Cruise holidays offer passengers a comfortable, stress-free way to explore the globe. Their increasing popularity amongst travellers has now paved the way for a number of innovative firms to provide much more than the usual evening's entertainment and city stop-offs.
If you're keen to take a holiday on the open ocean but are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, here are a few ideas that just might float your boat.
Walking on water
A hot topic among cruisers when introduced in 2013, Princess Cruises' innovative SeaWalk feature launched on the Royal Princess gives passengers an amazing view of the sea. The transparent walk running around the edge of the ship means you're as close as you're likely to get to walking on water, and better still, it leads to the SeaView Bar, which also extends out over the open ocean. Meanwhile if you board the Celebrity Reflection and check into the Reflection Suite, you can take a shower over the water in the all-glass amenities.
Sleep under the stars
With SeaDream Yacht Club, passengers can explore popular cruise destinations such as the Caribbean, Asia or the Med. But the real added bonus aboard the ships is the opportunity to sleep under the stars in one of the on-deck Balinese Dream Beds for a night.
Sea and sky
Bored of the same old sea views on your cruise? Then try the North Star. Due to be launched in November by Quantum of the Seas, a giant mechanical arm lifts passengers to a height of 300 feet in a viewing pod, giving you 360-degree views whether on the open ocean or in port, and it's included in the cost of the cruise. What's more, the ship also includes an iFly indoor skydiving chamber, a FlowRider surf simulator, climbing wall, flying trapeze, and even bumper cars. One for the easily bored cruiser.
Another choice for the explorers out there, expedition cruise company Lindblad allows passengers a glimpse into what lies beneath by way of remote submarines that send high-definition video back to the ship. Operating in choice locations like the Arctic, the Azores, Patagonia, and more recently the Galapagos Islands, it's ideal for those interested in the marine life below.
Quark Expeditions not only offers passengers the chance to camp on ice, kayak, take balloon rides, and learn from remote communities throughout the Arctic, it is one of only two operators that will affords them the opportunity to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the North Pole itself, a journey that includes an awesome helicopter flight over the Arctic Ocean. And the astonishing landscapes just might mean you'll forget all about the cold.
Have you taken an unusual cruise? Tell us about your experience below...