We know summer hasn’t even started yet, but it’s never too early to start planning a winter cruise. freezing temperatures, slushy snow and very little daylight, it’s no wonder so many people escape to warmer climates. And there’s no better way to get your dose of vitamin D than on a cruise.
If you’re looking to get away from the overall gloom of the winter months, there are plenty of options for fabulous winter cruises to hot and dreamy destinations right at your fingertips. Here are some of our favourites.
The Canary Islands
The popularity of the Canary Islands comes down to its year-round subtropical weather, tranquil beaches and volcanic sands. The most popular of the islands – Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma and Fuerteventura – all have cruise ports and a variety of attractions between them like banana plantations, massive volcanic craters and magnificent coastlines.
The region’s temperate climate also means that the summers are long and warm and the winters are just as toasty – with average temperatures of 20°C. You’ll be a world away from the chilly nights in the UK and return home with a golden glow and well-rested complexion.
With one of the longest histories of any country, Greece is a fantastic destination for history buffs and architecture lovers. Numerous cruise lines head to this diverse country, where you can do everything from take tours through ancient Byzantine churches to strolls through eclectic markets and bag a few local bargains.
Stop off in Crete, Santorini and Mykonos and explore the vibrant islands with their cafes, bars and boutiques. Greece has a Mediterranean climate, which means the winter months are mild with highs of 17°C – plenty warm enough to leave those coats behind and soak up the sunshine.
Turkey’s tourism industry is in full bloom during the winter and the cruise industry is no exception. Turkey has so much to see and discover with a fantastic array of beaches, stunning landscapes and fascinating history.
Cruise to the popular city Alayna and revel in the expanse of gorgeous sands – including Cleopatra Beach where the Queen herself famously went for a dip.
The coastal areas of Turkey have a typical Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and mild winters. It’s a great escape from the chilliness back home.
Visit the little islands just off Australia’s shores including Lifou and New Caledonia’s Noumea. These French colonies are known for their magnificent landscapes and secluded beaches.
There’s plenty to do and see, from roaming through hidden caves to scuba diving and snorkelling through one of the world’s longest barrier reefs.
Finish your cruise by visiting the cosmopolitan city of Sydney in Australia. There you can tour the iconic Sydney Opera House and take surfing lessons on Bondi Beach. Afternoons can be spent wandering through the Royal Botanic Gardens, or if you have children, the Taronga Zoo, where you can meet chimpanzees, gorillas and the wild cats of Asia.
The Caribbean is known as having some of the most desirable weather on the planet. Temperatures here stay between 24°C and 29°C all year round, making this destination ideal for a winter cruise. The months between December and April are the Caribbean’s peak time for tourism, when it’s warm enough to be on the beach all day, but cool enough to sleep peacefully.
A popular Caribbean cruise spot is Barbados. This British Commonwealth island takes after the UK in many ways, not least because it has lots of wonderful cafes serving high tea and historic buildings to explore. Barbados is also big on shopping, with tons of high-end boutiques for you to discover. Afterwards you can spend your afternoon scuba diving at Dottin’s Reef or visiting the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogue.
Other popular Caribbean cruise destinations include Aruba, St. Lucia and Antigua. Visit Aruba’s glistening casinos, St. Lucia’s drive through Volcano and some of Antigua’s 365 beaches. If you’re stopping over in Antigua, don’t miss a trip to Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. This English harbour was once home to the British feet during the Napoleonic wars.
Cuba is blessed with tropical weather all year round, with their most popular season falling between November and April, during the dry season. Several cruise ships dock in the busy hub of Havana, where you can spend a day exploring the streets lined with colourful buildings and Spanish Colonial architecture.
But it’s not just about the buildings. Havana’s natural beauty is incredible. Its rolling mountains are the backdrop to white sandy beaches speckled with tropical palm trees make it a fantastic spot to unwind and soak up the heat. This vibrant city has tons of events taking place on their streets, including live local musicians and salsa dancing. Throughout the city you’ll find 1950’s American cars that have been kept in pristine condition, a must visit for any car enthusiasts.