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Where to go in August – 10 best cruise destinations

August vacations will soon be upon us so you’ll need to act quickly if you want to snap up a cruise break next month or start planning for summer 2023.

August cruise vacations can be taken all over the world, whether you want to go east to Asia, west to Mexico, north to Norway or south to Kenya.

It’s key when traveling to make sure you’re heading abroad to the right destination at the right time, factoring in crowds, weather and wildlife sightings.

We spoke to the travel experts at luxury travel agency Black Tomato to find out where in the world the pros think is best in the month of August.

These are the top 10 best destinations to take a cruise to next month.

Bali Indonesia

Indonesia

Indonesia boasts unbelievable beaches and is both exotic and exhilarating. Thanks to a fascinating cultural patchwork of tribes and traditions, history and hedonism there’s plenty of variety here.

Visitors are spoilt for choice in August; off-the-coast adventures abound for surfers or scuba divers; staggering diversity of flora and fauna appeals to nature-lovers and eco-tourists; inland expeditions and volcano trekking satisfies active types; and for culture-seekers monuments to centuries of history span several religions and influences.

For those seeking isolated indulgence in Indonesia, some of the finest five-star accommodation sits on some of the planet’s more beautiful beaches.

Many major cruise lines including Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises, Seabourn, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara all operate here as well as smaller cruise outfits, sailing such Indonesian hotspots as Komodo Island, Bali, the Spice Islands, Sabang and Raja Ampat.

Kenya

By August, the Great Migration has made its way across the Mara River, emerging – in full flow – on the plains of the Kenyan Maasai Mara. As a great first-time safari destination, Kenya manages to be both accessible and dramatic.

For some complementary downtime, Carolyn Addison, Head of Product at Black Tomato, recommends pairing a Kenya safari trip with some chill time on the beach.

Cruises often port in Kenya’s biggest city, Mombassa, as well as visiting the islands off the coast of the country which boast spectacular coral reefs. The country’s spectacular safari opportunities make it the perfect candidate for a cruise and stay vacation.

Cruise lines such as Oceania, Fred. Olsen and Seabourn sail Kenya.

Kenya elephants
Peru Macchu Picchu

Peru

Peru’s winter is actually a great time to visit. Clear, bright and dry; the climate makes August a perfect time to trek to Machu Picchu, sail Lake Titicaca, and delve into the Amazon.

It’s important to work with a tour operator that has excellent local contacts in the country, to ensure that any trip to Peru will be as profound, as it is exciting and fun.

Peru cruises tend to call at two cities on the central coast: Lima and Pisco. Itineraries often take in a number of South American countries along the way such as Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. Cruise excursions are the best way to explore inland at these stops.

Cruise lines such as Celebrity, Oceania, Princess and Holland America Line operate here.

South Africa

At the southernmost tip of arguably the world’s most epic continent, South Africa is a diverse country with so many facets to its terrain it’s impossible to ever get bored.

There’s the vast expanse of the dry Kalahari desert, the iconic silhouette of Table Mountain and Cape Town’s colonial buzz, the wildlife of Kruger National Park’s savannah, bustling Zulu villages, innumerable untouched beaches, the untamed Drakensburg mountain range, safaris in the Tswalu Game Reserve and much more.

August is the end of winter in South Africa and the best time to visit for wildlife watching, including whale spotting.

Cape Town and Durban are the main cruise ports in South Africa, with cruise lines such as MSC, NCL, Silversea and Azamara sailing here.

Cape Town
Dubrovnik

Croatia

The best time to visit Croatia is during the warm summer months so August is ideal, with perfect conditions for sailing and swimming in the glittering Adriatic Sea.

Croatia is strewn with charming islands and sun-baked towns and its idyllic beach coves, sensational gastronomy, and eye-opening heritage are captivating in equal measure.

Various major cruise lines – for instance, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Marella – operate itineraries to Croatia as well as many small ship brands.

California, USA

August in California is the perfect time to explore beneath the shade of Yosemite’s redwoods, bask in the sunny climate and enjoy plentiful access to incredible wine tastings in Napa and Sonoma. Alternatively, explore along the coastline – with Carmel being one of the best destinations in the world to see the abundance of wildlife that swims these shores.

There’s something different in every corner of California, all ripe for exploration during the summer months, but the epic Pacific coastline is hard to beat.

Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, NCL and Princess all cruise to California. Major cruise ports in the state are San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Napa Valley California
Oregon

Oregon, USA

Falling within the warmest and driest period of the year, August is one of the best months to visit Oregon, a state famous for its dramatic coastal scenery and quirky cities.

Black Tomato is a big fan of this under-explored US state for its striking coastal landscapes with plenty of opportunities in August to spot raucous sea mammals, whilst also indulging in gourmet local cuisine and fine wines from the Willamette Valley.

For an added bonus, after experiencing the best of Oregon’s coastline for a few days, Addison recommends continuing the journey further north to sample the delights of chic Vancouver.

Astoria is the main cruise port in Oregon and is visited by such cruise lines as Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line.

Baja, Mexico

Equal parts exhilarating adventure and blissful beachside retreat, the Baja Peninsula in Mexico is one of our favourite coastal getaways with something to satisfy every type of traveler.

Diverse landscapes give way to thick jungle and sun-soaked beach, and because August is the slow season you’ll be able to taste your way through Todos Santos and sail off into the Cabo sunset without the peak season crowds.

Ensenada is the popular cruise port of call in this region. Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Celebrity all sail here.

Baja California
Lisbon from the sea

Portugal

Portugal is a firm Black Tomato favourite owing to its unlike-anywhere-else cuisine, the Baroque charm of Lisbon and Porto, its earthy, heavy-hitting wines and its gorgeous, easy-going hinterlands.

In August you’ll have to search a bit harder to avoid the crowds, but the temperatures and upbeat spirit are high, and for gastronomy lovers and culture seekers especially, Portugal is an excellent choice.

Lisbon and Porto are the main cruise ports in Portugal, frequented by such big cruise lines as Celebrity, MSC, Marella, Royal Caribbean, P&O and Fred. Olsen. River cruises are also hugely popular in Portugal along the Douro, with such lines as Emerald Cruise and Riviera Travel sailing the famous river.

Norway

August is a fantastic time to visit the land of the legendary midnight sun when the days are long and warm and rolling green hills and grand fjords stretch as far as the eye can see.

While Addison at Black Tomato doesn’t think there’s ever a bad time to visit Norway, August is one of the most popular months for a reason; with all the more daylight for exploring its mystifying beauty and natural wonders in all their glory.

Most big-name cruise lines sail Norway – think Hurtigruten, Ambassador Cruise Line, Viking, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and more – calling at such famous ports as Bergen and Flam.

Norway

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Duration: 7 nights

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Ship: Ambience

Price: From £619 pp

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Published 06.07.22