You can take a cruise almost anywhere in the world, but some regions just lend themselves to this kind of vacation. These spots fall into three categories: those parts of the world where civilizations developed on the water, resulting in a volume of iconic locations, or places where cruises can cut out a lot of the hassle (and expense) of island hopping. Also making the list? Places that can only be seen by cruise. Read on for our picks for the best cruise destinations on the planet. 1. Western Mediterranean A Western Mediterranean cruise lets you check off a lot of major cities (think Barcelona, Rome, Florence) for one price, on one unforgettable trip, without having to navigate foreign roads or deal with train timetables. Why it's one of the best cruise destinations: These itineraries are also a great introduction to the high culture of Western Europe — including the iconic museums, designer shops, and architectural wonders. And that's not even mentioning the cuisine — Spanish tapas one day, fresh pasta and pastries in Italy the next. It’s not just major cities, though. Depending on your itinerary, you’ll also hit other gorgeous spots, including Monte Carlo, Nice, and Marseilles. Our Advice: These itineraries vary widely, from those that focus on one or two countries to those that hit the highlights of four. For example, you might find ports in Portugal and Morocco mixed in with Spain and Italy, or stops on islands such as Corsica and Sardinia.