John Warburton-Lee/AWL Images RM/Getty Images
En español | Whatever floats your boat — fun in the sun, natural beauty, historical sites or cultural attractions — there's a ship that can get you there. On a summertime cruise, you can see everything from tropical landscapes to snow-covered mountains, even in summer.
1. The Alaska Wilds
The cruising season in Alaska is from May to September, when visitors can view calving glaciers and pristine wilderness areas. The 49th state also serves up Gold Rush history and native Alaskan culture, not to mention such activities as salmon fishing, dogsledding and wildlife watching that can include sightings of eagles, whales and even bears. You'll need a jacket: Some areas get chilly, though the temperature can hit 80 degrees in Juneau.
2. Family Fun in the Caribbean
You might think of the Caribbean as a winter vacation destination, but it's also one of the best places for a summer cruise — especially if you're traveling with kids. Decent summertime rates attract plenty of multigenerational families. Kids are delighted by the powdery sands and the chance to play in the water. Plus, many cruise lines work hard to keep youngsters happy and occupied, allowing parents and grandparents to enjoy some grown-up time.
3. British-Style Island Time in Bermuda
Get a dose of British style on this island. It's an excellent destination for a summertime cruise not only because of its lovely ambience, but also because it's so easily accessible from East Coast cities such as New York, Boston and Baltimore. Cruises include a few lazy days at sea and a few days docked at the island. From your floating hotel you'll have easy access to pink-sand beaches, colonial sights and shops selling British goods. High tea, anyone?
4. Lighthouses and Lobsters in New England/Canada
Lobsters, colonial history, beautiful rugged coastline and whale sightings are among the attractions of these sailings. Leave from ports in Boston or New York and head up to the delights of scenic Maine; the historical attractions of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and the wonders of the Bay of Fundy in St. John, New Brunswick. Some cruises also stop in Newport, R.I., with its over-the-top Gilded Age mansions.
5. History and Culture in Europe
Many culture vultures consider a cruise to points in Europe a must. The Mediterranean is a favorite: Ships embark from ports in Barcelona, Rome, Venice and Athens for visits to the big cities and quaint towns — including points along the French Riviera — of the region's eastern and western reaches. Northern Europe cruises explore the Baltic, visiting cities in Scandinavia as well as St. Petersburg, Russia; the British Isles; or the stunningly beautiful coast of Norway.