20 Exciting New Ocean and River Cruise Itineraries to Book in 2020

by  Donna Heiderstadt | Dec 18, 2019
Koh Samui, Thailand
Koh Samui, Thailand / iunewind/iStock

Looking for something beyond a one-week Eastern or Western Caribbean, Mediterranean, or Baltic cruise to satisfy your wanderlust in the new year? You’re in luck. We’ve found an array of exciting new itineraries that will take you to intriguing destinations — often on the newest ships — to experience the ancient wonders of Southeast Asia, the less-visited wilds of Alaska, the entire coast of Australia or Africa, and even some of the world’s top golf courses. Here are 20 cool, new cruise itineraries you can still book for 2020.

Ocean Itineraries

1. Crystal Expedition Cruises' 16-night Indonesian Immersive & The Great Barrier Reef: This expedition itinerary aboard the new, 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor departs from Bali on October 15, 2020. Cruisers will visit the Indonesian ports of Sumbawa, Komodo, Larantuka, Kalabahi, Lucipara, Banda Neira, and Raja Ampat, as well as Thursday Island, Cape York, Lizard Island, and Cairns in Australia. From $15,899 per person; book here

2. Norwegian Cruise Line's 14-night Summer Olympics Itinerary in Japan: Following a bow-to-stern revitalization in January 2020, the 2,018-passenger Norwegian Spirit will return to Asia from May through December and will offer various 9- to-15-night itineraries. Among them is this Immersive Japan from Tokyo voyage that departs July 28: a few days after the Olympics' opening ceremony. The ship visits nine ports in Japan as well as Busan, South Korea. From $1,549 per person; book here.

3. Seabourn’s 18-night Holy Land & Arabian Gems: Next October, sail from Athens to Dubai  — and experience an array of intriguing ports throughout Greece, Israel, Jordan, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates — aboard the luxe, 600-passenger Seabourn Encore. This itinerary includes access to ancient treasures such as Knossos on Crete and Petra in Jordan. From $6,999 per person; book here.

Greece / Vladislav Zolotov/iStock

4. Azamara’s Golf Voyages:  Book one or more of Azamara’s Golf Voyages —which are offered year-round in partnership with PerryGolf — and range from 7 to 17 nights. These itineraries include the opportunity to play on a variety of world-famous courses, such as Royal Portrush in Ireland, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand, and the Olympic Course in Brazil. From $2,499 per person; book here.

5. Silversea’s 51-night Grand Australia Itinerary: Spend almost two months aboard Silversea’s newest luxury ship, the 596-passenger Silver Muse. The ship  visits 30 ports throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Bali. These destinations are a good mix of well-known cities (think Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Wellington, and Bali) as well as under-the-radar spots like Kangaroo Island, Thursday Island, Mooloolaba, and Stewart Island. The ship departs on October 31, 2020 and sails round-trip from Sydney. From $27,000 per person; book here.

6. Lindblad Expeditions’ 7-night Panama & Columbia, Exploring the Caribbean Coast: Want to combine a Panama Canal transit with guided bird and wildlife viewings, plus a bit of beach time? If so, then consider this new 7-night itinerary aboard the 100-passenger National Geographic Quest, which is available throughout October 2020. Ports include Portobelo, Guna Yala (formerly the San Blas Islands), and Cartagena. There's also a special overnight in Gatun Lake, which is part of the Panama Canal. From $5,990 per person; book here.

Panama Canal / LisaStrachan/iStock

7. Hurtigruten’s 18-Night Alaskan Adventure with Aleutian Islands: The 530-passenger MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten's brand-new expedition ship, departs Vancouver on August 1, 2020. The vessel visits several Inside Passage ports before heading east to Kodiak Island, Kinak Bay, Dutch Harbor, and other remote destinations. From $14,085 per person (however, shorter cruises start at $4,234 per person). Book here

8. Star Clippers 10- and 11-night Thailand & Cambodia itineraries: Star Clippers’ tall-masted sailing ships are not new to Southeast Asia. However, next year, the cruise line is adding several port calls in Cambodia to a series of 10- and 11-night sailings in April and October aboard the 227-passenger Star Clipper. In addition to beach destinations (including Thailand's Koh Phangan, Koh Samet, and Koh Tao), these itineraries also visit Cambodia’s Sihanoukville (an up-and-coming resort destination) and Koh Rong (also known as Monkey Island). Two-night excursions to Angkor Wat are also available. From $2,100 per person; book here

9. Ponant’s 7-night Music at Sea Itinerary: This new itinerary aboard Ponant’s 184-passenger Le Jacques Cartier departs Reykjavik on September 6, 2020 and features onboard performances by some of Europe’s top classical musicians, all guided by French novelist, journalist, and musicologist Alain Duault. The ship visits Scotland (Stornaway and Portree) and Ireland (Belfast and Dublin), respectively. From $4,250 per person; book here.

10. Scenic’s 19-night Antarctica in Depth Plus a Taste of Argentina & Brazil: Looking for a last-minute, bucket-list-worthy expedition cruise to Antarctica? This hybrid cruise-tour itinerary on board the new, 200-passenger Scenic Eclipse departs on both February 25 and March 7, 2020 and spends 5 nights exploring the Antarctic peninsula and Lemaire Channel. Afterwards, passengers will visit some of South America’s top destinations (Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Iguazu Falls). From $20,066 per person; book here

Cruising Antarctica / N8tureGrl/iStock

11. Windstar’s 13-night Authentic Australia: Fresh off a February 2020 renovation — part of Windstar’s $250 million Star Plus Initiative — the 312-passenger Star Breeze will be the first Windstar ship to offer Australia sailings. This December 10, 2020 itinerary makes 11 port calls in top cities (Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide) and islands (Kangaroo Island, Phillip Island, and Tasmania) in the Land Down Under. From $3,599 per person; book here.

12. Celebrity’s 10-night Bermuda, Newport & Charleston: This new Bermuda itinerary aboard the 2,158-passenger Celebrity Summit (which underwent a renovation in January, 2019) departs from Cape Liberty, New Jersey on May 9 and June 6, respectively. The ship first visits Newport, Rhode Island before overnighting in Charleston. The vessel then heads to Bermuda for two nights before sailing back to New Jersey. From $1,549 per person; book here.

13. Royal Caribbean’s 8-Night Southern Caribbean Holiday: How about being onboard the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to visit Aruba and Curacao? Book this November 20, 2020 itinerary — which sails round-trip from Fort Lauderdale — on Royal Caribbean’s new 4,198-passenger Odyssey of the Seas to visit Oranjestad and Willemstad, along with the cruise line's private island, Labadee (Haiti). From $1,265 per person; book here.

Curacao / sorincolac/iStock

14. Holland America’s 73-night Grand Africa Voyage: Visit Kenya, South Africa, Zanzibar, Namibia, and Tanzania (and choose from over a dozen safari experiences) on this incredible voyage on board Holland America's 1,380-passenger Amsterdam. This ship sails round-trip from Fort Lauderdale and visits 19 African ports plus Madeira, Malta, Jordan, Oman, and the Seychelles, and others. From $14,699 per person; book here.

River Itineraries

1. U River Cruises’ 7-night Amsterdam and Brussels Bound: Beer, tulips, chocolate, frites, and plenty of historic-yet-hip ambiance await on this new itinerary from U River Cruises: Uniworld’s lower-priced line known for its youthful ships and distinctive black exteriors. Cruisers will sail on board The B, which departs from either Brussels or Amsterdam from April through September, 2020. From $1,749 per person; book here.

2. Tauck’s 11-night Exploring the Douro Plus Lisbon and Madrid: Tauck’s 84-passenger MS Andorinha was purposely built for Portugal’s Douro River. This new hybrid cruise-tour itinerary includes seven nights of wine- and history-centric cruising along the Douro River, plus two nights in Madrid and two nights in Lisbon (including hotels). From $6,490 per person; book here.

Douro River / SimonDannhauer/iStock

3. CroisiEurope’s 11-Night St. Lawrence Cruise: Next year, French-based CroisiEurope will offer its first North American itinerary. Starting June 2020, the 124-passenger MV La Belle des Ocean will sail round-trip from Montreal to cruise Canada’s St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Ports of call include Quebec City, Saguenay, and Cap-Aux-Meules. From $8,407 per person; book here.

4. Uniworld’s 11-night Rhine, Moselle, & Blissful Baden-Baden: The Rhine and Moselle aren’t new for Uniworld, but this brand-new, wellness-centric itinerary is.  Travelers will cruise aboard the 128-passenger River Queen — which departs in April 2020 — and spend two nights in the German spa town of Baden-Baden. On board, cruisers can enjoy classes and workshops led by yoga coach Eva Monarrez. From $3,499 per person; book here.

5. Viking’s 11-night Pharaohs and Pyramids: Next year, Viking River Cruises will double its capacity on the Nile with the debut of Viking Osiris. Demand is already extremely high for this itinerary, which sails round-trip from Cairo and features 11 guided tours to top spots like Luxor, Aswan, and Qena. Everything but the December 7, 2020 sailing is sold out, but 2021 dates are still available. From $4,899 per person; book here


6. Teeming River Cruises’ 14-night Rhine & Danube in the Fall: Those looking for a longer river cruise that won’t break the bank should check out this two-week itinerary, which sails from Cologne to Vienna. MS Royal Emerald departs Germany on October 29, 2020 and visits 16 cities in Germany, Austria, and Slovakia. However, be prepared to explore on your own: No bus tours is Teeming’s modus operandi. From $2,299 per person; book here.

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