Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Thu January 21 2016

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  • Amber Nolan | January 21, 2016 1:00 AM ET

    Unplug From Modern Gadgetry With These 8 Cruises

    Unplug From Modern Gadgetry With These 8 Cruises

    PHOTO: Australis cruise ship off Patagonia. (photo courtesy of Brazil Nuts)

    In the modern age, many travelers find themselves checking office e-mail from hotel Internet networks, or via Wi-Fi provided on major cruise lines. A true vacation means leaving it all behind, and it can be difficult to do as communication methods become easier and more affordable. These eight cruises offer a way to “unplug” from the daily grind and often include exotic, far-flung itineraries.

    Patagonia with Australis

    Explore the remote regions of Patagonia on an expedition cruise with Australis and witness glaciers, Magellanic penguins, and surreal scenery in a land where time takes on a very different meaning. On a seven-night cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina, guests can visit the bridge, attend informational lectures, join in late-night karaoke, and just watch the scenery float by en route to Cape Horn, the “end of the Earth.” There is very little communication available and no Internet or phone access, so at times you may not remember that the modern world exists. Cruises are offered from September through April.

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    Alaskan Marine Highway

    The ferry service that connects remote parts of Alaska is a necessity for the state’s residents, but tourists hopping aboard may find it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the digital world found on many cruise lines. Book a cabin or grab a spot in the solarium (or anywhere you can fit a pillow and blanket) and watch the world float by. Many ferry vessels traverse the Inside Passage with similar stops found on cruise ship itineraries, while other routes go deep into this untouched last frontier. Phones won’t work and Internet is non-existent, so soak in the moment.

    Island Windjammers Caribbean Cruises

    You don’t have to go to the ends of the Earth to get away from the modern world — Island Windjammers has six- to 12-night cruises throughout the Caribbean on tall sailing ships. The casual, “barefoot” cruising atmosphere encourages people to interact, help raise the sails or relax on peaceful islands. While phone service may work (depending on carrier) no Internet is offered and they plan on keeping it that way. The largest of the three vessels, Vela, can accommodate 26 guests and will be sailing the French West Indies and Virgin Islands this winter and spring. 

    Ecoventura’s Galapagos Island Cruises

    For more than 20 years, Ecoventura, a family-owned tour company, has been traveling to the Galapagos Islands. Itineraries span seven nights with opportunities to see the famous Galapagos tortoises, finches, blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants and iguanas. Guests can snorkel in the ocean and keep an eye out for sea lions, dolphins, whales and manta rays. There’s no Internet or phone service, and with around 20 passengers per departure, travelers will get to know one another.

    Pacific Catalyst in Mexico

    The most recent addition to the Pacific Catalyst fleet is the Westward, an 86-foot wooden vessel built in 1924 that is crewed by just four people. During the cooler months, Westward sails the Sea of Cortez searching for whales, frigate birds, sea lions and other wildlife. On shore, guests can go kayaking, hiking and beachcombing. Cabins consist of traditional bunks, time onboard is spent mingling or watching the scenery and the boat is still powered by her original engine (which is switched off in the evenings while in anchor). Cell phones may get service in some areas, but there is no Internet access onboard.

    Scotland with Hebrides Cruises

    A newcomer to cruising (the company started offering sailings in 2014), Hebrides Cruises traverses remote areas along the western coast of Scotland on the Elizabeth G, an intimate ship built in 1963. With just six cabins, guests can share an adventure together as they witness wildlife and the natural beauty of the Hebrides Islands on six-night voyages. Phone service only works an estimated 20 percent of the time, and you can forget about the Internet for a while.

    RELATED: Exploring The World's Remote Regions: One on One With Bill Roberson, INCA

    Greenland with Quark Expeditions

    Quark Expeditions has specialized in the polar regions for more than 25 years, and while all of the company’s ships have Internet capabilities, due to the remote areas they visit, service is intermittent (and an additional charge). Who needs Internet when they can soak in the beauty of the Northern Lights or traverse the fjord system of Eastern Greenland? The 10-day Arctic Express itinerary has two embarkation dates in September on the Ocean Nova, with departure flights from Reykjavik, Iceland.

    Solar Eclipse Cruise in Indonesia

    Experience Indonesia on a sailing ship with Wildland Adventures and witness the solar eclipse in the Maluku Island group, also called the Spice Islands. Embarking this March from Ternate on a special 12-night voyage, the Ombak Putih will sail to stunning islands and hidden coves while stopping at small villages — with the much-anticipated eclipse on the cruise schedule as well. The vessel also offers voyages from Bali from May through September on similar-style cruises that lack the burden of modern communications. 


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Amber Nolan Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

Amber Nolan Amber Nolan loves to be on the water, and although she enjoys the fun and excitement of larger cruise ships, she prefers setting sail on smaller vessels to unique destinations. Originally from western New York, this restless traveler has a knack for finding creative ways to travel and befriending interesting characters along the way. On her most recent adventure, she hitchhiked on private aircraft across the United States. She previously served as the cruise editor at Sherman’s Travel but her work can also be found on and USA Today Travel. She current resides in South Florida.
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