THE SOUTH PACIFIC + HAWAII
September and October, to miss the summer crowds
The 332-passenger Paul Gauguin regularly sails French Polynesia’s Society Islands, visiting Bora-Bora and Moorea (seven nights from $3,995, all-inclusive, with airfare from L.A.). The October 17 voyage (13 nights from $7,195, all-inclusive, with airfare from L.A.) includes these but also goes farther afield to the Cook Islands and Fiji.
If you prefer to see the Society Islands on a smaller ship, choose Windstar’s 148-passenger Wind Spirit (seven nights from $3,199).
Closer to home, cruise from Vancouver to the Hawaiian Islands on the 2,713-passenger Disney Wonder (10 nights from $1,650).
November through February, the only season you can travel here
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s Journey to Antarctica sailings (13 nights from $12,550) spotlight a rotating series of signature speakers, including John Evans, who climbed the White Continent’s highest peak.
Hurtigruten’s Land of the Penguins voyage (10 nights from $7,985) on the 256-guest Fram allows passengers to camp overnight on the ice.
For a more luxurious (and in-depth) experience, the 450-passenger Seabourn Quest has longer voyages (21 nights from $14,999, all-inclusive), including six full days in the Antarctic region, as well as in the Falkland Islands and the Chilean fjords.
THE RHINE + DANUBE RIVERS
November and December, to see the Christmas markets
AmaWaterways’ Christmas on the Rhine voyages aboard the new AmaSerena (seven nights from $2,899, including wine and beer) start with an optional land-based tour in Switzerland—two nights each in Zurich and Lucerne. The cruise itself goes from Basel to Amsterdam (and vice versa), featuring cities such as Heidelberg, Germany, and Strasbourg, France, all decked out for the holidays.
Cruise the Danube River from Nuremberg to Vienna on Uniworld River Cruises’ 132-passenger, Art Deco- inspired River Princess (seven nights from $2,899, all-inclusive).
SPOTLIGHT – NORWEGIAN ESCAPE
Fall’s biggest debut is the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, which will be based in Miami and sail seven-night voyages to the eastern Caribbean. Fans of the brand’s “Haven” concept—an exclusive wing with its own pool— will find 13 additional suites in the complex. The ship is also the new permanent home of the iconic downtown Miami bar Tobacco Road, bringing the city’s flair on board.