Top Cruises for Wildlife Enthusiasts


Wildlife and nature lovers might be surprised to learn they can enjoy a cruise of a lifetime that includes watching all sorts of animals on small, elegant vessels that travel everywhere, from amazing Costa Rica, to the stunning Seychelles and beyond. Luxury small ships have access to waterways that those big ships simply can’t reach, meaning better opportunities for marveling at a host of impressive endemic wildlife.

Spot colorful macaws and toucans, along with monkeys and three-toed sloths in Costa Rica, watch for the famous giant tortoise and black parrots in the Seychelles or even dive with whale sharks in the Maldives. Wildlife-focused cruises also bring activities for everyone to enjoy, from experiencing renowned UNESCO-listed sites and beach BBQs, to snorkeling in crystal-clear waters filled with colorful fish and other impressive marine life. Of course, you can also look forward to Unforgettable Cruises’ delicious fresh-prepared meals on board along with well-appointed, spacious air-conditioned cabins.

While you’ll find a list of our cruise vacations for wildlife enthusiasts on our website, below are some of our top picks.

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Maldives, Unforgettable Cruises

14-Night Maldives Islands Cruise

The secluded Maldives, made up of hundreds of postcard-perfect islands in the Indian Ocean, bring opportunities to sail warm, crystal-clear waters in a gradient of dazzling blues and bask on sands as soft and white as powdered sugar. Cruisers can also experience a wide range of remarkable sea life on diving and snorkeling excursions, including giant trevallies, stingrays, manta rays and whale sharks.

Our two-week cruise of the Maldives begins with a private boat transfer from Male International Airport to your ship, where you’ll be able to enjoy a glorious sunset over the Indian Ocean from the deck. Cruising to the island of Vaagali, you’ll visit caves where schools of stingrays can frequently be spotted. The exotic island of Rannalhi is also on the itinerary, including one of the best dive sites in the archipelago, Guraidhoo Corner where dogtooth tun, eagle rays and white tipped reef sharks can often be seen. Gaze at the eagle rays and schools of sharks in the Miyaru Kandu and watch for sea turtles while diving in Devana Kandu, and perhaps join a night snorkeling excursion to watch stingrays and massive nurse sharks in their natural habitat as well. Nearly every day of this adventure is filled with beauty and wildlife – close encounters with whale sharks, gentle giants of the sea, are even an option too.

Looking for adventure on land and sea? Take a look at our two-week Cruise & Hotel package in the Maldives.

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Corcovado National Park, Unforgettable Cruises

11-Night Costa Rica to Panama Cruise-Tour

Enjoy seven nights on board a luxury small ship; two nights in San Jose, Costa Rica and two nights in Panama City at four-star hotels on this land and cruise excursion. It all begins with a tour of the Costa Rican capital before boarding your ship and sailing to Quepos. Join an optional excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park, the country’s most visited attraction, home to 184 bird species and 109 species of mammals, including frequently spotted monkeys and sloths. Landscapes range from magnificent waterfalls and cloud forests with trees that are over 300 years old to volcanoes and mangrove swamps.

We’ll visit Corcovado National Park too, considered the top spot for wildlife in the entire country. Located on the remote Oso Peninsula, 370 bird species and 140 mammal species reside here – in fact, National Geographic once claimed it to be “the most biologically intense place on Earth.” There are squirrel monkeys with their distinctive chirps and whistles, howler monkeys with their booming roars that can be heard from several miles away, three-toed sloths, white-nosed coatis and margays, tiny cats that weigh an average of less than eight pounds and spend most of their lives in the trees.

An optional excursion to Darien National Park in Panama, a vast wildlife park and UNESCO World Heritage Site offers the chance to experience a place that’s truly wild, with rocky shorelines and sandy beaches as well as tropical forests and archaeological findings. There are thousands of invertebrates and hundreds of vertebrates along with 530 bird species and 169 mammals, including the giant anteater, brown-headed spider monkey, keel-billed toucans, tapirs and macaws. Cruisers also have the unique opportunity to meet one of the seven indigenous groups living in Panama, the Embera Indians to learn about their traditions, history and culture.

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Seychelles, Unforgettable Cruises

7-Night Seychelles Islands Cruise

The Seychelles are made up of 115 small islands surrounded by dazzling azure tropical waters off the east coast of Africa. This off-the-beaten-path destination is famous not only for its jaw-dropping beauty that includes chalk-white sand beaches, but its indigenous species of tropical flora, fauna, marine and bird life. Embarkation for this one-week Seychelles cruise is Mahé Inter Island Quay, with the first destination uninhabited Curieuse, a bio-reserve island that was once a leper colony. Today it’s one of the few places in the world were Coco de Mer nuts are grown naturally and harvested, and it’s also home to a population of giant tortoise. Cousin Island is another one of the highlights on this itinerary, renowned as a bird-watcher’s paradise. A quarter of a million birds nest here each year, including frigates, terns, red turtle doves, Seychelles sunbirds and the once nearly extinct Seychelles warble. Giant tortoises are also a big draw, found across the island, laying their eggs on the beaches.

We also offer an exclusive 10-Night Seychelles Cruise-Tour which gives you the option of a relaxing stay on land before or after your cruise. Call us today for more information.

The western Indian Ocean’s finest seabird island and one of the most beautiful islands in the Seychelles, is another stop. Aride Island hosts one of the most important seabird populations, including more breeding species than any other island in the archipelago. There are 18 native bird species, including five that can only be found in Seychelles, that breed here. The only humans that reside on the island are the nature reserve’s staff. Look forward to lots of opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and diving too – the waters that surround the Seychelles contain a bountiful treasure of marine life, including several species of sea turtles, vibrant blue-orange angel fish and the always impressive clownfish. There are blue-green parrot fish that can be seen gnawing at the coral, whitetip sharks, and, with luck on your side, you may even spot a flying fish.

Guests have the option to join an excursion to the Vallee de Mai Reserve as well. While exploring the lush greenery and Coco de Mer trees which produce the world’s largest seed, you might experience a rare treat – a glimpse of the Seychelles black parrot.

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