When you think of tropical cruises, you likely imagine lazy days of sunbathing under Caribbean palm trees with a fruity drink in your hand. But did you know that parts of Asia, Australia and the Middle East are considered tropical, too?
Despite their vast differences, tropical regions do have commonalities. They're warm, particularly in the summer months, and humidity levels are usually high. Many are home to rainforests and a variety of flora and fauna that thrives in such environments. Volcanoes can be found in many of these destinations, as well, and exotic fruits and seafood are often plentiful.
If you've been to the Caribbean before and want to try something new without totally sacrificing time at the beach, here’s a list of some of our favorite tropical cruises!
The Caribbean is the quintessential region for beach bums, but there's so much more to it than clear, blue water and soft sand. From conch fritters and waterfall hikes to straw markets and high-end shops dripping with diamonds, there's a lot to experience. The Caribbean is broken into three regions -- eastern, southern and western. Although they lie outside of the tropic zone, ports in Bermuda and the Bahamas are often found on Caribbean sailings, too.
Panama Canal and Central America
Named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Panama Canal is a feat of engineering so impressive that a cruise through it is well worth the price. There are different types of sailings, including full transits and partial transits, but they all visit culture-rich destinations in countries like Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and, of course, Panama.
Cuba's allure lies in the nostalgic, vintage vibe that has resulted from decades of government restriction. With a handful of cruise lines visiting, Cuba has long been a popular destination for travelers outside the U.S. Low crime rates and a slower pace make this a great destination for leisurely exploration. While you're there, try volunteering or chatting with locals about their way of life.
With some of the industry's newest and largest ships positioning themselves in China, Asia cruising is heating up. However, it's Southeast Asia -- Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia -- that you'll want to visit for an experience that's truly tropical. You can reach these destinations on oceangoing cruises and river sailings.
Middle East cruises offer a convenient way to see a less-traveled part of the world -- one that boasts ideal sunbathing weather and pristine beaches. In addition to fun in the sun, you'll find impressive skyscrapers, markets that will make shopaholics salivate and chic areas that scream of wealth and decadence. These voyages feature ports like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat and Aqaba, among others (although, technically, all but Muscat fall just outside of the tropics).
Due to a combination of Arab Spring, attacks on tourists and pirates in the Gulf of Aden, Africa cruises have declined in popularity in recent years. Most of the African continent lies within the tropical zone. But, with the exception of the Seychelles, most African cruise ports -- Cape Town, Durban, Maputo, Port Elizabeth -- lie just outside of the tropics. Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco calls are also common on these itineraries, with the ports of Cairo (Port Said), Alexandria, Tunis and Tangier also falling just beyond the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Sailings there offer everything from the pyramids and camel rides to cultural experiences.
These sailings, calling on Polynesian islands in the Pacific, are almost purely tropical, and they provide access to some of the world's friendliest cultures. Learn ancient dances, try local foods and bask in the sun while you do it. Stops on South Pacific itineraries might include Pago Pago, Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Raiatea, Rangiroa, Noumea, Port Vila, Suva and many more.
Northern Australia lies within tropical borders. Although many Australia and South Pacific itineraries overlap, some cruise lines offer voyages that sail around the Australian coast, including ports like Darwin, Cairns, The Kimberley and The Whitsundays, as well as Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide, the last five of which fall outside the tropic designation. Once the site of a penal colony, Australia is famous for its laid-back vibe, its penchant for all things beachy and boozy and its disdain for tipping.
We are filled with cruise recommendations! Give us a call or email today and Let’s Get Busy Livin’!