Forget the seven seas, and check out truly spectacular cruises on a few oceans closer to home. The oceans bracketing North America offer their own brand of paradise, with Pacific coast cruises that hit cities like Vancouver, San Francisco and San Diego, head south to party in Mexico or go way north to meander along Alaska. On the Atlantic side, try a Canadian/New England tour with stops in quaint ports oozing historic charm, or go south for a classic Caribbean cruise. Read on for our top five cruise destinations in North America.
The Pacific Ocean has carved miles upon miles of incredible coastline, and a Pacific cruise will take you by much of it. Other highlights? The company of orca and humpback whales – with the added bonus on-board naturalists to offer insight into the habits and behaviors of these amazing mammals – and some of Mother Nature’s best work. From waterfalls, rivers and rapids to soaring trees and dense forests, there’s plenty to explore. Don’t miss the wineries of the Pacific Coast, which can be found from California north to Washington State. Ports include famous cities like Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and San Francisco, all of which are filled with dazzling sights and sounds and treats to be enjoyed.
It’s one of the last frontiers on the planet, and that makes an Alaskan cruise synonymous with breathtaking natural beauty, unparalleled adventure and a whole lot of wildlife. Cruises with land tours give you the best of both worlds for this trip, where you won’t want to miss a thing. Only in Alaska will you see spectacular glaciers looming over icy waters, experience a thrilling dog sled ride, do some world-class salmon fishing (then have your catch shipped home) and check out Native American culture – all in one trip. Go whale watching or try some zip-lining if you’re feeling more adventurous, take a kayak or canoe tour through one of the state’s many meandering waterways, visit Denali National Park, and discover the culture and history of the locals, a fascinating blend of Native American descendants and those drawn to Alaska in search of fortune and adventure.
Mexican Riviera and Baja cruises are your ticket to tropical fun in the Mexican sun. Enjoy friendly local culture, rugged desert adventure, beautiful beaches and hey, all the authentic Mexican food you can eat! There are seaside villages, ancient Mayan ruins, midnight parties on the beach, cliff-side dives and fresh seafood caught and prepared right before your eyes. In Cabo San Lucas, there’s the added bonus of world-famous golf courses. Ensanada is known for stellar surfing and swimming, and Puerto Vallarta is bursting with exotic marketplaces for that perfect souvenir. Part of the appeal of cruises on Mexico’s Pacific coast is their shorter lengths, so take a quick break from your busy lifestyle to squeeze in a few days of nonstop fun.
For a bit of history with your vacation, follow in the footsteps of the first American pilgrims. A cruise to New England and Canada will take you to cities like Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor and Quebec after a sail down the St. Lawrence River. Soak up the history, culture and beauty of these harbor cities, and keep an eye out for wildlife like harbor seals and eagles. How about a side of adventure? You’ll have plenty of chances to explore the coastline with nature tours to spots like Acadia National Park. Oh, and an authentic lobster bake is a must-have experience when you’re cruising Canada and New England.
With its turquoise water, white sandy beaches and endless sunshine, the Caribbean cruise is the quintessential choice. There are countless options in this corner of the world – cruises here give you the perfect opportunity to island hop and, should you choose, enjoy a side of adventure with all that rest and relaxation. Swim with dolphins or sting rays, explore mountain rainforests, snorkel and scuba dive in that crystal clear water, gallop on horseback down those picturesque beaches, spend the day sailing on a chartered sailboat, and don’t forget to indulge in first-class dining and a bit of retail therapy. There’s a reason the Caribbean is famous the world over for cruises – come and see for yourself.