From Napoleon’s isle to hidden Japan

If your familiarity with cruises doesn’t extend much beyond the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe, you may be surprised to learn that you can sail in comfort and style to most corners of the globe. In fact, many intriguing destinations would be hard, or even impossible, to visit other than by ship.

Cruises that venture beyond the horizon may be aboard luxury boutique-style vessels with all-suite accommodations, tantalizing menus and lots of pampering. Or they may be nimble, high-tech expedition crafts that put you ashore with an expert team of naturalists to ferret out wildlife you may have only seen on television or at your local zoo. Expect to pay from about $500 to over $1,000 per person per day.

One Indian Ocean itinerary starts in beautiful Cape Town then cruises north, stopping along the South African coast before negotiating the Mozambique Channel to call in at the French-influenced Comoro islands and the Anglo-French-African Seychelles. Another embarks in Singapore, heads north to Thailand, then makes calls along the Vietnamese coast before ending in Hong Kong. It’s a port-intensive itinerary that’s punctuated by days at sea, when you have the chance to relax and enjoy the on-board amenities.

Some cruises are even more remote. There are several South Atlantic and South Pacific island communities whose sole lifeline is either a comfortable British or French-Polynesian flag ship carrying everything the local inhabitants need, including, literally, the kitchen sink. If such a far-flung voyage appeals to you, expect to dedicate several weeks to reach St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte’s last island of exile and Paul Gauguin’s South Seas paradise in the Marquesas. Fellow passengers will include international adventurers and locals. These working ships taking 100-200 passengers will run $150-$400 per person per day.

Not all remote destinations need several weeks of your time. Seven days is all that’s required to explore the stunning Chilean fjords, a region more spectacular and far less populated than the Norwegian coast. There’s the added thrill of nosing up to a massive glacier to pluck some blue ice for that before-dinner whisky. This trip costs $350-$600 per day with shore excursions.

The White Continent, Antarctica, is nearly all ice—yet not uncomfortably cold in the South Pole summer. And, Australia’s rugged and remote Kimberley Coast between Darwin and Broome hasn’t seen temperatures fall to the freezing mark since the Ice Age. Rates for each run from $600 to $1000 per day with all shore excursions included.

The Muslim world is far more diverse than one might imagine, and a cruise is an ideal way to see the differences. There’s Dubai, where almost anything goes, as long as it makes money and impresses, while next door, in the Sultanate of Oman, traditional Arab customs, dress and architecture reign, yet with none of the rigidity of Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Qatar offer variations in between. Count on $600 to $1000 plus per day.

Here are ten highly varied far-flung cruises, some operated by cruise companies that specialize in just one region and others whose fleets continually roam the seven seas to let the world be your oyster.


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