All cruises have familiar comforts: Lodging, dining and entertainment. However, when you crave some variety in your port cities beyond the color of the sand on the beach, it's time to get creative. Instead of hopping on another ship to the Caribbean, consider one of these unexpected destinations for next trip.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, boasts 1,600 green islands and inlets, many of which are uninhabited. The bay is rich with limestone formations rarely found on water. The biggest island in Ha Long Bay is Cat Ba Island, which is mostly comprised of Cat Ba National Park, which features a zoo, caves and hiking trails. While indulging in the scenic waters, rock formations and jungles, you'll also be able to enjoy all the usual cruise amenities like meals, lodging and onboard entertainment, including squid fishing, Vietnamese cooking lessons and more.
Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
Some Silversea Cruises sailing from Nome, Alaska, stop to port in Petropavlovsk, Russia. Nature buffs will love the bird- and whale-watching opportunities, as well as the chance to spot adorable otters and majestic brown bears. Volcanoes and mountains pepper the scenery of the Bering Sea, and some areas of the tundra can offer nearly endless daylight.
Ushuaia, Argentina, is the southernmost part of the world — or, as they put it, "The End of the World." Silversea Cruises sail round trip from the port city to Antarctica, offering travelers a chance to see the storied seventh continent. You can expect to see whales, penguins, glaciers and stunning ice formations. Travelers will get to explore the Falkland Islands, see seals on the South Shetland Islands, and experience the adventurous waters of Drake Passage, where the warm equatorial waters and cold polar waters meet in the Antarctic Convergence.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
Oceania offers a number of cruise itinerary options to explore Denmark's Faroe Islands. Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, is named for Thor, the God of Thunder, but don't be fooled by the nomenclature — it's as relaxing as it is stunning and unexpected. The fishing village features breathtaking waterfalls and fjords, green farms and magnificent sea stacks. History buffs can also take excursions to explore ancient Viking villages.
The Hebridean Princess cruise through the Hebridean Islands in Scotland is an intimate one; the ship has just 30 cabins, with a third reserved for solo travelers. Cruisers will see castles, lochs and ancient ports. The line also provides hikes and walking tours for all skill and fitness levels to ensure everyone gets a chance to explore the magnificence of this rarely-toured area of the British Isles. There are also a variety of itineraries with potential stops including Belgium, Northern France, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.
No passport? No problem. You can sail around the outer islands of Maine in the good old U.S. of A. Royal Caribbean offers cruises to Bar Harbor, Maine, where travelers can indulge in simple American pleasures: saltwater taffy, fresh-caught local lobster and cozy cobblestone streets. The adventurous set can explore Acadia National Park, watch the sunrise or sunset from Cadillac Mountain, splash around Jordan Pond and feel the cool mist of the waves crashing against the stone at Thunder Hole.