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Wildlife cruises: six of the best

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Get up close and personal to representatives of some of the planet’s most fascinating wildlife in their natural habitats. Here are six of the best to intrigue and delight.

Flora and fauna with Celebrity

Those who love the Galapagos Islands will be eagerly anticipating the launch of Celebrity Flora, which joins the Celebrity Cruises fleet in May 2019. The ship, which has been specifically designed to match the ecology and wildlife of the islands, will accommodate just 100 guests.

A Dynamic Positioning System will allow Flora to stay on station without the need for anchors, while Celebrity states that the ship’s outward-facing design will make the “destination the centre of attention”, with 360-degree views of the islands. A 10-night Quito and Galapagos Inner Loop fly/cruise departs 16 June 2019, from £8,429pp, based on two people staying in a deluxe suite. Price includes flights from Heathrow Airport.

Rare and endangered birds

Embark the Coral Discoverer, from Coral Expeditions, in New Zealand for a 12-night Auckland to Milford voyage, departing Auckland 26 November 2019, with prices starting from $7,565pp. The cruise takes in such remote areas as White Island, an active volcano, and the waterways of Marlborough Sounds.

On day 10, passengers visit the Stewart and Ulva Islands, home to a number of rare and endangered birds, such as the South Island saddleback, the yellowhead, the rifleman, the Stewart Island robin, and the kiwi. In addition, on the penultimate day of the cruise, the ship explores the Doubtful Sound waterway, home to dolphins, seals and penguins.

Amazing Antarctica 

One Ocean Expeditions’ 10-night Marine Mammals of Antarctica itinerary offers guests the chance to take in the stunning scenery of a voyage from Argentina down to Antarctica and a plethora of marine mammals.

While sailing Drake Passage, guests can indulge in whale watching, while expeditions on Zodiac boats bring into focus Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds, as well as a variety of penguins. There is also a chance to see humpback whales. Prices start from $8,695, departing 23 March 2019 on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

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See penguins with One Ocean Expeditions.


A wildlife extravaganza

AmaWaterways has a Wildlife and the Falls itinerary, spanning 13 days in a series of stunning locations. It all starts with one night in Johannesburg, South Africa, from where guests fly to Kasane, Botswana, for a four-night wildlife extravaganza on the river ship Zambezi Queen. Destinations include the Chobe National Park, for a one-day safari, and four days at the Greater Kruger National Park, where the wildlife will amaze and delight.

In addition, there is a visit to Victoria Falls, where local guides take guests on a tour, imparting their knowledge of the flora and fauna. Prices from $12,995pp, departing 10 March 2019.

Ice cool Svalbard

Departing 3 June 2019, Hurtigruten’s 10-day Circumnavigating Svalbard expedition cruise sails to the edge of the Arctic Ocean and includes multiple excursions, from kayaking to hiking. One of the key selling points of this itinerary is the possibility of seeing polar bears in Eastern Svalbard.

Weather permitting, there is also a trip to Isflakbukta on Phippsøya, part of Sjuøyane (Seven Islands), where seabirds mate and walruses dive for clams in the bays. Prices from £5,052pp, on the MS Fram.

Icelandic wonders

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Icelandic Wonders & Wildlife cruise, departing Dover on 18 June 2019 on Boudicca, visits four destinations in Iceland, including the island of Hrisey, while cruising to Eyjafjörður – which is home to 40 species of seabirds.

There are also whale-watching tours when docked in Akureyri for an overnight stay, providing a chance to see humpback and minke whales, dolphins and porpoises. Prices from £1,849pp.

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