People of all ages and backgrounds are increasingly seeking out more bespoke, memorable travel experiences. Heart-pounding adventure travel, camping, checking off bucket list destinations, finding little-known hidden gems...everything's on the table.
While traditional cruises may not fall into the category of bespoke, memorable travel, there's a whole subset of unique cruises that certainly do. Forget everything you think you know about cruises and be prepared to have your mind blown. We found six incredibly unique cruises around the world, ranging from one that explores the literal most remote region of Earth to one where clothing is not only optional, but discouraged.
Unique Cruises to Add to Your Bucket List
1. Darwin's Discoveries Galapagos - UnCruise Adventures
Right off the bat, the "UnCruise" in the name tells you that this is one of the more unique cruises out there. While the company cruises to several epic destinations, the Galapagos Islands are at the very top of many a bucket list for good reason.
On this 7-night, 7-island cruise, rare endemic wildlife and adventure are the name of the game. Get up-close and personal with giant sea turtles and explore sea caves on your paddleboard, step over several-feet-long iguanas as you hike, snorkel among sea lions, and lounge on white sand beaches alongside flamingos.
The company's La Pinta yacht provides an intimate experience with just 24 cabins and has a long list of unique amenities for passengers. Enjoy satellite internet connectivity, a hot tub, gym, and plenty of sea kayaks, wetsuits, and snorkeling equipment for everyone. There's even a glass-bottom boat to explore from!
2. Amazon Adventure - South America, Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic
If Nat Geo is behind it, you know this is one of the world's most unique cruises! Couple that with one of the planet's most remote and biodiverse destinations, and you have yourself a truly epic adventure.
Aboard the Delfin II, a 28-passenger boat custom-built just to explore this stretch of the Upper Amazon River, you'll go where few human beings ever have —or will. As if the watercraft and physical location aren't unique enough, what really sets this cruise apart is that you won't be merely taking it all in from the deck. You're going to be immersed directly into it, swimming, hiking, and exploring in skiffs, kayaks, and paddleboards.
Even when you're relaxing on the Delfin II, the setting encourages you to take in the world outside. Every outward-facing suite has massive picture windows and there's an open-air roof deck with a bar and enclosed, cooled lounge.
All meals use food that was sustainably harvested in local rainforests and there's even a spa onboard where you can indulge in an aromatherapy massage using, of course, essential oils that came from the rainforest.
3. Schooner Stephen Taber - Maine
Arguably one of the most underrated cruising grounds in the United States (and perhaps the entire world), Maine is filled with untouched rugged coastline, unique marine wildlife, incredible seafood, and endless wild adventure.
The nearly-150-year-old Stephen Taber schooner explores every bit of that, offering 3-to-6-night all-inclusive Maine coast cruises between May and October. Cruises are intimate, as the schooner has just 12 cabins and accommodates about 20 guests. What makes the Stephen Taber's unique cruises stand out even more is the fact that they're led by a husband-and-wife team.
Jane is a serious foodie and oenophile, while husband Noah is a lifelong sailing enthusiast. Between both of them, you'll be in great hands when it comes to enjoying The Great Outdoors alongside great food and wine. In fact, can we tag along when you go?!
One passenger said she'd traveled all over the world and found this cruise to be "life-awakening." That's quite an endorsement!
4. Arctic Express Canada: Heart of the Northwest Passage - Quark Expeditions
Few sea routes are more famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) than the storied Northwest Passage. This treacherous, little-traveled route traverses the Arctic Ocean through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
For better or for worse, the Northwest Passage has only become passable — and we use that term extremely loosely — since 2006. As global warming increasingly melts ice in the oceans, this region, historically completely covered in thick blocks of ice, has become slightly more passable each year for a short time in the late summers.
Aboard the Arctic Express Canada, one of the most unique cruises on Earth, passengers are some of a very select few to travel this part of the world. The 9-day journey departs from Toronto aboard the Ultramarine, a brand new ship designed specifically for Arctic expeditions such as this one.
The Ultramarine is equipped with 20 Zodiacs (shockingly rugged and efficient inflatable boats) and two specialized helicopters, opening up a very literal world of adventure beyond the ship itself. Spend your days cruising by glaciers, flightseeing to spot walrus and polar bears, hiking in barren, tree-less landscapes, and even a polar plunge!
A couple of other specific things make this one of the most unique cruises in the world. No one knows whether or not the Northwest Passage will be passable until shortly before, and even if it is, day-to-day conditions vary significantly. Because of this, the cruise doesn't have a set itinerary or route. If you're up for the biggest adventure of your life, book a seat on this bucket list cruise today!
5. Undiscovered Great Lakes - USA, Viking
Despite being one of the world's most famous natural phenomenons, only a few areas of the Great Lakes are widely explored. Much of the region is rugged and remote, holding spectacular, rarely seen landscapes and wildlife.
This Viking Cruises expedition explores Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake on Earth holding 10% of the world's freshwater supply. The 8-day cruise spans the width of the lake between Duluth, Minnesota, and Soo Locks, Michigan.
Along the way, you'll explore mysterious sea caves and historic lighthouses on Wisconsin's Apostle Islands National Seashore, stroll through charming Mackinac Island, where vehicles aren't allowed, and take in "Niagara of the North," Kakabeka Falls.
The Viking Octantis is your transportation, a brand new 2022 iteration from the company that practically invented unique cruises. On board, enjoy wi-fi, multiple pools and restaurants, a gym and spa, and access to kayaks and Zodiacs for excursions.
6. The Big Nude Boat - Caribbean, Bare Necessities Tour & Travel
The title should tell you everything you need to know — this is the Big Daddy of all unique cruises throughout the world! When we came across this one-of-a-kind cruise, we knew immediately we had to include it.
While certainly not for everyone, the Big Nude Boat promises two full weeks of fun in the sun (and, of course, fun in the bare!). The cruise embarks on the Carnival Pride Fun Ship, which proudly displays several nude paintings and statues and has the theme of "Icons of Beauty."
The Big Nude Boat departs from Tampa and visits a handful of Caribbean islands including St. Kitts and Antigua, appropriately referring to these port days as "bare-adise." Between ports, there are plenty of "fun nude days at sea" scheduled. Think a Fat Tuesday costume party, au naturel dining on the lido deck, and skinny-dipping in the pools.
If the idea of a bare cruise both intrigues and terrifies you, first of all, you're not alone! Second, consider this: 75% of first-time bare cruisers return for another cruise!
The Wander Club has Travel Souvenirs Covered
Pictures and memories are fantastic, of course, but some adventures call for something a bit more personalized. That's where Travel Tokens from The Wander Club come in!
Create your very own custom collection of Travel Tokens based on your unique cruises (or any other travel, for that matter!) to show off all the amazing things you saw. Aside from Water Tokens, we have Landmarks, Country Tokens, and even 100% custom tokens, the perfect way to commemorate a specific date, person, or occasion.
Don't forget a token holder! Whether you opt for a versatile Wanderchain, a necklace, or something completely creative (one of our fans made a Christmas tree garland using our Travel Tokens a couple of years ago!), you're going to want a fun way to highlight all those adventures!