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Four 2013 Cruise Itineraries That Don't Suck

January 8, 2013 at 2:21 PM | by | ()

No matter what your opinion of cruising, there are some places much better suited to entering by ocean or waterway. Every year cruise lines kick each other in the shins in the race to have the coolest city combinations for their newest ships...all to attract you, dear traveler. For 2013, we have our eyes on four itineraries in particular that make midnight buffets off the coast of Bermuda and dancing to jazz in middle of the Med look like child's play.

· 12 days on Ukraine's Dnieper River with Viking River Cruises
Who thinks, "hey, let me go cruise my way through Ukraine?" No one, that's who. Or, rather, no one with the exception of people booking the Dnieper River trip on Viking River Cruises, since that's exactly what they'll be doing. We love river cruise ships for their ability to cruise by at eye level and gain a unique perspective of smaller cities where travelers usually arrive by train or car. Viking also has a Burma/Myanmar cruise coming up for 2014 we're already eyeing.
Ports: Odessa, Sevastopol, Yalta, Kherson, Zaporozhye, Kiev
From: $2,438 double occupancy (includes 10 tours)

· 7-day Eastern Caribbean Getaway with Celebrity Cruises
It's the standard Eastern Caribbean itinerary with two big exceptions: instead of day after day of new ports, there's three full at-sea cruising days, which you'll need to explore the ship. That ship is the second exception, since it's the brand-spanking-new Celebrity Reflection. Spend the entire St. Maarten day watching aircraft arrivals on Maho Beach and otherwise get your intro to cruising accomplished on this itinerary before moving on to longer, more exotic trips.
Ports: Miami, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, 3 at-sea days.
From $699 double occupancy

No itinerary map available, so here's the ship

· 10 days around Japan, Korea and China with Cunard
Cunard does around-the-world segments like no one else, partly because sailing across oceans is something they're historically more adept at than doing circles in the Mediterranean. This year the Queen Elizabeth will sail her shiny black hull from Japan to Hong Kong, stopping in important Asian maritime hubs along the way.
Ports: Kobe/Kyoto, Nagasaki, Pusan, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong
From $2,140 double occupancy

· A 10-day circumnavigation of Iceland with National Geographic Explorer
Saiing on the Nat Geo ship is a huge bucketlist item for us and, as we'd imagine, so many others who consider their travels incomplete with some seafaring adventures. So, while others head to the Galapagos, we'd rather have Iceland. In 10 days the ship will take passengers to places that'd take far longer by car or aren't even accessible in other ways. We just hope they have an onboard lecture on how to pronounce the port names.
Ports: Reykjavik, Ísafjördur, Mývatn, Húsavík, Djúpivogur, Westman Islands.
From $7,990 double occupancy

[Photo: Jaunted; Images: respective official line websites]

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