With the weather getting bleaker and the nights still getting darker, it’s about this time that we’re all thinking about where we’ll be holidaying in 2020.
Giving us some serious travel inspiration, and guidance, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has revealed its hottest 12 destinations for 2020 – and most are cruisable.
The top 12 destinations to watch are:
- Basilicata, Italy
- Chicago and Lake Michigan, USA,
- Grenada, Caribbean
- Madrid and its neighbouring cities, Spain
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
Remarkably, 10 of these destinations feature on countless cruise itineraries, with many major lines making them very accessible to travellers. In alphabetical order, the first cruise-friendly location is Italy’s Basilicata, easily accessible from the cruise port of Bari. Mountainous and woody, the picture-perfect region is home to UNESCO-protected site Matera, the backdrop for countless Hollywood movies. Cruise lines like MSC Cruises, Viking, Oceania and Saga all cruise to Bari.
Next up, Georgia, a country straddling both Asia and Europe and steeped in intrigue and mystery. It’s also ridiculously beautiful, known for its ancient winemaking industry, cobbled capital Tbilisi and dramatic scenery around the Mtkvari River. Lines such as Fred Olsen Cruises, Azamara, Crystal Cruises and Silversea all cruise to Batumi, a major cruise port.
Grenada is no stranger to cruisers, who will often frequent the paradise island on Caribbean sailings. The spice island’s warm air is filled with the scent of nutmeg and cinnamon, and on its shores you’ll find uncrowded beaches, rainforests with clusters of banana trees and the famous Underwater Sculpture Park, perfect for snorkelling lovers. A popular destination, lines like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises.
Morroco is another cruise hotspot, with ships docking in its coastal city of Casablanca – just a short journey from heady Marakkesh and the rural Atlas Mountains. Ancient medinas, colourful bazaars, year-round warmth and delicious Moroccan food make this a must-see in 2020, and Norweigan Cruise Line, Cunard and Marella all sail to its exotic shores.
Namibia is also on up-and-coming cruise destination, home to towering sugar-lump sand dunes, dramatic coastal scenery, African wildlife and the occasional ghost mining town. Luderitz and Walvis Bay are both home to cruise ports, frequented by Holland America Line, Seabourn, Azamara and a stop on many world cruises.
The Netherlands is another cruise favourite, with its lively and creative port cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam firm fixtures on many itineraries, spanning both ocean and river cruise lines. Outside these hot spots, The Hague, with its royal palaces and beaches, and Zaandam, with its traditional windmill towns, are also a must-see.
With more cruises visiting Southeast and East Asia, Singapore and South Korea are destinations to watch for 2020. A cruise hotspot, Singapore draws in travellers with its futuristic megastructures, Gardens by the Bay and abundance of foodie Hawker stalls, while South Korea is emerging as a more popular destination. With cruise terminals in Seoul and Busan, travellers should come for ancient temples, colourful markets, modern tech cities and sprawls of craggy landscapes. Royal Caribbean, NCL, Celebrity and Oceania all make stops in here.
Penultimately, Uruguay is also one to watch in 2020, one of the smallest countries in South America and a hidden jewel of cosmopolitan cities, horse ranches operated by gauchos (cowboys) and dramatic coastal landscapes. A ferry ride away from Buenos Aires, cruise lines like Princess, Holland America, Costa Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises all dock in the Spanish colonial capital, Montevideo.
Finally, a river cruise destination of note, and Austria’s ornate capital Vienna is one to watch in 2020. Next year will see the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, and the city will no doubt come alive with music and celebrations. Once the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Vienna is a maze of royal palaces, statues and cultural sights, modernised with cool coffee shops and trendy boutiques. A firm favourite on a Danube river cruise, A-Rosa, Crystal River Cruises, Scenic, AmaWaterways, Viking Cruises and most major river cruise lines visit this former imperial city.