Right now, we’re dreaming about next summer’s trips from the comfort of our homes.
A few weeks ago, we polled our readers about when they would be ready to return to the seas, and nearly 75 percent said that they would be ready to sail again by the summer of 2021. There’s nothing better than sailing out on the open waves and exploring different ports, but since we can’t currently sail the high seas, we will use this time to dream about future travels.
Here are five itineraries I’m dreaming of sailing next summer.
1. Greek Isles Cruise
Summer is a good time to visit the Greek Isles. Throughout this time of social distance and quarantining, I have also watched the Mamma Mia movies (yes, both of them) quite a few times. While a cruise through the Greek Isles might not land me in Kalokairi, I will gladly settle on a visit to Santorini. This welcoming, beautiful, historic, and vibrant island offers something for everyone – and everyone will be going, so you’re best to try to beat the crowds.
There are hundreds of summer Mediterranean cruises that offer a taste of what Greece has to offer, typically departing from Athens or Venice. History and archaeology fans will love Olympia and sites like the Acropolis and Ephesus (an ancient Greek city now in modern-day Turkey), as well as some of Greece’s more famous islands such as Mykonos, Crete, Santorini, and Corfu.
2. The Caribbean
A seven-day Caribbean cruise that covers some of the islands’ top destinations is a perfect choice for a quick break. The Caribbean is often top of the list for summer cruises and with good reason – beaches are a wonderful summer escape for families, couples, groups of friends, and even solo travelers.
As someone who, in the past, has claimed to hate the beach, I have really warmed up to Caribbean and Bahamian sailings. Many people like to sail through the islands in the winter months, hoping to catch a break from the cold weather, but these sailings are also enjoyable in the summer – especially if you are traveling with children, teens, or young adults.
Caribbean cruises set sail from many locations, including ports in the mainland United States. On a Caribbean itinerary, you may expect to visit ports such as Bridgetown, Barbados; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas; St. Maarten; and St. Lucia.
3. The Baltic
Though I’ve spent a lot of time in Denmark and Sweden over the years, I haven’t done a Baltic cruise in nearly two decades. Of course, there is more to the Baltic than just Scandinavia. The Baltic region is made up of nine countries: Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.
Because the Baltic Region is so far north, cruising during the summer can be a magical experience. My favorite parts of spending summers in Northern Europe are the long days and the cool temperatures. Not to mention, there is such a variety of architecture and culture in the region – from the onion domes in Russia to the medieval old town of Tallinn, Estonia.
There are many variations of Baltic itineraries. Some cruises leave from the UK, others from Amsterdam, many from Copenhagen. Because of this, it’s very hard to say what a typical Baltic itinerary looks like. Just know that if you decide to cruise the Baltic in the summer, you are in for a real treat.
4. The Galapagos
If you’re looking for a destination that is culturally and geographically different – look to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. Situated some 500 miles off the western coast of Ecuador, the islands first appeared on maps toward the end of the 16th century.
I was inspired to visit that Galapagos last year after Ralph cruised the region with Silversea aboard Silver Galapagos. Looking at all his photographs excited me. It made me feel like I was there. There are so many opportunities in the Galapagos to view the wildlife of the region, as well as explore the terrain. I also always appreciate an itinerary that is busy, as I am so often on itineraries where I may not even feel a need to get off the ship. Most days on Galapagos itineraries are broken into two parts, so you are exploring two different parts of the island each day.
The Galapagos are the combined size of Puerto Rico, with a diversity of look and feel that is truly astonishing: from lava flow and desert-like vistas to a wide range of shrubs and greenery. It’s an eye-opening look at what nature and biology have created.
An Alaska cruise gives you the chance to experience some of the United States’ most dramatic glacier landscapes and scenery. You’ll see wildlife, whales, and visit Alaskan towns and national parks. These cruises are also accessible for US travelers, as they usually sail from Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
There are many sightseeing opportunities from your ship, and in some cases, summer cruises also offer land tours and hiking as part of the deal.
There may still be an opportunity to sail to Alaska this year, as UnCruise Adventures plans to commence its sailings in Alaska on August 1.
Though much of the 2020 season has been postponed, read this post for inspiration for 2021: Top 10 Alaska Cruises For 2020