7 Of The Best Cruises In Asia

Asia offers diverse cruising options, ranging from vibrant cityscapes like Singapore and Tokyo to natural wonders like Borneo and Halong Bay
Journey in all-inclusive luxury cruises through Asian destinations
Journey in all-inclusive luxury cruises through Asian destinations

Asia represents a vast cruising area with any number of itinerary combinations, from the glass towers and neon lights of Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo, to the rainforests of Borneo, the beaches of Bali and the mist-shrouded limestone towers of Vietnam&rsquos Halong Bay. A cruise could last anything from a week to a month&mdashyou could book a sector of a world voyage connecting Australia with India and stringing together a series of the region&rsquos star attractions. Here are some of the top lines operating in the continent.


Seabourn&rsquos small ships offer an extremely comfortable base to explore Asia they&rsquore all-inclusive, with gourmet food, a gorgeous spa and sporty excursions, including kayaking, snorkelling and guided hikes. All the most popular ports are covered, from Singapore to Bangkok and Halong Bay to Hong Kong. A series of departures from the latter takes you to the coral beaches of Japan&rsquos tropical islands, Taiwan and Shanghai. Meanwhile, other itineraries meander through the islands of the Philippines to explore the coral reefs and islets of the Hundred Islands archipelago and look for sea turtles and dugongs.

Royal Caribbean

While Royal Caribbean operates a range of itineraries across Asia, they&rsquore a good option if you want to add a mini cruise from Singapore. This can be a fun way to spend a few days in conjunction with a city stay or a more extended, land-based tour. A three or four-night jaunt could take you to Penang and Phuket for gorgeous beaches, rainforest tours and the limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay. Or you could head to Penang and Port Klang, which offers access to Kuala Lumpur. Dining on board ranges from Asian fast food to gourmet fusion dishes, with buzzing nightlife and shopping geared to locals and international visitors.


Cunard&rsquos stately Queens have a strong following in Asia. The elegant Queen Elizabeth operates an annual season from Tokyo, with options to circumnavigate Japan, exploring Tokyo in-depth and spending a day in lush, subtropical Kagoshima, as well as taking in the temples and shrines of Fukuoka and the Peace Memorial Park in Nagasaki. There are shorter voyages between Hong Kong and Singapore, via Halong Bay, or between Singapore and Shanghai. Time and budget permitting, you could even join Queen Mary 2&rsquos world voyage and sail from Southampton to Asia, a grand adventure of more than 30 nights.


The ultra-luxury line Silversea has an extensive line-up of Asia cruises, ranging from week-long forays out of Tokyo, allowing you to explore Japan&rsquos mountains and temples, to longer voyages between Hong Kong and Singapore. On these, you&rsquoll visit ports including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Halong Bay, where hundreds of limestone towers are scattered across an emerald sea. Some cruises stop at Tianjin, the port for Beijing, so that you can marvel at the Great Wall of China. Others head slowly south, threading their way through the islands of Indonesia, with calls at Bali and Komodo, along the forested coast of Papua New Guinea, before heading to Australian shores.

Princess Cruises

With departures from Singapore, Tokyo, Kobe and Hong Kong, Princess has Asia comprehensively covered. Some trips are short&mdashfor example, seven days from Singapore, taking in ports such as Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Langkawi&mdashwhile others whisk you from Singapore down through Indonesia&rsquos islands to Australia. There&rsquos also the possibility of combining ports such as Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City in southeast Asia with Hong Kong and Japan. Expect big, modern ships with plenty of distractions on board these are port-intensive cruises, and you&rsquoll welcome a few lazy hours by the pool.

Holland America Line

With winter itineraries focused mainly on departures from Yokohama/Tokyo and Hong Kong, Holland America Line offers multiple combinations of ports in East Asia. You could opt for an intensive 14 days exploring Japan and Korea or splash out on a 28-day voyage visiting China, from the bright lights of Shanghai to Tianjin, the gateway to the wonders of Beijing, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. Some cruises take in ports in the Philippines, too, from the exquisite white-sand island of Boracay to Puerto Princesa, known for its dramatic limestone cliffs, caves, and underground river system.

Viking Cruises

Viking&rsquos Asian itineraries range from a compact 12 nights to extended voyages of three months. Itineraries may take you from Singapore to Tokyo or Bangkok to Bali. For several reasons, Viking&rsquos Scandi-chic 930-passenger ships are ideally suited to long-distance, port-intensive cruising. Every cabin has a balcony, while the infinity pool on deck is perfect for cooling off after a busy day ashore. There&rsquos an excursion included in every port too. Viking has a beautiful river cruiser, the Viking Saigon, sailing between Ho Chi Minh City and Kampong Cham, for the Angkor temples near Siem Reap, with add-ons to Halong Bay or Bangkok.

Cover photo credit Shutterstock

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