Andean Discovery: The Galapagos Islands
Credit: Damon Corkin / Andean Discovery,

Hikes through red-footed booby colonies and the chance to see hammerhead sharks swirling under the hull make cruising the Galapagos Islands the perfect adventure for amateur naturalists. Given the option, even Darwin probably would have booked himself in one of the 48 cabins on the luxurious Santa Cruz rather than weathering storms on the Beagle. Luxury touches onboard include a spacious sun deck with a bar and a Jacuzzi, but most of the action takes place elsewhere. Cruisers on board the ship, which works these waters year-round, can kayak along volcanic coasts, snorkel with turtles and penguins, and ride a panga (a small zodiac boat) into coves thick with friendly sea lions.