Top 11 Wildlife Expedition Cruises for 2024 and Beyond

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Wildlife Cruises 2024

This piece is a creation of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

A rising trend in the cruise sector is the increasing interest in wildlife-focused voyages. These excursions offer intimate encounters with the world’s diverse wildlife in some of the most untouched natural settings. The selection below includes 11 remarkable cruises for the upcoming year, ranging from Arctic adventures to explorations in the Amazon rainforest, and island adventures in the volcanic Galápagos.

  1. New Zealand’s Gannets & Dolphins

Experience the New Zealand coastline on Lindblad’s National Geographic Orion. This journey, accommodating up to 102 passengers, travels either from Auckland to Milford Sound or vice versa. The trip includes stops at the Bay of Islands, Great Barrier Island, Kaikoura, and Dunedin, showcasing legendary fiords like Milford Sound. You’ll encounter Australasian gannets, tiny blue penguins, and yellow-eyed penguins, with whale-watching and dolphin sightings near Kaikoura. The trip also delves into Māori culture and introduces New Zealand’s culinary and wine offerings.

  1. Greenland’s Reindeer & Arctic Foxes

Greenland, the world’s largest island, boasts dramatic landscapes of glaciers and Arctic tundra. The Greenland Odyssey by AE Expeditions, aboard the climate-neutral Sylvia Earle, offers a unique experience with polar bears, reindeer, and more. Passengers can explore the coast, including UNESCO sites, via kayaks and hikes, and witness the local wildlife.

  1. The Amazon’s Pink Dolphins

The Delfin Amazon fleet navigates the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, offering a luxury experience with a commitment to local communities and sustainability. Enjoy kayaking with pink river dolphins and spotting diverse wildlife, including sloths and various bird species, in this vast flooded forest.

  1. The Galápagos’ Penguins & Finches

Explore the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands with Aqua Expeditions. The Aqua Mare yacht provides a small-group luxury experience, emphasizing conservation and sustainability. Encounter the Galápagos giant tortoise and other endemic species.

  1. Antarctica’s Penguins

Seabourn Pursuit, a new luxury expedition ship, offers an immersive Antarctic experience. With state-of-the-art facilities, including two submarines, guests can explore icebergs, whale-watch, and see penguin colonies up close.

  1. Svalbard’s Walruses & Polar Bears

The environmentally friendly M/V Vikingfjord offers intimate explorations of the Svalbard archipelago. Spot polar bears, whales, and walruses, and visit historical sites on this unique Arctic adventure.

  1. Costa Rica’s Sloths

Explore Costa Rica’s biodiversity with Explora Journeys. The Central America to Centre Stage cruise passes through wilderness areas, highlighting over 500,000 plant and animal species, including sloths and hummingbirds.

  1. South Africa’s Zebras & Rhinos

The Winelands and Wildlife cruise showcases South Africa’s diverse ecosystems. See zebras, giraffes, rhinos, and African penguins in natural reserves and national parks.

  1. Melanesia’s Reefs & Forests

Scenic’s Mysteries of Melanesia cruise offers an exploration of Oceania’s sub-region, featuring snorkeling, diving, and hiking adventures led by a team of experts.

  1. Madagascar’s Lemurs

The Adventure in Madagascar cruise focuses on the island’s unique species, including lemurs, fossas, and chameleons, in a journey through national parks and biosphere reserves.

  1. Indonesia’s Corals

Explore the Coral Triangle with Aqua Expeditions’ Aqua Blu. This area, rich in marine biodiversity, is home to numerous species, including manta rays and dugongs.

Find the full article in the Cruise guide, included with the Jan/Feb 2024 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK). Subscribe to the magazine here (available in select countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wildlife Cruises 2024

What are the top wildlife cruises for 2024?

The top wildlife cruises for 2024 include expeditions in New Zealand, Greenland, the Amazon, the Galápagos Islands, Antarctica, Svalbard, Costa Rica, South Africa, Melanesia, Madagascar, and Indonesia. These cruises offer unique experiences like kayaking with pink dolphins, exploring the Arctic tundra, and encountering endemic species like the Galápagos tortoise and lemurs in Madagascar.

Can you see penguins on these cruises?

Yes, penguins can be seen on several cruises, including the Coastal New Zealand journey, the Antarctic expedition aboard the Seabourn Pursuit, and in the Galápagos Islands with Aqua Expeditions.

Are there any environmentally friendly options among these cruises?

Yes, many of these cruises emphasize environmental responsibility. For instance, the Sylvia Earle ship in Greenland is 100% climate-neutral, and the M/V Vikingfjord in Svalbard promises a significant reduction in emissions.

What types of wildlife can be seen on the Greenland Odyssey cruise?

On the Greenland Odyssey cruise, passengers can see polar bears, reindeer, musk ox, moose, Arctic foxes, ringed seals, humpback whales, and minke whales.

Are there any luxury cruises listed in the top wildlife cruises for 2024?

Yes, luxury options include the Seabourn Pursuit in Antarctica, featuring state-of-the-art amenities and submarines, and the Explora Journeys in Costa Rica, which offers a high-end travel experience.

What unique experiences are offered in the Amazon cruise?

The Amazon cruise offers kayaking alongside pink river dolphins and the chance to see diverse wildlife like brown-throated sloths and howler monkeys, in addition to immersing passengers in local culture and cuisine.

More about Wildlife Cruises 2024

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AdventureSeeker December 25, 2023 - 10:54 am

Greenland Odyssey sounds epic! Just hope it’s not too crowded, like some of these cruises tend to be.

Jake M December 25, 2023 - 8:28 pm

wow, this article is super informative! Really want to check out the Greenland trip, those polar bears sound amazing.

Linda_G December 25, 2023 - 9:56 pm

This is cool, but cruises aren’t really eco-friendly right? even if they say they are, still lots of pollution.

OceanFan88 December 25, 2023 - 11:45 pm

Really excited about these cruises, especially Indonesia’s Coral Triangle, but the link doesn’t work? Can someone fix it.

SaraLuvTravel December 26, 2023 - 2:25 am

Loved the read, but I think there’s a typo in the Antarctica section, Seabourn is spelled wrong I guess?

Mark_the_birder December 26, 2023 - 3:48 am

Great article! but I think more emphasis on bird species in these areas would’ve been nice, especially in the Amazon and Galápagos.


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