Eager to set sail on a sun-soaked adventure? Chart your course with one of these incredible itineraries.
STAY: Paul Gauguin Cruises
Ready to punch your ticket to paradise? Palm-fringed beaches, ombré blue waters, and rum drinks served in coconuts are all on the itinerary of this romantic seven-day cruise in the Pacific Ocean. The m/s Paul Gauguin, a small ship capped at 332 guests, makes a luxurious lap around Tahiti and surrounding Polynesian islands, providing those on board a highlight reel of the South Pacific. Explore the lush rainforest during a day in Huahine. Order a drink from a floating bar at Motu Mahana, a private island where you can listen to live music and watch Polynesian craft demonstrations in between kayaking or playing volleyball. Postcard-perfect Bora Bora, as its repetitious name suggests, deserves two days. That’s ample time to balance R&R with a sunset jet-boat ride or a helicopter tour over the iconic Mount Otemanu, an ancient volcano that juts from the island.
GO: The Caribbean
STAY: Disney Cruise Line
If a marathon tour of Walt Disney World feels a little too exhausting for your crew, don’t worry — the fine folks at Disney have created some truly exceptional cruises that offer a Disney resort-style experience the island-hopping way. The food is (truly) excellent, kids’ activities, entertainment, and characters abound, and the Caribbean itineraries include a stop at Disney’s own private island, Castaway Cay. There, you can relax on the white sand beaches or go snorkeling in a lagoon teeming with tropical fish. (Be on the lookout for Nemo!) Parents can enjoy much-deserved open-air cabana massages in the adults-only Serenity Bay while kids play in pop jets at Scuttle’s Cove, a kids’ club supervised by counselors from the ship. On-board entertainment includes live Broadway-style shows, deck parties with fireworks, and movie nights in a palace reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Depending on your destination, you can customize excursions to fit your family’s interests — whether that’s exploring Mayan ruins or paddling through turquoise waters in a glass-bottom kayak.
Does a Disney cruise sound perfect for your family, but you’ve been there, done the Caribbean? Disney’s four gorgeous ships sail across the globe to breathtaking destinations that include Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, and Alaska via Canada.
Editor’s note: Make It Better Editor in Chief Brooke Geiger McDonald recently set sail with her family on one of Disney’s Alaskan cruises. Stay tuned for her firsthand account of their incredible experience!
GO: Northwest Europe
STAY: Crystal River Cruises
Celebrating a milestone birthday with a few of your favorite couples? Toasting to a bachelorette who deserves better than Vegas? Consider a cruise. When done the right way (read: non-cheesy), cruising makes the logistics of group travel easy. That’s where Crystal River Cruises comes in, a luxury line that will be offering 148 unique itineraries, many of them throughout Europe, in 2019. The cruise line’s “all-suite” river ships travel to destinations including Amsterdam, Basel, Budapest, Frankfurt, and Vienna. Ring in the new year on the Rhine with a weeklong Rhine Celebration cruise that departs from Basel, Switzerland on Dec. 27 and ends in Amsterdam, making stops in storied European ports where you can experience German Christmas markets, tour castles, or take a Van Gogh painting workshop. Or, if you can hold off until the spring, a “Tulips and Windmills” River Cruise beginning March 25 visits Belgium and the Netherlands, with the offshore excursions including private canal tours, garden visits, cheese tastings, and bike routes to picturesque windmills.
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Brittany Anas is a freelance writer who specializes in health, fitness, and travel writing. She also contributes to Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, Trip Savvy, Simplemost, Orbitz, and Eat This, Not That! She spent a decade working at daily newspapers, including The Denver Post and the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, and she is a former federal background investigator. In her free time, Brittany enjoys hiking with her gremlin-pot belly pig mix that the rescue described as a “Boston Terrier” and coaching youth basketball. She also works with domestic abuse survivors, helping them regain financial stability through career coaching. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram.