Five Destinations for Unbelievable Wildlife Encounters

Wildlife Encounters are some of the most rewarding experiences you can have on a cruise

Cruising can provide you with some of the most enriching wildlife encounters in the World. Some ships can take you to the farthest reaches of the planet, where wild and bizarre animals abound, while others can expose you to the strange and outstanding flora and fauna closer to home. Follow us as we share our favorite destinations for animal encounters.


Alaska is one of North America’s most popular cruising destinations. The main attraction is the opportunity to see the myriad species of animals that call this region home. From a ship’s decks, you will see migrating humpback whales, pods of orcas, and soaring bald eagles. 

While on shore, you can head inland in search of reindeer, Dall sheep, brown bears, black bears, and more. The fiftieth state in the Union is crawling with life, and you should circle it on your list if you haven’t been already. There are no shortages of options on who to sail. Every brand has a presence there, but remember, the smaller the ship, the closer to the action you will get. 

Alaskan Wildlife is the main attraction for cruisers
Wildlife encounters in Alaska

The Galapagos Islands

What better opportunity for animal encounters than the islands that inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? The protected ecosystem that is the Galapagos Islands provides the stage for some of the world’s most bizarre and unique species. Animals on the islands rarely encounter humans, which means you can get closer than ever. 

Visiting the Galapagos Islands allows you to view the silly mating dance of blue-footed boobies, the only species of aquatic iguanas on Earth, tropical penguins, and the famous Galapagos Giant Tortoise. These are just a few experiences that await you on this tropical expedition.

The most elegant vessels in the region are the Silver Origin by Silversea Cruises, Aqua Mare by Aqua Expeditions, and the Celebrity Flora. Still, expedition favorites like Hurtigruten Lindblad maintain a presence on the islands and make excellent family options. 

Marine Iguanas are just one of the many species awaiting in the Galapagos Islands
Marine Iguanas are just one of the many species awaiting in the Galapagos Islands

Arctic Expedition

A cruise above the Arctic Circle is an overwater safari through a semi-solid ice mass. As the summer ice crumbles against the polar class hull of the world’s leading expedition ships, you will scan the horizon for polar bears, beluga whales, walruses, narwhals, and a wide variety of animals uniquely adapted for these extreme latitudes. 

While simply going there doesn’t guarantee that the animals will come out and put on a show, brands like Ponant, Scenic, Seabourn, Silversea, Hurtigruten, and Viking have assembled teams of experienced naturalists who are experts at putting guests in front of the action.

Artic Expeditions are wildlife safaris
Artic Expeditions are wildlife safaris

Komodo National Park

Komodo is a three-island chain located in the Flores Sea. This prehistoric landscape is home to one of nature’s most fascinating creatures, the world’s largest terrestrial lizard, the Komodo Dragon. Having no natural predators and an abundance of food has resulted in an evolutionary process known as “Island Gigantism,” which you can learn all about from trained naturalists on leading expedition cruise lines.

Our picks for Komodo are Aqua Expeditions and Ponant.

Komodo Dragons of Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Komodo Dragons of Komodo National Park, Indonesia

South Georgia Island

An expedition to the White Continent is an opportunity to experience one of the most resilient animals on the planet, the penguin.  Of the eighteen species of penguins, only two of them make their home on the continent of Antarctica. If planning a penguin safari, ensure it includes South Georgia Island. 

This British Overseas territory isn’t part of Antarctica but is a regular stop on many itineraries.  Located in the Sandwich Islands, a visit to South Georgia will put you in the proximity of millions of Macaroni Penguins, hundreds of thousands of King Penguins, and sizable populations of Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins. 

Antarctica is the most popular destination for Expedition Cruising. The top luxury options are Silverseas, Ponant, Seabourn, and Scenic. Still, more brands are available for guests looking for specific types of experiences. Viking Expedition, Aurora, Quark, and Hurtigruten are also excellent options. 

Finding wildlife is always easier when you have an experienced guide. The same goes for finding the right cruise line to get you there. A short conversation with the knowledgeable agents at Luxury Cruise Connections may be the only thing standing between you and the experience of a lifetime. Let our agents match you to the perfect brand for your vacation. 

South Georgia Island is the Penguin Capital of the World
South Georgia Island is the Penguin Capital of the World

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