Planning for retirement is a decades-long process, and when you finally reach that milestone, it should be properly celebrated, and many choose to kick off their work-free years with a long trip abroad. You'll want to select a trip that opens your eyes to new sights and lets you explore multiple destinations, but also encourages complete relaxation and a little indulgence — after all, you deserve it.
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A cruise checks all of these boxes: you can cover a lot of ground without complicated logistics, all while enjoying the luxury amenities you've worked hard for. We asked our trusted list of top travel advisors for their suggestions of the best cruises to take upon your retirement, from ships that take you to stunning tropical islands to those that deliver you to culturally-enriching historic sites.
Whether it's your first time aboard, or you're a longtime cruise-lover, you're sure to find the perfect option to toast this new phase of life.
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I would recommend a Danube River cruise on Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Typically a seven day itinerary, this is a relaxing journey filled with scenic and historic highlights, such as the Wachau Valley and Melk Abbey. Moreover, this journey is often anchored by two of eastern Europe's most celebrated cities, Prague and Budapest. —Kareem George, Culture Traveler
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A retirement cruise should be something really special. I suggest an ocean cruise, and perhaps a destination most people don't visit or might visit only once: Antarctica. This experience is a good step away from work life, to experiencing nature at its most raw and uninhabited, as a means to transition to retirement. —Dan Ilves, Travel Store
I would highly recommend booking the Aria Amazon cruise for four nights. It has only four suites which is perfect for couples, and I especially recommend it for older travelers. By booking all four suites with a group of close friends, you have the entire experience of floating on your own hotel. I would especially combine this visit to the Amazon with a seven-day culinary trip through Arequipa and Cusco, and Machu Picchu. — Jean Sanz Bernay, JSB Journeys.
British Virgin Islands
I would recommend doing a private charter with The Moorings through the British Virgin Islands to enjoy snorkeling, picnics on the beach, and making stops at beautiful spots like: Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, Anegada Island, Trellis Bay, and the Bight. The charter comes with a skipper and a chef so guests can just sit back, relax, and enjoy. — Margie Hand, Andavo Travel
Aqua Expeditions leads several incredible seven day itineraries through the islands in Indonesia. One favorite option is the trip departing from Bali and Flores, stopping in Komodo National Park and Moyo Island. Another one-in-a-lifetime option takes you to Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands— the heart of the remote Coral Triangle, where there are more marine species than anywhere else on earth—for incredible snorkeling . — Jack Ezon, Embark Beyond.
The Nile River
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A small boat down the Nile in Egypt would be my suggestion. You cover a lot of ground in total luxury, exploring ancient sites like the Valley of the Kings, and watching the beautiful landscapes slip by. — Chris Liebenberg, Piper and Heath
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I suggest a 13 day trip aboard the The Aranui (a half freighter, half passenger vessel) through the Marquesas Islands. You'll end in total luxury in Bora Bora by staying in an overwater bungalow. — Christina Turrini, Frosch
French Wine Country
I suggest a slow river cruise through Provence and Burgundy, so you can experience the wine region at its fullest. I'd also recommend extending your trip at the beginning or the conclusion of the cruise with a few days in Lyon or Avignon. — Steve Orens, Plaza Travel