Top 13 Cruise Destinations for Nature

Man staring on cliff overlooking clear blue waters while on a cruise in Ireland
There is no better way to experience nature in many countries than on a cruise. | Author: Felix Meynet

The world is a wondrous place and there are many incredible sights that you are going to be able to see. Just being on a cruise ship is going to give you a broad look at the world around you. For all possible interests like exotic animals and wildlife, white sand and clear blue water beaches or diving to reefs and shipwrecks there are particularly beautiful destinations, which you should know when planning your cruise. But there are also great cruise destinations for nature that will give you a close-up view.

There are also great cruise destinations for scenery where you will see breathtaking natural sights that will leave a lasting impression on your memories. Here we look at the destinations that are going to be able to give you the best nature experience from a cruise ship.

13. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Vietnam is a beautiful country where you are going to fall in love with the romance of the place. Its jungles have a great range of nature but there is also beauty that you are going to be able to see from your cruise ship too. 

Ha Long Bay is so beautiful that it looks like a movie creation. Rock formations jut out of the water and are covered in lush greenery. It is a unique experience and one of the most amazing sights that you can see without stepping foot off your ship.

It’s a maze of islands but thankfully your captain is going to be able to navigate through them in expert style. Royal Caribbean is one of the best cruise lines in the world and they can take you on an incredible Vietnamese journey.

Rocks coming out of the ocean in Ha Long Bay covered with plants at the top
With its rock formations Ha Long Bay has to offer an unique nature. | Author: Jo Jo

12. Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is a dynamic and complicated country but it is also full of amazing nature, wildlife and scenery. One of the best places to see that is Cape Town which in itself is a great destination if you want a South African experience.

Just as the rock formations just out in Ha Long Bay, Table Mountain rises sharply from the flat ground of Cape Town. It makes for a stark contrast and it is an amazing sight. Seeing a mountain that close to a city is a unique quirk of nature.

Seeing it from one of the many cruise ships in the area is going to give you an extraordinary view of the city. Therefore you may as well look at that view while you are on an extraordinary ship, and Cunard has three of those. 

11. Belfast, Northern Ireland

If you ever see Giant’s Causeway you will think that it’s a man-made creation as it can’t possibly be the case that nature has made such a thing. Around 40,000 individual hexagonal columns make the formation which was due to ancient volcanic activity.

It has created a series of natural formations that have to be seen to be believed. Thankfully it is fairly easy to see them as they are a short distance from the port city of Belfast. The capital of Northern Ireland is fascinating in itself with an incredible history.

There are many day trips available where you can see this magnificent sight which will leave you scratching your head about how these columns came to be. MSC Cruises is an expert in European cruises and will help you take in this marvel of nature.

10. Guanabara Bay, Brazil

If you’ve never been there, there are probably a few things that immediately come to mind when you think of Rio de Janeiro. There is, of course, Copacabana beach and the statue on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, but there is a lot more than that.

The bay of the city is called Guanabara Bay and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It has a series of rock outcrops that are covered by flora and fauna. Looking at it from a ship is an amazing experience but seeing it from Sugar Loaf Mountain is even more incredible

There are many beautiful places across South America and it is a fascinating place to visit. Celebrity Cruises has many great cruises running through the region and are going to enable you to see nature like never before. 

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9. Fiji

The Pacific Ocean is home to many islands that have an incredible level of beauty, nature and wildlife. Fiji is a perfect example of that. It is a place of natural beauty where they have many beautiful islands in which to navigate. 

The dormant volcanic activity in the area makes for a unique experience as seemingly random pieces of rock jut out of the huge ocean floor. The sky is a perfect blue, the mountains a lush green and the water a stunning turquoise. 

It’s a great place to hike as there are national parks, marine reserves and rainforests to see. The South Pacific islands are a wonderful place for you to visit. Holland America Line is going to help you on that journey as you sail across the ocean. 

8. Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Just like Rio de Janeiro, the first thing that you think about when it comes to Jamaica probably isn’t the nature that you are going to see, apart from the white sands of course. It is a vibrant country but is also home to an epic wonders of nature.

The Dunn’s River Falls just outside of Ocho Rios is a popular waterfall where the water comes gently cascading down a series of rocks with a rainforest backdrop. Many people walk up the waterfalls as it isn’t steep and the water doesn’t move very quickly.

It’s a unique experience and one which will surely have you taking your camera out of your pocket to take a few snaps. Jamaica is also a fun destination and it’s great to travel there on a fun ship, and that’s what you’ll get with Carnival

7. Antarctica

Antarctica isn’t a cruise destination for the faint-hearted but if you’re going to be able to brave the cold then you are going to an area that is almost untouched by greenery. The continent is 98% covered by ice and it will be an expanse of white.

Under that ice is a series of huge mountain ranges that provide a stunning backdrop. There is also a host of wildlife to see. For anyone who loves nature, it’s great to be able to boast about visiting and having an unforgettable experience. 

There are shore excursions available that are going to enable you to explore the ice landscape and see the extremes of the world. Silversea Cruises is going to be able to take you on that adventure as you see the most southerly continent in all its glory. 

Icebergs reflected in the light blue water in Antarctica
If you don't mind cold temperatures, Antarctica offers breathtaking nature. | Author: henrique setim

6. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is another country where you will have to wrap up warm, but thankfully it’s not quite as bitter as Antarctica. It is a country that has some beautiful ice landscapes but it’s the volcanic activity that helps to make this stand out as a nature destination. 

Just outside of Reykjavik you will be able to see one feature that the country is famous for and that is hot springs. You will be able to bathe in hot water that has been heated up by magma while enjoying the freezing landscapes around you.

If you are willing to head out a little further then you are also going to be able to visit the geysers of Iceland where huge columns of water burst out from the ground. Hurtigruten Cruise Lines is a great cruise line for seeing the volcanic country. 

5. Alaska, USA

Yet another icy paradise, Alaska is an amazing destination for a wide variety of different reasons. A big reason is due to Glacier Bay National Park. Being able to get up close and personal with the cliff wall of a glacier will give you an incredible sight.

Seeing all that water locked away will take your breath away. While you are there, you might also get to see some impressive wildlife as it is a common spot for whales. It may be cold but Alaska is more than worth it for nature lovers.

There are many great places to see natural beauty in the USA but not many of them are cruise destinations. With a visit to Alaska you can sail with Norwegian Cruise Line and see some of the greatest sights in the world. 

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4. Belize City, Belize

For those looking for a warmer destination, Belize could well be the place that you want to be able to go to get in touch with nature. One great activity to do in Belize is to go diving in the coral reefs to see the marine life or you could go tubing through the caves, but there is something even more interesting than that.

Not far from the shore of Belize City is the ‘Great Blue Hole’. While many people have heard about sinkholes on land, it can also happen in the sea too. In the shallow waters of the bay there is a drop of over 400 feet in a hole that is just 1,000 feet across. 

The deep blue of the hole is a stark contrast to the turquoise waters that surround it, as it’s in the middle of a beautiful coral reef. Oceania Cruises is a company that has many beautiful ships and are going to be able to take you there.

3. Bergen, Norway

There is something about seeing the vast untouched beauty of nature that can simply take your breath away. Nowhere is that more the case than with the fjords of Norway where it feels as though you’re sailing through mountain ranges on either side of you.

The luscious green rocks are incredibly beautiful. Bergen is a great destination as to get there you have to travel through the Fjords. While you are visiting Norway, you can also head further north as you might well get to see the Aurora Borealis.

There are also amazing fjords in Chile too in case you wanted to go to South America and not Northern Europe. Whatever path you choose, Princess Cruises is going to be able to show you the beauty of the world.

2. Townsville, Australia

When it comes to natural beauties of the world, it’s hard to beat the Great Barrier Reef. Part of that is simply due to the vast scale of it. It is roughly the same length as the whole west coast of the USA with it being around 2,300 kilometers long. 

It also covers approximately the same area as Japan. In terms of the best stop off to see it, Townsville is a great port of call for nature lovers. From there you are going to be able to head out to the coral reef and enjoy some scuba diving.

As it is so incredibly long, there are a few ports along the coast of Queensland where you’re going to be able to head out on an excursion. Crystal Cruises have some great itineraries past the coast to enable you to explore a true wonder of nature.

1. Amazon, Brazil

Rivers are a natural marvel of nature as they snake their way through the landscape. Most of them are inaccessible to large cruise ships but when it comes to the widest river in the world, a river cruise isn’t only available for a small ship.

An Amazon river cruise will allow you to cut through South America for around 650 miles and along the way you are going to be able to see tropical forests and exotic plants. It is a nature experience like no other.

Going that deep into a continent is an incredible and surreal experience. Regent Seven Seas is going to be able to give you that experience where you will get to discover the fascinating nature of the famous river and also the rainforests that surround it.

The riverbank of the Amazon covered by blooming rainforest
The Amazon offers a unique cruise experience full of tropical forests and exotic plants. | Author: Lucas Campoi

Cruise destinations for nature

Nature is all around us but there are certain places in the world where it’s more glorious than others. There are some great locations where you are able to see some of the world’s most beautiful sites. Thankfully, cruise ships can take you to a lot of them.

Whether you want to cruise down a river, snorkel in a coral reef or bathe in a hot spring, there is always going to be something for everyone. All that’s left to do is book your next cruise and see the world in all its natural glory.

To get your perfect cruise you can easily scroll through the best offers going to the top 5 cruise destinations for nature: 

1. Best South America Cruises

2. Best Australia Cruises

3. Best Cruises to Northern Europe (Baltics)

4. Best North America Cruises

5. Best Alaska Cruises

Check out these articles for more top destinations: