Looking for something truly exotic? Go north. These days you can hike across Iceland’s fjords with Cunard or visit Russia’s reindeer herdsmen with MSC Cruises, Ponant, and Holland America Line.
Don’t Miss: Wildlife tours (look for walruses and puffins) on Ponant’s 12-day Anadyr-to-Petropavlovsk cruise along Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.
Since the government relaxed its stance on political opposition, several lines have announced itineraries in the lush Southeast Asian country. Orient-Express is adding a second ship for sailings beyond the Irrawaddy; Silversea lets you stop there on its world cruise, having added days in Rangoon with excursions to the riverside temples of Bagan.
Don’t Miss: Orient-Express’s four-day extension to Inle Lake; note the local fishermen who ply the waters with one leg in lieu of an oar.
Lines from Crystal to Holland America are adding leaf-peeping sailings around New England, and Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest ship based year-round in New York City (the Rockettes will be on board).
Don’t Miss: Exploring the Gilded Age mansions of Bar Harbor, Maine, on Holland America’s seven-day Canada and New England cruise.
Southeast Asia’s 2,600-mile-long Mekong offers views of mysterious ruins, traditional villages, and a fast-changing countryside. New on the river are Uniworld, Viking, and, in 2014, Aqua Expeditions. Most itineraries focus on sights between Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Don’t Miss: A stop at Angkor Thom’s intricately carved Bayon Temple on the 15-day Magnificent Mekong cruise from Viking River Cruises.
Down under continues to be one of the fastest-growing cruise destinations. Its newest port? Kangaroo Island, off the southern coast, home to 267 bird species. Both Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Holland America now sail there.
Don’t Miss: Regent Seven Seas’ four-hour paddleboat tour of the Brisbane River on its 17-day Coastal Reefs and Koalas cruise.
Compare excursions. Look into outings offered by the cruise line, exploring on your own, or setting up a private tour with an outside company.
Fill out boarding documents in advance. Embarkation will be far speedier.
Make advance reservations for dinners in the ship’s alternative restaurants. Otherwise, you may not get a table.
Review package offerings for beverages, wine, and excursions. Some are available only before you sail.