Cruising is a mode of travel where it pays to plan ahead. In fact, it's not uncommon for enthusiastic cruisers to book voyages a year or two in advance. It also means that the most interesting itineraries on the best ships sell out fast and well before they shove off—and that now is prime time to start planning cruises for 2023. Here are the most exciting cruise itineraries to book for next year.
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Next spring, Seabourn is slated to debut its second expedition ship, Seabourn Pursuit. Like the line’s first expedition vessel, Venture, which will begin sailing in 2022, sister ship Pursuit is also a polar-class ship, stocked with two submarines, 24 Zodiac boats, and plenty of knowledgeable expedition crew. Each of the 132 all-suite staterooms come with a veranda and walk-in closets. Pursuit’s inaugural sailing is scheduled for March 2023: a 26-day sojourn through Scotland, Greenland, and Iceland. In August 2023, Seabourn will take the Pursuit through the Northwest Passage “through some of the most remote areas in the Northern Hemisphere from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Nome, Alaska.”
There’s no doubt that all 750 passengers on board Regent’s latest decadent ship Seven Seas Grandeur will be pampered, with all staterooms being suites that feature verandas and vast marble bathrooms. But those staying in the $11,000 per night, 4,443 square-foot Regent Suite will feel especially indulged. The top-tier suite, which—like on sister ship Seven Seas Explorer—has its own in-room spa area with a personal sauna, steam room, and treatment room for unlimited complimentary spa services for the duration of the voyage. The mega-suite also has a 1,227 square-foot wraparound veranda over the ship’s bow, offering 270-degree sea views. Elsewhere aboard, fans of Regent will recognize the line’s beloved specialty restaurants, including steakhouse Prime 7 and Chartreuse for upscale French cuisine. Grandeur’s inaugural sailing will launch in November 2023 with itineraries through the Caribbean, featuring ports of call in Honduras, Mexico, and Belize. In early 2024, a transatlantic crossing is available to book as Grandeur repositions for itineraries around the Mediterranean and Europe.
When it launches in April 2023, Seascape will be MSC’s largest ship to date, with a total length of 1,112 feet. That means there’ll be no shortage of places where passengers can relax, from the redesigned Aurea Spa, which offers a full menu of Balinese massages, to 139,930 square feet of outdoor space. The ship will have 11 categories of staterooms, including 50 terraced suites with extended balconies and 32 suites with outdoor private whirlpools. Travelers who prefer a more exclusive experience might be interested in the MSC Yacht Club, a premium all-inclusive “ship within a ship” concept that affords 24-hour private butler service. For its inaugural season, the ship will be based in the Caribbean, with voyages calling upon The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
Scenic Eclipse II
How about combining adventure cruising with six-star service? Scenic already offers that mix aboard its expedition yacht Scenic Eclipse. Next year, the line will be unveiling its second such vessel, Scenic Eclipse II. The new iteration will also come stocked with two helicopters and an onboard submarine that seats eight guests and can submerge up to 650 feet. The marina deck is equipped with Zodiac boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards, while a GPS Dynamic Positioning, equipment that allows the ship to anchor without actually dropping anchor, means a smaller ecological footprint at ports of call. Inside each stateroom, there’s no shortage of luxury either. Expect a personal butler, pillow menu, Egyptian cotton sheets, king-size bed, private veranda, and a mini-bar provisioned to your preferences.
Canary Islands and Dakar with Hurtigruten
On this 15-day voyage, which departs in October 2023, expedition line Hurtigruten promises travelers will “discover majestic volcanoes, diverse habitats, stunning coastal scenery, and cultural highlights.”
Beginning in Lisbon, Portugal, the itinerary calls upon the lush Madeira Islands, with several stops in the volcanic Canary Islands, before ending in Dakar, Senegal, where travelers will be whisked away on a guided tour of the capital city before flying home.
An ‘Ultimate France’ cruise with Uniworld
Sail three of France’s most scenic rivers—the Rhone, Seine, and Gargonne—in one ultimate trip with this in-depth, 22-day Uniworld cruise through the best of France. Travelers will be immersed in the country’s charming villages throughout its most popular regions, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, Paris, and Normandy. Transfers to the different rivers will be made via the TGV bullet train, one of the fastest trains in the world. Along with vineyards and city tours, cruise passengers will have access to landmarks like Giverny, home to Monet’s studio, the Palace of Versailles, and Normandy’s beaches where the D-Day landings took place.
Lower Alaska's highlights with Princess Cruises
With Alaska cruises bouncing back this year, sailings through the Last Frontier have been booking up quickly. So if a voyage through Alaska is on your list for 2023, you’ll want to lock it in now. Consider this five-day, family-friendly option from West Coast-based Princess. Sailing round-trip from Vancouver, the itinerary heads to Juneau, where travelers can partake in shore activities like an Alaskan salmon bake, sea kayaking, or tours of the Mendenhall Glacier. The next stop is Ketchikan, where highlights include Misty Fjords National Monument and the Alaska Rainforest Reserve, home to seals, bald eagles, and black bears.
The Middle East with Emerald Cruises
Emerald Cruises’ latest vessel is so boutique and intimate that it’s more accurately described as a yacht. Accommodating just 100 guests, the luxe Emerald Azzurra will debut in 2023 out of a new cruise terminal in Qatar. Itineraries will set out from Doha, on seven-night, eight-day voyages that stop at Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; Khasab, Oman; Fujairah, UAE; Zighy Bay, Oman; and Dubai.
Repositioning itineraries with Virgin Voyages
Resilient Lady, the yet-to-debut ship from adults-only line Virgin Voyages, is scheduled to be repositioned next year in Australia. On its way Down Under, the ship will be offering three unique itineraries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the South Pacific. The first repositioning voyage will sail in October 2023 out of Athens with stops in Santorini and Rhodes in Greece, through the Suez Canal to Port Said (Cairo) and Safaga in Egypt and on to Dubai. Other offerings include Dubai to Singapore by way of Mumbai, Phuket, and Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore to Sydney with calls in Bali, as well as Cairns and Queensland in Australia.
Grand voyages with Regent Seven Seas
If a more in-depth cruise is more your style, look no further than Regent’s grand voyages, which are months-long itineraries that explore entire regions of the world. In 2023, we have our eye on the Grand Arctic Adventure, a 78-night voyage from New York to Barcelona with a dreamy list of ports. The itinerary starts by weaving its way along the coasts of Massachusetts, Maine, and Nova Scotia, Canada, then on to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Wales, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Scotland, Portugal, and Spain.
Morocco and a circumnavigation of Sicily with Ponant
Small ship expedition line Ponant recently announced its lineup for 2023 cruises in collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys. The voyages bring experts in history and culture on board for lectures and to guide guests through onshore excursions. For instance, a voyage from Morocco to Spain offers stops in Casablanca, Tangier, and Granada, interweaved with talks by Alia Kate, North African international relations expert and founder of Kantara, a fair-trade design business specializing in Moroccan rugs woven by women’s weaving cooperatives, as well as Rafael Chacon, an art historian who has walked the Camino de Santiago twice. Another itinerary, a circumnavigation of Sicily, takes passengers to Greek ruins in Agrigento and Byzantine-Arab mosaics in Palermo; guests are joined by archeologist Albert Leonard, who has directed excavations at sites around the Mediterranean.