This is it, you have been thinking about going on a cruise for years and this year is the year. Now that you have gathered determination, courage, passport and money, you are wondering which cruise to choose. That is certainly not an easy decision to make. After all, so many of the popular cruise ships are so big that spending a week at sea, on one of those monsters, is an adventure on its own. Some have water slides, others go carts. They all have pools, luxury restaurants and theatres. If this is your idea of a vacation, go for it! If you are looking at exploring, discovering new things, meeting different cultures, the mega ships might not be your best options. There are many other cruises to explore.  

One interesting way to travel the seas is to board a cargo ship. Depending on where you want to visit, either Australia, Antarctica, or the South Pacific, cargo vessels usually have a dozen spots for passengers. You get to visit new places, away from the crowds while traveling in style. Most cargo ships have a gym and plenty of space to stretch your legs. You will dine in the officers’ mess and enjoy a private cabin. You can even visit each port you stop at, but make sure that you are back on time for departure. Opting for traveling by cargo ship will give you a unique experience of life at sea as well as a chance to discover the world on your own terms.

If you feel that you are not ready for the oceans yet but still want to experience traveling by boat, a tour of the Amazon river is an interesting experience you might want to consider. Enjoying the slow pace of roaming on the largest river in the world will give you a chance to take in the amazing scenery. Your senses will be awakened by the smells of the flora as well as by the sight of new animals you will encounter. You can choose to stay on the boat during your trip or to participate in some of the offered excursions. You will have the chance to discover local communities, taste their food and experience some of their daily activities such as fishing or swimming. Visiting the Amazon on a ship should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company

The idea of discovering a river appeals to you, but you would like to stay closer to home, consider a Mississippi River cruise. No worries about passport or airports. Just make your way to one of the boarding points and begin your journey. As you travel along this iconic American river, you will explore history from a new perspective. At its southern point, the cruise will take you to antebellum areas where the architecture, the cuisine and the shore excursions will seduce you. As you travel north, a different scenery will capture your attention, showing you another side of the country you did not know about or only visited through books or history lessons. Climbing onto a historical steam boat will be a cruise you will remember forever.

Whatever the cruise you choose, make sure you research your adventure before departure to enjoy every second of it. Document your trip and share it with your friends upon your return. This will provide you with conversation topics until your next vacation!