It is almost as though Asia had been created specifically to be explored by cruise ship. With many of Asia’s cities located near the coast, a cruise is by far the easiest way to explore this diverse continent. With countless itineraries to choose from, we’ve taken away the hassle of searching by rounding up some of the best Asia cruises for 2020.
Best for…Starting the New Year as you mean to go on
Kicking off 2020 with a bang, NCL’s Malaysian Discovery cruise commences in Singapore with a two-night stay in the Lion City, which celebrated its bicentennial last year. Spend 48 hours soaking up the thrilling city’s cosmopolitan buzz. The city of skyscrapers provides many vantage points to take in the incredible views, or if you fancy some retail therapy after your long flight, head to Orchard Road, renowned for its glitzy malls. From Singapore, NCL’s Norwegian Jade departs on its voyage around Malaysia, stopping off at Phuket and Langkawi, home to the country’s most well-known beaches, and Port Klang, Malaysia’s largest port.
12-night Malaysian Discovery aboard Norwegian Jade, departing January 2020, from £1,359pp, travelbagcruise.co.uk
Borneo, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand
Best for…all rounder
This whirlwind tour with Princess Cruises takes you to Southeast Asia’s most iconic cities and islands. The 15-night cruise sails round-trip from Singapore and calls at bustling cities Nha Trang, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh, as well as exotic islands Phuket and Ko Samui. This itinerary mixes bustling city excursions with visits to secluded beaches, making it ideal for those of you who want a varied and exciting holiday.
15-night Borneo, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand cruise aboard Sapphire Princess, departing February 2020, from 1,359pp, travelbagcruise.co.uk
Best of Japan
Best for…in-depth tour
This diverse itinerary is devoted to exploring the many facets of Japan, a land of futuristic cities, ancient sites, abundant blossom and beautiful beaches. The trip begins with an overnight stay in Tokyo before Celebrity Millennium sets sail across the country, with ports of call including Hiroshima, Beppu, Busan, Hakodate and Aomori. Highlights of the itinerary include a visit to Mount Fuji, home to Japan’s highest snow-capped mountain; a trip to Osaka, which features one of the world’s largest aquariums with over 580 species of sea life on display; a stopover at Hiroshima, where more than 300 cherry blossom trees bloom in Peace Memorial Park, and a visit to the ancient Sannai-Maruyama ruins in Aomori port.
17-Night Best of Japan aboard Celebrity Millennium, from £2,899pp, travelbagcruise.co.uk
Singapore, Malaysia and Bali
Best for…land and sea
Royal Caribbean’s Asia cruise encompasses two nights in Singapore and five nights in Bali as well as a cruise aboard Quantum of the Seas, calling at Port Klang in Kuala Lumpur, Penang in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand. From Port Klang, head over to Kuala Lumpur to discover the city’s local flavour in the bustling Central Market or escape the hustle and bustle in the beautiful Lake Gardens. On day nine, passengers will arrive back in Singapore and disembark the ship in order to board a plane to Bali, where they’ll enjoy a restorative hotel stay and chance to experience the Indonesian island’s spectacular beaches.
14-night Singapore, Malaysia and Bali aboard Quantum of the Seas, departing March 2020, from £1,559pp, travelbagcruise.co.uk
Hong Kong, China and Japan
Best for…city tours
As the cruise industry continues to grow and develop in China, with an increasing number of tourists predicted to be travelling there by cruise in the next few years, there is no better time like the present to visit the region. The 17-night cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Westerdam vessel, which was recently refurbished in 2017, calls at China’s major port cities, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tianjin, along with visits to Dalian and Nagasaki, before venturing over to Japan and the city of Yokohama.
17-night Hong Kong, China and Japan aboard Westerdam, departing March 2020, from £1,899pp, travelbagcruise.co.uk
Emirates, India and Thailand
Best for…glitz and glamour
Explore the Arabian Gulf, India and the Far East with Celebrity Cruises’ holy trinity of Asia cruises. The line’s glamorous cruise commences in dazzling Dubai, famed for its jaw-dropping skyscrapers, luxury shopping and intrepid desert excursions, before embarking on a 19-night sail. Your first port of call is Oman’s port of Muscat, known for its high-rise buildings intermixed with grand mosques and traditional Islamic architecture. Next stop is Mumbai, often considered to be the beating heart of India, followed by Goa and Cochin. From India, you’ll then sail to Sri Lanka’s Colombo and Phuket in Thailand before finishing in Singapore, where you’ll disembark and enjoy a hotel stay before flying home.
19-night Emirates, India and Thailand aboard Celebrity Constellation, departing January 2020, from £1,499pp, travelbagcruise.co.uk