As Royal Caribbean grows, it’s able to offer a greater variety of destinations than ever before. The Mediterranean, the Norwegian Fjords and the Caribbean remain among the most popular with British passengers in particular, but there’s also an ever increasing demand for new adventures.
Once the last frontier, Alaska is now top of the wish list for those who are looking for something a little more active and stimulating than simply soaking up the sun and watching the rest of the world go by. Shore excursions are expensive in Alaska but adventure understandably comes at a price in such a pristine destination – and given that many of the places you’ll see are only accessible by sea, cruises are excellent value.
The most popular trips involve a flight to either Seattle or Vancouver, followed by up to 16 nights cruising the coast of British Columbia and Alaska, as far north as the Hubbard Glacier. These trips combine the best of both worlds, with a chance to spend time ashore in the Denali National Park, or in Canada, the Banff National Park and the spectacular Rockies.
You can also go mountain biking, ocean kayaking, whale watching, alpine hiking or salmon fishing as part of the whole Alaskan adventure. A cruise to Alaska is certainly a lot of fun for the whole family.
For an exotic holiday, you really can’t go wrong with South America. The best experience here is without a doubt a 16-night cruise from Brazil to Chile.
There are many reasons why this will be an unforgettable journey, the highlights of which will surely be your first sight of Rio de Janeiro and rounding Cape Horn before steaming north to Valparaiso in Chile. Rio is simply one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, with its natural harbour, the famous Sugarloaf Mountain rising 396m above Rio, and the wondrous statue of Christ, which towers 100ft above the city on top of Corcovado Mountain.
Then there are the beaches. You really haven’t seen beaches until you’ve seen Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon – where the city meets the ocean and where Brazilians come to play on miles of golden sand and surf in the Atlantic rollers. It’s a magical place.
From here you sail south, along the coast of Argentina and on down to Cape Horn, the most famous, and feared, landmark in ocean sailing.
And all this from the comfort and safety of Radiance of the Seas, the Radiance Class ship that has more open deck space than any other in the fleet. A South American voyage makes a great romantic cruise.
Royal Caribbean now cruise the Gulf of Arabia with Brillianceof the Seas, another of its Radiance Class ships. These new Arabian Adventure holidays start and finish in the opulence of Dubai, visiting Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, and Mina Sulman, taking you to Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the island of Bahrain in the space of just eight days.
The glittering Gulf is a place of extreme contrasts, from the conspicuous consumerism of the huge modern shopping malls to the traditional markets (souqs) and vast deserts. There are be plenty of shore excursions to accompany the cruises, with treks to the Al Wurayah waterfalls near Fujairah and trips on traditional wooden dhows off the coast of Bahrain.
Added to this is, of course, the lure of guaranteed winter sunshine – swimming pools have to be chilled, and towards the end of the season, in April, it can still be exhaustingly humid with temperatures reaching 40°C. These cruises are just right for those who want to experience a culture where ancient history stands side by side with some of the most dazzling cities of tomorrow
Destinations not to miss
1. Alaska Wilderness, wildlife and awe-inspiring glaciers make Alaska a land of natural wonders
2. The Panama Canal This scenic shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific is an amazing feat of engineering
3. New Zealand The vibrant, sophisticated city of Wellington enjoys a spectacular harbour-front location
4. Western Caribbean Islands that are rich in culture and history, all in a tropical paradise setting
5. The Mediterranean This beautiful region boasts a wealth of cities and towns as charming as its people
Read our guide to Royal Caribbean cruises