Best Adventure Cruise Line (2021)


If you think cruising is all about lounging on the lido deck, piña colada in hand, think again. With these 10 cruise companies cruising becomes an adventure for active travelers, where exploring an exotic destination might involve kayaking through remote fjords, getting up close and personal with ice bergs aboard a Zodiac or walking atop a glacier. 

  • Adventure Canada

    Adventure Canada

    While Adventure Canada does indeed lead small ship adventures through the rivers, icy fjords and secluded waterways of Canada, this expedition cruise company also takes travelers to experience landscapes and cultures further afield, places like Scotland, Iceland, Ireland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The company shines with an always stellar lineup of onboard experts and guides. 
    Photo courtesy of Lydia Schrandt

  • Lindblad Expeditions

    Lindblad Expeditions

    Lindblad Expeditions works in partnership with National Geographic to produce innovative eco-adventures to some of the world’s most remote and wild places including Galápagos, Antarctica, the Arctic & Russian Far East, Baja, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Costa Rica & Panama, the Amazon, Europe, French Polynesia & South Pacific, and beyond. Voyages include a renowned expedition team. Guests interact with and learn from leading researchers, photographers and naturalists while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools.
    Photo courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions

  • Aurora Expeditions

    Aurora Expeditions

    Aurora Expedition sails to the polar regions and other wild and remote places aboard small ships with flexible, innovative itineraries. The company has been a pioneer in expedition travel, introducing onshore experiences like scuba diving or climbing in Antarctica. Onboard naturalists, historians, staff and crew help passengers gain insight into these remote regions.
    Photo courtesy of Aurora Expeditions

  • Quark Expeditions

    Quark Expeditions

    Quark Expeditions has been taking adventure travelers to the polar regions since 1991 and continues to operate the largest and most advanced fleet of adventure ships in these two regions. Each Adventure Ship facilitates experiences like sea kayaking, camping, cross country skiing and mountaineering in some of the planet's most stunning landscapes.
    Photo courtesy of David Merron, Quark Expeditions

  • Star Clippers

    Star Clippers

    Cruisers with Star Clippers get to sail on three of the largest full-rigged sailing ships in the world, Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper. Passengers aboard these four- and five-masted ships have complimentary access to sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing and other water sports, as well as fitness classes, shore excursions and a variety of daily activities. The views from lookout stations positioned 60 feet above the deck on each mast can’t be beat.
    Photo courtesy of Star Clippers

  • Hurtigruten


    Hurtigruten has been leading adventures at sea since 1893, with exploration voyages to destinations like Norway, Greenland, Iceland, Africa, Arctic Canada, South America and Antarctica. Each of the small ships are designed specifically to reach remote destinations.The line launched new hybrid electric-powered expedition ships MS Roald Amundsen in 2019 and MS Fridtjof Nansen in 2020.
    Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten

  • Abercrombie & Kent

    Abercrombie & Kent

    Abercrombie & Kent's small group journeys take adventurous travelers to destinations around the globe not easily visited by land, but the company is perhaps best known for its expedition cruises to the Arctic, Antarctic and the Northwest Passage. Vessels carry fewer than 200 passengers with a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one.
    Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

  • UnCruise Adventures

    UnCruise Adventures

    Adventure travel has always been the name of the game at UnCruise Adventures, a company that has been leading responsible small-ship journeys for more than two decades. Destinations include Alaska, the Galapagos, the Sea of Cortes and the Pacific Northwest.
    Photo courtesy of UnCruise Adventures

  • Celebrity Cruises

    Celebrity Cruises

    While Celebrity Cruises is well-known as one of the world's top ocean cruise lines, they also cater to adventure travelers with itineraries to the Galapagos Islands aboard the small ship Celebrity Xpedition, Xperience and Xploration, as well as the new Celebrity Flora. The line also sails itineraries in Alaska and a sailing around Cape Horn in South America.
    Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

  • Ponant


    Aboard Ponant's fleet of luxury yachts, adventurers gets a five-star treatment as they explore destinations like Africa, Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctica. Vessels accommodate a maximum of 264 passengers for an intimate and authentic cruising experience.
    Photo courtesy of Eric vancleynenbreugel / PONANT

The top 10 winners in the category Best Adventure Cruise Line are as follows:

  1. Adventure Canada
  2. Lindblad Expeditions
  3. Aurora Expeditions
  4. Quark Expeditions
  5. Star Clippers
  6. Hurtigruten
  7. Abercrombie & Kent
  8. UnCruise Adventures
  9. Celebrity Cruises
  10. Ponant

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning cruise lines!

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