If you consider making your very first cruise, think about the many conveniences traveling by cruise ship has, no matter what your itinerary will be. A cruise vacation offers great value as many things are included, from accommodation, food to entertainment. The best part is that even if you’re visiting multiple destinations, you need to unpack only once. Some places in the world are particularly good to visit by ship. Sometimes it’s the complicated logistics in a land that make traveling by water an easier alternative, or it can be a matter of costs in places where hotel and food prices are astronomical.
Look at our pick for the six best places to go on a cruise.
Cruise ships bring all year around tourists to probably the most popular destination in the cruise world, the Caribbean. A Caribbean cruise offers a great advantage; you can visit numerous islands without having to worry about airline tickets, visas, hotel bookings and transfers. Opt for the Eastern Caribbean along the beautiful islands of Antigua, Barbados, Martinique and St Kitts or the Western route that includes the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Mexico amongst others. Whatever your choice is, there is an ample number of beautiful beaches to discover and you can sign up for exciting activities like scuba diving or swimming with dolphins. For a unique (and more exclusive) experience book a cruise that includes a day on a private island or choose a small luxury sailing cruise throughout the Caribbean isles.
A cruise in the Mediterranean Sea is a wonderful way to visit the many beautiful areas of Southern Europe. You will be astonished by its natural beauty and the cultural treasures that are well worth a visit. From gorgeous Italy to the lively coasts of Spain and the vast Greek islands, Mediterranean cruises cover the best mix of sun, relaxation, and culture. The Eastern Mediterranean itineraries include Turkey and the Greek islands of Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete. The cruises covering the western part of Europe hit destinations such as Venice, Rome, and Sicily in Italy, and even the exclusive Monte Carlo and St. Tropez. If your cruise leaves from one of the last two towns on the French Riviera, you will be able to soak up the luxurious atmosphere of this area, and may even spot some celebrities. If you travel with children, know that most cruises have tons of entertainment aboard, but honestly what is better than going on an excursion exploring the canals of Venice or seeing where the lions lived in Rome’s Colosseum.
When winter hits the Northern parts of the globe, the mild winter temperatures of Hawaii (average around 25°C) are a welcome alternative. So, say ‘aloha’ to Hawaii and take a cruise around this tropical archipelago that is all about wild natural beauty. Cruising is an extraordinary way to explore the various islands such as Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe without all the strenuous island-hopping via plane. Plus, there’s nothing quite like sailing around and soaking in dramatic coastal vistas and waterfalls from your deck chair. Go surfing, enjoy the sun on one of the sandy beaches, or join a traditional luau (a traditional Hawaiian party or feast). Kids will love the whale watching expeditions and the many activities aboard.
Travelers with limited time may opt for a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line that covers Hawaii’s four largest islands in one week only. Those that have more time may start from America’s mainland on a relaxing roundtrip cruise to Hawaii, eliminating the stress of an extra flight up to Honolulu.
Cruising is the only way to get a true appreciation for how massive the world’s longest river is touching areas where there are no roads. You can opt for more traditional river-style boats that can venture deeper into the river’s Peruvian roots or larger cruise ships that sail the Brazil portion of the waterway. You’ll be able to get a close look at the exotic wildlife (from toucans, squirrel monkeys to the endangered pink Amazon dolphin) and flowers that make the Amazon a unique ecosystem. Above all, a cruise brings a welcome luxury to a trip that may otherwise be overshadowed by bugs or tropical rain showers.
Cruising down the River Nile operated by an experienced company is the safest way to explore the importance of the ancient world and to learn about the myths and mysteries of Egypt. Most Nile River cruises will include Luxor and the stretch near Aswan which is calmer and has abundant birdlife to spot. And don’t forget to make an excursion to Abu Simbel.
Cruises are the most practical and engaging way to explore the stunning natural beauty of this archipelago of volcanic islands, which sit in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles away from the mainland of Ecuador. Aboard from a cruise ship, you can discover the Galapagos’ full ecological diversity sometimes led by experienced guides (with no planning on your part). December through March is probably the best period to visit the archipelago as the average temperature is pleasant (25-30°C) and native species enter breeding and nesting season (be aware that this period is high season thus prices may be higher). Whatever standard of luxury you’re looking for, you’ll find tons of adventure when cruising the Galápagos.
Of course, many other places are worth to visit with a cruise ship. Tourists that are looking for a trip off the beaten track may keep an eye on some emerging cruising hot spots. Asia, for example, has seen a tremendous growth in the cruise industry, many river cruise lines are deploying ships throughout the region especially in the waters of Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, and Vietnam. Also, the United Arab Emirates has been welcoming ships with record numbers and works on opening additional ports and terminals for new itineraries.