Top 10 Ultimate Cruise Destinations

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Awesome Tips   Bucket List Worthy  

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As snow starts to pile up outside our doors, hopping aboard a cruise and escaping the frigid temperatures starts to sound more desirable than ever. Although, not all of the world’s best cruise destinations are in tropical paradise.

The following ten cruise destinations are the best of the best, whether you’re interested in snoozing under a palm tree, exploring a historic city or admiring wildlife from aboard a luxurious, floating resort.

1. Galapagos

View of two beaches on Bartolome Island in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are famous for their contributions to Charles Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution, and it’s the countless endemic species Darwin studied that make this places so special. Schedule your cruise for early spring, and you’re likely to enjoy pleasantly warm weather, calm seas and clear views of these iconic volcanic islands.

2. Antarctica

group of penguins with a blue iceberg bay

It may be difficult to convince your friends to hop aboard a ship to a place that’s even colder than Canada, but Antarctica cruises continue to be praised as some of the most memorable in the world. Visit in December, January or February, and you’ll enjoy the area’s calmest seas and most desirable weather. Even more, you’ll have the opportunity to snap photos of thousands of penguins, icebergs towering over your cruise ship and all of the other features that make Antarctica one of the world’s most mysterious destinations.

3. French Riviera

Cap Ferrat, France

Few coastlines are more stunning than that of the French Riviera. Admire the palm trees and flower gardens of Cannes from the sea, then step on land to try your hand at Monaco’s world famous Monte Carlo Casino. Explore the historic towns loaded with boutiques and cafes, snap photos of the Mediterranean and don’t forget to taste local specialties like stocafi (dried codfish in tomato sauce) or socca (pancakes made from chickpea flour).

4. South Pacific

Beach Villas on small tropical island with palm trees

Take a cruise to the South Pacific, and you’ll find yourself needing multiple memory cards for your camera. You’ll arrive at tropical paradises like Bora Bora, Fiji, Tahiti, the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia and the uninhabited Mystery Island of Vanuatu. Whether you’re into snorkeling, diving, beachcombing or soaking in the sun, you’re guaranteed to find your own piece of paradise on a South Pacific cruise.

5. Panama Canal

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Anyone who has traveled through, or even visited, the Panama Canal will tell you what an unforgettable experience it is. Discover the piece of engineering theĀ American Society of Civil Engineers named one of the seven wonders of the modern world from the deck of a luxurious cruise ship.

6. Alaska

Frozen sea souranded by montains in Alaska

The Last Frontier is a destination that is sought by outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Travelers can experience the postcard-worthy glaciers, crystal-clear waterways and a chance to get off the beaten path in Denali National Park and some of Alaska’s favourite cities.

7. New Zealand

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New Zealand wasn’t even a cruise destination until recent years. Fortunately, visitors can now experience the wild beauty of New Zealand aboard a number of popular cruise lines. You’ll likely travel to the island nation’s southwest UNESCO World Heritage Site region, where you’ll cruise along fjords and lakes admiring jagged cliffs, waterfalls and tree-covered steeps.

8. Hawaiian Islands

Waianapanapa, Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii is a bucket list destination for many travelers, but experiencing the Aloha State on a cruise means you can enjoy the culture and beauty of more than one island. Travelers can’t help but fall in love with the picture-perfect rain forests, famous volcanoes (some still active), welcoming culture and ideal weather conditions that make the Hawaiian Islands the definition of a tropical paradise.

9. U.S. Virgin Islands

Cruz Bay, St John, United States Virgin Islands.

The U.S. Virgin Islands offer a less commercialized and just as scenic alternative to many more popular cruise destinations. Snorkel or dive in the seas that were once explored by pirates, then venture into the bustling markets of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. Or if you’re headed to the largest U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix, snap photos of sea turtles, indulge at the Cruzan Rum factory or explore trails above ground and under the sea.

10. Iceland

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Iceland is quickly becoming one of the world’s top travel destinations, and it’s no wonder it’s one of the best places to visit by sea. Lava fields and glaciers mesh with calm green pastures, cozy thermal springs and the infectious culture of Reykjavik to create a cruise destination that is significantly different than all the rest.

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About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a freelance writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves.

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