American theatre critic Brooks Atkinson once said that "Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit." But that doesn't mean that all lands were created equally. Read on to discover the summer cruising destinations that set the standard.
Cayman Islands for Underwater Adventure
Located in the western Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands is one of the most picturesque British territories. There are actually three islands in all: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and the tiny Little Cayman. All three are ideal destinations for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts, as their waters are home to historic shipwrecks and vibrant tropical fish.
The country is dubbed "the island that time forgot," although its capital Georgetown has all the modern facilities tourists could wish for. If you prefer a more tranquil stay, then listen to the locals and "Go East."
Hawaii's Heaven for Honeymooners
American travel writer Paul Theroux once said that "Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace." There's certainly a special air about the American islands that you feel as soon as your ship docks. While it's recognized as a part of the United States, Hawaii's unique culture helps you feel like you've traveled a world away. No wonder it's one of the most popular destinations for honeymooners, and anyone in love!
When you cruise to Hawaii, you can enjoy the views from your liner and the resort activities on land. Many visitors choose to stay close to port, but you can also rent a car and explore the islands' majestic volcanoes and waterfalls.
Australia's Great Barrier Reef Offers Natural Wonder
With the seasons reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, it might seem strange to travel to Australia in the island nation's winter. However the Great Barrier Reef is one of the country's warmest ports. Even in July, it's an average of 78 degrees on land and a tropical 73.4 degrees in the ocean.
Rain does plague Queensland from June to August, but you won't mind a little shower when you're underwater admiring the rainbow-colored tropical fish, friendly sea turtles, and iridescent coral reefs. With the reef covering 133,000 square miles, more than the size of Italy, there's plenty to explore! If diving's not your thing, you can admire the world's largest coral reef from a helicopter or glass-bottom boat.
Bermuda's Beaches Best in Summer
There's never a bad time to visit the North Atlantic islands of Bermuda, but USA Today insists they're at their best from June to August. As this is the peak season, visitors have the widest selection of the best Bermuda cruises and itineraries on offer. Tour operators are also busy offering visitors snorkel, scuba, sailboat, and parasailing excursions. With the clear turquoise waters resting at a near perfect 85 degrees, you'll find it's very easy to spend days in the ocean!
If you do get waterlogged, you can sun yourself on the distinctive pink sand beaches, take a free trolley ride from the Royal Naval Dockyard, or enjoy the water views without getting wet at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.
Bora Bora for Beachfront Luxury
Bora Bora is a favorite haunt for the rich and famous, with its water's edge bungalows commanding up to $15,000 a night. Happily, it's much cheaper to pass through on a cruise than to make it your sole South Pacific travel destination. You can go star-spotting at the famous Bloody Mary's Restaurant & Bar, which has hosted the likes of Willie Nelson and Nelson Rockefeller, and you can then return to your relatively affordable cruiser cabin once the sun goes down!
The topsy-turvy Southern Hemisphere seasons mean you'll visit in the South Pacific winter, but don't let that put you off. Bora Bora enjoys less rain and fewer tropical cyclones between June and August. The average winter temperature is a perfect 82 degrees, and it's only a couple of degrees less in the lagoon, which is three times larger than the island. Novelist James A. Michener once called Bora Bora ""the most beautiful island in the world," and its turquoise waters and striking mountains make it difficult to disagree.
Alaska for Icy Wilderness Views
Alaska isn't an obvious choice for a summer travel destination, but mid-June to mid-July is actually the best time to visit. While the mercury dips overnight, it's surprisingly pleasant during the day with typical temps between 60 and 80 degrees. As the weather warms, your chances of spotting Alaska's unique wildlife also increase.
Many Alaskan cities are only accessible by air or water, including its state capital Juneau, so cruising is a great way to discover this American state. From the deck of your cruise ship you can soak up views of icy glaciers, whales, eagles, and mountain ranges.
Norway Offers Beautiful Glacial Fjords
Norway serves up another alternative to the sun and sand cruises so common over summer. The weather warms in the months from June to August, when temperatures above 77 degrees are not unusual. That's a lot more appealing than traveling during winter, when temps regularly dip below 40 degrees! The more comfortable climate makes it much easier to appreciate the wonder of sailing inside the enormous fjords. Admiring the Naeroyfjord and the Geirangerfjord, it's easy to see why these natural wonders are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
You can enjoy the fjords from on deck, but Norway offers many more sights once you dock. See the waterfalls and quaint Scandinavian houses of the Flam Valley with a ride on the famous Flam Railway, and discover Norway's Viking history at the museums of Alesund.
The Galapagos Islands' Rare Beauty
The Galapagos Islands is one of the world's most popular cruising destinations with the best cabins booking out years in advance. With a little preparation though, you can enjoy this wildlife wonderland that was so admired by Charles Darwin. Larger ships are not permitted to enter the island; their carbon emissions damage the region's fragile ecosystem, which features iguanas, water fowl, and those famous Galapagos tortoises, so you'll need to book on smaller cruise liners. Summer is an ideal time to visit, as the weather is warm and the seas are calm.
So why spend your summer sweltering under your ceiling fan? Make the most of the soaring heat and discover one of these stunning cruise destinations.