The cruise itinerary map keeps expanding, and Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, the king of soft adventure itineraries, seems destined to prove the world is indeed your oyster.
The line will launch four new expeditions in Africa, the Seychelles and the Indian Ocean next year on its newly acquired, 102-passenger National Geographic Orion.
On these cruises, a love of scuba, snorkeling and kayaking helps. In addition to a dive master and gear, the ship is equipped with a state-of-the-art ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that can explore the sea down to 1,000 feet.
The wild itineraries include a 22-day cruise to South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar, embarking March 20, 2015, from Cape Town. For those who collect countries, you’ll visit five in total. For those who keep bird books or write down animal sightings, hold on to your hats (you’ll see many). Depending on your adventure level, other highlights include the wild-eyed lemurs of Madagascar and cage diving with great white sharks. Get on board from $25,940 per person.
A new Zanzibar to the Seychelles cruise is a 15-day jaunt taking in such sights as Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the world’s largest population of giant tortoises. Your exploration will also take you to see rare birds, reefs filled with tropical fish and some of the world’s best beaches. The cruise embarks from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on April 8, 2015. Fares from $13,290.
Visit the Seychelles, Maldives and Sri Lanka on a 21-day Indian Ocean cruise from Mahe on April 18. Highlights of this itinerary include opportunity to snorkel or dive with huge manta rays and whale sharks, hike in a forest of giant palms that time forgot (think Jurassic Park), spot blue whales and see the influence of Persian, Greek and Chinese cultures. Fares from $19,930.
On the “Wild Islands of Sri Lanka, Borneo and the Andaman Sea” cruise, passengers will have close encounters with orangutans at Camp Leakey in Borneo, go on game drives in search of endangered elephants or leopards in southern Sri Lanka and snorkel wild waters – plus, you get to explore Singapore and Bali. The 22-day cruise embarks Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 4. Fares from $21,040.