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10 Unique Cruise Experiences: Forget Caribbean! Try River Or Antarctic Cruises

Category: Financial News

Cruising is not all about enjoying a Caribbean or Mediterranean getaway—two of the most popular cruise destinations according to Cruise Lines International Association—while sipping wine and enjoying a big band’s renditions of The Platters. The cruise industry is getting crowded and we can only expect more creative, if not silly, offerings from our cruising agents to get you on board.

Have you checked these ten unique cruise experiences?

1. Hop on a freighter


For a change, how about mixing it up with big ship captains and officers and enjoying the slow pace journey of a freighter ship? Freighter Expeditions provides limited cargo ship travel expeditions that allow you to get a closer look at life in the sea, check on the big ship’s  impressive sections, hop on the bridge, call on commercial ports that only a few see, all without having to dress up for dinner! The Australian-based cruise company offers routes in the busiest shipping lanes around the world including in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. (

2. Concerts at sea


Take a cruise with Kid Rock, KISS, Alabama, or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Rock concerts are popping up in the cruise scene with the success of Rock the Boat, the self-styled world’s greatest floating music festival. Hop onto one of these concerts at the sea. You can’t get any more exclusive with just you and your rock idol out in the open sea… and hundreds of other fans in the ship, lest we forget. We expect more rock concerts for two reasons and they appear to be contradicting each other: the booming youth markets in the east (Asia) and the greying of fans in the west (North America and Europe) who can now afford more luxury in life. (

3. River cruising


River cruising is making a splash again these days. Cruise tourists seem to tire out of the open sea and big crowds and would love to venture into, say, American rivers? Yes, river cruising is more serene and less overwhelming, which makes it perfect for baby boomers wanting to escape to a nice, slow, peaceful travel. Today, the American small-ship cruising is a niche that more cruise lines are eyeing with interest.  (river cruising)

4. Go south


And we mean to the ends of the world. Antarctic cruises may be the opposite of your idea of a sun-drenched experience, but a peek at the southernmost part of the world is quite an experience. Monster iceberg formations, penguin colonies in the middle of nowhere, humongous whales splashing against the icy, eerie Antarctic sea… they’re the closest thing to an out-of-this-world experience. (polar cruises)

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5. Scuba diving in the open sea


Jump off the ship in the middle of the sea. More cruise lines today are offering on-board diving classes to give adventurous passengers the chance to check coral reefs along the way. The Paul Gauguin Cruises has a retractable watersports marina, where you can learn intro-diving from a PADI-certified dive instructor. The cruise takes you across French Polynesian islands, and while en route, you can learn diving basics in time to check the rich marine diversity in the south Pacific islands, which boast of a wide array of sea attractions including moray eels, sea turtles, barracudas, reef sharks, and even ship wrecks of old.  (

6. Learn to surf


Royal Caribbean’s onboard FlowRider surf simulator gives you the chance to learn surfing while cruising. FlowRider simulators are a fixture of many water sports theme parks in land, but at sea, the surf experience adds another layer to your cruise experience. You can practice in the safe confines of the ship before trying your luck in one of the beach stops you’re heading to, hoping there are nice waves lines out there.

7. Ride a carousel


How weird is that? Not really, as far as those who tried riding the carousel in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas cruises. The carousel is nothing out-of-the-ordinary, just a throwback to a time when carousels were the main highlights of small town entertainment.  Probably, that lends the carousel a nostalgic trip down memory lane, making it a hit among baby boomers on board.

8. Go under in a submarine


The cruise industry is going under in Waikiki, Hawaii. Specialized trips like Atlantis Submarines offer an under-the-sea experience in a real submarine. The company operates off Waikiki Beach, and is the operator of the world’s largest recreational submarine, the battery-powered, 100-foot Atlantis XIV. You’ll experience how it feels to descend to 100 feet underwater and an up-close look at marine life in the wild.

9. Dog lovers’ cruise


It cannot get any more exclusive than this: a cruise with fellow dog lovers. We can only expect a lot of dog talks on board. Apparently, the luxury cruise ship, Radiance of the Seas, finds dog lovers a niche solid enough to agree to take over a whole luxury liner and get around some Pacific islands. The cruise is actually a convention at sea (now it makes sense), featuring seminars on dog training techniques, canine behaviors, and breeding, among others. Funny, but no dogs allowed.
( /)

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10. Quilting while cruising


Just when we thought packing in a bunch of dog lovers in one luxury liner is strange enough, we have quilters and their own cruise. Join fellow quilters at sea, such is the offer of Quilt Seminars at Sea, which organizes quilt seminars in the open sea by renowned instructors. Now don’t laugh. The cruise is a perfect way to use local, quaint materials for your quilting as you visit these places and get to know more about the materials. Quilting classes include working with feather plumes, pineapples, and opulent ornaments.

With all these unique experiences at hand, we can only say luxury cruising has truly gone beyond, well, luxury and cruising. These new offers only show that the industry is far from sinking—thanks to recent disasters—it’s just heading to a new, more exciting direction.


By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

lizbarton says:

The dog lovers and quilting groups sound funny but it makes sense! Cruising traps you all in one big ship with a lot of time to spare. Unlike in land-based conventions where you can slip out anytime, a cruise convention makes sure all heads are accounted for during the entire length of the convention. I'm into MICE in Asia and this gives me an idea. :)

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delbacho says:

That freighter cruise sounds scary. Are they cruising anywhere near Somalia? Wouldn't spend a penny just to be picked up by pirates.

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