Dreaming of the exotic

When it comes to cruises, European destinations are immensely popular with Brits, thanks to their proximity and the sheer variety on offer. However, never feel as though you are limited to the likes of Italy, Greece and the Rhine. While these destinations have their merit, there is no reason why you shouldn't jet off to experience something completely otherworldly. 

Visiting a culture that is totally alien to one's own is a rare and thrilling treat – a journey to be treasured. Everything from viewing the touristic attractions to going into a shop and buying chewing gum becomes an adventure. Travelling in luxurious surroundings aboard a small cruise vessel is the perfect way of experiencing a completely foreign culture. With less time spent at sea and more spent exploring these exotic surroundings, there really is no downside. If you're seeking inspiration, why not consider one of the destinations below?

Thailand

Fusing the modern with the traditional, Thailand offers some of the most diverse experiences you could ever hope to achieve on a cruise holiday. After setting out from Phuket in your cabin on board the fully-crewed sailing catamaran – perfect for exploring the nooks and crannies of the coastline – you'll have to chance to snorkel above the vibrant life of Koh Kai's coral reef, enjoy a sunbathing opportunity at Phi Phi Leh's Maya Bay and swim in an aquarium on Koh Dam. And that's just the highlights of the first four days.

Seychelles

Hopping from island to island of the Seychelles aboard a luxurious 25-cabin mega-yacht, you'll witness a paradise just like the one you're envisaging in your head right now. Azure blue waters lapping gently at perfect white beaches. A crop of palm trees and a forest bursting with food, nuts and all manner of creature. And above all, a completely relaxed way of life that you're more than welcome to take part in.

West Africa

It has been said that it's impossible to visit West Africa for a relaxing holiday, such is the culture shock that awaits you. However, by taking a trip aboard a 25-cabin mega-yacht, you can experience the luxury of a magnificent holiday while also enjoying the otherworldly charms of this extraordinary destination. From the smell of the spices to the stunning beaches, you'll be entranced.

The Bahamas

Sporting 29 islands, 661 cays and around 2,400 islets, the Bahamas is a dream for the small cruise passenger. There is much to see from the deck of your catamaran as you bound from Marsh Harbour to Great Guana Cay, Man o' War and Hope Town before returning via Abaco and Matt Lowes Cay. If the names sound exotic, that's nothing compared to how these places actually look, with their sparkling seascapes and unique rocky crags – topped, of course, by a gorgeous covering of trees.

Maldives

Thriving coral reefs. Magnificent palm trees. Dolphins frolicking in the shallows. Such are the images that come to mind whenever someone mentions the Maldives, which sport some of the most gorgeous coastlines on the planet. The catamaran is your choice of vehicle here – you'll have the opportunity to truly explore all of the little islets that make up this holiday destination, thanks to the vessel's shallower drafts.

Tahiti

The Pacific's Polynesian islands are sure to rank as one of the most popular fixtures when it comes to bucket lists throughout the world. Featuring the opportunity to visit Bora Bora, Tuamotu and Société among others, this is a chance to go somewhere completely unique, with experiences including swimming with stingrays and various sharks, guided tours of vanilla plantations and kayak rides. A destination for the adventurous, and one that is best undertaken aboard a fully-crewed catamaran.