Cruise tips: best places to see from the sea

17 Feb 2016

Some destinations are best disovered on foot - the winding back-streets of Marrakesh or the cobblestone alleys of Bruges, for example. Then there are some places (the Grand Canyon, say) that you really have to see from the air. Similarly, there's no question that the ultimate way to experience some locations is from the deck of a cruise ship.

We spoke to a selection of cruise experts and asked them to share their pick of the places for which you just have to get on board.

Norwegian Fjords

Why go? “The fjords are truly beautiful and there's nothing more relaxing than sitting on deck, sailing slowly past the beautiful greenery, rocky hills and waterfalls. And, of course, you can enjoy the beauty without having to pay Norwegian bar prices once you are back on board!” Simone Clark, Managing Director at Iglu Cruise. 


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Want to book? Travelzoo recommends Iglu Cruise.

Whitsunday Islands

Why go? “The sunsets are incredible and, at night, because there’s hardly any light pollution, the stars are amazing. I remember watching the Scorpio constellation move across the sky on one of the nights. Pretty awesome. Also, being on the boat means you are able to get to the beaches before the day-trippers and enjoy them without crowds and crowds of people.” Laura Summers, deal expert at Travelzoo. 

Want to book? Travelzoo recommends STA Travel.

The Arctic

Why go? “Cruising the Arctic is an experience like no other. Seeing glaciers calving; magnificent icebergs; wildlife like walrus and whales; or being dive-bombed by arctic terns is something else. The anticipation of seeing a polar bear is palpable amongst all the passengers. I still remember the whole restaurant emptying mid-dinner as we all rushed to get on the Zodiac inflatables when three polar bears were spotted.” Stephen Dunk, Operations Director, Europe, at Travelzoo

Want to book? Travelzoo recommends Silversea.


Why go? “Island hopping by small ship or yacht is one of the best ways to discover Croatia’s beautiful national parks, dramatic mountain walks, island cycle paths, wineries and coastal walks. It means you can explore a new island each day, stop to swim in small bays and, in the evenings, enjoy the local cuisine at a harbour-side restaurant.” Grant Seuren, Director at Sail Croatia.


A photo posted by Sail Croatia (@sailcroatia) on

Want to book? Travelzoo recommends Sail Croatia.

Galapagos Islands

Why go? “Approaching the Galapagos Islands from the water is incredible. The smallest boats can get up close to the islands so you see the landscape as it changes on your approach. This really gives a sense of how they’re all so different, from volcanic rocks covered with black iguanas to dense, jungle-clad terrain. And riding the rubber dinghy from the boat to a rickety pier on a beach covered in sea lions is such an experience!” Victoria Murden, deal expert at Travelzoo.


A photo posted by Toni Valerio (@toni_valerio) on

Want to book? Travelzoo recommends Celebrity Cruises.

Panama Canal

Why go? “You can view the Gatun Locks from the land, but nothing beats the excitement of a cruise through the Panama Canal, watching the big ships manoeuvre into the small basins, then be raised and lowered as they start their journey over the Isthmus. Everyone on my ship was up early to make sure they didn’t miss a moment of the transit.” Jane Archer, cruise journalist


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Want to book? Travelzoo recommends Iglu Cruise.

Atlantic Ocean

Why go? “Sailing across the Atlantic is one of the best ways to totally relax and enjoy what a cruise ship or liner has on board. Six days at sea gives you so many choices, from sitting on deck enjoying a good book, to taking a class in cocktail making or attending a stimulating lecture. The Queen Mary II, for example, still regularly sails from Southampton to New York in a style that is redolent of a bygone era.” Stephen Dunk, Operations Director, Europe, at Travelzoo.


A photo posted by Cunard (@cunardline) on

Want to book? Travelzoo recommends Cunard.


Why go? “Alaska is a stunning destination and one of many where booking a cabin with a balcony is an absolute must - that way you don’t miss the spectacular views going through the Inside Passage and sailing up close to glaciers. I was in my cabin when a whale alert went out from the Bridge. I raced onto my balcony and had a front-row seat as it swam past. Magical.” Jane Archer, cruise journalist.

Want to book? Travelzoo recommends Cruise Circle.

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