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Stargazing Amid Dark Skies, Discovering Ancestry, Mystery Cruises & Spiritual Awakening Among Most Interesting Cruise Trends for 2019

Taj Mahal, one of the sacred places that can be visited by cruise ship © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Journeying where dark skies present the most spellbinding panoramas; embarking on an odyssey of discovery of ancestral lineage; cruising to destinations of mystery, adventure, spiritual awakening. These are the top three “most interesting cruise trends” for 2019, according to
CruiseCompete, an online cruise marketplace.

Here is CruiseCompete’s projection of three such trends for 2019:  

1.  Dark Skies Cruising – You do not have to be an astronomer to find a dark sky cruise fascinating.

Research by the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute indicates that 80% of Earth’s land mass suffers from light pollution, and 99% of people in Europe and the USA view a night sky that is obscured by artificial lighting. As a result, opportunities for true constellation admiration are few and far between.


Cruising is the ultimate vacation to give stargazers access to spellbinding panoramas for star-gazing, as the open sea has low light pollution, and some cruise lines have designed itineraries specifically for this purpose. For example, Princess Cruises offers stargazing nights that are led by an astrophysicist.

Northern Lights in Alaska, seen during a land excursion on Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruise. Some cruises are tailored for viewing the Northern Lights© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Or, perhaps you would like a special kind of star-gazing cruise, one that explores the Northern Lights. It’s one of those magical experiences on nearly every traveler’s bucket list.  You can simplify the logistics of viewing those shimmering colors in the nighttime sky by booking a northern lights cruise. Cunard offers just such an opportunity on their November 2019 12 Night Norway and Northern Lights roundtrip from Southampton.
 

2.  Exploring your DNA may offer memorable travel that will give treasured connections to family experienced through travel.

According to ABC News, genealogy is the second most-popular hobby in the United States, surpassed only by gardening. The study of our family trees and DNA testing has a universal appeal, because most of us have a history that extends far beyond the nation where we’ve been born and bred.

We live in an information age which allows us to document our family history with a high degree of accuracy, but does it tell us where we really come from? A true connection to history and heritage can only be experienced through travel, where names on paper become real people and foreign locations become ancestral homelands filled with the treasures of family history.

2019 will see a surge in travel that reflects people’s desire to visit the cities and countries that feature prominently in their family history. Ancestry.com, for example, will offer an 11-Day Irish Ancestry Tour that visits Dublin, Cork, County Kerry & Galway in August 2019. This special tour, designed with The Irish Ancestral Research Association, allows for research time in archives/libraries and would be perfectly complemented by a 25 Night British Isles Grand Adventure From Dublin, Ireland to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, one of more than 100 sacred sites that can be visited on a cruise.

Or, explore on your own terms with a pre- or post-cruise visit that allows you to study a region in even greater depth. Expand PONANT’s Sep 27, 2019 In the Wake of General MacArthur: The Legacy of World War II cruise, with tours of the cities and countries, reflects your personal history.  

3. Mystery, Adventure & Spiritual Inspiration – The Ultimate Cruise Travel Experience

Are you adventurous enough to take a mystery trip? One where you won’t know where you’re going, what you’ll see, where you’ll stay or what you’ll be eating? Earlier this year, Intrepid’s first ever trip of this kind, the Uncharted Expedition, sold out virtually overnight with 10 travelers choosing to journey 3,500 kilometers from Kazakhstan to Mongolia reminiscent of the bygone days of Genghis Khan.  Imagine your journey on roads not yet mapped by Google and where there is only intermittent electricity and WIFI, a few cold showers and fermented mares’ milk as a treat along the way!

Also finding favor with seasoned travelers for 2019 is the “mystery cruise”. Saga has one such cruise scheduled, and Fred Olsen has three slated this year. Expect to see a sharp rise in popularity of mystery cruises, fueled by people’s sense of adventure and delight in being surprised by the unknown.

Then there is a different kind of mystery, one deeply spiritual in nature: cruise itineraries that provide access to sacred places. 

Sacred Places: Spiritual Sites That Can Be Visited Via Cruise Ship

There are more than a hundred cruise itineraries that transport travelers to sacred places – sites of healing, guidance, and divine inspiration across the globe. The significance of these hallowed places cannot be expressed in words or pictures – to understand their impact, the faithful must visit them in person, to experience healing, guidance or draw divine inspiration.

While many of the world’s most sacred sites have historically been inaccessible to all but the hardiest of travelers – those who were able to make arduous overland journeys – travel experts at CruiseCompete say travelers will find that today’s cruise itineraries make many of these locations surprisingly easy to visit.

Sistine Chapel, The Vatican, Rome, visited as a land excursion on a Royal Caribbean Cruise © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Here is a partial list:

Asia/Far East
Beijing, China, Hanging Monastery
Beppu, Japan, Beppu Onsen
Delhi, India, Taj Mahal
Delhi, India, Rishikesh
Hiroshima, Japan, Peace Memorial Park
Kochi, Kanyakumari, India, 3 oceans unite, Ghandi Memorial
Mumbai, India, Ajanta and Ellora caves
Qingdao, Tai Shan, China, Tai Shan Dai Mai Complex
Shanghai, South Korea, Lotus Lantern Festival
Shimizu, Japan, Mt Fuji
Taipei, China/Taiwan, Wenwu Temple
Yangon, Myanman, Bagan

Caribbean
Bridgetown, Trinidad and Tobago, Diwali

Europe
Bordeax, France, Lourdes
Bucharest, Romania, Hurezi Monastery
Cologne, Germany, Aachen Cathedral
Cologne, Germany, Shrine of the Three Kings
Dublin, Ireland, Newgrange
Holyhead, Holywell, Wales, St Winefride’s Well
Lisbon, Portugal, Our Lady of Fatima
Madrid, Spain, Mezquita
Beaches of Normandy, France, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
Paris, France, Chartres Cathedral
Paris, France, Mont-St.-Michael

Mediterranean
Cairo, Sinai peninsula, Mt Sinai/St. Catherine’s Monastery
Haifa, Nazareth / Galilee (Haifa), Israel, Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias)
Istanbul, Turkey, Blue Mosque
Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Cave of the Nativity
Jerusalem, Israel, Western Wall
Jerusalem, Israel, Holy Sepulchre Church
Jerusalem, Israel, Yad Veshem
Tripoli, Lebanon, Cedars of God Lebanon
Livorno, Italy, Chapel of the Stigmata
Luxor, Egypt, Valley of the Kings
Rhodes, Greece, The Cave of the Apocalypse
Rome, Italy, Abbazia Di San Galgano
Rome, Italy, St. Peter’s Basilica

Middle East
Aqaba, Jordan, Petra

North America
Baltimore, Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery
Huatulpo, Mexico, Day of the Dead
New York, New York, Ground Zero
Baltimore, Washington DC, Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

South America
Copacabana, South America, Islands of the Sun and Moon
Easter Island, South Pacific, Easter Island
Lima, Peru, Mcchu Picchu/ Sacred Valley of the Inca

Visit CruiseCompete’s full listing of sacred places that are accessible via cruise ship.

For more information or assistance planning a future cruise or a cruisetour, visit CruiseCompete and try the Virtual Cruise Advisor.

Find CruiseCompete’s “Sea Tales 2019 Family Cruise Travel Planner” at www.cruisecompete.com/resources.php. To see consumer feedback click here.

CruiseCompete has been the premier online cruise marketplace since 2003 (see media praises).

Consumers come to CruiseCompete to research and book cruise vacations. More than 1.5 million users have generated close to 4 million requests from consumers, and agents have delivered almost 17 million quotes since 2003. They can compare offers from travel agents, see consumer reviews of agents and agencies responding, then contact travel agents directly for more information and to book cruises. CruiseCompete is a member of the Family Travel Association, a leading authority and resource for family travel information and is home to the Sea Tales 2018 Family Cruise Travel Planner at Travel Resources. (CruiseCompete is an Iowa limited liability company, is not a travel agency or owned by a travel agency.)

CruiseCompete CruiseTrends™ offers monthly stats for an inside look at consumer trends and what consumers want in cruise vacations.

CruiseCompete received honorable mention in Travel + Leisure’s “Top 60 Best Apps and Websites for Travelers” and the site has won praise by the Wall Street Journal (“Best Cruise Travel Site”),  The New York Times, Kiplinger and The Washington Post.

For more information, visit https://www.cruisecompete.com/ or https://www.cruisecompete.com/group_cruises/