When you feel as if you’ve reached your cultural quota traveling to Europe or your tropical threshold (is that even possible?) of island vacations, it’s time to step out and try something new. Dig deep. What exotic destinations speak to your soul? Is it the untouched landscapes of the Polar regions or magnificent wildlife in Madagascar? We hope to inspire you to push the boundaries, to meet fascinating people along the way, and explore some of the most remote corners of the world. For those who are a little hesitant to travel to such exotic places, a cruise is a perfect option. Cruises offer amazing destinations with the creature comforts and predictability of familiar accommodations. Bonus, you only have to unpack once! To spark your interest, we are highlighting some of the world’s most exotic cruises.

Antarctica

Credit: PONANT

Sail to the unexpected corners of the Southern Polar Region, where you’ll experience a dazzling ice-filled wonderland. Observe the magnificent humpback whale and some of the planet’s most unique wildlife. It’s easy to feel small amid the vast beauty of ice and water, where the only sounds you’ll hear come from nature. Luxury expedition cruises utilize experts who dive deep into the polar region through round table discussions, presentations, and expeditions. A few of our favorite cruise lines that sail Antarctica come in at the top of our list for intimate size ships, personalized service, and exceptional dining. Explore Silversea, PONANT, and the newest luxury expedition ship, Scenic Eclipse.

Arctic

Ice cruising, Svalbard, Arctic, ship cruising through the ice, 7715, Denis Elterman

Whether you are visiting the Geographic North Pole or exploring the landscapes of Iceland or Greenland, a cruise to the Arctic is about as exotic as it gets. Some of the highlights of the Arctic itineraries are Abercrombie & Kent’s Arctic Cruise Adventure in Search of the Polar Bear and PONANT’s new itinerary, Greenland of Great Explorers. PONANT’s 15-day expedition cruise follows the footsteps of the French explorers who pushed the boundaries of polar expeditions.

Madagascar

Credit: Shutterstock

If you aren’t a fan of freezing temperatures, maybe Madagascar fits the bill? A dizzying array of wildlife from hippos, elephants, lions, and zebras roam the wild planes of Africa. Most cruise lines offer open Game Drive Safaris and even sleeping under the star adventures. Norwegian Cruise Line offers a host of options. One of our favorites is the 21 Day African Safari and Seychelles. Princess Cruise lines sail to Nosy Be, Africa; the small island off the northwest coast of Madagascar. Dubbed “the Great Island,” Nosy Be is known for its fine rum, fragrant floral scents that fill the air, vibrant marketplaces and warm climate.

The South Pacific

Credit: Paul Gauguin

So maybe you didn’t get your fill of idyllic island locations after all. If that’s the case, escape to the exotic and romantic South Pacific. With breathtaking atolls, crystal clear lagoons and black sand beaches a treasure trove of snorkeling, diving and epicurean bounties abound throughout Tahiti, French Polynesia, and Bali. A true island paradise, the only risk of sailing to the South Pacific is not wanting to return. Paul Gauguin Cruises are specifically designed to navigate the shallow waters of the South Pacific. Expect nothing short of luxury onboard the m/s Paul Gauguin, with world-class dining and the authentic experience of the islands.

We hope this list inspires you to take your next cruise somewhere exotic. So many more destinations are waiting to be discovered through cruising; Peru, Cambodia, India. Don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself.