I’VE BEEN EV­ERY­WHERE, MAN

Well no, you haven’t. And th­ese un­der-the-radar des­ti­na­tions are sure to tempt ca­reer cruis­ers

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - CRUISING WHERE TO GO - AN­DREA BLACK

As more trav­ellers choose a cruise hol­i­day, de­mand grows for va­ri­ety from sea­soned sailors. “Ad­ven­tur­ous trav­ellers are look­ing for cruises which visit des­ti­na­tions they haven’t been to be­fore, or which are hard to reach via land and air,” says Adam Arm­strong, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, RCL Cruises Aus­tralia and New Zea­land.

Cruise lines are re­spond­ing by con­tin­u­ally ex­pand­ing itin­er­ary op­tions. Here are some newer and more in­trigu­ing port des­ti­na­tions to visit in the 2017-18 cruise sea­son.

TRIS­TAN DA CUNHA, BRI­TISH OVER­SEAS TER­RI­TORY

They call it the “re­motest in­hab­ited is­land in the world”. It takes seven days to get there from the clos­est port in Cape Town. Ly­ing mid­way be­tween Africa and South Amer­ica, Tris­tan da Cunha is a vol­canic moun­tain­ous is­land with a peak cul­mi­nat­ing at more than 2000m. It’s home to 265 peo­ple, 300 cat­tle and 500 sheep and in the sur­round­ing waters, leatherback and log­ger­head tur­tles.

In 2018, Se­abourn, Silversea, Re­gent Seven Seas and Po­nant will stop into this South At­lantic Ocean is­land, which is a Bri­tish Over­seas Ter­ri­tory.

HAMBANTOTA, SRI LANKA

The gate­way to Bun­dala Na­tional Park on the south­ern coast of Sri Lanka, this is the port to see some of the is­land’s best wildlife. The na­tional park is home to mi­gra­tory wa­ter­birds in­clud­ing flocks of greater flamin­goes. In­dian peafowl also roam, as do spoon­bills, pel­i­cans and painted storks. There’s also the op­por­tu­nity to spot mon­i­tor lizards, mon­keys and crocs. Also nearby is the busier Yala Na­tional Park for leop­ard and ele­phant spot­ting. A visit to the port of Ham­ban­ota is part of Aza­mara’s The Spice Route Voy­age sail­ing Novem­ber 2018.

SIR BANI YAS, UNITED ARAB EMI­RATES

Sir Bani Yas is a nat­u­ral is­land in the United Arab Emi­rates and one of the world’s new­est cruise des­ti­na­tions.

Here, there’s a safe swim­ming beach (that per­mits sun­bathing) lined with ca­banas and bars. The is­land is also a na­ture re­serve with en­dan­gered wildlife in­clud­ing a herd of 400 Ara­bian onyx as well as gazelles, hye­nas and chee­tahs, col­lected by Abu Dhabi’s late ruler, Sheikh Zayed. There are guided tours by 4x4 avail­able to view the wildlife.

Se­abourn, Silversea, Celebrity and MSC Cruises are some of the cruise lines stop­ping into the port in 2018.

CORON IS­LAND, PHILIP­PINES

Named “the last fron­tier”, Coron is the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal of the Calamian Is­lands and of­fers a vista of lime­stone cliffs and jade green la­goons. It’s a scuba diver’s par­adise as Coron Bay is home to a dozen World War II ship­wrecks, as well as an abun­dance of clown­fish and sea­horses. Be­yond the sea, horse­back ad­ven­tures are avail­able in the jun­gle, as are treks through the moun­tains.

There’s also geother­mic hot springs, and mar­ket stalls to visit. Se­abourn and Silversea visit the port.

CIENFUEGOS, CUBA

It’s Cuba’s “Pearl of the South”, and was set­tled in 1819 by French im­mi­grants. The French touch can still be seen in the ar­chi­tec­ture (so in­cred­i­ble it is a UNESCO World Her­itage Site), and the lo­cals’ mix of Caribbean and French joie de vivre. Hol­land Amer­ica, Nor­we­gian Cruise Lines, as well as smaller lines such as Scenic and Star Clip­pers are stop­ping into the port, all fully ap­proved (de­spite re­cent US gov­ern­ment changes un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump) to sail the re­gion. For­tu­nately, the area was largely un­touched by re­cent Hur­ri­cane Irma.

THE SCAT­TERED ISLES, FRENCH SOUTH­ERN AND ANTARC­TIC LANDS

Sit­u­ated in the In­dian Ocean off the coast of Africa, the Scat­tered Is­lands are clas­si­fied as a na­ture re­serve.

Here, there’s al­most en­tirely un­spoilt veg­e­ta­tion, in­clud­ing flocks of seabirds that hover above. La­goons are turquoise, the beaches are long and sandy, and in among the coral is the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of sea tur­tles in the world. The Scat­tered Isles fly the tri­colour flag as part of the French South­ern and Antarc­tic Lands. Ex­pe­di­tion cruise com­pany Po­nant, in part­ner­ship with GEO, has a 16-night itin­er­ary leav­ing from Dur­ban to dis­cover the Scat­tered Is­land and the Sey­chelles.

SIGLUFJORDUR, ICE­LAND

Nudg­ing the Arc­tic Cir­cle, Siglufjordur is Ice­land’s northernmost city; it’s also one of the world’s most pic­turesque ports. A new berth now al­lows for larger ships to visit the port, to sam­ple lo­cal her­ring, Ice­landic schnapps and rye bread, and watch ring danc­ing to ac­cor­dion mu­sic. In sum­mer, you can hike the moun­tains and in win­ter, don the skis and go cross-coun­try, or ex­plore via snow­mo­bile. Silversea, Po­nant, Se­abourn and Pere­grine are among cruise lines vis­it­ing in 2018.

NEW­CAS­TLE, NSW

While it’s true that some ships are al­ready stop­ping into the city, 160km north of Syd­ney, a new $12.7 mil­lion cruise ter­mi­nal, set to be opened in 2018, will mean that New­cas­tle will well and truly be a des­ti­na­tion port on Aus­tralian cruises. It’s al­ready well known that the city has some of the best bars (in­clud­ing The Ed­wards, owned by for­mer band mem­ber of Sil­ver­chair, Chris Joan­nou), cafes, gal­leries, mu­se­ums and bou­tiques.

Celebrity Sol­stice, Pa­cific Eden, Nor­we­gian Jewel and Vik­ing Spirit are just some of the ships to stop into New­cas­tle in 2018.

MORONDAVA, MADA­GAS­CAR

This coastal town in the west of Mada­gas­car is well known for be­ing the home of the oth­er­worldly Av­enue of the Baob­abs, pos­si­bly the most fa­mous treescape in the world.

Within driv­ing dis­tance (via four­wheel drive only) is Kirindy Re­serve, home to seven species of lemurs as well as an ar­ray of am­phib­ian and rep­tile species. A Silversea ex­pe­di­tion cruise through Africa and the In­dian Ocean on board Sil­ver Dis­cov­erer will visit this port in 2018.

ISHIGAKI, JA­PAN

Part of the Yaeyama group of is­lands, Ishigaki is per­fect for div­ing or just ly­ing on the beach, namely in front of the turquoise waters of Kabira Bay. There’s a hill­top Shinto shrine to visit and low-ly­ing palm forests to hike through. Be sure to sam­ple the is­land pineap­ples and sugar cane candy from the cov­ered mar­ket. While Princess Cruises are reg­u­lar vis­i­tors, they will be joined by Nor­we­gian Cruise Lines, Hol­land Amer­ica and Celebrity Cruises in 2018.

PICTURES: ISTOCK

Even sea­soned sailors will marvel at new cruise des­ti­na­tions tak­ing in the turquoise waters of Ishigaki’s Kabira Bay, Ja­pan (main), the in­cred­i­ble baob­abs in Morondava, Mada­gas­car (be­low right), and wildlife in Sri Lanka.

LEOP­ARD SPOT­TING

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