While you can’t visit the Alps, Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park by cruise ship, many of the world’s most intriguing places are best explored by waterborne conveyance. The perfection of a cruise is that when you travel by ship you can be as enriched and fulfilled as you desire, or pursue each day at a snail’s pace.

Let your imagination wander and cast your net on a few spectacular places you probably never thought of cruising to, but should. These are at the top of my list!

Galapagos. A cluster of islands so isolated that many of its creatures can be found nowhere else on earth, this is where Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was conceived. From the giant tortoises that bear the Galapagos name, to the marine iguanas and “Darwin” finches, the Galapagos Islands afford visitors the chance to observe a living laboratory of adaptation. Travel in comfort aboard Celebrity Xpeditions to this cluster of remarkable islands.

The Panama Canal. While the full Panama Canal transit is between Florida and Mexico, I prefer the partial transit sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, with more time to explore Costa Rica and the jungles of Panama plus Caribbean ports, Cartagena, Columbia and Grand Cayman. Both Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean offer frequent sailings.

Arabian Peninsula and Bahrain. Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas sails round-trip from Dubai with port calls in Fujairah, U.A.E.; Muscat, Oman; Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Sea of Cortez. Lindblad Expeditions has 30 years of experience exploring Baja California so you’re almost guaranteed to have an up close and personal encounter with gray whales, dolphins and other aquatic life. Join naturalists and experts aboard the 62-passenger ship for a once in a lifetime voyage.

The Danube River. Uniworld Cruises makes visiting Germany a pampered experience. Sail from Nuremberg on Main/Danube Canal Transit visiting Regensburg, Deggendorf, Passau, plus Melk, Austria and Vienna, Austria

Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires. Visit the two greatest cities in South America aboard Holland America’s Veendam with port calls in the Brazilian ports of Buzios, Ilha Grande, Santos (Sao Paulo) plus Montevideo, Uruguay.

Iceland,Greenland, Scotland – Sail between New York and Dover, U.K., stopping in some of the least known ports in the world. Greenland is renowned for its beautiful fjords and scenic towns while Iceland’s rugged coast, waterfalls and small villages is a memorable stop.

South of France by riverboat. Sail along France’s scenic Saône and Rhône Rivers with Viking River Cruises past some of the most beautiful vistas the French countryside has to offer while exploring Burgundy and the lavender fields of Provence. Visit Gallo-Roman ruins in both Vienne and Arles; walk the cobbled streets of Arles and visit the historic Papal Palace in Avignon,

Caribbean aboard a (almost) private yacht. Sea Dream Yacht Club’s 112-passenger small cruise ships sail to the Caribbean’s most exclusive ports of call including St. John St. John, U.S.V.I.; Saba; Gustavia, St. Barts; Anguilla;Virgin Gorda, B.V.I and Jost Van Dyke, B.V.I as you sample extraordinary cuisine, lovely amenities and a pampered voyage normally only available to owners of private yachts.

Tahiti & South Pacific. Yes you can cruise through the Hawaiian Islands but why not aim for the ultimate, a Paul Gauguin cruise in Tahiti or the South Pacific. On a one-week cruise you’ll visit Raiatea, French Polynesia; Taha’A, Society Islands; Bora Bora, French Polynesia and Moorea, French Polynesia.