Cruise companies are meeting the demand for new experiences and adventure and activity-led touring with voyages and shore excursions that are anything but sedentary. Here is our pick of some of the most incredible cruise journeys to be made in your lifetime.

Nearly two years after Lt Col Henry Worsley died while traversing Antarctica, his ashes will be taken by Ice Tracks Expeditions to Grytviken, in South Georgia, to be buried with his hero Sir Ernest Shackleton. In 2014 Worsley was the historian on the Ice Tracks voyage honouring the Shackleton centenary. It was the last time he visited Grytviken – loved by whalers, sailors and polar explorers alike. This is a rare opportunity to join Worsley’s family, friends and admirers along with a team of naturalists and a resident photographer. The 18-day voyage will set sail from Ushuaia, on Argentina’s southern tip and sail via the Falklands to South Georgia before heading for Antarctica.

From $13,695 (£11,068) per person departing November 30 2017, excluding flights. Includes transfers, two hotel nights, zodiac excursions, presentations, use of multimedia facilities and most activities (01926 641938;

This 14-night Islands of the Indian Ocean itinerary, round-trip from Mauritius, is an exciting departure for Fred Olsen Cruise Line. It calls at a raft of bucket-list destinations including the dreamy white beaches of Praslin in the Seychelles, wildlife-rich Madagascar (Hell-Ville and Nosy Be) and the Comoros archipelago (Mamoudzou and Mayotte). You will also get to see dramatic and mountainous Réunion. Afternoon tea on board will never seem the same again after lunch with the lemurs. There are overnights in Mauritius and on Mahé in the Seychelles.

From £1,699 per person excluding flights. Departs November 29 2017 (0845 591 4926;

Green-fingered folk will find the various itineraries offered by Botanica World Discoveries irresistible.

The company charters ocean and river ships all over the world, creating itineraries with a strong focus on gardens, but not ignoring history, culture and cuisine. An autumnal Mansions and Gardens voyage down the eastern seaboard of Canada and the US offers a chance to see the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows synonymous with Fall and takes in many botanical gardens and other horticultural treasures along the way.

The 18-night trip – with 14 nights on the intimate MV Grand Mariner – starts in Montreal and uses various waterways en route to New York, where an extended stay allows plenty of sightseeing.

From £11,240 per person departing October 8 2018 (0800 046 3377;