New Cruise Options for Active Travelers
By Darrell HartmanEnjoying an ocean cruise and breaking a sweat aren’t concepts that traditionally go together. Indeed, the indolence that many people crave from such vacations is the very thing that keeps others away from them. But now, some cruise lines are finding ways to cater to fitness-minded travelers, offering off-ship adventures that let passengers take in the scenery at more than a strolling pace. Here are a few notable new additions.Paddle Up in Hawaii and Alaska: Un-Cruise Adventures, whose very name underlines this 19-year-old cruise line’s aversion to the sedentary norm, specializes in explorer-friendly trips in the two outlying U.S. states. Since 2011, the company has been equipping its boats with custom kayak-launching stations, offering extra-stable entry points that are helpful for novice paddlers. It’s a nice perk whether you’re cruising in Hawaii, where the 36-guest Safari Explorer is the only small overnight cruise vessel, or Alaska,where Un-Cruise runs wilderness trips that last as long as a week and include “polar plunges” and bushwhacking.
Take a Hike in the Galapagos:Lindblad Expeditions is known for its nature-oriented outings. On its Galapagos journeys, the company now offers a two-hour “power hike” on Isabela Island that starts with climbing 150 wooden steps to a view over tranquil Tagus Cove. From there, the route runs along the rim of a volcano, concluding at the lava field at Darwin Lake Overlook, which offers vistas of Volcán Wolf, the archipelago’s highest point.
Snow Off in Antarctica: The (ahem) polar opposite of the standard read-and-feed cruise, AdventureSmith Explorations’ 11-day Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp trip is catnip for adventurous types. Days four to nine, the ship becomes a “multi-activity” camp anchored in the labyrinthine Neumayer Channel, with opportunities to kayak, snowshoe and climb peaks. For more of an expedition feel, passengers can opt to camp overnight in Neko Harbor, a glacier-ringed cove off the Gerlache Strait.