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November 10, 2008

Cruise adventurers experience the world's natural wonders

Traveling to some of the world's most remote destinations is a dream for virtually all adventurers.

Many of the major cruise lines are providing their guests with an array of options at sea to see many of the planet's natural treasures. From untouched landscapes and rare ecosystems to extraordinary plants, birds and animals, the cruise industry sails to parts of the world otherwise difficult to access. The following is but a sampling of some simply breathtaking experiences:

Azamara Cruises
Some 20 varieties of hummingbirds and 227 species of other birds are featured on bird watching eco tours in the wetlands along the Copalita River in Huatulco, Mexico, for Azamara guests on Panama Canal cruises.

Celebrity Cruises
Guests aboard the 92-passenger Celebrity Xpedition have the unique opportunity to visit the remote Galapagos Islands. Onboard naturalists, certified by Galapagos National Park, take travelers on hikes and walks for in-depth exploration of the island's extraordinary fauna and flora.

Crystal Cruises
Crystal offers its guests plenty of opportunities to experience the wildlife and natural environment of exotic destinations the cruise line visits. These include swimming with dolphins in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand; visiting Siberian sled dogs in Russia; riding elephants in Bali Elephant Safari Park; spotting dragons in Komodo National Park in Indonesia; or getting up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos and wombats at Caversham Wildlife Park in Australia.

Disney Cruise Line
The cruise line's private island, Castaway Cay, offers its guests the chance to swim with Southern Stingrays in a private lagoon. The experience includes the opportunity to feed, touch and interact with the animals, plus the chance to snorkel among the rays under the guidance of marine specialists.

Holland America Line
Alaska has been a favorite destination of Holland America guests for more than 60 years. Cruises to the land of the midnight sun include wildlife experiences with orca and humpback whales, puffins, dolphins, porpoises, bears, seals, sea otters and other Alaskan marine and land birds. Other activities include trekking through northern rainforests, kayaking with pods of whales and dog sledding.

Norwegian Cruise Line
In Acapulco, Mexico, local environmentalists teach NCL guests about the endangered Golfina sea turtle. Visitors view baby turtles in various stages of development, from hatchlings to the time they are ready to return to the sea. After a short walk to the shoreline, guests help release the turtles into the wild.

Princess Cruises
Princess offers guests a special Galapagos Discovery cruise tour on select South America and Panama itineraries. The program includes airfare to Galapagos and three days on the M/V Galapagos Legend, exploring the islands and their wildlife, including sea lions, iguanas, giant tortoises and the world's largest colony of waved albatross.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
On Seven Seas Mariner cruises to Alaska, Regent offers a popular nature/ecology-themed program for young guests called Ambassadors of the Environment. It is an ideal choice for families wanting to share a unique, hands-on vacation experience. The program features a range of learning opportunities about Alaska, the sea and its wildlife.

Silversea Cruises
Antarctica is the cruise explorer's final frontier, with its frosted white wilderness, natural ice sculptures towering above the landscape and unique animal encounters. The Silversea expedition ship Prince Albert II travels there on several voyages each year, providing guests with a truly remarkable experience.

Windstar Cruises
Guests aboard select Windstar voyages visit Costa Rica, known for its untouched natural beauty, jungles and variety of flora and fauna. Shore activities include a visit to the Curu Wildlife Refuge; snorkeling in Isla de Cano, a biological reserve; exploration of the rainforest by ATV; a rainforest and waterfall horseback adventure and a Congo canopy zipline excursion.

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