Three of Italy’s most treasured cities rank high in a survey of cruise experts, when asked to name their favorite cruise destinations and top places they believe should be on travelers’ cruise bucket lists. In the 2013 Cruise Holidays Cruise Trends survey*, 165 cruise experts from across North America were asked a series of questions based on their extensive history of arranging and personally experiencing cruise travel.
Which cruise destination (that you’ve personally visited) is your all-time favorite?
When Cruise Holidays cruise consultants were asked this question, European destinations collectively ranked far above any other region. Italy was the number one response, with respondents writing in Naples and Venice as the top Italian cruise destinations that they have personally visited. Although Naples is known for its pizza, it was highlighted as a gateway to the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, and Positano, a capital of summer fashion. Italy was followed by Alaska, Hawaii and the Greek Isles. Bermuda, which is an especially popular cruise destination from the East Coast, took fifth place.
In other words, the Caribbean may be the cruise industry’s reigning king or queen, but Europe is closest to the hearts of cruising’s most loyal subjects!
Other far-reaching favorites include Java, Indonesia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Dubrovnik, Croatia; the Galapagos Islands and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Cruise Bucket Lists
Italy also sits atop a bucket list that Cruise Holidays experts have designed for those in search of destination advice. When asked, “What is the one cruise destination that should be at the top of people’s bucket lists,” Rome came out on top. While Rome itself does not sit seaside, it is only about an hour from the port of Civitavecchia via taxi or private car.
Chuck Flagg, a Cruise Holidays franchise owner near Atlanta, Georgia, offered this advice: “If on a port stop, don’t try to see the Vatican and the other major sites, such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Choose one or the other. If you are beginning or ending your cruise in Rome, it is definitely worth spending extra days exploring the Eternal City,” said Flagg.
Northeast of Rome along the Adriatic Sea, Venice, is in second place on the cruise bucket list. The “City of Water” bustles throughout summertime, but visitors say it is worth it to experience shady, vehicle-free streets, the narrow bridges and canals, historic Piazza San Marco, and boutiques sparkling with glass treasures. Barcelona, Spain, came in third place. Sydney, Australia, tied for fourth place with Alaska. Finally, Istanbul, Turkey rounds out the top five.
Other destinations that also received high marks include Bora Bora, Tahiti; the Galapagos Islands; and Siem Reap, Cambodia. Closer to home, Astoria, Oregon was cited as a must-see cruise destination.
Is the Pearl of the Adriatic on Your Cruise Bucket List?
While Venice is the Queen of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik, Croatia, is the Pearl. Dubrovnik was named the most under-rated cruise port in the Cruise Holidays Cruise Trends survey. While it is still emerging as an international tourist destination, it has long been recognized it for its pristine beaches and astonishing stone walls surrounding the city. Cruise Holidays agents say the city is picturesque any time of year, but recommend an autumn visit to avoid the growing number of crowds that visit each year.
There was a tie for second place between Istanbul, Turkey, and Tallinn, Estonia. Rob Clabbers, President of Cruise Holidays Chicago Magnificent Mile, cited Istanbul as, “A magnificent blend of East and West, with a gorgeous waterside setting, exotic shopping in the Grand Bazaar, excellent hotels to spend some extra time to explore before and after your cruise, and of course the famous architecture and cultural highlights of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. It’s a great place to try something new: maybe a Turkish Hammam, or some excellent local food?”
Cruise experts also rave about Tallinn. Carole Paleczny, President, Cruise Holidays Ottawa West (Ontario), shared some of her favorite memories about this city on the Baltic Sea: “I love Tallinn, with Europe’s best-preserved medieval fortifications, the vendor stalls, the upper and lower town, the food, the people, and mostly the chocolate!” Clabbers added, “You’ll feel like you’ve been brought back to the Middle Ages…you can take a walk on the majestic medieval city walls that surround Toompea, the “Upper Town,” and view the Russian Orthodox cathedral. Or have a drink on Town Hall Square in the Lower Town and soak in the historic atmosphere of this beautiful city,” said Clabbers.
Stockholm, Sweden, took fourth place on the list of under-rated cruise destinations. Three destinations tied for the fifth spot: Amsterdam, the Hawaiian Islands, and Barcelona.
Top 2013 Cruise Destinations Overall
Cruise Holidays also recently released a list of top cruise destinations being booked overall for 2013. This information is based on actual booking information pulled from more than 550 Cruise Holidays franchise owners and agents in North America, for 2013 bookings made as of December 17, 2012.
The top cruise destinations for 2013 are as follows:
|2013 Top Cruise Destinations||% of Bookings|
|1. Caribbean (includes Bahamas)||54.98%|
|2. Europe (includes Med, Baltic, Scandinavia & Greek Isles||13.19%|
|6. (tie) Panama Canal||2.26%|
|6. (tie) Trans-Atlantic||2.26%|
|8. South Pacific (Including Australia)||1.82%|
|9. South America||1.61%|
|10. Maritime Canada & New England||1.52%|
*The Cruise Holidays 2013 Cruise Trends survey gathered responses from 165 Cruise Holidays experts located in the United States and Canada, from November 29, 2012 to December 17, 2012.