There are cruises – and then there are Voyages.
This week marks the start of a new feature on The Avid Cruiser: the introduction of a series of weekly articles we like to call Avid Cruiser Voyages. Designed to highlight some of the the must-see destinations and itineraries that remain exclusive to the cruise industry, Avid Cruiser Voyages will take you off the beaten path to discover new lands by sea, or to simply provide a new way of exploring a classic destination.
So what makes an Avid Cruiser Voyage? A good example would be our upcoming feature on small-ship cruising in the Caribbean, which we’ve touched on before. Nearly every cruise line offers Caribbean sailings, and chances are you too have sailed more than once to this classic cruise destination. But what is surprising is just how much the experience changes when you trade in a large ship for a smaller one. Small ships can dock or anchor off of some of the most idyllic islands you can imagine. Gone are the crowds and the seemingly endless array of duty-free shops, replaced instead by a paradise that remains largely untouched.
Alaska is another example of an Avid Cruiser Voyage: Its natural beauty is unsurpassed in North America, and cruisers from around the world travel to view the magnificent glaciers and rustic towns, many of which were born out of the Gold Rush of the late 1800’s.
But there’s more to Alaska than just your basic roundtrip sailing. And there are significant differences between sailings that depart from Seattle versus Vancouver. You can change the scope of your cruise and visit lesser-known ports like Icy Strait Point, Wrangell, and Homer, just by choosing a different cruise line or sailing. Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan may be the “classic” version of Alaskan cruise ports, but there is so much more to be seen in this majestic destination.
Avid Cruiser Voyages will also highlight some rare and emerging cruise destinations, like German-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ once-yearly transits of the fabled Northwest Passage; or the numerous expedition sailings that are now offered to the remote Polar Regions, including both Antarctica and the High Arctic. Ports like Murmansk, Svalbard, and Kangerlussuaq provide a definite departure from the ordinary, and sailings to these remote regions are often the ones that remain in a traveler’s memory the longest.
Sometimes, the best voyage features no ports other than embarkation and disembarkation. An excellent example would be Cunard’s iconic Transatlantic Crossings, operated throughout the year aboard their flagship, regal in her own right and known as the Queen Mary 2. Operating between New York and Southampton, England, Queen Mary 2’s six and seven day crossings are perfect for those who want to experience a classic voyage. And for those with the time to spare, these cruises also make an excellent alternative to air travel between Europe and North America.
Look to this space each Wednesday, when we will highlight an Avid Cruiser Voyage for as long as we find inspiration to do so — and that could be a long time. We invite you to join in on the conversation. Tell us about your own voyages in the comments section or on Avid Cruiser’s Facebook page. Bon voyage!
Avid Cruiser voyages will be brought to you each week by Ralph Grizzle and Aaron Saunders.