2013-03-13 03.31.09

Sure, everyone knows that cruise ships visit well-trafficked islands such as the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. Maybe you’ve checked out an Alaska trip or your parents got off a cruise that visits the Mediterranean.

But what many people don’t know is that cruising encompasses a range of vessels in a variety of destinations – think high-masted sailing ships, or boats custom built to sail the river in China or Southeast Asia. At Cruise Critic, the world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, we cover them all – and we specialize in finding the right cruise for the right person.

Wondering what cruise fits your personality? Read on for ideas.

If You Love Castles and Culture….Take a Rhine or Danube river cruise through Germany or Austria. Seeing this part of Europe by waterway allows you to travel a lot of ground, while only unpacking once. Bonus: On most river cruise lines, some shore excursions are included.

If You Love Wildlife…..Take an expedition cruise to Norway’s far north. Svalbard is polar bear central, and Arctic cruises from companies such as Hurtigruten run year-round (including in winter, when you can see the Northern Lights).

If You Love Food and Wine….you’ll be spoiled for choice, no matter what your price point. Choose a river cruise in France, looking specifically at the Rhone River, which goes through Burgundy and Provence, or Bordeaux, which gives you access to some of the country’s most famous vineyards. Or take a food-themed ocean cruise on a line like Celebrity, which took Cruise Critic’s award for best dining at sea in this year’s Editors’ Picks Awards.

If You Want to Sail Barefoot……Take a sailing cruise in the Caribbean. With as few as 12 passengers on some boats in their fleet, Island Windjammers is as casual as you can get, with barefoot being the rule and stops at beach bars dominating the itinerary. If you need more amenities, Star Clippers and Windstar also offer sailing cruises, albeit at a higher price point.

If You Love Scenery…..There’s a reason that Alaska is such an iconic cruising destination. A ship is the only real way to get into the nooks and crannies of the Inside Passage (and to capture those fabulous breaching whale photos). Whether you choose a small ship outfitter such as Un-Cruise or Alaskan Dream Cruises or a large cruise line that knows how to do Alaska well such as Princess or Holland America, you’ll come away with a fresh appreciation for how vast our 49th State is – and hopefully a few bear sightings.

If You Just Want to Relax….Take a transatlantic. With a schedule full of sea days, a transatlantic cruise allows you the time to get away from it all, often at a much lower price point than a land-based trips. More cruise lines have been updating their Wi-Fi too, so it’s easier to stay in touch or get work done while you’re onboard.

Author Bio:  Chris Gray Faust is Senior Editor at Cruise Critic, where she oversees all of the website’s destination and port content, as well as news coverage and blog. Creator and publisher of Chris Around The World, Chris has won a Lowell Thomas Travel Writing award for blogging and has worked as a staff writer at the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA TODAY, where she served as travel editor. She has a journalism degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Brown University. She lives in a renovated barn in Bucks County, Pa. with her husband, two cats and a dog.

Chris will be speaking at TBEX North America about How to Write a Review. Cruise Critic is a sponsor of TBEX at Sea.