The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations are underway, and our thoughts have turned to the rich region of Asia. This time of year is especially festive, and a great time to visit, but in truth you could travel here during any month and find a wonderland of cities, towns and nature unlike anywhere else on earth. We know a great way to take it all in: Asia cruises
Although tropical isles, remote fjords and European cities remain at the top of the list for popular cruising grounds, Asia is an up-and-coming destination in the cruise world. More and more lines are sending ships to China, Japan, Indonesia and elsewhere in the region so that passengers can experience their favourite style of holiday in a new and exciting place.
Get a taste of Asia
Cruising is a great way to get a taste of a region - and then you can decide whether you want to explore further, be it by sea or land. If you're a newbie to the Asian travel scene, hold onto a piece of familiarity by taking a cruise on one of your favourite lines.
There are plenty of different options for Asia cruises, covering a wide range of countries and landscapes. For sun and sand, the beach resorts of Southeast Asia are the ideal destination, and there are a huge range of cruises available there, many departing Australia
. Further north are the big and exciting cities of Singapore
and Hong Kong
, great ports of call for those who like a bit of urban exploration. In the springtime, a trip around Japan to see the cherry blossoms might be just the ticket. Further west and increasingly common on cruise itineraries are the busy ports of India and the glamour of the Middle East
The more tropical areas, which includes everything between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, are ideal for cruising during most of the year. Japan, as mentioned above, is at its most stunning during April and May when the blossoms bloom, and summertime in China, Japan and Korea is prime cruising season - June through to September.
Asia cruise lines
It's easy to find an Asia cruise on a line that you like. Most of the global lines have ships deployed in the region either permanently or seasonally, and there are a handful of local lines too. This means you can cruise the destinations of Asia in the style to which you are accustomed - be it affordable and family-friendly or glamorous luxury.
The Princess Cruises
"Treasures of Asia" series of cruises depart Australian ports and are a great way to experience the continent without long flights. They aren't the only option for Asia cruises departing locally, however - P&O Australia
are sending their Pacific Eden
north into the lower reaches of Asia this year, both from Fremantle
. The Pacific Dawn
will head to Indonesia twice in 2016, calling in to Dili in Timor Leste for the second and third time.
Of course, you can also begin your adventure in one of the Asian departure port, greatly reducing the number of days spent at sea, Royal Caribbean
has several ships which sail in Asia, with the Mariner of the Seas
based there year-round. Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess
are commonly spotted in Asian waters, and the line also has a new vessel on the way called the Majestic Princess
which is custom-built to sail out of Shanghai
. P&O's Pacific Dawn is also scheduled for some cruises out of Singapore to the Andaman Islands and other places around the region.
Have you cruised to Asia? We'd love to hear about your experience!