Diverse Wildlife - From The Comfort Of A Cruise
From Scotland to the South Pacific, cruises can open up a whole new world of wonders.
With luxury cruise lines like Silversea now sailing to destinations that were once only visited by hardy expedition crews, today’s traveller has access to a wealth of new wildlife experiences. You’ve probably already heard about the exotic animals on the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon, but we looked into some of the less publicised wildlife cruise options.
Polar bears greet visitors to the Arctic and North Spitzburgen, and when you cruise with a provider like Responsible Travel you’ll even have a polar expert on board to present fascinating insights into these beautiful creatures.
You could also see walruses, seals, the Arctic fox, reindeer, and even migrating birds on early summer sailings. The crew keep a lookout for whales too, and while these can’t be guaranteed the tour company reports good sightings over the last few years.
Russia’s killer whales thrive in pods, says Silversea, and the Russian Far East is “One of the best places on the planet” to see orcas. From their cruises, Zodiacs will take you as close as you can safely get to these giants, which can weigh up to six tons.
Silversea also visits the other end of the planet, the Antarctic, and they recommend a day trip to Tierra del Fuego where nearly 70,000 hectares of diverse ecosystem thrives.
You’ll see all sorts of birdlife, including woodpeckers and White-throated Treerunners, and animal life abounds.
“Hardy mammals have also adapted to life at the end of world. A visit offers the chance to see guanaco (a curious llama look-a-like that is prone to spitting), hardy horses, Fuegian foxes and perhaps even Lontra provocax, an endangered species of sea otter known locally as huillín.”
Penguins are a firm favourite of many travellers sailing south. You’ll find different penguin species in popular destinations like Cape Town (visited by various cruise lines) or you can venture to South Georgia – “The remotest and wildest of the UK’s overseas territories,” according to Wildlife Worldwide. That port follows the Falkland Islands on one of their cruise itineraries.
Wildlife Worldwide also has a cruise to the Weddell Sea, which includes a helicopter visit to an Emperor Penguin colony!
A cruise from Bali to Komodo with Naturetrek introduces passengers to the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon, which grows up to 3 metres long. Along the way you can do some spectacular snorkelling with 3,500 species of sea life, and there’s the possibility of spotting whales and manta rays too.
St Kilda & the Hebrides Wildlife
Discover the treasures of the Hebrides, where cruise enthusiasts can encounter Gannets, Puffins and Petrels, as well as Minke whales and orcas, otters, and even eagles!
These remote Scottish islands may treat you to a dolphin sighting too – not to mention the unbelievable scenery.
The brave can swim alongside whale sharks and manta rays near the islands of the South Pacific, but there’s plenty to see on the shore or with some snorkelling gear.
Take a cruise to Tahiti, Fiji, or the mystical Easter Island with its famous statues, and encounter turtles, coral reefs, fruit bats, tropical birds… the South Pacific is a paradise for nature-lovers.
Smaller ships offer specialist birdwatching cruises, penguin colony visits, or rare bird searches from remote locations like Papua New Guinea. Now that's an experience!
Which wildlife would you like to see first? Don’t forget your cruise insurance – and make sure it covers activities like glacier walks, birding treks, and visits to remote wildlife viewing locations.
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