Taking a cruise means waking up to breathtaking views every morning, with the sun-kissed horizon stretching endlessly before you. It’s a floating paradise, a world of its own where time slows down, and every moment becomes a cherished memory. To sit back and relax, choose your next vacation among the best cruise destinations in the world.
One of the coolest aspects of cruising is the opportunity to explore a multitude of destinations without the hassle of constantly packing and unpacking. You can wake up in a new place every day, each one offering a unique charm and culture to discover. The world is your oyster, and the cruise ship is your comfortable, luxurious vessel for exploration. From vibrant cities to serene islands, the sheer variety of experiences available on a cruise is mind-blowing.
Let’s not forget the onboard experience itself. Modern cruise ships are like floating cities, equipped with everything you could ever dream of – world-class dining, entertainment, and activities galore. Whether you want to relax by the pool with a cocktail in hand, indulge in gourmet cuisine, or catch a Broadway-style show, it’s all right there at your fingertips. You’ll make friends from around the globe, creating unforgettable memories with people you might never have met otherwise.
Ready to set sail? StudyFinds has compiled this ultimate guide to the best cruise destinations, according to the experts. Did we miss a destination that everyone should cruise to? Let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Cruise Destinations, According to Experts
1. The Caribbean
The number one destination recommended by cruise experts is The Caribbean and it is quite obvious why. “Thanks to its wealth of glorious beaches wrapping around islands within easy reach of one another, the Caribbean is a popular cruise destination for sun-seekers; with most itineraries, it’s possible to wake up in a new country every day,” writes The Times. “Each nation has its own distinct character, meaning there’s enough to please wildlife lovers, history enthusiasts and food fans. In laid-back Jamaica, beach shacks sizzle with the smell of jerk chicken and the sounds of reggae, while Grenada entices visitors with aromatic spices and delicious chocolate.”
“With its sunny weather and endless palm beaches, the Caribbean is a top cruise destination at any time of the year. The Caribbean offers a variety of destinations, including St. Kitts, the British Virgin Islands, Aruba, Curacao, Barbados, and St. Lucia. Some cruise ships stop for excursions to various Caribbean islands. The culture and atmosphere in the Caribbean are known to be vibrant, and it offers something for everyone,” says Business Review.
“A Caribbean cruise offers the chance to kick back in sunny climes, enjoying cocktails on the deck before making a pit stop on a powder-soft beach lapped by warm, turquoise waters,” adds Good Housekeeping. “If it’s your first time visiting the Caribbean, a cruise which stops off at several different locations is a great way to get a glimpse of the cultures and cuisines of various islands, giving you a fantastic introduction to the region.”
The number two expert recommendation for best cruise destinations is actually the opposite of the first one, but variety is the spice of life. “Alaska is known for its stunning beauty, and a cruise is a great way to experience it. Cruise ships often stop at coastal towns where you can immerse yourself in native Alaskan culture and the relaxing wilderness of the region. You also get up close to glaciers. Having a front-row seat to a glacier is an extraordinary experience, and not many cruise destinations offer this. A unique advantage of a cruise in Alaska is that you might have an unforgettable wildlife encounter. The region has brown bears, humpback whales, sea otters, orcas, and other wildlife,” writes Business Review.
Get ready for the unpredictable when you make your way to Alaska. “Sure, the weather is changeable, and you’re as likely to be kayaking in the rain as you are to see the sun. With its mountains and glaciers, eagles soaring above and whales surfacing from below — beautiful Alaska scenery is the reward, no matter what the temperature,” shares Cruise Critic. “Denali National Park, White Pass Railroad and Mendenhall Glacier are a few of the most popular sites on these itineraries. Pack layers and a camera with a zoom lens; this is not the place to rely on your smartphone.”
I bet you’d never think you trip to Alaska would be described as wild, but this reviewer says it is! “If you’re after a scenic cruise to wild extremes, Alaska is arguably your best option,” writes Cruise Travel Outlet. “Cruises to the ‘Last Frontier’ of America typically start from cities like Seattle and Vancouver. On the way, the ships will stop at epic locations such as the Tracy Arm Fjord, Glacier Bay National Park, the Inside Passage, Juneau and Skagway. This is also one of the best cruise destinations for wildlife watching, including everything from bears and eagles to orcas and sea otters.”
3. Mediterranean Sea
“For an all-round, comprehensive cruise experience, it’s hard to imagine a better place to go than the Mediterranean. This large secluded sea has served as the birthplace of civilization and likely the first area that connected different cultures. This is where you’ll find the beaches of the Greek islands, the wonders of Ancient Rome, cities such as Barcelona, Monaco, Venice and Dubrovnik, and a plethora of other places of interest,” writes Cruise Travel Outlet.
Culture can be a confusing term until you experience the contrast of life in the Mediterranean. “If you want to experience a variety of cultures and breathtaking scenery, consider taking a Mediterranean cruise. You could explore some of the most iconic destinations in the world, including Athens, Rome, Alexandria, Venice, and Barcelona. A cruise through the Mediterranean Sea offers a unique charm. The weather in the Mediterranean is perfect for those who like it a bit warm. However, it does get a bit cold during the night. The water is calm, so it’s a great choice for passengers who are a bit anxious about rough waters,” adds Business Review.
Are you hungry? The Mediterranean will satisfy your taste buds for sure. “Tapas in Barcelona. Bouillabaisse in Marseille. Fresh pasta in Rome. When it comes to delicious local specialties and copas with class, it’s hard to beat the ports found on a Western Mediterranean itinerary. All the walking you’ll do at museums means you can indulge guilt-free, with a glass of local bubbly to buoy your spirits,” notes Cruise Critic.
Are we even allowed to go to Antarctica? Apparently, the cruise lines are. You might as well explore this distant land for yourself. “Whether viewing regiments of gleaming icebergs from your ship’s deck or photographing parades of waddling penguins against a surreal landscape of ice while ashore, the experience is like no other. Some expedition itineraries also venture farther south to the continent while longer sailings call on South Georgia Island and/or the Falklands,” shares The Points Guy. “Antarctica requires two things of visitors. The first is a healthy budget. Expedition cruises generally start at around $12,000 per person, although some major cruise lines offer scenic cruising in Antarctica — with no landings — for under $3,000 per person. The second is a moderate fitness level to be able to venture ashore in Zodiacs and explore the rugged landscape.”
“It’s only been 200 years since the planet’s seventh continent was first sighted, but in that time a lot has changed,” comments The Times. “Once accessed only by hardy explorers, it’s rapidly becoming a popular cruise destination — yet the sense of awestruck wonder and discovery remains the same. Setting sail from Ushuaia, your luxury cruise ship will cross the infamous Drake Passage, flanked by albatross, petrels and other resilient seabirds. It’s a taste of the remarkable wildlife to follow – expect to find Weddell seals balancing on ice floes, humpback whales fluking in glacier-backed bays, and millions of penguins who never fail to entertain.”
And don’t forget these awesome experiences! “Highlights include passing through the towering blue icebergs of the Lemaire Channel and seeing icebergs with their steep sides and flat tops at the entrance to the Weddell Sea. Kayaking and ‘beach’ landings are a must,” shares Frommers.
5. Panama Canal
This manmade destination is worth your time and attention, according to cruise experts. “More than a century old, the Panama Canal is still an engineering marvel. It takes about eight hours for ships to traverse the 50-mile canal, which includes passage through three main locks. Through gravity alone, these locks raise ships over Central America and down again on the other side. The transit also takes ships through the artificially-created Gatun Lake, which sits 85 feet above sea level,” shares Frommers.
If you have the time to travel, reward yourself with the views of this marvel. “The Panama Canal is a must-see for many travelers. A number of lines offer the 40-mile journey linking the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea,” notes U.S. News & World Report. “Panama is not just the canal by any means. We exclusively tie in adventurous exploration on both the Caribbean and Pacific sides of the canal with native culture.”
You too can rule the jungle during your trip through the Panama Canal. “Yes, the Panama Canal is manmade, but it cuts across 82 miles of Central American jungle on the isthmus of Panama to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A transit of the circa-1914 original or the 2016 extension takes a single day. The remainder of the cruise will be spent calling on ports in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia (historic coastal Cartagena), Mexico and the Caribbean,” shares The Points Guy. “That means there’s plenty of nature to appreciate. Some ships will spend a day in Colon, Panama, which offers access to Chagres National Park and the Gamboa Rainforest Preserve. Both are home to indigenous species such as toucans, coatimundis and monkeys.”
Where are you headed to on your next cruise? Leave a comment to let us know!
You might also be interested in:
- The Times
- Business Review
- Good Housekeeping
- Cruise Critic
- The Travel
- Celebrity Cruises
- Cruise Travel Outlet
- U.S. News & World Report
- The Points Guy
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.