Cruise Destinations You May Have Overlooked
By Kathy Mcnally
Maybe you're a seasoned cruise veteran who is searching for a new place to see. Or perhaps you just want to experience a vacation destination that differs from the traditional cruise trips. Whatever your reasons, there are plenty of global destinations to sail to that are somewhat "off the beaten path" of your typical cruise vacations. Here are just a few of them:
Long known for its breathtaking vistas and its world-class scuba diving, this roughly Massachusetts-sized nation shares a border with Mexico. But Belize is home to several once-in-a-lifetime vacation experiences that are difficult to find anywhere else (especially in one place). You can visit the only jaguar reserve in the world at Cockscomb Basin, take a bus through the Community Baboon Sanctuary, or wander through historic archeological sites like Xunantunich and Caracol. Belize is also home to the world's only manual swing bridge as well as Central America's oldest Anglican church.
Belize City is the penultimate stop on Carnival Cruise Lines' seven-day cruise out of Miami, Florida. The Carnival Valor also counts Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Roatan, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico among its ports of call.
Combine picturesque natural scenery with a taste of the West Indies, and you have Tortola, the largest island in the British Virgin Islands chain. Several protected anchorages and small coves make Tortola a paradise for boaters, snorkelers, and scuba divers alike. On land, you can take a horseback ride through the foothills, wander through old ruins from centuries gone by, or sunbathe on any of the white powdery beaches. It's also a shopper's paradise where you will find handmade crafts, local art, and exquisite jewelry.
Tortola is a featured stop on Carnival Cruise Lines' eight-day excursion aboard the Carnival Freedom. Departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the ship also visits San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas; Antigua; and Nassau, Bahamas.
If you like "getting back to nature," St. Kitts is a hidden gem in the southern Caribbean. The 68 square mile island is dominated by three volcanic peaks which surround deep ravines, and several salt ponds and beautiful beaches dot its low-lying peninsula. St. Kitts is home to numerous grasslands, sugarcane plantations, and fruit tree groves; and the climate is temperate all year long. You can experience outstanding eco-tours or play around on the beach - or just languish in your picturesque isolation.
Carnival Cruise Lines can take you to St. Kitts as part of its seven-day cruise which departs from Barbados. The Carnival Victory will also whisk you to St. Lucia; Phillipsburg, Netherlands Antilles; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the island of Dominica.
The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix (pronounced Saint Croy) boasts a wide variety of sights and activities to accommodate the tastes of any traveler. You can explore tropical rain forests, wide-open beaches, rugged hills, and even underwater trails as you snorkel or scuba through Buck Island Reef. Guided tours of the island are available, or you can strike out on your own and see St. Croix Leap woodcarvers create beautiful mahogany furniture, shop in the thriving Christiansted market, or visit the Cruzan Rum Distillery.
St. Croix is the final port of call on a seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas. Before that, you will dock in Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; St. John's Antigua; and Phillipsburg, Netherlands Antilles before returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
If you wanted to envision what California looked like two centuries ago (before 37 million people came to live there), you would see Santa Catalina in Baja Mexico. This untamed wilderness features various floras with secluded oceanview coves, along with lush forests of kelp which are home to a cornucopia of sea life. But Santa Catalina has added enough resort amenities to make it a highly desirable secret getaway destination. You can spend your days snorkeling in the coves or hiking in the wilderness - or you can relax on the sun-kissed beaches all day long.
Carnival Cruise Lines has a quick four-day getaway cruise which departs from Long Beach, California. The Carnival Paradise also stops in the charming Baja California city of Ensanada.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Most Alaskan cruises only take you as far as the southeastern arm of the state. But Denali National Park represents the perfect blend of what makes up "The Last Frontier." The park itself encompasses a mind-boggling six million acres of land and is home to Mount McKinley (the continent's highest mountain), numerous glaciers, and a rare subarctic ecosystem. Dog sled rides, backpacking, and wildlife photo tours await you in the nation's largest state.
Holland America Line offers a ten-day cruise which departs from the Alaskan capital of Anchorage and arrives at Denali the following day. The ms Zuiderdam also stops in Fairbanks, Beaver Creek, Whitehorse, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan, Alaska before taking you along the famed Inside Passage and then visiting Vancouver, Canada.
So go online and book a cruise to one of these unique destinations today!
Kathy Mcnally is a freelance writer who writes about several topics including cruise deals.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.