Cruising is not just for your grandparents anymore. With alluring options now ranging from ocean-liner glamour to small-ship adventure and all points in-between, cruises are more varied, skewing younger and becoming more affordable than ever before. Chances are better than good that there’s one to suit your honeymoon perfectly.
Set sail in the Mediterranean
Best Bet: Star Clippers
(from about 170 to 225 guests)
Agenda: Three of the world’s largest and tallest traditional clipper ships are modern and comfortable, ferrying spirited passengers to the glamorous coastal cities and exotic islands of Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and Greece via dozens of itineraries.
Highlights: Explore hilltop fortresses, wander through quaint villages, ogle yacht-filled marinas, climb to the top of the crow’s nest and canoodle in the bowsprit netting.
Crowd: This is an old-school, international crowd of people who love sailing and feel at home around the traditional trappings of teak, brass and blue velvet.
Timing: Five- to 11-night sailings from April to November
Bonus: These ships are small enough to dock at ports the larger ones can’t access. This translates to smaller crowds, varied itineraries
and a more local experience. The new Flying Clipper launches this year.
Cost: From US$4,510
Cruise the Caribbean on a luxury liner.
Best Bet: Celebrity Edge from Celebrity Cruises (just over 3,000 guests)
Agenda: Embark on an eastern or western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to exotic locales such as St. Maarten, British
Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Grand Cayman, Mexico and more.
Highlights: Fascinating ports aside, the high-style luxury and elegant design of this new $1 billion ship steals the show. Out-there features include a living wall, a top-deck park and a cantilevered platform lounge that can move from sea level to the top of the ship.
Crowd: Special-occasion celebrants and families who don’t mind sharing their holiday with 3,000 people
Timing: Seven-night adventures in paradise from December to April
Bonus: Unlike many large-scale ocean liners, the Edge boasts global cuisine from 29 eateries and bars – and one of the largest wine cellars at sea.
Cost: From US$1,050
Sweep through the fjords of Greenland.
Best Bet: Quark Expeditions (from about 80 to 175 guests)
Agenda: Fly or sail from Iceland to Greenland to experience the rugged beauty of the world’s largest island along its east, south or southwest coasts.
Highlights: Zip through ice-filled bays and fjords in a Zodiac boat, hike the Arctic tundra on the lookout for elusive wildlife
and witness the Northern Lights. Plus, you really can’t take a bad picture of the sculpture-like icebergs.
Crowd: Well-travelled, well-heeled and intrepid adventurers who easily connect with nature
Timing: Ten- and 15-day expeditions in August and September
Bonus: Visits to isolated, modern communities to witness their way of life are extraordinary, as are treks through ancient Indigenous encampments.
Cost: From US$6,695
Drift down the Danube River.
Best Bet: One of the “Spaceships” from Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours (about 170 guests)
Agenda: Settle into sumptuous digs and float away for a week – or a month. Budapest is a hub for trips west to Nuremberg (and even Amsterdam) and east all the way to the Black Sea.
Highlights: Indulge in all-inclusive everything: meals, drinks and morning and afternoon excursions, guided e-bike tours, plus special performances and parties both onboard and off. Although the cities are breathtaking (Vienna!), the stops in the charming villages along the way are true magic.
Crowd: Young marrieds, groups of semi-retirees, multi-generational families
Timing: Cruises vary from eight to 36 days, from March to December.
Bonus: Chances to venture to the Czech Republic or the Slovakian capital of Bratislava take you off the beaten path, ticking even more countries off your list.
Cost: From CA$4,345
Explore the Pacific coast of Panama and Costa Rica.
Best Bet: UnCruise Adventures (about 60 guests)
Agenda: Swing through the Panama Canal before heading north up the Pacific coastline, hitting tropical islands and inlets, into the
Gulf of Nicoya and inland to San José – or the reverse.
Highlights: Experience national conservation areas, untamed wildlife – monkeys, hummingbirds, toucans, whales! – gorgeous coastline, rainforest and mangroves, while exploring, hiking, paddling and soaking up Indigenous cultures.
Crowd: Primarily a fleece-forward group of couples, siblings, families and young-at-hearts (i.e. everyone likely owns hiking boots)
Timing: Eight-, 10- and 12-night cruises year-round, with the exception of May and October.
Bonus: Some itineraries have a fitness and yoga focus that promote whole-body health, making the adventure even more active.
Cost: From US$4,795