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October 12, 2021updated Oct 12, 2022

Fair Winds and Distant Shores: The Best New Cruise Journeys

From Arctic safaris to river excursions, see the world differently with our round up of the best cruise itineraries.

By Becca Hensley

Just as the pandemic has encouraged people to try new things, the world’s best cruise lines have spent the pause re-imagining themselves, revamping their vessels for guest safety, adding energy- and earth-saving elements, and introducing a new era of cruising with novel itineraries and journeys. Below, you’ll find irresistible routes to your favorite destinations. Here’s to fair winds and distant shores!

[See also: Luxury Cruise Industry Back and Stronger Than Ever]

Sailing safaris

Famed Africa outfitters Abercrombie & Kent redefine expedition cruising with recently developed, small-ship outings with a focus on learning and culture. Featuring planned routes in Asia, the British Isles and Antarctica (among others), A&K’s expanded portfolio includes trips such as Wonders of Japan Cruise: Cherry Blossom Season; Cruising the Enchanted Isles: Scotland, Ireland & England; and Arctic Cruise Adventure: In Search of the Polar Bear.

Trains, mysteries and Egypt

nile river, egypt
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is launching a new luxurious ship on the Nile River in Egypt / ©Uniworld

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers a bounty of innovative options for sail-savvy travelers. This year, it will launch the most luxurious ship on Egypt’s Nile River — the S.S. Sphinx, a sustainable floating boutique hotel, will offer 12-day, adventure-packed programs to top sites. In addition, Uniworld introduces its first cruise and rail trips in partnership with Golden Eagle Rail. Set in Europe, these ship-meets-train vacations chug and sail through desirable locations that include Austria, Romania and Switzerland.

Bespoke yachts

tcs greek islands catamaran tour
TCS World Travel and The Moorings have joined forces to proffer their Smooth Sailing charters / ©TCS

It’s a match made in heaven: TCS World Travel, a leading private jet expedition operator, and The Moorings, one of the world’s most exclusive yacht charter companies, have joined forces to proffer their Smooth Sailing charters — all-inclusive, crewed, custom catamaran trips to bucket-list destinations. Consider the Undiscovered Greek Isles itinerary, which anchors at four islands, or enjoy a bespoke trip to Croatia to discover postcard-perfect port towns and charming local fishing villages.

[See also: The Most Innovative Cruise Lines of the 21st Century]

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Regal rivers

moselle loop river luxembourg
The highly anticipated Europe’s Rivers & Castles excursion combines a backdrop of fall foliage and fortresses with off-the-beaten-path wine forays / ©AmaWaterways

Sail on AmaWaterway’s new AmaLucia from Luxembourg to Nuremberg in November, a prime cruise for castle spotting. The highly anticipated Europe’s Rivers & Castles excursion (also a bonafide wine cruise) combines a backdrop of fall foliage and fortresses with off-the-beaten-path wine forays. To extend their journey, guests can add pre-days in Paris or post-days in Prague. Or, choose other oenophile favorites, such as the Colors of Provence itinerary, which tempts wine tasters on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon.

Fiery ice

guests watching penguins on ponant cruise tour
From geysers to glaciers, amazement is guaranteed on Ponant’s new Iceland voyage cruise journeys / ©Studio Ponant Laurence Fischer

French-intoned Ponant has declared its alliance with Smithsonian Journeys, in its intent to offer curiosity-satisfying, themed journeys in 2022. Eighteen jaw-dropping departures will delve into locales as diverse as Antarctica, Iceland, the Great Lakes, Norwegian fjords and the Mediterranean. Ponder the Iceland Voyage: Land of Fire and Ice, on Le Bellot, which sails round-trip from Reykjavik with five nature-showcasing ports of call. From geysers to glaciers, amazement is guaranteed.

Three continents

Greek-based Celestyal Cruises kicks off its new flagship vessel, Celestyal Experience, with seven- and 14-night jaunts that embrace three continents. With stops in Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus, the intimate, opulent ship excels with immersive experiences. Indulge in the vessel’s bi-level, grand 47,300-sq-ft spa, dedicated Wellness Suites for spa-loving cruisers, and menus that pay homage to cuisine from the salubrious (and utterly delicious) Mediterranean diet.

[See also: The Best Luxury River Cruises]

This article appears in the 26 Aug 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Fall 2021

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