Depending on the class you choose, you may even end up with a full-sized window in your cabin to enjoy breathtaking views from the comfort of your bed.
Besides beautiful cabins, the Panorama has spacious common areas that are ideal for enjoying the sights and socializing with other travelers when not exploring Iceland.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Panorama
Whether you’re looking to explore or chill out, there’s an Australian adventure cruise for you. The Land Down Under offers visitors unique sights, diverse wildlife, and a rich history that’s sure to entertain and surprise all those who witness it.
There are many Australian adventure cruises to choose from, all offering different locations and activities along the way.
You can take a cruise of Western Australia to bask in waterfalls, learn about ancient rock art, and partake in activities like fishing, swimming, hiking and maybe even a helicopter ride!
Alternatively, you can cruise around South Australia for beaches, cafes, architecture, and nightlife. Around Southern Australia, you can count on activities like fishing, snorkeling and relaxing on the beach, while the most adventurous may even get the chance to cage dive with sharks.
Another popular location for adventure cruises in Aussie is the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living organism and is famous for brightly colored corals, extremely diverse sea life, and clear warm waters. You can enjoy snorkeling around the reef and exploring neighboring islands that are covered with rainforests, sandy beaches, and wildlife galore.
With so many adventure cruises in Australia, there are even more destinations to explore than we’ve mentioned above. No matter where you go, you’re sure to enjoy blue waters, diverse ecosystems, local culture, and breathtaking views.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in Australia
While Australia is cruise-friendly all-year-round, where you want to go and what you want to see impacts when you should visit.
The Great Barrier Reef is best between June and November because the water has good visibility and nice weather. May to October is the best time to visit places in Western Australia. If you’re interested in visiting Sydney, consider booking a cruise between December and February when it will be warmest.
Our Australia Cruise Pick: Coral Expeditions II
Rooms: 22 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €277/day
If you’re looking for an extra adventurous Australian cruise, step aboard the Coral Expeditions II. This small ship takes travelers around the Great Barrier Reef on three, four or seven-night trips, with unforgettable excursions led by a naturalist guide.
While there are tons of adventure cruises in Australia, we picked the Coral Expedition II because of all the boat has to offer.
Besides beautiful cabins and onboard facilities, the price you pay for this ship includes a glass-bottom boat excursion, kayaks, a naturalist guide, a snorkeling guide, all the gear you need for a successful trip.
If you’ve dreamed of seeing the Great Barrier Reef, explore it in style and comfort with the Coral Expedition II.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Coral Expeditions II
If you’re seeking a tropical, adventurous getaway, look no further than Fiji, an archipelago made up of over 300 islands which is just waiting to be explored. From clean and clear beaches to volcanic rocks, discover all that Fiji has to offer aboard an adventure cruise.
There are two main sections that Fiji adventure cruises visit: Mamanuca Islands and Yasawa Islands.
Mamanuca Islands are made up of 20 islands that are surrounded by bright coral and deep blue lagoons. When visiting Mamanuca Islands, cruise-goers are sure to spend time on the beach, swim or snorkel with reef sharks, kayak and hike, as well as visit local villages.
On some cruises, it’s even possible to windsurf.
Alternatively, you can cruise to the Yasawa Islands which is located in the Western section of Fiji that is made up of 20 volcanic islands.
Here you can find the famous Blue Lagoon which offers great snorkeling and breathtaking beach views for visitors. On a cruise to the Yasawa Islands, you’ll also have the chance to visit Sawa-i-Lau Caves which draws people from across the world on account of the ancient limestone formation.
If you’re touring the Western section of Fiji, it’s likely that you’ll stop at Vanua Levu to explore the “Big Island.” Besides snorkeling and swimming here, you’ll have the opportunity to explore sugar cane plantations, waterfalls, forests, and villages.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in Fiji
Adventure cruises in Fiji run year-round, but there are distinct peak and off seasons that may help you determine when to take your trip.
Peak season is in July and August and then again around Christmas and New Year. This means more people, crowded sights, and more expensive trips.
Alternatively, the off season is from March to October, which may help maximize your experience.
Our Fiji Cruise Pick: Fiji Princess
Rooms: 34 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €183/day
Aboard the Fiji Princess, you’ll explore the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands on a three, four, or seven-night trip.
There’s no shortage of activities on this cruise. Along the way you’re sure to snorkel, fish, kayak, and paddleboard in some of the most beautiful waters in the world. If you’re seeking a cultural experience, itineraries offered by the Fiji Princess give travelers the opportunity to weave baskets with locals, learn how to cook Fijian food, and even attend a village church service.
The 34 cabins on the Fiji Princess are well-appointed, allowing guests to feel comfortable while sailing the seas. While you’re not exploring the beaches or taking a dip in the water, relax on the spacious sundeck or get to know fellow passengers in the well-decorated common areas.
Onboard facilities are top of the line and the ship even offers spa services to guests!
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Fiji Princess
One of the best ways to visit the Galapagos is by adventure cruise because it ensures you’ll be able to travel with ease and take in all that makes this place so special. The Galapagos has astounding natural beauty that makes it any adventure lover’s paradise.
Natural beauty in the Galapagos is abundant, as the region remains largely untouched by humans. 95% of the Galapagos is part of a natural park system, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.
Many places visited by Galapagos adventure cruises are remote and the number of visitors is greatly limited in an effort to keep these places as pristine as possible.
On an adventure cruise through the Galapagos, you’ll explore many areas of wonder with a naturalist guide who will help identify and explain the history of different wildlife you may encounter. Not only will you explore wildlife, but you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about his Theory of Evolution that came to life on these very islands.
Besides the Darwin Research Station, Galapagos adventure cruises take guests to places like Tortuga Bay where you can snorkel and see where black sea turtles lay their eggs, Floreana Island to catch sight of flamingos, and Isabela Islands which are filled with lava fields and mangroves.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in the Galapagos
Galapagos adventure cruises run year-round and offer different experiences depending on the time of year.
Late December until June is the warm wet season when sea turtles and iguanas start nesting. July to early December brings cool dry season and with it seal breeding and tortoise egg-laying. August is a great time to snorkel with baby sea lions, while September and November is prime time for whales and dolphins.
No matter when you choose to go, you’ll be met with amazing experiences that are sure to last a lifetime.
Our Galapagos Cruise Pick: Ocean Spray
Rooms: 9 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €763/day
If you’re looking for an intimate adventure cruise around the Galapagos, be sure to check out the Ocean Spray Cruise Ship. With only 9 cabins, the ship can take up to 16 guests, making for a small but hearty crew of explorers.
Aboard the Ocean Spray, you can choose from itineraries lasting from four to 15 days that will take you all over the area and highlight what the Galapagos has to offer. You’re sure to see sea lions and maybe even penguins, and will be in the knowledgeable hands of a Galapagos National Park guide who’ll ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Cabins on the Ocean Spray are extremely spacious, with private bathrooms and big windows to enjoy the view. You’ll feel like you’re staying at a hotel because of how lovely the accommodations are.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Ocean Spray
Cruise along the Costa Rican coast and feast your eyes on some of the greatest wonders of the world.
If you’re a wildlife lover, Costa Rica is the place for you. It’s an area covered with rainforests waiting to be explored, where you’re sure to catch a glimpse of monkeys, parrots, and lizards. Costa Rica is also a prime beach destination and a great place to snorkel, paddleboard, kayak, and enjoy other water activities.
On an adventure cruise through Costa Rica, you’re sure to do all of the above and more.
Adventure cruises in Costa Rica allow visitors to explore more secluded and remote spots along the coast as the small ship is able to get to places that large ships can’t. You’ll hike and take photos before hitting the beach for some water action.
Costa Rica has it all, no matter where your interests lie.
There are so many different places to explore in Costa Rica, and an adventure cruise makes it possible to visit lots of them. Itineraries often have a fair mix of jungle, beach, and city — all packed into one trip.
Stop by Manuel Antonio National Park for a diverse wildlife experience filled with sloths, iguanas, and monkeys before heading to Osa Peninsula to learn about the gold rush. Afterwards, you may visit Golfo Dulce which is only accessible by small ship to hop in the water for a swim or surf and meet the local people.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has two seasons: wet and dry.
The dry season runs from January to April, and attracts a large number of tourists. If you’re looking for a quieter trip and don’t mind a little rain, you may consider taking a cruise anywhere from May to August. It may be a bit wetter but you’ll avoid crowds and may even get to see nesting sea turtles!
The beauty and diversity of Costa Rica is indescribable. Be sure to take an adventure cruise to see all that this wonderful place has to offer.
Our Costa Rica Cruise Pick: Safari Voyager
Rooms: 32 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €526/day
If you’re seeking an all-inclusive Costa Rican adventure cruise, the Safari Voyager is the boat for you.
The Safari Voyager has 32 cabins with seven different classes to choose from. No matter which you pick, you’ll have a private bathroom, air conditioning, a window, and a TV. Besides the top of the line facilities, the Safari Voyager crew will take care of your every need, and there will be a naturalist guide to lead you through each adventure.
The cruise price guarantees you an unforgettable voyage, as it also covers all meals, alcoholic drinks, kayaks, paddleboards, yoga, and all land excursions.
Most of the itineraries offered by the Safari Voyager run for 10 nights and travel between San Jose and Panama City. You’re sure to explore national parks, spend time on beaches, and see wildlife you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Safari Voyager
If you’re seeking a quiet beach-focused cruise, check out the Seychelles! Made up of 115 islands, most of which are uninhabited, the Seychelles offers travelers pristine white beaches with clear blue water that you can enjoy all by yourselves.
An adventure cruise is the best way to see the Seychelles as you’re sure to go island-hopping, partake in different activities, and learn about the history of this heavenly place on earth.
On your Seychelles adventure cruise, it’s likely you’ll visit Curieuse Island, which is a natural park that protects many endangered species and is home to 300 giant Aldabra tortoises.
You may also visit nearby Praslin Island. The second-largest island in the Seychelles, it is a perfect mix of beach and forest. It’s such a plentiful place that in the 19th century, it was said to be home to the Garden of Eden.
After Praslin, you may snorkel among the reefs of Sister Islands or off the coast of Coco Isle. Take a hike through La Digue’s forests or scour St Anne Marine Park for a stingray sighting.
No matter where you visit, you’re sure to be met with flawless beaches and unforgettable wildlife.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in the Seychelles
It’s always a good time to cruise the Seychelles, but different times of the year offer visitors different experiences.
If you’re interested in snorkeling or spending a lot of time in the water, consider taking a cruise between March and May or September to November when the water is calmest and has the best visibility.
If you’re interested in birds, you may consider traveling during April which is breeding season or October for migration. Those who visit in September are likely to see hawksbill turtle eggs hatch, and will enjoy the last bit of cool weather.
No matter when you go, you’re sure to be greeted by different marvels of the world.
Our Seychelles Cruise Pick: Pegasus
Rooms: 21 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €138/day
Like its name, traveling on the Pegasus is sure to give you wings. Whether you choose to spend five or eight days onboard, you’ll have a life-altering experience after visiting secluded beaches and trekking through uninhabited islands.
Your trip on Pegasus will be filled with snorkeling, hiking, beach BBQs, and small town stops to ensure that you see the very best of the Seychelles. While aboard the boat, enjoy a meal either in the indoor or outdoor dining room, grab a drink at the bar, or relax in your spacious cabin.
The Pegasus features 21 cabins and can hold up to 44 people. Choose between three classes suited to different budgets, and enjoy the top-notch facilities available to you.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Pegasus
If you’re looking for a Southeast Asian adventure, Myanmar is the place for you.
Closed to tourism until very recently, Myanmar is home to many natural wonders that have been largely untouched by humans. Take an adventure cruise to visit places that have hardly been traveled and tour remote spots that are hidden from the public eye.
On an adventure cruise through Myanmar, you’ll either take a northern or southern route.
On the northern route, you’ll cruise around the Mergui Archipelago and stop at different islands and partake in activities along the way. You can expect to snorkel, fish and kayak in clear waters, and relax on gorgeous beaches.
You’ll also visit a local Moken village to learn about their culture and way of life. Jungle trekking also awaits you and you’ll get a glimpse of the diverse wildlife in Myanmar.
Alternatively, you can choose to explore the southern part of the Mergui Islands where you’ll get to visit Myin Khwar Island, Kyet Mauk Island, and McLeod Island. At every stop, you’ll be able to snorkel in clear waters, walk along pristine beaches, kayak through mangroves, and hike in the forest.
No matter which route you take, you’re sure to see unbelievable sites that the rest of the world doesn’t have access to.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in Myanmar
It’s best to plan a cruise between November and May when it’s dry season in Myanmar.
You can expect extremely hot weather from February to May, but cooler weather from December to February. The best time for snorkeling is in March and April when the water is calmest, but from February to May is the best time to see manta rays and whale sharks.
Adventure cruises in Myanmar aren’t available during wet season so be sure to plan accordingly.
Our Myanmar Cruise Pick: Meta IV
Rooms: 4 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €358/day
Cruise the Southeast Asian seas aboard a high-end sailboat that’s ready to take you to your next adventure. The Meta IV is a great option if you’re looking for an adventure cruise to some of Myanmar’s most remote locations.
Choose either the northern or southern route for up to six days of exploring on a trip you’ll never forget. No matter where you choose to sail on the Meta IV, you’ll be able to visit national parks filled with wildlife, snorkel in calm, clear waters, and learn about local culture and customs.
This boat only has four cabins, making it one of the smallest adventure cruises available. Get to know your fellow passengers and you’re sure to make connections that could last a lifetime. Cabins are simple but cozy, and the main deck offers tons of space to hang out, enjoy a meal, or gaze at the stars.
You simply can’t go wrong aboard the Meta IV!
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Meta IV
Explore the Mediterranean off-the-beaten path via a small ship adventure cruise.
Adventure cruises in Montenegro travel around the Adriatic Sea, offering travelers a unique glimpse into its history, local life, and rich culture. On an adventure cruise, you’re sure to also discover different archaeological sites, mountainsides, and a wide range of activities like kayaking, horseback riding, and a possible white water rafting excursion to keep the trip exciting.
If you’re a history buff, you may want to take a trip that stops at Kotor to wander around the old city and explore the town. If you’re looking for nature, enjoy Budva for beaches and hiking before putting on your dancing shoes to enjoy the vibrant nightlife.
A stop at Bar means exploring fortresses and other archaeological sites while dropping anchor at Lustica Bay will allow for an afternoon of great swimming.
There’s so much to do and see in Montenegro that you won’t want to miss out.
Best Time to Take an Adventure Cruise in Montenegro
Montenegro is best for cruising from May to September because of long warm days and cooler evenings.
If you’re looking for a glimpse into local culture, you may consider visiting during the spring when there are colorful celebrations for Orthodox Easter.
No matter when you go, you’re sure to enjoy the lovely Mediterranean climate and all that Montenegro has to offer.
Our Montenegro Cruise Pick: Kaptan Sevket
Rooms: 6 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €132/day
Offering a seven-night trip along the Montenegro coastline, the Kaptan Sevket is a beautiful sailboat that offers a “classy sailing experience” for all those who step aboard.
The boat is equipped with six wood-paneled cabins, accommodating up to 12 guests at a time. Enjoy delicious food in an outdoor dining area, soak up the sun on the deck, and enjoy daily land excursions to explore the surrounding areas.
Besides visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beaches, and small towns, you’ll have access to all the adventure equipment you could dream of. While onboard the Kaptan Sevket, take advantage of snorkeling gear, kayaks, fishing poles, and water skis to make the most of your time on the Adriatic Sea.
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Kaptan Sevket
Get Adventuring Today!
No matter which adventure cruise you choose, you’re in for the trip of a lifetime. To find the best deals or more information on adventure cruises around the world, be sure to visit liveaboard.com. They even offer great last-minute deals for the spontaneous traveler.
Search for your dream adventure cruise here!
Looking for a different kind of cruise? Check out our guides to small ship cruises and diving liveaboards for even more adventure on the water.
Adventure is out there, happy cruising!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. That means that if you book any of the cruises above, we get a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. This commission will help us maintain this site so we can keep producing awesome free content for you.
Inspired? Pin it!