It is National Plan a Cruise Month and the cruise industry is celebrating by unveiling the eleven most amazing and unexpected cruise destinations. While Caribbean paradises may be the first cruise destination to come to mind for many, cruise lines are continually expanding cruise locales to include hidden gems of the world and surprising locations. In fact, according to Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) 2015 State of the Cruise Industry report, there are nearly 1,000 cruise ports and destinations around the world – which is predicted to continue to grow as cruise ships sail both rivers and oceans striving to deliver brand new cruise vacation experiences for travelers.
“From small European towns to bustling ports in Southeast Asia, cruise travelers can discover some of the most amazing travel destinations in the world while traveling aboard a cruise ship,” said Cindy D’Aoust, Acting CEO of CLIA. “Cruise travel has truly opened up the possibility of international travel while offering the ease, comfort and convenience found on a cruise vacation.”
Unexpected Cruise Destinations – River Cruises
River Cruises are a wonderful way for cruise passengers to discover some of most authentic cruise travel destinations by traveling on the world’s most famous rivers.
- Cambodia’s Sleepy Villages: Cruiser vacationers can wander Cambodia’s sleepy villages along the Mekong River and immerse themselves in ancient culture complete with a native Peking duck welcome dinner. Uniworld’s Boutique River Cruise Collection offers travelers the chance to sail down Southeast Asia’s longest river to see the Timeless Wonders of Vietnam and Cambodia with views enchanting tropical foliage and century-old structures.
- Nuremberg Christmas Market: Visit Germany’s most famous Christmas market in Nuremberg aboard CroisiEurope’s Christmas Markets Cruise. The cruise celebrates the holiday spirit and takes travelers down the Rhine River to visit multiple Christmas markets in the European capital of Strasbourg, the “Christmas City” of Nuremberg, and Rudesheim which features the Christmas market of nations.
- Queen of the Nile: Travelers looking to explore the magic and the mystery of the infamous Nile can set sail on the world’s longest river for nine days with Avalon Waterways’ Highlights of Egypt cruise. Guests on this river cruise can sail through and explore 5,000 years of history, including the Luxor Temple, the Temple of Isis and the Great Pyramids of Giza.
- Pretty Provence: Venture deep into Provence aboard Tauck’s A Taste of France cruise. Focusing on French cuisine and village life, A Taste of France Rhône River cruise sails through vineyard country that is home to some of the world’s most exceptional wines. On this cruise, visit the celebrated indoor food market in the town of Lyon, considered the "culinary capital of France.”
- Famous Pagodas in the Capital City: Travelers can bask in the hidden wonders of Myanmar with AmaWaterways’ cruise through Yangon. The cruise along the Ayeyarwady River offers guests a chance to learn ancient pottery techniques, visit a working rice farm, explore Mt. Popa and more. A major highlight of the cruise includes a trip to the opulent, centuries-old Schwedagon Pagoda. Cruisers can see the gold-plated, ruby and diamond covered marvel up close and personal.
- Trailing Lewis & Clark on a Cruise: American history comes to life with American Cruise Lines’ Lewis and Clark Cruises along the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington and Oregon. Guests can follow Lewis and Clark’s epic route with excursions to Portland’s busy waterfront, volcanic craters in Rainier and the historic Rock Fort Camp in The Dalles, all aboard a paddlewheeler.
Unexpected Cruise Destinations – Ocean Cruises
Ocean cruises open up the world to travelers giving them access to the world.
- Beauty in Bangkok: Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing cruise regions and Oceania Cruises’ Quintessential Far East cruise takes guest from Bangkok to Beijing with no shortage of breathtaking sights and hidden cities. Cruisers can explore Thai culture with onshore adventures, visit the Ayutthaya ruins, and other ports of call.
- Marco? Polo!: Travelers can follow in the famous footsteps of Marco Polo with Seabourn’s impressive Route of Marco Polo cruise from Greece to Singapore with plenty of stops in between. Cruisers can follow the famous merchant traveler’s trail with visits to the Parthenon, excursions to the best-preserved Crusader castles in Jordan, a once-in-a-lifetime tea tasting at a plantation in Sri Lanka and more.
- Perusing the Panama: The Panama Canal is rich with beautiful sightseeing and many travelers rank it high on their wish list. A cruise is the perfect way to enjoy the sights, bites, and all that the Panama Canal has to offer. Paul Gauguin Cruises takes cruisers through pristine waters and lush greenery, offering a multitude of exciting adventures that includes a private wildlife reserve.
- Antarctica – the Cooler Cruise Destination: No travel-buff’s wish list would be complete without Antarctica. Cruisers can journey to the majestic White Continent via Ponant’s luxurious yacht cruises with giant icebergs and natural beauty abound. Travelers can fully enjoy this Polar paradise with penguin colonies and outings in Zodiac dinghies.
- All Around the World: What better way to see the world than to see the whole world at once? Around-the-world cruises, like Crystal Cruises’ Grand Pacific Panorama, allow guests to see all corners of the world from San Francisco and Australia to Fiji and beyond. Crystal cruisers can soak in the beauty of the globe with excursions, including a hike through the Garden City of Kuala Lumpur, a Mangrove wildlife safari, a tram ride through Bangkok’s ancient city and more.
For more information about unexpected cruising destinations or how you could enter to win one of 31 cruises from October 1 - October 31, 2015, please visit www.cruisesmile.org.
About Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – One Industry, One Voice
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2015, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. As the largest cruise industry trade association with 15 offices globally, CLIA has representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA’s mission is to support policies and practices that foster a safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environment for the more than 22 million passengers who cruise annually, as well as to promote the value, desirability and affordability of the cruise vacation experience. Members are comprised of the world’s most prestigious ocean, river and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and cruise line suppliers and partners, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers and business services, committed to the sustained success of the cruise industry. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org or follow Cruise Lines International Association's on the CLIA Facebook and Twitter fan pages.