WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE STORIES TO TELL?
You know … the adventure-filled ones that make you feel completely alive. The ones that you tell and re-tell to anyone who will listen. The ones that hush a room of partygoers and draw them in while you weave your fascinating tale.
Whether you’re the one telling the tale or the one listening, adventure captures your imagination and you want to be part of it. A good adventure boosts your confidence, bonds you with others and envelops you in straight-up fun. And you don’t have to be Cousteau, Shackleton or even Indiana Jones to experience it; adventure is as close as a cruise vacation.
Adventurous travelers are flocking to cruise ships, and cruise lines are responding by building ships that are thoughtfully and uniquely equipped to enhance your exploration, with itineraries to places beyond the guidebook.
Holland America Line offers expedition ships that spend summers plying the cool, coastal waters of Alaska. Designed for in-depth exploration of Alaska’s outdoors, adventure is a given on a ship like the Zaandam. The Zaandam delivers you to the doorstep of the wilderness, inviting you into the land of glaciers, Alaskan sled dogs and salmon. Select an itinerary that ports in Juneau, then go vertical in a scenic helicopter ride bound for Mendenhall Glacier. Minutes after landing on a vast, bright ice field, your ears suddenly tingle as you hear the call of the wild – it’s your team of sled dogs, harnessed and howling for you to “mush” them across the glacial wilderness. Farther afield in Sitka, bundle up, don your waders and slide quietly along the remote Sitka River to your pristine fly-fishing destination. Depending on the season, you’ll be joined by runs of sleek and massive steelhead and salmon and surrounded by glorious, untouched wilderness. This could be the day that yields the story of the monster fish you landed … or the one that got away.
At the opposite end of the world in the sultry South Pacific Ocean, the m/s Paul Gauguin has a different vibe. It’s not an expedition ship, yet it offers luxury travelers a unique portal to enchanted South Pacific islands and heart-pounding adventure under the waves. This is especially true if your deepest wish is to snorkel or scuba dive with apex predators. Pick an itinerary that delivers you to Fakarava, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and one of the largest coral atolls in the world. Part of the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia, Fakarava is cherished for its otherworldly palm-ringed blue lagoon … and for its hordes of sharks. Make sure your GoPro battery is charged, because diving in Fakarava’s Tumakohua Pass is legendary; you’ll want proof to show your co-workers and grandkids that you fearlessly and joyfully swept through an underwater canyon in a primal swirl of hundreds (yes, hundreds) of reef, gray and hammerhead sharks.
Once your blood pressure is back to normal, there is more exploring to do directly from the watersports platform on the Gauguin, where you can launch a paddleboard or kayak straight into the brilliant blue from the rear of the ship. The clarity of the water gives you the sensation of levitating above the rainbow-colored reef fish parading beneath you.