Everyone should have it on their bucket list,” says Wendy Smith, from Peregrine Adventures, of her Antarctica adventure. “I was there in January when the whales were at their peak. It was magical.”
Antarctica is just one of the many destinations Peregrine hosts adventure-cruising expeditions. “Many people think of cruising as the floating hotels with masses of people, but Peregrine do it on a smaller, personal scale so you can really immerse yourself in the destination,” says Smith.
Destination is everything
Conventional big-ship cruising is often about life on the boat. Adventure cruising is about the destination: stopping at small islands, exploring markets, learning a place’s history from local guides. “That’s the real advantage of a small-ship cruise – you leave with memories of places, not just pools,” says Smith.
Peregrine’s new round-trip Croatian adventure cruise visits villages, cities, and the beautiful bays in Kornati National Park. “It’s very special to be able to go for a swim in the clear blue waters,” Smith says. The cruise also offers the opportunity to explore the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Plitvice Lakes National Park.
The smaller the better
There are only 16 cabins on the Royal Eleganza, meaning you only sail with about 30 people. “It’s hard to have a unique experience when you have 1000 other people trying to do the same thing,” Smith admits. The boat is spacious and comfortable, but more down to earth than big cruises. The sea stands in for a pool and boardgames stand in for a casino. There’s also no formal dress code to worry about.
“While mega liners are very restricted in their routes and itineraries, a smaller ship means we can dock in out-of-the-way ports and drop anchor wherever we feel like it,” Smith points out. “We can sail straight into port. It’s convenience and comfort, all in one.” Peregrine’s trips will have you gliding along the Caribbean, stopping for a swim at Maria La Gorda, dancing the salsa in Old Havana, and visiting a tobacco farm to see how Cuba’s world-famous cigars are made, all without a care in the world.
The sky’s the limit
The toughest part about adventure cruising is choosing the next destination. Peregrine has a hand-picked range of tours all over the world – a mix of classic cruising destinations and groundbreaking itineraries. Why not try a cruise around the wild west coast of Iceland? Or maybe an island-hopping jaunt through the Adriatic. A bit over the “usual” Greek Islands? While Peregrine’s cruises visit Santorini and Mykonos, they also include port stops in more remote places like Syros, Poros, Aegina, Kea and Kythnos.
Personal touch: On a Peregrine adventure cruise, boats have a maximum of 25 suites. The small group atmosphere means you get a more personal service. Waiters will know your coffee and cocktail order. Your cruise director will greet you by name and you’ll get to know your fellow passengers.
Low impact: Unlike a big liner fuelled by an enormous diesel engine, adventure cruising is less damaging to the environment. These journeys are designed to be low impact so there’s fewer passengers on board, less stress on local communities and each trip is carbon offset through renewable energy projects.
Local Guides: Peregrine has employed local guides for more than 20 years. Who better to show you round than someone born and raised in the area, with connections, and a passion for the culture and the region.
Cruises to Antarctica on the Ocean Endeavour start at $10,240 per person/triple share, and on the Royal Eleganza to Croatia from $2656 for a lower deck standard double or twin. Includes most meals, accommodation, transport and some activities. There are a number of departures throughout the year. For more information and the full itineraries, contact your travel professional or Peregrine Adventures on 0800 770 107 or peregrineadventures.com.