May 25, 2024

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These Are The Top Cruise Destinations For 2023, Says AAA

These Are The Top Cruise Destinations For 2023, Says AAA

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For cruise vacationers who’ve decided they want a getaway at sea, important questions come into play, including which cruise ship to sail on, and where to go. With some 300 cruise ships plying the world’s oceans and rivers, decision-making can be a daunting task for many travelers. A wide-ranging consumer survey about cruise vacations offers some keen insights into what 2023 will look like on the high seas. According to AAA, which surveyed would-be cruisers online and by phone, 52{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of respondents said they are as likely or more likely to consider a cruise as they were before the pandemic. The figure is an increase from the 45{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of probable vacationers who said so a year ago.

For travelers likely to cruise in 2023, 39{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} will choose a contemporary ocean cruise, 25{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} a family-oriented cruise, and 19{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} a luxury cruise. And according to the survey results, smaller, more intimate ships are gaining popularity, like river cruises, which offer personalized itineraries and port-centric experiences. The survey also revealed the top cruise destinations for 2023, from both domestic and international ports. Alaska came out on top in both categories, leading the way with domestic cruises from Seattle and Anchorage, and with Vancouver, B.C., as the international departure port.

Survey Says: Alaska Takes The Lead As A Top Destination

Following three years of upheaval in the cruise industry, and after a months-long shutdown of cruises at the height of the pandemic, the ships are back at sea and vacationers are again looking to cruise in high numbers, says AAA.

Its survey asked likely cruisers where they want to cruise to and from. Here’s what they said.

Top cruise destinations from domestic departure ports

  • Alaska, from Seattle and Anchorage
  • Hawaii and California, from Honolulu
  • Hawaii, California, and Mexico, from U.S. west coast cities
  • Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean from Florida and New Orleans
  • Caribbean, Bermuda, New England, and Canada from New York

Top cruise destinations from international departure ports

  • Alaska, from Vancouver, B.C.
  • Mediterranean, from Athens, Barcelona, and Venice
  • European river cruises, from Paris and Budapest
  • Northern Europe/Scandinavia, from Amsterdam, Bergen (Norway), and London
  • Middle East and India, from Medina, Saudi Arabia

The top destination in both categories, Alaska, is a perennial favorite for cruisers and typically is in high demand not only for its outstanding scenery but also because its season is so short, running from May to September.

The early and late-season cruises will be the least expensive but also the most chilly. High-season cruises in July and August will normally sell out the fastest.

Regardless of the sail date, cruisers can expect to see stunning Alaska wildlife and visit lesser-known coastal gems like the town of Sitka.

Related: Looking For A Cruise Ship? Here Are The Top 10 Best Options

The survey was conducted using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall.

AAA says the panel of more than 1,000 respondents provided sample coverage of approximately 97{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of the U.S. household population.

Cruise Lines Court Cruisers During Wave Season

Now that cruising is getting back to normal, it’s time for those considering an at-sea vacation to pay attention to the best deals the industry has to offer.

The first quarter of each new year brings a wave of cruise vacation promotional offers, as cruise lines go to great lengths to get as many cabins as possible booked for the new year, and sometimes the year after. Deals are promoted by cruise lines operating ocean-going ships as well as those sailing European river cruises, which offer a very different onboard experience.

The sale campaigns typically offer reduced fares, special deals on onboard packages such as drinks and dining, free airfare, and onboard credits that cruisers can spend as they wish. Here are a few of the offerings on the table for the 2023 Wave Season.


Luxury line Cunard is offering the Treat Yourself, On Us promotion, with savings on 2023 and 2024 cruises on its three existing ships and a fourth that will debut in early 2024.

For bookings made by March 28, 2023, cruisers can receive 30{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} discounts on all fares plus onboard credits up to $2,000 per stateroom. The offers are available on select voyages of seven nights or longer between May 16, 2023, and January 3, 2025.

Related: You Won’t Miss The Ocean At All With These US River Cruises

Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises is giving travelers a choice between a free pre- or post-cruise one-night stay, up to $1,000 in onboard credit per cabin, or an upgrade to Windstar’s All-In package, which includes Wi-Fi access; unlimited beer, wine and cocktails; and gratuities.

Bookings must be made by February 28, 2023.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises is offering cruisers 75{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} off a second adult fare when they purchase a full adult fare. Also, it will provide up to $800 in onboard credit per stateroom.

Bookings must be made by March 1, 2023.


Through March 31, river cruise line Scenic is offering cruisers savings up to $1,500 per couple on nearly two dozen Europe river voyages and up to $5,000 per couple on sailings aboard the new ocean expedition ship Scenic Eclipse for sailings departing in 2023 and 2024.

American Queen

Cruisers who book select American Queen 2023 river and Great Lakes sailings by Feb. 28 can get up to $2,500 off, per cabin, plus a choice of either free round-trip economy airfare or $300 per person in onboard credit.

There’s clearly no year like 2023 for cruising!