Europe, a crowded continent transformed by mankind, where extraordinary animals are found in surprising places. From brown bears in Finland, musk oxen in the Arctic Circle to Iberian lynx in Spain, there is so much to discover on a cruise to Europe.
The most commonly associated with British Columbia and Alaska, the brown bear can be found in the hidden forests of Finland raising their young. Apart from females and their cubs, brown bears tend to be solitary animals. At times they do congregate, usually to feast on fish to help sustain them through winter. Brown bears can weigh up to 320kg and reach heights of 5 to 8 feet. Despite their vast size, they’re actually extremely fast animals with the ability to move up to 30kmph. Their average life span in the wild is 25 years and during this time female bears may have several litters of up to three cubs.
Discover Finland’s quirky capital, Helsinki, on a Cunard’s Magnificent Baltic Treasures voyage. Spend 14 nights on board Queen Victoria travelling from Southampton to Germany, Denmark, Russia, Finland and Sweden.
Closely related to the mountain goat, chamois and serow, musk oxen are native to the Arctic Circle, where the sound of their battling echoes for miles. The shaggy-haired mammals are stocky with large heads, short necks and short, stout legs. Interestingly, their name derives from their musky odour and their resemblance to the ox.
Musk oxen travel in herds of up to 30. They feed on grasses, sedges and willows and in summer they store large amounts of fat, which they use to supplement the meagre forage in winter. Their rutting season lasts two months and occurs at the end of every summer, usually a single calf is born after 252 days gestation.
Scenic Ocean Cruises
Haunting the remote forests of Spain, lynx are solitary cats that are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during freezing winters.
Iberian lynx are rarely seen, choosing to hunt at night in order to avoid humans. They are exceptionally skilled hunters thanks to their great hearing (the tufts of fur on their ears are a hearing aid) and strong eyesight. They typically dine on mice, squirrels, birds and hares.
Sail from Lisbon, Portugal on Azamara’s Iberia Intensive voyage and discover all there is to know about the Western Mediterranean and Iberia. Enjoy luxurious comfort on Azamara Journey, a mid-sized ship well-suited to the needs of modern voyagers.