From scenic views and gourmet dining to adrenaline-pumping shore excursions and stunning beaches, there are myriad reasons to love cruises.
If you're planning to sail in near future, consider adding these ten most Instagrammed cruise destinations to your bucket list rn:
- Caribbean: From St.Lucia and Aruba to Puerto Rico and Cuba, exploring the Caribbean region on a luxurious cruise liner can be remarkable experience. Almost every major and minor cruise line offers some type of itinerary that at least touches a port or two in the Caribbean. You can pick the one that matches your budget, interests and the number of days you have to explore. For instance, if you're a beach bum, book a cruise that includes St.Maarten, Aruba or Labadee among its ports of call. History buffs would love St.Kitts and San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you love diving and adventure sports then Bonaire, Barbados and Grand Cayman should be on your checklist. Although the weather in the Caribbean is good year-round, the best time to visit is between December and April.
- Bahamas: With over 700 islands and more than 2,000 cays, all scattered across the ocean, the Bahamas has been a popular cruise destination for decades. From soaking up some sunshine on the candy-pink sands of Harbour Island and participating in Junkanoo festivities to watching dolphins and sea lions in action at the Blue Lagoon Islands, there are plenty of cool things to do in the Bahamas. Still, need more convincing? You can go for a glass bottom boat tour over the local reef system of the Great Harbour Cay, go for a shopping spree at the Straw Market, roll a dice in the glitzy Atlantis Casino or swing a club at one of the 18-hole golf courses in the Paradise Island. And the list goes on and on! The Bahamas has warm weather throughout the year, but the best time to visit is between April and May. You might want to avoid vacationing in the region during the hurricane season which starts in June and lasts until mid-November.
- Mexico: A cruise vacation in the Mexican Riviera is a great way to explore the cultural alleys of this colorful country. If you're an adventure-lover, go for whale-watching in Cabo San Lucas, take a zip line tour at Las Cañadas Campground or surf the waves in Playa Hermosa, Ensenada. If you're more inclined to explore the local cuisine and culture, you can channel your inner sommelier in the Valley de Guadalupe, ramble the cobblestoned streets of Todos Santos or hoard beautiful shell jewelry in Manzanillo's flea market. And if you're looking for a quiet weekend getaway, you can laze around on the golden sand beaches of La Paz or saunter in the narrow streets of downtown Puerto Vallarta. While the weather is balmy year-round, the best time to hop on a cruise to Mexico is during the dry season which begins in September and lasts until May.
- Greece: If you want to visit the most popular Greek islands like Crete, Mykonos and Santorini then major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line are your best bet. However, if you wish to explore some offbeat destinations instead, like Hydra and Skiathos, pick a smaller cruise line. If the idea of discovering ancient settlements, castles and historic ports sounds interesting, look no further than destinations like Lesvos and The Peloponnese. If you love to shop (think fashion, food and art), Piraeus is the place to go. It also happens to be one of the largest seaports in Europe. Meanwhile, if you fancy sipping margaritas while watching emerald sea waves kiss the shores, check out Porto Katsiki Beach in Lefkas, Skiathos' Lalaria beach or Balos beach in Crete. The peak season in the Greek islands runs from May to October. But if you want to avoid the tourist rush, June and September are probably the best months to go for a Greek island cruise vacay.
- Italy: From bathing in thermal springs in Civitavecchia and wandering in the picturesque coastal village of Torre Faro to sunbathing on a pebbly beach in Lipari and marveling at the intricate gold interiors of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice — the stunning array of attractions make Italy a paradise for cruisers. Wine aficionados might want to check out SeaDream Yacht Club's Wine Voyage that offers exciting shore excursions like truffle hunting in the Italian forests of Castello Delle Regine. The best time to sail to Italy is between April and June or during fall in September and October.
Other most Instagrammed destinations featured on the list include Australia, Norway, France, Spain and Vietnam. Each place garnered over 20,000 mentions on the social media app.
If you're a first-time cruiser, remember that the best way to ensure a great cruise experience is to choose a cruise liner that matches your requirements. For example, if you want a peaceful, relaxing voyage, you might want to consider Holland America or Celebrity cruise line. For a romantic getaway, go for Windstar or Princess Cruises. For a budget-friendly cruise vacation, you can opt for either Norwegian or Carnival cruise line. If you're traveling with kids, check out the Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean lines. In addition, check out this handy guide for first-time cruisers created by Cruise Critic.
So the next time you want to unwind and up your Instagram game at the same time, sail away to one of these beautiful destinations and watch the double-taps roll in!
By Noma Nazish, Forbes
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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Edited by Jason