Living in South Florida I’m greeted almost every day with the sights of cruise ships docked and taking on passengers. Some of these boats have space for over 5,000 passengers with thousands more spots reserved for crew. While these huge cruise ships have their place among those that like a little relaxation and pampering on the high seas, I’m more intrigued by the smaller vessels that can take you smaller ports of call. Here are a few (one from each continent!) that are high on my list:
North America – The Alaskan Marine Highway
We have been trying to arrange a trip up to Alaska for a few years now, but it remains elusive for one reason or another. This year we almost made it but as luck would have it, we found something better to do instead (we had twins!). Our plan was to cruise along the marine highway, using public transportation, to Whittier, Alaska. From there we would visit the rest of the Kenai Peninsula before heading north to Anchorage, Fairbanks and Denali itself. The best part of the cruise trip, from Juneau to Whittier was that with State of Alaska’s hop on hop off ferry system, allowing us to create our trip itinerary as we went along.
South America – The Amazon River…from Peru!
Most Amazon cruises move along the ‘busy’ part of the river between Manaus and the Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon river itself though, has its headwaters in the Andes mountains. That being the case I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to head to Iquitos, Peru, to start the trip. You’ll have to fly into Iquitos as it holds the ubiquitous distinction of being the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road. From there it is 3600 km to the Atlantic Ocean. Just don’t forget the mosquito repellant and a hammock.
Africa – A Nile River Cruise
Although I’m not so sure many people are planning on taking a Nile Cruise in 2013 with all the mixed news coming out of Egypt, I’m sure that those who do go find exceptional value everywhere they go along the river. One of Egypt’s chief exports is tourism and much of the industry is hurting. The city of Luxor alone could keep the budding Egyptologist busy for weeks and given how inexpensive Egypt was when it was crowded, it is a downright bargain right now.
Europe – The History of the Danube
I’m not entirely sure what it is that makes me want to take a cruise along the Danube but I think it has something to do with the amount of history those waters have seen. Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava are all cities I’ve seen and really enjoyed but it’s downriver—Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria—that attracts my attention. Of all the ideas listed here this is certainly the most expensive but it also represents the crossroads of Western Civilization.
Asia – A Thai SCUBA Live-aboard
The problem with Asian rivers is that many are simply too dirty to enjoy. Instead, I’d suggest doing a bit of Island hopping off the coasts of Thailand and Malaysia. This is some of the best SCUBA diving in the world and the mainland has plenty of low priced creature comforts anytime you want to come ashore.
Thanks to BTerryCompton for use of the Alaska image via a Creative Commons License