The Best Of The Niche Cruise Travel

Gold Award: Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions.

Silver Award: Un-Cruise Adventures.

Bronze Award: Windstar

Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions shines with its onboard naturalists, National Geographic tie-in, and overall soft-adventure expertise. Sailing to some of the world's most remote places like Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands Lindblad's onshore experiences are unparalleled.

Seattle-based Un-Cruise Adventures shines in Alaska and along the Pacific Coast, where its fleet of small ships offers guests the ability to see the places the big ships can't go with some of the friendliest, most personable crews and expedition teams at sea.

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Windstar Cruises, on the other hand, has undergone a resurgence since emerging from nearbankruptcy in 2011. Since then, the line has heavily refitted its three sailing cruise ships and purchased three ex-Seabourn luxury yachts. Refitted to Windstar's exacting standards, the company managed a massive expansion while actually improving the quality of their onboard cuisine and service.

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