It’s time to set sail.
The Caribbean and Pacific Islands are becoming old hat for cruise holidays as travellers set their sights on more exotic destinations and adventurous new itineraries.
Go here for: Getting your lovefest on with your SO
What you’ll love about it: Montenegro may be small in size but it’s a destination that is punching way above its weight in terms of looks. Its location as a gateway between east and west sees Catholic spires, Orthodox churches and minarets from Mosques sharing centre stage in ancient walled towns that are liberally bathed in the heady scent of wild blossoms.
How to take it to the next level: To amp up the already ridiculously high romance factor, explore its breathtaking coastline on a Silversea Cruise. The ultra luxe small ships are just the ticket for couples that delight in exploring the world in lavish style. If the idea of free flowing champagne, gourmet meals, and the services of your own personal butler doesn’t float your boat, you should probably be seeking help instead of a holiday.
Go here for: Solo travelling fun
What you’ll love about it: With its frozen-in–the-50s Cadillacs, colonial architecture, glorious beaches, and buckets of rum, Cuba is the place to be. Right now. With relations between the US and Cuba thawing rapidly, this is a country on the verge of massive change. Under strict embargo from the US since the Cuban revolution, you wont find McDonalds, Starbucks or Coca Cola here, but you will find a multifaceted culture and locals congregating at the local casa de la trova for music and Cuba Libres. An exciting alternative or addition to typical Caribbean cruise ship itineraries, seeing Cuba by ship offers visitors the chance to see the whole island and really get a feel for it’s rhythms and its rum.
How to take it to the next level: Get social over mojitos and sexy salsa at a Cuba Music and Dance tour with Intrepid Tours.
Go here for: Family fun
What you’ll love about it: Norway has to be the hottest new destination for families; despite its cool climate. There are few parents who haven’t been assaulted with replays of Frozen 1,200 or so times, but if they want to take it to the next level and really ‘let it go’, Disney Cruise Lines is happy to assist. Cruising through the fabled Norwegian fjords that inspired Arendelle with Princess Anna and Queen Elsa as travelling companions will have your little ones express posting your nomination for parent of the year. Starting and ending in Copenhagen, Denmark, seasonal sailings on Disney Magic offer a freezer full of Frozen-fun including meet-and-greets with Frozen characters, Frozen–inspired food, games and decorations.
How to take it to the next level: Be sure to attend the deck-top ‘Freezing the Night Away’ party where Elsa, Anna and friends lead the crowd in sing-alongs and dancing. It’s pure Disney magic at its kid-pleasing best.
4. Papua New Guinea
Go here for: A trip that’s totally different to anything else you’ve experienced
What you’ll love about it: If you like a little weird with your wonderful, stepping in to Papua New Guinea’s exotic cultures, freakish diversity of flora and fauna and smorgasbord of bizarre customs is so alien, it is a little like landing on the moon. Papua New Guinea has some of the world’s most intact island cultures making their home in rugged jungles wholly untouched by modern civilisation.
How to take it to the next level: For those seeking an even more unique experience, smaller vessels like True North Luxury Cruises explore its wild rivers and remote islands allowing intrepid passengers the privilege of close encounters with indigenous tribes and exploring some of the best dive spots in the world.
Go here for: Foodie heaven
What you’ll love about it: Though France is a no-brainier for lovers of gastronomic delights, the area around Bordeaux is shaping up to be the must-cruise destination for foodies wanting to get lost in digestion. France’s river cruise lines offer passengers easy access to some of the area’s best gourmet experiences including private dinners in enchanting ancient villages and wine quaffing at some of Bordeaux’s world-famous vineyards.
How to take it to the next level: Take a slow boat down one of the region’s chocolate-box pretty rivers – The Dordogne, Garonne or Gironde – on an APT Luxury River Ship to eat, drink, and be merry while you soak up the stunning scenery at a pace that’s perfect for (over) indulgence.
Go here for: Food, fashion and a kooky cultural explosion
What you’ll love about it: Europe may boast many fine museums and art, but some of the oldest cultures on earth are to be found in Asia. World Heritage Sites steeped in tradition and ancient lore can be found in almost every port. Voted in second place in Lonely Planet’s Best of Travel for 2016, Japan is no exception to the rule, with hallowed shrines and natural wonders nestled humbly alongside its famous neon skyscrapers. A country where modern and ancient traditions, conservative and cool clothing and novelty and Michelin-starred dining institutions clash and collide in dizzying contradiction, it’s a must for lovers of cultural extremes.
How to take it to the next level: Princess Cruises have some of the best itineraries for culture vultures to get their fill of Japan’s traditions and quirks by sea.
Go here for: Adrenaline-packed adventure
What you’ll love about it: If deep unexplored rainforest and anywhere that involves a Sherpa is more up your holiday alley, expedition cruising is for you. As for where, Iceland is so hot right now. From the tip of its icy glaciers to its geothermal spa pools, this country should be at the top of your holiday hit list. One of the best ways to explore the land of geological extremes, Vikings, elves and trolls is on an expedition vessel. Expedition cruises offer the intrepid traveller adventure in off-the-beaten-path places and Iceland has those in abundance.
How to take it to the next level: From Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital, National Geographic Expeditions small ships circumnavigate the island with kayaking into fjords, hiking along remote stretches of dramatic coastline with a naturalist and soaking in the famous thermal Blue Lagoon just the tip of the adventurous iceberg.
Images via croatiainvest.net, tripadvisor.com, adminet.com, planetcruise.co.uk, pocruises.com.