No one knows cruising better than frequent cruisers. That’s why we always look forward to Cruise Critic’s annual Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, which are based on port ratings provided by reader reviews. This year, Cruise Critic divided destinations into 15 different categories and ranked the top places for cruisers to visit in each.
Best Cruise Destination Worldwide for 2016: St. Petersburg, Russia
“There’s something eerily fascinating about coming to St. Petersburg,” notes Cruise Critic. “Once in the city, though, you’ll likely find St. Petersburg a wonderful place, particularly if you’re lucky enough to come during White Nights, when the sun barely sets and the entire city seems to be up all night … The fact that cruise ships typically spend at least one overnight there allows you to explore the countryside, as well, where past the bland Soviet-style apartment buildings of the suburbs are opulent country palaces—impressive memorials to the best Czarist money could buy.”
Best European River Cruise Destination for 2016: Paris, France
River cruising is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s no surprise Paris takes the cake with this one. “More than a destination of pleasurable externals, bourgeois absolutes, and just-baked baguettes (French law demands they bake them fresh thrice daily), Paris is great sightseeing, incredible shopping, and leisure dining that always comes with desserts in the form of delicate trays of the finest chocolates and macaroons,” says Cruise Critic.
Best Cruise Destination in Hawaii for 2016: Kauai
Cruisers love Kauai for its natural beauty. “Kauai has more beaches per mile of coastline than any of the other islands. Only 3 percent of the island has been developed for commercial and residential use; the rest is agricultural and conservation lands. Two-thirds of Kauai’s land area is impenetrable,” says Cruise Critic.
“Kauai is the only Hawaiian island with navigable rivers; it also has a breathtaking gorge that Mark Twain dubbed the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ and 15 miles of sheer cliffs rising along an uninhabited coastline. Hollywood has been so taken with Kauai that the island been cast in more than 60 movies and TV productions.”
Best Cruise Destination in the Southern Caribbean for 2016: Bonaire
A lesser-known island located about 50 miles from Venezuela, Bonaire’s “greatest claim to fame is proudly touted on its license plates—’Diver’s Paradise.’ This is no tourist-bureau puffery, although many believe that the license plates should read ‘Nature Lovers’ Paradise.’ Beyond the diving and snorkeling, there’s windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kite boarding, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding,” says Cruise Critic.
And “unlike its better-known neighbors, Aruba and Curacao, this isle of 14,000 residents is quiet and laid back. There are no flashy Las Vegas-type casinos as in Aruba or a showy pastel-colored capital city as in Curacao.”