At Cruise Critic, our editorial staff loves to travel – and cruise. Our staffers range from folks who have only been on a handful of cruises to those who have sailed hundreds of times and who have visited every continent.
But what cruise destinations hold a special place in our editor’s hearts? We polled them about their best cruise destinations, with no rules: it could be a place they’ve sailed to dozens of times, or a bucket-list destination they’ve always wanted to visit.
Here are their choices. See which one inspires you to get out and cruise!
Marilyn Borth, Assistant SEO Editor: “South America has long held a special place in my heart, but its massive size and staggering number of must-see destinations make it difficult to see in a short time period. While no cruise can make you "see it all in one go," this 32-night South America Cruise aboard Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess gets pretty close.
“Central and South America are roped into this itinerary seamlessly, hitting hot spots like Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, Lima in Peru, and both Cape Horn and Buenos Aires in Argentina. Pleasant under-the-radar ports of call are woven into this journey as well, like Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands; and even Chile's Amalia Glacier. Vibrant cities, several unique cultures, winery tours, stunning nature, and even penguins in their natural habitat -- this itinerary really has it all.
“On a personal note, I am not the biggest fan of sea days and prefer spending most of my cruises at destinations -- both well-known and off-the-beaten path locations -- and this cruise ticks all of my boxes. I welcome the added bonus of escaping to warm, sunny weather during the brutal winter in Boston with open arms as well.”
Chris Gray Faust, Executive Editor, US: “For me, cruising is about being able to go to all the places that are on the ocean that might be hard to do from land. So, I am always looking at how I can continue to check off my bucket list and see new places, while enjoying the convenience of unpacking once.
“This itinerary with Lindblad Expeditions that encompasses both Indonesia and the Kimberley region of Australia is my latest obsession. I can’t imagine anything cooler than having a chance to explore one of Australia’s most remote areas, with its wildlife, natural wonders like King George Falls, and indigenous culture, and being able to compare it with similar experiences on Indonesia’s various islands (this itinerary also visits Komodo Island, home of the oh-so-weird Komodo dragons – did you know a bite from them is so poisonous because of the bacteria, you’d die of an infection?)
“I love facts like this, and to see this region of the world in the company of Lindblad’s scientists and naturalists would be a dream come true.”
Adam Coulter, Executive Editor, Cruise Critic UK & Australia: “For me, it’s hands-down the “Coastal Express” with Norwegian cruise, ferry and expedition line Hurtigruten. Originally launched 175 years ago as a vital connection for remote towns and villages along the 1,500-mile Norwegian coastline, this itinerary is stunning at any time of year, but there is something very special about going in winter.
“Starting at Bergen and stopping at an incredible 34 communities in coastal Norway along the way, sometimes for just 15 minutes, the route calls in at Alesund, the Lofoten Islands and crossing the Arctic Circle, calling in at Tromso, Hammerfest, Nordkapp (The North Cape), and finally Kirkenes – just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Russian border.
“As well as a very strong chance to catch the Northern Lights, you can also take part in the most incredible excursions including husky sledding, skiing, nighttime skidooing, ice fishing and even a stay in the Ice Hotel in Kirkenes!
“Even better, you can take the Coastal Express as a 6-day, one-way cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes, or a 12-day roundtrip cruise.”
“These quick four-and-five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean are easy on the wallet and the vacation time. They also happen to sail aboard two of Royal Caribbean’s prettiest ships, Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas – both of which offer miles of floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of fun diversions like self-levelling pool tables while still carrying less than 3,000 passengers apiece. They’re big, without being too big.
“Sailing from Tampa – itself less chaotic and calmer than, say, Miami or Port Everglades –these quick cruises jaunt down to Cozumel and Costa Maya and still have time to pop in a sea day or two. The cruise is long enough that it feels like a ‘real’ vacation and not just a weekend away, but for a fraction of the cost of a weeklong sailing.”
Jorge Oliver, Cruise Editor: “Blame it on renowned Egyptologist Howard Carter or Indiana Jones’ adventures in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the appeal of Egypt has always felt timeless for me. It also doesn’t hurt that the country is traversed by one of the world’s most famous rivers, affording travelers the opportunity to visit some of Ancient Egypt’s most iconic sites on a cruise along the Nile River Valley.”
“That’s why it’s impossible for me not to geek out over this itinerary from Viking River Cruises. The 11-day journey sails right into the heart of Ancient Egyptian civilization by visiting ports like Aswan, Luxor, Esna and Qena, as well as a generous stay in Cairo. Architectural and archaeological marvels like the Valley of the Kings, the Great Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, Karnak, Kom Ombo and the Temple of Edfu are strung like pearls on the string of the Nile River, providing a matchless glimpse into one of humanity’s greatest civilizations.”
And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s hard to beat the thrill of sailing on a river that humans have masterfully navigated as early as 3,000 B.C.E.