LOOK: 7 top destinations to add to your cruise itinerary in 2023

An MSC cruise ship en route to your dream destination. Picture: Unsplash

An MSC cruise ship en route to your dream destination. Picture: Unsplash

Published Feb 17, 2023


Cruise holidays have been growing in popularity and 2023 promises to be an exciting year for cruising.

There are plenty of destinations to choose from and different cruise liners ranging from budget to luxury.

If you want to travel to renowned hot spots or travel off the beaten path with an unparalleled choice of itineraries, including round-the-clock entertainment, grand-scale original theatre productions, live music, authentic international dining, luxurious spa and wellness facilities, boutique shopping and much more, pay attention.

Here are seven destinations to cruise to this year, according to MSC Cruises.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark. Picture: Unsplash

Known as one of Northern Europe’s trendiest capitals and the 2023 Unesco World Capital of Architecture, Copenhagen is the perfect destination to explore aboard MSC Cruises’ newest ship, MSC Euribia, launching in June this year.

The historic city offers an abundance of awe-inspiring landmarks for visitors to explore, from the renowned Christiansborg Palace on the island of Slotsholmen to the cutting-edge architecture of Christiania.

Guests can also take advantage of MSC Cruises’ long list of shore excursions, including a visit to Dragør, known for its picturesque alleyways, cobbled streets and traditional brightly painted Danish houses.

Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard, Norway. Picture: Unsplash

Only available for four sailings in summer 2023, Svalbard is an exclusive destination on MSC Preziosa’s itineraries for adventurous guests wishing to explore the Arctic Circle.

The Svalbard islands form the most remote province of Northern Europe, a mere 800km from the North Pole.

MSC Cruises’ PROTECTOURS sustainable tour programme offers a unique experience to discover fjords by a hybrid-electric catamaran, allowing guests to enjoy views of the spectacular Svalbard landscapes while keeping their eyes peeled for seals.

Guests may also take advantage of the many other adventurous excursions available to explore this unique destination, discovering the Arctic on a hybrid-electric speedboat to visit a walrus colony or e-biking through polar bear country – home to more than 3 000 polar bears.

Zakynthos, Greece

Greek Island of Zakynthos. Picture: Unsplash

The spectacular Greek Island of Zakynthos is an island paradise and a brand-new destination for MSC Cruises. Here, white-pebbled shorelines meet turquoise-blue waters, and rugged clifftops, such as Kampi, offer breathtaking views of the sea.

Soak up the island’s atmosphere of local traditions or explore its ancient culture. Among the many hot spots to discover, guests can take in the limestone cliffs, historical monasteries, and the iconic Shipwreck Beach, one of Greece’s most stunning sites.

Zakynthos is included on all weekly seven-night summer itineraries for MSC Lirica beginning in May.

Istanbul and Kusadasi, Türkiye

Istanbul. Picture: Supplied

A witness to some of the world’s most powerful empires, including Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, Türkiye is abundant with ancient relics and Unesco World Heritage Sites. Renowned for its sweeping ocean vistas, bustling bazaars, archaeological wonders and stunning landscapes, Türkiye has something to suit every type of guest.

Guests will also have the opportunity to explore Istanbul, the largest city in Türkiye, reaching across the Bosphorus, from Europe to Asia. Filled with incredible historic landmarks, vibrant culture, delicious cuisine and marvellous architecture, the options are plenty.

Kusadasi is a glamorous beach resort overlooking the glittering Aegean Sea, from where guests can visit the magnificent city of Ephesus, acclaimed for its well-preserved ancient ruins.

Both cities are included as part of MSC Splendida’s eight-, nine- and 10-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises.

Messina, Sicily

Messina, Italy. Picture: Supplied

MSC World Europa, the line’s new flagship that launched in November 2022, will offer sailings to the ever-popular Western Mediterranean this summer, sailing seven-night cruises to Genoa, Naples and Messina (Italy), Valletta (Malta), Barcelona (Spain), and Marseille (France).

Messina offers the first sight of Sicily, with the glittering town spread up the hillside beyond its sickle-shaped Mediterranean harbour. The first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vessel in MSC Cruises’ fleet and the most environmentally advanced to date, is an ultramodern urban metropolis at sea designed to offer a world of new and exciting experience to guests, defining the future of cruising.


Yokohama, Japan. Picture: Unsplash

This summer, MSC Cruises is offering six sailings from Yokohama, Japan. These carefully crafted itineraries allow guests to journey through ancient cultures, discovering Japanese art, history and traditions, as well as the country’s vibrant and modern present.

Depending on the itinerary, one destination highlight of the eight- and nine-night cruises is Kyushu, recently featured as one of Architectural Digest’s 23 Places to Travel in 2023.

MSC Cruises offers two stops on this island at Kagoshima, a seaside city best known for Sakurajima, an active volcano that faces Kinko Bay; and Fukuoka, a city considered to be one of Japan’s hidden gems.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Bahamas. Picture: Supplied

Since first welcoming guests in 2019, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has become a highlight for all MSC Cruises’ Caribbean itineraries. This private island destination was founded on a strong commitment to the conservation of marine life, including habitats and species present in the area, and exists in harmony with the local ecosystem.

Thanks to a number of initiatives, including the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Programme, which aims to restore endangered corals, and the implementation of other conservation and educational programmes, the island has been transformed into a lush paradise that offers more than 3km of white sandy beaches, surrounded by endless sweeping vistas of crystal blue waters, where guests can soak up the vibrant spirit of The Bahamas.