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When to Cruise Where (PHOTOS)

Our cruise expert shares the latest ships and sailings.
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The Crown Princess cruise ship 'Hamilton' is at quay at Venice's port on December 2, 2012.  The ban on cruise ships sailing too close to the coast in Venice and in nature reserves was imposed after the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia luxury liner off Giglio island in January, notably to protect the environment.     AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO        (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
The Crown Princess cruise ship 'Hamilton' is at quay at Venice's port on December 2, 2012. The ban on cruise ships sailing too close to the coast in Venice and in nature reserves was imposed after the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia luxury liner off Giglio island in January, notably to protect the environment. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Our cruise expert, Jane Wooldridge, shares the latest ships and sailings and charts a yearlong calendar of when to go where.

South + Central America
See More of When to Cruise WhereWhen To Go: January through March, for low humidity and blue skies Most Cape Horn sailings begin and end in Chile or Argentina, but Oceania Cruises’ February 3 itinerary on the Regatta (19 nights from $6,199, with airfare) starts in Lima, Peru—which gives you time to visit Machu Picchu before cruising Patagonia’s dramatic fjords. Leaving from Rio de Janeiro, the February 7 sailing (12 nights from $1,799, all- inclusive) on the Azamara Journey includes two additional nights in Rio mid-cruise during Carnival. Windstar Cruises’ 148- passenger Wind Spirit has trips (seven nights from $2,499) through the Panama Canal with stops in Costa Rica’s national parks.Photo courtesy of Oceania Cruises
Southeast Asia
See More of When to Cruise WhereWhen To Go: January through March, the least muggy months Crystal Symphony’s February 24 voyage (13 nights from $5,295, all-inclusive) visits Malaysia and “it” destination Myanmar. The highlight: two nights in Yangon, with an optional overnight excursion to the 1,000-year-old temples of Bagan. For a more immersive experience in Myanmar, AmaWaterways’ new AmaPura sails to or from Mandalay (12 nights from $4,899, including drinks), with trips to Salay’s monasteries and the Mahamuni Buddha. Leaving from Hong Kong, Silversea’s March 10 voyage (nine nights from $4,350, all-inclusive) is Vietnam 101: the 296-passenger Silver Wind docks in Ha Long Bay, Chan May, and Ho Chi Minh City.Photo: iStockphoto
The Netherlands + Belgium
See More of When to Cruise WhereWhen To Go: April—prime time to see tulips Tour operator Cox & Kings recently launched river cruises on Scenic Cruises’ upscale ships. The April 27 sailing (seven nights from $2,585, including drinks), round-trip from Amsterdam, calls at Keukenhof, the world’s second-largest flower garden, open only during the spring, and Bruges. Viking follows a similar itinerary on its new Longships with its Tulips and Windmills sailings (nine nights from $3,072, including drinks).Photo courtesy of Cox & Kings
The Mediterranean + The Greek Isles
See More of When to Cruise WhereWhen To Go: May and early June, before the summer rush A benefit of SeaDream Yacht Club: its twin 112-passenger yachts can stop in smaller ports. The May 30 sailing, round-trip from Civitavecchia, Italy (seven nights from $5,299, all-inclusive), on the SeaDream II, features three days on the Amalfi Coast. Oceania Cruises’ May 20 voyage from Istanbul to Lisbon (10 nights from $4,199 with airfare) on the 684-passenger Nautica incorporates destinations rarely found in the same itinerary, including Tunis, Tunisia, and Málaga, Spain. Seabourn Odyssey hits popular Greek isles (Mykonos, Santorini) on its May 16 sailing from Venice to Istanbul (13 nights from $7,699, all-inclusive).Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line
Alaska
See More of When to Cruise WhereWhen To Go: Mid-May and June, for fewer crowds and more affordable fares Princess offers voyages along the Inside Passage (seven nights from $799) on the 3,082-passenger Crown Princess and Ruby Princess. You’ll stop at Glacier Bay National Park, where regulations limit ship traffic. Consider adding a land tour: Holland America Line’s itineraries combine a cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage on the 1,432- passenger Zaandam with a rail trip to Denali National Park (12 nights from $1,699). Ponant’s small, luxurious ships are often chartered by tour operators like Abercrombie & Kent. It makes its Alaska debut with L’Austral sailing the Inside Passage (seven nights from $3,700, all-inclusive).Photo: America / Alamy
Northern Europe + Iceland
See More of When to Cruise WhereWhen To Go: July and August, for the white nights Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Viking Odyssey itinerary, leaving July 6, combines the Norwegian fjords with a trip to the Arctic Circle on the 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager (20 nights from $17,599, all-inclusive, with airfare). The August 13 journey on the Azamara Quest (12 nights from $4,799, all-inclusive) visits traditional Baltic ports (St. Petersburg, Russia, and Tallinn, Estonia), and includes two nights each in Stockholm and Amsterdam. Tauck is one of the few companies to offer Iceland-specific cruises. Explore Grimsey Island and the Snæfellsnes peninsula on a round-trip voyage from Reykjavík (seven nights from $6,690, all-inclusive) on Ponant’s upscale ships.Photo: Danica Jorge
The Transatlantic Crossing
See More of When to Cruise WhereWhen To Go: July and August, so you can soak up the sun on the pool deck Cunard helped pioneer transatlantic cruising—and its fleet is the only one to offer regular seven- and eight-night sailings across the pond. On July 2, the Queen Mary 2 (12 nights from $2,813) will make a commemorative voyage from Southampton, England, to New York, nearly 175 years to the day after Cunard’s first ship, Britannia, made its maiden voyage. The QM2 then returns across the Atlantic to Southampton on July 14 (eight nights from $1,735) and offers more sailings throughout July and August.Photo courtesy of Cunard