Cruises hold a special place in the minds of holiday makers and travel lusters; it represents something more than just your average holiday – it’s adventure, it’s status, it’s class. The jet-setting, globe-travelling community has plenty to say about which of the watery corners of the world should top the list for best cruise destinations- and we’ve got a few ideas ourselves. Here are our nominations for best cruise destinations 2017:
Lan Ha Bay (Vietnam)
Lan Ha Bay is truly the hidden gem of the whole Halong Bay region. As it’s located farther away from the populous Halong City, it’s much less touristy here- which is incredible because the scenery easily challenges that of Halong. Lan Ha Bay’s isolated appeal is what makes it one of the world’s best cruise destinations; isn’t it so much better to be immersed in nature when you’re virtually the only ones there?
Located on the Southeast of Cat Ba island, the bay features hundreds of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes, topped by a thick mess of rainforest; breathtaking views guaranteed.
Around 200 species of fish, 500 species of mollusc, 400 species of arthropod, and numerous hard and soft coral live in the waters here, while larger marine animals in the area include seals and three species of dolphin.
You don’t need to be on a big vessel to make the most of the world’s best cruise destinations; hitting the waters solo style in a kayak or small sailboat is the best way to explore Lan Ha Bay.
The most popular excursion is a 2 day 1 night tour, which allows guests to stay on their cruise at night; although guests can also choose to stay 1 day in Cat Ba Island and take a day tour to discover Lan Ha Bay the day after. Stunning scenery, lack of crowds, and seriously tasty local foods make Lan Ha Bay the well-deserved list-topper for best cruise destinations in 2017.
Phang Nga Bay (Thailand)
Phang Nga Bay is 400 square kilometers of bay in the Strait of Malacca between the island of Phuket and the mainland of the Malay Peninsula of southern Thailand. Sheer limestone karsts jut vertically out of Phang Nga Bay’s emerald-green water. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just two of the most famous spots in this bay.
James Bond Island, also known as “Koh Ta-Pu” (which means Nail Island in Thai), is a famous landmark. It has been widely showcased in travelers’ itineraries since its role in the Hollywood blockbuster, “James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun”. There are day tours and overnight cruises on offer, although the most popular tour is the day tour.
Santorini Bay (Greece)
Santorini is one of those spots that always seem to sit at the top of someone’s travel bucket list. With multi-colored cliffs soaring over 300 meters from a sea-drowned caldera, it rests in the middle of the indigo-watered Aegean sea, looking like a huge slab of layered cake.
The island spoons the vast crater left by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history. Smaller islands curl around the fragmented western edge of the caldera, but it is the main island of Thira that will blow your mind with its snowdrifts of white psychedelic-looking houses lining the cliff tops and, in places, spilling like an avalanche down the terraced rock. When the sun sets, the reflection on the buildings and the glow of the orange and red in the cliffs can be truly spectacular.
Many expert cruise companies like Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruise Line choose Santorini as a must-stop port in their itineraries; it’s definitely one of the best cruise destinations in the world.
Bay of Islands (New Zealand)
It takes you 3 hours driving, or 35 minutes flying to access the bay from north of Auckland. The Bay of Islands has 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the tourist towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri.
Daily cruises bring visitors to discover the expansive collection of islands and discover the beautiful surroundings here; there’s also the option to charter a yacht or hire a sea kayak. Once you’re around Tapeka Point – just north of Russell – you’ll enter a maritime-adventure playground with an abundance of wildlife including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets and more. Many of the islands here have walking tracks and there are camping grounds on Urupukapuka Island.
Paradise Bay (Antarctica)
Antarctica is a land of extremes. It is the coldest and driest continent on Earth and has the highest average elevation. As the fifth-largest continent in the world, Antarctica is also the most southern, overlying the “South Pole”. Scarcely touched by humans, the frozen land boasts breathtaking scenery, broken by only a handful of scientific bases and a “permanent” population of scientists numbering only around a few thousand.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re not afraid to brave the rough sea crossings aboard an ice-strengthened vessel, Antarctica surely represents one of the best cruise destinations in the world. Those who make the treacherous journey are rewarded with amazing scenery and tremendous, unique wildlife that few others will ever see in their lifetime.