virtuoso communities 5 Nature-Based Adventures to Sail For

5 Nature-Based Adventures to Sail For

At your next port stop, grab a kayak to discover hidden coastlines and spy local wildlife (and work that tan). 
At your next port stop, grab a kayak to discover hidden coastlines and spy local wildlife (and work that tan). 
Photo by Getty Images 
From cycling through the Spanish countryside to snorkeling off the Turks and Caicos, these outdoor experiences remind us why we love cruising.

Most cruise lines have canceled sailings for the time being, but Virtuoso travel advisors are seeing a rise in 2021 bookings. And while exploring historic seaside cities are highlights of many voyages, access to thrilling outdoor activities are an often-understated benefit. Here, travel advisors share five inspiring nature excursions.

Meetings at Sea

Some of the most memorable characters Virtuoso travel advisor Jeannie Smith met on a Caribbean cruise weren’t fellow passengers, but rather the creatures she encountered while snorkeling in Belize. “I was amazed by the sea turtles who swam beside me,” she says. “Fortunately, their speed was about the same as mine.” Another highlight: a few languid nurse sharks. Roughly 1,000 miles east, fellow advisor Susan Dischner snorkeled on the world’s third-largest barrier reef near Grand Turk Island, spotting yellowtail snapper, pilot fish, and parrot fish.
Spend an afternoon in serene blue waters. 
Spend an afternoon in serene blue waters. 
Photo by Getty Images

Bike to Blend In

During a May sailing, Virtuoso advisor Leah Bergner and her dad explored Palamós, Spain, on a 13-mile e-bike ride through poppy fields and villages. In addition to enjoying fresh air, “Traveling by bike provides a different perspective from touring by motorcoach,” Bergner says. “I felt a little more ‘local’ too, as we came across others who were walking and riding bikes.”

Walk Up a Thirst

While cruising the Rhône from Lyon to Avignon, travel advisor Lisa Hall spent a day hiking in wine country near the French town of Tain-l’Hermitage. “We trekked up a steep terraced vineyard and took in views of the Rhône River and the town’s lovely tiled roofs,” Hall says. The physical challenge paid off with a winetasting before returning to the ship.

The climb is worth a glass (or two) of local syrah. Below, the town of Tain-l’Hermitage. 
The climb is worth a glass (or two) of local syrah. Below, the town of Tain-l’Hermitage. 
Photo by Getty Images 

Ancient Views

When it comes to expansive landscapes, few places compare to Australia. Virtuoso travel advisor Mary Lou Yeager recalls a moving flight over the country’s UNESCO World Heritage listed-Bungle Bungle Range in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. “I watched in wonder from our Cessna,” she says. “Here I was flying above unreal, beehive-shaped sandstone formations in a land inhabited by Aboriginals for more than 20,000 years.”

Bear Witness

An August sailing in Alaska took Bergner to Ketchikan, where she boarded a floatplane for bear-watching in Tongass National Forest. “Seeing a mama bear and two cubs fishing for salmon just feet away from me was incredible,” she says. “Later they climbed a tree, with the cubs on the highest branch and their mama on the lowest branch, ready to protect them.”

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