Embark on a cruise to these “secret” destinations this year and you’ll discover boatloads of fun beyond what the more popular ports offer.
Anguilla caters to cruise-goers craving a trip off the grid. It’s the Caribbean’s best-kept secret, filled with islets and atolls offshore and high-end restaurants, shopping boutiques and zip lines or jeep excursions onshore. This archipelago is sprinkled around St. Martin and is a newbie cruise destination ideal for itineraries on vessels carrying fewer than 500 passengers. Since the 35-mile island’s population is less than 15,000, cruisers can relax on sandy beaches and feel like a local without feeling over-crowded.
How to get there: Cruise Critic’s top Cruisers’ Choice goes to Windstar Cruises on their 7-, 14- and 21-night itineraries.
Antarctica is as much top-notch when it comes to traveling off-the-beaten-path as it is in terms of price. It’s one of the most expensive options to consider, but also one of the most remote and renowned. It’s a wonderful white wilderness home to penguins and elephant seals in their natural habitat: snow, ice, water and rock. Its impressive untouched mountains, floating ice towers and wildlife welcome eco-friendly inspired cruise-goers to see its way of life.
How to get there: Silversea is one of the biggest supporters of sustainable travel to the continent, certified by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Silver Cloud’s ice class vessel “breaks the ice between expedition and luxury,” by traveling from pole to pole for the cruise experience of a lifetime.
The Duoro River forms a natural border between Spain and Portugal for nearly 70 miles in the Iberian Peninsula, one of Europe’s hidden gems. Since most of the river isn’t accessible via cruise ship in Spain, most cruises coast through beautiful northern Portugal instead. The once wild and now tame Duoro River is surrounded by the Duoro Valley, filled with interesting wineries, rolling hills and slopes with impressive villages and medieval towns.
How to get there: Riviera River Cruises is calling all solo travelers to embark on their 8-day Duoro, Porto & Salamanca River Cruise itinerary.
Rapa Nui, Easter Island’s indigenous name, is over 2,000 miles west of Chile’s mainland, but carries its indigenous practices and culture like it’s only steps away. Comprising just over 60 miles, this island is home to the iconinc Moai statues, the large, jaw-dropping sculptures like with the large heads, aka Easter Island Heads (c’mon, you know the emoji – 🗿). Plus, Polynesian feasts cooked over hot stones and active excursion options make this small island seem larger than life with endless fun for cruise-goers.
How to get there: Princess Cruises’ 36-day New York to Sydney itinerary on Sea Princess stops by Easter Island as well as beautiful destinations like Tahiti and New Zealand.
The Great Lakes cover over 95,000 square miles and border eight states in the U.S. as well as Canada’s province of Ontario. Sure, Niagara Falls might be a hot spot for cruisers, but less popular, unexpected and off-the-radar places like Mackinac Island and Holland, Michigan help capture America’s Midwestern history with a cruise. Some history around the Great Lakes includes America’s car industry, floating atop the deepest and largest lake and seeing the largest freshwater ecosystem on the planet. Think of how easy it’d be to go on a “staycation” by boarding a cruise ship in Milwaukee or Chicago.
How to get there: Victory Cruise Lines and Pearl Seas Cruises offer itineraries for vessels seating around 200 passengers.