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.


Get acquainted with your ship’s shore excursion offerings (aka: The Menu of Adventures), and you might feel surprised by the abundance of exciting activities available for travelers just like you. Now imagine yourself joining these thrilling off-the-ship escapades that will have you cheering with delight and telling epic stories for years to come:

      1. Jet Fighter Flight Experience, New Zealand (Crystal Cruises)
        It’s your chance to channel your inner Maverick as you gear up in your flight suit and take to the skies on an AERO L-39 Albatros fighter jet.
      2. Daredevil’s Peak, Perfect Day at CocoCay (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises)
        Plummet from the summit of North America’s tallest waterslide, slightly closer to the ground at 135 feet tall.
      3. Rock Climbing Adventure, Alaska (Princess Cruises)
        Harness and helmet in place, begin your vertical scale up a rock face overlooking the spectacular Chilkat River Valley.
      4. Bermuda Triangle Shipwreck Snorkel, Bermuda (MSC Cruises)
        Peer through your mask into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and bear witness to two of over 300 shipwrecks, all casualties of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.
      5. Seven Waterfalls Canyoning Adventure, Dominica (Norwegian Cruise Line)
        It’s a reverse vertical, as you emerge from a rainforest hike, stand on the edge of a waterfall and rappel down it … then do it six more times before reaching the bottom.


Perhaps you’ve already conquered cliff diving and bungee jumping, but on this vacation, you want a more convenient adventure within arm’s reach of your stateroom. No problem; enter the Ropes Course, SkyRide and BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster by Carnival Cruise Line. All three experiences bring you to big heights above the upper decks and provide serious thrills, confidence building and extreme sea views.

Not to be outdone, the Norwegian Prima offers a revved-up “wind in your hair” adventure with Speedway, a three-level racetrack that combines both speed and heights (you’re go-karting 18 decks above the sea). As the sun begins to set over the Caribbean Sea and the motors hum, you’ll edge out your competitors and race to the finish line … and still have plenty of time to tame your helmet-hair before dinner.

For some of you, the adventurous side of cruising may have less to do with sharks, adrenaline and heights, and more to do with exploring the boundaries of your comfort zone. On board your cruise ship, test the waters with mini adventures. Try tasting a new food at each meal, bidding in an art auction, wearing your very first evening gown or tuxedo, or treating yourself to a non-traditional spa service, such as acupuncture.

The adventurous side of cruising is calling your name. You’ll hear it on the ship that sails beyond
the expected, the shore excursion that makes your heart pound and onboard whispering for you to come out of your comfort zone. Get out there. Your adventure story awaits.

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