Cruises get you to top historic attractions around the world, often with the bonus of historians on board offering their expert insight. For more hands-on learning, book guided shore excursions to see the sights, or plan ahead and explore on your own.
There’s a lot for history buffs to like on these cruises.
Maritime History: On Crystal Cruises‘ 15-day “Maritime: Past, Present and Future Cruise,” from San Diego to Auckland, embarking on October 28, passengers on the 922-passenger Crystal Symphony will have opportunity to delve into maritime history, from luxury liners to battleships. You can also visit Pearl Harbor during an overnight in Honolulu. Noted maritime historians will be on board.
World War II: Commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings with a cruise on the Seine this summer. River ship operators including Tauck and AmaWaterways have special excursions to sites including Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery.
Greek History: Visit the Trojan War city of Troy, the Parthenon, the ancient theater at Epidaurus and the medieval sites of Rhodes on a nine-day History of the Aegean Voyage on Azamara Club Cruises‘ 694-passenger Azamara Quest. The cruise from Istanbul to Athens embarks on November 1.
Roman Conquests: Visit Rome and places including the Forum, Pantheon and Colosseum, ancient Ephesus in Turkey, Athens and Malta as you follow history through the Mediterranean.Disney Cruise Line makes learning fun for kids, with port adventures such as a treasure hunt in the Maltese capital of Valletta. A 12-day sailing on the Disney Magic, round-trip from Barcelona, embarks on July 26.
America’s Colonial Past: Learn about the birth of America as you walk the Freedom Trail in Boston and explore the history of the Titanic tragedy in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Holland America Line‘s Veendam is cruising between Boston and Quebec City or Montreal this summer and fall on 7- to 14-day itineraries.
Civil War: American Cruise Lines’ American Civil War Cruises explore the history of the Western or Eastern Theater. An eight-day cruise on the Queen of the Mississippi, embarking November 15, from New Orleans to Memphis, takes passengers to sites including the Vicksburg National Military Park, with onboard lectures by Civil War scholar and author Dr. Michael Deeb.
European Jewish History: On river line Avalon Waterways’ 12-day Jewish Heritage theme cruise from Budapest to Prague, embarking July 29, 2015, passengers will visit Europe’s largest synagogue, explore Jewish Vienna and Prague’s Jewish Quarter and cemetery and see the former ghetto in Terezin. Lecturing onboard the 164-passenger Panorama cruise will be German concentration camp survivor Dr. Inge Auerbacher.
The Vikings: Follow the trail of 10th century Viking explorers as you cruise from Iceland to Greenland, on a 12-day sailing on Lindblad Expeditions‘ 148-passenger National Geographic Explorer. Visit Viking sites including Qaqortukulooq, settled by one of Erik the Red’s cousins, and Eriksfjord, where Erik himself farmed. Lectures by Arctic experts. The cruise embarks Reykjavik on July 19, 2015.
Holy Land: An all-inclusive, 10-day cruise on Regent Seven Seas‘ 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner, includes three days in Haifa, with access to biblical sites in and around Jerusalem. Shore excursions are included in the cruise fare. The sailing is from Istanbul to Athens, embarking on July 29.
Vietnam/Cambodia: Explore the stark history and stunning beauty of the Mekong. Local experts will provide commentary on their first-hand experience of the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam War. Offered by river lines including Viking and Uniworld.