Top 10 Cruise Destinations for 2013

By Amanda Thambounaris,
Get in your favorite bikini and head to these popular destinations

January is known as the month when “cruise season” begins — through March, sun-seekers have a chance to catch a break from the cold. During this time most cruises for the year are trimmed down in price, as people escape to the turquoise-blue waters of the Caribbean, or to the majestic ice caps of Alaska. Here is a list of our top 10 cruise destinations for 2013 that offer both relaxing and exciting adventures for every traveler.

10. South Pacific/Australia & New Zealand

According to Info Barrel, Australia and New Zealand have become exotic hotspots. There was a point in time when there wasn’t much to do in the ports of these countries, but now some cruise lines have added pre- or post-cruise expeditions to some of the more exotic exploring locations. These areas are also full of exotic native animals, such as kangaroos and iguanas. These opportunities are mostly only offered in Australia, while New Zealand is more of a shopping and relaxation port known for its magnificent landscape. The two countries are usually offered together in one cruise, so travelers can experience “the best of both worlds.”

9. Cayman Islands

Pristine and electrifying: the two words that JessieOnAJourney used to describe the Cayman Islands. From proud cliffs spouting waterfalls to bright white beaches and underwater reefs, the Cayman Island area is “picture perfect.” According to Info Barrel, one of the biggest draws is underwater snorkeling and scuba diving, as there are many shipwrecks nearby that divers can visit and there's plenty of colorful tropical fish to see in the crystal clear waters.

8. South America/The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are one of the most popular cruise destinations. As a result, it’s wise to book this cruise far in advance — years perhaps — if you seek a balcony view or higher. Info Barrel reported that larger ships are not allowed to go to the islands since they give off too much waste and could damage the rare diverse ecosystem. Only a handful of cruise lines are even allowed to visit this unique destination.

7. Panama Canal

The lively ports and deep blue waters full of marine life make the Panama Canal an obvious choice to include among our top 10. A cruise to the Canal usually lasts around 14 days, with stops at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, for example. According to Info Barrel the Canal transit is an experience within itself, as travelers experience the cruise ship’s journey through the locking system. With so many days at sea, travelers can truly relax and enjoy the on-deck experience.

6. Trans-Atlantic

According to Rhino Carhire, for many years this cruise has attracted visitors who want to admire the Statue of Liberty as they pull into New York harbor. The trans-Atlantic cruise is an excellent way to see many desired ports in Europe and take in the beautiful vistas along the Atlantic Ocean. For visitors who prefer a sunnier destination on their cruise, there are many departure ports to choose from, including Florida, which helps give a contrast between the starting/end points.

5. Hawaii

With irresistible views from both the ship and on the islands, a Hawaiian trip is an exotic journey and for years a popular honeymoon destination. According to Info Barrel, travelers can partake in many resort activities while on land. Even better, the trip offers time each day to rent a car and explore the volcanoes and waterfalls. The indigenous Hawaiian culture, according to VacationHomes.net, is unlike any other in the world, and marks one of the best and unique opportunities in visiting the beautiful Hawaiian islands. Ranging from beaches to farmlands, the Hawaiian scenery has a little something for everyone. Hawaiian cruises usually last 14 days with about 6-8 days at sea. For those who desire a substantial amount of time at sea as well as on shore, this is the trip for you.

4. Bermuda

The pink sands and turquoise waters of Bermuda are what attract more and more visitors to this destination year-round. According to tips from USA Today, the best months to visit are June, July and August, when a majority of Bermuda’s itineraries are prepared to launch — tour operators offer snorkel, scuba, parasailing and sailboat tours, that travelers have the widest selection of ships, home ports and itineraries during the peak season, when beaches are in high demand. Not to mention the water temperature reaches a warm 85-degrees.

3. Alaska

According to Info Barrel, anyone planning to travel to Alaska should go by cruise, as the scenery along the coastline is known to be exquisite. Travelers are exposed to nature just by being on board — beautiful trees, giant whales, tiger sharks, glaciers and eagles. The summer months are an ideal time to travel, as the northern location keeps the weather cool.

2. Europe/Mediterranean

Info Barrel said it best: “One of the safer cruise destinations of 2013 to go on, because no matter what section of the Mediterranean you see, it is overflowing with history.” According to VacationHomes.net, most of the towns that have a Mediterranean coast are historic cities with a remarkable history. Sailing will be anywhere from seven to 21 days long, and visitors will stop in a port almost every day, giving them plenty of time to experience each destination. However, Cruise Source said that it would be smart for travelers not to wait six months before the cruise to book a room, as more than half the ships will likely be full!

1. Caribbean

The best time to take a cruise to the Caribbean is during January and February —Vacation Homes reminds travelers that during the summer, the Caribbean is much more crowded, a drawback for some. The chain of islands is around 2,000 miles long, dividing the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can go to one side of the islands and relax on the green of the Gulf, or visit the opposite side to enjoy the turquoise-blue waters of the Caribbean. The different islands are made up of reefs, cays and islets, providing visitors with a ton of things to do and see. On possibly one of the most laid-back cruises travelers can tailor their trip to visit the destinations that are right for them. For instance, according to Rhino Carhire, the island of Aruba is very popular among tourists for its casinos, and Jamaica for its adventure-potential, allowing travelers to leave the ship and explore.

So, there you have it. These are our 10 best cruise destinations of 2013 based on their growing popularity over the past few years. Use this as a guideline and choose the best cruise for you this year!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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