Smooth cruising – 8 classic boat journeys
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CRUISE SHIP IN GEIRANGERFJORD – IMAGE CREDIT PER EIDE

Travelling by boat is an excellent way to experience a country or  destination. From cruising down the mighty Amazon using local boats or lazy days spent on a houseboat on Australia’s Murray River, to boarding the free Staten Island ferry for New York city views or exploring England's network of canals by narrowboat, here are 8 classic boat journeys from around the world.

Down the ‘Big Ditch’ – PANAMA

Known locally as the 'Big Ditch' and extending 80 km from Panama City on the Pacific coast to Colon on the Caribbean Sea, the Panama Canal is truly one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. If you’ve ever fancied crossing a continent by boat, then this trip is for you. You may be surprised to discover that the canal is a system of locks, canals and lakes all linked together and even more surprising, is that it traverses a region blessed with one of the richest bio-diversities in the world. There’s a strong sense of excitement and completion when the final lock doors open and the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea is seen for the first time. This is one of the world’s great boat journeys.

The Murray River by houseboat - AUSTRALIA

Australia’s Murray River is a wonderful all-year-round getaway and there is only one way to truly experience its recuperative powers, and that’s by being on it. There’s a saying, “If you need a month’s holiday but don’t have time - then hire a  houseboat for a few days.” Spend your days relaxing on board or moving on when you get the urge. Houseboats are a floating ‘home away from home’ coming fully equipped with everything you need. They are also easy to manoeuvre and handle; in fact driving a car is more complicated. If you are prone to seasickness, it’s a pleasure to know that life on the Murray is ‘smooth sailing’ all the way.

The Amazon River by local boat - PERU / BRAZIL

The mighty Amazon River is a highway for the endless stream of humanity that populates its furthest reaches, and the lifelines of the river communities are its boats. Laden with all types of cargo, from vehicles and livestock to farm machinery and boxes of groceries, the cargo boats are the public transport system of the world’s second longest river, and provided you go deck class, you can journey from the headwaters to the ocean like the locals do. The best place to start looking for boats is down by the harbour in Iquitos, Peru. You may even get lucky and find a boat heading for the Colombian/Brazilian border leaving on the same day. The trip takes around three days on a good current. From Tabatinga in Brazil, boats take 4 - 6 days to Manaus, a city in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. From there it's a further 4-5 days to Belem, the river mouth and the Atlantic Ocean. Bring your own hammock, plenty of snacks (as boat fare can be monotonous) and mosquito repellent if you plan to do rainforest side trips.

Enjoy New York views on the Staten Island Ferry – USA

Every Big Apple visitor wants to see the Statue of Liberty, but with boat tours of New York Harbor taking up a fair bit of the travel budget, for a free alternative join commuters on the Staten Island Ferry to enjoy spectacular vistas of the Manhattan skyline and glimpses of Ellis Island, Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty. After leaving the southern tip of Manhattan's financial district, the ferry takes about 25-minutes to make the 5-mile crossing to Staten Island, where most visitors simply hop back on for the return journey to experience more city skyscraper views that are even more dramatic.

Enjoy a boat trip on the West Norwegian Fjords – NORWAY ...


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