For decades, cruises have been a popular vacation option, but choosing where to actually cruise to can be far from smooth sailing.
Cruise Critic — a cruise reviews website – has announced its third annual Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards, based on customer reviews submitted to the site for cruises taken over the past year. Cruise Critic features over 350,000 cruise reviews, covering 500 cruise ships and over 300 worldwide ports.
Check out the overall, first-place winners for Cruise Critics' most popular cruise destinations worldwide.
1. Glacier Bay, Alaska
Located in the southeast area of Alaska's Inside Passage, Glacier Bay cruises received a whopping 509 "excellent" cruise rating reviews on Cruise Critic, in comparison to just one "terrible" review. Glacier Bay boasts glaciers like Margerie Glacier, sheltered fjords and rainforests, according to the site, and is a great choice if you want to check out wildlife. Popular excursions include the Glacier Bay National Park excursion and whale watching.
2. Arles, France
Ranked second overall is the southern port of Arles, along France's Rhone River. Arles claimed the no. 1 spot for the top-rated European river port category, and touts 74 "excellent" reviews on Cruise Critic, and zero "terrible" reviews. Popular things to see in Arles include the city's Roman ruins, and the scenery that inspired the famous artist Vincent van Gogh's masterpiece paintings.
3. Quebec City, Canada
Rounding out Cruise Critic's overall top three ranking is Quebec City, Canada, which also came in first for the U.S. and Canada destination category. Cruise Critic describes this city as a "savory taste of Europe right here in North America." Popular excursions in Quebec City include a guided tour of the city, a trip to the Montmorency Falls and a tour of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre.
4. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Hungary ranks fourth for the top 10 overall cruise destinations of the year on Cruise Critic's list. The city is divided by the Danube River, and features cobblestone streets and medieval courtyards in its Castle District, as well as the chic Andrassay Avenue. Popular excursions in Budapest include a tour of the city and a highlights tour that hits the city's hot spots, like the Parliament Castle and the Szechenyi Baths.
5. Wurzburg, Germany
On Cruise Critic's Top 10 Overall Destinations Year, Wurzburg, Germany comes in fifth. This city is located on the Main River between Nuremberg and Frankfurt and boasts popular attractions including the Residenz Palace. Reviews praise the city's historical walks and Christmas Market.
6. Durnstein, Austria
Located in lower Austria about an hour from Vienna, the port of Durnstein claims the sixth spot. This port is often visited if you're on Danube River cruises, according to Cruise Critic, and is also a short drive to Krems, famous for its vineyards and wines. Popular excursions at this port include wine-tasting in nearby Krems and a trip to the Durnstein Castle.
7. Avignon, France,
A popular port on Rhone River cruises, Avignon, France, also makes Cruise Critic's top 10 destinations. Described by the site as "quaint and intimate, with a chic vibe," Avignon features picturesque stone buildings and beautiful boutiques. Avignon is also full of Roman Catholic history; it's home of the Palais des Papes (Palace of Popes), which, says Cruise Critic, is the largest Gothic palace in the world.
8. St. Petersburg, Russia
Coming in eighth overall and number one for the Baltic and Scandinavia destination category, is St. Petersburg, Russia. Described by Cruise Critic as "eerily fascinating," St. Petersburg has earned 410 "excellent" reviews on the site, in comparison to just two "terrible" reviews. Popular excursions at this port include a visit to the Hermitage Museum as well as the Peterhof Palace and Catherine Palace.
9. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik, Croatia, is the ninth most popular destination overall and number one most popular Mediterranean port with Cruise Critic reviewers. It boasts history and culture, and is known for its café scene and beautiful beaches. Popular excursions in Dubrovnik include sea kayaking and a tour of its Dalmatian Coastal Villages.
10. Villefranche, France
Rounding out Cruise Critic's Top 10 Overall Cruise Destinations of the Year is another French, coastal city: Villefranche. It's described by Cruise Critic as evoking a "romantic, historic feel," and has a more laid-back and relaxed vibe than other Cote d'Azur resort towns. Popular places to check out in Villefranche include the Chapelle St-Pierre and nearby Monaco.
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