Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Five Unusual Cruise Destinations


Some people think the only way to cruise is to hop a boat at Fort Lauderdale and head straight for the Bahamas.

I beg to differ.

There is far more to cruises than just relaxing on a deck as you’re transfered from one indistinguishable Caribbean beach to the next.  Whether you choose to visit a traditional or unusual destination, you can always find deals on discount cruises from providers like

Here are five cruise destinations that will make you rethink what a cruise can be.  There’s far more to these five destinations than frosty cocktails served poolside!


Image: mike.thomson75

The enormous and remote island of Svalbard, part of Norway, is well above the Arctic Circle.  If you’re looking for an incredible wilderness, Svalbard will thrill you like few places can.  Consider this: even in the capital city of Longyearbyen, everyone walks around with a shotgun — to shoot attacking polar bears.

Halong Bay

Image: Stephen Chipp

It may be listed as the gateway port to Hanoi, but Halong Bay happens to be one of the most enchanting places in Vietnam.  Early in the morning, watch the sun rise as the islands are enveloped in the mist.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more ethereal sight in Southeast Asia.  Just don’t set your heart on spending time in Hanoi — after waking up in Halong Bay, you’ll want to stay there as long as possible.

Cook Islands

Image: Luthor522

The Cook Islands have always skimmed under the radar for tourism, especially when compared to Fiji or Tahiti, but they were catapulted into fame when Survivor filmed a season there.  Now, they’re famous for their incredible beauty.  While they’re not a prominent cruise destination in the South Pacific, some very lucky passengers end up with a stop scheduled in Aitutaki.


Image: akshaydavis

This Middle Eastern kingdom is an archipelago of glitz, glamor, glittering skyscrapers and glistening waters.  Think Abu Dhabi in Sex and the City 2 — only not as mythologized, and you might actually want to spend time there.  Bahrain isn’t a major tourist draw yet, but now that it’s appearing on cruise ship itineraries, I predict that we will be seeing a lot more of this oil-rich country in the future.


Image: .:Adry:.

Sitting contentedly at the bottom of the world is Ushuaia, the tip of South America and the world’s southernmost city.  Ushuaia is the gateway to cruises to Antarctica, but it has plenty of attractions of its own — glacier trekking, horseback riding and hiking through Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia.

So, where would YOUR dream cruise take place?

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10 Responses to “Five Unusual Cruise Destinations”
  1. I always believed the misconception of cruising = lots of other foreigners + alcohol + drugs = mostly drunkards = party party party = want to get laid. And because they’re drinking & partying non-stop, when the boat stops to let you off for ‘activities’, some of those ‘activities’ are the last thing you want to be doing! So then all your time is bottled up on a ship and you don’t get to discover any foreign places and immerse in the culture for a long period.
    So I’ve never been one for those big cruise ships.
    However when I went to Egypt, we went on a small cruise boat down the Nile. And what a spectacular experience that was! Sure each to their own with the party shenanigans, but this boat had functions on every night that were to do with the local culture. And the stops that we made were short, but the ‘activities’ and sights wouldn’t have taken any longer to do and see.
    So now I’m definitely for cruise travelling!

    • Kate says:

      Totally agree, Lauren, and that’s why I put cruises in another category — my party/relax/get-away-to-get-away category, like my Vegas trips.

      But they’re not all like that! Your Egypt cruise sounds awesome.

  2. Laura Matar says:

    Kia Orana
    I have been to the Cook Islands four times so can definitely vouch for the Cooks as a fantastic cruise destination!!! If you are looking for a great ship that comes into Rarotonga and Aitutaki check out the Paul Gaugain – It’s really the best (and most inexpensive) way to combine Tahiti and the Cook Islands.



  3. Amanda says:

    I think cruise travel often gets a bad wrap. As your list here proves, you can cruise to some pretty incredible places, not just Mexico and the Bahamas. I just returned from the cruise to Alaska, which was awesome. It was the total opposite of the other cruises I’ve been on; it was relaxed and quiet and the ports were great. I wouldn’t recommend an Alaskan cruise if you’re out to meet/party with young people, but I still had a good time. Just had to make my own fun some nights, and then enjoy the scenery during the day.

  4. Deb Hm says:

    I volunteered to crew on two Windjammer cruises out of Camden, Maine and sailed the Penobscot Bay and around Mt. Desert Island. The cruise was fun, low-key and exhilarating! We spent three nights sailing and had an opportunity to stop at small islands around Maine. One was a small, artists’ colony where there was a multigenerational steel band at the local general store. We all bopped to the music played by grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren – about 40 people in all. We also stopped at Devil’s Island for a Lobster & Clam Bake. Being a member of the galley crew, I collected seaweed while my co-mates dug a pit and collected driftwood. We buried the seafood in seaweed and had a wonderful feast in about an hour. The fog can be pretty dense, so it is essential to use a compass and a bullhorn so you don’t hit another windjammer. The meals were delightful, three home-cooked meals and three snacks per day. All meals are cooked on a wood-fired stove and kept fresh in an ice box, the authentic Windjammer experience. Bring your own booze, but keep it to a minimum to stay safe. I even got tips for my efforts – something I did not expect. The hours are long, but the experience is worth it. Try a Windjammer Cruise in Camden, Maine. I sailed on the Mercantile which was built in 1916 and restored in 1989 with the Captains Williams. It is a 115 ft overall and sleeps 29 passengers and 5 crew members. If you’re not sure you like to sail, you can try a Windjammer cruise for two nights or if you know you like it, enjoy five days on the bay.

  5. I agree that it’s time to put the stigma of going on cruises to bed. When I was young I went on a cruise on the Nile river (Egypt) and to this very day it’s one of my best holiday memories.

  6. Ashlea says:

    Antarctica, Antarctica, Antarctica! Some day, when I have the money…

  7. I’ve been to both Svalbard and Ushuaia on the cruise ship that I worked on. Another destination I would include is the Amazon river to Manaus. There is something magical about being on the Amazon at night and it just comes alive. Another amazing place to cruise is Isle des Pines, New Caledonia. I visited both those places before I started blogging, I should dig out my photos!


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  1. […] this once little known region grew into popularity as the setting for a season of Survivor, but the beauty you can find here is well worth the competition. Most Cook Island cruises will also tour any number of the 2,000 […]

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