Never Been on a Cruise? These are the Best 2020 Trips for First-Timers

by Emese Graham
woman looks out over side of cruise ship towards ocean

If your phone is chock full of other people’s vacation photos and you’re starting to wonder what’s taken you so long to go on your own cruise, 2020 might be the perfect year to give it a go

Cruise novices and obsessives alike have a lot to look forward to on the open seas this year: sailings through Japan and Taiwan, a dazzling trek through French Polynesia, a European river cruise with a twist, and more.

So whether you want to squeeze an introductory cruise into your tight schedule or you’re ready to dive head-first into the odyssey of a lifetime, we’ve got you covered.

Best 2020 Cruises for First-Timers

Tahiti & French Polynesia with Princess Cruises

beach front scene in French Polynesian island

Duration: 10 days

Start: Tahiti

End: Tahiti

Destinations: Papeete, Huahine, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Moorea 

Ship: Pacific Princess

There are shades of blue that only those who have experienced French Polynesia have seen. Join that club. Every atoll and motu, every palm-shaded beach, every waterfall and coral reef seems almost too dreamy to be true. You may wonder for years to come, “Did I really sip fresh papaya juice in Moorea? Did I really visit a black pearl farm in Rangiroa? Did I really snorkel in Bora Bora?” 

Norwegian Fjords with Celebrity Cruises

a birds eye view of scenic fjords in norway

Duration: 8 days

Start: Southampton

End: Southampton

Destinations: Southampton, Bergen, Olden, Geiranger, Stavanger

Ship: Celebrity Silhouette

Scandinavia: have you caught on yet? This sailing serves up a tasting menu of the best of Norway. Fill up on skillingsbolle and gorgeous views alike. You’ll wind your way through jaw-dropping fjords, colourful Viking towns, and some of the most magical hiking routes you’ll ever experience.

 Japan Explorer with Holland America Line

beachfront in ishigaki island japan

Duration: 14 days

Start: Tokyo

End: Tokyo

Destinations: Tokyo, Shimizu, Kobe, Aburatsu, Kagoshima, Keelung, Huatien, Ishigaki Island, Naha, Cheju City, Okinawa

Ship: ms Noordam

You’ve made it. To the sake breweries and Kobe steak houses of the eponymous city. To the canyons and waterfalls of Hualien. To the warm, sandy shorelines of Ishigaki Island. So take it all in! Now is your time to give the sanshin guitar a whirl in Ryukyu Village, to feel the spirit of Mt Fuji -and above all- to stretch your comfort zone to its limits. 

Danube Symphony with Avalon Waterways

wine vineyards in wachau valley with moutains in the background

Duration: 6 days

Start: Deggendorf

End: Budapest

Destinations: Deggendorf, Linz, Wachau Valley, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest

Ship: Avalon Passion

What’s your travel language? Avalon Waterways’ choices of travel style let you spell out the details. Stick with classic narrated walking tours or grab your hiking boots and follow your guide up Mount Pöstlingberg for a well-earned view. Or if you like to get in on the action, wake up your senses with interactive wine tastings in Wachau Valley. However you experience Germany, Austria, and Hungary, do it on your own terms.

The Bahamas with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

giant helium balloon floats above colourful water park with royal caribbean cruise ship in background

Duration: 5 days

Start: Port Canaveral

End: Port Canaveral

Destinations: Port Canaveral, Perfect Day at Cococay, Nassau

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

If you asked a kid to design a Caribbean cruise, their answer would look exactly like this Bahamian expedition by Royal Caribbean. From the giant balloon rides and canopy of zip lines to the kid-friendly menus and bubble-gum coloured water parks, every second of this getaway is a dream. So, unleash your playful side and scream your way down the tallest water slide on the continent, splash around the beach, and enjoy some epic quality time with the fam.

Psst… Here are 7 Quick Tips for First-Time Cruisers

young traveller puts her feet up on the balcony of a cruise ship

  1. Always look at the ship map! Don’t just choose a stateroom based on price alone. If you’re worried about seasickness, opt for a midship stateroom below the waterline. 
  2. You can book local shore excursions, not just the ones organized by your cruise line. 
  3. Take advantage of your days at sea to really unwind. 
  4. If you like low-key getaways, a river cruise may be a better fit than an ocean cruise. 
  5. Flight Centre’s Expert Travellers can offer exclusive cruise rates that you can’t find online!
  6. You gotta try the specialty restaurants on board! 
  7. Cruise lines are more accessible than ever before. Ask your Expert Traveller about the top picks for low-sensory cruises, mobility accommodations, hearing and visual accommodations, menus for dietary restrictions, and support for travellers with chronic conditions. 


If you’re curious about cruising in 2020, talking to one of our Expert Travellers could be the smartest decision you make all year.  Just call 1-855-796-8359 anytime, chat with us online, or drop anchor in the Flight Centre store nearest you

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