At one time, cruises were simply a means of getting from one side of the Atlantic to the other, and for many years, even pleasure voyages only ventured to certain regions of the world, such as North America, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

By contrast, today’s cruising options couldn’t be more varied. Whether you want to see the Great Wall of China in Beijing, explore the temples of India or experience vibrant South American culture, cruise ships can take you around the globe. So if you feel like sampling something a little more exotic on your cruise holiday, let’s take a closer look at some of the far-flung destinations you can reach by sea this year…

Far East and South-East Asia Cruises

A trip to Asia is not easily forgotten. Even just the South East corner of the continent has vastly different topography, cities and cuisines to discover and a cruise is a great way of dipping into several places of interest within a week or fortnight’s travel.

Adventure to the furthest reaches of the Eastern world on Far East cruises, which often depart from major hubs like Hong Kong, a thronging port city and shopping destination. From here, you can choose to explore both the mystical and historic sites of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, or taste the fresh flavours of the street food in Bangkok.

Even more unusual stops include the South Korean island of Jeju, an amazing volcanic outcrop that houses several UNESCO World Heritage sites, or visitors can exchange the crowded beaches of the Caribbean for the more secluded sands of Sihanoukville in Cambodia.

Both short positioning cruises from Australia and longer 14-night itineraries are available, with established cruise lines like Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises covering much of this fascinating region.

 India and the Middle East

The age-old attractions of Egypt have long been a magnet for cruise passengers, but cruise ships now explore far beyond the Nile and the Red Sea.

Begin a Middle Eastern cruise at Dubai, and you’ll be confronted by a gleaming jewel of a modern city, rising up from a desert that has been populated by Bedouin tribes for centuries. Some Red Sea Cruises also touch on the shores of Oman, as well as Aqaba in Jordan, giving visitors a chance to spy the red walls of Petra, the country’s ancient settlement.

However, it’s the huge nation of India that continues to enthral travellers from all over the world. Cruise lines like P&O Cruises now take in the length and breadth of the nation, from the famed Bollywood scene and colourful markets of Mumbai to the stunning ‘backwaters’ of southerly state Kerala.

South America

Over on the other side of the world, South America is understandably a popular destination for those looking to cruise further afield. What could be more exotic than witnessing the festivities of Rio de Janeiro, dancing tango on the streets of Buenos Aires or spotting the rare wildlife of the Galapagos Islands?

Lucky cruise-goers can follow the line of the majestic Andes Mountains as they course down the length of the continent, calling at beautiful colonial cities like Peru’s capital Lima and La Serena in Chile.

Cruise routes range from epic 20+ night voyages from the Antarctic around Cape Horn, to taster adventures focusing on one country, such as Brazil. Some itineraries additionally include Central American stops at Nicaragua and journeys along the historic Panama Canal.

Feeling inspired to take an epic voyage at sea this year? Take a look at our range of cruise destinations to see what takes your fancy!

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