Ask the cruise director: What is your favorite cruise destination?

Dec 26, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

One of the most popular cruise directors of the past decade, Matt Mitcham, is offering his insights to cruise fans in a series of pieces for The Points Guy. Presented in a question-and-answer-type format, the pieces originally appeared in The Points Guy’s cruise newsletter (sign up here). Mitcham retired from Carnival Cruise Line in August. 

Today’s question for Matt: What is your favorite cruise destination?


The Caribbean has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so picking just one favorite destination would be impossible. However, having been fortunate enough to spend almost 14 years sailing around the Caribbean, one of my personal favorites has always been Jamaica.

Jamaica had a bad rep for many years, but they’ve worked hard over the last decade to build up the tourism industry and make tourists feel safe. Don’t get me wrong, it still has some sketchy areas, but what country doesn’t. As long as you stay in the tourist spots, you’ll be fine.

Traveling anywhere overseas is all about using common sense. If you happen to walk down an alley and there are two men with ski masks on…it’s probably a good idea to moonwalk your booty back out of there.

Matt Mitcham
Matt Mitcham has traveled the world as cruise director. (Photo courtesy of Matt Mitcham)

One of the best parts about going on a cruise is all the incredible tax- and duty-free shopping available to you, and when it comes to shopping, Jamaica will not let you down. The trick is to purchase your souvenirs on the way back to the ship. It’s amazing to see how much the price drops when they know it’s your last chance to buy. Jamaican vendors carry everything from Bob Marley T-shirts to Rastafarian hats (which are always a hit with the men). It’s incredible how a few Red Stripe beers and a Rastafarian hat makes a man feel like he’s suddenly part of the “Cool Runnings” bobsled team.

Jamaica is also stunning in natural beauty, so make sure you get away from the port area. Check out some of the local attractions such as Dunn’s River Falls and the Blue Hole. And don’t even get me started on the food! Have you even really been to Jamaica if you haven’t tried the local jerk chicken? This savory treat is a must when visiting this chilled out little island.

Also, Alaska

Like many, Alaska was on my bucket list for years, and it definitely lived up to the hype. It really is a place that everyone should visit at least once. From glaciers to mountains and waterfalls, Alaska is just breathtaking.

I wouldn’t normally say a balcony is a must on a cruise, but for an Alaskan cruise, it really is. Nothing beats sitting on your balcony, wrapped in a blanket, with a hot cup of whiskey…I mean cocoa, watching all the incredible wildlife. Hopefully, you’re luckier than I was! I would sit for hours with my wife, just waiting for a glimpse of sea life, and like clockwork, every time I would go to the restroom a whale would leap out of the ocean. This is why I now travel with Depends… just kidding, Pampers are softer.

A balcony can come in handy on a cruise to Alaska. (Photo courtesy Princess Cruises)

On a Caribbean cruise, you spend most of your day laying on the beach, sipping on a cocktail. But in Alaska, you tend to be a lot more active. There are so many fascinating shore excursions to enjoy, from dogsledding down the glaciers to panning for gold, it’s just one adventure after another. Most people need a vacation after this vacation.

One thing you will notice is a change in the demographics on an Alaskan cruise. There aren’t many youngsters onboard. The good thing about this is the hot tubs are not full of children, and the elevators don’t stop on every floor. Hooray! As we’re in our mid-30s, we thought this might be a little boring. But let me tell you, these people know how to tear up the dance floor. You haven’t lived until you’ve done the cha-cha slide in slow motion.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Mitcham has served as cruise director on several Carnival ships including Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze. Known for his six-pack abs, shirtless selfies and effervescent personality, he was recently profiled in People magazine as the “hunky cruise director.” He was named the cruise world’s best cruise director in 2019 by the cruise industry’s leading magazine, Porthole. You can find him on Instagram at @mattcruisedirector. 

Featured image courtesy of Princess Cruises

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.