From the magnificent cherry blossoms of Japan, to the ancient temples of China, to the picture-perfect beaches of Thailand, there’s plenty to see, do, and explore on the vast continent of Asia. Cruising is a great way to experience its breathtaking sights -- without the hassle, time, or stress of planning a land-based itinerary. From Dubai to Vietnam, here are our favorite Asia itineraries under $500 per person.
Why it’s Great: Cruise aboard the recently refurbished Norwegian Jade, which sails roundtrip from Singapore. You’ll visit picturesque Phuket, Thailand; Langkawi, Malaysia (a UNESCO World Geopark); and Penang, Malaysia, which is known for its beautiful beaches and delicious food. After you’ve explored in port, head back to the ship and stop by the casino, dine in one of the 16-plus restaurants, enjoy a nighttime performance, or indulge in a spa treatment.
Sail Date: December 15, 2019
Price: Interior cabins from $499 per person
Why it’s Great: This short-but-sweet itinerary makes for an ideal long weekend getaway. Passengers will cruise on board the Sapphire Princess, which sails roundtrip from Singapore. The ship itself features a sports club, art gallery, and a European-inspired piazza — where you’ll find “street performers,” small shops, and a wine bar. After a day at sea, you’ll arrive in Kuala Lumpur (Kelang), which is home to gorgeous mosques, towering skyscrapers, historic temples, and lush gardens.
Sail Date: January 18, 2020
Price: Interior cabins from $399 per person
Why it’s Great: Looking to book a one-of-a-kind Middle Eastern vacation? Consider this atypical Asia itinerary, which sails roundtrip from Abu Dhabi and calls on bustling Dubai and scenic Doha (the latter of which is known for its waterfront parks, museums, and Souq Waqif — an outdoor market that dates back one hundred years). Passengers on board the Costa Diadema will enjoy an array of dining options, an Aperol spritz bar, a laser tag course, a brewery, a 4D cinema, and even live cooking shows (note: some amenities and activities cost extra).
Sail Date: October 19, 2020
Price: Interior cabins from $449 per person
Why it’s Great: Experience the best of Southeast Asia on this 5-night MSC itinerary, which embarks in Yokohama, Japan (home to Sankei-en Garden, a gorgeous botanical park) and disembarks in Tianjin, China. Along the way, passengers will visit historic Nagasaki, Japan (which was bombed in 1945 during World War II) and beautiful Busan, South Korea (which is known for its beaches, mountains, and temples). On board the MSC Splendida, you’ll find a spa, dance club, adults-only sundeck, and an array of health and wellness amenities.
Sail Date: October 18, 2019
Price: Interior cabins from $319 per person; oceanview cabins from $399 per person; balcony cabins from $439 per person.
Why it’s Great: Sail roundtrip from Hong Kong on board Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, which features a rock climbing wall, a surfing simulator, a skating rink, and other family-friendly activities. Once you arrive in Vietnam, we recommend visiting Thăng Long Imperial Citadel (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), perusing local shops, and making the trip to Da Nang (about an hour by car) to see Vietnam’s tallest statue, Lady Buddha.
Sail Date: August 21, 2019
Price: Interior cabins from $470 per person