Cruising offers so much more than your traditional fun in the sun. While the summer months bustle with the most passengers and liveliest itineraries, winter cruises are gaining influence for a range of reasons. A whole new range of destinations open up in the winter months to make cruising at this time of year a joy. In fact, many of them either make the most of the summer of the southern hemisphere or visit places so hot that you’re nice and toasty nonetheless.
Factor in the likes of Christmas markets, onboard festivities and the affordability of winter cruise offers, and it might just be the best time to cruise after all. We’ve put together the best winter cruises by destination to inspire you below.
Winter sun is perhaps at its most definitive in the Caribbean. The crowds are also less pronounced if you take advantage of the sunny temperatures during the more conventional winter months. While the weatherman delivers frosty news to your nearest and dearest back home, you can sip margaritas on the deck and plan your next big beach break as you serenely cruise from one island to the next.
The best part about Caribbean cruises is that by mid-December, when hurricane season has settled down, the skies are blazing blue and temptingly tranquil. It’s why you’ll see lines like P&O Cruises offering itineraries in the Caribbean every winter, visiting some of the area’s iconic ports, including Barbados, St Lucia and Dominica.
Keeping the sunny theme rolling, perhaps the best place in the world for winter sun is a region where it’s summer while we’re in winter’s grasp. Australia is a cruise destination that’s consistently growing in popularity, especially with gorgeous cities by the sea on offer. It’s a skyline unlike any other, and you’re given plenty of time to enjoy it on some of the most advanced cruise ships ever set onto the ocean waves.
It’s the incredible cruise ships of Royal Caribbean® that make their home in Australian seas every winter. If you’re after cocktails mixed by a robotic bartender and entertainment rivalling even that of the Sydney Opera House, it’s definitely the line to consider.
The Far East
Many of the top Eastern cruise destinations, such as Hong Kong, have hot climates all year round due to being closer to the equator. As such, they’re pretty popular for winter cruises of an altogether more exotic flavour. They also stop at some of South East Asia’s most exciting cities, including bustling Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.
While countless lines have begun favouring the sights, spices, sounds and sensations of the Far East in recent years, the prestigious voyages offered by Princess Cruises are the best way to see the East in style, comfort and elegance.
Sometimes the greatest winter warmth can be found closest to home. When winter comes around, festive markets and other celebrations to ring in the new year bring the continent to life with vitality and colour. This kind of cruise is proving massively popular for bargain hunters and culture lovers alike, and cruise lines like Fred. Olsen make regular stops at Hamburg and Copenhagen during the festive season. Scandinavia is another hotspot for those embracing the brisk winter weather.
Further south in Europe than those bustling Christmas markets, life takes a slow pace come winter, although infused with the kind of passionate lifestyles that embody the Mediterranean so well. As such, a combination of warm weather and appealing destinations makes this corner of the map a superb winter cruise choice.
As a native to the Med, MSC Cruises are often the way to go for a winter cruise here, with sophisticated ships that bring the warmth of the region right into your cabin. The best part about the Mediterranean is its variety, with Spain and Italy tucked to the west, Greece and its myriad islands at the east, and the more exotic likes of Tunisia and Morocco down along the southern Maghreb coast. Spoilt for choice is an understatement.
Sometimes the most memorable cruises are those where your days are spent almost entirely at sea, and the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean makes that escape all the more bracing. Whether you’re going from the Old World to the New World in winter or vice-versa, it’s a sublime way to make the most of a voyage.
That said, the time you spend on land is well invested as well. Cunard offers a great transatlantic crossing, which either docks or sails from New York City, which we all know as the ultimate shopper’s paradise. It’s the perfect place to get some last minute Christmas gifts.
A cruise won’t get much more wintry than this, and the breathtakingly bleak landscapes and sharp contours of the White Continent make for a journey unlike any holiday stories your friends will share with you. Cruise ships taking this route keep your comfort as a priority, and even the major lines are getting in on the action, such as Holland America Line.
The range of winter cruise destinations has never been greater, and winter cruise deals these days are incredibly competitive. Don’t be shy in speaking with us to help you find your most inspiring seasonal cruise.
Do you plan to go on any of these cruises this winter? Let us know in the comments!
We are acting as an agent on behalf of travel suppliers and your booking will be subject to the supplier’s terms and conditions. Prices may be subject to very limited availability and are correct as at the date and time of writing. Prices may go up or down from time to time. Prices quoted are for the dates, accommodation, board basis, departure points and number of persons sharing specified only and cannot be combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to amend any quotes given if there is a genuine error as soon as we become aware of it. We reserve the right to withdraw any offers without notice.