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The Top 10 Most Popular Cruise Destinations in the World

If you are planning your next cruise vacation, but are unsure of where you want to visit, then look no further. Our cruise destination guide will provide you with some of the top cruise destinations in the world and what makes them so popular.

With destinations domestic to the United States to across the globe to Australia, you should be able to find your next vacation destination. Most of these destinations have specific time periods throughout the year that provide better conditions to travel through cruise, including the locations wet and dry seasons, vacation seasons, and even the basic weather conditions that are favorable for a family outing.

Without further ado, here are 10 of the most popular cruise destinations in the world.

  1. The Caribbean

One of the most popular cruise destinations for North Americans are cruises to the Caribbean. The popularity of this destination is rarely matched and for good reason. The weather in the Caribbean is sunny and warm all year round, allowing for the perfect vacation from the bleak, snow-filled, and cold months found in the U.S.

However, while the sun and warmth stay all year round, the perfect weather for cruises is from October to May, as the islands can suffer from severe thunderstorms and even hurricanes during the late summer and early fall periods.

Americans also love Caribbean cruises because they are much more accessible than other summer cruises. The most common port for Caribbean cruises is in Miami, which is easy to either fly or drive to from most places in the United States.

Another factor that leads to its popularity, the Caribbean is made up of quite a few islands with a vast arsenal of things to do on each island. A few of the more popular islands to explore are Barbados, Caracas, Curacao, Martinique, and Puerto Rico, to name a few.

  1. Hawaii

Another top destination, Hawaiian cruises are a truly magical experience. Many Hawaiian cruises allow you to stay overnight on each of the four islands, allowing you to experience the full beauty of each island.

The most popular island to visit is Oahu, which is also the most populated out of the six islands. Oahu offers amazing sights like Waikiki, a beautiful beach located on the south shore of Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii. Oahu is also home to Pearl Harbor and three active volcanoes. Amongst other things to do in Hawaii, you can also travel to Maui where the outdoor adventures, like snorkeling, sightseeing, and hikes are numerous.

  1. Bermuda

Another top cruise destination is Bermuda. Bermuda is made up of multiple islands, with the eight largest islands being connected by bridges and causeways, are just 22 miles in length. Because of this, it is extremely easy to explore all the isles with a short drive time.

Bermuda has multiple beaches, golf course and historic sites that make for a perfect vacation. In fact, Bermuda has some of the highest visitor repeat rate that cruises have to offer, leading to its truly beautiful and relaxing vacation destination.

Bermuda’s cruise season runs from April to early November, with its busiest time being between June and August. Bermuda does not have a rainy season, but the temperatures get very hot and humid in the mid spring and fall months.

Additionally, Royal Caribbean Cruise and Norwegian Cruise Line are the only cruise lines that sail regularly to Bermuda, while Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruise line will have rare trips to the island.

Related: What to Do and See on a Luxury Cruise

  1. Bahamas

The Bahamas are an immensely popular tourist destination for cruise lines. With a plethora of beautiful clear water beaches and day trips to waterfalls and other attractions, the Bahamas are always a great cruise ship vacation. Grand Bahaman is also home to one of the oldest underwater cave systems in the world, which is located at the Lucayan National Park.

The Bahamas are known for having the clearest water beaches in the world, with some areas having a visibility of over 200 feet below the surface of the water.  Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is the most popular cruise line for a vacation in the Bahamas.

Another great aspect about the Bahamas is that is has a very mild rainy season. Technically running from May through October, their rainy season is generally fleeting but has the potential to create hurricanes from August into November. The temperature throughout the Bahamas rarely go above 85 degrees too.

  1. Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is a vast region of Europe that allows you to visit multiple countries throughout Eastern and Western Europe. Cruise deals and lines for this destination are usually divided into three regions of the Mediterranean: Eastern, Western, and Southern. The best time to visit the Mediterranean is during the period between April and October, with Norwegian Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises, and Costa Cruises being the most popular cruise lines.

The Eastern Mediterranean region houses beautiful countries like Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Cypress, and Bulgaria. Eastern cruises usually port in Greece in either Athens, Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, or Volos and allow you to explore the vast ancient architecture that is still standing from ancient Greece, along with multiple beaches. Istanbul in Turkey is another hot spot for Eastern Mediterranean cruises.

The Western Mediterranean consists of Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal, making it a perfect vacation for great food and amazing shopping possibilities. While the Southern Mediterranean visits Tunis, Tunisia, Tripoli, Libya, and Egypt. Some cruise lines make additional stops in Morocco and Cyprus. The Southern region of the Mediterranean is perfect for those who want amazing sight-seeing potential.

  1. Australia

Another popular Princess Cruise Line destination is their Australian and New Zealand cruise deals. Australia and New Zealand boast major laid-back charm, with rugged landscapes, beautiful cities and sight-seeing adventures, and amazing beaches that make them an immensely popular destination.

Australia is regularly voted as one of the top cruise destinations because of its endless beaches and scenic harbor and landmarks. Besides stopping in Sydney, some cruises will port on the smaller coastal cities that boast beautiful wineries and national parks that allow you to see much more of Australian culture.

Australia is a year=round cruise destination, with its peak season being in October to April. Australia can have cool winters, which run from June to August months, and unbearably hot Summers (December to February). Cyclone season begins on November 1 and ends on April 30, with the highest risk of a major storm happening between the March and April months.

Some cruise ships will also travel to Papua New Guinea alongside New Zealand and Australia.

Related: What Makes a Disney Cruise Special?

  1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica and Panama are very popular destinations for expedition cruisers. The vast rain forest hikes, wildlife tours, and snorkeling and kayaking excursions are some of the top things to do on a cruise ship to these islands.

Most cruise lines travel to the Pacific coast side of Costa Rica and Panama and offer beautiful beaches and architecture that has been rarely disrupted by the usual modern world. Taking a cruise to these islands allow for explorations of the wild rainforests of the Nicoya and Osa peninsulas of Costa Rica and the clear waters in the Gulf of Panama.

The best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama are during their dry seasons, which occur between the December and April months. However, the humidity and temperatures stay high year-round. If you want to travel to the countries during the wet season, you should shoot for a cruise during June or July, when the rain is not as frequent.

There are only four cruise lines that offers cruise ships that sail only in Costa Rica and Panama, UnCruise Adventures, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Windstar Cruises, and Variety Cruises. Most itineraries in this region spend an equal amount of time in both countries, usually starting in one and ending in the other.

  1. Alaska

Cruises to Alaska offer some of the most beautiful scenic coastline sights throughout the northern hemisphere. Tourists are not only drawn in by the beautiful scenery and exotic wildlife, but also to the rich cultural heritage of the native people.

While in Alaska, cruises are able to sail along the state’s vast coastline to view the towering mountains, massive glaciers, countless acres of forests and wildlife, and the tranquil serenity that comes with the peaceful experience.

The biggest shortcoming about a cruise to Alaska is its weather, as the temperature rarely gets above 60 degrees F. The warmer temperatures are also only around during the summer months, forcing vacationers to give up their hot and sunny days in the summer for much milder temperatures and rain.

  1. The Arctic Circle

The next destination on our list sits atop both bucket lists and the Earth: The Arctic Circle. A cruise to the Arctic is truly unique in the fact that it allows visitors to see a pristine landscapes and wildlife that have been left relatively untouched by modern life. Another plus about the Arctic is how close in proximity it is to Europe, Canada, and the United States.

On a cruise through the Arctic, you should look forward to seeing a vast array of wildlife such as polar bears, arctic foxes, walruses and seals, whales, reindeer, and numerous artic birds. You can even have the chance to see the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) if you travel in the winter months.

The main season for Arctic cruises is in the summer months, from May to early September. During this time, the Arctic experiences full 24 hours of daylight and blooms as warmer temperatures melt the frozen ground. The summer months also allow cruises to sail further north than they would in the winter months, as paths are made accessible as the temperatures rise.

  1. Antarctica

The final destination on our list is the truly unique yet exhilarating destination of Antarctica. While this destination may not be as popular as other destinations, since it regularly brings in around 35,000 tourists each year, but it is considered to be a once in a lifetime experience.

Antarctica is considered to be the last untouched area on our planet, because it lacks politics, people, an economy, and even a government. Because of its untouched land, it is one of the few places on our Earth that we can view raw wildlife and scenic views, both of which are jaw-dropping experiences.

Cruise ships rarely go beyond the tip of the iceberg that is Antarctica and usually go as far south as the Shetland Islands along the 1,000-mile-long Antarctic Peninsula. For tourists who have travelled to the Antarctic, they describe remarkable sights of icebergs, exotic wildlife, and a frozen wasteland that is unmatched in its beauty.

One of the best sights of cruising in the Antarctic is the chance to see different species of marine wildlife, including six species of seals, at least nine species of whales, and thousands of birds. There are three types of penguins that are commonly seen on the peninsula – chinstrap, gentoo, and Adelie penguins. Rare sightings of king penguins are possible but are more common once you go more south. On the other hand, Emperor Penguins are rarely seen during these cruises.

The Antarctic  cruise season begins in November and ends in March, with the more traditional time to visit being between December and January.


We hope that this article has provided you with enough inspiration to help you realize what your next destination vacation will take place. If not, we hope it has at least provided you with ideas about where you want to vacation in the future.

We hope you feel more comfortable booking your next cruise and wish you safe travels for your next destination vacation.

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