You already know that cruise ships can take you to popular vacation spots like The Bahamas, Jamaica and Alaska. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You can cruise to some incredible, off-the-beaten-path destinations in the world too. From the gateway to Antarctica to a remote South Pacific archipelago, you can explore some of the most exotic and far-flung places in the world by sailing on one of these cruises and check out some awesome bonus stops along the way.
The largest city in South Korea – which also happens to be home to a whopping five UNESCO World Heritage sites – is a stone’s throw from the port city of Incheon. It’s an uber-modern city with an amazing history, where you’ll find giant skyscrapers built between ancient Buddhist temples. Full of incredible food, fascinating history, great shopping and glittering modern culture, Seoul is definitely worth a visit.
Bonus spots: Some cruises that stop in Incheon also visit Hong Kong, Okinawa and Ho Chi Minh City.
How to get there: On these Asia cruises.
The stunning white city of Muscat has only been open to tourists for a few decades (before the 1970s, it was kept isolated from the rest of the world by a series of fundamentalist Sultans), but it should definitely be on your radar. There are amazing things to see throughout the area. From a date plantation to several-hundred-year-old forts, the beautiful city is nestled in a harbor on the Gulf of Oman. Locals are known for their family-focused hospitality and flavorful food, including the dessert halwa (halva), a flaky pastry made with sesame seeds and honey.
Bonus spots: You may also get to visit cities in Malaysia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
How to get there: On these Arabian Gulf, Suez Canal and Southeast Asian cruises.
This South Pacific archipelago — part of the French territory of New Caledonia—consists of several islands that bring new meaning to the phrase “tropical paradise.” You can experience several stunning beaches, relaxing nature walks through the jungle and tasty local delicacies like coconut, taro, coffee and fresh seafood.
Bonus spots: Depending on your itinerary, you might also stop at Vanuatu or New Caledonia.
How to get there: On these South Pacific cruises.
Take a journey to the end of the world. At the end of the Andes Mountains, on the southernmost tip of South America, you’ll find this rugged bucket-list destination famous for its icy cliffs, penguins and killer whales. This infamous route around the cape used to be the only way to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and after experiencing it for yourself, you’ll get a certificate marking the occasion.
Bonus spots: Several stops in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.
How to get there: On a 14-night South America cruise.
Famous all over the world for its incredible beaches, Phuket, Thailand, is heaven on earth for lovers of sand, sea and scenery. You can see a huge coral reef in easily accessible shallow water, a national park rainforest and, if you’re there at the right time of year, giant leatherback turtles building their nests.
Bonus spots: Spend a day in Kuala Lumpur where you can visit the soaring Petronas Towers and 93-hectare Lake Gardens.
How to get there: On these Southeast Asian cruises.
Experience this marvel of modern engineering the way it was meant to be – from the deck of a ship. Completed in 1914 and still in use today, this system of locks connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, so ships can avoid the long (and, back in the day, potentially dangerous) trip around the southern tip of South America. As you pass through the “scenic shortcut,” marvel at the massive doors that grant access through the locks cutting through the Panamanian jungle. Plus, you’ll earn the ultimate bucket list bragging rights.
Bonus spots: Beautiful ports in Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia.
How to get there: On this unique 15-night cruise.
It may not sound that exotic. But one visit and you might just fall in love with this picturesque British Columbia city. You’ll find a lush rainforest smack dab in the middle of town, a totem pole garden, a large Chinatown area with fabulous food, and an adrenaline-pumping 450-foot long suspension bridge.
Bonus spots: There are tons of stunning sights in Alaska as well as other incredible cities in Canada and the Northwestern U.S.
How to get there: On these Alaska and Pacific Northwest cruises.
With all the exotic options out there, we bet your bucket list is full already. But if you’re ready for more, check out all the adventurous trips that are available around the world.