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Cruise Destinations: How to Choose the Itinerary For You

By Kimberly Fidler 12/13/2013

One of the best things about a cruise is the fabulous destinations that you get to explore. Cruising lets you choose multiple destinations so you don't have to decide on just one. We can help you discover the perfect itinerary for your cruise - whether you're a first time or experienced cruiser. Here is an overview to help you narrow down the choices and select your ideal cruise destinations:

Mexican Riviera/Baja Mexico:

Both of these itinerary types depart from Southern California and visit ports along Mexico's Pacific Coast. Mexican Riviera Cruises are normally 7+ days in length and go further South to cities like Puerto Vallarta and possibly Manzanillo. Ensenada, Catalina Island and Cabo are all common ports in both Mexican Riviera and Baja Mexico cruises, which tend to stay closer to California and vary from 3-5 days in length. Baja Mexico cruises are popular year-round and Mexican Riviera cruises have best availability during Fall and Spring.



Bahamas:

Like Baja Mexico cruises, cruises to the Bahamas are so popular in part because they offer shorter itinerary options (3-5 nights) and are incredibly affordable. Bahamas cruises start in a number of Florida port cities and include 1 -2 port cities. The most popular itineraries include ports in Nassau and if applicable, your cruise line's private island. Royal Caribbean's Coco Cay, Norwegian's Great Stirrup Cay and Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay are often cruiser's favorite ports.



Caribbean:

Caribbean cruises vary in length, but the most popular itineraries are 7 days. Because the Caribbean is so vast, it's broken up by the major cruise lines into three general areas: Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean and Southern Caribbean.

Western Caribbean cruises are scheduled to depart anywhere from Florida to Texas and Louisiana. These cruises sail through the Gulf of Mexico and/or the Atlantic Ocean, which is warmer and clearer than the Pacific Coasts cruises. Some popular Western Caribbean cruise ports include Key West, Nassau, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Jamaica, Honduras and Belize.

Most Eastern Caribbean cruises depart from Florida and visit 2-3 port cities with an extra day or two at sea. Eastern Caribbean cruises can include popular ports such as Bahamas, Grand Turk, St. John (USVI), St. Thomas, St. Martin, Tortola, and others.



Southern Caribbean cruises may depart from Florida or San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cruises departing from Puerto Rico often have a port nearly each day of a 7 day cruise and include destinations like Barbados, Aruba, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent and St. Kitts. If there is a particular port you're interested in visiting, we can help you determine which itinerary will make that possible.

Alaska:

Alaskan cruises are available from May to September only and often depart from Seattle or Vancouver. Alaskan cruises range from 7-14 days with one-way or round-trip options.  Popular ports include Ketchican, Skagway, Juneau and Victoria. One unique aspect of an Alaskan cruise is that the journey itself is a breathtaking adventure with some of the most stunning scenery right outside your stateroom. Balcony cabins are normally the first rooms booked on an Alaskan cruise, so it always helps to book early.


Image credit: ©Disney

Mediterranean:

Mediterranean cruises are an affordable and relaxing way to experience the grandeur of some of Europe's most popular cities like Rome, Venice, Naples, Barcelona, Athens, and much more. Mediterranean cruises tend to be longer in length and can either be a round-trip cruise or a one-way cruise. River cruises are another option to get a closer, more intimate and generally more luxurious European cruise. Mediterranean and European Cruises are most popular during the summer months. Our best recommendation to get the most out of your Mediterranean cruise is to book a pre or post cruise land segment to your trip. We can help arrange accommodations and activities for you as well.

Hawaii:

A Hawaiian cruise is the perfect way to visit Hawaii's diverse terrain and unique islands. Many Hawaiian cruises depart from and return to Honolulu and include ports in Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. These cruises are 7 nights long and include both day and night options to explore Hawaii's culture and beaches. Another Hawaiian cruise option is to cruise from the Main Land (departing from the California Coast or even Canada) to Hawaii. These cruises include 3-5 sea days both to and from Hawaii and then also include a cruise around the Hawaiian islands. This is a great option if you enjoy cruising in general and don't want to fly to Hawaii. Like Alaska, because you'll be sailing so closely to your destinations, you'll want an ocean view or balcony cabin.



New England:

If you've ever been to the East Coast during the fall, you know why New England cruises are so popular that time of year. New England cruises depart from Boston, New York City, Baltimore and even Quebec and Montreal. Ports include picturesque towns in both the U.S. and Canada depending on the itinerary and cruise line you choose. Historic sites, vibrant foliage, the freshest seafood and so much more are the major draws to New England Cruises.

These are the most popular types of cruise itineraries and destinations to choose from - and they're all great. We hope this overview of the different cruise destinations helps you narrow down the itinerary for you! If your desired destinations aren't listed here, we can also help with cruises through the Panama Canal, South America and even Asia.  Our cruise experts would love to help you plan your perfect cruise vacation. Book online, or give us a call at 877-510-2929.



Check out these other great articles:

How to Choose the Cruise For You
Disney Cruise Line Named Best Cruise Line


Kimberly Fidler