Thinking about taking a cruise, but not sure which one is right for you? Check out our handy evaluation of the most common routes — and their strengths and weaknesses:
Common Routes: 10-night routes from San Francisco, 7 night-routes from Seattle or Vancouver.
Highs: You’ll see glaciers, fjords, and plenty of wildlife, especially otters and whales.
Lows: There’s crowding in many port towns, and the region gets a lot of rainfall.
Asia - Andaman Sea
Common Routes: 3- to 7-night routes from Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Highs: Stunning temples and unforgettably flavorful Asian cuisine.
Lows: Many beaches — except Langkawi’s — are narrow and overrun by reckless jet skiers.
Asia - Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea
Common Routes: 10- to 14-night routes from Singapore or Hong Kong to Vietnam and Thailand.
Highs: Expect gilded temples, diverse and delicious cuisines, and great shopping.
Lows: Some sights are a two- to three-hour drive — one way! — from the port.
Common Routes: 7- to 14-night routes from Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Harwich, Dover, or London (Southampton) to St. Petersburg, Russia, and Baltic ports or the Norwegian Fjords.
Highs: Gilded St. Petersburg charms us, as does the beauty of the Norwegian fjords.
Lows: Expect long lines at key sights in Russia.
Common Routes: 7-night routes round trip from Florida or Puerto Rico.
Highs: There are gorgeous beaches throughout the region, and plenty of snorkeling and diving.
Lows: You’ll find overcrowding and traffic in port towns, as well as shopping areas designed just for tourists.
Common Routes: 7- to 14-night routes from Puerto Rico, Barbados, or St. Martin.
Highs: Fewer crowds than eastern and western Caribbean, excellent beaches, more port stops and fewer seadays.
Lows: Longer — and sometimes more expensive — flights home.
Common Routes: 7-night routes round trip from Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
Highs: Mayan ruins and great silver jewelry shopping (in Mexico), and eco-excursions on most routes, from jungle hikes to kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, and diving.
Lows: Overcrowding and traffic jams in port towns, as well as shopping areas designed just for tourists.
Mediterranean - Eastern
Common Routes: 7- to 14-night routes from Venice, Istanbul, or Piraeus (Athens) to Turkey, Greece, Croatia, and Italy.
Highs: Important historic sights date back thousands of years.
Lows: Venice, Athens, Istanbul, and Rhodes are packed in the summer, and Italy is expensive.
Mediterranean - Western
Common Routes: 7- to 14-night routes from Barcelona or Civitavecchia (Rome) to Spain, France, Monte Carlo, and Italy.
Highs: Look for spectacular food throughout the region. Barcelona, Rome, and Florence are home to significant artwork.
Lows: It’s an hour’s drive to Florence and longer from port to Rome. August is peak tourist season, and what isn’t closed, is packed.