When To Go: January and February (but not March, when spring break begins)
Now’s the time to book Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, before it moves to Shanghai in the spring. The January 23 sailing (10 nights from $1,749) combines classic ports of call (Puerto Rico, St. Kitts) with five days at sea.
In February, Celebrity Constellation travels round-trip from Fort Lauderdale (five nights from $399), visiting Key West and Cozumel, Mexico.
Though popular with the yachting crowd, the Grenadines have yet to be touched by mass tourism. Star Clippers Cruises offers voyages (seven nights from $1,560) on the five-masted Royal Clipper—a true sailing vessel.
Note: Rates quoted include all meals and are per person based on double occupancy for the lowest category cabin. Alcohol, gratuities, and airfare are not included unless otherwise specified.
When To Go: January through March, for low humidity and blue skies
Most Cape Horn sailings begin and end in Chile or Argentina, but Oceania Cruises’ February 3 itinerary on the Regatta (19 nights from $6,199, with airfare) starts in Lima, Peru—which gives you time to visit Machu Picchu before cruising Patagonia’s dramatic fjords.
Leaving from Rio de Janeiro, the February 7 sailing (12 nights from $1,799, all- inclusive) on the Azamara Journey includes two additional nights in Rio mid-cruise during Carnival.
Windstar Cruises’ 148- passenger Wind Spirit has trips (seven nights from $2,499) through the Panama Canal with stops in Costa Rica’s national parks.
When To Go: January through March, the least muggy months
Crystal Symphony’s February 24 voyage (13 nights from $5,295, all-inclusive) visits Malaysia and “it” destination Myanmar. The highlight: two nights in Yangon, with an optional overnight excursion to the 1,000-year-old temples of Bagan.
For a more immersive experience in Myanmar, AmaWaterways’ new AmaPurasails to or from Mandalay (12 nights from $4,899, including drinks), with trips to Salay’s monasteries and the Mahamuni Buddha.
Leaving from Hong Kong, Silversea’s March 10 voyage (nine nights from $4,350, all-inclusive) is Vietnam 101: the 296-passenger Silver Wind docks in Ha Long Bay, Chan May, and Ho Chi Minh City.
When To Go: April—prime time to see tulips
Tour operator Cox & Kings recently launched river cruises on Scenic Cruises’ upscale ships. The April 27 sailing (seven nights from $2,585, including drinks), round-trip from Amsterdam, calls at Keukenhof, the world’s second-largest flower garden, open only during the spring, and Bruges.
Viking follows a similar itinerary on its new Longships with its Tulips and Windmills sailings (nine nights from $3,072, including drinks).
When To Go: May and early June, before the summer rush
A benefit of SeaDream Yacht Club: its twin 112-passenger yachts can stop in smaller ports. The May 30 sailing, round-trip from Civitavecchia, Italy (seven nights from $5,299, all-inclusive), on the SeaDream II, features three days on the Amalfi Coast.
Oceania Cruises’ May 20 voyage from Istanbul to Lisbon (10 nights from $4,199 with airfare) on the 684-passenger Nauticaincorporates destinations rarely found in the same itinerary, including Tunis, Tunisia, and Málaga, Spain.
Seabourn Odyssey hits popular Greek isles (Mykonos, Santorini) on its May 16 sailing from Venice to Istanbul (13 nights from $7,699, all-inclusive).
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