One of the best things about a cruise vacation is that there is something out there to suit any mood or style. While cruising is mostly associated with relaxation and a casual pace, certain cruises are ideal for active travelers.
If you’re not the type of cruiser who is satisfied with buffet- and booze-filled lazy days onboard or strolling ashore and plopping down at a beach in port, we can show how to best select an active cruise that you will love.
Pick Your Itinerary
Cruise destinations such as the Galapagos, Antarctica and the Arctic are filled with days of adventure. You wouldn’t sail to these locations without expecting to be plenty active, whether hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking or taking skiff tours to spot wildlife in exotic and pristine surroundings.
Pick Your Ship
You can be plenty active on a traditional big cruise ship, and some are much better suited for fitness nuts. The newer and bigger ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas and their sister ships have large modern gyms that rival land-based fitness centers. The big ships also have nicer jogging tracks that won’t be cluttered with sun loungers, as well as onboard amenities that appeal to active cruisers. You can try things like a skydiving simulator, surfing simulator, climbing walls, ropes courses and other challenging activities. Look for Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line ships with these types of features.
Pick an Expedition Line
Many cruise lines have made their mark by specializing in active and responsible travel. These expedition companies such as Lindblad Expeditions, UnCruise Adventures, Quark Expeditions, Hurtigruten and Silversea Expeditions sail with expert guides who lead active daily programs that immerse cruisers in destinations like Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Galapagos, and the polar regions. Each day, you might set off on hiking, biking, bushwhacking or kayaking tours to explore new places in thrilling ways.
Pick Your Theme
Many cruises are designed specifically with you – the active traveler – in mind because many share your passion for adventure or fitness. Theme sailings bring together cruisers with similar interests in active lifestyle. You can find Zumba cruises, sailings for marathon runners (you take running tours each day in port and often run on the ship, too), yoga cruises, golfing . . . almost anything. New theme cruises are created each year.
Active travel companies that are land-based also have partnered with cruise lines to set up special sailings. Backroads has teamed with AmaWaterways to offer hiking and biking cruises on the Danube, Rhine and Douro rivers in Europe. The company also has trips in Asia and active ocean cruises in partnerships with UnCruise Adventures and Ponant. Bike maker Trek Travel and Scenic Cruises have a similar setup for cycling river cruises in Europe — and so do Butterfield and Robinson with Uniworld River Cruises.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.