Dreaming of floating off on a cruise ship to somewhere really exotic and different? A cruise holiday is the best way to discover some of the world's most unusual and remote locations. We asked Liz Jarvis, editor of Cruise International magazine, to select ten of the best undiscovered cruise holidays. Who needs the Caribbean or the Med when you can set sail here?
Top ten off-the-beaten-track cruise holidays
Ten of the best: off-the-beaten-track cruises
Nothing compares to seeing wild animals including lions, leopards and elephants roaming free in their natural habitat. A cruise isn't the natural choice for an African safari but offers magnificent views and an alternative way to see the 'Big Five'. On this cruise-and-stay adventure on the South African coast, you can visit the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and the Addo Elephant Park, as well as witness the spectacular scenery of Cape Town, with magnificent Table Mountain. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers a 14-night Cape Town Cruise Safari from £2,949 per person.
Were you inspired to visit Bangladesh by the BBC's Chronicles of Nadiya? Join Silversea's first-ever venture to the lesser-known country on an exotic voyage, where you will explore remote villages, visit local schools and watch locals weave authentic fabrics. The cruise takes in Sri Lanka and India, allowing you to walk the fields of the only organic tea plantation in Sri Lanka and see the huge variety of birds in the Andaman. You will also have the opportunity to explore the world’s largest mangrove forest as you attempt to unravel the secrets of the mysterious Bay of Bengal. From £12,150 per person for 16 days.
For total escapism it would be hard to beat a cruise around the islands of Eastern Indonesia, where the only distractions are snorkelling with reef sharks and deserted beaches. Tiger Blue offers cruises to the Komodo Islands (home to the dragons), the Banda Islands and beautiful Ranja Ampat from $3,885 per cabin, based on a seven-night sailing. Activities include hiking, fishing and diving in the spectacular region.
Animal lovers will be in their element in the Galapagos, home to some of the world's rarest wildlife, including sea turtles, marine iguanas and giant tortoises. Audley Travel offers 11-day Galapagos cruises from £4,100 per person, including an island hopping tour and a Galapagos from ashore itinerary.
Travelling up the Mekong, the longest river in Indochina, gives you the chance to experience Vietnam, including vibrant Ho Chi Minh city, and tranquil Cambodia, where you can see timeless scenes of rural life, floating villages and jungle. Titan Travel offers a 17-day voyage from £4,949 per person, including seven nights in a hotel and seven nights on the full-board cruise, with visits to Angkor Wat, Hanoi and Phnom Penh.
A cruise is the ideal, hassle-fee way to visit Russia and discover the extraordinary treasures of cities such as St Petersburg, including Catherine the Great's breathtaking white, blue and gold palace, as well as some of Europe's greatest art at the Hermitage Museum. Royal Caribbean has seven-night Baltic cruises with ports of call including St Petersburg, Tallin and Stockholm from £889 per person.
With its soft white sand, clear azure water and lush rainforests, the remote islands of the South Pacific are the very definition of totally tropical paradises. P&O Cruises has holidays from San Francisco to Sydney, stopping at islands including Pago Pago in American Samoa, Nuku Alofa in Tonga and you also cross the International Dateline, from £2,599 per person for 20 nights.
Want to discover the Frozen Planet yourself? There's no danger of running into crowds of holidaymakers in Antarctica, where no more than 100 passengers are allowed to go ashore in any one place at any one time. You'll see beautiful snow-covered landscapes and icebergs, lots of penguins and hopefully whales. Chimu Adventures offers eleven-day cruises from 6,799 AUD (£4,080) per person.
A cruise along the Yangtze is a fantastic way to explore 'hidden' China, with sights including sacred Buddhist mountain Mt.Jiu Hua, stunning Dongting Lake, Snow Jade Cave and the incredible Shibaozhai Temple. Viking River Cruises offers a 14-day tour of China from Beijing to Shanghai, including an seven-day cruise along the Yangtze, from £2,195 per person.
If you're craving a real taste of adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime cruise through Central America from the Atantic to the Pacific along the Panama Canal is hard to beat. Cunard offers a 16-night Panama Canal cruise in January 2018 from £3,899 per person. Destinations include Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where you can go whale-watching.
With its tropical rain forest, stilted villages and glimpses of tribal culture, a trip into the Amazonian wilderness is about as off the beaten track as you can get. You can explore the mightiest river on earth by river boat or an ocean cruise ship voyage. You'll need time to experience it properly, though. A 14-night Amazon River Adventure cruise with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines costs from £1,399, and includes the chance to seek out elusive caimans and enjoy a Boi Bumba show in Parintins.