Cruises offer passengers a plethora of once in a lifetime opportunities, and wildlife watching is without a doubt one of the most mesmerising experiences. Across the globe, ships transport nature lovers to some of the world’s most exotic destinations that are brimming with an abundance of native animals in their natural habitats. Who needs zoos!?
To celebrate all creatures great and small we’ve come up with a list of our favourite animals to spot while cruising.
Pink Amazon River Dolphins
Dolphins are one of Mother Nature’s most adored creations, and this Amazonian species is something special! The Pink Amazon River Dolphin is scientifically known as Inia Geoffrensis, and is one of five species to call rivers home. They’re ultra-intelligent, with a brain capacity of 40% more than the average human. Of course, the standout feature is the pretty pink colouring that never fails to delight. The best way to spot one of these beauties is to sign up for a shore excursion on a smaller boat that can easily navigate narrow tributaries.
They may look cuddly but grizzlies pack some serious grunt! Alaska’s Denali National Park is the perfect place to spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Lines such as Royal Caribbean cruise through Alaska and offer wildlife spotting shore excursions that would put a David Attenborough documentary to shame. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for other animals such as golden eagles, Arctic ground squirrels, lynx, wolverine, caribou, moose, beavers and more.
Also known as killer whales, orcas are one of the most powerful predators on the planet. Seeing these beautiful mammals in the wild is a sight to behold, especially if they’re breaching, jumping or hunting. If you’re cruising through Canadian or Alaskan waters there’s a chance you may spot a pod or two from the decks, otherwise Disney offers a fantastic Ocean Wildlife and Orca Exploration shore excursion.
The Ecuadorian archipelago is home to some of the rarest wildlife on the planet, including the enchanting Galapagos Tortoise. They’re the 14th largest reptile known to man and can live for up to 100 years. In fact, there’s a good chance that some of the tortoises you spot could be older than you! Get up close and personal with these gentle giants at the Charles Darwin Research Station. One of our top picks is the 11 night Galapagos Islands round trip with Celebrity Cruises.
The ‘Big Five’
OK, so this section technically includes five animals but a trip to the continent simply wouldn’t be complete without spotting an African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. You may not think this is possible on a cruise however today’s itineraries offer plenty of options that transport passengers into the heart of Africa’s savannahs. Whether you opt for a day trip shore excursion or a multi-night land package adventure, lines such as Princess Cruises, P&O and Royal Caribbean will take you there in style.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Mike Charest, Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith