The Best Cruise Destinations for Outdoor Enthusiasts

For a lot of cruise lovers, staying aboard an all-inclusive cruise ship for the duration of their vacation is their idea of a great time. For outdoor enthusiasts, however, the goal is to pack as much fun and adventure as possible into their cruise vacation with a combination of exciting onboard and land excursions. Popular cruise lines have figured out a way to give travelers access to a variety of exciting land excursions that are perfect for those who love the outdoors and are looking for a vacation with some adventure. Keep reading to find out about the top cruise locations for outdoor enthusiasts.

An Amazon River Cruise

Adventure-seeking travelers will love a cruise to the Amazon. Popular Amazon River Cruises allow vacationers to see things that they may have previously only been able to view on TV. From guided tours through parts of the Amazon rainforest to visits to villages that have been practically untouched by technology, there’s likely something that would appeal to thrill-seeking cruisers. In addition, nature enthusiasts can not only view exotic animals ranging from pink dolphins to piranhas, but also engage in a wide variety of water activities.

No Amazon River Cruise would be complete without a visit to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. This national park and wildlife reserve is home to a variety of endangered species as well as eye-catching and exotic birds and aquatic life native to the region. Spanning over 4,300 miles, the Amazon is the longest river in the world and covers both Peru and Brazil. In addition to its impressive size, it flows through Iquitos, Peru, which is known as the world’s largest city that is inaccessible by ground transportation – a perfect setting for an Amazonian hike.


African cruises have grown in popularity in recent years, and much of this is due to Africa’s diversity of wildlife and abundant opportunities for on-land adventures. South Africa and Kenya, in particular, are among the most sought-after African cruise destinations and home to a variety of rare wildlife such as protected elephants, leopards, and rhinos. Also, Madagascar is a top destination for bird enthusiasts, as it is home to some of the world’s most colorful and exotic species.

Simultaneously satisfying and fueling the growing popularity of African cruises are luxury cruise lines themselves, as they are increasingly offering two- and three-week-long safari-themed voyages. These lengthy cruises are known for their comprehensive itineraries that include trips to Africa’s top destinations such as Seychelles and Cape Town, South Africa. One of the top destinations in South Africa for cruisers is Port Elizabeth – home to Addo Elephant National Park, which spans 445,000-acres and houses various wildlife that can be accessed via land transportation with a professional safari tour guide.

Papua New Guinea

Known as the land of 800 languages, Papua New Guinea is a treasure trove of activity for wildlife and activities perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Rich with culture, Papua New Guinea’s crystal clear waters offer access to rare wildlife as well as historical landmarks such as sunken warships. Cruisers are treated to a variety of on-shore tours that include canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming amid Papua New Guinea’s beautiful beaches. Much of Papua New Guinea has an old-world feel, so history buffs that are also outdoor enthusiasts may find this to be the perfect cruise destination. Papua New Guinea’s top cruise ports include Alotau (the capital of the country’s Milne Bay Province), Kavieng, and, in the Trobriands, Kiriwina and Kitava.


Although it is known for its cold temperatures and seems to be a world away from the mainland United States, Alaska is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to combine excitement with a luxurious cruise experience. Whether your interests include fishing or viewing wildlife in its natural habitat, there is sure to be plenty of activities to choose from on an Alaskan cruise.

Land excursions include guided boat tours through Alaska’s waters, hiking through various terrains, viewing glaciers, and rock climbing. Alaska’s top cruise ports include Juneau, the small town of Skagway, and Ketchikan, the state’s southernmost port.

So Much to Explore

The destinations outlined here are just a sample of what the world has to offer for outdoor enthusiasts looking for their next thrill. Use this list as inspiration when planning your next outdoor-themed cruise vacation. Do your research on the best outdoor activities and don’t be afraid to get assistance from a professional. Consulting a professional cruise planner or travel agent will get you access to the best deals and help make your trip unforgettable.