Cruises are one of the most popular forms of vacation in the whole world today. This type of holiday is no longer the preserve of affluent pensioners. Now there’s yoga, goth bands, wildlife watching, trivia contests, cooking classes, wine-tasting, Star Wars parties and zombies, there’s truly something for everyone.
Even if all cruise lines seem the same at first, each one has its own perks and quirks. In fact, the same line can offer different experiences based on the age and size of a ship, the destination and time of year you’re sailing.
Here is the list of the most spectacular cruise destinations where you can pick one the most suitable for you.
1. World cruise
For seriously long vacation consider taking a world cruise, from Southampton to Sydney and spend 107 nights on board of the Black Watch, with 423 cabins available. Small ship is the best choice for such trips, as it can stop in most picturesque ports, such as New Zealand, French Polynesia, South America, Australia, Thailand, the Maldives and many more.
2. Adriatic cruise
If you are at the first time in these waters you will be pleasantly surprised. There are many cruises available on this itinerary, making stops in historic Dubrovnik and picturesque Split.
It is probably one of the most exciting cruises ever. The closer you get to the North Pole the more adventurous your spirit gets. The two week trip on board of the ice-strengthen yacht will bring you through the three day crossing of the Drake Passage, which will leave a lot of memories for you.
4. Scotland and Scandinavian cruises
The cruises are without any doubt the most beautiful ever. As soon as you start sailing between the Norwegian fjords, your mindset will change forever. Such landscapes and breathtaking views are hard to find. And don’t neglect hopping off the boat in such cities as Copenhagen, Oslo or Shetlands.
5. Caribbean cruises
It doesn’t matter which itinerary you choose – East or West Caribbean, you will have plenty of things to do. Though Eastern Caribbean tends to be more busy and is more popular for shopping, bar adventures and of course beach activities. Western Caribbean on the other hand will offer you more cultural and active time spending.
6. Cruises around Portugal and Spain
If you are looking for delicious and cultural cruise, these two destinations are the best. The combination of exquisite food with delicate wines among ancient architecture and narrow European streets is worth of coming back again and again. Don’t miss the chance to see the ports of Porto and Madeira in Portugal, and Barcelona in Spain of course.
7. Baltic cruises
Are so far one of the most popular ones. As the ship will take you to the classic 10 night Baltic voyage with an overnight in Saint Petersburg, where you will be busy exploring the Hermitage and visiting a ballet in the evening. Moreover, you will have a chance to stop in Tallinn, Helsinki and beautiful Stockholm.
8. Mediterranean cruises
Classic itinerary that will always remain in demand. Who doesn’t dream to spend a day in Colossal Rome, take a gondola ride in Venice and have a bite of traditional, real Neapolitan pizza? Exploring Corsica and Sicily or staying on board of the ship and enjoying its amenities sounds like a great plan.
9. Coral sea
If you are looking forward to tropical adventure, consider taking a cruise to such turquoise waters as the Seychelles, Belize with astonishing barrier reef and Indonesia. The best beaches and warm waters are guaranteed.
10. Southeast Asia
This route has been going on for dozens of years, taking the passengers on a 10 day trip through Cambodia and Vietnam. The choice of excursions is tremendous, plus some of the cruises offer overnights, letting you explore the country from morning till midnight.
11. River cruises
They became extremely popular in recent years, either due to the new ships coming out or because they can provide a really exquisite experience. Cruising around Europe on a small ship gives you a chance to get acquainted with fellow passengers, dock right in the downtown of big cities and have stops every single day without sea days. Plus the service on board of such ships is more than excellent!
12. Greenland’s fjords
13. Scottish wildlife
14. Classic Nile
15. Russia’s lost world
16. Gently down the Ganges
17. Cargo ships
18. In the footsteps of North America’s frontiersman
BEST BOUTIQUE CRUISES
19. Star Clipper tall ship, various
With four masts, 16 sails and capacity for 170 guests, Star Clipper is a romantic tall ship, complete with teak and mahogany interiors. Facilities include two swimming pools, a piano bar and an Edwardian-style library. Destination choices range from Greece to Thailand and the Caribbean. A seven-day itinerary taking in the Leeward Islands, on a round-trip from St Maarten, visits some of the smaller Caribbean islands like Dominica, Nevis and Guadeloupe en route, with excursions ranging from snorkelling with rays to nature hikes.
20. Vintage cruising, West Sweden
21. Small and luxurious, Azores
BEST FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS
22. Use the force, Caribbean
Reportedly, Disney paid George Lucas $4bn for the Star Wars franchise, so there’s still a fair way to go before it turns a profit. But, as with this cruise, it can integrate the iconic characters into an already winning formula. A limited number of its one-week Caribbean itineraries from Florida’s Port Canaveral will include a Star Wars day, with screenings of all seven films, and appearances from Darth Vader, Chewbacca and battalions of Stormtroopers. There’ll also be a Jedi Training Academy, where adults and kids can learn to wield a lightsaber.
23. Cheers to craft beers, Pacific Northwest
24. Murder on the high seas, Southampton-Lisbon
25. Zombies ahoy, Caribbean (maybe)
The public may never know how close US network AMC came to axing now-popular series The Walking Dead during its abysmal second series, but it “lived” on and there’s now a themed cruise. The first edition, in January this year, saw over 2,000 fans cramming onto the ship in the hope of meeting the nine series regulars who were on board too. The three-day event also included costume competitions and hordes of the undead feasting on the flesh of the living – in lots and lots of zombie films.
26. Star ship enterprise, Destination unknown
As well as dressing up as your favourite characters, there will be games of Star Trek Risk, ST Trivial Pursuit and ST chess … and actors from the show’s various incarnations will also be there – including William Shatner, of course. As though to underline its futuristic credentials, Star Trek. The Cruise has boldly gone and sold out for 2017, but that gives fans plenty of time to save for the 2018 event. This year the ship sailed to Cape Horn; next year it will spend six days and nights in the calmer waters of the Caribbean.
BEST FOR MUSIC AND PARTYING
23 Dance festival, LA-Mexico
Forget the tan. Forget sleep. Forget ballgowns and the captain’s table, and get ready for a different kind of noise on the Groove Cruise, a 72-hour party boat. Presumably because the organisers are recovering from the Miami edition, which took place a few weeks ago, details of the autumn LA cruise aren’t available. Suffice to say it’ll be three days and nights of non-stop dance music. Past DJs have included Paul Oakenfold, Benny Benassi and mega-headed knob-twiddler Deadmau5.
24. Goth revival Pacific, Northwest
25. Ship happens, Singapore and Miami
26. Rock the waves, Caribbean
27.Don’t stop raving, Caribbean
28. Country club, Caribbean
29.Boats that rock, Caribbean
They may be as old as the average cruise-ship passenger, but in a bid to prove they can still make a boat rock and roll, Kiss are hitting the high seas later this year on a cruise from Miami to the Cayman Islands. Playing hits from their 1982 Creatures tour, Gene Simmons and the boys will appear for four nights in November. (The seventh edition of relative youngster Kid Rock’s Chillin’ The Most cruise, sailing from Miami to Jamaica, is sold out for 2016, but check the website for the waiting list or news of an eighth version – bearing in mind his reputation for fast living.)
30. Gay departures, various
Some of the wildest parties on the seas are perhaps those on all-gay cruises. This is a growing market, with many companies chartering boats in destinations from the Caribbean to the Med. The biggest brand in gay cruises is Atlantis, which offers departures on ships from the likes of Celebrity Cruises and Holland America for between 1,500 and a whopping 6,000 people, with massive parties on deck (though there’s plenty of sightseeing too). New for this year is a 10-day trip from Barcelona to Athens on Celebrity’s Equinox.
31. World history, India, Middle East and the Med
32. Archaeology, Turkey
33. Photography, Mexico
34. Solo travelers, Bermuda
If you’re young, free and single, jump aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s 3,963-passenger Norwegian Breakaway for its funky “Studios” – snug cabins housed in groups, with their own communal lounge to meet and mingle. There’s no chance of getting bored with around 20 dining venues, more than 10 bars and clubs (including a teeth-chattering ice bar) and countless shows and concerts. It’s just as lively on deck, thanks to the onboard waterpark with five waterslides and a sports complex with a tricky ropes course. You can even walk the plank – eight feet off the side of the ship into the sea!
35. Sea Symphonies, Norway
Shimmering strings and classical music seem the perfect soundtrack for a midnight visit to the Arctic Circle. Sailing from Dover to Nordkapp, the northernmost point of mainland Europe, this 13-night cruise spends six nights inside the Arctic Circle, with the Carducci String Quartet along for the ride. The nights will all be long, but after the Black Watch ship crosses the Arctic Circle, the sun won’t set at all. The summer solstice will be spent in a very bright, very lively Tromsø.
BEST MAINSTREAM CRUISES
36. Teenager-tastic, Mediterranean
If you’re worried about your tribe getting bored at sea, Royal Caribbean International’s giant ship Independence of the Seas, carrying more than 4,350 passengers, comes with plenty of whacky attractions. When guests aren’t busy on port calls at Ajaccio (Corsica), Nice and Palma, there’s an ice-skating rink, rock climbing wall, surf simulator and even a water playground on board. With more than 15 bars and restaurants, too, there is enough choice to satisfy the fussiest young eaters. Oh, and did we mention the free ice-cream machines?
Enjoy a slice of la dolce vita with unabashed Italian line MSC Cruises, which prides itself on its rich heritage – and competitive prices. Accommodating more than 4,360 passengers, MSC Splendida boasts a string of facilities that include four swimming pools, squash court and nightclub. There’s also a Balinese-influenced Aurea Spa on board, the perfect place to recover from all those exertions in stop-offs including Lisbon, Gibraltar and Barcelona.
38.Foodies’ paradise, Caribbean
On P&O Cruises’ newest ship, Britannia, passengers can dine in gourmet style from menus created by Marco Pierre White, or whip up their own culinary creations in the Cookery Club, under the watchful eye of celebrity chef James Martin. Other epicurean highlights aboard the 3,650-passenger ship – the largest in the P&O fleet –include exquisite sweet treats created by master patissier Eric Lanlard (though these come at a price!); Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu Indian restaurant; and The Glass House, where wines are selected by exuberant TV wine expert and foodie Olly Smith.
39.Cultural immersion, Baltic Sea
Azamara Club Cruises prides itself on getting under the skin of the destinations it visits. Its 686-passenger ship, Azamara Quest, spends longer in each port than many cruises do sometimes staying overnight, too. On most cruises, passengers enjoy a complimentary Azamazing Evening cultural event on land, along with behind-the-scenes tours and other local experiences. A 10-night Baltic voyage from Stockholm to Copenhagen includes two nights in St Petersburg, with a private concert by the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. The cruise also includes an overnight stop in Stockholm and calls at Tallinn, capital of Estonia, and Helsinki.
40. Meditation and more, Caribbean
Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, with its all-inclusive resorts and spring break parties, is not known for its peace and quiet, but that doesn’t deter the Zen Cruise. Sailing from Florida to the island of Cozumel, it offers a chance to ease your troubled mind, with yoga classes, spoken word events, or lectures on mindfulness. It’s not all po-faced cymbal-bothering though: much like any other cruise, it has cocktail nights and musical performances too.
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