A view of the open seas from the deck can be satisfying enough, but certain cruises combine the romance of the waves with a chance to observe superb scenery passing by onshore.

The world's great scenic cruises, and the sights they offer, include:

*Inland passage to Alaska: Wind-swept fishing villages, snow-capped mountains and famed Glacier Bay. One to two weeks in summer from the West Coast. (Frequent departures.)

*Up the Amazon River: And into the heart of the Brazilian tropics. Two weeks in winter from Miami or Barbados. (Limited departures: Sun Line, Epirotiki Lines.)

*Through the Panama Canal: Locks, lakes and tropical views along a historic waterway. One to two weeks from fall to spring from the Caribbean or the West Coast. (Frequent.)

*The Fiords of Norway: Towering cliffs, glacial ice, tumbling waterfalls in the Land of the Midnight Sun. One to two weeks in summer from Northern European ports. (Frequent.)

*Through the Strait of Magellan: And around Tierra del Fuego, a land of intemperate weather but compelling, fiordlike views. Three weeks in midwinter (midsummer in South America) from Rio de Janeiro. (Annually: Allegro Cruises.)

*Into Antarctica: South from Punta Arenas, Chile, on the Strait of Magellan toward the icy continent of the South Pole. Sixteen days in winter. (Seven 1984-85 departures: Society Expeditions.)

*The Fiords of Chile: A little-known but majestic inland passage. Snow-topped volcanos, forested slopes and Indian fishing villages. Thirteen days from Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt, Chile, departing Feb. 11. (At present, the only scheduled service: Society Expeditions.)

*The Mediterranean: Sun, romance, history and beauty anywhere you look. Three days to two weeks from spring to fall, departing Piraeus, Greece, and other ports. (Frequent.)