Cruise ships can take you all over the world, but it’s the smaller vessels that have the flexibility to really get you into a destination where you can explore areas that are either rarely visited or completely unknown.

It’s one of the many joys of small ship cruising, that these seemingly unappealing and less exciting cruise vessels actually have the ability bring you more on-land adventure.

So after you’ve ticked off major cities and popular ports, be sure to check out the Middle of the World, a place where death is illegal or one of these other places you didn’t know that you could cruise:

 

CRUISE TO… A PLACE WHERE IT’S ILLEGAL TO DIE

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Image: Vince Gx/Unsplash

Laws can, at times, be quite absurd, but this one tops them all.

In the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen, locals and tourists are forbidden from dying.

Yep! It’s illegal to die.

The law was introduced in the 1950s when some 2,000 locals realised their deceased weren’t decomposing in the cemetery because the land is too cold.

According to reports, the earth is so cold that scientists in the last 90s were able to retreive live samples of the flu from bodies that had died from the illness in 1918.

Travellers can learn all about the land’s unique tempreture and undead situation on Hurtigruten’s seven-day Norway and Spitsbergen – The Route of Polar Pioneers trip. Cruisers will also see the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, meet fishermen in Magerøya and more.

 

CRUISE TO… A PLACE WHERE THERE’S NO CARS & IT’S BYO RUM

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Image: Pete Niesen/Hurtigruten

Central America is full of architectural and cultural treasures, but did you know it’s also home to a set of islands that have never seen a car or motorbike?

Can you hear it? The sound of peaceful silence with no motors or unnecessary honking.

The two islands are called the Corn Islands and while they technically belong to Nicaragua, they’re located 70km off the country’s Caribbean coast, which is far enough to make it a isolated and unique escape. They’re also incredible difficult to get to, unless you’re cruising in on Hurtigruten’s 15-day Exploration of the Caribbean’s Caves, Coves and Reefs – Northbound.

Aside from being completely car and motorbike free, the islands only operate with cash (sorry, no ATMs) and have a BYO rum policy, unless you’re willing to fork over a hefty amount of cash for the island’s limited product.

The Corn Islands are also worth visiting to see their colourful wooden hours and experience a beach barbecue with freshly caught lobster on the menu.

 

CRUISE TO… SEE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF EUROPE

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Image: Hurtigruten

When one thinks of indigenous tribes, they tend to conjur up images of Australia’s indigenous people, the America’s Red Indians and the South Pacific’s Polynesian cultures.

But did you know the Old Continent (Europe) is also home to a number of indigenous tribes?

Among them are the Sami people, who are native to northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and far north of Russia. Their culture dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries when they were reindeer hunters. They were later colonised by Norwegian farmers and being herder of reindeer.

Despite modern civilisation developing around them, many Sami people continue to practise their old traditions, which travellers can see and experience when they book a cruise northern Norway.

Itineraries that include a meet and greet with this indigenous group include Hurigruten’s 12-day Classic Roundtrip Voyage, which calls at Øksfjord and Berlevåg where Sami people can be seen grazing reindeer and living in their small camps.

 

CRUISE TO… THE MIDDLE OF THE WORLD

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Okay, so technically you’re not cruising directly to the Middle of the World but you can book a cruise that includes flights to Quito and then take a quick 38-minute drive out to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo aka the Middle of the Earth.

No, seriously. The Middle of the Earth is in Ecuador.

How do we know this is so? Well, it’s the only place on the planet where you can make an egg stand straight without tipping over.

Believe it!

Here’s a Youtube video that proves it.

Ecuador’s capital features on a number of cruise itineraries, including Hurigruten’s 16-day Inca Mysteries and Galápagos Islands itinerary, which also features calls in some of South America’s most important archaeoligical sites such as the Galapagos Islands and Panama’s Bocas del Toro (one of Panama’s most visited eco-tourism destinations).

The cruise also includes a call to the small port of Salaverry in Peru, which is the starting point to the ancient Chimu Kingdom (700-1400 A.D.).

 

CRUISE TO… THE WORLD’S NORTHERNMOST INHABITED AREA

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Image: Thomas Lipke/Unsplash

From the Northern Lights to 24-hour day summers, Svalbard – located between Norway and the North Pole – is one of the most unique places in the world to visit.

As well as being on the northernmost inhabited areas, the destination offers one-of-a-kind views of remote terrain glaciers along with sights of gorgeous wildlife including polar bear, reindeer and Arctic foxes.

The region can be ticked off on Hurtigruten’s 10-day Circumnavigating Svalbard – In the Realm of the Polar Bear, during which travellers will also see islands, fjords and beaches in North West Spitsbergen, as well as the site of a famous 17th-century battle between whalers in Sorgfjorden.

 

What’s the most unique spot you’ve cruised to?