As cruise companies begin to successfully relaunch voyages around the world, it’s time to think about cruise holidays again. And especially if you’re a bit rusty when it comes to planning out vacations, you can make things easy on yourself and book a cruise where everything is taken care of for you.
Fully vaccinated travelers are now able to embark on a range of exciting cruises departing the U.S. whether you’re looking to explore the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, California and Baja Mexico, Florida and the Caribbean, or Hawaii.
While some cruises enforce the use of masks for certain areas of the ship, everything else is pretty much as normal, with endless dining, entertainment, activities, and of course shore excursions all available.
We all need an easy holiday right now, so leave it to cruise lines to manage everything for you including your meals, transport, activities, and daily full-service housekeeping.
Whether you’re into wildlife, food, shopping, scuba diving, or archaeological ruins, there’s a cruise to suit any personality. Here’s a deeper look into the top five cruise destinations within the U.S. to get you inspired.
Top 5 Cruise Destinations in the U.SA
Pacific Northwest and Alaska
Arguably America’s finest cruise destination in terms of breathtaking pristine natural scenery, you only need to get yourself to Seattle to embark on an unforgettable journey to Alaska.
Before setting out for the rugged untamed 49th state of America, you’ll be able to explore the Emerald City (Seattle), taking in its iconic attractions like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and of course the original Starbucks Coffee shop.
An Alaskan cruise will see you leave the lower 48 behind as you navigate your way through the islands of the Inside Passage just off the coast of British Colombia.
Planning a trip to a massive wild place like Alaska can be a bit daunting, but a cruise will allow you to see many of the top cities and highlights in ease and luxury.
You can experience the waterfalls and famous Dawes Glacier of Endicott Arm, fish for salmon in Ketchikan, learn about the indigenous Pacific Northwest peoples and their beautiful Native totem poles in Sitka, and of course dive into Alaska’s gold rush history.
There will also be plenty of opportunities to spot brown bears, whales, seals, bald eagles, moose, and other wildlife in Glacier Bay National Park as well as your journey past fjords, inlets, rivers, and streams.
It should come as no surprise that a state made up entirely of islands would make for a top American cruise destination. If you’re not in the mood for booking a bunch of island-hopping flights to see all the major Hawaiian Islands, a cruise is a much easier way to get a taste of all the highlights.
You can easily book a return voyage from mainland U.S. via cities like San Diego or opt for a voyage originating in Hawaii back to the mainland. You could also just cruise around the islands themselves without having to endure a long sailing journey across the Pacific.
Whichever route you choose, you’re bound to enjoy endless relaxation, with just enough adventure to keep things interesting. You’ll likely visit islands like Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island. There are plenty of waterfalls, active volcanoes like Kilauea, humpback whales, and opportunities to golf and surf.
Learn about Polynesian culture and pay your respects to the U.S. soldiers that lost their lives during WWII at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. You can also pay a visit to the nearby USS Missouri museum ship.
Gain back your energy from all your exciting Hawaiian adventures by feasting at a luau while being entertained by hula dancers and flame throwers, before walking off your meal on the world famous Waikiki Beach.
Florida and the Caribbean
Florida is the gateway to cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean that depart from cities like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Port Canaveral.
Explore the “Venice of America” (Fort Lauderdale) before heading on an airboat across the nearby Everglades in search of alligators and colorful wading birds and be sure to check out the fascinating Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Miami’s Art Deco scene.
It’s then on to whichever itinerary takes in the islands you wish to see. Martinique, Saint Lucia, Barbados, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and Jamaica are just some of the ports of call you may end up in.
Some cruises even make their way over to Belize and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula where you can explore ancient Mayan sites like Chichén Itzá. Some have their own private islands where you may stop such as Half Moon Cay.
With so many European explorers and colonial powers such as the French, British, Spanish, and Dutch having visited and settled in the Caribbean, there is so much varying history and culture to experience.
Of course there is also plenty of sunshine, palm trees, rum tasting, and swimming with dolphins, rays, and even pigs. Scuba dive or snorkel the colorful reefs in search of marine life and shipwrecks, and have fun parasailing, paddleboarding, and sea kayaking.
Cruise journeys to the Caribbean often make a stop at Key West off the southern tip of Florida where you can experience the lively Mallory Square and Duval Street while also walking in the shoes of Ernest Hemingway and Harry S Truman who both called Key West home and have historic residences you can tour.
Northeastern U.S. and Canada
If you prefer things a bit cooler, head to the Northeastern U.S. to cruise from New England into Canada.
You can begin your journey out of Boston, taking in a baseball game at Fenway or checking out the historic Freedom Trail to relive a bit of early American history. With sea shanties now trending, never has there been a better time to set sail from Boston and take a sea voyage along the New England Coast.
Equally beautiful is Eastern Canada, where you’ll take in destinations like Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island before proceeding to big cities like Quebec and Montreal.
Along the way, you’ll encounter plenty of colorful buildings in fishing villages, famous lighthouses, rugged coastline, beautiful natural harbors, the glorious St. Lawrence River, and famous early North American battle sites. You’ll also get to sample delicious seafood which includes lobster, clams, and Prince Edward Island’s famous mussels.
Some extended journeys in the region also make a grand detour to explore Greenland and Iceland, making for a truly unforgettable cruise
California and Baja Mexico
Being a state with the third greatest coastline in the U.S., there are a number of great cruise journeys that also originate out of California.
Embark from San Diego as you make your way north up the California coastline, checking out LA and all its glorious shopping like that found on Rodeo Drive, walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and marveling at the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
You’ll also likely make stops/shore excursions in Santa Barbara (America’s Riviera), Napa Valley with all its world famous wineries, and Santa Barbara where you can visit Cannery Row, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.
Another option is to head south from San Diego to get a taste of the Mediterranean feel offered in Mexico’s Baja California.
Cruises to Baja Mexico out of California usually take in Catalina Island which offers incredible glass-bottom boat tours of reefs and shipwrecks, as well as Ensenada which is popular for its gray whale migration watching.
Baja California offers a relaxed vibe with endless beautiful beaches and plenty of water sports if you’re looking for a bit of fun.
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