Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Thu February 04 2016

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  • Amber Nolan | February 4, 2016 1:00 AM ET

    8 Mold-Breaking Cruise Itineraries

    8 Mold-Breaking Cruise Itineraries

    Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten

    While many cruise ships follow similar routes, several exciting itineraries are being introduced in 2016 and 2017. In addition, new Caribbean ports of call are attracting the larger cruise lines — adding some variety to traditional cruise schedules. From South Africa to Iceland, here are new cruise routes and destinations to consider for your next adventure.

    Hurtigruten’s Southern Route

    Specializing in coastal cruises along Norway, Hurtigruten is branching out with a new route between Norway and Africa. In September, the MS Midnatsol sails nine and 11-day journeys from Bergen, Norway to Casablanca, Morocco. The ship spends two days in Amsterdam before sailing to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The unusual itinerary continues with La Coruna, Spain and Leixoes, Portugal with tours available of Porto, known for its famous sweet wine.

    Crystal Espirit’s Cruise to the Middle East

    Crystal’s new yacht, the Crystal Espirit debuts this year and will sail a number of Mediterranean voyages throughout the summer. In November, the ship embarks on a unique, 10-day voyage from Cyprus to Jordan with several overnights in port — including Ashdod, Israel. In Aqaba, Jordan, cruisers can take a shore excursion to Petra, the famous pink city carved from the sandstone walls, or explore a cliff-side monastery in Larnaca, Cyprus.

    READ MORE: Carnival's New Port

    Ponant’s Cruise to the Falklands and Africa

    For those who plan ahead, Ponant is offering a new, three-week expedition in March 2017 from Ushuaia, Argentina to Cape Town in South Africa that visits the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. For the first time, Ponant will be stopping at the volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha; as well as Gough Island, home to one of the world’s largest seabird colonies; and Nightingale Island, a nesting area for numerous penguins.

    Princess’ Ireland and Scotland Cruise

    Consistently honored for creative itineraries, Princess is introducing a two-week voyage to Ireland and Scotland with several maiden calls along the way. The 680-passenger, Pacific Princess, will embark from Dover (near London) and stop in the Channel Islands before a maiden call in Galway, Ireland and Ullapool, Scotland. The cruise sets sail July 29 and calls at a port nearly every day — including overnights in Dublin and Edinburgh. 

    Windstar’s Circumnavigation of Iceland

    This July, one of Windstar’s newest ships, the Star Legend, will be sailing a series of cruises around Iceland. The weeklong journey begins in Reykjavik, Iceland and includes highlights like Heimaey Island, which rose from the ocean in the 1960s, or the soothing Myvatn Nature Baths outside of Akureyri (the country’s second largest city). Most of the optional excursions on this cruise are adventurous so be ready to explore the remote landscape in 4x4s, go kayaking in fjords and discover the island’s mysterious caves.

    The Mekong River with Scenic

    The new Scenic Spirit debuted in January 2016 and will be plying the Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Siem Reap in Cambodia. The new, eight-day voyage offers opportunities to meet novice monks at a monastery, pray in a Buddhist pagoda, ride in an ox cart and tour local village markets. Several sailing dates are available throughout 2016 and 2017.

    Cruises to Martinique

    Martinique is one of the fastest-growing Caribbean ports and has been gaining the attention of many mainstream cruise lines. Costa, MSC, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Celebrity are just a few major players offering more than one sailing to Fort-de-France this year — often on Southern Caribbean itineraries. The island offers passengers rainforest adventures, beautiful beaches and outstanding French-infused restaurants.

    READ MORE: Wave Season Cruise Deals Continue to Pour In

    Amber Cove

    Carnival invested $85 million into Amber Cove, a new port in the Dominican Republic that opened in the fall of 2015. While initial callings have been Carnival ships, in November 2016 Princess and Holland America will also be visiting the new port. In addition to poolside cabanas and markets in the port itself, nearby attractions range from waterfalls, soft-sand beaches and windsurfing.

    While most ships sail from Florida, keep an eye out for the new Carnival Vista, which will be cruising for 11 nights from New York City to Amber Cove, as well as St. Maarten, Antigua, San Juan and St. Thomas. 


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Amber Nolan Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

Amber Nolan Amber Nolan loves to be on the water, and although she enjoys the fun and excitement of larger cruise ships, she prefers setting sail on smaller vessels to unique destinations. Originally from western New York, this restless traveler has a knack for finding creative ways to travel and befriending interesting characters along the way. On her most recent adventure, she hitchhiked on private aircraft across the United States. She previously served as the cruise editor at Sherman’s Travel but her work can also be found on and USA Today Travel. She current resides in South Florida.
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