Introduction to the Best Cruise Destinations

Are looking for inspiration and practical information for your next cruise or maybe just wondering just where to go? With the huge choice of cruise destinations this is becoming a mind-blowing task. Choosing the Best Cruise Destination is no easy task.  Hopefully this short guide will help you decide which cruise destination is best for you.

Alaska

If you are looking for breathtaking scenery, wildlife and spectacular views of glaciers , then consider a cruise to Alaska – it is one of those places you will remember for ever and a cruise is the best way to travel such vast distances.

An Alaskan cruise is a great introduction to the largest state in the United States. Sometime know as “The Last Frontier”, it’s the second most popular cruise destination in the world after the Caribbean. Alaskan Cruises cover some spectacular fjords, glaciers and mountains along Alaska’s vast coastline, as well as many islands, bays and inlets. Many cruises go along the so-called Inside Passage, which is a labyrinth of islands, fjords and mountains. Starting in Vancouver this route goes all the way up to Juneau, the capital of Alaska. It also includes Glacier Bay National Park which is voted one of the best ports in Alaska. Some cruises go beyond Juneau to the Gulf of Alaska. Fancy a great addition to the Cruise? Then why not consider taking the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver across the Rockies to Banff or Calgary.

Ports of Departure: Cruises generally depart from Vancouver, Seattle or San Francisco

Cruise companies sailing to Alaska: Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Royal Carribean, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Windstar Cruises plus many more.

Best time to travel: Early May to mid-September, with June to August being peak season

Best Cruise Destinations - Alaska

Cruising the Inside Passage, Alaska © Mike King 2017

Main Street, Junneau, Alaska © Mike King 2017

The Mediterranean

Southern Europe is the a great place for lovers of sun and sand and a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea is one of the best ways to enjoy this region. It can be very hot in summer, so beware.  The history and natural beauty of the region will leave you breathless and the culture is something to immerse yourself in. Each country is so different from the next. From the gorgeous Spain and Italy to Greece and  the tiny islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Malta – Mediterranean cruises cover the main must see countries.

Eastern Mediterranean cruises generally include the Greek islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Crete and quite often take in Croatia. If you are looking at the Western Mediterranean, this includes destinations such as Rome, Venice, Sicily, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez and Barcelona. Stunning locations make it difficult to choose where to start.

Southern Mediterranean cruises touch upon Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. If its a touch of class your looking for, then why not consider places like Monaco and Nice and Cannes on the French Riviera,

If you are  a Foodie then Look out for Food and Wine Cruises in the Mediterranean which are not to be missed. Our review of the Seabourn Food and Wine cruise is a good example of what to expect.

Ports of Departure: Mediterranean cruises sail from many ports, depending upon the itinerary. Athens, Rome, Barcelona, Lisbon and Venice are some popular departure points in Europe plus Southampton if sailing from the UK.

Best time: April through November, with May to August being peak season

Cruise Lines: Most of the major cruise lines operate in the Mediterranean.

Best Cruise Destination - Mediterranean

Cunard Queen Victoria in Monaco © Mike King 2017

The Caribbean

This is the most popular cruise destination in the world by far and was the destination for our first cruise on Royal Caribbean. Cruise ships operate throughout the year in the region but it is worth avoiding the hurricane season which officially runs from 1st June through to 30th November.  Caribbean cruises offer superb value for money and the choice of islands is remarkable. You can choose from various Caribbean options – Eastern Caribbean which includes Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Martinique and St Kitts), Western (includes the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Mexico) or Southern (includes Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago) plus there are others which take in some of the smaller islands.

Port of Departure: Most Caribbean cruises depart from one of the gateway ports in Florida generally Miami, the cruise capital of the world or Fort Lauderdale.

Best time: Between November and May, with December to April being peak season

 

Best Cruise Destination - Caribbean

The Caribbean can get very busy! © Mike King 2017

Hawaii

Another amazing region to in which to take a cruise is Hawaii. With its archipelago of eight main islands formed due to the volcanic activity of an undersea mountain range, Hawaii is all about wild natural beauty.
Most cruises cover the islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. Each of the islands feel different to the others with each having something unique to offer; from cascading waterfalls in Maui as well as the Haleakala National Park, to hiking in Oahu and the four-wheel adventure trails in Kauai, which is also home to the impressive Waimea Canyon. Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach and the Pearl Harbour memorial are a must. Whale watching expeditions are also well worth a try.

Read our cruise review: Cruising the Hawaiian Island with Seabourn

Port of Departure: Cruises generally depart from Honolulu and Los Angeles or San Fransisco

Best time: December to April, with December to January being peak season

Best Cruise Destination - Hawaii

Maui Wharf Area Seabourn Sojourn in the background © Mike King 2017

Australia & New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand also feature as the one of the best places to go on a cruise. A circumnavigation around Australia is the ultimate voyage to really get a feel to this vast country. This region often features in sections of world cruises or Pacific Ocean transits from the US or vice versa. Australia specific cruises call at many ports such as Darwin, Cairns, Newcastle, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and sometimes even vist Hobart in Tasmania. The Great Barrier Reef is also one of the top attractions and well worth spending time exploring this facinating area.
In New Zealand, cruises cover the two main islands, North and South Islands, as well as numerous small islets. The North Island has rare black sand beaches and the world’s yacht racing capital, Auckland. On the South Island, you can explore the complex fjiords on the southly coast including Milton, Doubfull and Dusky  Sounds with their mountains and glaciers. You could consider combining cruise with a pre or past cruise land tour extension to take in the natural beauty, UNESCO heritage sites, local wineries, national parks and much more. The Maori culture in New Zealand is also worth exploring, not to mention the extensive and gorgeous vistas portrayed in Lord of the Rings.

Port of Departure: Most cruises depart from Sydney or Auckland

Best time: November to April, with December to March being peak season

Best Cruise Destination - Caribbean

Seabourn Encore in Sydney, Australia © Mike King 2017

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Choosing the right Cruise destination can be tricky. 

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