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Top 10 destinations for 2022 from Norway to Mauritius and how to cruise there

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

Best holiday destinations in the world have been revealed this week. From the Baltics to the South Pacific, where should you take a cruise in 2022?

Lonely Planet this week announced its Best in Travel 2022, highlighting the top 10 countries to visit next year.

Among these amazing destinations are a number of popular cruise locations - perfect for those struggling with where to sail in 2022.

Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel list starts with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more. The nominations are then whittled down by a panel of travel experts to just 10 countries.

Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and its ongoing commitment to sustainable tourism practices.

So, which country came out top in the latest list? In first place was the Cook Islands.

The island country is one of the world’s smallest, remote and proudly independent nations and scooped the top spot "thanks to its innovative strategies for pushing forward environmental initiatives in the South Pacific," said Lonely Planet.

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The Cook Islands, spread over 850,000 square miles of the South Pacific Ocean, are a popular cruise destination thanks to calm lagoons perfect for snorkelling, stunning beaches and fascinating Maori culture.

Rarotonga is the point of entry for most visitors - there's only one main road here and just 10,000 residents.

The capital of the island is Avarua, where the cruise tender dock is right in the town centre. Fewer than 6,000 people live here and scooters are the primary mode of transport.

- READ MORE: Cruise lines to keep on your radar for 2022 -

Cruise lines such as Holland America Line, MSC, Silversea, Crystal and Seabourn sail to the Cook Islands.

Top tip: It's worth booking a cruise shore excursion when visiting here as ships are sometimes unable to anchor due to sea conditions and you'll be fully refunded by your cruise line.

The second best dest destination for 2022 was Norway - a classic cruise destination.

Norway claimed the spot "for being a leading light on sustainability, green technology and community culture initiatives, from the cities to the wilderness," said Lonely Planet.

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Norway: Flam is hiker's heaven thanks to towering peaks and narrow valleys. Credit: Shutterstock

Norway offers some of the most stunning scenery on earth thanks to its vertiginous fjords, dramatic coastline and jaw-dropping ice-blue glaciers.

Cruises tend to visit Oslo, the country’s compact capital before sailing to the fjordland village of Flam. It's hiker's heaven here thanks to towering peaks, narrow valleys and powerful waterfalls.

There' also the famous Flam Railway which climbs more than 900 metres up into the mountains making for one of the world’s truly great rail journeys.

- READ MORE: Northern Europe travel guide - where is best for you? -

Cruise lines including Hurtigruten, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, MSC, P&O Cruises and Cunard sail to Norway.

The third best destination for next year is Mauritius, an East African volcanic island situated in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar known for its reefs, beaches and lagoons.

Cruises stop at island capital Port Louis, named after a former French emperor, and a major point of passage for ships sailing around the Cape of Good Hope.

Here travellers can stroll along the Caudan Waterfront or Jardins de las Campagnie, the city park. Discover more about Port Louis’ colonial past on Place D’Armes, where the statue of Bertrand François Mahé, the count of La Bourdonnais and a former governor of the island, stand proud.

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Mauritius is an East African volcanic island situated in the Indian Ocean. Credit: Shutterstock

Nature-lovers should take a submarine excursion which takes guests to a depth of around 30m for amazing views of colourful sea-life. Alternatively head to the resort of Grand Bay, on the shores of a lagoon, for relaxation and retail therapy.

Cruise lines that sail to Mauritius include Princess Cruises, NCL, MSC, Silversea and Cunard.

The fourth best country for 2022, according to Lonely Planet is Belize. The Central American nation is located at the base of the Yucatan Peninsula.

It boasts dense rainforest home to a wide range of tropical wildlife, ranging from jaguars and toucans to macaws and howler monkeys.

- READ MORE: Your essential post-Covid guide to Caribbean cruising -

Belize also boasts the world's second-largest barrier reef where you can find some of the best diving on the planet.

History lovers will enjoy the Mayan ruins which are scattered among the rainforest. The largest and most famous is the 1,200-year-old Mayan temple complex of Xunantunich - you have to take a trip across a small river on a floating bridge to get there.

Cruises here stop at Belize City. Top tip: don't forget to buy some woven baskets as a souvenir and tuck into a traditional Belizean lunch of beans and rice, cooked in coconut milk and served with fried chicken and a dash of the local hot sauce.

Cruise lines that head to Belize include Marella Cruises, Princess Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean.

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Belize boasts dense rainforest home to a wide range of tropical wildlife. Credit: Shutterstock

Slovenia came in fifth place. The mountainous country in Central Europe is known for its ski resorts and lakes - Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque spots in Europe thanks to its Alpine backdrop and lone island topped with a charming church belfry - all overlooked by Bled Castle.

Meanwhile, capital Ljubljana boasts elegant baroque architecture, the picturesque Triple Bridge and a quaint Old Town.

Cruises opt at the port of Koper which is a popular starting point for excursions to Ljubljana and inland Slovenia.

Marella Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises and Viking are among the cruise lines that sail here.

Completing the top 10 were Anguilla, Oman, Nepal, Malawi and Egypt.

- READ MORE: Viking cruise line EVP on best cruises for 2022 -

Top 10 countries to visit in 2022

1. Cook Islands

2. Norway

3. Mauritius

4. Belize

5. Slovenia

6. Anguilla

7. Oman

8. Nepal

9. Malawi

10. Egypt

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