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10 Best Destinations for Winter Cruises

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Looking for an amazing winter cruise to escape the cold weather? Check out some of the best destinations for winter cruises here.

Even though winter is not yet here, we believe that this is the best time to plan and prepare for a winter cruise. The summer is over and the cooler temperatures are already kicking in. It is best to look for and book a cruise for winter early enough.

college image of cruise ship on Panama canal, coast of Italy, Sydney opera house, Galapagos Islands, Hawaiian beach, and penguins with title text reading "10 Winter Cruise Destinations"

Winter cruises do not only serve to help you escape the cold season. Depending on your destination, you can be able to have a good time on a winter cruise. There are many amazing destinations for a winter cruise and in this article you can find some of the best selections for winter cruise destinations.

10 Best Destinations for Winter Cruises

1.    Australia and New Zealand

Both Sydney in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand pack beautiful surprises for cruise lovers. Sydney harbor is home to the Sydney Opera house where you get to see some tantalizing performances.

Sydney Opera House on the water with a city skyline in the background

There is also the Sydney Harbor bridge which allows you to have amazing views of the city and beyond from one spot.

Auckland is a very exciting city to be in as well. The locals are friendly here and you can engage in lots of activities as you enjoy great scenery and landscapes.

Go for a snorkeling in the great barrier reef in Auckland. If you’re scuba certified, you’ll find some of the best scuba diving in the world in Australia.

2.    Galapagos Islands

You do not need a specific season to push you to go on a cruise here. They happen all year round.

The subtropical location of these islands guarantees that the weather will be warm throughout the year, making this spot a perfect winter destination.  The seas are also warm and calm here, with amazing visibility, allowing for perfect snorkeling.

galapagos islands surrounded by blue water

You will be able to see some amazing sea wildlife, including sea lions and turtles in Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. If you visit in December, you might be able to witness giant turtles laying eggs.

3.    Cruise the Mexican Riviera

Looking for an affordable getaway cruise? Head off to explore the Mexican Riviera. This is one spot that is always warm all year round.

There are great sites to discover and explore. The Mazatlán’s, Puerto Vallarta’s Sierra Madre mountains are charming and inviting.

You will be able to watch cliff divers do their thing in these spots. Head off into the town and enjoy some great tequila.

4.    Caribbean and Bahamas

The perfect climate in the Caribbean and Bahamas makes this place an all-time favorite escape from the dreaded cold of the winter.

You can soak in the sun in the majestic beaches located everywhere on these islands or you can make a dive into the crystal-clear waters from any one of several Caribbean cruises.

There are many places to visit including Punta Lana, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Barbados and others.

5.    Cuba

Over the last few decades, Cuba had been experiencing some political turmoil which made people stay away from this beautiful winter destination. These were later resolved and the nation is among some of best destinations for a winter cruise.

There is so much to do and see in Cuba with cities like Havana, Trinidad and Santiago offering amazing scenery, landscape and rich culture. The white sandy beaches are very beautiful and picturesque.

They are also less crowded than in other places. If you are looking for some adventure, head off to the tobacco fields and learn about how cigars are made.

The streets of Havana are made of music, dance and booze. They come alive at night and this is a spectacle to behold.

6.    Go for an Antarctica cruise

A cruise in the Antarctica circle is not for the weak-hearted. This is one of the coldest places in the planet, with winter starting in April. As the year progresses, the days start to lengthen as the sun comes along.

The best times to visit this destination is between October and March. Between December and January, you get to witness penguin colonies and watch them as they hatch.

penguins standing on ice

This is the time when the ocean will be seething with life. You can see the giant whales as they feed their young ones and if you are lucky you may also spot an elephant seal.

In January, these hatched seals are all over the place like excited children and it’s a sight to behold.

7.    The Panama Canal

Panama is one special vacation destination, no matter what time of the year you decide to go. The old city has a long and rich heritage, dating back to the year 1519 when it was established by the Spanish as they sought gold in the lands.

One of the most exciting thrills is to experience your cruise ship being lifted and lowered 170 feet by the massive canal locks. This is one of the engineering wonders of the world and to experience this is a wonderful feeling.

a ship on water entering the Panama Canal

You can even get the time to stand at the Gatun Locks Observatory and watch as they do their thing on other ships. It’s a satisfying activity. In this cruise, you get to see the wildlife in the densely populated rainforests of Panama and mix with the locals later for exciting cultural exchanges.

8.    Halong Bay, Southeast Asia

The Halong Bay is a very popular destination for people who love the eerie feeling and solitude. The weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing, particularly in the early morning and evening.

This site is a UNESCO world heritage protected site. You can visit the caves in the bay to admire the ice formations on the walls or simple relax out in a boat ride and enjoy the magical atmosphere around you.

9.    Visit Hawaii

Hawaii is a popular romantic destination. The weather allows for tours and visits all year round. There is so much to see here.

an island in Hawaii with boats on the water, houses, and green trees and mountains in the background

The cruises heading to Hawaii may be a little costly as more people tend to flock the destination, seeking to run away from the cold weather. You can enjoy some parasailing when they have not closed the venue for the whales.

The whales put on quite a spectacular show here. Join the locals for an evening of entertainment and learn more about their culture.

10. Europe

The Mediterranean cruises could also be quite captivating if you into fewer crowds, beautiful and colorful Christmas markets and little whitewashed villages. The cruise port towns you will visit usually have timeless beauty and history.

a beach with sand, the ocean, palm trees, and a blue sky

Rome and Athens for instance have been credited with ancient human civilization. Explore these ruins and enjoy the magical sceneries.

Or explore within the continent on a Viking River Cruise. Sail the Danube, Seine, Rhone, or any one of several other scenic European rivers.

Ready to book your winter getaway? Compare the cruise deals and cruise itineraries from reputable cruise lines (e.g. Princess Cruises, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line) to find your preferred travel time during the winter months and ideal destination.

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