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Spoilt for choice: World’s top cruise destinations for 2020

Cruising the poles: The Silver Explorer among the rocky, icy and eerie Antarctic landscape. PAMELA WADE

Spoilt for choice: World’s top cruise destinations for 2020

If you want a trip where you only unpack once, learn something new, experience many different cultures and cuisines, make friends for life, and arrive back home relaxed, then a cruise may be what you’re looking for.

Spoilt for choice: World’s top cruise destinations for 2020

Ocean Cruising: How to decide where to go

With options ranging from Antarctica to the Black Sea – and offering luxury, adventure and expedition – picking the right cruise is a pleasant dilemma.

We’ve whittled down the top choices to eight, so you can decide which cruise itinerary works for you.

1 The Poles

For many, the allure of both poles is calling. With more and more itineraries heading to these regions, there’s a range of cruise options to the ice-covered regions. New expedition ships now feature all the mod cons – from gyms to 5-star restaurants, plus a range of high tech equipment for incredible activities like polar swimming and zodiac explorations.

The Polar Regions beckon travellers with opportunities to witness endemic wildlife species, unspoiled landscapes and rarely seen cultures.

Icelandic horses make their way across one of the many stunning landscapes you'll encounter on an Arctic cruise.

Icelandic horses make their way across one of the many stunning landscapes you’ll encounter on an Arctic cruise.

The Arctic’s iconic polar bears, wild coasts and remote villages, can only be matched by Antarctica’s glaciers, geothermal beaches, and ice-dappled waters, orca whales and elephant seals. 

Cruise Antarctica in luxury and put the champagne on polar ice
Cruise the Arctic and uncover Iceland’s fountain of youth

2 Japan 

Every now and then, you find a destination so rich in culture, history and creativity you know you’ll be back again.

Bustling Tokyo, with the backdrop of Mt Fuji looking down on the Japanese capital.

Bustling Tokyo, with the backdrop of Mt Fuji looking down on the Japanese capital.

With its unique ancient traditions fused with thriving modern life, Japan is just such a place. Japan offers calm water cruising on the Seto Inland Sea and Sea of Japan.

It’s an opportunity to visit culturally-rich and stunning cities such as Takamatsu, Hiroshima, Karatsu, Matsue, Kanazawa, Sado-ga-shima and Noshiro; as well as wilderness areas and far-flung ports.

3 The Baltic

Luxury expedition cruise pioneer Abercrombie & Kent has released its new portfolio of expeditionary voyages, which include new luxury polar voyages to the Antarctic and Arctic as well as more culturally focused expeditions to Japan, Italy, the Greek Islands, and Australia’s Kimberley coast.

A Baltic cruise will take you through the fringes of Scandinavia and mainland Europe. ISTOCK

A Baltic cruise will take you through the fringes of Scandinavia and mainland Europe. ISTOCK

The Baltic is also part of the exciting new portfolio put forward by A&K.

Travelling onboard Le Dumont d’Urville, an all-balcony mega-yacht soon to be launched, this incredible voyage follows in the wake of Viking mariners and Nordic explorers, and encompasses the grand historic cities and fascinating cultures of seven Baltic countries – Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia, Finland and Russia. 

4 Borneo

One of the last truly wild places on earth, Borneo offers travellers lush forests teeming with tropical flora and fauna, pristine coastlines, and labyrinthine caves.

You can explore this unique part of the world on board a small ship adventure cruise with Peregrine Adventures.

The 10-day getaway will reveal some of the cultural and natural treasures of rugged Borneo, skipping between the Malaysian and Bruneian sections of the island in the comfort of MS Panorama II.

Spot birds, butterflies and beasts in four different national parks, learn about human history in the Niah Caves, and taste a range of local delicacies prepared with fresh seafood and produce along the way. 

5 Down Under

Seasoned and novice cruisers alike will love the Holland America Line voyages aboard the luxurious MS Noordam and MS Maasdam.

Offering a premium, mid-sized ship experience, Noordam uncovers the enchanting isles of the South Pacific en route to Australia’s southern and eastern regions, as well as New Zealand’s North and South Islands.

Cruise ships tend to be dwarfed by the towering peaks of Milford Sound, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Oceania. ISTOCK

Cruise ships tend to be dwarfed by the towering peaks of Milford Sound, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Oceania. ISTOCK

“Our Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific cruises are crafted to focus on the must-explore ports, must-see sites and incredible scenic cruising – from cosmopolitan cities like Sydney to the natural beauty of Milford Sound,” said Tony Archbold, Holland America Line’s senior director of sales and marketing for Australia and New Zealand.

6 The World  

In Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel, Around The World In 80 Days, Phileas Fogg attempted to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.

But why rush, when you can cruise in style aboard the award-winning Crystal Serenity? Embarking on a 116-night world cruise in 2020 marks the line’s 27th annual world cruise.

The ‘Myths, Marvels & Monuments: A Cultural Mosaic’ itinerary explores the Panama Canal; Hawaii, Tonga and Samoa; Australia and New Zealand; Indonesia and Sri Lanka; Egypt, Israel and the Black Sea; Greece; and the French Riviera.

“Crystal’s world cruise again ups the ante of luxury exploration, a true full-circle global odyssey with a focus on choices,” said Carmen Corvos-Roig, Crystal’s senior vice president of marketing and sales.

7 Black Sea & Aegean

For those interested in the history of civilisations that reflect ancient and modern cultures, stunning landscapes, iconic architecture, music and art styles, all intertwined with exotic tastes and sounds reflective of the crossroads of Europe and Asia, exploring the Black Sea and Aegean islands is a must.

Bursting with culture, food and life, the Turkish city of Istanbul is a must-visit on any Black Sea cruise. ISTOCK

Bursting with culture, food and life, the Turkish city of Istanbul is a must-visit on any Black Sea cruise. ISTOCK

“This meeting point of Eastern and Western civilisations – the intersection between Europe, the Caucasus and Asia Minor, the Black Sea region and Aegean – boasts a rich natural and cultural heritage, combining charming seaside resorts, small ports featuring Byzantine architecture, ancient Ottoman cities, and vestiges of the Greek and Roman empires,” says experienced cruise guru Lance Mumby.

8 The Caribbean

“There’s nothing like having a Caribbean cruise to look forward to for a summer escape, especially when a day on a private island paradise is included,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.

We'll just leave this here. ISTOCK

We’ll just leave this here. ISTOCK

“The Caribbean offers that perfect combination of laid-back relaxation, fun and colourful culture, and a cruise gives travellers the most value for their money and easiest way to visit several idyllic islands in one vacation.”

WIN: A Viking River Cruise valued at $20,000, including a visit to the real Downton Abbey

The October issue of MiNDFOOD is our cruise special. With so many cruises to choose from, why not explore some more:
Cruise Antarctica in luxury and put the champagne on polar ice
Revealed: The top cruise destinations for 2020
Tahiti: A magical blend of Pacific paradise and French culture and cuisine
Cruise the Arctic and uncover Iceland’s fountain of youth

Why you should go on a cruise for your next holiday

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