Maiden Cruise Ports for 2018

(Getty Images / Cretex) The Margaret River Wine Region in Australia will give guests of Crystal Cruises a chance to taste Australia’s top wines when the line makes its maiden port call in Bunbury in 2018.

Luxury cruise lines are the masters in tapping in to new destinations to develop new experiences for their savvy repeat guests. We’ve rounded up just a sampling (one for each line) of some of the new places you’ll see in 2018.

Crystal Cruises will visit Bunbury, Australia on its “Southern Australia and Tasmania” voyage departing Perth on February 5, 2018 and on its World Cruise departing Cape Town on January 7, 2018. What’s special about Bunbury is that it is in the Margaret River Wine Region, which will give guests the chance to taste Australia’s top wines, cabernet and chardonnay in particular. The Margaret River region is a two-hour drive from Bunbury and land excursions will use an air-conditioned motorcoach, but if you’re someone who likes to be in the know about up-and-coming vintages, this might be just the place. Perhaps best known in the area is Leeuwin Estate, which opened in 1972. The excursion also includes a visit to Wise Wines, renowned as the only winery in the region for ocean views.

Rockland Lighthouse Maine

RockLand, Maine will give Cunard guests the ultimate New England vibe when they sail in 2018. Shown is the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. (Photo by Getty Images / Verducci1)

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Cunard in 2018 visits Rockland, Maine for the first time as part of Queen Mary 2’s Canada/New England cruise departing New York on September 23, 2018. This is classic New England at its best, thanks to Rockland’s rocky coast and Atlantic waves; the port provides options to see the Lighthouse Museum or the Farnsworth Art Museum, which during that time will have an exhibition called, “On a Mountain in Maine.” The show calls on the museum’s permanent assets to show the physical, spiritual and cultural landscape of Maine’s mountains as depicted in paintings, poetry and literature.

Guests also have the option of a sailing excursion out in the harbor.

Galway, Ireland will provide a “town and country” touring opportunity to guests of Oceania Cruises in June. Visitors will be inclined to take Galway River Walk as they explore the city and its museums. (Photo by Getty Images / JByard)

Oceania Cruises visits Galway, Ireland on six different cruises in June. Galway definitely provides a “town and country” touring opportunity. In town, guests can visit the Galway City Museum, which owns more than 1,000 objects donated by the people of Galway over the past 40 years. There’s plenty of shopping in Galway for those who want to satiate their retail yearnings; we recommend a stop at the city’s main market on Church Lane by St. Nicholas’ Church. For the countryside, it’s a visit to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, which are more than 700 feet high and home to 29 species of seabirds. Have time back in town after your excursion? Wrap up the day at a pub, such as Tig Cóilí (on Mainguard Street at the end of Shop Street), which features traditional Irish music and typically has locals gathering outside its front door (always a good sign!).

Portimao, a strong tourist center in the Algarve region of Portugal, has been selected as a maiden port of call for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Seen here is the yacht marina of the town. (Photo by Getty Images / ronstik)

Regent Seven Seas has selected Portimao, Portugal as a maiden port, sailing on a Spanish Riviera cruise that departs Barcelona on May 15. There will be eight free shore excursions in this port, including one that should appeal to those with a sense of adventure. The “4x4 Exploration” takes guests for an off-road tour of the Algarve region, through areas filled with forests, valleys and streams and into the Serra de Monchique mountain range. Fig, almond, orange and carob trees — even cork oaks — are just some of the vegetation guests will see and, of course, there is a stop at a distillery to sample the strong local “firewater” brandy.

The island of Palawan will attract guests visiting Philippines on Silversea’s five new voyages for 2018. Seen here is El Nido, a municipality on the island, which is known for white-sand beaches and its coral reefs. (Photo by Getty Images / bredok)

Silversea will have five new voyages to the Philippines with three different ships (Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Muse). The island of Palawan, which has received high rankings in consumer publication reader surveys, is featured prominently. The island’s Puerto Princesa is a first for Silversea and one of the top excursions includes the Subterranean River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the Natural World. The full-day trip takes guests underneath a mountain range and through the St. Paul Underground River Cave. Rock formations and cathedral-sized chambers are part of the scenery and there’s plenty of unique wildlife to be found along the way.

Seabourn guests visiting Bristol, England will love the excursion to Bath (left), which is famous for ancient Roman Baths. (Photo by Getty Images / RnDmS)

Seabourn visits Bristol, England for the first time on May 19; we love the excursion to Bath, known for its hot mineral springs that inspired the Romans to create England’s first spa resort. Bath is a 75-minute ride from Bristol and along the way guests will see the Pulteney Bridge, which has shops on both sides. Bath is also known for its pretty Georgian houses, as well as a busy city scene filled with museums, cafés and shops. After a stop at Bath Abbey, which has been around since 676 A.D., it’s a short walk to the nearby Roman Baths, where the water flows from the spring at a constant temperature of 114°F. 

Viking Ocean Cruises’ maiden call to Bangkok will allow guests an opportunity to visit some of the brightly colored second-hand markets. (Photo by Getty Images / PhotoBylove)

Viking Ocean Cruises has an extensive list of maiden ports for 2018, including Bangkok, which starts off its Southeast Asia and Hong Kong voyage on September 23. Pre-cruise options in Bangkok include a visit to Wat Traimit to see the world’s largest solid gold Buddha statue, which is made of five and a half tons of gold. A visit to Wat Pho, one of Thailand’s most well-known temples, is also included; that’s the site of the famous 150-foot tall reclining Buddha statue. Other options include a visit to the flower market to see the orchids, as well as several other open-air markets and shopping malls. Chinatown, farmers’ markets and longtail boatrides are also available. Guests can also opt for a full-day optional tour to the ruins of Ayutthaya, an island surrounded by three rivers, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

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