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Where to cruise this summer: 8 destination ideas

29 May 2023
Matt Hochberg

Summer 2023 is here, and that means a lot of families want to escape somewhere fun, relaxing, and memorable.

Rhodes, Greece

With the cruise ship experience returning to pre-2020 levels of occupancy, market reach, and ship deployments, this year is likely when a summer cruise vacation sounds like a great family trip idea.

Royal Caribbean expects this to be a big year, with demand the highest it has been in a long time. "Demand for our brands is outpacing broader travel due to a strong rebound and an attractive value proposition," is what Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty told investors recently. 

That means planning a summer cruise this year could be a challenge given how cabins are filling up and prices for a cruise might not be much of bargain.

If you're still thinking of taking a summer cruise, act quickly and consider the following destination ideas to get you started.

Navigator of the Seas from Los Angeles

water and rocks near La Bufadora Ensenada

If there's a best kept secret of cruises from the United States, it's Royal Caribbean's ship on the west coast.

Navigator of the Seas sails short 3- and 4-night cruises for easy getaways, along with occasional 7-night cruises down the Mexican Riviera. As a recently amplified Voyager Class cruise ship, Navigator of the Seas boasts plenty of amenities, restaurants, lounges, and onboard activities to keep cruisers busy.

A Pacific Ocean cruise from Los Angeles means you can see a different side of Mexico from what you may have already seen on a Cozumel visit on previous cruises. Western Mexico has more wildlife viewing opportunities, such as whales and seals.  There's also beautiful historic, cobblestone-street towns you can explore.

town of sayulita near punta mita, mexico

Pueblos Mágicos (Magic Towns) are small towns recognized by the Mexican government for their culture, history, and charm. There are currently 132 pueblos mágicos in Mexico, several of which are located nearby cruise ports in the Mexican Riviera, including Sayulita and Todos Santos.

Mariner of the Seas from Port Canaveral

I love the value proposition Mariner of the Seas represents, and she sails a good variety of cruises to mix up your choices.

Sailing from Port Canaveral, Mariner of the Seas is conveniently located close to the Orlando area.  

The great thing about Mariner of the Seas are the variety of itineraries.  In summer 2023, there's eastern, western, and southern Caribbean cruises you can choose from, along with Bermuda sailings.

Bermuda houses

The Bermuda cruises are especially intriguing, since you still get to visit Royal Caribbean's private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas, along with the must-see spots in Bermuda.

An easy destination to wander around, Bermuda is a mix of English tradition with local culture. Its rich history, natural beauty, and geography make it unique among other islands.

Ovation of the Seas from Seattle

Glacier in Alaska

While you might think beach and sun for a summer vacation, don't forget about the other amazing summer spot: Alaska.

A Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise is a must-do for anyone that's never been, because of the majestic beauty this area of the world is known for.

Visiting the 49th state means viewing incredible scenery, tasting delightfully fresh cuisine, and experiencing Alaska’s unique history firsthand.

Read moreWhy an Alaska cruise is worth it and you should go there

Downtown Ketchikan

Ovation of the Seas sails from Seattle, and she is the newest Royal Caribbean ship to offer Alaska cruises in 2023.  Plus, sailing from Seattle is an easy city to reach for most Americans with ample flights.

More about Alaska cruises

Radiance of the Seas from Vancouver, Canada

Radiance pulling into Seward

If you're sold on the idea of an Alaska cruise but want to get a cheap Alaska cruise deal, then Radiance of the Seas might be the ship for you.

Sailing from Vancouver, Canada, Radiance offers 7-10 night cruises that you can also combine with a land tour to further extend your Alaska explorations.  These land tours are add-ons that take you further in-land to places, such as Denali.

Visiting a glacier

Radiance of the Seas sails open-jaw sailings, meaning it begins in one port and concludes in a different port.  This makes getting to and from your ship a bit tricky, but demand is lower for these sailings and it represents very competitive prices.

Anyone that has cruised a lot to Alaska will tell you these open-jaw cruises have the best Alaska itineraries in terms of the ports you'll visit.

Anthem of the Seas from Southampton, England

Geiranger Fjord, Norway

Whether you live in the UK or fancy a flight across the pond, Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas is a great choice for a European vacation.

Anthem sails from Southampton, England, and it's a short train ride away from London. 

Anthem of the Seas has made a name for itself as one of the premier cruise ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet. She debuted in 2015 and combines first class style, exquisite dining and original entertainment productions to provide an incredible cruise experience.

Anthem of the Seas in Portugal

This 4,180-passenger ship offers a lot of entertainment and dining onboard, and is best known for some of the headliner attractions, such as bumper cars, the observation pod that takes guests 300 feet above sea level, and a skydiving simulator.  

The beauty of Anthem's summer deployment in England are the different itineraries you can choose from in 2023:

  • Spain & France
  • Mediterranean
  • Spain & Portugal
  • Norwegian Fjords
  • 7-night cruises
  • 14-night cruises

Having a variety of choices is great, and given how easy it is to get to London for most people, Anthem of the Seas is a ship worth sailing on.

Rhapsody of the Seas from Haifa, Israel

Sea Caves near Ayia Napa, Cyprus

A new embarkation port for Royal Caribbean, Haifa, Israel gives you a Greek Isles bucket list cruise along with a pre- or post-cruise vacation to the Holy Land.

Royal Caribbean recently began offerings cruises from Haifa, and this port puts you right in the heart of the eastern Mediterranean with more Greek islands to visit than you can manage.

And since Haifa isn't a traditional cruise port to sail from, we've often seen some of the best Mediterranean cruise prices around.

ancient temple. Lindos. Rhodes

Sailings this summer will visit ports in Greece and Cyprus, including Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Athens, Greece and Limassol, Cyprus.  

If you're looking to maximize your time in the Greek Isles, Rhapsody of the Seas is going to check-off a lot of choices.

Wonder of the Seas from Port Canaveral

Wonder of the Seas aerial rear

Forget the places you can go, the cruise ship is the destination to many cruise fans!

Wonder of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship and Royal Caribbean's newest ship. This means you're going to find the very latest and greatest that the cruise line has to offer.

While you'll also visit beautiful Caribbean beaches, the ship has a ton to see and do.

Perfect Storm waterslides on Wonder of the Seas

It has 16 passenger decks, which are divided into eight neighborhoods. It's a cruise ship that appeals to active families, couples and friend groups.

Like the earlier Oasis-class ships, Wonder will offer multiple main pool areas, a kiddie splash zone, surfing simulators, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line. And that’s just on its top deck. Inside the vessel, you’ll find more lounges, bars, restaurants and shops than you can imagine, plus a huge casino, spas and theaters.

Liberty of the Seas from Bayonne


If you're from the Northeast United States, there's no reason you can't find a great cruise vacation in your backyard.

Royal Caribbean's summer deployment of cruise ships to Bayonne, New Jersey offers a little of something for everyone, but you'll find interesting itineraries and lower prices on Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas sails from the New York City area, with sailings to Canada, New England, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

Looking for more information on Royal Caribbean’s destinations? Start here:

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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