The 10 best things about cruising for 2018 (so far) named

Our Traveller writers name the best things about cruising right now.

NORWEGIAN FIORDS

You expect the crinkly, convoluted coast of Norway to be impressive, but nothing conveys its beauty except hopping aboard a cruise and seeing the fiords for yourself. You're seldom out of sight of brooding cliffs, snow-capped mountain ranges and endless scatterings of islands, and all of it magnificent. See vikingcruises.com

OCEANIA MARINA'S FOOD

Oceania Cruises claims to have the finest cuisine at sea, and on Marina that might well be true. Half the ship's staff are employed in its restaurants, chefs have worked in top hotels and French celebrity chef Jacques Pepin overseas the menus. All-inclusive specialty restaurants are excellent, but so is the main dining room. See oceaniacruises.com

ALILA PURNAMA

satjun30annualinside Alila Purnama Ute Junker Satjun30coverannual satjun30annual satjun30annualinside

Photo: Supplied

What's more luxurious than a luxury cruise? Setting sail aboard the Alila Purnama, a hand-crafted teak schooner with just five cabins and 15 staff. The Purnama explores far-flung corners of the Indonesian archipelago, offering spectacular diving in Raja Ampat or whale shark encounters in Cenderawasih Bay. See alilahotels.com

INTERIOR DESIGN, NORWEGIAN BLISS

NCL's latest, greatest megaship is full of surprises. While it's packed with adventurous activities, non-stop entertainment and countless drinking and dining venues, the design and decor are distinctly luxury-ship style. Contemporary artworks adorn the walls and the overall look is more reminiscent of sister lines Oceania and Regent Seven Seas than previous NCL ships. See ncl.com/au/en

RUSSIAN RIVER CRUISE

The most action that Viking Ingvar's sun deck sees on the ship's penultimate Russia cruise of the season is when champagne and caviar are served at 10.30am one morning. The chef and maitre d' wear huge fur hats and shivering passengers are fully rugged up for the farewell toast to beautiful, autumnal Khizi Island. See vikingcruises.com.au

ADVENTURE CRUISING TO EXOTIC DESTINATIONS

Aware of the damage caused by swarms of day-trippers to popular cruise ports, companies such as Peregrine are launching small-ship adventure cruises to lesser-known destinations – West Africa, Iceland's remote west coast – in an effort to relieve the pressure on well-trod destinations and spread the tourist love. See peregrineadventures.com

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GUADALQUIVIR RIVER, SEVILLE, SPAIN

A view of the Guadalquivir River and the Torre del Oro, in Seville, Spain. Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Only the slimmest ships can sail into Seville along the Guadalquivir River – most dock at Cadiz and passengers visit Spain's hottest city by road. The early morning river journey reveals a misty landscape more akin to Asia than Europe and everyone is on deck as Oceania Insignia squeezes through The Bridge of Delights. See oceaniacruises.com

TAUCK RIVER CRUISE, PROVENCE, FRANCE

Shore excursions vary wildly in quality but wining and dining in French chateaux, cycling along the Rhone's riverbanks and exploring markets, museums and national monuments in the company of Tauck's cruise directors adds a new dimension to the river-cruise experience. They are friendly, knowledgeable, multilingual and, best of all, great fun. See tauck.com.au/river-cruises

PORTOFERRAIO, ELBA

Sailing into Elba's picturesque Portoferraio on the tall ship Royal Clipper is pretty special. Grand fortifications surround the old city and terracotta-coloured houses climb the hills surrounding the horseshoe-shaped bay. Napoleon's villas are the main attractions but the waterfront restaurants, shops and bars are just as alluring – and refreshingly untouristy. See starclippers.com/au

SLAVE ISLANDS OF GORE AND KUNTA KINTEH, AFRICA

The stories of West Africans kidnapped and sold into slavery are told on the islands that served as holding stations before they were shipped off: Gore off Senegal's capital, Dakar; and Fort James (Kunta Kinteh) and Janjanbureh on the Gambian River in The Gambia. Visit all three on Peregrine's West Africa cruise. See peregrineadventures.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Elspeth Callender, Ben Groundwater, Belinda Jackson, Brian Johnston, Ute, Junker, Nina Karnikowski, Kristie Kellahan, Jamie Lafferty, Sally Macmillan, Rob McFarland, Steve McKenna, Catherine Marshall, Julie Miller, Sheriden Rhodes, Louise Southerden, Alison Stewart, Craig Tansley, Kerry van der Jagt, Guy Wilkinson
 

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