Spanning seven seas — and countless waterways in between — the world’s horizons stretch every which way for would-be cruisers. Accordingly, navigating through the literally boatloads of cruising possibilities can feel like an insurmountable task, which is why we’ve narrowed down the best of the bunch to these 10 cruises of a lifetime.
Best for Beach Bums: Caribbean Cruises on a Masted Sailing Ship with Windstar
If spending a day soaking up the sun on white-sand-fringed Caribbean shores sounds like your idea of perfect beach day bliss, factor this into that fantasy: Sailing into port on a massive yacht, billowing white sails overhead. Windstar Cruises offers guests just such a transporting experience aboard their seven-night Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary, sailing round-trip from St. Maarten to island locales in Antigua, St. Bart’s and the British Virgin Islands, where diversions include snorkeling, beach barbecues, and seaside party-primed overnight stays in port.
Best for Nature Lovers: Galápagos Islands Voyages with Lindblad Expeditions
Remote and enchanting, the Galápagos are a rightful place of pilgrimage for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. You can follow in Darwin’s footsteps on a family-friendly seven-night island-hopper cruise (bookended with overnight hotel stays in Guayaquil, Ecuador) with the pros at Lindblad Expeditions — in partnership with National Geographic — including a team of naturalists (with an “undersea specialist”) and a photo instructor.
Best for Culture Vultures: China and Tibet Cruisetours with Viking
Viking River Cruises offers Yangtze River sailings as part of their culturally immersive Chinese “cruisetour” products (combining land-based and river cruising components). You can opt in for their exceptional 16-night Roof of the World itinerary, which pairs a six-night Yangtze River sailing through the scenic Three Gorges region (aboard the 256-passenger Viking Emerald) with a 10-night land-based exploration of cosmopolitan Shanghai, Beijing (with its Forbidden City and nearby Great Wall of China), Xi’an (home to the Terracotta Army) and most remarkably, Lhasa, in Tibet, where guests can experience unforgettable cultural encounters like a home-hosted teatime or observing monks at debate.
Best for Foodies: French Canal Barging in Champagne with French Country Waterways
Aboard the plushly refitted barges of French Country Waterways, which ply the canals of the French countryside at a leisurely pace, no epicurean would be disappointed. Six-night sailings through the storied Champagne region — home to Champagne houses like Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot — incorporate private wine and bubbly tastings and vineyard visits, strolls through medieval villages and old chateaux, and a dinner ashore at the Michelin-starred Les Crayères restaurant.
Best for Adventurers: Northwest Passage Crossing with Crystal Cruises
In 2016, the 1,070-passenger Crystal Serenity made headlines for becoming the first large luxury cruise ship to traverse the once-impassable Northwest Passage — a feat that’s been made possible by the continued effects of climate change. This year once again, Crystal’s most intrepid guests — and those with 32 vacation days and a pretty penny to spare — will be able to make the one-off sailing through this frigid Arctic region between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (from Anchorage to NYC).
Best for Romantics: South Pacific Sailing with Paul Gauguin Cruises
Regularly lauded as the world’s most romantic cruise line, Paul Gauguin Cruises whisks starry-eyed guests through the dreamy, beachy idylls of the South Pacific. Romantics can’t go wrong with their seven-night island-hopping voyages sailing round-trip from Tahiti to Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine (in the Society Islands), and the cruise line’s private islet at Motu Mahana.
Made-for-two excursions include sunset champagne sailings (on a motorized boat), snorkeling or kayaking in turquoise lagoons (the ship is equipped with a water sports marina), or Polynesian feasts at the line’s own motu.
Best for Solo Travelers: Norwegian Solo-Friendly Sailings to Mediterranean Hot Spots
Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic pioneered an industry-first cruise market for solo travelers, thanks to its designed (and priced)-for-one Studio staterooms (with 128 available), as well as a private Studio Lounge where fellow solo travelers can meet up over coffee and conversation on board.
You can mingle with other singles while sailing its seven-night Mediterranean itinerary, taking in solo-friendly ports in happening European cities such as Barcelona and Rome, as well as more Med stops primed for solo-friendly activities like beach-lounging or taking in world-class art museums (including Naples, Florence, Cannes, and Majorca).
Best for Families: Week-long Alaska Voyages with Disney Cruise Line
Nobody does family cruising better than Disney, and the wilds of Alaska are the ultimate playground for families looking to share adventures and make nature and wildlife discoveries to cherish for a lifetime.
The revamped 2,713-passenger Disney Wonder, sailing five-, seven-, and nine-night itineraries round-trip from Vancouver, comes with all of Disney’s family-friendly signatures — Disney character encounters, kids’ clubs, themed play areas, deck parties and family-focused dining and entertainment (like a “Frozen”-themed stage show) — while, in port, encounters with native cultures, prehistoric glaciers, marine wildlife, dog-mushing teams, gold-mining relics and more await.
Source By cnn…