If sunset cruises bring to mind images of elderly couples sipping fancy wine and sampling hors d’oeuvres so small they should be illegal, while looking at a nondescript sunset, you’re not too far from the truth. All too often, sunset cruises are dull and overpriced. They may offer an impressive view for a couple of minutes, but don’t truly deliver the unforgettable memories you’re signing up for. A good sunset cruise is about more than just a sunset; it’s about having a complete cultural experience. Here are five sunset cruises around the world that are actually worth your money.
1. Big Island, Hawaii
Every sunset cruise includes a sunset, but how many include volcanic mountains rising from the sea, the turquoise blue waters off Hawaii’s Kohala Coast, and close-up views of whales and dolphins? A sunset cruise with Mauna Lani Sea Adventures is a truly unique, tropical experience. If you’re lucky, you’ll even witness the phenomenon known as the “green flash”, when the sun turns green as it descends. About one in ten guests are lucky enough to see it. If not, you’ll still enjoy the open bar and delicious appetizers.
2. Koh Samui, Thailand
For a similar tropical experience in Southeast Asia, it’s tough to beat the island and waterways of Thailand. Here, you can have a much more personalized, intimate experience as Samui Boat Charter offers private tours. A full-day excursion will have you experience Thailand’s incredible coast, including Ang Thong Marine National Park, and a climb up to the viewing platform at Emerald Lake. You’ll also be treated to a traditional Thai lunch.
3. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik Sailing offers a sunset cruise filled as much with history as with picturesque views. You’ll depart from Lapad Bay and sail through historic sites, including guardian island where King Richard the Lionheart once rested on his return from the Crusades. You’ll also enjoy unbeatable views of Dubrovnik, as the sun sets over its ancient stone walls.
4. Port Isabel, Texas
You might not typically associate Texas with sunset cruises, but one of the most unique cruising experiences can actually be found in Port Isabel. Fans of pirate history will love a trip aboard The Black Dragon, an authentic reproduction of a 17th-century Spanish galleon. Cruising on The Black Dragon is like traveling back in time to the golden age of piracy, as the ship comes complete with cannons, pirate stories, sword fighting, and music from a cast of pirates.
5. Cherryfield, Maine
This 90-minute cruise from Bar Harbor is a classic New England experience. Downeast Windjammer Cruises caters to a wide range of guests, including pet owners, as leashed dogs are allowed on the boat. Couples and families alike can enjoy the live folk guitar, fiddle, or banjo music as they watch the sunset. In addition to the sunset, the cruise skirts the coastlines of Acadia National Park and Frenchman Bay, giving you the chance to spot wildlife including bald eagles, seals, and waterfowl.