mahabis travel // unconventional getaways by boat
photo: jay mantri
When you hear the word ‘cruise’, you may wrinkle your forehead at the thought of extravagant dinner parties, hordes of Disney characters, an unaffordable credit card bill, or a boat load of pensioners. There are, however, a variety of boat trips that appeal to people who 'don't do cruises'.
Visit spectacular destinations such as the Norwegian fjords and the coast of Alaska, and enjoy the slow and relaxing journey getting there. With a host of scenic routes and unconventional destinations on offer, the cruise market is opening up from the typical package Caribbean holiday market.
So whilst we've suggested plentiful slow road trips, relaxing city breaks and idyllic island getaways in the past, this time -- we're taking to the water. Read on for our top suggestions for scenic boat travel.
photo: via unsplash
You can choose to admire the pink sand beaches of the Bahamas, the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean or the temples of Asia, but it is the variety of cruises in the North that really capture our attention.
Consider touring Greenland’s fjords on a traditional schooner, drifting past icebergs that dwarf your boat and seeking out polar bears, whales and walruses. You’ll get much more up close and personal to the wildlife and the scenery on a sailing boat, enabling you to sit on deck and witness the landscapes as you pass by. With a maximum of 33 other passengers, you’ll enjoy a more personalised and private experience than on a traditional cruise ship, allowing you to spend more time relaxing and simply enjoying the views. The ship travels down the fjords of Scoresby Sund, showcasing an array of dramatic cliffs to either side, before visiting several small villages and hiking destinations.
photo: nordic visitor
The untamed coast of Scotland is an idyllic location for a cruise on a traditional wooden fishing boat. Choose from a range of routes that include the Inner and Outer Hebrides, and around the picturesque Isles of Mull and Skye. Trips concentrate on viewing the craggy coastlines and abundance of wildlife in the area. Spot dolphins, seals, puffins and sometimes even whales from the comfort of the deck, before hopping off the boat to explore the rugged terrain on the islands themselves.
In the Outer Hebrides, experience the resident’s slow pace of life by strolling up hills, resting on secluded beaches, and sampling the local whiskey.
photo: hello scotland
Sailing through the Norwegian fjords, you’ll come across an abundance of classic cruise ships, but travelling by a traditional tall sailing ship, you’ll enjoy an entirely different experience. Setting sail from Denmark, the voyage explores the Super Seven Fjords before finishing in Bergen. During the trip, the boat will sail across the open sea before making its way down the dramatic fjords, proving that the best way to see Norway is from the water.
Many of the fjords are official UNESCO World Heritage Sites, displaying staggering natural beauty and allowing the chance to spot seals, porpoises and eagles as you explore. The perfect way to view the fjords is to sit on deck and watch as you pass by towering cliffs and plummeting waterfalls on each side, your camera ready to document the scenery.
photo: 1080 plus
If you'd prefer to board a more traditional cruise ship but still crave a more intimate atmosphere, opt for a small ship cruise. Explore the diverse destinations upon the Baltic Sea with this two week tour that touches upon countries as far flung as Denmark and Russia. Offering the opportunity to disembark and explore port cities in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, you will witness a wide variety of different cultures during the trip. Whilst at sea, you’ll find time to sit on deck and relax whilst searching for the first sight of land on the horizon.
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