Whether you’re into adrenaline-pumping wildlife expeditions or all-inclusive luxury, there’s a cruise line for everyone (yes, even the undecided).
Image credit: Lucia Griggi
For milestone occasions1/13
There are times for candles on a cake and there are times when nothing but an all-inclusive cruise complete with door-to-door transfers and 24-hour in-room butler service will do. Of course, any Silversea cruise would fit the bill for a milestone (with smaller-than-average ships and low passenger counts, the key word here is exclusivity) but in the spirit of “go big or go home”, why not book the 63-day Grand Africa & Arabia voyage aboard Silver Spirit? With 28 ports across 13 countries, you can celebrate again (and again) in destinations as varied as the Seychelles and the Sahara Desert.
Image credit: White Rain
For Christmas fanatics2/13
Close your eyes and visualise a string of fairytale villages heady with the scent of freshly baked gingerbread and glittering under fairy lights and mistletoe. Unleash the eight-year-old within on Viking’s eight-day Danube Christmas Delights cruise through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany. You can skate on outdoor rinks, shop the Christmas markets and consume your body weight in spiced strudels.
Will it be a morning of surf and skydiving simulators or dodgem cars and laser tag? An afternoon of rock climbing and sushi-making or arcade games and robot crafted mocktails? Behold the cruise line that turns the most mature adult into a fun-loving teen as Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas departs Sydney for a seven-night South Pacific voyage. Sure, your actual teenagers will appreciate the great snorkel and swim spots in Vanuatu and New Caledonia (once you force them off the ship) but this is a situation where the journey is every bit as exhilarating as the destinations.
Image credit: Matt Stroshane
For young families4/13
What parent doesn’t owe a little something (additional sleep, pockets of silence, etc) to Disney? Now, for the first time, Disney Magic at Sea is coming to Australia on the Disney Wonder ship, sailing out of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland from October this year. The entire 984-foot ship (and indeed, fleet) is geared towards mini passengers making memories with their new best friends (aka characters from Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars movies). Expect interactive dining experiences, colourful deck parties, Broadway-quality shows and more primary colours than a Benetton campaign.
For bucket-list travellers5/13
Bucket-list cruises usually mean voyages to places such as Antarctica and Galápagos, right? Wrong. “We have more than 100 years of experience in understanding where to take travellers to give them ‘goosebumps’ moments,” says Alice Ager of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. The company’s Rivers of the World itinerary, for instance, takes in the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Swiss Alps, Central Europe and northern France in an all-inclusive (onboard) journey over 46 nights. “From black-tie gala dinners in the Grand Egyptian Museum to after-hours strolls through the crypts of Saint Mark’s Basilica, this is about enjoying months of experiences inaccessible to most.”
Image credit: Tyson Mayr
Howard Whelan, expedition leader for Aurora Expeditions, doesn’t speak like a man who’s visited Antarctica “90 times or so” but rather like someone who’s just fallen in love. “What makes Across the Antarctic Circle the ultimate adventurer’s cruise is that few cruise lines take the challenge to push through the crossing so you’ll see parts of the continent that most people never will.” The journey isn’t only about viewing but also about polar snorkelling, scuba-diving, alpine trekking, sea kayaking and ice camping – all activities that can be enjoyed on the 13-day cruise aboard the Greg Mortimer.
Image credit: Verena Meraldi
Speak to Damian Perry, managing director, APAC, at Hurtigruten, about its In the Realm of the Polar Bear cruise to Svalbard (a Norwegian archipelago where polar bears outnumber humans) and you expect him to talk about, well, polar bears. “Nooo!” he exclaims. “I put Svalbard up there with the saturation of wildlife you’d see in Antarctica – polar bears, yes, but also Arctic foxes, whale pods, walruses, narwhals, reindeer and all manner of birdlife.” Variety aside, what makes this the ultimate wildlife cruise? Hurtigruten Expeditions provides a team of experts on hybrid-powered vessels to enhance your experience.
Image credit: Michel Verdure
For the epic voyager8/13
Six months aboard one ship isn’t for everybody but it’s a once-in-alifetime dream for many people and Oceania Cruises’ signature Around the World cruises on the 656-passenger Insignia sell out almost as soon as they’re announced. With access to 100 UNESCO heritage sites across five continents, 34 countries, 96 ports and 24 overnight stays – punctuated by spa treatments, creative workshops, gourmet meals and a Monte Carlo-style casino – you won’t be left wondering about the world or your capacity to enjoy it.
Image credit: Nicolas Matheus
For culture vultures9/13
Looking at the Louvre Abu Dhabi or the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat is one thing but understanding their significance is another. With Middle East experts on hand, passengers who embark on Ponant’s Cruising the Arabian Coast can bookend visits to major sites with onboard talks by a former United States ambassador to Afghanistan and a distinguished religious studies scholar. Result? The world’s most polished open classroom.
It’s a genuine dilemma: you’re on a romantic cruise in French Polynesia, with eyes only for each other, and a parade of dreamy vistas keeps turning your head. It’s a constant issue on Windstar Cruises’ voyages and its seven-day Overwater Bungalow & Tahitian Paradises Tour doesn’t make it any easier. The cruise line, which operates a fleet of small luxury ships, takes you to six of Polynesia’s most captivating islands aboard Wind Spirit or Star Breeze, with overwater bungalow stays, breakfast delivered by canoe and dinners on the beach.
“To the French, food is more than just nourishment; it’s a way of life,” enthuses Scenic’s Anthony Laver of the cruise line’s 11-day Tastes of Southern France trip hosted by renowned chef Gabriel Gaté. “Gabriel goes to great lengths on the Scenic Sapphire to ensure passengers gain a deep understanding of the art of savoir vivre.” Scenic is well-known for its gastronomy and on this voyage, shore excursions include day visits to truffle farmers and vintners, cheesemongers and local chefs.
Image credit: Steve Dunlop
For LGBTQIA+ travellers12/13
Take a sizzling Mediterranean landscape, add bucketloads of fun and you’ve got Celebrity Cruises’ annual Pride Party at Sea, the cherry on top of the cruise line’s long-standing relationship with the LGBTQIA+ community. “We’re passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion year-round – it’s a core part of who we are – but Pride Month provides a special opportunity to show solidarity,” says Celebrity’s Tim Jones. The Pride Party at Sea flagship, Celebrity Edge, will kick off festivities with a trip through Italy, France and Spain in June.