WHAT are the latest hot spots when it comes to cruising? Here are our picks for locations that are heating up next year. These spots are seeing an increase in passenger numbers and cruise lines are sending more ships to keep up with the demand.
With cruise travellers increasingly seeking out “chilly” destinations, look no further than Alaska. Where else can you enjoy watching majestic whales breech the freezing waters one day, and the next get the heart pumping with a dizzying mountain climb, while spotting bear and moose as you go? The US state’s stunning coastline is second only to its pristine forests, many of which are easily accessible from cruise ships. If cruise itineraries permit, an expedition to the awe-inspiring Denali National Park or the Kenai River Valley is essential, both of which can be arranged by tour operators on land. As an added highlight in 2019, travellers to Alaska will have the chance to join in the party when the state celebrates 60 years of official statehood.
Located right on our doorstep, New Zealand has fast become a cruising hot spot. From its breathtaking natural beauty, culinary delights and fascinating Maori heritage, to outdoor experiences, adventure sports and high-octane activities, it’s a destination suitable for all ages. Cruise lines are frequently adding to their New Zealand itineraries, with many experiencing a rise in popularity in recent years – and it’s not hard to see why. The grand landscapes of the South Island’s Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds alone are enough to make the journey across the ditch worthwhile – add on the adventure-style tours available on the North Island and it’s a destination filled with unequivocal beauty.
The mighty Mekong river in south-east Asia is a bucket list item every cruiser should tick off. Spanning an incredible 4,350km along the Tibetan Plateau, the river runs through a number of countries, including China’s Yunnan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. River cruises that travel along the Mekong offer travellers a complex dichotomy of experiences – stunning Buddhist temples feature on one side, while the other could be filled with beggars. But beyond the poverty is an inspiring story of a population that has worked hard to rebuild after years of turmoil, and whose welcoming smiles will remain in travel memories for years to come.