4 sun-soaked summer cruises

posted May 17, 2016

Think USA in summer, think sun. From the verdant tropics of Florida to the rolling surf of California, the States are well known for having some of the world’s favourite sun destinations. But while the temperature on land can sometimes reach uncomfortable highs, the breeze on the water is always cool and pleasant. That’s why a decadent summer cruise is the perfect way to enjoy the sun and be pampered along the way. Combine golden beaches with history and culture, fine dining with relaxed cocktails and you’ve got a winning holiday combination. Read on for some fantastic American cruise destinations, from the well-known to the more unusual…


1. Caribbean Cruises

caribbean cruise st thomas

This perennial favourite is beloved by so many, and for good reason. White sands, crystal clear seas and coconut palm coasts are the vision of paradise. For a slight twist on the usual Caribbean sun break, visit a couple of smaller tropical islands on your way to the popular Bahamas. Our Miami to Eastern Caribbean cruise takes in secluded St Thomas in the American Virgin Islands and lively Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, before stopping over in Nassau. As the cruise departs from and returns to Miami, it’ll give you some time in the lively city too. Why not visit the vast, wildlife-filled Everglades while you’re there and celebrate the centenary of the National Parks Service?


2. Mexican Riviera Cruises

Mexican Riviera Cruise

Forget the French Riviera – the newest contender for the title of most glamorous coast is Mexico. Collectively referring to 20 different cities and lagoons on the western coast of Mexico, this idyllic stretch is popular for its golden sands and lively oceanfront resorts. Glittering Cabo San Lucas is one of the most exclusive resorts on the Mexican Riviera. Nestled on the tip of the Baja Peninsula with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other, this golden headland is as luxurious as it is beautiful. Other stop-offs include historic Mazatlan – known as the Pearl of the Pacific – with its 19th century Basilica, and lush Puerto Vallarta with its lively promenade and backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mountains.


3. Mississippi River Cruises

American Empress Mississipi River Cruise

For a completely different cruise experience, sail the Deep South’s Mississippi River aboard the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built. The elegant American Queen is a beautifully preserved example of Victorian Southern charm. From the two-deck tall Grand Saloon to the Mark Twain Gallery, you’ll feel transported back in time. In between relaxing on the deck and feasting in the dining room, you’ll stop off in some of the most iconic cities in the South. Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez and New Orleans all make an appearance, allowing plenty of time to sample the Creole and Cajun cuisine and listen to some authentic jazz.


4. Hawaiian Cruises

hawaii cruises oahu

No compilation of the best American cruises would be complete without a reference to the USA’s jewel in the pacific – Hawaii. This iconic island chain forms the standard when it comes to cashmere soft sands and swaying palms. There is so much more to the volcanic archipelago than beaches though, and with a cruise around all four main islands you can experience Hawaii’s diversity first hand. Oahu is home to the bustling city of Honolulu, while Maui is famed for white sand beaches and luxury resorts. The Big Island offers so many spectacular mountain and volcano landscapes that two nights are needed to do it justice. Finally, the “Garden Island” of Kauai is spellbinding with its impossibly verdant hills, serene rainforests and majestic waterfalls.


Wherever you choose to visit, America has a wealth of sun-drenched cruise destinations on offer. And with glamorous departure cities like Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans, it’s easy to extend your holiday to include more of the US.


Scott Smith (Flickr), Rémy DUGOUA (Flickr)

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