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Top 16 destinations to visit in 2022 and how to cruise there

Author: Lucy Abbott

Published on:

Updated on:

Holiday inspiration is sorely needed amid the January blues and our guide to where to cruise in 2022 will sort you right out.

From picture-postcard classics to exciting new ports of call, these are the 16 best places to visit in 2022 – and the cruises to get you there.

Miami

This famously cosmopolitan city is full of energy, with buzzing neighbourhoods and an eclectic art scene. The iconic South Beach, famous for its clear blue waters and trendy nightclubs, offers a true taste of the good life, Florida-style.

Foodies will love Miami for its new and innovative restaurants – go for a bite to eat at hip Palmar, a modern Chinese eaterie enjoying rave reviews.

If you love art, head to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Perez Art Museum or Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, where you can see modern masterpieces and centuries-old treasures. And don’t forget to check out some of the world’s best examples of art deco architecture among the palm trees on Ocean Drive.

Go for? A fabulous melting pot of culture, cuisine and buzzy beach life

Get on board

Royal Caribbean four-night ‘Bahamas & Perfect Day’ cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas, round trip from Miami via Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas, departing March 7, 2022, from £244.

Virgin Voyages five-night ‘Riviera Maya’ cruise aboard Scarlet Lady, round trip from Miami via Cozumel and Beach Club at Bimini, departing May 22, 2022, from £1,241.

Vietnam

In this intriguing country, many of the best attractions lie along the coastline, so cruising is a great way to see it. There are still traces of the Vietnam war everywhere, but a new generation is more interested in sharing the country’s unique fusion heritage and natural beauty with visitors. Must-sees include Vietnam’s two major cities – Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Home to nine million people, HCMC is a buzzy metropolis but it’s surprisingly easy to get around by foot and tuk-tuk. You should definitely visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War Remnants Museum, but take time out also to enjoy some of the best street cafes in the world, serving steaming bowls of pho.

If you sail to Hanoi you’ll find a city full of reminders of its French colonial past. Many of the older residents here still speak the language, and there’s delicious fusion food on every corner.

To find out more about this nation’s fascinating but troubled past, visit the National Museum of Vietnamese History. But don’t leave Vietnam without taking a sailing trip round Ha Long Bay. With its towering limestone rock formations – known as karsts – and emerald green waters, it’s one of the most photographed destinations in the world (not to mention the backdrop to countless movie scenes).

Go for? A vibrant modern nation that remembers its past but looks to the future

Get on board

Avalon Waterways seven-night ‘Mekong Discovery’ cruise aboard Avalon Saigon, from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City via Long Khanh A, departing August 11, 2022, from £2,179.

Viking 14-night ‘Magnificent Mekong’ cruise aboard Viking Saigon, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City via Siem Reap and Phnom Penh departing August 5, 2022, from £5,145.

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Jamaica

With its lush tropical rainforests and palm-fringed white sandy beaches, it’s no wonder Jamaica is one of the Caribbean’s most popular islands.

Must-dos include a trip to Bob Marley’s house in Kingston, which is now a museum, and a visit to Montego Bay’s lively Hip Strip, where rum cocktails are the order of the day. And don’t leave the island without sampling some fiery jerk chicken – its famous national dish.

Go for? Beautiful beaches, friendly locals and Caribbean cool

Get on board

Marella Cruises seven-night ‘Flavours of the Caribbean’ cruise aboard Marella Discovery 2, round trip from Montego Bay, Jamaica, via Cayman Islands, Cuba and Cozumel, departing December 13, 2022, from £1,250 including flights.

Holland America Line 13-night ‘Western/Eastern Caribbean’ cruise aboard Rotterdam, round trip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, via Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Key West, Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, departing March 27, 2022, from £1,849.

Melbourne

OK, it doesn’t have a knockout view to match Sydney Harbour, but Australia’s second-largest city punches above its weight in the worlds of fashion and food.

For the best way to get around, look no further than those iconic brightly coloured trams. Start in Federation Square, in the heart of the city, and stop off for coffee in one of the many trendy bars and cafes you’ll find nearby in the ‘Lanes’. Then head to the coast to visit St Kilda and Port Melbourne, where the fashionable folk like to live.

If you’re shopping, Queen Victoria Market is the perfect place to find Aussie gifts, while the fashion stores on Bridge Road in Richmond are amazing. And don’t miss the chance to take a breather in the Royal Botanic Gardens on the banks of the Yarra River before joining the residents and sampling a glass of local wine nearby.

Go for? A taste of sophisticated urban living, Aussie-style

Get on board

Cunard eight-night ‘Fremantle to Sydney’ cruise aboard Queen Elizabeth, from Perth via Adelaide and Melbourne, departing November 7, 2022, from £1,049.

Princess four-night ‘Australia Getaway’ cruise aboard Sapphire Princess, from Adelaide to Sydney via Melbourne, departing September 13, 2022, from £337.

- READ MORE: Full list of ocean ships sailing their maiden voyage this year -

Galapagos Islands

Home to countless species of truly extraordinary animals, the Galapagos Islands make a truly unique bucket-list adventure. Charles Darwin landed here in 1835 aboard HMS Beagle, and it was this experience that inspired his theory of evolution.

Visit the islands’ beaches and forest trails today and you’ll be able to get close to giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and more.

Go for? Fearless and fabulous wildlife, literally like nothing else on earth.

Get on board

Silversea seven-night San Cristobal round-trip aboard Silver Origin, via Isabela, Floreana, Fernandina and Santa Cruz islands, departing March 12, 2022, from £9,700 including return flight from Ecuador.

Celebrity Cruises seven-night ‘Galapagos Southern Loop’ cruise aboard Celebrity Xploration, round trip from Baltra via Mosquera, Santa Cruz, Rabida, Isabela, Floreana, San Cristobal and Daphne Major islands, departing March 19, 2022, from £3,840.

Cruises 2022: It’s no wonder Jamaica is one of the Caribbean’s most popular islands. Credit: Shutterstock

Barbados

You’ll be tempted just to kick back and relax on one of the many white-sand beaches, with just a rum cocktail and a good book for company. But if you can prise yourself away, Barbados offers so much more to discover.

Fascinating history awaits just outside Bridgetown at The Garrison, an area packed with colonial architecture and dominated by the famous Garrison Savannah racecourse.

Keen divers should head to Carlisle Bay, home to six shipwreck dive sites, while nature- lovers will make a beeline for the four-acre Barbados Wildlife Reserve, for a chance to see green monkeys, turtles, iguanas, peacocks and deer.

Go for? Pristine white-sand beaches, colonial history and clear warm waters.

Get on board

Norwegian Cruise Line eight-night ‘Caribbean: Barbados, Curaçao & Aruba’ cruise aboard Norwegian Epic, round trip from San Juan, Puerto Rico, via Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia and St Kitts, departing December 30, 2022, from £1,191.

P&O Cruises 13-night ‘Caribbean’ cruise aboard Azura, from Bridgetown, Barbados, to Valletta, Malta, via Gran Canaria and Cadiz, departing March 18, 2022, from £949 including flights.

- READ MORE: Best around-the-world cruises -

Hawaii

The Hawaiian archipelago comprises eight major islands and many smaller islets. All will leave you spoiled for choice, thanks to an abundance of stunning beaches, panoramic views and natural beauty around every corner.

Most big ships stop in lively Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Famed for its crescent-shaped Waikiki Beach, it’s the perfect place to enjoy some local dishes such as lomi lomi salmon.

If you’re in the market for gifts and souvenirs, don’t miss Ala Moana, the world’s largest open-air shopping centre. You can also visit the Iolani Palace, once home to Hawaii’s royal family, and venture into the tropical rainforests that lie beyond the city centre. But nature-lovers may prefer the beautiful island of Kona, where you’ll get to see fiery Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and visit some jaw-dropping beaches, too.

Go for? Miles of undisturbed coastline and fearsomely fiery volcanoes.

Get on board

Seabourn 26-night ‘The Path to Polynesia’ cruise aboard Seabourn Odyssey, from Seattle to Papeete, Tahiti, via Lahaina, Honolulu, Kona and Bora Bora, departing October 1, 2022, from £12,999

Princess eight-night ‘Vancouver to Honolulu’ cruise aboard Royal Princess, via Victoria (British Columbia) and Kona, departing September 24, 2022, from £629.

Rio de Janeiro

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer energy and beauty of Brazil’s most celebrated city. With endless cool urban beaches, some of the country’s best restaurants, the beautiful Botanical Garden and that awe-inspiring 38-metre clifftop statue of Christ the Redeemer, this is a city that simply guarantees a memorable visit.

If you’re lucky enough to stay overnight, don’t miss the chance to grab a cold beer and join in with the Samba-fuelled nightlife on every street corner (and if you’re here in late February or early March at Carnival time, hold on to your hat...).

Go for? Iconic views, incredible nightlife and legendary beaches

Get on board

MSC Cruises 23-night ‘Grand Voyage’ aboard MSC Preziosa, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Copenhagen via Rio de Janerio, departing April 7, 2022, from £1,169.

Azamara 16-night ‘Portuguese Pursuit Voyage’ aboard Azamara Pursuit, from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro via Madeira, La Palma, Mindelo and Salvador de Bahia, departing November 30, 2022, from £1,793.

Cruises 2022: Nothing can prepare you for the sheer energy and beauty of Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Shutterstock

Japan

Top of many travellers’ bucket lists, Japan is a cluster of volcanic islands where a rich traditional culture coexists easily with fast-moving contemporary life.

To get the best out of this fascinating country, you must experience both old and new. So marvel at the bright lights and funky fashions in Tokyo, dine on fresh sushi in the gourmet capital Osaka, then take a high-speed bullet train to Kyoto to visit the Gion geisha district. And don’t miss the chance to step back in time with a visit to a traditional Japanese ryokan inn.

Go for? Cutting-edge technology and cherry blossom trees.

Get on board

Princess five-night ‘Korea & Japan Getaway’ cruise aboard Diamond Princess, from Tokyo to Kobe via Cheju City and Nagasaki, departing May 9, 2022, from £699.

Royal Caribbean seven-night ‘Best of Japan’ cruise aboard Spectrum of the Seas, round trip from Beijing via Nagasaki, Miyazaki and Osaka, departing May 29, 2022, from £889.

- READ MORE: Best Japan cruises with Regent Seven Seas Cruises -

Antarctica

Once-in-a-lifetime destination Antarctica is truly like no other place on earth. Glistening icebergs, frozen mountain peaks and remarkable wildlife greet you as you explore one of the last natural wonders of the world.

Modern-day expedition cruise ships are built to make the most of your time here, so you’ll get to see plenty of seals, whales and penguins in their natural frozen habitat. The glaciers are just as impressive and you’ll be talking for years to come about the time you saw an Antarctic sunrise.

Go for? The wildlife, the spectacular glaciers... and the bragging rights.

Get on board

Silversea 10-night ‘Expedition Cruise’ aboard Silver Cloud, round trip from Punta Arenas, Chile, via Drake Passage, South Shetland islands and Antarctic peninsula, departing January 29, 2022, from £9,500.

Hurtigruten 17-night ‘Antarctica & Patagonia’ cruise aboard MS Fridtjof Nansen, from Valparaiso, Chile, to Buenos Aires via Patagonia, Cape Horn, Drake Passage and Antarctica, departing October 23, 2022, from £6,569.

Jordan

Mesmerising Jordan is a friendly country with a truly ancient history and spectacular desert landscapes. Its star attraction is Petra, the amazingly well-preserved city in the desert that dates back centuries before Christ. Here you’ll find temples and tombs carved into pink sandstone, and the awe-inspiring 45-metre high Al Khazneh temple with its Greek-style façade.

Elsewhere in Jordan, visit the coastal city of Aqaba to enjoy shopping at the local markets and some unforgettably delicious street food. Movie fans will love the country, too. The stunning desert landscapes of Wadi Rum have been used in countless films, including Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Go for? One of the seven wonders of the world – the ancient city of Petra

Get on board

Azamara 17-night ‘Ancient Trade Routes’ cruise aboard Azamara Quest, from Athens (Piraeus) to Dubai via Egypt, Jordan, Suez Canal and Oman, departing October 29, 2022, from £3,623.

Ponant 10-night ‘Ancient Civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean’ cruise aboard Le Bellot, from Aqaba, Jordan, to Valletta via Eilat, Suez Canal, Rhodes and Crete, departing April 9, 2022, from £4,180.

Cruises 2022: Once-in-a-lifetime destination Antarctica is truly like no other place on earth. Credit: Shutterstock

South Sea islands

Dots in the vastness of the Pacific, the South Sea Islands offer some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. The key places to visit are Easter Island, Fiji and Bora Bora, and many cruises will take you to all three.

Easter Island is famous for its mysterious giant statues, cut from volcanic rock. The statues, called moai, were created by the early Rapa Nui people. Their purpose still baffles ethnologists but in 1995 Easter Island became a World Heritage Site.

The island of Fiji is an ever-popular cruise stop, with its blissful beaches, turquoise lagoons and friendly locals, so sit back with a coconut cocktail and watch the world go by. But don’t miss Bora Bora – this jewel of the South Seas is a dazzling combination of sandy beaches and coral reefs, surrounded by swaying palms. Loved by honeymooners, it’s one of the most romantic places on earth.

Go for? The scenery – these islands are some of the most beautiful on the planet.

Get on board

Royal Caribbean 16-night ‘Transpacific’ cruise’ aboard Radiance of the Seas, from Honolulu to Sydney via Bora Bora, departing October 4, 2022, from £1,286.

Silversea 20-night ‘Valparaiso to Papeete’ cruise aboard Silver Whisper, via Robinson Crusoe Island, Easter Island, Marquesas and Rangiroa, departing December 2, 2022, from £8,100.

Norway

You haven’t cruised until you’ve been to Norway. With deep blue fjords, pretty-as-a-picture villages and snow-topped mountains, its natural attractions are second to none.

Outdoor types will love the chance to go hiking, dog-sledding, glacier-walking or kayaking, while those who prefer more urban pleasures should head for Bergen’s Bryggen wharf, which is lined with 14th-century warehouses painted in rainbow hues. Here you’ll find some of the most celebrated modern fish cuisine, and some great Norwegian fashion stores, too.

Historic Trondheim, which was the capital of Norway during the Viking period, is equally stunning. And don’t miss a chance to visit the village of Geiranger, situated at the head of Geirangerfjord and famed as one of the most beautiful spots in Norway.

Go for? Spectacular fjords and mountains.

Get on board

Viking Cruises seven-night ‘Viking Shores and Fjords’ cruise, aboard Viking Jupiter, from Amsterdam to Bergen via Oslo and Flam, departing May 12, 2022, from £3,840.

Hurtigruten 20-night ‘Norway in Spring’ cruise aboard MS Maud, round trip from Dover via Bergen, Tromso and Geirangerfjord, departing March 23, 2022, from £3,999.

- READ MORE: Baltic cruise and travel tips -

Valparaiso

The cruise port for Santiago, the Chilean capital, this vibrant city is a dazzling destination in its own right. A long-time favourite among artists and writers, Valparaiso is a quirky blend of colourful houses that seem to fall down the steep hillsides; unique stores, and restaurants where the locals welcome visitors with a smile.

It’s one of the world’s best walking cities, too, so lace up your trainers and enjoy a day strolling around its winding streets (if the gradients get too much, you can hop on one of the historic funicular lifts to enjoy panoramic views).

The real magic comes as you turn a corner and find a crumbling building that shouts ‘photograph me’, a tiny art gallery or a bijou restaurant that takes pride in producing the freshest, most authentic local cuisine.

If time allows, take a trip to the fish market, stop and listen to the fishermen’s banter and enjoy a delicious quayside sandwich. And if you get the chance, visit at New Year, when the oceanfront fireworks party is a legendary affair.

Go for? Colourful architecture and an engagingly bohemian atmosphere

Get on board

Viking 17-night ‘South America & The Chilean Fjords’ cruise aboard Viking Jupiter, from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso) via Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, departing December 1, 2022, from £6,340.

Celebrity 12-night ‘Argentina & Patagonia’ cruise aboard Celebrity Infinity, from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso) via Montevideo, Cape Horn and Punta Arenas, departing December 21 2022, from £1,735.

Cruises 2022: Mesmerising Jordan is a friendly country with a truly ancient history. Credit: Shutterstock

Athens

Athens was the centre of ancient Greek civilisation, and visitors travel here in their millions every year to marvel at the sights of the Acropolis. Featuring the famous Temple of Athena Nike and the iconic Parthenon, it’s not to be missed.

But Athens is not the Acropolis alone – this modern city buzzes with possibilities – lunch, maybe, at one of its many outdoor cafes, a wander round the shops in in the Kolonaki district, or perhaps a trip to the popular Monastiraki Flea Market to scout for a perfect vintage find? The choice is yours…

Go for? Unparalleled historic sites and some of Greece’s finest restaurants

Get on board

Celestyal Cruises seven-night ‘Idyllic Aegean’ cruise aboard Celestyal Crystal, round trip from Athens via Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Mykonos and Milos, departing April 30, 2022, from £759.

Azamara seven-night ‘Greece Intensive’ cruise aboard Azamara Quest, round trip from Athens (Piraeus) via Mykonos, Rhodes, Agios Nikolaos and Santorini, departing October 15, 2022, from £1,484.

- READ MORE: Are cruises safe? Risk of cruising in 2022 -

Alaska

The northernmost US state is seven times the size of the UK, much of it inaccessible by road, so it makes sense to travel round this amazing wilderness by ship. There’s so much to see and do here, it’s not surprising that Alaska is one of the most popular places to cruise in the world.

From gazing at mighty glaciers to watching brown bears fish for salmon in the wild – not to mention a very good chance of seeing the Northern Lights – every day will bring a new experience. On a classic trip sailing through the Inside Passage, you’ll get to see Alaska’s capital, Juneau, as well as Skagway, the gold rush town where many historic buildings are preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Go for? Towering glaciers, gold rush fever, whales and big brown bears.

Get on board

Norwegian Cruise Line seven-night ‘Alaska’ cruise aboard Norwegian Jewel, from Vancouver to Seward via Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Glacier Bay, departing July 25, 2022, from £695.

Princess seven-night ‘Voyage of the Glaciers’ cruise aboard Grand Princess, from Vancouver to Anchorage via Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Glacier Bay, departing August 31, 2022, from £699.

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