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10 of the Best Expedition Cruises for Snorkelers

Jun. 29th, 2017

If you’re a keen snorkeler looking for your next vacation idea, we have pulled together ten of the best places to snorkel around the world on an expedition cruise. The list, in no particular order, includes bucket-list destinations like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands through to little-known paradises like Kiribati's Southern Line Islands and Raja Ampat. 

 

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is at the top of the bucket-list for water lovers. Stretching over 1,200 miles along the Australian coast, ‘the Reef’ wows visitors with its colorful corals and amazing sea life. Although coral bleaching is a concern, there are many parts of the reef still worth seeing. Three, four and seven-night expedition cruises depart Cairns aboard Coral Expeditions II each week.

Indonesia’s Raja Ampat
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Indonesia’s Raja Ampat

​Home to over 70% of the world's known coral species, incredible marine life and outstanding natural beauty, Indonesia's Raja Ampat should be on every snorkeler’s must-do list. There are expeditions on offer on various ships, including True North, Coral Discoverer and the Ombak Putih.

Belize Barrier Reef
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Belize Barrier Reef

The dazzling undersea of the Belize Barrier Reef is second only to the Great Barrier Reef in terms of biodiversity. You can snorkel and dive it on National Geographic Quest’s Nine-Day Belize and Guatemala expedition cruise.

Kiribati’s Southern Line Islands

An eight-day cruise aboard National Geographic Orion takes you from Tahiti to Kiribati’s Southern Line Islands. It is one of the healthiest reef systems in the world and a rare place virtually unmarred by the touch of humans, which is why it was identified by the National Geographic Pristine Seas project as one of the few places researchers can study to see how reefs and undersea ecosystems looked before humans.

The Seychelles 'Garden of Eden'
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The Seychelles 'Garden of Eden'

Hop from island to island aboard Variety Cruises’ 44-passenger Pegasus and snorkel over colorful coral reefs on this memorable eight day small-ship expedition around the Indian Ocean’s beautiful Seychelles.

Galapagos Islands
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Galapagos Islands

Snorkeling in Ecuador’s offshore Galapagos Islands is all about the marine life. You will be able to snorkel with marine iguanas, frolick with sea lions, green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins and an incredible variety of colorful reef fish. National Geographic Endeavour II, Ocean Spray and Sea Star Journey all offer week long expeditions in this nature-lovers’ paradise.

Melanesia’s Louisiade Archipelago
Photo Credit: True North

Melanesia’s Louisiade Archipelago

The Louisiade Archipelago offers some of the finest snorkeling in the South Pacific. There are thrilling in-water activities at “Fish City” on Rossell Atoll and colorful corals at Egum Atoll to explore. You can even snorkel and dive over WWII aircraft wrecks. You can experience Melanesia aboard the True North.

Australia’s Abrolhos Islands & Rowley Shoals
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Australia’s Abrolhos Islands & Rowley Shoals

Located well off the vast coast of Western Australia, the Rowley Shoals and Abrolhos Islands offer spectacular snorkeling opportunities. Rarely-visited, the reefs are particularly well-preserved with myriad sea life to view. In the Abrolhos Islands you can also snorkel over the wreck of the legendary ship Batavia. Visit the Rowley Shoals aboard True North, and the Abrolhos Islands aboard Eco Abrolhos.

Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago
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Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago

Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago offers some of Asia’s best snorkeling—along with the interesting Moken culture of the ‘Sea Gypsy’ people. Only recently opening up to tourism, many of the best snorkeling spots can be found in Lampi Marine National Park. Discover it all on an eight-day expedition aboard the Andaman Explorer.

Antarctica
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Antarctica

Antarctica might be a surprising addition to our list as we tend to think of snorkeling as a warm water activity. Luckily, on their cruises Aurora Expeditions supply specially designed Waterproof© Snorkel-Drysuits, gloves and a hood to keep the icy-cold polar waters at bay. Through crystal clear waters, snorkelers will discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at the beauty of sculpted icebergs below the water and also witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs.

Andrew Castles

As General Manager of Expedition Cruise Specialists, Andrew is of one of Australia's leading experts in small ship and expedition cruising. ...(Read More)