Northern Africa and the Middle East will astound all who visit with its contrasts of bustling Arab cities and culture coupled with the beauty and starkness of the surrounding deserts. This region ranges from Morocco in the west, which borders both the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans, across Libya, and Egypt to Arabia. From Casbahs and antiquities to deserts and wildlife, the region offers an amazing array of experiences, including, of course, the Suez Canal.
Mediterranean cruises departing from European ports include North Africa in many itineraries. These cruises are generally within the Med, but also include those which exit the Straits of Gibraltar and visit the Atlantic Coast of Morocco.
Repositioning and World cruises generally transit the Suez Canal, offering guests the opportunity to visit the region, particularly the Arabian side of the Suez Canal. Port stops provide opportunities to visit some of the regions inland attractions including the Rose City of Petra, accessed from Aqaba in Jordan; and Luxor - accessed from Safaga in Egypt.
More recently, Dubai has become an important embarkation point for cruises in the Arabian Gulf which operate in the northern winter months.
Mediterranean cruises are now year round, but most cruises including North Africa sail in the winter months from October to March, when the day time temperatures are pleasant.
Repositioning cruises and the Arabian Gulf cruises also tend to operate during these months.
Atlantic - Casablanca and Agadir
Mediterranean – Tangier, Tripoli, Alexandria
Arabian Gulf - Dubai and Muscat
Repositioning and World – Aqaba, Dubai, Muscat, Port Said, Safaga, Salalah, Sharm el-Sheikh, Suez canal.
Throughout this part of the world, days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. There are really only two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. The only differences between the seasons are variations in daytime temperatures and changes in prevailing winds. In the coastal regions, temperatures range between an average minimum of 14° C in winter and an average maximum of 30° C in summer on the coast, inland temperatures can get much hotter (over 40° C) in summer.
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Alaska and Canada's West Coast is one of the world's last great true frontiers, an unspoiled wilderness of glimmering glaciers, abundant forests, towering mountains, exotic wildlife, and water front communities.
Canada's West Coast starts at Vancouver and covers the first third of the Inside Passage ending at Port Hardy. Apart from a short stretch of open ocean between Vancouver Island and Rivers Inlet, where the Central Coast archipelago begins, the route north to Prince Rupert leads through a narrow maze of channels, passes, and reaches. Passengers should keep their eyes peeled for a whale or dolphin in Queen Charlotte Sound. With luck you might even see a white-coated Kermode bear on Princess Royal Island's lengthy shoreline.
Alaska is a destination full of Native American culture and Russian influence, a step back in time to the days of gold rush saloons and oil booms. Alaska, simply put, is a once in a lifetime, dream holiday. The geography of Alaska also means that a cruise is simply the best way to experience the range of places, sights and towns of this amazing destination.
There certainly is no shortage of Alaska Cruises to choose from.
Specialty cruises offer a small ship experience, allowing you to get a lot closer to nature and most have experts on board to teach you about the regions flora and fauna.
Larger cruise ships can cover more territory and give you a better overview of the area as well as letting you visit a range of ports to experience the different cultures that make up the Inside Passage.
Inside Passage cruises generally start and end from Vancouver, Seattle or San Francisco and combine visits to a variety of the ports in the Inside Passage such as Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Sitka with scenic cruising to view some of the regions Glaciers. Inside Passage cruises are in protected waters so irrespective of weather, cruise conditions are usually smooth.
Cruises from Vancouver to Anchorage allow passengers to extend their vacation and visit some of the key attractions of the State including Kodiak Island, Denali National Park, Fairbanks and more.
NB cruises to Anchorage dock at the ports of Seward or Whittier as the tidal flow at Anchorage only allows small vessels to visit. The Cruise Lines provide transfers between Anchorage and Whittier or Seward.
Finally there are some interesting repositioning cruises available at the start and end of each season which combine an Inside Passage cruise with a ocean crossing to Hawaii or a West Coast Cruise down to Los Angeles, San Diego or Mexico.
The Alaska Cruise season begins in May and ends in September. Although July and August are the warmest months to experience these incredible sites, autumn and spring are the most fun, the most beautiful and the savings are the best.
Inside Passage – Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco
Anchorage – Vancouver and Whittier or Seward for Anchorage
Be prepared for one season colder than the time you are traveling. This is especially important for those who travel early and late in the season. The average temperature range is from overnight lows of 4c to daytime temperatures of 17c. The Inside Passage has an annual rainfall of over 50inchs but Anchorage rainfall is only 16inch pa.
Antarctica is the last discovered continent where wildlife and nature exist without excessive pressures of man.
The dramatic mountains, glaciers, icebergs and ocean provide a backdrop to the lives of the wildlife who have adapted to living here. During the brief summer months of light, an astounding abundance of life returns to crowd the headlands and beaches. Many varieties of penguins and seals as well as a huge number of bird species can be seen during your visit. Watching whales is a great bonus.
The "heroic age" of Shackleton, Amundsen and others a hundred years ago opened Antarctica to the world.
There are two very different cruise types to Antarctica – firstly the larger cruise ships that visit here are restricted to scenic cruising through the area and generally include a visit to the region with longer cruises around the South American coast.
However, the majority of cruises here are provided by smaller speciality ships that allow passengers to disembark onto the Antarctic islands and the continent itself. These ships tend to be sturdy expedition style ships and do not offer all the extras associated with modern cruise ships. These cruises are dedicated to the experience and feature experts in the region and the wildlife who give lectures and lead shore excursions. Visits to the Islands are usually by Zodiac inflatables.
The contrasts in temperature are striking as summer in the Falklands and Ushuaia can sometimes be quite warm, while summertime in Antarctica hovers at the freezing mark.
Cruises here operate from October to March in the southern summer months when the days are longer - there are up to to 20 hours of daylight in high summer.
Larger cruise ships tend to depart either Valparaiso or Buenos Aires and include an Antarctic experience within their ‘round the horn’ cruise.
Specialty ships generally depart from Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world located on Tierra del Fuego. These cruises often combine visits to Port Stanley in the Falklands with visits to uninhabited islands to enjoy the remarkable sea and bird life.
Weather in the sub-Antarctic islands is cool but pleasant in the summer months but the temperature on the continent itself rarely gets above freezing. The nature of the area means that the weather can and does change quite quickly, so if you plan a cruise here take good note of the cruise lines advice on clothing. Again remember that island visits are by zodiac inflatables so you need to ensure you are properly dressed for these trips.
Asia is a land of contrasts - the largest continent, the tallest mountains, the longest coast line and three-fifth's the world's population.
Cruising is a wonderful way to see the region which extends from Burma and Thailand in the west through Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore through to Vietnam and Cambodia, China and Japan. Clearly with this range of countries and cultures there is something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.
Ancient temples, great Buddha statues, bustling cities, forests and wildlife are just some of the experiences to be enjoyed.
There are now cruise ships based in the region , predominantly in Singapore, that offer year-round cruises. The Singapore cruises sail the Malacca Strait up to Thailand or across the South China Sea to Vietnam and China.
Many of the major cruise lines position a ship here for a few months each year, the timing based on the location they cruise – for example ships visiting Japan tend to be there in the northern spring to enjoy the famous Cherry Blossom period.
Round the world cruises also pass through the region and these also are in the region early in the year.
Cruises are available year round in the region as weather in the South East part is warm all year round – though both cruising and weather are better in the non-monsoon period. Cruises to China and Japan tend to be in the northern Spring, ie from March to May.
While the number of different ports visited by the cruise ships is substantial the key embark ports in the region are Singapore, Hong Kong, Osaka and Beijing. Note that the port for Beijing is Tianjn which is an hour and a half away.
Weather in the south-east of the region is tropical so it is warm and humid all year round. The Tropics don’t have seasons as such, they have the wet and dry periods. The wet season or monsoon period is from June to September.
The more northerly ports in China and Japan are seasonal and cruises here are in the northern spring and summer.
Enjoy the captivating beauty and the history of the Canadian and New England Atlantic coastline with its plethora of bird and sea life. Visit charming cities steeped in history. You'll sail through areas of astonishing natural beauty - from quaint fishing villages to world-class international cities - and enjoy fall foliage tours and Beluga whale-watching expeditions. Discover the revolutionary history that created a nation and experience the unmistakable echoes of Europe in the cobblestone streets.
With convenient homeports, historic seaports and unforgettable scenery and sea life, one thing is for also certain about your trip to Canada and New England, and that’s the warmth of the welcome you’ll receive.
Many cruises visit Canada’s Atlantic islands, cruises that go down the St Lawrence to Montreal and Quebec. There are many cruise lines that visit the area, some cruises are on the major cruise lines but there are a number smaller speciality cruises that operate.
Canada and New England cruises operate in summer and autumn to enjoy the warmer weather and in particular, the spectacular fall foliage. The season is from June to October with the majority of departures being in September.
New York, Boston, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and Nova Scotia
Temperatures in June to August are generally pleasant – around 70F/20c, but by Fall the temperatures have dropped to the mid-fifties. Cruise Lines will usually recommend the appropriate clothing for these cruises.
The Caribbean is the most popular cruise destination in the world, offering white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, great shopping and an exciting mix of cultures. For those who dream of white sandy beaches fringed with palms, crystal clear waters, historic waterways and bustling towns, a Caribbean cruise holiday offers exactly this. From volcanic peaks to magical reefs, experience these diverse islands from the luxury of your cruise ship.
Caribbean cruises typically take in such islands as Dominica, Jamaica, St Kitts, Antigua, Martinique, St Lucia and Barbados, as well as cruising to destinations further afield such as Belize, Honduras, Cuba, and Colombia's Caribbean coast.
If total relaxation is what you’re looking for then the Caribbean is the ideal place to be, but for those in search of something more active it’s also brimming with things to see and do. Hike through untouched rainforests, past tumbling waterfalls; marvel at bubbling mud pools and hot springs; wander through colourful botanical gardens; snorkel the coral reefs; seek out shipwrecks and old pirate tales; and much more. And at the end of a rewarding day spent exploring, watch the sunset over the horizon as you sip on your well-earned drink and muse over adventures to come.
The Caribbean is a picture of paradise with its sandy shores and sapphire seas, exotic marine life and laid-back culture. It’s the perfect place to while away a day, yet there’s so much to discover too. You can sail straight from many home ports or opt for a fly-cruise holiday.
There are four main Caribbean cruise destinations:
This area is comprised of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and St Maarten, however, these cruises also often include the Bahamas. Cruises are generally for 7 nights with 3 days at sea and 3 in ports and so offering a very relaxing style of cruise. The Islands here are smaller and shore excursions here are more geared to beach and water activities.
This cruising area includes the Mexican and Central American ports on the Gulf of Mexico as well the islands of Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Hih3iola. These cruises offer more history and culture along with the beach and water activities. Western Caribbean cruises include short 4 night escapes with the longer 7-night cruises.
This area includes the islands east and south of St Maarten. The region is less well known and well cruised as the East and West Caribbean but includes a set of islands that still have a very evident colonial heritage. The Fench Dutch and English all played their part in forming the different characters of these islands which include Trinidad, St Croix, St Vincent, St Kitts Aruba, Grenada and more
These cruises are generally 14 nights long and are usually a mix of East and West Caribbean itineraries offering a wider variety of Islands and cultures. Often Cruise lines will offer special deals that combine two 7 night cruises to form an Extended cruise.
Cruises operate in the Caribbean all year round. However many ships cruise here in the northern winter and then cross the Atlantic to cruise in Europe during the northern summer.
Cruises depart from American cities including Miami, Ft Lauderdale, New Orleans, Galvaston and more. Barbados and San Juan in Puerto Rico are also major departure ports.
Cruises are also available from the U.K. sailing directly to the region.
The Caribbean really is a year-round destination. Temperatures seldom vary from highs in the 80s (lows in the 70s), with humidity hovering at the 70 percent level just about all year. The hurricane season, which officially lasts from June 1st to November 30th, can occasionally disrupt cruise itineraries.
The United Kingdom is predominantly a starting point for cruises to more far-flung destinations. However it also offers some interesting cruises of its own.
Most cruises depart from the UK’s southern ports and visit Ireland and Scotland where guests can enjoy both the rugged beauty of the Scottish Islands and the Celtic history to be found in both Ireland and Scotland.
Explore the secluded pockets of the Shetlands, or the cosmopolitan vibe of Belfast, interlaced with calls to destinations including Kirkwall and the Isle of Mull.
If a spot of shopping and self-indulgence is on the agenda then a break to Dublin should be on your schedule. Take a wander down cobbled lanes and enjoy a drink at a tavern or trendy bar; explore the banks of the River Liffey, or visit the Dublin Markets for an abundance of local produce.
Go in search of myths and legends of the British Isles, visiting Falmouth, the birthplace of King Arthur; Rosyth, where you can uncover the secrets of the Knights Templar; and Invergordon, from where you can go in search of the infamous Loch Ness Monster.
Find an itinerary to suit your needs, with cruises departing from a range of regional ports, including Edinburgh (Rosyth) and Southampton bring you closer to beautiful grassy moors and rural countryside, and offer you the chance to discover the Best of Britain; including the opportunity to explore the pretty village of Tobermory or stroll along the sandy beaches of Falmouth.
While most cruises are 7nights or longer there are quite a few short ( 3 and 4) night ‘escapes’.
The cruise season is from May to September to take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather
Departing from a selection of UK ports - Dover, Southampton, Newcastle and Rosyth as well as from Greenock.
Weather during the cruise season is mild to warm and the days are long. However, this is an area where the weather changes rapidly and you can experience a number of seasons in the one day. Cruise Lines often have advice on what clothes to take.
The Mediterranean is so enthralling, so absolutely seductive that, like the mythical siren's song, its spell is impossible to break. It is both a haven for nature's glory and a veritable treasure trove of history. Once you experience it and behold all its treasures, you will never be the same. See it once and the memories forever embrace your soul. See it a thousand times and you still yearn for more.
A cruise holiday in the Mediterranean, the world's largest inland sea, gives you the opportunity to experience the variety the area has to offer; from the cosmopolitan cities of Spain and France in the Western Mediterranean to Italy, Sardinia, Greece, and Egypt in the Central and Eastern Med.
An extended Mediterranean cruise is simply a cruise vacation that combines ports from both the Western Mediterranean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean has cruises from every major cruise line and quite a few of the speciality operators too.
While there are many cruise types and cruise lengths to choose from the major distinction is whether a cruise is an Eastern or Western Mediterranean cruise or an extended cruise.
The Eastern Mediterranean is the area that covers Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Adriatic Enjoy the culture and history of Italy, especially Venice which is simply stunning and completely unique.See the whitewashed splendour of the Greek Isles and discover the antiquity of Classical Greece. Wonder at the sheer beauty of the Dalmatian coast and be amazed by Istanbul who’s history dates from Byzantium to Constantinople to its place at the head of the Ottoman Empire.
The Western Mediterranean is the area from the west coast of Italy and covers France, Spain and North Africa including the Atlantic coast of Morocco and the Canary Islands. Enjoy the history and culture of Florence, the excitement of Monte Carlo, the architecture of Barcelona and the Arabic heritage of Morocco.
Extended Mediterranean cruises are more than just a combination of east or western Mediterranean cruises. The size of the Med and the range of major ports allows cruise lines to offer a huge range of 10 to 14 day (and longer) itineraries.
While cruises are available year round the main season is from March to October to take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather.
Cruises depart from most of the major ports but the key embark ports include Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome (Civitavecchia), Venice, Athens and Istanbul. Many cruises also start and finish in the UK with Southampton being the major port.
Weather during the cruise season is warm to hot and the days are long and generally sunny. Most rain in the region falls in the winter months.
Norway really is best seen from the water - sail these incredible, narrow waterways carved into Norway’s rugged coast, you’ll experience uncanny peace and tranquillity and witness astonishing scenery that can’t be matched anywhere else on earth. With every meander, you’ll discover stunning sights, from soaring snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls to lush-green rolling hills and shoreline villages seemingly hidden from the rest of the world. Its spectacular scenery and long coastlines make this a hugely popular cruise destination. How else would one experience the splendour of Geirangerfjord, the majesty of the Hardangerfjord or the magnificent Sognefjord.
Nowhere are there fjords to match the grandeur of those in Norway, where the deceptively clear water reflects the mountains like a mirror. Immerse yourself in the Norwegian culture by visiting the various museums and exhibits depicting life in Norway. Here, the people are friendly, flowers are abundant, and the sun shines at midnight, so you can savour it all.
The majority of cruises range from five to 14 nights or longer and give guests the opportunity to view the amazing scenery of the Fjords as well as visit the small townships along the way, to experience rural and coastal Norwegian life. Longer cruises go further north or combine visits to Iceland and Greenland.
Generally, the cruise season here is between May and September to take advantage of the long northern summer days, and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights. Some local cruise lines offer year-round cruising.
Cruises to the Norwegian Fjords commence from the UK ports of Dover, Southampton, Newcastle, Liverpool, Belfast, Rosyth and Greenock. Some cruise leave from Copenhagen and Amsterdam
Weather during the cruise season is mild to warm and the days are long and generally sunny. However in this latitude weather can change quickly and passengers should take note of the cruise line’s advice on what clothes to take.
The Baltic Sea allows travellers to visit a range of Scandinavian and Baltic countries. From the fairy-tale castles of Copenhagen to the gilded palaces of St. Petersburg, Scandinavia and Baltic Russia cruise destinations reflect over two millennia of history. The memories of Teutonic Knights and Hanseatic merchant kings and czars come alive through a montage of architectural and cultural achievements.
Baltic cruises really do encompass a huge variety of cultures and history.
Generally, cruises operate within the Baltic. However, these cruises combine well with a cruise that visits the Norwegian Fjords
The region is well serviced by the major cruise lines so cruise choice here could well be determined by price and type.
Cruises that originate in the Baltic – primarily from Copenhagen and Stockholm – tend to be 7 nights long, while cruises that start in the UK or Europe – mainly from Southampton, Dover, Amsterdam – are a longer duration (10 to 14 nights).
Cruises generally commence in late Spring (April/May) and the season ends in September.
St. Petersburg, Russia
The shorter season reflects the more northerly latitude of the region, however, daily temperatures through the region are generally a pleasant 20c/70f through summer and can rise to the mid to high 20’s. April and September are cooler. This is a relatively low rain period with about 8 to 10 days of rain per month.
Panama and Central America Although a Panama Cruise conjures images of its world famous canal, there is so much more than that to this incredible country. Fast becoming Central America's hottest destination, Panama tempts visitors with its jungles, coral-ringed islands, mountain forests and exotic wildlife.
A short train ride from Colon, Panama City offers a glimpse into the past and future. Divided into two distinct regions, one side boasts shiny skyscrapers, whilst the other is the old colonial town.
But a Panama cruise isn't all about its urban areas. You can also visit its largest indigenous group, the Kunas, who own and inhabit one of Panama's major tourist attractions, the San Blas Islands. Its multicultural population is reflected in the country's cuisine, western, Panamanian and American fast food is all on offer with a healthy spread of fresh seafood.
As it's such a diverse country that must be seen to be believed, a single Panama cruise may not be enough, and we are sure that once you first experience this wonderful destination, it won't be long until you're back for more.
Central America is comprised of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and some parts of southern Mexico.
Despite all this diversity, one thing remains constant; the infectious enthusiasm for life and the warmth of the welcome you’ll receive.
World cruises also transit the Panama canal offering guests a great opportunity to view the marvel that is the Canal as well as visit the region.
Repositioning and World cruises also transit the Panama canal offering passengers a great opportunity to view the marvel that is the Canal as well as visit the region.
Most cruises sail in the Northern winter months from October to April.
The region is tropical and days are hot, with nights being much cooler; temperatures range from 32 °C (90 °F) during the daytime to 21 °C (70 °F) in the evening, practically year-round. Humidity is always high at about 80%. The rainy season is usually between October and November, and the best months to visit are mid-December and late March.
South Pacific cruises are extremely popular with increasing numbers of ships domiciled in or visiting the region each year.
At some time in our lives we'd all love to leave our footprints on a white sand beach in Fiji, Noumea, Vanuatu, or Tahiti, or explore the contrast of the Australian Coast; or snorkel the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef or enjoy the magnificent scenery of New Zealand.
It is here, in Australia and the South Pacific, that natural beauty abounds. Fascinating people inhabit peaceful islands and charming cities.
A cruise from Australia to New Zealand and/or the South Pacific, can fulfill almost every exotic adventure that a serious traveller could dream of. The beauty of many of these itineraries is that you can see as much of the South Pacific as you like in one cruise.
An Australia/South Pacific Cruise can take you to many ports, depending upon your ship and sailing date.
Some of the Australian and South Pacific cruises are now part of world cruise itineraries and can include fly/cruise options.
The range of cruises available means travelers are spoilt for choice and include:
French Polynesia has two major cruise ships based their year round as well as a Freighter cruise operator and a small crewed yacht operator – something for everyone. Cruises operate from Tahiti or Bora Bora and cover the Society Islands and the Marquesas. The islands have a rich history and culture, rugged beauty.
Fiji has two resident small ship operators offering 3, 4 and 7-day cruises primarily through the Yasawa islands which are north and west of the main island of Viti Levu.
New Zealand, New Caledonia and Vanuatu are all cruised to from Australia. A year-round series of cruises to these destinations keeps ships busy from Sydney. Melbourne and Brisbane. The Australia New Zealand cruises are often operated by visiting ships to the South Pacific and operate from November to March as they cruise around the south of New Zealand’s South Island.
Trans-Pacific and World cruises give a choice of longer ocean crossings. They cross the International Date Line so east bound cruises gain a day and west bound cruises lose a day in their itineraries.
Local cruises operate year round from Australia, Fiji and Tahiti. The Australia/New Zealand cruises sail between October and March as do the Trans-Pacific/World sectors
Cruises from Australia depart from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and Auckland is the main port for New Zealand. Fiji cruises depart from Lautoka and Tahiti cruises depart from Papeete or Bora Bora.
Tahiti, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia experience warmer and rainier months from November to April, the rest of the year is pleasant and drier. New Zealand cruises operate in its summer so days are pleasant but it is cooler round the bottom of the South Island and warm clothes and rain gear are useful.