The Best Cruises for Non-Cruisers
By Alan Olsen
Have you been on a good cruise lately? For some travelers, nothing beats a cruise. You get to relax on a floating resort with access to unlimited food, drinks and recreation without a care in the world. For some this is the definition of heaven. However, cruises aren't exactly for everyone. If you get sea sick then a cruise might not be your thing, but there are other reasons some people just prefer to stay on dry land when they vacation.
Downside to Cruising
Some have distaste for the crowds, the rigid schedules you have to keep, dressing up for formal dinners and excursions that don't leave you enough time to enjoy the entire experience. And let's not forget all that food and drink. Yes, all you can eat sounds awesome, but those extra 5-10 pounds hanging over your belt are not exactly the souvenir you want to bring home. So, it's safe to say that cruises are not for everyone. However, if you don't like the idea of the big cruise lines, but sailing around and exploring is still appealing to you, then there are other options. It just so happens that more companies are starting to offer non-cruise ship excursions, so to speak. Here are some of the most popular.
Aqua Expeditions, Peru and Vietnam
The original MV Aqua set sail 10 years ago on the Amazon and now a decade later, this company continues to offer amazing excursions. These cruises are popular because they’re intimate, immersive journeys in one of the least-traveled places in the world. There are two ships, both of which are tiny, but super-luxurious. The ships feature some amazing viewsand delicious foods.
True North, Kimberley, Australia
If you're into the rugged outdoors then the Australian Outback is right up your alley. Likewise, the rugged coast between Broome and Darwin is also a wilderness lover's paradise. These are uncharted waters and the ship's captain often heads down tributaries uncertain of their destination. You won't find any big cruise ship amenities on this boat, but if you want a helicopter tour to explore from above, it comes with its own chopper.
Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic’s South Pacific itineraries
This ship takes its 102 passengers to some the furthest reaches in the world. These are definitely not your ordinary honeymoon-on-the-beach version cruises of the French Polynesian. The cruises last anywhere from a week on up to 20 days, and it's all about going to remote places. For example, ports include the Southern Line Islands and tiny island nations like Wallis and Futuna.
Variety Cruises, Greece
If your idea of a great cruising experience consists of as little time on the boat as possible and more time exploring your surroundings, this is the cruise for you. You won't find too many on-board activities, but this eight-ship fleet is definitely destination-oriented. Don't expect any pools or casinos, but do
expect some amazing site seeing. In fact, for most stops the ships actually dock, which means passengers don't have to worry about getting left behind. They get to come and go, and explore, as they wish.