Paul Gauguin’s beloved Marquesas Islands still lie off the main sea routes for most ships. Not so for this Tahiti-based line, which combines low-key port calls with cargo deliveries. In 2016, guests (and supplies) will make 14-day voyages on the new 103-stateroom Aranui 5, featuring four bars, an outdoor swimming pool, and expert lecturers.
It creates itineraries for active travelers and nature enthusiasts that include snorkeling amid whale sharks in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés; kayaking alongside Alaska’s glaciers; and hiking among the Galápagos Islands’ blue-footed boobies. Sailings are limited to 90 guests and include naturalists, local brews, and fish pulled fresh from the sea.
This is one of the few lines to specialize in true tall-ship sailings, with a seasoned crew to haul the lines, mix the martinis, and serve Continental-style cuisine. Three ships—two carrying 170 guests, plus a third with 227—set sheets to the wind in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia during seven-night cruises; a fourth is on the way later this year.
Carnival’s just-launched one-ship brand focuses on voluntourism, so roll up your sleeves and get ready to work. On the ground, passengers toil alongside locals to, say, plant cacao in the Dominican Republic or help out a teacher at an elementary school in Cuba. Seven-night sailings take place aboard the new 704-passenger Adonia.