10 sights that are best seen from a cruise ship - Rest Less (2024)

Table of Contents
1. Milford Sound, New Zealand South Pacific Luxury Cruise - Papeete (Tahiti) to Auckland on Mar 14, 2026* The Wonders of Australia with New Zealand add-on* New Zealand Uncovered* 2. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA Alaska Luxury Cruise - Seward to Vancouver on Jun 18, 2025* Grand Alaskan Adventure with Alaska Cruise* Majestic Alaska* 3. Panama Canal, Panama Caribbean & Panama Canal Luxury Cruise - Miami to Panama City on Jan 03, 2026* Panama & Costa Rica Experience: Solo Travellers Tour* 4. The islands of the Maldives Maldives Holidays* Kandima Maldives Hotel* Indian Ocean Paradise* 5. Norwegian Fjords Northern Europe Luxury Cruise - Amsterdam (Ijmuiden) to Copenhagen on Jun 09, 2025* Walking the Norwegian Fjords* Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords* 6. Chilean Patagonia South America Luxury Cruise - Rio de Janeiro to Santiago (San Antonio) on Jan 25, 2025* Chile - The Atacama to Patagonia* Splendours of Chile* From£2,999 £5,459 – From Machu Picchu to Iguazu* > From £1,299pp £2,369 – Ancient Ruins, Paros and Santorini* > From £1,799 £3,279 – Malaysia and Borneo Adventure* > 7. Dalmatian Coastline, Croatia Sail Three Seas* Mediterranean Luxury Cruise - Venice (Fusina) to Rome (Civitavecchia) on Apr 28, 2025* Dubrovnik Coast & Islands* 8. Sydney Opera House, Australia Australia & New Zealand Luxury Cruise - Sydney to Bali (Benoa) on Mar 27, 2025* Australian Highlights* Highlights of Australia* 9. Amalfi Coast, Italy Highlights Of The Mediterranean* Mediterranean Luxury Cruise - Barcelona to Istanbul on Oct 01, 2025* Venice, Slovenia, Croatia & Montenegro* 10. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping* Peru & Galápagos Odyssey* Ultimate South America with Galapagos Cruise* Final thoughts… Looking to book your next getaway? FAQs

While some of the world’s most awe-inspiring sites are impressive from land, some look even better from the sea. One of the perks of a cruise is that you can easily visit some of the most remote and inhospitable places in the world. Drift past gleaming glaciers in Alaska, marvel at the soaring Chilean fjords, and spot unique wildlife in the Galapagos Islands – all from the comfort of a cruise ship.

If the idea of a cruise sounds tempting, you might wonder which destinations are best visited from the water. So, to get you inspired, we’ve compiled a list of the sights that are most impressive when approached by sea.

Here are 10 sights that are best seen from a cruise ship.

1. Milford Sound, New Zealand

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New Zealand is regularly hailed as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. But of all its stunning destinations, Milford Sound is arguably the most spectacular. Located in the southwestern tip of the South Island, the Fiordland region is home to lush rainforests, hanging valleys, thundering waterfalls, towering fjords, and huge, mirror-like lakes. Rudyard Kipling called Milford Sound the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, and, as you cruise these waters, you can’t help but agree.

Carved by glaciers in the Ice Age, these ancient flooded valleys are virtually untouched by civilisation. The incredible scenery is best viewed from the water and, as you sit on your balcony admiring the views – perhaps with a glass of local New Zealand wine in hand – it’s impossible not to feel moved. There’s also fascinating marine life here. You can spot dolphins leaping through the water, penguins and fur seals basking in the sun, and some of the world’s rarest birds swooping through the sky.

2. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA

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With its soaring, snow-capped mountains, untouched green landscape, pristine blue waters, and vast, glittering glaciers, Alaska is one of the best places in the world for a cruise. Glacier Bay National Park, in particular, is best seen from the water – and not just because it’s so huge. Covering an incredible 3.3 million acres, Glacier Bay boasts temperate rainforests, deep fjords, and rugged peaks – plus, as the name suggests, some of the most impressive glaciers in the world.

Just 200 years ago, much of this landscape was covered by a 20-mile-wide glacier, and the park still has eight tidewater glaciers (astonishing twelve-storey walls of blue-and-white ice!). Over 50 named glaciers are found here, and from a cruise ship, you’ll feel as though you can reach out and touch them. Seeing huge blocks of ice creak and groan, break off, and crash into the sea is an unforgettable experience. You have a good chance of spotting whales, seals, otters, and even black bears too.

3. Panama Canal, Panama

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While most of the sights best seen from a cruise ship are natural, there are exceptions. The man-made Panama Canal is one of the world’s greatest marvels, and a staggering feat of human engineering. Stretching 50 miles from Panama City to Colón, the canal connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This means that ships no longer have to travel all the way around Cape Horn in South America, saving them around 8,000 nautical miles.

But the only way to truly appreciate the brilliance of the Panama Canal, and understand why it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, is to pass through it. Standing on deck as you wait for these enormous metal locks to open is exhilarating, and travelling through these incomprehensible man-made waterways is once-in-a-lifetime experience. This part of the world also boasts lush rainforests, idyllic white sand beaches, and incredible biodiversity, so a cruise here is always extraordinary.

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4. The islands of the Maldives

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Of all the countries in the world, few places evoke paradise quite like the Maldives. Famous for their crystalline turquoise waters and tiny, palm-fringed islands, this spectacular archipelago is an absolute dream to cruise through. Located southwest of Sri Lanka and India, the Maldives enjoys warm, sunny weather year-round – and whether you’re dreaming of an action-packed adventure or a lazy beach holiday, a cruise ticks both boxes.

A Maldives cruise allows you to island hop, ensuring you see the best sights without stress. Cruise ships offer excursions to remote sandbanks, so if you want to feel like an intrepid explorer, you can. The turquoise waters also teem with manta rays and whale sharks, and there are bioluminescent beaches too, so if you’re looking for magical swimming experiences, you’re in the right place.

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5. Norwegian Fjords

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Just like New Zealand, Norway is often cited as one of the world’s most beautiful countries – perhaps because of its breathtaking fjords. These dramatic inlets run along the coastline and are vast, rugged, serene – and best viewed from the water. The remote wilderness of this sparsely populated country makes it ideal for exploring by ship…and, as a bonus, you may catch a glimpse of the northern lights as you cruise.

Of all the fjords, Geirangerfjord is the most remarkable. At 900 feet deep, with 2,000-foot cliffs either side, the sheer scale and beauty of this glacier-carved fjord might leave you speechless. As you cruise, you’ll also pass roaring waterfalls, huge granite rock faces, colourful fishing villages, and snow-capped mountains. Most cruise lines offer plenty of immersive offshore excursions too, allowing you to dive deep into Viking history, and learn more about Norwegian culture.

6. Chilean Patagonia

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If you’re looking to get away from it all – or to be awed by the beauty of nature – then Chilean Patagonia might be the ideal cruise destination for you. Stretching for over 1,000 miles from north to south, this vast region at the tip of South America is one of the world’s most raw and wildly beautiful. Home to wide open grasslands, silent turquoise lakes, rugged granite peaks, and ancient forests, the landscape here is as otherworldly as it is diverse.

Because it’s so huge and remote, a cruise gives you the best chance of seeing as much of Patagonia as you can. Cruising along these chilly waters, you can admire vast walls of blue ice almost 200 feet high, then watch as chunks calve off and become indigo-tinged icebergs. Torres del Paine National Park is cited as one of the world’s most beautiful places, and most cruises take you to Punta Arenas, the gateway to the park, where you can explore its awesome majesty in your own way.

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7. Dalmatian Coastline, Croatia

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With tumbling waterfalls, dreamy forests, and towering mountains, Croatia is famously beautiful – but it’s arguably the country’s coastline that’s most impressive. The sapphire waters are speckled with tiny islands, and the dramatic limestone coast is lined with medieval fishing villages and ancient walled towns. While a cruise might conjure up images of large, sleek ships, you can also cruise in smaller boats – and a yacht is the perfect way to explore the dazzling Dalmatian coastline.

Exploring in a smaller vessel means you can easily weave in and out of these tiny islands – and leap into the crystalline waters whenever the mood strikes. Discover the beautiful seascapes of the Peninsula Pelješac, then soak up the local culture in historic Split and Dubrovnik. Sail past picturesque coves and enchanting archipelagos, take photos of striking red-tiled roofs above the shimmering Adriatic, and enjoy the island charm of Hvar and Mljet.

8. Sydney Opera House, Australia

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Another man-made structure makes the list! Looking out onto Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most recognisable buildings. Widely regarded as a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture, its billowing sails are an iconic part of the Sydney skyline. The building was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 and, on a cruise, you can enjoy unrivalled views of this distinctive structure, from an angle most people only see in photos.

But a cruise will also take you past Harbour Bridge which, like the Opera House, has become an iconic image of Sydney, and Australia itself. Cruising under the world’s widest long-span bridge is an unforgettable experience – but you’ll drift past plenty of natural wonders too. Fans of diving can’t pass up the chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef, and the shore excursions take you to unusually diverse landscapes – from lush rainforests to coastal dunes and misty mountains.

9. Amalfi Coast, Italy

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The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. This stretch of coastline is packed with pastel-coloured towns like Positano, Sorrento, and Amaldi, and their cinematic beauty will leave you breathless. The views from land are lovely, but the best views are surely from the water. From the deck of your ship, you can marvel as colourful houses cling precipitously to craggy cliffs, while the glittering Mediterranean crashes beneath them.

But it isn’t just the scenery the Amalfi Coast is so celebrated for. The history and culture are fascinating and, on a cruise, the offshore excursions allow you to explore in your own way. Admire the 12th-century Capuchin monastery at Amalfi, browse Positano’s classy boutiques for souvenirs, and make the most of the mouthwatering Italian cuisine. From fresh seafood and pasta to refreshing gelato and indulgent pastries, food just tastes better here!

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10. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

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If you’re fascinated by nature and wildlife, there’s a good chance the Galápagos Islands will be on your travel wishlist. Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, this volcanic archipelago is so unique it led Charles Darwin to form his theory of natural selection. Home to creatures found nowhere else on earth, the remoteness of these islands make them an ideal place for a cruise. You can hop from island to island, and the sights you see along the way will stay with you forever.

As you cruise, you’ll have ample opportunity to admire the islands’ spectacular biodiversity, and offshore excursions allow you to explore the landscape on foot; walk through lunar-like lava fields, rocky volcanic craters, and dense, mist-shrouded forests. Keep your eyes peeled for tortoises, penguins, seals, iguanas, pelicans, and flamingos. And, if you fancy a dip, you can swim in the sea, then dry off on the volcanic sand beaches, which come in startling shades of green and red.

Final thoughts…

There are many reasons why cruises make such exceptional holidays. Aside from allowing you to see much more than you would on a traditional holiday, and travel far greater distances, they also remove all the stress from travel.

You don’t need to worry about missing connecting flights, booking the right hotel, or even putting together an itinerary – because everything is done for you.

You can get up close to some of nature’s most beautiful sights and attractions, from calving icebergs in a frozen wilderness to coastal towns in the balmy Mediterranean. And because cruises allow you to see destinations in a different way, they might help you gain a new perspective on our wonderful world too.

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Have you been on a cruise? Are you tempted to see any of the sights above from the water? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences in the comments below.

Selene Nelson

Selene Nelson is an author, freelance journalist, and lifestyle writer for Rest Less. After graduating from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature, Selene began contributing to many major newspapers and websites, and has written for the BBC, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Town & Country, and HuffPost. Her specialist subjects include food, travel, and health, though she enjoys writing about a wide range of topics (e.g. her two books are about veganism and psychopathy, respectively!). She enjoys cooking (particularly pasta and Asian noodle soups), reading, travelling, hiking, attempting to keep fit, and watching animal videos on YouTube.

* Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.

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10 sights that are best seen from a cruise ship - Rest Less (2024)


Where do you feel less on a cruise ship? ›

The middle of the ship and not too high is your safest bet. A mid-ship stateroom with a balcony for quick access to fresh air may be ideal. If not available, consider a room that is either lower or closer to the back, as the front of the ship tends to experience the most movement.

Where on a cruise ship is less rocking? ›

To reduce motion sickness, choose a stateroom in the middle of the ship on a lower deck. You will feel any sway of the ship less in this section. Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you're worried about seasickness on a cruise, book a stateroom with a window or a veranda.

What is the best view on a cruise ship? ›

For passengers looking to enjoy views, especially the scenery in the wake of a ship, we recommend higher decks and the back of the vessel. The higher you pick, the farther you'll see. If you're after views, the best room on a cruise ship will be a balcony cabin at the ship's rear end.

What part of a cruise ship is best to sleep? ›

Create a dark and quiet environment

Reserve a cabin in a quiet area of the ship. For example, avoid cabins that are directly above the gym, near childcare areas, etc. Choose an interior cabin if maximum darkness is important. Bring a sleep mask and earplugs.

Which deck to avoid on a cruise? ›

Look for options for mid-ship, which is closer to the ship's interiors. The rocking motion of the ship reduces in these areas. The rougher the waves, the choppier the sea gets, and the ship will bob more. If you feel seasick, it is better to steer away from any upper deck or cabins in the aft (rear) of the ship.

What is the riskiest part of a cruise ship? ›

The 5 Most Dangerous Parts of a Ship for Passengers
  • Watertight Doors. Never try to outrun a closing watertight door. ...
  • Wet/Slippery Surfaces. ...
  • Ferries & Lifeboats. ...
  • Dining Facilities & Fast-Spreading Illnesses. ...
  • Balconies. ...
  • Talking to a Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorney.
Feb 28, 2018

What is the quietest place on a cruise ship? ›

You see, the quietest part of a cruise ship is often found near the bridge, where the navigation officers work their magic. The reason for this eerie quietness lies in the fact that this area is usually situated at the front of the ship, away from the noisy engines and propellers at the rear.

What part of a cruise ship moves the least? ›

Going back to the see-saw metaphor, imagine the middle of the it. Whilst the seats go up and down, the middle never actually moves. It's the same on a cruise ship. As it cuts through the waves, the front or end will move up and down but the middle of the ship (mid-ships) will stay relatively stable.

What is the calmest part of a cruise ship? ›

The lower and more central you are in a ship, the less roll and sway you will feel. Even if you choose a balcony room, choose a low level and a room closest to the ship's center. The higher decks and cabins at the front (forward) or back (aft) of the ship will rock and roll the most.

What is the best floor to be on for a cruise? ›

On most cruise ships, the most luxurious accommodation is on the upper decks. Here, you'll find a selection of elegant suites, with generous outdoor space, separate living areas, and amenities ranging from all-inclusive drinks to the service of a concierge.

What's the nicest room on a cruise ship? ›

An ocean view room is one of the best rooms on a cruise ship, no matter where on the ship it is located. If you want some sunlight as well as a glimpse of the ocean, this is a great option that costs less than rooms with a balcony but still provides you with a wonderful cruising experience.

What is the noisiest part of a cruise ship? ›

And don't forget the cruise ship engine. While humming noises put some to sleep, the loud buzz of machinery might not exactly be restful to others, making these some of the worst cabins on a cruise ship. Passengers on the lowest deck are most likely to hear engine or even anchor sounds.

Why should you check under your bed on a cruise ship? ›

Many cabins have all sorts of hidden storage. This cabin actually doesn't have that much, but often you might find stuff high up. Normally, underneath the bed, is your suitcase haven – make use of it. That means you don't have a stuffing up in the cupboards or somewhere in the room.

Where are the best and worst cabins on a cruise ship? ›

Log in .
  • Ocean-level cabins.
  • Studio rooms.
  • Port or starboard staterooms.
  • Cabins close to popular attractions.
  • Rooms by elevators.
  • Staterooms directly above or below busy areas.
Jan 30, 2024

Is it worth it to prepay gratuities on a cruise? ›

Depending on the cruise line and type of room, you should expect a daily charge of $16 to $23 for gratuities. There are a couple of good reasons why you might want to prepay, including getting to spend less during your trip and locking in the current rate.

Where is the calmest place on a cruise ship? ›

The best place to book a cabin on a cruise if you get seasick is on the lower decks and towards the middle of the ship. Lower decks experience less movement than the higher decks, and the middle of the ship experiences less movement than the front or back.

How do you stop feeling like you're on a cruise ship? ›

When Sea Legs Wobble on Land
  1. Keep moving and taking walks or car rides to provide the missing sensation of movement while you readjust.
  2. Stay hydrated and get enough sleep.
  3. Use over-the-counter motion sickness medications or talk to your doctor about other medications that might help.

Do you feel more movement at the top or bottom of a cruise ship? ›

There's an old adage in cruising; the more you pay, the more you sway. It relates to the fact that cruise lines will always charge the most for cabins at the top of the ship (as these obviously have the best views), however the higher you are up the ship the more you'll feel the movement.

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