6 Amazing Cruise Destinations Not To Miss In 2023, According To Cruise Experts

Cruises are a great way to experience several cities and countries without changing hotels. At the end of the day, your ship is always waiting for you.

My cruise experience has taken me to the beautiful Caribbean and Mexico, but we asked our experts to discover the best destinations for 2023. Ryan Baird, Director of Cruises, Royal Caribbean; Jill Whelan, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises (and former actress Love boat); Anthony Meloro, Royal Caribbean International’s Director of Business Development, shares his top destinations to visit in 2023.

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Red coast

Red coast

Image credit: Dan Breckvoldt / Shutterstock.com

1. Santorini, Greece

This beautiful island is full of diving, amazing sunsets and unique architecture. It’s no wonder that Santorini is one of the most popular destinations in Greece. However, the beach is not your typical beach. The usual white sand is replaced by black and red lava stones. One of the most visited beaches is the Red Beach.

Whelan loves this port of call on Mediterranean cruises. He especially likes weather, food and people. But Santorini isn’t the only sought-after stop; Mykonos also ranks high. Check out the key differences between the two islands to find out which is the best port of call for your cruise.

My favorite restaurant in Santorini

At the back of the island, there is a wonderful restaurant nestled in a cave on the water. Whelan discovered this during one of his cruises. The restaurant is named after its owner: Taverna Katina. Katina was born in that cave, Whelan said, and brought fresh seafood in a cart every day. While eating lunch, Whelan saw the fisherman being brought.

The owner is very warm and the fish is very fresh and delicious! If you stop by, say “hello” to the Whelan owner.

You can check out Princess Cruises’ Santorini itineraries here.

Santorini Vineyards

You can also find some of the world’s most spectacular vineyards in Santorini. You have more than 18 options. Santo is a great place to sip the evening and watch the sunset, while Venezanos Winery is an interesting vineyard to enjoy the view. If you enjoy a great glass of wine surrounded by stunning scenery, read more about wine tasting in Santorini here.

Colosseum in Rome

Colosseum in Rome

Photo credit: Ryan Baird

2. Rome, Italy

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s not realistic to see everything Rome has to offer in one go. How to choose between the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel and Spanish Steps? It’s simple: select to see them all! This option is available if you allow a few days before or after the trip.

Rome’s favorite restaurants

If you’re looking for an authentic culinary experience in Rome, it’s all about Pasta Carbonara, a uniquely Roman dish. Baird always wants to try this delicious pasta when visiting Armando al Pantheon. Reservations are required, so plan ahead.

There’s no better place for cocktails than the De Russie Hotel, says Whelan. It’s like you’re in a gorgeous movie at the foot of Villa Borghese, surrounded by elegant people from all over the world. They serve the most delicious cocktails he has ever tried.

Passage of Roma

For guests staying in Rome, Baird offers the Roma Pass for your upcoming 2023 trip. The Roma Pass offers free entry to two historical sites of your choice, discounted entry for others, skip-the-line options and free travel on the city’s public transport.

Professional advice: With several sailing options, Baird recommends sailing or disembarking at the Roman port of Civitavecchia. He always flies to the ship a few days before the trip or stays a few days after disembarking for two reasons. One is to provide a safe cushion for problems related to air travel, such as flight delays and lost luggage. Second, browse the sites!

If you’re interested in visiting, check out Princess Cruises’ Rome cruise.

Boats and cruise ships in Juneau, Alaska

Boats and cruise ships in Juneau, Alaska

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3. Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is the only state capital in the United States accessible only by sea and air, so a cruise is the best way to visit this unique city. The city is located along the Gastineau Canal, at the foot of Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts. A great place to start exploring is the Sealsky Heritage Center, and don’t forget to say hello at the Patsy Ann statue, the state’s official welcome. Waiting for the trip author Jo-Anne Bowen finds a few more unique places to visit in this beautiful city.

Although Whelan has been sailing for many years, 2018 was his first trip to Alaska. He was mesmerized by the cool jungle and vibrant green moss. An attractive but poisonous wild red mushroom with white dots caught his eye, but luckily he didn’t make it onto his plate. The helicopter ride into the glacier was a magical experience, Whelan said. When visiting Princess Alaska, there are many options for beach trips.

Baird, who has spent several seasons in Alaska, said Juneau is his favorite port of call. Throughout the day, you can walk on glaciers, fly over icebergs, stroll charming streets and grab a drink at the historic Red Dog Saloon.

Juneau’s favorite restaurants

If you decide to stay in town, swing by Baird’s favorite restaurant, Salt. Here you can find the dishes and flavors that have made Alaskan seafood famous, such as cedar salmon, halibut, or the local favorite, Dungeness lobster. Be sure to try Spruce Tip, a beer made from the tips of Sitka spruce in Alaska.

In downtown Juneau, Whelan likes a little outdoor eatery called Dekhand Dave. He says they have the best salmon and sauce.

Air travel

A trip to Juneau wouldn’t be complete without exploring the area. Baird’s favorite trip was flying to Taku Lodge. You’ll fly over the mountains and glaciers of Southeast Alaska and land in front of the historic Taku Lodge for a traditional salmon bake. Black bears are often seen in the vicinity, so keep your camera ready. This is a very popular and often discounted tour, so be sure to pre-book online before your trip.

La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires

La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires

Image credit: Miloš Maslanka / Shutterstock.com

4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

If a trip to Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, Patagonia, or even Antarctica sounds interesting to you, then a 2023 South American cruise might be just what you’re looking for. Baird spent many seasons in South America as a cruise director. Most South American cruises start or end in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is one of his favorite ports of call in the southern hemisphere.

Tango in Buenos Aires

Baird’s favorite thing to do in Buenos Aires is see a tango show. After all, La Boca in Buenos Aires is the birthplace of tango. There are many ways to see a tango show, from expensive all-inclusive dinner shows to street tango. Baird recommends heading to Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo to grab a table and watch some of the city’s most exciting dancers in an open-air forum. Plaza Dorrego is a great place for bargain hunters, as street vendors surround the square.

Recoleta District

Another must-see in the city is the Recoleta neighborhood, famous for the Recoleta Cemetery. Considered one of the most unusual cemeteries in the world, this cemetery is also the final resting place of the famous Evita Perón. As you stroll through the grounds, you’ll see intricately carved scrollwork from a wide range of architectural styles throughout the centuries. Outside the cemetery you will find an open market with vendors selling all kinds of local crafts and goods.

Tortoni Cafe

A trip to Buenos Aires would not be complete without lunch at Cafe Tortoni. This iconic coffee house opened its doors in 1858 and was a local watering hole for the city’s cultural elite, including frequented by Albert Einstein.

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius

Photo credit: Andrii Kozak / Shutterstock.com

5. Naples, Italy

In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, the historic center of Naples, famous for its pizza, the Old Town of Naples is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Waiting for the trip Author Jo-Anne Bowen suggests some truly unique places, including the Temple of Skulls. You could spend an entire day just exploring the wonderful history, but then you’d miss out on the amazing food.

Naples is one of Meloro’s favorite destinations for many reasons. Family first. His grandfather was from a very small village in southern Italy called San Giuliano di Puglia. At the age of 14, he sailed from Naples to America to make a better life for himself and his future family.

Mount Vesuvius

Of course, visiting the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum is a must, but you need to add some time to conquer Vesuvius. If you have a choice, Meloro recommends visiting in April, May, September and October to take advantage of the cooler weather; he traveled in late June and the weather settled in the 90s.

But none of that matters when you’re climbing the magical Mount Vesuvius. The view of the ruins of Pompeii and the solidified lava flows during the last major eruption in 1944 is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Only when you reach the top will you fully experience the majesty of this special place. The smoke from the cauldron looks worldly. The view of the Bay of Naples to the northwest and Pompeii to the southeast will take your breath away. Looking southwest past Pompeii, you can see Sorrento and Capri on a clear day.

Sorrentino Vesuvio Winery

It’s close enough to your dock that it can be done without the rush of a full day trip. Meloro’s lunch break was at the Sorrentino Vesuvio winery, where grapes are hand-harvested from vines planted in volcanic soil on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Lacrima Cristi Del Vesuvio Rosso is a real homemade pasta combined with heaven on earth!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Image credit: Guilleont / Shutterstock.com

6. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia has grown in popularity in recent years. It is located on the opposite side of Italy, on the Adriatic coast. The country’s pristine beaches attract most first-time visitors, and it has some of the best Roman ruins outside of Italy. You may also see a castle or two.

Things to do in Dubrovnik

A popular port of call is Dubrovnik. This city is one of the reasons why Croatia is on Whelan’s list in 2023. Located on the Dalmatian coast, this city attracts many with its deep blue waters and sunny Mediterranean climate.

The most famous tourist attraction is the Walls of Dubrovnik. They were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. This historical monument has been renovated and changed over the years, but it is considered one of the greatest fortifications of the Middle Ages.

This harbor is steeped in history. Dubrovnik Cathedral dates back to the 7th century. Rebuilt twice. Another interesting activity is the Dubrovnik cable car; You can see the city in a completely different way. And don’t forget to eat traditional food.

Whelan is looking forward to the country and the cruises Princess Cruises has to offer. The Dubrovnik cruise line has 24 different options.

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