Best Cruise Trips 2015: Editors' Picks | Islands

Best Cruise Trips 2015: Editors' Picks

We've now ranked these from No. 26 (Iceland cruise) to No. 1 (?), based on cruise itineraries with the most must-see islands. For passionate island travelers, island-hopping cruises are the best way to see the islands on your travel bucket list. We've researched hundreds of 2015 cruise itineraries for these suggestions on great island cruises. See more ideas in our Best Caribbean Cruises Travel Guide. | 10 Cool Features on the New Carnival Vista

Windstar Cruises
Ship: Wind Surf
Itinerary: Rome to Venice
Region: Europe
Nights: 8
Islands: Capri, Sicily, Venice

The iconic islands on the list miss an important aspect of this cruise that essentially circles Italy. You get to cruise along Croatia, which the average traveler often doesn't realize is full of coastal islands, some of which have been featured on our Best Islands to Live On list.

Dates: Departs May through October, 2015
Price: from $2,999

See more about this cruise on Windstar's website.

Winstar Cruises

Best Cruises 2015 Silversea New Zealand | Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Ships: Silver Discoverer, Silver Spirit, Silver Whisperer
Itinerary: Melbourne, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand
Region: Pacific and Australia
Nights: 10-16
Islands: Australia (if you consider it an island); New Zealand

Start in Melbourne, then see up to eleven ports of New Zealand, from Milford Sound to Port Chalmer to Wellington and, of course, Auckland.

Dates: Departs all year, except from June - November (winter in Australia)
Price: $6,950

See more about this cruise on Silversea's website.


Best Cruises 2015 Tauck Iceland | Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Ship: L'Austral
Itinerary: Iceland - Land of Fire and Ice
Region: Atlantic
Nights: 7
Island: Iceland

Some of these cruises have a quantity of great islands; this cruise goes deep on just one island. And Iceland, as relatively small as it is, both in geography and profile, is worth extensive exploration. The last time ISLANDS editors were there, they saw much of the southern side but knew there was still much to see.This cruise with Tauck, known for authentic experiences, takes you to fishing villages, up to the Arctic Circle, and to the Blue Lagoon.

Dates: Departs throughout July and early August
Price: from $6,690

See more about this cruise on Tauck's website.


Best Cruises 2015 Seacloud Ship | Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Sea Cloud Cruises
Ship: Sea Cloud II
Itinerary: Canary Islands
Region: Atlantic
Nights: 7
Islands: Canary Islands - Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, La Gomera

To really see the Canary Islands, doing a cruise like this lets you flit to all of the highlights.

Dates: Nov. 2, 2015
Price: N/A

See more about this cruise on Sea Cloud's website.

Sea Cloud

Best Cruises 2015 Disney Hawaii | Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Disney Cruise Line
Ship: Disney Wonder
Itinerary: 14 Night Hawaii Los Angeles Cruise
Region: Hawaii
Nights: 10
Major ports: Vancouver, Canada; Kahului, Maui; Nawiliwili, Kauai; Honolulu, Oahu; Hilo, Hawaii

Disney Cruise Line and some of the other major cruise ships featured on this list may not offer the usual Islands sense of immersion in a local culture. But those of us Islands editors with children see the value in making the trek from Vancouver to Hawaii not a daunting airplane ride but the ultimate family-friendly vacation on its own. There are no "are we there yet?" complaints aboard the Disney Wonder. Once you get to Hawaii, you can enjoy a truly authentic taste of the islands.

Dates: Departs Sep. 7 and Sep. 17, 2015
Price: from $4,402

See more about this cruise on Disney Cruise Line's website.

Disney Cruise Line

Best Cruises 2015 Carinval Hawaii | Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Carnival Cruises
Ship: Carnival Legend
Itinerary: 10-15 Days Hawaii from Vancouver or Los Angeles
Region: Hawaii
Nights: 11
Major ports: Vancouver, British Colombia; Los Angeles, Califorinia; Hilo, Hawaii; Kahului, Maui, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii; Nawiliwili, Kauai; Hilo, Hawaii.

You can start this trip with your own exploration of Vancouver Island or Los Angeles, then enjoy five days crossing the Pacific. Rest up for the whirlwind tour of the Hawaiian Islands, then rest for five days back. And as Carnival points out, the starting cruise rate averages to about $80 a night, an amazingly cheap Hawaii vacation.

Dates: Departs May through November, 2015
Price: from $879

See more about this cruise on Carnival's website.

Carnival Cruises

Best Cruises 2015 Cunard Lanzarote Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Ship: Queen Victoria
Itinerary: Canary Islands Celebration
Region: Atlantic
Nights: 14
Major ports: Southampton, England; Lisbon, Portugal; Spain; Lanzarote, Spain; Gran Canaria, Canary Islands; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; La Palma, Canary Islands; Madeira, Portugal; La Coruña, Spain.

Yes, the Canary Islands are worth seeing. Combine that with enjoying the famous White Star Service of the Cunard cruise line — imagine donning your tuxedo and evening gown and socializing as if you were British nobility. That's priceless.

Dates: Leaves Nov 16, 2015
Price: from $2,197

See more about this cruise on Cunard's 2015 Voyages Calendar.


Best Cruises 2015 Lindblad Greenland Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Lindblad Expeditions
Ship: National Geographic Explorer
Itinerary: Along the Viking Trail: From Iceland to Greenland
Region: Atlantic
Nights: 12
Major ports: Rekyjavik, Iceland; Greenland

Islands intrepid contributor Jad Davenport did this cruise several years ago and actually commandeered the ship to go deeper into the Greenland coast as he wanted to solve a mystery (read Jad's Greenland cruise story about Viking ghosts). You don't have to go to that extreme; just relax and see two majestic islands that few U.S. travelers ever see, let alone explore.

Dates: Departs July 19, 2015
Prices: From $10,580

See more about this cruise on Lindblad's website.


Best Cruises 2015 Royal Caribbean Asia Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Royal Caribbean International
Ship: Voyager of the Seas
Itinerary: Xiamen, Jeju and Nagasaki Cruise
Region: Asia
Nights: 7
Islands: Hong Kong, China; Xiamen, China; Jeju South Korea, Nagasaki Japan,

We highly recommend that any island traveler visit Japan, and not just for the sushi, though we love that. We also love seeing Jeju on a cruise itinerary, ever since Islands ran a memorable photo essay on the Jeju mermaids. Really. This cruise also stresses how Royal Caribbean is making more of a push into Asia, far from its namesake Caribbean.

Dates: August 19, 2015
Price: $766

See more about this cruise on Royal Caribbean's website.

Royal Caribbean

Best Cruises 2015 Norwegian Sun Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Norwegian Cruise Line
Itinerary: 12-Day Grand Mediterranean from Venice
Region: Europe
Nights: 11
Key islands: Venice, Italy; Mykonos, Greece; Piraeus, Greece

Some of our most memorable trips of recent years have been to Italy and Greece. Each has the iconic sites you expect, but they also offer richer cultural experiences, welcoming people and more warmth than you'd expect.

Dates: Departs May through October, 2015
Price: from $1,479

See more about this cruise on NCL's website.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Cruises 2015 Variety Cruises Seychelles Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Variety Cruises
Ship: Pegasus
Itinerary: Cruises in the Garden of Eden (Mahe to Mahe)
Region: Indian Ocean
Nights: 7
Islands: Seychelles

The Seychelles are fascinating not just for their reputation as a luxury getaway, but for their time-forgotten villages, their bird paradises, their shores that are like nowhere else on Earth.

Dates: Departs December through October, 2015
Price: from $2,170

See more about this cruise on Variety Cruises' website.

Variety Cruises

Best Cruises 2015 SeaDream Yacht Club Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

SeaDream Yacht Club
Itinerary: Malaga - Civitavecchia
Region: Europe
Nights: 7
Islands: Spain - Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca; Sardinia, Italy; Corsica, France

These are practically all of the must-see islands of the Mediterranean in one efficient cruise that makes a bouncing beeline from Malaga, Spain, to Rome.

Dates: May 1-8, 2015
Price: from $4,199

See more about this cruise on SeaDream's website.

SeaDream Yacht Club

Best Cruises 2015 Abercrombie and Kent Galapagos Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Abercrombie & Kent
Ship: Eclipse
Itinerary: Wonders of the Galapagos 2015
Region: Pacific
Nights: 9
Major ports: Guayaquil, Ecuador; the Galapagos Islands

Islands contributing editor Jad Davenport went on a Galapagos cruise aboard the Eclipse for an incredibly memorable trip to these must-see islands. See Jad's Galapagos cruise travel guide.

Dates: Departs February through November
Price: from $7,995

See more about this cruise on Abercrombie & Kent's website.

Abercrombie & Kent

Best Cruises 2015 Blue Lagoon Cruises Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Blue Lagoon Cruises
Ship: MV Mystique Princess
Itinerary: 7 Day "Escape to Paradise" Cruise
Region: Pacific (Fiji)
Nights: 6
Major ports: Lautoka, Fiji; Yasawa Islands, Fiji

We've partnered with Blue Lagoon Cruises in the past on prizes in our annual Photo Contest. A week cruise here is a terrific way to see the scenery and culture of Fiji as you hop through the Yasawa Islands, seeing traditional Fijian villages, dining on "East Indian Delights," snorkeling above reef gardens and much more along the way.

Dates: Throughout 2015
Price: from $2,478

See more about this cruise on Blue Lagoon Cruises' website.

Blue Lagoon Cruises

Best Cruises 2015 Crystal Africa Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Crystal Cruises
Ship: Crystal Serenity
Itinerary: Indian Ocean Explorer
Region: Australia/Africa
Days: 21
Major ports: Perth, Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa

Amazing islands along the journey -- Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar -- bookended by fascinating land programs in South Africa. You truly do enjoy the best of both worlds.

Dates: March 13-April 3, 2015
Price: from $7,520

See more about this cruise on Crystal Cruises' website.

Crystal Cruises

Best Cruises 2015 Regent Seven Seas Cruise Ship Itinerary Reviews

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Ship: Seven Seas Voyager
Itinerary: Singapore to Hong Kong
Region: Asia
Nights: 18
Islands: Singapore; Ko Samui, Thailand; islands of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam; Hong Kong

You get the full range of urban and natural islands here, from sparkling Singapore to beachy Ko Samui to the limestone marvels of Ha Long Bay. And then there's Hong Kong, which combines the best of both urban and nature.

Dates: Departs Jan. 18, 2015
Price: from $14,299

See more about this cruise on Regent's website.

Regent Seven Seas


Oceania Cruises
Itinerary: Greek Isles Getaway - Istanbul to Athens
Region: Europe
Nights: 8
Islands: Santorini, Mykonos, Thodes, Patmos, Crete

Starting in Istanbul, hop along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea where some ISLANDS hidden gems are. Namely Patmos, Mykonos, Rhodes and, of course, Santorini, which ISLANDS readers love to take photos of for our annual Photo Contest.

Dates: Sep 27-Oct 5, 2015
Price: from $2,999

See more about this cruise on Oceania's website.

Oceania Cruises


Star Clippers
Ship: Royal Clipper
Itinerary: Transatlantic Westbound
Region: Europe, Africa, Atlantic
Nights: 28
Islands: Corsica; Menorca; Ibiza; Tenerife, Canary Islands; Barbados

It's not that the mainland is invisible to we ISLANDS editors. We certainly appreciate that this itinerary also has stops along the coasts of Spain and Morocco. But these featured islands just give you more of that seafaring rush while on a cruise. And to really ramp that up, after Tenerife, you cross the Atlantic, Columbus style. This cruise is actually two legs: a 12-night Rome to Lisbon "Grand Voyage," then a 16-night Lisbon to Barbados crossing.

Dates: Oct. 24-Nov. 21, 2015
Price: from $5,200

See more about this cruise on Star Clippers' website.

Jon Whittle


Azamara Club Cruises
Ship: Azamara Quest
Itinerary: 10 Night Temples Dragons and Beaches Voyage
Region: Asia
Nights: 10
Major ports: Singapore; Semarang, Indonesia; Lombok, Indonesia; Bali; Komodo; Celukan Bawang, Indonesia; Singapore

This is an all-islands dream trip, starting from the island of Singapore and hopping along the best of Indonesia, including the must-do islands of Bali and Komodo. Bali, Komodo, Singapore

Dates: Dec. 12-22, 2015
Price: from $2,499

See more about this cruise on Azamara's website.

Azamara Club Cruises


Ship: Costa neoRiviera
Itinerary: United Arab Emirates, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa
Region: Indian Ocean
Nights: 34

This itinerary is really like a ride through ISLANDS' Greatest Hits in the Indian Ocean. Very efficiently, and for an amazing price, you get to experience many of our editors' favorite destinations, from the Maldives to the Seychelles to Mautirius (see the ISLANDS Travel Guide: Mauritius for our editor-in-chief's recent visit there).

Dates: Departs Feb. 8, 2015
Price: from $4,839

See more about this cruise on Costa's website.



Ship: Seabourn Sojourne
Itinerary: 40-Day Southeast Asia Exploration
Region: Asia
Nights: 39
Islands: Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, China

This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza cruise, tracing an adventurous route through iconic mainstays like Phuket, Thailand and Halong Bay, Vietnam, as well as fresh getaways like Myanmar and Cambodia. Plus, you spend five days exploriing the Philippines, a region comprised of over 7,000 islands.

Dates: Leaves Feb. 3, 2015 (a great way to start the year with a bang)
Price: $21,499

See more about this cruise on Seabourn's website.



Princess Cruises
Ship: Crown Princess
Itinerary: Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa
Region: Pacific
Nights: 27
Islands: Maui, Hawaii; Oahu, Hawaii; Kona, Hawaii; Kauai, Hawaii; American Samoa; Western Samoa; Bora Bora, Islands of Tahiti; Moorea, Islands of Tahiti; Papeete, Tahiti

Consider this two island vacations in one. First, you get to see the greatest hits of Hawaii, then the greatest hits of the Islands of Tahiti. Everyone asks us ISLANDS editors about all these islands, especially Kauai and Bora Bora. Now's your chance to see them all in one epic journey, plus days at sea on the open Pacific to enjoy the ship.

Dates: Oct. 17, 2015
Price: from $3,399

See more about this cruise on Princess' website.

Princess Cruises


Paul Gauguin Cruises
Ship: Paul Gauguin
Itinerary: Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands
Region: Pacific
Nights: 14
Islands: Tahiti, Fakarava, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka, Nuku Hiva, Huahine, Bora Bora, Taha'a, Moorea

Yes, you must see Bora Bora at least once (though preferably many times). But on this cruise, Paul Gauguin assures you will see all the wonders of the Islands of Tahiti, the places that live in the shadow of Bora Bora but are absolutely spectacular in their own right. No one knows Tahiti like Paul Gauguin.

Dates: April 29 and November 21, 2015
Price: from $6,995

See more about this cruise on Paul Gauguin's website.

Paul Gauguin Cruises


Celebrity Cruises
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
Itinerary: Tahitian Treasures Cruise
Region: Pacific
Nights: 18
Major ports: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii; Lahaina, Maui; Bora Bora, French Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti; Auckland, New Zealand; Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Granted, the $2,259 may sound a little steep, but this cruise departs in 2016. Plenty of time to save up. Plus, this cruise visits three iconic island paradises: Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand. For those who have yet to visit any of these islands, that's a three-for-one deal. All of 'em ISLANDS favorites. Book before we do.

Dates: Leaves Apr. 9, 2016
Price: from $2,259

See more about this cruise on Celebrity's website.

Celebrity Cruises


Orion Expedition Cruises
Ship: Nat Geo Orion
Itinerary: Palau to Solomon Islands - Along the Pacific Equator
Region: Pacific
Nights: 18
Islands: Papua New Guinea, Palau, Yap, Solomon Islands

When ISLANDS teamed up with Orion a few years ago, we called this itinerary the "Trip of a Lifetime." It starts in one of the island destinations near the top of our wish list: Palau. Then this small-ship cruise takes you to islands you've only heard of, and many you haven't. See our photo gallery of this Orion cruise from our trip.

Dates: Leaves in September and October
Price: from $17,390

See more about this cruise on Orion's website.

Orion Expedition Cruises


Holland America Line
Ship: ms Prinsendam
Itinerary: 57-Day Grand Africa and Mediterranean Voyage
Region: Caribbean, Europe, Africa
Nights: 56
Major ports: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; St. Thomas, USVI; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Spain; Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain; Madeira, Portugal; Cadiz, Spain; Malaga, Spain; Cartagena, Spain; Castellon de la Plana, Spain; Barcelona, Spain; Gozo, Malta; Crete, Greece; Jerusalem, Israel; Isanbul, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece; Santorini, Greece; Naples, Italy.

This isn't an epic round-the-world cruise, but it's close. We love that you start simply in Fort Lauderdale, then see some favorite Caribbean destinations - St. John and St. Maarten - before going more exotic into the Atlantic with Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. Once you've hopscotched along Africa, the Mediterranean, Greece, Italy and beyond, you will have seen some of the most beautiful regions and islands of the world.

Dates: Departing March 12, 2015
Price: from $5,999

See more about this cruise on Holland America's website.

Holland America


More Stories