Upcoming Cruise Destinations

When considering a cruise holiday, one of the first things we choose is the destination. Warm or cold, near or far – it’s a deciding factor on dates, duration and more.

The latest State of the Industry report from CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) suggests that cruisers are choosing destinations based on the diverse travel experiences on offer as well as the chance to feel a sense of achievement while travelling.

With environmental impact being very current, this also impacts the way to choose destinations. More cruisers are opting to see the world in a more conscious and mindful way, visiting local cities and landmarks while trying to minimise environmental footprints.

Another trend from the CLIA report stated that our choice of destination also rests on exclusivity – with more travellers setting their sights on destinations which were previously out of reach. As the rise of expedition cruises continues, regions such as the Galapagos and Antarctica are becoming more popular for exploratory holidays.


One of the destinations which ticks many of these boxes for cruisers is Asia. The region is a patchwork of verdant landscapes and local villages like nowhere else. According to data from CLIA, last year saw an increase in sailings visiting the destination at 1,917, equating to ships visiting 306 places in Asia for the year – an increase from 288 destinations in 2018.

Trees in Singapore - Asia

Joel Katz, Managing Director for CLIA Australasia & Asia said:

The popularity of cruising in Asia is expected to grow further over coming years as cruise lines deploy new, larger vessels that have been purpose-built for Asian consumers.

Of the region, it’s most popular ports of call including Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, each of which boasts its own representation of Asian culture, cuisine and history.

Spectrum of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas debuted in Asia in 2019, offering all the fun of the Quantum-Class ships in regions such as Vietnam, China and Indonesia. Each sailing is culturally-enriching, while on-board the destinations come to life with dining venues showcasing local flavours to immerse you even more in the culture.

Galapagos Islands

For more unique upcoming destinations, the Galapagos is as exceptional as it gets. Offering endemic flora and fauna, captivating wildlife and an iconic history, it’s no wonder more people want to visit.

From walking nature trails and catching a glimpse of the iconic Galapagos Tortoise or watching sale cubs roll along the beach, it’s a destination that will take your breath away.

The destination is protected by the Galapagos National Park, placing strict regulations on people travelling here – especially cruises. Guidelines to follow include restrictions on single-use plastics and that all visits must be accompanied by a Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD).

Galapagos - South America

The islands are the largest National Park in Ecuador and one of the most protected natural areas in the world, which is why these regulations are put into place. One of the ways to visit on a cruise is aboard Celebrity Cruises’ brand-new expedition ship, Celebrity Flora. Marking an evolutionary turning point for ship design and execution, Flora will offer all-suite accommodation for sailing to the Galapagos.

Galapagos - Celebrity Cruises - Flora

While the interior is inspired by natural, sustainable materials which complement the destination, standout features include the Dynamic Positioning System, which allows the ship to stay stationary without the use of anchors and its glamping at sea experience, with cabanas and al fresco dining under the stars.

It’s true that there’s nowhere like the Galapagos. The floating volcanic region offers a paradise that is incomparable. Home to many species of plants and animals, an inspiration to Darwin’s theory of evolution, and untouched by humans – the Galapagos is as unique as the ecosystem that thrives there.

North America & Alaska

Away from the exotics, another cruise destination that is growing steadily is North America. The 2018-2019 Cruise Industry News Annual Report states that North American cruise capacity is projects to grow nearly 40 percent by 2027, reaching 20 million.

Alaska tops the list of popular destinations for the region, with more ships expected to visit in the coming years. This destination is awe-inspiring, offering natural wonders and adventures galore. One of the main draws to Alaska is the wildlife sightings, with whales, bears and eagles popular to spot along the coastline.

Landscape of Alaska

Three new cruise vessels have flocked to the Alaskan waters this year including Norwegian Joy, Royal Princess and Ovation of the Seas, each carrying more than 3,000 passengers. The popularity of the region has even prompted Juneau port authorities to improve infrastructure to meet demand!

Sarah Leonard, President and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, told crowds gathered at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District’s Industry Outlook Forum:

A driver of Alaska’s visitor numbers are due in large part to our cruise visitors and partners and the marketing by the cruise industry in Alaska. We’re a popular destination.

Colourful buildings bordering the water in Ketchikan in Alaska

A memorable port is Glacier Bay, recently featuring in the annual Cruise Critic’s Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards. Coming in the third most popular, this Alaskan port offers cruisers an incredible and intimate view of Glacier Bay National Park, as well as the surrounding fjords and glaciers. Some cruise lines even bring a local guide on-board who will talk about the region’s history.

One of the top cruise lines to visit this port of call is Holland America Line, which offers more sailings to Glacier Bay National Park than any other cruise line. With a range of 7- to 21-day cruises, there are eight ships to choose from in the fleet and every sailing including at least one glacier viewing.

No matter where you choose to set sail, each destination offers its own unique slice of culture and cuisine. Whether you’re exploring the mysteries of Asia, the raw beauty of the Galapagos or the stunning landscapes of Alaska – these cruise destinations will keep you right on trend.

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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