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Travel experts choose their ultimate cruises, from the North Pole to Australia via Cape Horn, what would yours be?

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Here’s some inspiration from seven sea-loving travel experts, who’ve described their ultimate cruise holidays, from Cape Horn to the North Pole.

 Cape Horn – Caroline Hendrie, Mail on Sunday cruise expert  

Sea lions and albatross sunbathe on the Beagle Channel, near Ushuaia in Argentina

Sea lions and albatross sunbathe on the Beagle Channel, near Ushuaia in Argentina

I’ve twice sailed close to Cape Horn, at the tip of South America, where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet – and survived! Once, rounding the Horn, on a Celebrity Cruises ship on a voyage from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso in Chile, and again crossing the Drake Passage returning from Antarctica. 

Both times I longed to step ashore on the rocky headland and take the steep path up to the albatross sculpture (a monument to the thousands who have perished in this treacherous sea) that I could see through my binoculars. 

So, my dream cruise would be to join one of the two Australis expedition ships that land passengers at Cape Horn from Zodiac boats and also explore the channels and fjords of Tierra del Fuego, such as Beagle Channel. Going ashore to see Wulaia Bay, where Charles Darwin landed from the Beagle in 1833, has enormous appeal to me. 

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The North Pole – Douglas Ward, author 

The Fifty Years of Victory nuclear-powered icebreaker makes its way through frozen waters in the Kara Sea
The Fifty Years of Victory nuclear-powered icebreaker makes its way through frozen waters in the Kara Sea

To celebrate my 50th year in the cruise industry in 2016, I sailed to the North Pole on Fifty Years of Victory, the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker that goes five years without refuelling. You join the ship in Murmansk and embark on the voyage of a lifetime. 

We saw polar bear families up close before, with much icecrushing, we arrived at the top of the world. All 130 passengers decanted to an ice floe for a barbecue, led by a team of four Russian national park rangers who gave presentations in English. Zodiac boat landings are also made at Franz Joseph Land. 

Did I enjoy it? It was the best 12 days of my life. 

Japan – Emma Le Teace, blogger 

A woman with traditional kimono dress and umbrella walking Kyoto’s Arashiyama bamboo grove, Japan
A woman with traditional kimono dress and umbrella walking Kyoto’s Arashiyama bamboo grove, Japan

Last year I took a cruise with Princess Cruises from Singapore to Tokyo that included two Japanese ports, but it was not enough. I enjoyed everything about the experience and would love to see more of Japan, such as Kyoto’s Arashiyama bamboo grove.

I was introduced to cruising at the age of 11 on a family voyage to Alaska. Since then I have sailed around much of Europe and America but have never been anywhere as fascinating as Japan. Even a trip to buy a drink is an experience.  

We visited temples, shrines and gardens, giving us an opportunity to learn a little about the culture and history. There is so much to see and do that. 

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Tahiti – Dave Monk, cruise writer 

On the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, Paul Gauguin Cruises offers guests the chance to swim in lagoons

On the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, Paul Gauguin Cruises offers guests the chance to swim in lagoons

I’ve been on more than 60 cruises – from voyages on 12-person barges to one on the biggest ship in the world. But the place I dream of visiting? It has to be the French Polynesian island of Tahiti. 

There, Paul Gauguin Cruises operates a ship called Paul Gauguin that sails into small ports and to private islands. I’m not normally a beach person but the thought of swimming in azure lagoons, relaxing in shoreside infinity pools and exploring the depths on an underwater scooter, is my dream come true.

All the way around Australia – Vicky Mayer, Editor, World of Cruising

One writer dreams of taking a cruise around Australia, visiting Sydney, the Barrier Reef and Tasmania. Pictured above is Tasmania's Russell Falls in Mount Field National Park
One writer dreams of taking a cruise around Australia, visiting Sydney, the Barrier Reef and Tasmania. Pictured above is Tasmania’s Russell Falls in Mount Field National Park

I lived in Australia in the 1990s and still have a soft spot for this amazing country – and what better way to see it than on a ship? 

I’m dreaming of a sundrenched cabin on board Coral Adventurer. On a 60-day circumnavigation voyage, the ship will visit 35 destinations around Australia in November and December 2020, culminating with a trip to Uluru on Christmas Day to dine under the stars. 

Coral Expeditions is a small, proudly Aussie line that prides itself on offering adventure cruises around the Southern Hemisphere, so they’re experts in the region, with chatty staff on board to help you make the most of your time Down Under. Sightseeing in Sydney, dining on oysters in Tasmania and snorkelling on the Barrier Reef – if I win the lottery, you’ll find me in the best cabin on this cruise of a lifetime.

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Sea of Cortez – Julie Peasgood, contributing editor, Cruise International

The Sea of Cortez is known as Mexico's own version of the Galapagos, with whales, pelicans and sea turtles all roaming it

The Sea of Cortez is known as Mexico’s own version of the Galapagos, with whales, pelicans and sea turtles all roaming it

I was once told: ‘If you want to see whales, you should go to the Sea of Cortez.’ Also known as the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea of Cortez is a slice of marine paradise dividing mainland Mexico and the Baja California peninsula. 

Dubbed by Jacques Cousteau ‘the world’s aquarium’, it is home to a variety of whales – pilot, fin, orca, humpback, grey, Peruvian beaked and mammoth blue. It also happens to be Mexico’s own version of the species-rich Galapagos, with pelicans, boobies and sea turtles among the wildlife to marvel at. One day I will go there..

Greenland – Andy Harmer, Director of Cruise Lines International Association

The natural beauty of Greenland, with its stunning scenery and varied wildlife, is the perfect place to unwind

The natural beauty of Greenland, with its stunning scenery and varied wildlife, is the perfect place to unwind

I have cruised to some of the most exciting cities on the planet, such as Sydney, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Athens. As someone who likes to explore ports by foot, there have been some great places to soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the culture, food and history, and to wonder at the diversity of different countries. 

But I am most in awe of the chance to explore some of the world’s areas of natural beauty, from the magnificence of Alaska and the Norwegian fjords to the breathtaking Croatian coast and varied islands of Greece. 

So my ultimate voyage would be the Arctic, the wilderness area that includes Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. It appeals to my joy of discovering new places, to take time to relax and unwind surrounded by stunning scenery, and to get close to some of the planet’s most varied wildlife, such as whales and polar bears. 

It would be the ultimate combination of landscapes, new cultures and Mother Nature.

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