Our top 25 cruise experiences
32 days, Seward, AK to New York, NY
The first of our top 25 cruise experiences is the frozen far north is typified by the mythical Northwest Passage. The navigable route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Last year, the 1070-passenger Crystal Serenity became the first luxury cruise liner to make the crossing. She is set to reprise her triumph for a second transit this August, complemented by new onshore Crystal Wilderness Adventures and Boutique Adventures, such as adrenaline-charged Arctic scuba diving.
For active travellers, Antarctica can offer a hands-on experience like no other. Skiing, mountain climbing, sea kayaking, camping, photography, polar snorkelling and scuba diving, not to mention expertled Zodiac expeditions, are all options for the 100 passengers aboard Aurora Expeditions’ as-yet-unnamed new ship, set to make her debut in the 2019/20 Antarctic season.
17 days, Dunedin to Wellington, NZ
The subantarctic islands may only be a day’s sail from New Zealand, but their otherworldly avian populations make Ponant’s January 2018 expedition a bucket-list journey. Black-sand beaches home to seal colonies and penguins contrast with the majestic fjords of New Zealand, with naturalist-guided Zodiac excursions to bring the landscape to life.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Guests on Seven Seas Voyager northern summer Mediterranean cruises will be the first to experience the new Seven Seas Wellness programme, focusing on soul-enriching excursions – such as tai chi in the gardens of Marseille’s Pharo Palace, or swimming in hydrothermal waters in Sorrento – complemented by healthy eating options and a choice of five included 50-minute Canyon Ranch spa treatments. Keep an eye out for the programme on other Regent Seven Seas Cruises itineraries in the future.
Russian Far East
12 days, Otaru, Japan, to Petropavlovsk (Kamchatsky), Russia
Arctic foxes, colonies of seals, bears… the Russian Far East needs to be seen to be believed. Silver Explorer will visit the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka Peninsula on three itineraries in 2018, including a July expedition cruise that offers an in-depth exploration of this remote region.
7 nights, Baltra, Galapagos, Ecuador to San Cristobal, Ecuador
Follow in the wake of Charles Darwin as you encounter the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands aboard Silversea’s 100-passenger adventure cruise. Two new seven-night itineraries for 2017 will get you even closer to the natural wonders of Ecuador.
9 days, Budapest, Hungary to Linz, Austria
The new Active Discovery on the Danube is inviting travellers to explore their destination while biking, hiking and canoeing. There is also the option to delve into an ice cave, sling arrows in an archery class, and taste wine in the Wachau Valley.
7 nights, Split roundtrip
Hopping between the sun-soaked islands of the Croatian Adriatic is best done aboard an intimate yacht rather than a cruise liner. Katarina Line is revamping its deluxe cruise options this year, with the new 18-cabin MV Avanguard set to debut later in 2017, offering the best in new technology, comfort and the yacht lifestyle.
18 days, Rome to Dubai
Crystal’s annual ‘President’s Cruise’ with CEO Edie Rodriguez is heading to the Middle East in November for the first time since 2012. Crystal Symphony will call at Cyprus, Israel, Jordan and Oman, plus traverse the Suez Canal during the journey. The highlight will be an excursion into Wadi Rum and a Bedouin feast under the stars.
13 days, Murmansk, Russia roundtrip
There’s only one ship that can take you to 90° North: 50 Years of Victory. This powerful nuclear-powered icebreaker offers an expedition experience worthy of scientific exploration, topped off with a helicopter aerial tour and encounters with the wildlife of Franz Josef Land.
SeaDream Yacht Club
7 days, Nice, France, to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Indulge your passion for fine wine with one of SeaDream Yacht Club’s specialty Wine Voyages. There will be nine such journeys in 2018, including two in the Caribbean. Oenophile adventures in the Mediterranean feature truffle hunting in Italian forests and the opportunity to meet Clovis Taittinger, export director and scion of one of the last of the familyowned Champagne houses. The first Mediterrean wine voyage of 2018 departs on 12 May.
27 days, Tromsø, Norway to Nome, AK
The Northeast Passage sea route stretches across the Russian Arctic from Europe to Asia, offering a fascinating itinerary for those entranced with the north. Hapag-Lloyd’s MS Bremen will navigate the passage for only the second time since 2015 in August 2018, cruising from Norway to Alaska. Hapag-Lloyd ships are the only non-Russian passenger ships allowed on the intrepid route.
Zambezi Queen Collection
4-night combination on Zambezi Queen and Ichingo Chobe River Lodge
The Chobe River between Namibia and Botswana is dense with wildlife, including Africa’s coveted Big Five. See them on board the elegant 14-suite houseboat, 8 Zambezi Queen, as well as from on land.
28 days, including a 21-night cruise, Cape
Town, South Africa, to Accra, Ghana The dunes of Namibia and the Portuguese charm of Luanda, Angola, are among the unique destinations visited by a refurbished Silver Cloud on the March 2018 West Africa Explorer itinerary.
12 days, New York, NY, to Montreal, Canada
Sailing past the autumnal foliage of New England is practically a rite of passage for American cruisers. The 212-passenger Star Pride will be adding emblematic routes from the 2018 northern summer.
8 days, Reykjavik, Iceland roundtrip
Those visiting the Land of Fire & Ice on one of Tauck’s Earth Journeys in 2018 will be among the first to sail on Ponant’s new yacht, Le Lapérouse. The sold-out Iceland itinerary is designed to connect travellers with wildlife and nature.
11 days, Miami to Santiago de Cuba
Ponant’s flagship Le Ponant became the first luxury cruise vessel to sail to Cuba in April this year. Le Ponant will also be the vessel of choice for Tauck Small Ship Cruising’s 11-day People-to-People Cuba Cruise, flying from Miami to Havana, then sailing to Santiago de Cuba.
The Au Co Luxury Cruise
3 days, Halong Bay roundtrip
The natural beauty of Halong Bay is a must for travellers to Vietnam, and The Au Co Luxury Cruise is the way to see it in style. Offering the only three-day cruise of Halong and Cat Ba Island in its category, your journey is infused with cultural encounters and the fascinating local history of the area.
7 days, roundtrip Marigot Bay, St Martin
Crystal Esprit’s 10 December departure will feature VIP guest Jean-Michel Cousteau. The oceanographer will share insight from the underwater realm as passengers sail around the French West Indies and British Virgin Islands aboard the 31-cabin expedition yacht.
True North Adventure Cruises
13 nights, Wyndham to Broome, WA
If seeing the Kimberley aboard a luxury yacht is on your bucket list, chances are it’s because of True North Adventure Cruises. The pioneering company from WA is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, encouraging Australian travellers to discover the red rippled gorges and thundering waterfalls in their own backyard. The Kimberley Ultimate operates between April and August.
18 days, Santiago, Chile to Papeete, French Polynesia
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic will bring National Geographic Orion to the enchanting South Pacific between March and August 2018. Five new itineraries will unveil the region’s natural beauty and cultural diversity, including a voyage from Chile to Tahiti via Easter Island and the Pitcairn Islands.
It can be tempting to pigeonhole San Diego as a surfers’ city, but there’s so much more to this beachy