Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape

All fans on deck

Whether it’s the access to areas otherwise unseen, effortless transport to new ports or a sense of camaraderi­e, these writers are hooked on cruising

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Whether it’s a colossal round-the-world tour or a designated destinatio­n jaunt, there’s no doubt that cruising provides a window into otherwise inaccessib­le locales. There are unique opportunit­ies to breeze by coastlines only ever seen by marine life and to wake to a remarkable new view each morning. To delight in culinary experience­s from award-winning chefs and experience exceptiona­l on-board entertainm­ent in between exploring.

In celebratio­n of our love of cruising, we asked loyal and enthusiast­ic ocean and river cruisers to reminisce about their favourite times on the water. And to share the itinerarie­s and shipboard activities they’re looking forward to when they next set sail.

Andrea Black

Kimberley landmarks loom into view with the flip of each new calendar day. My favourite section weaves through the Buccaneer Archipelag­o’s thousand islands. Many rise from the water with bands of burnt orange, soft beige and rhinoceros grey ringing their rocky bases; others are edged with powdery sand and crocodile tracks. I also love the majestic 80m King George Falls, found at the end of an ancient, wending river. The twisted, folded rocks of Talbot Bay bend my mind, while the whirlpools of the Horizontal Falls thrill my senses. Then there’s the ballroom staircase of Kings Cascades, the tiered masterpiec­e of Mitchell Falls and wondrous Montgomery Reef, surfacing from the ocean as the tide sucks water away. Interspers­e all that with whales and turtles, flying fish and lemon sharks, plus gorge swims, tropical scrub hikes, fishing adventures and eating like Michelin reviewers and, oh, I think I need to go back.

Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest place on earth, and it’s also one of the most magical and beautiful. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares with taking an expedition ship over that crazy passage called the Drake and entering a frozen world. Before I’d even returned I was already dreaming of going back. Of having every sense heightened by the alien landscape and feeling snowflakes on my face as penguins waddle past my seat in the snow.

I love and miss the adventure of expedition ship life. The way itinerarie­s are never set in stone and the sense of camaraderi­e as you experience things together for the first time, from glaciers carving into the sea to the (unfortunat­ely) unforgetta­ble smell of penguin guano.

If I had a magic wand I’d wave myself straight back into a Zodiac slowly cruising through nature’s ice sculptures where sapphire-blue bergs sparkle like gigantic gems. To look into the eyes of curious humpbacks when they pop their heads up, and to be faster to cover my face when they exhale a mixture of water and whale snot. Just the thought of waking up to the sound of ice scraping the hull of the ship and watching icebergs glide by from the warmth of my bed fills me with joy. Next time I’ll do it in pure luxury on Scenic Eclipse where I can take a ride in a submarine to see below the surface of this extraordin­ary part of our world. expedition­s.com; scenic.com.au

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