Taking a quick two or three-day cruise sounds like an attractive way to spend a weekend. But what about turning a casual trip on a ship into a true adventure. Cruise ships go almost everywhere in the world. When the conditions are right, some even take passengers as far south as Antarctica. Cruising to exotic locales is a great way to inject a bit of adventure into your vacation. Whether island-hopping in the South Pacific, cruising the culture-rich cities of East Asia, or spending an extended amount of time in the ports of North Africa, there are plenty of options for those who want to experience more than the usual weekend cruise in the Caribbean or Mediterranean (though if you only have a free weekend, there is nothing wrong with such a quick warm weather getaway).

Taking a quick two or three-day cruise sounds like an attractive way to spend a weekend. But what about turning a casual trip on a ship into a true adventure. Cruise ships go almost everywhere in the world. When the conditions are right, some even take passengers as far south as Antarctica. Cruising to exotic locales is a great way to inject a bit of adventure into your vacation. Whether island-hopping in the South Pacific, cruising the culture-rich cities of East Asia, or spending an extended amount of time in the ports of North Africa, there are plenty of options for those who want to experience more than the usual weekend cruise in the Caribbean or Mediterranean (though if you only have a free weekend, there is nothing wrong with such a quick warm weather getaway).

Antarctica

Antarctica
Photo: Liam Quinn / Flickr

This freezing land is arguably the most remote place in the world where cruise ships (occasionally) travel. Yes, it is not a sun-and-sand region, but it certainly has plenty of natural beauty and provides passengers with a definite sense of adventure. Since no commercial airports are located on the Seventh Continent, cruise ships are the only way that most tourists are able to experience the icy but beautiful landscapes. Most cruises do not focus completely on icebergs and glacier-covered shores. They start in the South Pacific or South Atlantic, providing glimpses of places like Patagonia and the Falklands along the way. Most itineraries include a stop in a port somewhere along the coast of Antarctica. This makes it possible for passengers to step on the shore of this elusive destination.

The Middle East

Egypt
Photo: Ed Yourdon / Flickr

Major ports of call in this region include Egypt, Dubai, and less visited places like Bahrain, Yemen, and Oman. Many Middle Eastern cruises focus on the historic sites of Egypt, including Luxor, the city of Alexandria and the famous Pyramids. Some cruise pass through the famous Suez Canal, stopping off at the beach destination of Sharm el Sheik along the way. Another option in the region is to cruise to the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These places have an amazing mix of stunning modern architecture and ancient Bedouin culture.

East Asia

Vietnam
Photo: Andrea Shaffer / Flickr

This region is synonymous with exoticism. Cruise ships regularly sail into ports in China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. Some travel south to Indonesia and west to the islands of the Indian Ocean and the subcontinent of India itself. Every country in this area of the world has its own unique sights and menu of experiences. From shopping in Shanghai to enjoying the sunrise over the islands of Vietnam’s Halong Bay to swimming with tropical fish in Thailand, the list of possibilities for cruise passengers in the Far East is literally endless. In no other part of the world is it possible to see as many different cultures and experiences on a single cruise. Because of the usually compact itinerary, many cruise trips in Asia last for 12 nights or longer.

South America

Easter Island
Photo: Ndecam / Flickr

South America is another place with a high density of seaside and port-side attractions. Cruises can take visitors from North to South or vice versa. The western coast of South America is home to Patagonia, the famous Galapagos Islands and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Cruises that choose this western route focus on natural attractions. The eastern side of South America is home to major cities like Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. These offer loads of culture and exciting shopping and nightlife scenes. Of course, amazing beaches are also part of the itinerary in Brazil. Since South America is so large, some people can even get a taste of the continent while on a standard Caribbean cruise. The Colombian destination of Cartagena sits on the Caribbean coastline, while up-and-coming destinations like Suriname and even the mouth of the Amazon River are being added to some companies’ list of cruise options.

If you are seeking adventure, it is hard to go wrong by choosing to take a cruise in one of these exciting regions.

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