Summer is nearing its end. While that fact might make you sad, it’s no reason not to celebrate and say goodbye with a big party on a boat.
As fall doesn’t begin until September 22, you still have time to book and board a cruise for your family, a group of friends, just you and your partner, or even just you! With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out which cruises are worth it. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of cruises for you to peruse, so that you can find one that suits your interests and time constraints.
You can join a smaller ship to explore the Amazon or simply board one of the largest in the world and take in multiple countries. Many cruises following the expected itineraries to and from Pacific or Caribbean islands, but we’ve also found a few that cover multiple parts of Europe and even East Asia. Whether you’re looking for a trip that’s over two weeks long or you’ve only got a few days, here are 20 cruises to help you end summer on a high note.
Having won more awards than any other ship in the world, the Allure of the Seas is the ultimate cruise ship. It has seven “neighborhoods,” or themed areas, and something to cater to every age, gender, and interest. The ship’s Eastern Caribbean cruise will start its round trip out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in early September, stopping at Nassau in the Bahamas, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, and Basseterre in St. Kitts and Nevis. Passengers have over 100 shore excursions available to them, but you don’t even need to leave the ship to have a good time. The Allure of the Seas’ highlights include — but are not limited to — 14 pools and whirlpools, a full-service spa with over 100 different spa treatments, 15 dining options, a children’s water park, mini golf, ice-skating, zip-lining, and multiple live shows, including the Broadway hit Chicago. It even features the first Starbucks at sea!
Take a brief West Coast vacation on the Carnival Inspiration, which has both three-day and four-day journeys leaving from the Los Angeles area in late August and early to mid-September. The three-day trip only makes one stop in Ensenada, Mexico, while the four-day cruise also makes a stop at Catalina Island. The ship has bars, restaurants, a nightclub, and water slides for its pool, as well as multiple events such as a game show. There’s even an adult-only retreat for those looking to take a break from their kids (or others’)!
This four-day cruise has simply one stop, an overnight stay in Havana. Get to know Cuban cigars, coffee, and rum, as well as the food and entertainment of Cuba. Multiple tours are offered while there, including one meant to showcase Cuba through author Ernest Hemingway’s eyes. Available both at the end of August and beginning of September, we recommend you hurry up and book before it’s sold out — or before travel restrictions to Cuba get tighter!
Celebrity Cruises has consistently been ranked as one of the top cruise lines, and the Celebrity Eclipse itself has won many awards. The ship leaves Southampton, England, at the very end of the summer in early September, making a 14-day trip before returning to the point of origin. Over those two weeks, the Celebrity Eclipse sails to Gibraltar, Nice, Florence, Rome, Genoa, and Lisbon. Book a suite on a Celebrity cruise, and you’ll also be provided with a personal butler to assist with any of your needs.
There are multiple cruises leaving Italy in late August and early September to take a week-long trip through the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. Leaving from either Venice or Trieste, each cruise docks in both of those cities, as well as the Greek cities of Corfu, Katakolon (right outside of Olympia), and Mykonos. Before its return back to Italy, the ship will also make a stop in Dubrovnik. Beach lovers and history buffs alike would thoroughly enjoy this journey on the Costa Luminosa, which also boasts a 4-D cinema, Turkish bath, outdoor jogging and roller skating tracks, and a casino.
Unlike many others in this list, this is actually a river cruise. But the Amazon isn’t just any river. In partnership with National Geographic, Lindblad Expeditions has a ten-day trip in Perú at the end of August. Guests will fly into Lima from the U.S., where they will stay overnight before flying to Iquitos and then heading to Nauta by land. At Nauta, passengers will board the Delfin II, which will take them to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, where they will spend the next five days on water excursions and observing Amazonian wildlife, as well as meeting local communities who live on the riverbanks. The ship will then head back to Nauta, where passengers will disembark and leave for Iquitos. At Iquitos, they will board a plane to Lima and stay overnight before heading back home. Internet will be inaccessible, however, due to the remote location, so this is the perfect cruise for people who want to just unplug.
Take the chance to explore Japan with an eight-day cruise leaving from Tokyo and making four stops around the archipelago, as well as one in South Korea, before ending up back at the capital. Diamond Princess will be making this journey at the end of August, so if you’d like to experience the shows, nightclubs, dancing, comedy, Zumba classes, and more, book fast!
Uncruise Adventures offers a more adventurous type of vacation, focusing on expeditions rather than relaxation. The Discovery is yet another river cruise that will be taking seven-night trips at the end of August and beginning of September that start and end in Portland, Oregon. As the ship sails the Columbia and Snake Rivers, passengers will learn about the adventures of Lewis and Clark in the area, tour different museums along with a winery and vineyard, and listen to stories and talks given by guest experts and historians. Between setting sail and disembarking, the Discovery will dock in the ports of Clarkston and Richland in Washington and The Dalles and Astoria in Oregon.
Disney Cruise Line has consistently been leading the industry for years, and Disney Dream was recently voted Best Cruise Overall by Cruise Critic’s annual Cruisers’ Choice Awards for the third year in a row. The four-night Bahamian Cruise leaves from Port Canaveral in Florida and visits Nassau in the Bahamas, as well as Disney Castaway Cay, a private Bahamian island that Disney bought a 99-year lease on in 1997. Before ending up back at the point of departure, guests can enjoy Disney characters, themed dining and deck parties, and even adults-only nightclubs and lounges. Hurry though — this ship’s popularity means it’s likely going to be sold out soon!
Named the Best Cruise Ship for Service by Cruise Critic’s Cruisers’ Choice Awards, the Island Princess will be taking passengers on the “Voyage of the Glaciers” at the end of August. Leaving from Vancouver, the ship will stop at three Alaskan ports — Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway — before continuing on for some scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord. The journey ends after seven days at the port of Whittier, about 65 miles away from Anchorage, where guests will disembark to either catch a flight or stay overnight after their journey.
The Norwegian Gem has a couple of seven-day trips in the beginning of September that head for Halifax, Nova Scotia from New York City. From there, the ship sails to Saint John, New Brunswick, where it docks in the Bay of Fundy. The journey continues back to the United States, where passengers make stops at Bar Harbor and Portland in Maine, before returning to New York.
The Pride of America is Norwegian’s exclusively Hawaii ship, and has been named in Porthole Magazine’s Best Hawaii Itineraries for 12 years running, as well as Travel Channel’s Best Hawaii Itinerary. While it does run year round, we can’t think of a better place to say goodbye to summer than the Aloha State. This weeklong cruise is a round-trip from Honolulu, making stops at Kahului in Maui, Hilo and Kona on the Big Island, and Nawiliwili in Kauai.
Fashion lovers, look no further. Queen Mary 2 is setting sail for New York from Southampton, England in late August with its Transatlantic Crossing Fashion Week cruise. Guests will get to attend fashion shows, exhibitions, and luxurious dinners. You will also have the opportunity to meet with noteworthy guest speakers: famed fashion writer Colin McDowell and Welsh fashion designer Julien Macdonald. After a seven-day journey, the ship will arrive in New York just in time for New York Fashion Week.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the Seven Seas Mariner is having a commemorative voyage along the Inside Passage, leaving from Vancouver and making three different Alaskan stops before looping back around to stop at Prince Rupert before its return. The seven-day cruise is perfect for families, as its free for children under the age of 17. Special treats for guests will include the Calgary Opera, performing for the first time on a Regent Seven Seas cruise ship, and the Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys, an enrichment program.
At 17 days, Silversea’s Transoceanic Cruise is a longer voyage, departing on August 22. The cruise is a one-way journey and starts in Southampton, England. From there, it will go on to make stops at Cornwall, the cities of Cobh and Dublin in Ireland, Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Reykjavik before cruising the Prince Christian Sound in Greenland and stopping in the nearby settlement of Narsarsuaq. After departing from Greenland, the Silver Whisper will dock at two different ports in Newfoundland and Gaspé in Quebec, before staying overnight in Quebec City and finally landing in Montreal. In addition to the usual luxury of most large cruise ships, this journey also boasts daily bridge games (and lectures), a culinary arts program, and Gentleman Hosts — unmarried men between the ages of 40 and 68 hired to entertain female guests.
With a few departure dates in late August and early September, Viking River Cruises has a trip that goes between Beijing and Shanghai, with six stops along the Yangtze River and a few legs of the journey done by air. There are 11 shore excursions available to you, guide and headset included, as well as pre- and post-cruise extensions that you can purchase if you want to explore for more than 14 days.
Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas will be making a five-night Vietnam tour both in the last week of August and in early September, departing from Hong Kong. The ship will dock in the Chan May port, where passengers will disembark to explore the cities of Hue and Danang, as well as Nha Trang, the best beach town in Vietnam. While on board, passengers will have the opportunity to take part in rock climbing, ice skating, mini golf, and more.
At the end of August, the Wind Spirit will take a trip around the Society Islands, starting and ending at Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. The seven-day long journey will include stops at five other islands, including the famed Bora Bora. Excursions include, among many other things, a dolphin tour, scuba diving for beginners, a two-tank dive for certified divers, and four-wheel driving. With multiple walking tours and a celebration festival in Bora Bora, this Windstar cruise is a great opportunity to experience Polynesian culture and — of course — food.
Looking to do a bit of learning on your cruise? The New York Times has a travel program called Times Journeys, which includes multiple cruise options. Each tour is based on Times content, and will have either a New York Times journalist or an expert picked by the Times on board. Usually, this will be an expert in the arts, history, politics, or world affairs. Holland America Line’s Koningsdam will be departing in early September from Amsterdam, making stops in Copenhagen; Warnemunde, near Berlin; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg; Helsinki; Stockholm; Kiel, near Hamburg; and Århus, Denmark before coming back to the Netherlands. During the 15-day journey, passengers will be able to attend discussions with three writers for the Times, a think-tank director, and a Finnish ex-diplomat. Not to mention multiple restaurants, a spa, and nightlife and entertainment!