If you’re looking for something different this holiday, why not check out what these cruises have to offer?
Photo: Celebrity Cruises
Embark on the journey of a lifetime and follow Darwin’s footsteps to the Galapagos Islands.
The Miami-based premium cruise line Celebrity Cruises operates three expedition class ships and a variety of itineraries in the volcanic archipelago and wildlife paradise.
First, travellers choose their preferred ship.
The Celebrity Xpedition is a luxe 100-passenger vessel with gourmet meals, in-suite massage services, complimentary bathrobes, a fitness room and nightly lectures by certified naturalists.
The Celebrity Xperience is a mid-size ship with a 48-passenger capacity, indoor and alfresco dining areas, a lounge, bar, library and sundeck. Passengers will retire to 24 stylish staterooms, each with ocean-facing views.
The Celebrity Xploration is an intimate, more casual catamaran with eight cosy staterooms, a lounge, alfresco dining area and a sundeck.
Celebrity’s Galapagos packages typically start in Quito, Peru, from where travellers fly to the home port in the Galapagos’ Baltra Island to board their ship.
The cruises are usually seven nights long and travellers can choose between a northern and southern loop of the islands, each with its own out-of-this-world landscapes, flora and fauna.
Ground tours are led by naturalists, who share their specialised knowledge of the islands and keep an eye out for the extraordinary wildlife, including the blue-footed booby, Galapagos penguins and marine iguanas, as passengers explore the islands.
They can snorkel, kayak and enjoy coastal walks.
Passengers can add a post-cruise experience, such as fishing with the local community, or flying back to Peru for a tour of Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
Prices will vary by ship and length of itinerary, but a standard seven-night northern loop cruise aboard the Celebrity Xploration starts at $7,779. For more information, go to www.celebritycruises.com/galapagos
ALASKA, CANADIAN ROCKIES AND WHISTLER
Photo: Chan Brothers
Explore the North American wilderness on Chan Brothers’ 18-day Alaska, Canadian Rockies and Whistler cruise tour.
The trip starts in Seattle, where passengers visit city highlights such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, before boarding the Ruby Princess for a six-day cruise to Alaska, with stops in Juneau, Skagway and the Glacier Bay National Park, a vast area of Alaska’s coast where towering mountain peaks are interlaced with glaciers.
Passengers may spot native wildlife, such as humpback whales, orcas and puffins, before cruising back to Seattle for a land transfer to Vancouver.
In Canada, the tour heads to Jasper and Banff national parks and stops at bucket list-worthy sites such as the turquoise glacier-fed Lake Louise.
There is also a ride in a bus across the snow and a walk on the Athabasca Glacier.
Spend some time wandering around Whistler village and a day exploring Vancouver before boarding a return flight to Singapore.
The tour, which starts at$5,388 a person, includes return economy airfare by EVA Airways, two nights accommodation in Seattle, seven nights on board the Ruby Princess, a six-night Canadian Rockies tour, all tips and port tax.
Photo: Chan Brothers
The cruise tour is on sale now until Aug 31 for travel between May and September this year.
For more information, go to www.chanbrothers.com
PROVENCE RIVER CRUISE
Fans of the river cruise will have new vistas to discover in Burgundy and Provence when they sail on the Rhone. Specially chartered by Dynasty Travel, the seven-night cruise on a Panorama Suite ship starts in Arles, a city in southern France which inspired the paintings of Vincent van Gogh.
The ship sails upriver, stopping in towns such as Avignon, where passengers can tour the historic Palais des Papes (Pope’s Palace), a 14th-century fortress and former papal residence which is one of the most important Gothic buildings in Europe. They will join an excursion to Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman three-tiered aqueduct.
Each cabin boasts floor-to- ceiling windows and an open-air balcony where guests can sip chilled Burgundy and take in the French countryside as the ship continues past Lyon to its final stop in Saint-Jean-de-Losne.
Travellers can add four, six or seven days to the itinerary before or after the cruise and enjoy excursions to attractions in France such as the Loire Valley castles, Normandy coast and the Louvre in Paris, which will also be organised by Dynasty.
A 14-day tour, inclusive of the seven-night cruise, accommodation, ground transfers and Singapore Airlines tickets, starts at $7,088 a person. Departures start in April next year.
For more information, call 6338-4455 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTH SEA CRUISE
Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line
Tour the fjords, emerald isles and volcanic shores of the North Sea with Norwegian Cruise Line’s 14-Day Norway, Iceland & UK cruise.
Passengers board the newly refurbished 294m-long Norwegian Jade in Southampton, a port city about an hour’s drive from Heathrow Airport.
The ship sails to Bergen, Norway, and on to Alesund, one of Norway’s most picturesque towns, before crossing to the Shetland Islands for a day.
The ship then berths for two days in Reykjavik, the world’s most northerly capital, which gives passengers time to explore Iceland’s magnificent scenery, museums and villages.
Crossing to the other side of the country, the ship docks in Akureyri, a centre of Icelandic culture that is tucked away in a beautiful fjord, before continuing on to the Scottish Highlands.
Passengers can acquaint themselves with bagpipes and the native Gaelic in Inverness and also the Georgian and Victorian architecture in Edinburgh before returning to Southampton.
The cruise, which sails in May and September next year, starts at US$1,889 (S$2,650) a person for an inside room.
The itinerary includes four days at sea, when passengers can enjoy the ship’s game rooms, pools and casino; treat themselves to a massage at the spa; or lounge in the library before heading to one of the 16 dining options for a bite.
For more information, go to www.ncl.com
ISLANDS OF JAPAN
The Genting Dream, the premier ship of the luxury Dream Cruises line, is designed for the Asian luxury traveller.
A veritable floating integrated resort, the 150,000-ton German-built vessel can carry 3,400 passengers and still has room for a spa, duty- free boutiques, karaoke rooms, a Penfolds wine cellar, multiple swimming pools, a rock-climbing wall, ropes course, six water slides, a cinema, a Zouk night club and more than 35 restaurants and bars.
The ship is a destination in its own right and travellers can experience it while on the five-night Island Gems of Japan cruise, in operation now until Oct 13.
The cruise starts and ends in Hong Kong, with a stop in Naha, Okinawa island, where passengers can wander the city’s ancient streets and tour Shurijo Castle.
The cruise makes another stop in Miyako-jima island, known for its coastal walks and white-sand beaches. The cruise includes two days at sea so passengers have time to indulge on board.
Price upon request. For more information, go to www.chanbrothersflexi.com
This story first appeared on the print edition of The Straits Times, 07 May 2017.