By Elizabeth Valerio
Ease of planning helps to make cruises a top pick when it comes to vacations. But just because the booking process is simple doesn’t mean that your cruise has to be. There’s a lot more to these getaways than snorkeling with clown fish in Caribbean St. Thomas.
Explore South America with stops in Costa Rica, Belize, and the Panama Canal. The Yachts of Seabourn (seabourn.com) customize 14-day journeys aboard the Seabourn Legend. Ocean view suites are 554 square feet and start at $8,000 per person, per cruise. Each room has a personal stewardess to cater to your every need, whether it’s a hot bath or in-room dining. At each docking port, onshore excursions await. Raft down the Panama Canal or take a helicopter ride to experience an aerial view. Tour the local villages and shop in the small towns. Carrying only 208 passengers, the ship provides an intimate haven for an adventurous trip.
If you’re searching for an island getaway of sorts, why not soak up some rays in Fiji and Tahiti? Settle into Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ (rssc.com) vessel Paul Gaugin to observe this tropical paradise. Walk through the rainforests via personal tour or swim in a waterfall basin. The Owner’s Suite is available for $25,745 for a 14-day vacation and includes a veranda, Jacuzzi and butler service for two people. The ship also features three restaurants and three bars for dining and entertainment while onboard as well as luxurious spa treatments that can be received in the ship’s facilities or in the privacy of your own suite.
With five restaurants, a full spa, and four bars, Holland America ocean liners (hollandamerica.com) have everything you need for a getaway Down Under.
New Zealand and Australia offer both tranquil and exploratory options for travelers. Whether you want a stone massage or a scuba-diving lesson, the staff is ready to serve you. Cruises are available with various location combinations, stopping at different ports throughout the two countries. The deluxe penthouse suite features five rooms, a veranda deck, a private whirlpool, and two bathrooms with rates starting at $17,100 per week.
Silversea Voyages (silversea.com) travels through the ports of Dubai with elegance, offering some unique methods to explore. Cycling excursions, walking tours and hiking trips ensure that there’s something for everyone. The Silver Whisper’s entertainment is unlimited, with classical music concerts and intimate piano recitals in its many lounges as well as an extensive casino. Guests can dine at any of the vessel’s four restaurants, including a poolside café and 24-hour in-room dining.
Not ready to try on that bathing suit? Enjoying these winter months? Then perhaps an arctic cruise is what you need. Departing from Russia, the Yamal (www.polarcruises.com) tours the Artic Basin, known to most as the North Pole, and is one of the world’s most powerful ships, able to plow through the North’s thickest ice. Meet polar bears and ancient glaciers with the other 100 guests aboard the four-deck ship. Hike the frigid mountains and watch the sunset. Rates are as high as $35,000 per person for a 14-day voyage.
True big spenders might want to book space on the Crystal Serenity (crystalcruises.com) for a 106-night stay docking at more than 40 ports around the world. The Crystal Penthouse goes for $203,557 per trip and includes dining services. Get to know your fellow passengers in the formal dining room where guests are seated together every evening. A promenade makes up the perimeter of the top deck, perfect to watch the sun set or rise or for a little morning exercise. Each suite bathroom has a full whirlpool tub, complimentary Aveda toiletries and soft plush bathrobes. Departing from Los Angeles, the ship stops in Peru, Tanzania, Egypt, Argentina and Antarctica, among others.