Top Cruise Destinations

We are all often caught dreaming of sunny shores and far-flung destinations for our next holidaying venture, so we have put together a handy guide on where and when to visit some of the top rated destinations, many of which you can cruise to. some of which you can even cruise to!

The Mediterranean

It may sound predictable, but the Mediterranean has so much to offer that it’s easy to miss the hidden gems and secret stops, even when you’ve visited a number of times. The region spans over twenty countries across Southern Europe, North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, including two island nations.

A consistently popular destination for cruising, perfect for your first or twenty-first sailing – here are some worthy of adding to your bucket-list.


Harbour in Malta - Mediterranean

Having been granted European Capital of Culture in 2018, it can be expected that the island will rise in popularity over the coming months, and why not? From its international jazz and arts festivals to the historical sites around the region – Malta offers a holiday destination well-suited for all of its visitors.

Explore the city of Mdina and witness an amalgamation of Medieval and Baroque eras within the architecture that surrounds the city. For markets and eclectic buys, the town of Rabat bustles with narrow alleyways and charming streets. There are plenty of diving sites to visit throughout the island, with some of the clearest waters throughout the Mediterranean.

Best time to visit: February to August

Top things to see: Enjoy the festivals including the Malta Jazz Festival (July) and the International Arts Festival (June/July), as well as snorkelling and diving off the coast to spot an abundance of marine life in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea!


The Amalfi Coast is perfect for both relaxers and adventurers, with bucket-list activities for all to experience when visiting here. There are 13 pastel-coloured, cliffside towns which make up the Amalfi Coast, each comprising picturesque hiking trails and plentiful beaches for sunbathing and swimming. UNESCO have even stated that the region is an area of great physical beauty and natural diversity – making it a perfect region to add to your list!

Florence, Italy - Mediterranean

A little further inland, but included in many cruise excursions, Florence is home to museums, culture and history in droves. Its cobbled streets and quaint architecture make it a wonder to walk through, each drenched in Italian charm to keep your interest piqued. With stunning buildings, world-class art and plenty urban masterpieces, it’s hardly surprising that the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site!

Best time to visit: May to October

Top things to see: Florence’s sky-dominating 15th century dome, Santa Maria del Fiore or the city’s Piazzale Michelangelo for sweeping views, or admire the pastel-coloured houses of Positano along the Amalfi Coast.


A stunning country on a comeback after challenging years, Turkey is a strong contender for your bucket-list. In recent, the Culture and Tourism Ministry revealed that the country has seen a rise of 39% rise in foreign arrivals to Turkey, when compared to 2017.

Cappadocia, Turkey - Mediterranean

The region is home to endless stretches of sand and picturesque ports, making it a superb addition to your list. GfK have also confirmed that region has undertaken 69% more bookings to Turkey for summer 2018, so you’ll have to be quick to visit for 2019! Offering a melting-pot of cultures, beautiful countryside and dramatic coastlines to explore and sunbathe along, Turkey offers something for all to enjoy when visiting.

Best time to visit: April to September

Top things to see: Enjoy white water rafting along some of Turkey’s best creeks and rivers, experience Oludeniz from above as you para-glide from the Badabag Mountain, or even hop into a hot air balloon over central Anatolia in Cappadocia with stunning 360° views of the landscapes.

British Isles

It’s probably not the first destination you may consider for your next cruise, but there are places much closer to home which could be the perfect getaway for you and your family.


One of these places in particular is Scotland. Voted the top destination to visit by readers of the popular travel guide, Rough Guides, the region is full to the brim of stunning scenery and endless landscapes that you’ll be longing to visit in no time.

Isle of Skye, Scotland - British Isles

There’s plenty to experience when visiting the region, with rugged coastlines and quaint lakes to share for everyone. Castles are also prominent along the landscape, including the medieval fortress that is Dunnottar Castle on the Aberdeenshire Coast and the unique castle-turned-lighthouse at Kinnaird Head.

For nature lovers, wildlife watchers, hikers and ramblers, Scotland is a prime candidate for your bucket-list. Kayak to the backdrop of a setting sun along Bow Fiddle Rock; walk along the white stretches of Luskentyre Sands; visit the mysterious Green Lock in Glenmore Forest Park; or follow the footsteps of Sir William Wallace to the National Wallace Monument in Stirling – a true fairytale experience.

Best time to visit: March to September

Top things to see: Visit the popular cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and enjoy architecture, culture and history, or sail to the Isle of Skye for the day and visit the Fairy Pools or the 986m Black Cuillin Ridge.

New Zealand

There’s no bucket-list worth having if New Zealand isn’t mentioned. This destination regularly features as one of the most desired countries that people would look to visit. Whether that’s to walk the verdant landscapes, visit star attractions or explore the region’s unique flora and fauna – New Zealand is a country that lives and breathes bucket-list benchmarks.

New Zealand - Australasia

Fjordland National Park is situated on the southwestern tip of the country, and offers one of the most remote spots you could visit on our bucket list. Covering 5,000 square miles of undeveloped and pristine wildlands, the park is perfect for sightseeing adventures.

Best time to visit: March to September

Top things to see: Experience Maori culture in Marae and witness traditional singing, dancing and hakas; cycle along the Alps2Ocean trail and explore over 300km of stunning scenery passing through the South Island to the remarkable Coromandel peninsula; or visit Hobbiton for a chance to step into Middle Earth.

So many destinations to visit, so little time! Why not book yourself a cruise to explore the world all in one holiday? Have you sailed to any of these destinations on a cruise? What is your ultimate bucket list destination? Let us know in the comments below.

Post updated 03/01/2020

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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