Healthy Travel Tips »

Healthy Travel Tips » Stay safe on vacation

10 Underrated Cruise Destinations for 2017

Break away from a cookie-cutter cruise experience in these off-the-radar locales.

U.S. News & World Report

10 Underrated Cruise Destinations for 2017

A seagull stands alone on the beach as a cruise ship exits Port Canaveral, Florida, bound for the open sea.
Credit

(Getty Images)

Venture to off-the-beaten-track port destinations the world over.

If you've already sailed into popular cruise ports across the globe, why not check out under-the radar cruise destinations this year? With robust itineraries that hit outside-the-box destinations – from the Caribbean to Hawaii to Europe and beyond – it's easy to skip well-trodden destinations in favor of up-and-coming ones that offer new and exciting experiences tailored to a variety of cruiser types and interests. With that in mind, here are 10 top cruise destinations to experience this year, whether you're a seasoned cruiser or setting sail for the first time.
The city of Sitka, Alaska at dawn.
Credit

(Getty Images)

Sitka, Alaska

Alaska's oldest city dates back 10,000 years. In 1804, Russia laid claim to what it named Russian America. Russian aristocrats flocked to Sitka, eventually giving it the nickname Paris of the Pacific. Today, Russian and indigenous Tlingit cultures exist side by side in this unique island city. If you love to hike, strap on your boots and explore Sikta National Historical Park, which extends from sea to mountains, sporting a trail dotted with totem poles. Back in town, you can experience traditional Tlingit folkloric performances and admire Alaskan art and native artifacts. And no trip to Sitka is complete without a visit to the Russian Bishop's House, built in 1842.
Next:

Venture to off-the-beaten-track port destinations the world over.

If you've already sailed into popular cruise ports across the globe, why not check out under-the radar cruise destinations this year? With robust itineraries that hit outside-the-box destinations – from the Caribbean to Hawaii to Europe and beyond – it's easy to skip well-trodden destinations in favor of up-and-coming ones that offer new and exciting experiences tailored to a variety of cruiser types and interests. With that in mind, here are 10 top cruise destinations to experience this year, whether you're a seasoned cruiser or setting sail for the first time.

Sitka, Alaska

Alaska's oldest city dates back 10,000 years. In 1804, Russia laid claim to what it named Russian America. Russian aristocrats flocked to Sitka, eventually giving it the nickname Paris of the Pacific. Today, Russian and indigenous Tlingit cultures exist side by side in this unique island city. If you love to hike, strap on your boots and explore Sikta National Historical Park, which extends from sea to mountains, sporting a trail dotted with totem poles. Back in town, you can experience traditional Tlingit folkloric performances and admire Alaskan art and native artifacts. And no trip to Sitka is complete without a visit to the Russian Bishop's House, built in 1842.

Nassau, Bahamas

With sugary beaches, water-based activities and duty-free shops, Nassau lures visitors with its diverse diversions. In fact, Nassau offers a trove of crumbling forts and historic buildings, along with a craft brewery and even a colonial mansion that's been turned into a four-star hotel and restaurant. Instead of a cliche beach day, try a rum and food tour, lunch at the Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant or the Graycliff Chocolatier tour. With so much to offer visitors of all ages and interests, Nassau surely won't disappoint.

Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

A tucked-away island in Turks and Caicos, Grand Turk offers an ideal beach retreat, complete with picturesque scenery and low-key island vibes. You can spend the day lazing away at the sprawling Grand Turk Cruise Center, which offers a private beach, or if you're a history buff, check out the on-site exhibit that celebrates astronaut John Glenn's return from orbit in 1962. Afterward, sign up for a private tour of the Turks and Caicos National Museum or the Turks and Caicos Botanical and Cultural Garden. Cap off your visit with a walk from the Cruise Center for a leisurely lunch at the popular Jack's Shack Beach Bar & Grill.

Livorno, Italy

Livorno, the port to reach Florence and Pisa, Italy, offers an ideal launching pad for exploring Italy. If you're not up for a long motor coach ride or you've been to Florence before, Livorno is the perfect place to plan a day ashore. Known for its superlative seafood and inspiring scenery, Livorno is an ideal locale for a memorable meal followed by a stroll along the Terrazza Mascagni promenade, a sweeping terrace checkered in black and white that affords beautiful sea views. Beyond the promenade, explore the Natural History Museum of Livorno, which lends insight into life in Tuscany hundreds of years ago.

Honolulu

Whether you choose a seven-night Hawaiian cruise itinerary or a longer cruise from California or Canada, one day is hardly enough to take in all the history, culture and breathtaking scenery of this bustling metropolis. Make sure to be on the ship's deck at sunrise for the first glimpse of Diamond Head crater on the misty horizon. A visit to Pearl Harbor should also be on your list, as well as a dazzling luau show. From the grand 'Iolani Palace to the famous Waikiki Beach, Honolulu offers a unique mix of activities and attractions that cater to a variety of traveler interests, ages and tastes.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Fans of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" will instantly recognize parts of the old city walls. Included on many itineraries to and from Venice, Dubrovnik offers inspiring seaside scenery, legendary beaches and storied attractions. As soon as you enter the old town, buy a ticket and walk the ancient stone walls that still surround the city, Afterward, venture into the mountainous countryside on a day tour to explore Croatia's wine country and beyond. Don't skip sampling the local Malvasia wine or savoring a traditional dessert favorite, crème caramel, before returning to your ship.

Kirkenes, Norway

This unique port destination happens to be the northernmost town in Norway. Adjacent to the Russian border, Kirkenes is accessible year-round by Hurtigruten Cruise Line. Plan a winter cruise, and you can visit the Kirkenes Snowhotel, where as its name suggests you can sleep in an Artic-inspired room made from snow and filled with ice sculptures. And if you're most interested in catching the breathtaking northern lights, plan a trip any time from October to March. Alternatively, opt to cruise to Kirkenes in summer to enjoy fresh seafood, bird-watching and hiking on your day ashore.

Portland, Maine

On many Canada and New England cruise itineraries, you can explore charming and underrated destinations, including Portland. Cruise ships dock right in the city center at the Port of Portland, offering a convenient location within walking distance of kitschy boutiques, seafood diners and even a scenic waterfront. Shore excursions from Portland run the gamut, from beer tasting and lobster lunches to hiking trips into the hilly countryside. And with a restored and revitalized waterfront warehouse district, Portland's Old Port is filled with dining, shopping and entertainment options. Even better, you don't have to steer far from your ship to experience the best of Maine's largest port city.

Port Canaveral, Florida

An ideal jumping-off point for daytrips to Disney World and Universal Studios, Port Canaveral has much more for those who prefer to explore the Space Coast rather than theme parks. Located on Florida's central east coast, Port Canaveral sits nearby the world-famous Cocoa Beach, the Kennedy Space Center and many nearby attractions that locals love to experience, too. Plus, a short cab ride takes you to the Brevard Zoo. If you're craving more activity, rent a kayak, test your limits on the Treetop Trek zip line, take an airboat ride at a nearby fish camp or walk along the historic Cocoa Beach Pier.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Another quaint port of call on a variety of Canada and New England-focused itineraries is Charlottetown on remote Prince Edward Island. Picturesque doesn't begin to describe the sights and scenery of this small village and surrounding countryside. The setting is especially enticing for literary enthusiasts. If you're an "Anne of Green Gables" fan, you'll find all sorts of Anne-inspired activities and places, including the setting for the much-loved 1908 children's novel. After getting your literary fix, head to Charlottetown's rolling countryside to check out world-class golf courses, rocky beaches and dozens of lighthouses. Back in town, walk from your ship to lively seafood restaurants, storefront microbreweries and chocolate shops.
1 of 11

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.