A world cruise is nothing short of a dream for cruise enthusiasts. Generally lasting around three
months, they visit an array of fabulous destinations all around the globe and offer an overview of the many exciting, beautiful and fascinating places our planet has to offer. Travellers get to experience a multitude of ports at a relaxed pace with plenty of time at sea to unwind and reflect - a unique mix of “travel” and “holiday”.
With so many incredible cities featuring throughout a world cruise, it’s easy to overlook the lesser-known spots. However, a cruise right around the globe offers a plethora of places, and some of the best ones are those that fly under the radar. Whether you are considering a full World Cruise or just a sector, keep an eye out for these gems on the itinerary.
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
This small island in the BVI is a stunner, with few enough sidewalks that you will feel like you are somewhere unspoilt by commercialism, but with plenty of civilization should you wish to take advantage of it. Ships generally anchor off Spanish Town, and you can enjoy a day just enjoying the laidback tropical vibes there or explore the isle further. One of the main attractions is a natural one: a beach strewn with giant boulders, called The Baths. Many lines offer tours of the island or watersports as their excursions, but with plenty of taxis and the small size of the island, it’s also easy to explore the hotspots, Gorda Peak National Park, beautiful beaches considered amongst the best in the Caribbean, and more on your own. The snorkelling and diving are top-notch in the British Virgin Islands, and many visitors like to check out the views under the water as well as above it.
See Virgin Gorda aboard this Azamara voyage from Miami.
Hambantota, Sri Lanka
You can expect something far from flashy and commercialised when you visit Hambantota, a port town in southern Sri Lanka. The fleet of outrigger fishing canoes is a constant and charming sight in the port, and the dry landscapes (including vast salt flats) with colonial architecture are a unique vista. The surrounding region is rich in natural beauty, with many national parks, sweeping beaches and abundant wildlife. The temples at nearby Kataragama are a memorable destination, where pilgrims of various religions flock to worship. If you want to see somewhere a little different to your typical cruise port, keep an eye out for Hambantota on your itinerary - but get in quick, because it is fast becoming more developed in an effort to make it Sri Lanka’s southern centre and second largest city.
You can get to Hambantota on this Holland America cruise from Perth.
Image: David Stanley from Nanaimo, Canada (View of Isafjordur), CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
In northwest Iceland, this town has brooding atmosphere for days - it sits on a spit of low land protruding into the Skutulsfjordur and is bordered by the dark fjord waters and steep mountain slopes, often dusted or covered with snow. Despite its small size, it is a hub for this remote part of the country, and cruise visitors will not lack things to do - if they can pull themselves away from just admiring the view! The Maritime Museum near the quay is a fascinating look at the history of Isafjordur, and the town centre is quaint with timber and tin buildings - although you may be surprised by the metropolitan cafes, restaurants and bars they house! Popular shore excursions from Isafjordur take visors to see places like the island of Vigur, an even more remote outlet which is home to a single family of humans and whole flocks of puffins, eider ducks and Arctic terns.
Call in to Isafjordur aboard this P&O UK cruise out of Southampton.
Ishigaki is both island and city, located in the Yaeyama group off the coast of Taiwan. Not many people know about this tropical slice of Japan that lies well to the south of the main temperate landmass. It is a balmy, scenic place, and the city where the ships dock is Japan’s southernmost urban centre. The historic hilltop Shinto shrine is an excellent spot to visit in town - and outside of it, there are many lovely beaches with white sand and blue waters reminiscent of any tropical Pacific isle, and some patches of jungle which offer cruisers a breath of fresh air through adventure activities like kayaking and hiking. Get in the water or even just on a glass-bottomed boat tour to see the underwater landscapes.
This cruise from Tokyo on NCL will get you to beautiful Ishigaki.
Get your fill of Caribbean breezes and European gentility all at once in Cienfuegos. The enclosed natural bay which laps at the limits of the city makes for a spectacular approach by cruise ship, and once docked it gets even better. Although Cienfuegos is far from Cuba’s most famous city, it is commonly acknowledged by those in the know as the “Pearl of the South” and the country’s stately and cosmopolitan gem - a “little Paris”. Wide streets and elegant architecture make Cienfuegos a delight to explore, and the unique history of the city as an important port and centre of trade will pique any visitor’s interest. Shore tours can take you to places of interest such as the botanical gardens, the Fortress of Nuestra Señora de Jagua, the Teatro Tomas Terry and more. A popular excursion is to Colonial Trinidad, more than an hour’s drive away but well worth the journey for the cobbled streets and incredible heritage.
Azamara’s Circle Cuba cruise from Miami will see you stopping in Cienfuegos.
Ready to see the world? Take a look at our World and Sector cruise deals and start dreaming of foreign shores!