Top Island Destinations to Cruise
There’s no much better way to see the islands of the world than aboard a cruise. What appears as a dot on the horizon grows larger and bigger as you approach by ship, ultimately ending up being a swath of land just asking to be checked out. From warm specks of white sand beaches, to volcanic outcrops of towering peaks, and historic ports with sordid pasts, RSVP-ONLINE visits islands in every corner of the world. Here, we note 10 not to miss.
Only in the last few years have actually Americans been allowed to check out Cuba and discover the vibrant island they’ve been missing out on. Step back in time amongst the weathered exteriors and cobblestone streets of Old Havana. Stroll the seawall of the romantic Malecón. Take a flight in a perfectly preserved classic automobile. Cuba is among a kind.
The island of Kauai is the greenest of all the Hawaiian Islands. It’s frequently called “The Garden Island,” for the lavish tropical rainforest that covers most of its interior. Trek the well-known Napali Coast Trail through emerald valleys and along 3,000-foot-high cliffs using stunning views of the Pacific Ocean below. Visit Lumahai Beach, setting for the film “South Pacific,” or head inland to photograph among the many cascading waterfalls that grace this tropical paradise.
The Greek island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea was formed by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC. This gem of the Mediterranean is defined by steep cliffs neglecting a brilliant blue caldera, and of course, the whitewashed homes and blue domed churches that cling to the rocky cliffs. Volcanic activity developed beaches of black, red and chalk-white sand. Visit the website of ancient Akrotiri, a Minoan settlement dating to the Bronze Age.
Roatan off the coast of Honduras is a favorite stop on the Western Caribbean cruise. This pristine island sits atop the world’s second biggest coral reef so the snorkeling and diving are amazing. Settle back at relaxing Tabyana Beach, or join an eco-tour for zip-lining through the jungle, or just walking amongst monkeys, parrots and iguanas.
5. Ko Samui
Ko Samui off the coast of Thailand in Southeast Asia is a jungle paradise ringed by lovely beaches. Head inland for a flight on an elephant, to see a monkey show, or to photograph the Na Mueang waterfalls. Visit popular Chaweng Beach and attempt the spicy regional food. Trek to the rich Secret Buddha Garden at the highest point on the island.
6. New Zealand
The country of New Zealand is 2 islands offering a wide variety of sights and experiences. From cosmopolitan capitals to pristine fjords to world-class white wines and sensational settings used as a backdrop in the Lord of the Rings films, New Zealand accommodates every explorer. Travelers will delight in kayaking the fjords, nature lovers will get up close and individual with penguins, and photographers will have a field day recording the surroundings.
In addition to stunning beaches and azure waters, the island of Bermuda is abundant with history. It started in 1609 when an English ship bound for the nests of Virginia ran aground on the reefs surrounding the island. The shipwrecked passengers chose to stick it out on the island and declared the land for England. They developed a colony on Bermuda’s St. George Island, and today the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll the cobblestone paths of what is the earliest constantly inhabited English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
8. French Polynesia
The island chain of French Polynesia is 137 of the most beautiful sun-kissed islands in the world. Visit 3 of those islands on the 17-Day Cruise of the Fabled South Pacific. In addition to drop in American Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, you’ll check out Tahiti, Raiatea and Bora in French Polynesia.
Called the “Queen of the Pacific,” Tahiti is home to sharp volcanic peaks, black pearls and the cosmopolitan city of Papeete. Raiatea implies “Faraway Heaven,” and this island is considered the most sacred in all of the South Pacific. Visit the biggest outdoor temple in French Polynesia, believed to be the center from which all Polynesian migration started. Bora Bora, a famous honeymoon destination, is spectacular in its appeal. Pictures don’t do it justice.
Iceland is a volcanic island in cooler climates, complete with active geysers, hot springs, and lava fields. Check out the national forests to check out huge glaciers. Between September and April, seek to the skies for the Northern Lights. The majority of Iceland’s population lives in the capital Reykjavik, so that’s the center for museums, restaurants, nightlife, and culture. Go To the Settlement Exhibition, including artifacts from a 9th century Viking settlement.
10. U.S. Virgin Islands
At or near the top of every list of best islands in the Caribbean, are the United States Virgin Islands: St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. On St. Croix, visit the Buck Island National Reef Monument, an 880-acre undersea nature preserve featuring a snorkeling trail. Or stroll the historic streets of Frederiksted, lined with Danish colonial and Victorian-era houses.
On St. Thomas, visit Fort Christian, a United States National Landmark, for a primer on the island’s rich history.
Or visit the Synagogue of Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim, the earliest synagogue in the United States. Climb up the 99 actions made from merchant ship ballast stones, to Blackbeard’s Castle (built in 1679), for some of the best views on the island. Legend has it that the intense pirate Blackbeard utilized this now National Historic Landmark constructed as a lookout post.