Best Of The Blue - 10 Top Ideas For Cruise Holidays

23 December 2014

Don't think every cruise is a lunch buffet and cocktails by the pool. Cruising introduces us to parts of the world we might have otherwise overlooked in our travel planning. From the breathtaking temples in Myanmar to the high-octane racing of the Monaco Grand Prix, here are 10 ideas for your next cruise holiday.

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1: Norway - Dramatic Scenery

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 A sight of the Norwegian fjords

 

Be in awe of the Norwegian fjords on Azamara Quest

Norway has a very high concentration of fjords (long, narrow inlets with steep cliffs created by glacial erosion, penetrating inland from the coast and deep into mountain wilderness). These age-old fjords have unique characteristics that are best appreciated from a ship – and the 16-night round-trip voyage on Azamara Quest, departing Amsterdam in August, 2016, presents the best.

Highlights of the itinerary include Bergen, riding the steep railway in Flåm, ascending Storsteinen Mountain in Tromsø by cable car, and the tiny hamlet of Gudvangen, home to 100 people and 1400 goats! In between are the towering mountains and waterfalls of the fjords, which are simply breathtaking.

NATURE ENTHUSIASTS WILL LOVE...

Sailing Canada and New England on Crystal Symphony

Take a 10-night cruise along St Lawrence River and the eastern seaboard from Montreal to New York in October, 2015.
It’s the best way to savour the annual natural spectacle that is the changing of the famous autumn colours.

Discovering New Zealand on MS Oosterdam

Holland America Line's scenic 15-night cruise from Sydney to Auckland in March, 2015, takes in Fiordland National Park and the dramatic Milford Sound.

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2: San Francisco - Cruising The World

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 On Crystal Serenity

 

Cruising the world on a round trip from San Francisco on Crystal Serenity

You earn bragging rights – as well as a lifetime of memories – once you’ve circumnavigated the planet on a ship. This new 102-day voyage departs in January, 2016, featuring a wow-factor line-up of destinations.

Along with key stops at Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, you’ll explore offbeat ports such as Apia in Samoa, Semarang in Indonesia, Jeju in South Korea and Petropavlovsk in Russia.
Cruising in five-star style on the 1070-guest Crystal Serenity, it is a luxurious experience with the convenience of big-ship amenities and an interior decor inspired by the casual vibe of southern California.

GLOBETROTTERS SHOULD ALSO TRY...

Cruising from Sydney to New York on Sea Princess

Escape winter on this epic 64-day cruise departing in May, 2015, visiting destinations such as Dubai, Athens, Dubrovnik, Barcelona, Dublin and Reykjavík.

Taking a round trip from Miami on Oceania Cruises’ Insignia

This new itinerary takes 180 days to complete. Departing in July, 2015, it travels to eastern USA, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa, then back through the Caribbean.

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3: Myanmar - Asian Odyssey

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 Sundown over Myanmar

 

Discover magical Mynamar on Road to Mandalay

From the soaring temples of Bagan to bustling Yangon, Myanmar possesses a surreal and enchanting landscape. New for 2015 is a 13-day escorted exploration with Tauck, a highlight of which is a three-night cruise on Belmond’s luxurious 82-guest river cruiser Road to Mandalay.

It offers a refined cruise experience along the Ayeyarwady River, allowing guests to step ashore to explore rural villages from a bygone era, or relax on the observation deck, watching spectacular scenery slip effortlessly by.

FOR MORE EXCITING ASIAN ADVENTURES, TRY...

Sailing from Tokyo to Hong Kong on Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager

Enjoy the best of Asia by cruising to Japan, Taiwan and China on this luxury all-suite, all-balcony ship on a 16-night cruise departing in March, 2015.

Exploring India on Uniworld’s Ganges Voyager II

From January, 2016, this exotic new river cruise explores the famous Golden Triangle and sacred Ganges in 12 nights (including a five-night land tour), with a visit to the Taj Mahal a highlight.

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4: Australia - Aussie Adventures

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 The great Aussie adventure

 

Discover the Kimberley on MS Caledonian Sky

It is an ancient wilderness of grandeur and contrast, with a breathtaking landscape marked by deep gorges, sky-high waterfalls and untamed forest – and the only way to see it all is on a cruise. Small expedition ships explore this remote part of Western Australia between April and September each year, and debuting in 2015 is Noble Caledonia’s boutique MS Caledonian Sky.

She’s purpose-built for exploring in style; newly refurbished in 2012, she has 57 suites, a country club atmosphere, and is equipped with adventurers’ toys including Zodiacs to get you up close and personal to all the action.

This 17-night exploration from Broome to Darwin features a star-studded line-up of natural wonders, including the King George Falls, dramatic twin waterfalls deep in the King George River, the tidal phenomenon of Montgomery Reef, and daily activities such as crocodile-spotting, fishing, viewing indigenous art and hiking to secluded swimming holes.

OTHER AMAZING AUSSIE ADVENTURES INCLUDE...

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef with Captain Cook Cruises on Coral Princess

A seven-night cruise from Cairns takes you into the heart of this iconic natural wonder, to snorkel the Ribbon Reefs, cruise the Hinchinbrook Channel and dive off Dunk Island.

Seeing Australia on Diamond Princess

It’s a new itinerary on a revitalised ship – a 28-day voyage departing Sydney in February, 2015, calling at Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Fremantle, Darwin and Brisbane as well as Airlie Beach, Port Douglas, Margaret River, Albany and even Bali.

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5: Antarctica - Winter Wonderlands

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 The frozen south

 

Discover Antarctica on Silversea’s Silver Explorer

More than 100 years after Sir Douglas Mawson’s historic expeditions, Antarctica remains an icy and magical enigma,
a wilderness of ‘other world’ quality that can only be reached by ship. Enjoy its wonders for 10 days from the luxurious decks of the Silver Explorer, an expedition ship cruising from Ushuaia, Argentina.

Carrying just 132 pampered guests, it pushes through ice floes with ease, placing you on the doorstep of the white continent. Be prepared to have your breath taken away; what lies ahead is a landscape of spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers, as well as encounters with gentoo penguins, seals, whales and seabirds.

FOR MORE ICE MAGIC, TRY...

Exploring glaciers and geysers on Le Boreal

This seven-night round-trip cruise from Reykjavik in July and August, 2015, will take you to the fringes of the Arctic Circle, the last frontier of Europe forged dramatically by fire and ice.

Cruising Norway on Hurtigruten’s MS Midnatsol

A plethora of natural delights will dazzle you with every season – from rebirth in spring and the midnight sun in summer to the brilliant autumn colours and famed winter Northern Lights.


More on cruising. From Sunrise To Sunset: 24 Hours In The Life Of A Cruiser

Make sure you're on the right cruise. How To Choose The Right Cruise For You


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6: Alaska - Up Close And Personal

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 Call of the north

 

See Alaska aboard Celebrity Solstice

Shaped by the incredible force of massive glaciers millions of years ago, Alaska’s famed Inside Passage is a dramatic landscape of lush scenery, towering peaks, deep fjords, remote islands and abundant wildlife, including humpback whales, sea lions, American bald eagles, caribou and bears.

Celebrity Solstice, departing Seattle, is one of hundreds of cruise ship arrivals between May and September. Besides travelling in style to popular ports of call such as Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Also on offer is the chance to create memorable experiences by dog-sledding and cruising past centuries-old glaciers.

GET EVEN CLOSER TO NATURE BY...

Exploring Borneo and Indonesia on National Geographic Orion

This 11-day Bali to Singapore cruise between May and October explores the remote Borneo wilderness and offers a chance to interact with orangutans at research station Camp Leakey.

Sailing the great Amazon on Seabourn Quest

Explore one of the world’s great rivers, spot toucans in the canopy and fish for infamous red piranha on a 15-day voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Manaus, Brazil in October, 2015.

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7: Panama Canal - Mighty Crossings

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 From ocean to ocean

 

See the Panama Canal from Seven Seas Navigator

Completed in 1914, the 77-kilometre canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at the Isthmus of Panama, slicing through one of the world’s deadliest jungles and allowing ships to glide 26 metres above sea level. A transit of the Panama Canal’s narrow locks and winding waterway is breathtaking, especially from the open decks and private balconies of Regent’s Seven Seas Navigator.

Its 21-night cruise from San Francisco to New York in September, 2015 is a voyage between two great US cities by way of the canal.

NEED MORE SEAS TO TRAVERSE? TRY...

A transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2

This iconic voyage between Southampton and New York was once the only way to sail from the old world to the new. Today it’s a chance to relive the adventure on a week-long, no-ports cruise.

A transpacific crossing on Celebrity Millennium

In April, 2015, this glamorous ship will depart Shanghai for Vancouver on a 17-night cruise, complete with stops at Mt Fuji and Tokyo.

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8: French Polynesia - Island Hopping

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 In the footsteps of Gauguin

 

Visit French Polynesia on MS Paul Gauguin

Admiral William Bligh and Captain James Cook fell in love with the Tahitian archipelago – and you will too when your cruise ship drops anchor in the azure lagoon off Bora Bora or in the shadow of Moorea’s dramatic peaks.

French charm, idyllic islands and a warm ambience – coupled with colourful coral reefs, sacred Polynesian sites and pristine beaches – are a few elements that make Tahiti a dream cruise destination. The seven-night cruise on MS Paul Gauguin departs Papeete, Tahiti to take 332 guests to French Polynesia year-round.

SUN-LOVERS WILL ALSO ENJOY...

Visiting the Greek islands on Norwegian Jade

Explore the best of Greece, including Athens, Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos, with stops at Croatia and Turkey, on a 14-night cruise between April and October, 2015.

Sailing the Caribbean on Allure of the Seas

The world’s largest cruise ship has so many features, including the Tony award-winning musical Chicago and a carousel.
It plies the balmy waters of the Caribbean year-round on seven-night eastern and western itineraries.

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9: USA - Heading Up The River

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 The American Queen

 

Sail the Mississippi aboard American Queen

The mighty Mississippi evokes the history and grandeur of a bygone era. Ideally suited to traversing the second-longest river in the United States is the 436-guest American Queen.

Her year-round destinations on the Mississippi are no less captivating than her appearance; in addition to enigmatic New Orleans, she visits Louisiana capital Baton Rouge and Vicksburg, where southern heritage fuses with modern-day attractions.

Meanwhile, in the upper Mississippi, Alton is not only considered to be one of the most haunted cities in America, but is also the area where the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers converge.

IF RIVERS ARE YOUR THING, TRY...

Touring the Volga-Baltic Waterway with Viking River Cruises

Enjoy the sights of Russia’s marquee cities and explore the history of quaint Golden Ring towns such as Yaroslavl and Uglich on a 13-day cruise from Moscow to Saint Petersburg between August and October.

Traversing France on Uniworld’s SS Catherine

This glamorous new cruiser will whisk you away on a 22-day journey from Paris to Lyon between March and October.

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10: Monaco - Once-In-A-Lifetime Events

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 Visit of a lifetime

 

Watch the Grand Prix de Monaco on Silver Spirit

It’s the premier spring social event for the rich and famous in the northern hemisphere, where the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo is at its most dazzling.

Anchoring off the petite principality of Monaco is an experience in itself, as luxury yachts jostle for position and helicopters buzz overhead, capturing events as they unfold on the winding streets.

This nine-night cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia in Italy is a wonderful way to enjoy the action with ease.
Go ashore for the iconic race, or take a more relaxed approach by staying on board and watching from afar with French bubbly in hand!

BECAUSE WE ALL NEED MORE ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EVENTS...

Celebrate Rio’s Carnival on Azamara Journey

Departing in February, 2015, this 12-night round-trip cruise from Rio de Janeiro has an overnight stay in the city to join the greatest party on Earth.

Don’t miss the reunion of the three queens

Board Queen Mary 2 in Southampton in May, 2015 for a unique 10-day round-trip cruise, featuring a special rendezvous of all three queens for the first time in Liverpool.

Joanna Hall

Joanna Hall is a journalist, editor and author with almost 30 years experience under her belt, and specialises in luxury travel and cruising. A self-proclaimed cruise addict, when she's not at sea, Joanna enjoys the great outdoors and the beach, living in Sydney's Northern Beaches.