PHOTO: Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay. (photo by Jason Leppert)
Cruise Critic has revealed its top cruise destinations for 2017 according to consumer reviews and awarded them accordingly. Let’s take a peek at the 15 categories and consider the results.
“Itineraries are incredibly important to today’s cruisers who are more focused than ever on where they’re going and what they can do while they’re there,” said Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor of Cruise Critic, in a press release.
“Cruise lines have focused on expanding their offerings to quench that thirst for exploration—and this year’s list of winning destinations shows the wide array of adventures cruising offers. You can sail among the glaciers in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, feel like a character on Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik or relax in a private island cabana in Castaway Cay—the options are endless.”
It’s true: A Cruise Critic poll shows itinerary (44 percent) ranks ahead of price (32 percent), sail dates (12 percent) and departure port (12 percent) as the most important factor when planning a cruise vacation.
Top-Rated Alaska Port: Glacier Bay
This one is a bit curious given that Glacier Bay is not a port per se but rather a destination in which cruise ships sail in for sightseeing without actually stopping. Nonetheless, it is visually breathtaking.
The chance to see several glaciers in one location is special, but I would have chosen Hubbard Glacier as my top pick because its singular glacier is more impressive than any one of the individual ones in Glacier Bay.
Top-Rated Asia & South Pacific Port: Singapore
Admittedly, I have never sailed to Singapore, but as Asia picks up steam as a source market and destination, frequented locales such as this are sure to become winners.
Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Port: Akaroa
Similarly, I have neither yet been to Australia nor New Zealand, but the region is praised for scenic ports, Akaroa included. Not far away, Micronesia is another beautiful part of the world to consider.
Top-Rated Baltic & Scandinavia Port: St. Petersburg
Russia is certainly intriguing, and St. Petersburg is a convenient cruise port to access a lot of its history, especially since it was formerly Leningrad. Highlights include Peterhof Palace and the Hermitage Museum.
Top-Rated Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda Port: King’s Wharf
King’s Wharf is a great place for cruises to stop at in Bermuda because they often call for several days of exploring here before returning to the U.S.
Norwegian Breakaway and Anthem of the Seas are among the ships that visit here.
Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Port: Curacao
Curacao is a fun Caribbean port and namesake for the Curacao liqueur. In fact, here you can learn about how the beverage is distilled from local citrus rinds.
Top-Rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Port: Cozumel
Also in the Caribbean, Cozumel is located off the east coast of Mexico. It continues to be a hit with its access to mysterious Mayan ruins. However, the Mexican Riviera on the west coast is also regaining popularity as well.
Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Port: Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a unique European port of call for being accessible by ocean cruise and river cruise. One could even easily combine the two voyage styles with back-to-back sailings that meet here.
Top-Rated Eastern Mediterranean Port: Dubrovnik
The walled city of Dubrovnik is beautiful in its own right, and as McDaniel said above, it has taken on a new life thanks to its “Game of Thrones” filming location status. It will next be seen in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Top-Rated European River Port: Budapest
Like Amsterdam, Budapest is a highly frequented river cruise port that is equally appealing in the summer as it is during the winter.
Its architecture is stunning year-round, and the Christmas markets here are also some of the best in Europe.
Top-Rated Western Mediterranean Port: Villefranche
The south of France is heavenly, and Villefranche is the entry point to the likes of star-studded Cannes as well as the quaint Saint Paul de Vence.
Top-Rated Hawaii Port: Kauai
I can’t agree more with this pick: Kauai is known as the garden island of Hawaii for good reason. It’s simply beautiful, and the port of Nawiliwili, although industrial, quickly leads to some lush sights and even more famous filming locations.
Top-Rated Mexican Riviera, Central & South America Port: Cabo San Lucas
Proving that the Mexican Riviera is indeed making a comeback, Cabo San Lucas comes in at number one. Over the years, the port has become world class with lots of cultural interest and, of course, great food.
Top-Rated U.S. & Canada Port: Quebec City
Quebec City is a port that makes Canada and New England cruises shine via European vibe and architectural gems such as the exquisite Chateau Frontenac hotel.
Top-Rated Cruise Line Private Island: Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay
Competition is getting increasingly stiffer, but Castaway Cay remains the top pick for private islands with its clean environment and unique narrative quality. Disney Cruise Line set the standard for all those that have since followed.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.