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Cruising often gets a bad rap but, in truth, there’s never been a better time to book a voyage on the high seas. While traditionally many have chosen a cruise by ports visited or perhaps with the ultimate destination city in mind, today’s trips can be geared to indulge specific interests while on the high seas. Foodies, fashionistas, families, adventurers — even those seeking to learn from professors and other experts — can all find itineraries to fulfill their floating fantasies. Here are a few suggestions for those looking to set sail this summer.


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FOR AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Turkey & Gulet Cruise
DETAILS: June 8 to 19; departs from New York and flies to/from Istanbul
FROM: $7,750

Most cruises offer the option of guided tours in port towns. But all Metropolitan Museum of Art trips include an expert (or two) who travels with guests from beginning to end. On this one, associate curator and archeologist Sean Hemingway will lecture on the sites, art and culture of the region. The trip, limited to 16 people, is a land-and-sea combination, and the sea portion is quite special: a four-night cruise aboard privately chartered gulets (traditional Turkish wooden sailboats). The gulet’s smaller size (just five cabins) allows for easy entry into shallower bays and harbors to explore sites that bigger ships cannot access. Excursions include a trip down the Dalyan River to see rock tombs dating to 400 B.C.; visits to ancient temples, castles and palaces; and, of course, shopping galore. (212) 514-8921, www.metmuseum.org/travel

FOR A ROMANTIC GETAWAY

Seabourn: Rome, Florence and the Rivieras
DETAILS: Departs July 10 from Rome, arrives July 17 in Monaco
FROM: $3,550

Known for their unmatched personalized service, Seabourn yachts carry a fraction of the guests of other cruise lines — a maximum of 450. This seven-day voyage through the Rivieras of Italy and France takes place on the Legend, a yacht that accommodates just 208 lucky travelers who will be spoiled by complimentary room service 24 hours a day (think romantic candlelit meals on one’s veranda) and private nooks for watching the sun set. Stops include historic resort towns like Santa Margherita Ligure (where passengers can see a castle built in 1550 to protect the area from North African pirate attacks), Corsica (for a visit to the dramatic orange-and-pink rock formations), Portofino, Nice and the final destination of Monaco, which pretty much defines glamour in these parts. (800) 929-9391, www.seabourn.com

FOR FAMILIES

Disney’s 12-Night Northern European Capitals Cruise
DETAILS: Departs from Dover, England, on June 12, 24; July 6, 18
FROM: $3,469 per person

A trip to Disney World may not appeal to all adults, but a cruise on a Disney ship, with its 10 decks, three pools and — count ’em — 13 activity centers for kids ranging in age from a few months old to 17 years old, makes the idea of 12 nights on the high seas with one’s brood a lot more attractive. Not only do they have an incredible staff-to-passenger ratio for a ship that maxes out at 2,400 guests (about one staff member to every 2.5 guests), they have plenty to keep kids and adults alike occupied. The voyage on the Disney Magic sails from Dover to Oslo, Copenhagen, St. Petersburg (with an overnight), Helsinki or Tallinn (depending on departure date), and Stockholm. Each port has the expected in terms of incredible architecture and (often) shopping, but there are also surprises like a water park in Helsinki, the incredible palaces of St. Petersburg and the fact that Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. (800) 951-3532, www.disneycruise.disney.go.com

FOR EXPLORERS/NATURE LOVERS

Orion Expedition Cruises, Kimberley Expedition
DETAILS: Departs from Darwin or Broome, Australia, on May 21; June 10, 20, 30; July 20, 30; and Aug. 9
FROM: $7,735

While it’s true that it’s winter in Australia when it’s summer in the States, winter in the Northwest Region of Oz means highs in the mid-80s and lows in the mid-50s — pretty idyllic weather for exploring. And there will be plenty of that on these cruises, which offer island expeditions via Zodiac for bird-watching; checking out rock art dating to the 1800s; hiking to 300-foot waterfalls; swimming in rock pools; fishing for barramundi, jewfish, golden snapper and threadfin salmon; or scuba diving around shipwrecks. (877) 674-6687, www.orionexpeditions.com