If you look around the web, you’ll find lots of cruise sites talking about the Caribbean. Less frequently mentioned (but still spoken of a lot) are cruises to the Mediterranean and Alaska.
There’s nothing wrong with these cruise destinations (in fact, there’s a reason why they’re so popular), but if you enjoy going against the crowd, or you’re just looking for a new spot to explore, you may want to look into some more exotic cruise ideas.
There are cruises available all over the world that you might never have imagined. You don’t even have to limit yourself to sailing on a sea. In lots of countries, there are river cruises that ply inland waterways (a great option if you’re prone to seasickness).
Try the Amazon River Basin if you want to see the tropics, but you’re not sure the seafaring life is right for you. If you do like the ocean, you could book a two-week cruise that takes you around Australia and New Zealand. For a tropical paradise, visit French Polynesia (if you’ve heard of Tahiti, these South Pacific islands are where it’s at).
Another warm and tropical destination that’s a little closer to home for most of us is the Panama Canal. If you’ve never seen this eighth wonder of the world, what better way than to sail through it yourself and experience the rising and lowering waters of the locks, gates, and dams? Sign up for a repositioning cruise (at the end of the season, ships will head from the Caribbean to Mexico or vice versa) or a Panama cruise that visits ports on either side of the Canal.
If you’re not crazy about the heat, head to temperate waters and visit the British Isles and other northern European capitals. You can find cruises that leave from England and explore Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Denmark, and the Netherlands. If fjords excite you, book a cruise that navigates the Baltic Sea and stop at Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The Norwegian Coast offers a kaleidoscope of quaint fishing villages, medieval cathedrals, and awe-inspiring fjords.
If you’re from the U.S. or Canada and want to travel closer to home, you can sail through eastern Canada and New England. The autumn colors are particularly vibrant there if you can cruise in October. U.S. stops typically include Boston, Newport, Bar Harbor in Maine, and Martha’s Vineyard, while stops in Canada may hit the coastal provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. Depending on the length of the cruise, you may also visit Quebec’s Montreal or Quebec City.
Perhaps you’d like to get away from the Western world and take a cruise to Southeast Asia. The blend of old and new will surely impress you, especially if you’re from the U.S. or Canada where an “old building” is something that was built in the 1800s. In Asia, you can see thousand-year-old temples right next to towering modern office buildings.
As you can see, there are all sorts of cruise options out there that go well beyond the typical Caribbean or Mediterranean cruises you’ve heard so much about. If you can think of a coastal destination you want to visit, chances are there’s a ship that will take you there.