Courtesy of Ralph Lee Hopkins

Baja California/Sea of Cortez

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"The world's aquarium" is what Jacques Cousteau called the protected azure waters of the Sea of Cortés. Cruisers who venture here get to mingle with marine life like the California gray whales that come to Baja to breed. But the dramatic desert-meets-sea scenery is its own calling card, with views ranging from giant cacti and craggy lava-shaped cliffs to mangroves and pristine beaches.

Season: December–March.

Sample Itinerary: 7-day Among the Great Whales on the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird, from La Paz/San Carlos. From $5,240 per person, based on double occupancy.

World's Most Scenic Cruises

Baja California/Sea of Cortez

"The world's aquarium" is what Jacques Cousteau called the protected azure waters of the Sea of Cortés. Cruisers who venture here get to mingle with marine life like the California gray whales that come to Baja to breed. But the dramatic desert-meets-sea scenery is its own calling card, with views ranging from giant cacti and craggy lava-shaped cliffs to mangroves and pristine beaches.

Season: December–March.

Sample Itinerary: 7-day Among the Great Whales on the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird, from La Paz/San Carlos. From $5,240 per person, based on double occupancy.

Courtesy of Ralph Lee Hopkins

World's Most Scenic Cruises

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