The Most Interesting Places to Cruise in 2019

David Merron/Courtesy Quark Expeditions

The world of cruising has changed.

With a new generation of travelers demanding more from the category, the food is better, the wellness offerings more plentiful, and the destinations ever more impressive. Cruises offer travelers unique opportunities to reach hard-to-access parts of the world from the comfort of a sort of moving hotel room. Here are some of the most interesting places to cruise this year, from the world’s best cruise lines.

The Arctic

For the traveler who’s seen and done it all, head to the poles to get as far away from civilization as possible. Quark Expeditions will take you northward above the Arctic Circle around glacier-rich Greenland. Perks of the 10-day cruise—starting and finishing in Reykjavik, Iceland—include hiking, wildlife watching, and admiring the Northern Lights.

Kimberly Coast, Australia

Ask seasoned cruise travelers what their most memorable ocean experiences have been, and the wild Kimberley coast will be a common answer. See the stunning Bungle Bungle mountain range, Lacepede Islands, Kooloma Bay, and more next year with Abercrombie and Kent. The Expedition Team will guide you on a 10-day voyage through one of Australia’s most remote, picturesque destinations on its new ship, Le Laperouse.


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The Skeleton Coast

Down at the eastern tip of southern Africa, the Skeleton Coast gets its name from the leftover bones of the whaling industry that once decorated the region’s beaches. Join Seabourn on a 12-day journey from Cape Town, South Africa to Namibia, with a stop at the Botlierskop Private Game Reserve to watch for elephants and white rhinos.

Cuba

SeaDream offers a deep dive of Cuba for those interested in going beyond Havana. The mega-yacht will transport you to UNESCO World-Heritage Sites and sunny beaches. Highlights include stopping by Cienfuegos, dubbed the Pearl of the South, and Maria la Gorda, a dream for scuba divers.


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Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar  

Southeast Asia is always a good idea for a vacation, whether you’re traveling by sea or by land. Cruise to the northern part of the region with Intrepid on a getaway to Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. Your 9-day itinerary begins on the Andaman Sea in Khao Lak, Thailand, before you board Similie, the yacht that will allow flexible sailing through the archipelago of rainforests and limestone cliffs.

The Ganges River, India

For 8-days, sail along the sacred Ganges on Uniworld’s new ME to WE wellness-focused cruise embarking and disembarking in Kolkata. Guests onboard will have opportunities to practice yoga and meditation with a yoga guru, pick up culinary skills at healthy cooking classes, and unwind at the Serenity River Spa. On land, you’ll visit artisan villages, India’s Temple City, Kalna, and Bengali towns. 


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Cyclades, Greece

Tour the Aegean Sea with Peregrine’s 8-day Greek Island voyage that covers well-known staples (Santorini and Mykonos) as well as better-kept-secrets (Paros and Delos). The recently-refurbished M/S Galileo becomes your temporary home when you board in Athens. To give guests more time to explore Greece ashore by night, the yacht stays docked in the evenings.

The Amazon

Spot dolphins in the Amazon on Relais & Châteaux’s first cruise aboard Delfin Amazon Cruises' Delfin I. The just-refurbished luxury vessel features floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces so you can take in the incredible views of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve along your 3 or 4-night cruise. Adventure-seekers will love the piranha fishing and night safari excursions.


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Antarctica

If there’s one mic-drop travel destination on the planet that’ll impress your friends and enemies, it’s Antarctica. Silversea has been running luxury cruises to the world’s southernmost continent for ten years, getting the bucket list voyage down to a science. On board, enjoy lectures by esteemed experts in their fields (like marine biologists and anthropologists) from the comfort of stately accommodations. Explore the continent of ice with those same experts, who can clue you in on fun facts about the wildlife and natural wonders of the pristine destination.

The Galápagos

Channel Charles Darwin with Quasar Expeditions on a 7-night cruise of kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, and scuba diving through the Galápagos Islands. The vessel, M/Y Grace, is as interesting as the destination. Built in 1928, the yacht transported the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Grace of Monaco (for her royal honeymoon, no less).

Southern Japan

Take a crash course on Japan with French cruise line, Ponant. “The Best of Japan” tour runs 9 days and 8 nights aboard Le Soléal, a 132-stateroom and suite yacht, traveling around southern Japanese coastal places like Kagoshima, the fertile prefecture known for producing the world’s best matcha tea.