Something which makes a luxurious cruise even more memorable is that special destination. Sure, you enjoyed every port on your spectacular itinerary. But perhaps there was one lesser-known port which you particularly loved and you can’t wait to experience more like it? Or maybe you’re looking for some destination inspiration on an opulent journey off the beaten track? Here’s a look at some incredible destinations you may never have heard of.
Alotau, Papua New Guinea
When it comes to continents, Oceania is certainly one of the most diverse, both in terms of cultural and natural wonders and one of its most popular destinations is Papua New Guinea. A paradise escape for many luxury cruisers admittedly, but how many of them have visited Alotau? If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxed escape in the South Pacific, this is the place. Enjoying a lofty hill-top view of the bay, it’s the ideal cultural coastal retreat. Boasting pristine beaches, it’s still in touch with its ethnic past and is the perfect place from which to explore some of the world’s most secluded uninhabited islands which lie but a boat-ride away from its coastline.
Alter do Chao, Brazil
South America’s no stranger to the six star cruiser either, but this is certainly one of its most beautiful destinations you may never have heard of. Secluded isn’t the word. This tiny village sits on a small strip of land which lies between the mighty Amazon River and the lesser-known Tapajos River, creating a unique coastline which is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled in Brazil. Many people cruise the Amazon River to experience a little of the rainforest and the beauty of Alter do Chao is that you can enjoy that sought-after Amazon jungle experience but in one of the region’s most secluded and scenic areas. You’ll feel as if it’s been reserved just for you.
Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic
It’s fair to say that the Caribbean wrote the book on paradise islands and also that it’s by far the most popular region with cruisers seeking a sun-drenched escape. Indeed, there are thousands of islands to choose from in the Caribbean but one place which ticks all these boxes but which may well be one of the destinations you may never have heard of is Cayo Levantado. Just a kilometre square, it’s yours to explore as you wish. Sandy beaches, swaying palms, gently lapping waves … Cayo Levantado is all these things, with the added bonus of the fact that there’s hardly anyone else there. For nature-lovers, the whale-watching’s great here, too.
Greek island cruises are celebrated for the satisfying blend of history and sun which they offer, which means there are some pretty popular destinations in the region. If you think that the Greek Islands appeal to you, but you’re in search of somewhere a little different and indeed, quieter, consider Parga. It’s one of the region’s most picturesque resorts, with a fan of colourful buildings spread out across the port. Despite being such a small town, it offers all the culture and sun Greece is famous for, but without the huge crowds. The beaches are among Greece’s most tranquil and the lofty Necromanteion of Paraga one of its most engaging ancient monuments.
The Far East is a region where you can expect to find both modern mega-cities and ancient culture and Malaysia certainly has its fair share of both. However, for an altogether different experience, Tioman is one of those Malaysian destinations you may never have heard of. An island floating unassumingly in the South China Sea, it’s the first word in Malaysian natural beauty. Exciting jungle trails, fine beaches, waterfalls and mountains are all part of the Tioman experience, while tiny villages such as Air Batang offer visitors a chance to experience the local life for themselves. This is Malaysia at its most tranquil and unspoiled.
Not all secluded escapes have to be hot in the traditional sense. Uunartoq when translated means ‘The Warming Island’ and that’s just what this unique Greenland escape does. Your cruise ship sauna treatment is one thing but on Uunartoq, you’ll be able to bathe in natural hot springs in a region where glaciers and ice-shelves provide a beautiful and contrasting backdrop. Take it easy in a rock pool, explore quaint colonial architecture or scale a mountain for the ultimate view of the island. Uunartoq represents Greenland at its most enchanting and unique and is a great place for an alternative luxury escape.
By Simon Brotherton