Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, contributing editor of The Compass

4 Intimate Island Cruise Experiences

Calling all cruisers… Embark on an intimate island voyage with these four cruise experiences and escape the average vacation on land or at sea.

1. Say Aloha with UnCruise Adventures

Sail on the exclusive 36-person Safari Explorer ship from UnCruise Adventures and float above Hawaii’s marine sanctuary after enjoying some Hawaiian adult beverages. Is seeing a Nene – Hawaii’s state bird – on your bucket list? This cruise will let you cross it off. You’ll also get the chance to snorkel and see manta rays, dolphins, humpback whales, sea turtles and more. Head to Halawa Valley where visitors hike hills while Molokai locals lead the way to “authentic Hawaii.” You’ll remember this intimate adventure long after your lei is off.

2. Go to the Galapagos with Lindblad Expeditions

Escape to “the Enchanted Islands,” aka the Galapagos Islands, in the 48-passenger National Geographic Islander or 96-passenger National Geographic Endeavor II. Lindblad Expeditions’ vessels include video microscopes, plasma screens, hydrophones and splash cameras to enhance your experience. The Galapagos Islands are a highly protected area, and ships are only allowed to visit sites once within two weeks. You’ll get captivating views aboard the ship but Lindblad dives deeper revealing how “geography belongs to everyone.” Cruisers will be joined by National Geographic-certified photo instructors, sharing their expertise in photography as well as wildlife behavior since they’re trained naturalists, too. They’ll capture your spirit de corps so you have more than just memories at sea.

3. Take on Tahiti with Silversea Cruises

You’ll find a unique balance of adventure and comfort while sailing the South Pacific Ocean with Silversea’s Tahiti itineraries. Silversea’s 144-person expedition cruise ship, the Silver Explorer, is built to navigate waters in secluded destinations with Italian hospitality onboard – and yes, this includes personal butlers. The fleet of 12 Zodiac boats lets passengers arrive to corners of the world that are sometimes only reachable via ship, like the small island of Tahiti and their beautiful hibiscus gardens, frothy lagoons and idyllic island culture. If you’ve cruised off-the-beaten-path before or plunging into Polynesian culture is your style, a Tahiti itinerary from Silversea may be for you. 

4. Pass Through the Panama Canal with Hurtigruten Cruises

Cross the equator and connect with two oceans at the canal while aboard the MS Fram. It was initially built for “broadening the understanding of the world” and to bring passengers “closer to nature, wildlife and unforgettable experiences.” Passengers will definitely achieve that by passing through the Panama Canal and equator and soaking up the history and culture that surrounds. Though not technically an island experience, the decks of the MS Fram are spacious, brining passengers outside to observe the marine wildlife around them. Coast into 2019 with Hurtigruten and you’ll experience cruising eco-friendly as well as an equator baptism ritual. That’s a fancy way of celebrating passengers’ first times reaching the middle of the world, which is beyond the average vacation.

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