Our Top Five Cruise Destinations for 2012


Our cruise agency frequently deals with travelers who haven't cruised much, if at all, and are leery about taking a cruise vacation.  Often destination-focused, they express concern about how much time they'll really have to enjoy sightseeing at the ports of call.  For landlubbers, cruises are not always a vacation panacea.  As a result, our focus is to listen to their needs and concerns, and determine whether a cruise will satisfy them, and which cruise vacation would be most fitting. There are certain destinations, however, that are made for cruising. Here's our top five to consider in the year ahead:

#1: The Baltic
Cruising Russia and Scandinavian ports makes for a perfect cruise vacation. That's because the major ports of call are built on the coast, and it's easy to access sightseeing opportunities from the ship.  St. Petersburg is often the highlight of these itineraries, and most cruise lines include at least one, if not two, overnights in port to optimize sightseeing in this fabulous city.  Likewise, some combination of Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, the island of Visby and Tallinn are the major ports of call on Baltic cruise itineraries, and all make for wonderful daytime visits.  Cruise itineraries will often start or end in Copenhagen or Stockholm, and it's best to extend your visit for one or two additional nights in either city in order to enjoy its many splendors.  Keep in mind that as the Baltic cruise season is in summer, you'll also enjoy more daylight hours in your day, as it doesn't get dark till quite late at night. It's not without reason the Baltic has been a very popular itinerary for luxury cruises. Baltic cruise itineraries mostly range from 7- to 10-nights. Search for upcoming Baltic cruises.

#2: Alaska
America's last frontier, Alaska is a fabulous cruise destination because the ship docks in the heart of town, which are small and easy to navigate about in.  In fact, Juneau, the capital, is only accessible by air or sea, as no roads lead there! Alaska is a very large state, and not easy to get around in. A cruise vacation allows one to visit a few ports, as well as be enriched by some spectacular scenery and wildlife, from the comfort (and dare we say warmth) of a cruise ship. When it comes to cruises for families, Alaska is a wonderful vacation destination. There's much to engage children's attention and interest, from totem poles to gold panning, whales to eagles, to canoeing and kayaking.  Most itineraries are 7-days. However, to visit inland to Denali National Park or other regions, consider extending your visit on an Alaska CruiseTour program.

River cruises are the perfect tonic for landlubbers who want to experience something different.  The best river cruise, such as a Rhine River tour or Danube tours, offers everything a traveler could want, and more: the river cruise ships are basically floating hotels that transport you from the heart of one town to the next. You unpack once, but are treated to a variety of different experiences without having to drive thru Europe or be on a motorcoach tour. Better still, river cruises generally include shore excursions in the trip cost, as well as wine and beer with dinner, and in some cases lunch, minimizing out of pocket expenses. When comparing the seemingly higher price of a river cruise vacation to that of an ocean cruise, it's important to consider all that's included.

#4: Norwegian Fjords
There are far fewer Norwegian Fjord itineraries than there are Baltic cruises. It's not in high demand, and there are fewer notable cities to visit. The Norwegian Fjords cruise is generally about the magnificent scenery cruising the Norwegian coast. For city slickers, it can be the ideal escape to nature. Search for cruises featuring Norwegian Fjords.  There's been a growing interest in Iceland, and there are more itineraries that include Iceland ports of call.

#5: Mekong Cruise
One of the best river cruise itineraries, at least in terms of fastest growing, is the Mekong River cruise. Just within the last couple of years a number of new vessels have and are being built, in an attempt to keep up with the demand.  Vietnam and Cambodia are both desirable vacation destinations, territory these river cruises cover.  Most itineraries include a land package in Siem Reap to visit Angkor and its fascinating temples. Our favorite river cruise lines, AmaWaterways and Uniworld, offer these itineraries on newly built vessels.

Of course, there are many exciting cruise itineraries, especially when one takes into account exotic cruises that are less frequent, such as in the South Pacific, Asia, along the Amazon and Antarctica.  Whatever your desire, our cruise agency can arrange the right cruise vacation for you.