The best cruises of the year explore far-flung destinations, from Vietnam and Thailand to the Holy Land.
By Jane Wooldridge
1 of 7Photo: Elena Aleksandrovna Ermakova/Getty Images
This hot destination is the focus of Celebrity's 14-night Singapore to Hong Kong voyage aboard the 2,138-passenger Celebrity Millennium. The February 14 itinerary offers excursions to Hanoi, the imperial city of Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City (old Saigon). Rates start at $1,249; celebritycruises.com.
2 of 7Photo courtesy Star Clipper
Thailand & Malaysia
Star Clipper's new seven-night Far East itineraries (beginning December 2, 2016) combine the spectacular scenery of Phuket and the Malaysian peninsula with the vintage experience of tall-ship sailing on an elegant 170-passenger ship. Rates start at $1,320; starclippers.com.
3 of 7Photo courtesy Silversea
Thailand, Sri Lanka and The Maldives
Silversea's surprisingly luxurious 120-passenger Silver Discoverer departs December 2, 2016 for a 15-day voyage from the Thai beaches of Phuket to Myanmar (for visits to the 1,000-year-old temples of Baga), then on to former British outposts in the Andamans, Sri Lanka's elephant-rich Yala National Park, and the idyllic Maldives. Rates start at $10,395; silversea.com.
4 of 7Photo courtesy Pandaw River Expeditions
Rivers of India
This winter, India emerges as a river-cruising destination, with sailings from Uniworld and Vantage Deluxe World Travel on the eastern Ganges River as part of longer India trips. For India devotees seeking a singular experience in one region, Pandaw River Expeditions offers a seven-night Brahmaputra River 46-passenger voyage combining a wildlife safari, traditional culture, and temples. Ratest start at $2,640; pandaw.com.
5 of 7Photo courtesy Sanctuary Retreats
Several lines offer sailings between the Burmese city of Yangon and the historic Buddhist center of Bagan. For a taste of traditional life in this fast-changing nation (also known as Myanmar), Sanctuary Retreat’s 10-night Chindwin River cruise takes in little-visited villages—plus the mountain city of Mandalay and Bagan’s temples—from the comfort of its 20-suite teak-decked vessel. Rates for the two July/August sailings start at $4,200; sanctuaryretreats.com.
6 of 7Photo: By Hansueli Krapf, via Wikimedia Commons
The Seychelles & Dubai
For island lovers, golfers, and active travelers, Crystal’s nine-night Seychelles sailing aboard the 62-passenger super yacht Crystal Esprit includes calls at a half-dozen isles (with top-flight golf courses) and includes two nights in the ultramodern Middle Eastern city capital of Dubai. Rates start at $4,960; crystalcruises.com.
7 of 7Photo courtesy Azamara Club Cruises
The Middle East
Souks, the Suez Canal, ancient Petra, the holy sites of Jerusalem, and the Acropolis—all are on Azamara Club Cruises' 16-night sailing (beginning May 1) from Dubai to Athens, with calls in Israel and Oman, Jordan, on the recently updated 686-passenger Azamara Quest. Rates start at $2,979; azamaraclubcruises.com.