Coming face-to-face with some of the world’s most incredible creatures is high on many travellers’ bucket lists. There’s something quite magical about seeing species out in the wild – whether it’s an emperor penguin standing tall above its chicks, or a tortoise clambering its way across sun-baked soils, these experiences will stay with you for a lifetime.
Some of these encounters are best explored at sea, and luxury cruising allows you to do it in utmost style. There’s nothing finer than stepping back on board after a day that’s exceeded even your wildest expectations, glass of chilled champagne in hand, sharing stories with your fellow passengers. Luxury cruises get you right into the heart of the world’s most intriguing destinations, bringing your wildlife encounters closer than you think. Here are some of the most memorable.
Luxury Safari Land Programme in Cape Town | Regent Seven Seas
Animal lovers the world over set their sights on embarking on a safari at least once in their lifetime – and Regent Seven Seas makes it possible by giving you access to private game reserves across the Greater Kruger area. The Luxury Safari Land Programme in Cape Town is available as an add-on for select itineraries and is a great way to explore your safari ambitions.
A qualified ranger will be on hand to really bring your surroundings to life, pointing out wild dogs as they pad across the grasslands, or leopards as they camouflage themselves against the bushy savannah. Part of the excitement is not knowing exactly what you’ll see, but your eyes will no doubt scour the landscape for the African elephant, one of the most majestic of the safari species. For an even wilder adventure, there’s even the option to try a horseback safari.
With Regent Seven Seas, every little detail is catered for on your Cape Town adventure. Enjoy lunch and high tea before heading off on your first afternoon game drive. You’ll also be served dinner back at the lodge so you can recall all the amazing memories you’ve made throughout the day.
What better way to end an ultimate luxury cruise than with a Cape Town safari? The Lisbon to Cape Town itinerary aboard Regent Seven Seas Voyager departing 12 Nov 2022 is just the way to do it. Take a look at the cruise here.
The Galapagos Islands | Silversea
Another mainstay of any wildlife bucket list is the Galapagos Islands. It’s home to more than 4,000 species, 40% of which can’t be found anywhere else on earth, so when we say you’re guaranteed an experience you won’t find anywhere else, we certainly mean it.
Silversea offers cruises throughout the region, where you’ll explore some of the most incredible wildlife spots the Galapagos Islands has to offer, including Isla Santa Fe. A beach covered by sea lions will give you the warmest of welcomes – whether they’re sunbathing on the shore or surfing the waves, it’s a sight you will never forget. Gardner Bay in Española also features on this jaw-dropping itinerary, where you might be lucky enough to track down marine iguanas and catch a glimpse of a giant tortoise.
Rather see what’s beneath the waves? Many destinations on Silversea’s itineraries lend themselves beautifully to snorkelling, including Genovesa Island. Deep Water Snorkelling with the Silversea Team is one of the included excursions, where you’ll share your underwater oasis with turtles and seals.
Silver Origin will be your home from home when you visit the Galapagos. She was the first destination-specific ship built by Silversea and is perfectly formed to explore Ecuador. Boasting the highest guest-to-crew ratio in the Galapagos and eight Zodiacs for discovering your destinations, there’s no reason not to do it in style.
Why not tick the Galapagos Islands off your bucket list? Take a closer look at this seven-night itinerary onboard Silver Origin, departing 6 Aug 2022.
Costa Rica and the Caribbean | Windstar
Costa Rica and the Caribbean conjure up images of enjoying idyllic beaches, cocktail in hand – but they’re also ideally-placed gateways to wildlife adventures. Windstar gives guests the opportunity to roam some of these incredible landscapes on their itineraries.
Nature lovers can’t help but enjoy the Esquipulas Rainforest with its crystalline water creeks and lush foliage. Here, you’ll cast your eyes firmly to the canopy as you seek out tropical birds and butterflies – you might even spot a monkey or two on your walk.
For the real adventure seekers where nothing short of getting up close and personal will do, there’s the option to swim with the stingrays in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. These gentle creatures will greet you with all the fondness of a long-lost friend and you’ll be able to capture the entire experience on camera.
If exploring this part of the world is top of your list, Windstar is operating an 18-night adventure departing 11 March 2023. Sail from Puerto Caldera to Bridgetown aboard Wind Star.
Antarctica | Seabourn
Antarctica is awe-inspiring whether it’s seen upclose or afar, and if you’re determined to get as in on the action as possible, Seabourn has just the ticket. Hop aboard a Zodiac as you circle icebergs, gaze at glaciers and, of course, see the local wildlife in all its glory. Penguins, seals and whales are all waiting to invite you deep into their habitats – you’ll feel a million miles from home, but closer to nature than you ever could imagine.
With Ventures By Seabourn Antarctica, a team of experts will be by your side, ready to answer your questions and help you delve even deeper into your destination. Whether you’re marvelling at your snowy surroundings from the comfort of one of the onboard luxury lounges, or out in the thick of it in a kayak, the expedition team are on hand to help you make the most of your experience.
Being a luxury cruise operator, you can also expect a few added extras with Seabourn. You’ll receive a complimentary expedition-grade parka and day pack to see you through your wildlife excursions and digital photography workshops to ensure you head home with the best possible snaps.
Book your front row seat to one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth with Seabourn’s The Great White Continent itinerary, which sails on 15 Jan 2023. Click here to view this cruise.
In Search of Orangutans in Borneo | Azamara
The Borneo orangutan is not an easy spot on a wildlife adventure. The population has declined by more than 50% over the past six decades, making them one of the most critically endangered species. An expert guide will increase your chances of seeing these remarkable creatures, and learn a thing or two in the process.
Azamara gives you the option to add a land-based adventure to some of its itineraries in this part of the world. In Search of Orangutans in Borneo gives you the opportunity to learn more about these personality-filled primates by taking you to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre where you will see them enjoying their rainforest surroundings and discover more about their plight.
But this nature excursion is about more than just these amazing creatures. You will also embark on a morning river cruise in search of wildlife and birds, and see for yourself how the world’s smallest bear is being protected at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
This wildlife encounter would be the perfect addition to Azamara’s Bali and Western Australia Voyage on board Azamara Quest, departing 10 December 2022. Find out more here.
Swimming pigs in Great Exuma, Bahamas | Crystal Cruises
Any intrepid explorer will know that Great Exuma in the Bahamas is home to one of the best wildlife experiences you could ever wish for – swimming with pigs. Sugar-soft sands and luscious palm trees provide the perfect backdrop as your step into the bath-water warmth of the sea for this once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
Crystal Cruises offers the opportunity for you to make friends with these far-from-pocket sized porcine creatures. This is something you won’t find anywhere else in the world, so you might as well do it in style. With six-star service and surroundings, the Crystal Cruises experience will be just as memorable as the wildlife.
Book your 14-night cruise from Miami to San Juan on board Crystal Symphony. Departs 5 March 2022.