Take in the glaciers in Iceland, the midnight sun in Norway or eruptions in the Mediterranean.
Midnight sun in the Lofoten Islands
Where better to soak up 24 hours of daylight than in a snug rorbuer? These red clapboard fishermen’s cabins in Svolvaer are the base for a three-night stay where the long days can be spent on eagle safaris and sea kayaking. It is preceded by a Hurtigruten coastal steamer voyage along Norway’s coastline to Alesund and into the Arctic Circle.
Details An eight-night package comprising two nights in Bergen, a three-night voyage from Bergen to Svolvaer, and three nights in a rorbuer departs on June 21, 2017. It costs from £2,390pp, including flights (01427 700115, simplysweden.co.uk)
Iceland’s glaciers and geysers
From tumbling waterfalls and spouting geysers to bubbling hot springs, groaning glaciers and roaring volcanoes, Iceland is a bountiful hotbed of geothermal activity. Visitors can bathe in mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, take helicopter tours over the volcanic landscape, race across the terrain in a 4×4 or climb through a man-made cave towards the heart of the Langjokull glacier.
Details An 18-night round-trip cruise from Dover in Kent departs on June 18, 2017, and includes calls at Newcastle, Torshavn in the Faroe Islands and four stops in Iceland, including Reykjavik. It costs from £3,299pp, including drinks with meals, gratuities and transfers to and from Dover (0800 505030, travel.saga.co.uk)
Take a front-row seat at Nature’s own firework display when passing the Aeolian island of Stromboli, north of Sicily, home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The so-called Lighthouse of the Mediterranean has been erupting almost continuously since 1932 and provides mesmerising pyrotechnic displays as lava shoots hundreds of feet out of its smoking summit, clearly visible from ships cruising by.
Details A 13-night cruise from Athens to Civitavecchia (for Rome) departs on September 25, 2017, and includes calls at Sarande in Albania, Dubrovnik and Valletta, plus a day spent cruising close to Stromboli. It costs from £1,574pp, including flights and gratuities (01858 414002, voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk)
Germany’s Rhine gorge
Nature has carved a spectacular channel through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, where the Rhine River winds through precipitous hills between Rüdesheim and Koblenz. Its appeal is enhanced by dramatic castles dotting hilltops and pretty villages strung along the riverbank. The deep waters and swirling currents take an ethereal dimension with the legend of the Lorelei siren who tempts unwary sailors to their deaths.
Details A seven-night Rhine cruise from Amsterdam to Nuremburg departs on October 6, 2017, and includes stops at Cologne, Rüdesheim and Bamberg. It costs from £1,595pp for bookings before July 31 this year and includes flights (0808 1156269, emeraldwaterways.co.uk)
Volcanoes in Indonesia
Sail into a world that time forgot aboard Tiger Blue, a traditional yacht, to see volcanoes and komodo dragons amid the remote Sunda islands of Indonesia. This voyage takes travellers to the isle of Maumere, famed for its multicoloured crater lakes and the isolated island of Komba, where the fiery Batu Tara volcano erupts into the sky. Snorkel with turtles and step ashore to meet indigenous tribes.
Details A one-week round-trip sailing from the island of Flores departs on June 27, 2017, and costs from £3,790pp including flights (020 7819 9770, ampersandtravel.com)
Parrots on the Amazon
In this colourful (and extremely noisy) spectacle, hundreds of parrots and parakeets descend to lick the clay walls along an Ecuadorean stretch of the Amazon. The cliffs are in the Yasuni National Park, where passengers can witness squawking birds swoop in for the clay, which is thought to supplement their diet of seeds and berries.
Details A seven-night Amazon sailing on the 40-passenger Anakonda includes nature walks, wildlife spotting and river swimming. It costs from £3,039pp, departing on September 30. Flights to Quito cost from £503pp (00 1 888 215 3555, rainforestcruises.com)
Solar eclipse in Mozambique
Natural spectacles are all around on this dhow sailing through the remote Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique. It coincides with an annular solar eclipse on September 1, when the Earth, Moon and Sun align, creating a ring of fire effect. Guests staying at Ibo Lodge on Ibo Island can sail away on the dhow, sleeping on deck under the stars and spending days kayaking through mangrove forests or snorkelling off deserted sandbanks. If you miss this eclipse, it’s 84 years before the next one.
Details A one-week trip that includes three nights at the Ibo Island Lodge and a four-night dhow sailing departs on August 29 and costs from £3,850pp (020 7426 9888, blacktomato.com)
Visit the White Continent during the migration of thousands of penguins and whales as the icy waters become rich with plankton and krill. November is the peak month and this expedition capitalises on the frenzied activity, with its focus on photography. It is led by Canon-accredited photographer Andy Rouse and two other photographers who will help passengers to capture the best wildlife photos as they sail through the South Shetland Islands, Weddell Sea and along the Antarctic Peninsula.
Details A 13-night package comprising a 12-night round-trip sailing from Ushuaia departs on November 17, 2017. It costs from £7,500pp, including international flights (01273 691642, naturalworldsafaris.com)
Norway’s northern lights show
Get two natural wonders for the price of one on this Arctic Circle voyage aboard the two-masted schooner Nooderlicht as she sails off the coast of northern Norway, stopping at islands and fjords 215 miles north of the Arctic Circle. By day, passengers can spot pods of humpback whales and orcas that come to feed on the vast shoals of herring that migrate here from the Barents Sea, and by night they can admire the aurora borealis in all its glory as the vivid green and pink hues swirl and dance across the night sky.
Details A one-week round trip sails from Tromso on October 30, 2016, and costs from £1,614pp including flights, shore excursions and drinks (0800 1953385, wildfoottravel.com)
Fall colours in the US
The displays of autumn foliage are an annual celebration along the east coast of North America, and this sailing follows its colourful path through the New England states and into Canada. Passing along the coasts of Rhode Island, Maine, Nova Scotia and Quebec, passengers can marvel at the explosion of colour, particularly at the Acadia National Park, which boasts one of the most scenic drives in the US.
Details A ten-night voyage from New York to Montreal departs on October 12 and costs from £3,229pp, including flights (0345 5051920, oceaniacruises.com)