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Cond Nast Traveler Magazine July 2019  Beyond this Horizon Cruise Silversea


Everything you need to know about one of the greatest ways to travel.

Why do you need a complete guide to cruise? We'll explain. There’s a saying around our offices that you start to hear every spring, when thoughts turn to summer vacations and we all start dreaming about days—weeks!—out of the office. Things are just better on the water, we say. Nowhere is that more true than when you’re aboard a cruise ship, pulling into a place you’ve always dreamed of visiting, or on deck under the stars in the middle of the Mediterranean, or having your personal butler bring another bottle of champagne and a full caviar service out to your private balcony overlooking those deep blues.

Yet only a small fraction of us ever give cruise ships a try: only about 3 percent of North Americans cruised in 2018, according to CLIA, the leading industry trade group, despite the fact that ships can take you places that’d be nearly impossible to see any other way (and for less cash than you’d probably expect). Don’t believe us? Let’s start with some of the hottest trends in cruising right now: expeditions. Whether to the Arctic or the Galapagos, a growing interest in smartly designed expedition ships are taking travelers—along with marine biologists and other experts—to witness whale migrations, glaciers calving, and giant tortoises strolling around national parks. There’s the perennial cruise favorite, Alaska, which makes a large state where nature dominates and where interstate highways aren’t proliferous much more accessible and navigable.

We regularly hear from readers that it’s hard deciding which cruise ship is right for you—and we get it. The truth is, there’s much more available on the market than you may realize, so if you start with the kind of trip you want to take, we can match you with a ship and itinerary that will deliver. Want small and personable and accessible? River cruising has your name all over it. Have active kids in the mix, of different ages, all of whom need entertainment—and access to other kids their age? You might want a large, tech-forward ship that has as much going on on-board as it does in the ports you visit. Maybe you need to be pampered with just a friend or partner in tow. There’s a wide network of luxury cruises that rival even the most indulgent resorts.

If your vacation time is limited or long trips are hard for you, there’s a huge surge in short-haul sailing—even in a place like Europe, which was once known for catering to leisurely trips. What about if you want to venture out alone? Fear not, solo travelers, the cruise industry wants you to sail with them, too.

We’re now entering the golden age of travel by ship, where there’s a cruise out there for everyone. Which is why we built this guide, the complete guide to cruise, to help you find it, book it, and experience it like a pro. After all, who wouldn't want to spend more time at sea?


Cruise Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts of Cruise Ship Art Auctions

Avoid buyer's remorse when purchasing art at sea.

The Best Cruise Deals of Wave Season 2024

Enjoy major savings on luxury voyages across all seven continents.

Wave Season Is the Best Time to Score Cruise Deals—Here's How

Advice from expert cruisers on how to narrow down the season's many deals to the ones that are actually worth it.

A New Cruise Is Making the Islands of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea More Accessible

Ponant's eight-day cruise takes travelers on a journey through Japan's Seto Inland Sea onboard a luxury expedition ship.

Exploring Senegal's Vibrant Countryside by River Cruise

A luxurious week-long voyage on the Bou el Mogdad from Saint-Louis to the trading town of Podor.

Cruise Etiquette: What’s the Dress Code These Days?

We break down the dress code expectations on today's ships.

Onboard the Crystal Symphony During Its Return to Service

The ship has been revamped, with fewer cabins and more suites.
News & Advice

A Sneak Peek at ‘Disney Treasure,’ Disney Cruise Line’s Newest Ship

It might just be the happiest place at sea when it debuts next year.

Cruise Ship Etiquette: How to Shut Down Aggressive Sales Pitches at the Onboard Spa

Relentless spa upselling can ruin your relaxation. Here's how to politely—and emphatically—decline.

The Magic of a River Safari Through Zimbabwe

CroisiEurope's new RV Zimbabwean Dream luxury houseboat itinerary includes land and river experiences through Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.

Oceania's Latest Ship Has Roomier Cabins, Elevated Design, and a Can't-Miss Cocktail Bar

Plus, new restaurants and updated menus that further cement its status as a leading cruise line for epicureans.

Hurtigruten's New Itineraries Deliver Fjord-to-Fork Cuisine and Coastal Living Like Never Before

Two new cruise itineraries from Hurtigruten highlight Norway's landscape, culture, and cuisine. 

Amsterdam Took a Major Step Toward Banning Cruises—What It Means for Upcoming Voyages

Amsterdam's city council approved a plan to move the cruise terminal out of the city, but changes have yet to be fully enacted.

Sailing Through Indonesia's Komodo National Park 

Cruising around the starkly beautiful islands that make up Indonesia's Komodo National Park, Sunil Badami discovers there's so much more to the region than just the famous dragons.

On an Amazon River Cruise, Slowing Down to the Beat of Nature's Ever-Changing Rhythm

An intimate expedition cruise in the Peruvian Amazon is an unparalleled way to experience one of the planet's most dynamic ecosystems.

This Three-Year Cruise Visits 148 Countries on All Seven Continents

Tour the Great Wall, Pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal on one epic itinerary.

Cruise Etiquette: Is There Any Request Too Over-the-Top for a Personal Butler on My Ship?

 From special dishes to the dining room to golfing on the Great Wall of China, these onboard magicians can fulfill nearly any request.

A First Look at Seabourn's New Expedition Voyage Through the Kimberley, Australia

In 2024, the cruise line will set sail to this rugged region, home to some of the most unique land formations and wildlife on Earth.

Cruise Ship Etiquette: Are Passengers Allowed to Order Dishes That Aren't on the Menu?

The answer can depend on which cruise line you're sailing with.

Journeying to South Georgia Island, the Wildest Place on Earth

Writer Sebastian Modak discovers that the South Atlantic island is the real prize of an Antarctic expedition.