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The Best Cruise Destinations For Wildlife Watching

Posted November 9th, 2015

Discovering new and memorable creatures is one of the reasons we love traversing this great big globe of ours. Far from keeping you out at sea, cruises allow you to experience some of the local wildlife up close. Here are seven cruise destinations for anyone hoping to combine wildlife spotting with a holiday at sea.


It’s not every day that you get the chance to see pink dolphins but they are among the star attractions along the Amazon in South America. Only smaller boats can venture along the Peruvian stretch of the Amazon river and, led by naturalist guides, those on board are rewarded with sightings of squirrel monkeys swinging through the tree canopy, as well as colourful macaws.


Alaska, America’s 49th state, offers a host of wildlife-spotting opportunities. In Denali National Park, there’s a chance to see grizzly bears, golden eagles, Arctic ground squirrels, caribou, moose, beavers and lots more. Even lynx and wolverine inhabit this area.

At sea, the waters around the coast in areas including Glacier Bay, Skagway and Juneau are famous for whales, and sharp-eyed visitors will also spot seals and sea otters.


View the 'kings of the Arctic' in their natural habitat on a polar bear-spotting voyage to Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle. As the region is accessible only in summer, once the ice has melted, there is a chance to see the bears across the Svalbard archipelago, as well as sealife that includes whales and walrus, plus a rich variety of birdlife. Thousands of seabirds migrate to the cliffs of Svalbard, which are close to their feeding grounds, and passengers can go ashore to explore further.

High Arctic: Close Encounters In The Kingdom Of The Ice Bear

Countless grizzlies: Touring Alaska In A State Of Awe With Holland America Line

New Zealand cruise: Dramatic Scenery & Impressive Birdlife


Take a voyage to Borneo, including a visit to Camp Leakey, where the Orang-utan Foundation rehabilitation centre cares for ex-captive primates. The centre is in Tanjung Puting National Park, where visitors can take boats to explore the river system and interact with orang-utans, proboscis monkeys and other primates that roam through the forest. There are also more than 220 species of bird.

Sarawak’s Bako National Park supports numerous plant varieties and ecosystems, giving you the opportunity to see silvery lutung monkeys and macaques.


Combine adventure with wildlife on a sailing that takes intrepid types into the Arctic Circle from Greenland, and through the mythical Northwest Passage to the Russian Arctic. En route, passengers can expect sightings of several species of whale, brown and polar bears, Arctic wolves, caribou and moose, as well as more than 50 species of bird, including kittiwakes and the rarer still white-tailed eagle and rough-legged hawk.


Cruising the Galapagos islands is on most people’s travel wish list. The Ecuadorian archipelago is home to wildlife that, due to lack of human contact, remains completely unfazed by two-legged visitors.

Here you can swim with playful sea lions, meet giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station and get up close and personal with many species of bird, including flamingos, cormorants, penguins and boobies. Marine life is also varied, with regular sightings of whales and dolphins in the waters around the islands.


On a serene cruise along southern Africa’s Chobe river, passengers can see many of the continent's 'big five', including elephants, lions and buffalo, on early-morning safari drives. Spend the rest of the day relaxing as you float through Botswana’s Chobe National Park, which is famous for having one of the continent’s densest populations of wildlife.

Passengers can also board smaller boats that provide a chance to get closer to the animals on the river and, weather permitting, spend their evenings enjoying the views and stargazing.

Set sail on a dream holiday with CruiseAbout

This article was from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning UK English language broadsheet newspaper, published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.

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