For those who have never cruised before it can be a daunting experience trying to figure out which line, which ship, which destinations. As we hear news stories covering the various issues surrounding being at sea it becomes very important to choose the right one in order to have the vacation that you’re looking for.
The first thing you will usually want to ask yourself is what kind of vacation are you looking for?
Do you want winter? Summer?
Do you want architecture?
Do you want partying?
Do you want to bring your passport?
All of these questions should be answered in your quest for your perfect cruise ship vacation.
Below are my top 10 choices based on having worked aboard and cruised as a passenger over the last 28 years.
Alaska is on the bottom of my list for one simple reason: it’s cold. When traveling it’s usually best to use the method that makes the most sense. While cruising in Alaska offers some striking views and therefore made the list, it offers no amount of joy being outdoors on the ship. It’s cold even in the summer, you can’t lay out, most will never want to enjoy the pool or Jacuzzis and because so many who travel to Alaska on cruises are in their later years there is no nightlife whatsoever. What you will find are glaciers, puppies, some of the best cupcakes in the world (if you go to Skagway) and a very strange town called Whittier (if you take princess cruises). Whittier has one apartment building for all of its residents. They have been there for generations. Take from that what you will.
9. The Baltics
As we discussed, cruising in cold temperatures seems strange; however, the Baltics ranked higher than Alaska because of the stunning countries you will visit. Sweden, Estonia, Finland, and the like, offer incredible architecture, friendly people, amazing food, unique spots (like ice bars), and flowers as far as the eye can see.
8. Australia and New Zealand
Not many would argue that New Zealand might be the best place to visit on the planet, second only maybe to Italy; however, cruising there offers a unique problem: the water is extremely choppy so the ships list. What that means is they tilt. They tilt in that region far enough of a degree that very often the captain will require everyone to crawl because walking poses a hazard. It is #8 simply because it is so beautiful and definitely worth the risk.
As we move closer to number one it gets more difficult to choose which cruises are better. Asia is a popular cruise destination; however, many of Asia’s most beautiful spots are not reachable by water so cruising may not be the best way to see these countries; but it is most definitely one of the most unforgettable.
6. South America
When journeying to South America one notices how different each of these countries are. It is of note to recognize that Americans traveling to Brazil are required to obtain a special visa that must be requested ahead of time. I’d say it’s worth it just for the penguins.
5. The Black Sea
Traversing the black sea is a special treat. You will start in Turkey, which is the only country that has a city that spans two continents. Istanbul is in both Asia and Europe. As you cross the Bosphorous you receive a special certificate when doing so. The homes overlooking the crossing are in the millions. Turkey is beautiful, friendly, and until recently, safe. In addition you will see countries like Bulgaria, the Ukraine and Russia. Your mind will spin with just how many different kinds of places you will see. In addition, you will be sailing over an ancient civilization. The Black Sea filled up so quickly that the civilizations that were on that land were instantly drowned. Researchers have studied it and found everything still completely intact.
One of the very best things about cruising is getting to lay out to the sound of the waves and watch the world go by. The Bahamas is absolutely 100% the ideal cruise destination. Why it ranks as number four is simply because that’s all it really offers: a beach. If a beach is all you want, to escape for four days, the Bahamas will not steer you wrong. But if you want sunshine, water AND destinations you have to move further down my list.
3. Panama Canal
It isn’t just the locks that will impress you. The countries that span Central America are delightful. They offer a colorful backdrop to a beautiful sailaway. Friendly people, great food, cool architecture, and really weird arts and crafts.
2. The Holy Land
This is not just for the Jewish, Muslim or Christian traveler. The Holy Land cruise gives you insight into an ancient people. You will swim in the Dead Sea, ride a camel, gaze upon the Pyramids, take a mud bath and purify your mind, your heart and your spirit as you walk through some of the oldest cities our world knows. You will get to experience a culture that most have only ever read about or seen on the news. Your mind will be open and suddenly you will realize just how precious our world can be.
1. The Mediterranean
There is simply no contest for getting to see Italy, France, Greece and all of the countries of the Adriatic Sea. Montenegro is a personal favorite, Croatia is incredible, and the water is a pure sapphire blue. Just getting to be in this part of the world you will feel so lucky. Each country offers amazing food, incredible sites, architecture, art, culture, friendly people, amazing nightlife and the most beautiful sailaways you will ever see. You will not believe it, it will not feel real, it’s like you’ve gone to heaven and it’s every single day of your cruise.
Wherever you choose to go, whatever you choose to do, I hope you have a wonderful trip!