The Six Hottest Travel Destinations of 2018

Famed writer Susan Sontag once said, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” We can relate. With so many incredible places to see in the world, it can be difficult to decide where to travel next.

If your travel bucket list is a mile long and you’re struggling to make 2018 vacation plans, we’re here to help. We’ve selected six trendy travel destinations to visit this year. The best part? You can get to all of them by sea. After all, there’s no more relaxing way to travel than by cruise.

Australia

What makes Australia the place to visit in 2018? One compelling reason is our epic 2018 World Journey voyage kicks off in Sydney, Australia on March 7th. A 102-day cruise is a great way to make 2018 your best travel year ever!

If you can’t join us for the World Journey this year, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore Australia in style. We have several upcoming voyages, and will even celebrate New Year’s Eve by spending the night in Sydney!

Sydney is one of those great world cities you can visit again and again.

Sydney is one of those great world cities you can visit again and again, always discovering something new and exciting to do. Have you checked out our “36 Hours in Sydney” itineraries? From sunbathing at Bondi Beach to exploring Korea Town, we bet our suggestions will spark a few ideas.

Of course, there’s more Australia to discover beyond Sydney! Most of Australia’s towns and cities are located on the coast, making it a fantastic country to explore by cruise. Go snorkeling in Exmouth, sample wines in the Barossa Valley, and take in Melbourne’s thriving art scene. We round up the top seven things to do in Australia in this blog post.

There’s no doubt about it, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Land Down Under in 2018!

Malta

If you’ve never been to Malta, you’re missing out. What the tiny Mediterranean archipelago lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and beauty. Tour the countryside and you’ll see picturesque villages, as well as stunning cliffs, gardens, and the beautiful sea caverns of the Blue Grotto.

The capital city of Valletta is small, but mighty. In fact, the city was built on a peninsula that’s less than half a square mile in size. It’s a World Heritage Site and has been lauded by UNESCO as “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.” The city does have an old-world elegance, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuffy or boring. The famous Italian architect Renzo Piano designed Valletta’s new City Gate, Parliament House and Opera House beginning in 2011. The Opera House is particularly fascinating— a temporary open-air theater is installed during summer months amidst the ruins of Pjazza Teatru Rjal, a theater from 1866 that was destroyed during WWII.

Valletta was also named the European Capital of Culture for 2018, making it a great year to visit. The title has sparked an economic and cultural revitalization in the country. Historic buildings, the covered market, and the city’s pedestrian area are being restored for the occasion, and new life has been breathed into cultural events like Fashion Week, the Film Festival, and the World Music Festival.

If you’ve never been to Malta, you’re missing out.

Azamara has three voyages calling on Valetta, Malta, in 2018. Join us on the 10 Night Islands of the Western Med itinerary and enjoy an overnight stay in this travel hotspot.

Cuba

Do you daydream about a tropical beach vacation, but also crave a new adventure? Then Cuba is your perfect 2018 travel destination. Cruises to Cuba offer travelers plenty of time to soak up the sun, as well as new and exciting destinations to explore. In fact, the best way to travel to Cuba is by cruise.

In 2018, we’re offering seven different voyages to Cuba, and we’ll call on three different ports: Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Each city has its own unique ambiance and charm.

Santiago de Cuba is a cultural hub, nestled between the breathtaking Sierra Maestra mountain range and the dazzling Caribbean Sea. Adventurous travelers should consider making the seventeen-mile coastal drive to La Gran Piedra, or “The Big Rock”. Those who are up for the challenge of a half-hour hike will be rewarded with stunning ocean and mountain views. Coffee lovers should visit the nearby Museo La Isabelica, a museum devoted to the area’s historic coffee plantations. Brush up on your Cuban Coffee 101 knowledge in this blog post.

Santiago de Cuba is a cultural hub, nestled between the breathtaking Sierra Maestra mountain range and the dazzling Caribbean Sea.

Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful architecture and French influences. Walk down Paseo del Prado, a main street lined with colonial houses and neoclassical buildings. Then, stroll the grounds of Parque Martí to see the park’s many statues and monuments. The park is surrounded by some of Cienfuegos’ most impressive buildings. Catedral de la Purísima Concepción Church is home to beautiful stained glass windows. Teatro Tomás Terry is truly a sight to behold, with gold-leafed mosaics on the building’s façade and an even grander, more impressive interior.

Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful architecture and French influences.

Then, of course, there’s Havana—the vibrant, beating heart of the island. Havana has a rich history that goes beyond its famous 1950s candy-colored cars, 1940s Ernest Hemingway hideaways, and 1920s Art Deco architecture. In fact, history buffs will love discovering Havana’s rich past in person. Here are four sites to put on your itinerary:

  • Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes Magos del Morro, a fort dating back to 1589 that guards the entrance to Havana’s harbor. Today it boasts a maritime museum, and great city views.
  • Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, an 18th-century fortress was erected to protect the east side of the harbor. Visit in the evening to catch a 9:00 p.m. ceremony featuring actors in 18th-century military regalia.
  • Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla, a church dating back to 1810. It’s the home of La Virgen de Regla, or “The Black Virgin”, a prominent figure in both Catholic and Santería faiths.
  • Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón, a lavish cemetery founded in 1876. Its 56 hectares feature hundreds of ornate mausoleums, chapels, vaults and tombs, as well as elaborate marble statues, miniature Greco-Roman temples and replica Egyptian pyramids.

Portugal

Looking for somewhere new to cruise in 2018? Join us for a maiden call to beautiful Portimão, Portugal. The port is a jumping-off point to explore the rest of Portugal’s beautiful Algarve region. This destination has it all: beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine, charming villages, and great local wine. Spend your day sunbathing, wine tasting, dolphin watching—whatever your heart desires.

Portimao, Portugal is a destination that has it all: beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine, charming villages, and great local wine. Spend your day sunbathing, wine tasting, dolphin watching—whatever your heart desires.

Do you golf? You’re in luck! We’ve partnered with PerryGolf on two voyages to Spain and Portugal in April and June. You can play the Oceânico Faldo Course in Portimão, along with several other world-renowned golf courses throughout the cruise. The PerryGolf experts will handle all the details, leaving you to relax and focus on your game.

Beyond the Algarve region, you can never go wrong with a visit to Lisbon. The city’s unique neighborhoods, gorgeous Manueline architecture, and plethora of museums make it one of Europe’s most underrated tourist destinations. Not to mention the delicious Portuguese egg tarts! Why not visit in 2018, before the secret is out? You can start to plan by checking out the top five things to do in Lisbon. There are several voyages embarking or disembarking in Lisbon in 2018.

Myanmar

There are so many incredible destinations to visit in Asia, it can be difficult to choose just one. That’s where a cruise comes in. It’s the easiest and best way to visit multiple cities within the continent on one trip. Singapore? Bangkok? Mumbai? Dubai? Why choose! We’ll take you to all of them, and you’ll only have to unpack once.

If there’s one Asian country to check off your bucket list in 2018, make it Myanmar. This Southeast Asian gem (also known as Burma) is often overlooked compared to travel heavyweights like Thailand and Vietnam, but that’s rapidly changing. Since the country opened to tourism in 2012, travel to the nation is seeing exponential growth. In 2012, the country welcomed about one million tourists. In 2015, that number grew to more than 4.5 million.

If there’s one Asian country to check off your bucket list in 2018, make it Myanmar.

The rapid change taking place in Myanmar means a visit there in 2018 will be different from a visit in 2012, or 2025. Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda will always astound visitors with its beauty, but the rest of the city evolves constantly. Buildings and monuments are revitalized, new restaurants pop up, and colorful open-air markets bustle with activity.

.Explore one of the most famous Buddhist temples, Shwedagon Pagoda.

To explore Buddhist temples beyond the famed Shwedagon Pagoda, pay visits to Chaukhtatgyi Paya, Ngahtatgyi Paya, and Meilamu Paya. Each has its own unique beauty and appeal.

Norway

Make 2018 your happiest year ever! Immerse yourself in the local culture of Norway and you’re bound to pick up a few happiness tips and tricks. After all, Norway was ranked the world’s happiest country by the United Nations last year.

What makes Norwegians so happy? It could be friluftsliv, which translates to “free air life.” It’s about spending time in the great outdoors and appreciating nature – which just happens to be one of our top seven things to do in Norway. A historic, scenic train ride, devouring local cuisine, and journeying beyond the Arctic Circle to witness the spectacular “Midnight Sun” also made the list.

Norway is a natural wonderland with stunning mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and lakes. It’s a country worth exploring in detail, which is why we’ve planned a country-intensive voyage there in 2018. Two full weeks spent exploring the world’s happiest country is bound to make you the world’s happiest traveler. The itinerary features nine different Norwegian ports and each offers a unique travel experience. Cruising past the famous Seven Sisters Waterfalls in Geirangerfjord is sure to be a highlight.

Norway is a natural wonderland with stunning mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and lakes.

Whether you visit one of these six travel destinations in 2018, or voyage somewhere else, you’re sure to have an incredible vacation when you’re cruising with Azamara. After all, the best travel experiences aren’t about where you travel. They’re about how you travel. We believe the best way to travel is by embarking on new adventures with an open mind, immersing yourself in the local culture, and forging real connections with the people you meet while abroad. Do you agree? Join us in 2018! Click here to browse all our upcoming voyages.

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