Cruise vacations sometimes get a bad rep. Too often, people believe an outdated stereotype of cheesy dance halls, bingo, and overcrowded tourist destinations. But these days, cruises are a completely different proposition, with an incredible variety of options for the discerning traveler. 

For sure, some cruises still cater to the mainstream tourist trail. Seeing the sights from a luxury stateroom with amazing, alternative entertainment options and some of the finest cuisine around is a great way to travel! But there is also a remarkable range of different types of cruises and various destinations to explore to suit every kind of vacation imaginable.

So if you are considering taking a cruise in 2021 or 2022, why not take a look at a few of these tips for non-touristy cruise vacations, and explore something a little more off the beaten track.

Look For Smaller Cities And Out-Of-The-Way Destinations

Sure, heading to Ha Long Bay or Cancun might well be a massive draw for many cruise enthusiasts, but you will be surrounded by other tourists fresh off the boat. Before choosing your cruise, take a look at a range of itineraries and destinations, and think about trying somewhere you have never heard of! Smaller cities tend to be less touristy, and lesser-known destinations can throw in some amazing hidden gems that no one else will have seen—perfect for bragging rights when you get back home.

Try Planning Your Own Shore Experiences

Even in smaller cities and less touristy destinations, if you book yourself on to the experience packages provided by the cruise operator, you will inevitably spend most of your time with other tourists, and head to the most famous destinations. This can be brilliant, obviously, but heading off on your own can be pretty exciting, too! Take a look at where the ship is docking, and make a few plans of your own. You’ll have a more adventurous experience and might see something that no one else will. Just make sure you make it back to port before the ship sails!

Try A Different Sort Of Cruise

While the image of a cruise remains a vast mega-ship floating serenely through the Caribbean, some exciting alternative options don’t involve you heading for the high seas. A river cruise can be a unique experience, bringing you closer to nature and taking you to more remote, isolated spots, like hidden villages and crystal clear springs. You’ll have a completely different experience of being aboard a large ocean liner, and you’ll discover more about your destination’s culture and traditions. Similarly, cruises up the Norwegian fjords and through the Arctic ice offer something totally different and genuinely magical. 

Make New friends

One of the best things about a cruise is the chance to meet new people, and visiting new places with a solid group of new friends can change the way you see your activities both onboard and ashore, from being a traditional tourist to exciting new shared experiences. Finding new friends as part of your cruise can turn it from ‘just a vacation’ into something that you will remember all your life. Be sure to capture every moment, so you have something to look back to after your trip.