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5 sightseeing cruises that are just amazing | Insight Guides Blog

5 sightseeing cruises that are just amazing

Best sightseeing cruises: Geiranger fjord, Norway
Geiranger fjord, Norway. Photo: Shutterstock


There’s something magical about travelling by boat. Maybe it’s the freedom afforded by the lack of roads; maybe it’s the languid feel of water beneath. Whatever it is, we’ve taken the liberty of looking at five of the best sightseeing cruises the world has to offer.


1. Halong Bay, Vietnam


In many ways, Halong Bay is the ultimate in sightseeing cruises. Made up of thousands of tiny limestone islands, which climb vertically out of the water and are crowned by dense tropical vegetation, the area known as Halong Bay stretches over 500 square miles. As you might expect from such a large area, the range of sightseeing tours are incredibly varied. The islands are home to around about 1,600 fishermen living on floating villages. Amazingly, many of these extraordinary fishermen have never – and will never – step foot on dry land. Halong Bay has definitely earned its place on this list.


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Boats Anchored in Halong Bay, Vietnam. Photo: Shutterstock

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2. Fjords, Norway


Fjords, waterways formed by glacial erosion over vast periods of time, are characterised by steep cliffs that loom over a thin inlet below. Norway is renowned for its fjords, with well over 1,500. The picturesque Scandinavian landscape makes Norway’s fjords something to behold: uneven, snow-capped peaks stand tall over crisp, turquoise water. There are many cruises available. Without doubt, the most famous is the Hurtigruten route, running from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again, which stops at 34 locations on the way. The tour takes a total of 11 days.    

Typical red rorbu fishing huts with sod roof on Lofoten islands in Norway reflecting in fjord. Photo: Shutterstock


3. San Francisco Bay, United States


There are, of course, many ways of viewing San Francisco Bay that don’t require a boat. However, we happen to think it's the best way to experience the area. Home to one of the most iconic views on the West Coast, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s skyline provides a magical opportunity to experience a sightseeing cruise like no other. Head out past the Golden Gate on your way to enjoying some of the most picturesque vistas in America.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. Photo: Shutterstock


4. Kerala Backwaters, India


Many bucket lists mention something about Kerala’s backwaters, and for good reason. As India's most southerly state, Kerala is renowned for its relaxed atmosphere and its slower pace of life. Most of Kerala is comprised of lakes and lagoons, all of which are linked by a vast network of palm-fringed waterways. Cruises around these languid waterways vary hugely; ranging from an eight-hour shared cruise to a four-day cruise on a private houseboat. Either way, Kerala’s scenery and wildlife will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. 


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Houseboat on Kerala backwaters. Photo: Shutterstock

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5. Venice, Italy


Everyone knows Venice is a city that's best experienced by water. Actually, as there are no roads in Venice, it is a city that can only be explored by water. There are 150 canals in total, with the famous Grand Canal snaking through the city past the popular San Polo and San Marco areas, with a labyrinth of smaller canals branching off in all directions. There is a remarkably efficient public transport network of vaporettos (water buses) that service the city. There are also many private tour options available. Hopeless romantics can also take a two-person gondola ride.

Bright view of The Grand Canal with gondola at the Santa Maria della Salute church, Venice, Italy. Photo: Shutterstock


Read more:

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Cruising and Cruise Ships Guide 2016  

River Cruising in Europe 

Caribbean Cruises Guide