If you find yourself daydreaming of tropical beaches and sunny skies during the frigid winter months, escape the cold on one of the best winter cruises to unforgettable destinations across the globe.
In the winter, our ships transition from seasonal locations like Alaska and Europe to sunny locales in the Caribbean and Southern Hemisphere. Luckily, this means you have many cruise ships and itineraries to choose from during the winter months.
Here are the best winter cruises that will warm you up in no time.
1: The Bahamas, Mexico & Grand Cayman
Embark on a leisurely seven-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale to three contrasting destinations: Nassau, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman.
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is a delightful city, packed with colorful colonial-era architecture, shops, restaurants, and markets. The Straw Market is the best place to go for locally made souvenirs, bags and purses, hats, hand-rolled cigars, and other souvenirs.
For some of the best beaches near Nassau, head across to Blue Lagoon Island and play castaway as you swing in a hammock under the palm trees.
If it’s adventure you’re after, then head for the fantastic Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis on Paradise Island. Here, you can plummet down high-speed water slides or wander through underwater tunnels at Predator Lagoon and watch sharks circling overhead.
Cozumel, encircled by reefs, has some of the finest snorkeling in the Caribbean. You could spot pink and turquoise parrotfish, striped sergeant majors, lobsters, moray eels, and graceful sea turtles, as well as coral gardens in dazzling colors.
For a step back in time, take a day trip to spectacular Tulum, an ancient Mayan site looking down on white sand beaches and aquamarine shallows.
Or for a taste of the local culinary scene, join a chocolate-making workshop to craft your own bar of Mexican chocolate, or go to a margarita-making masterclass.
Sophisticated Grand Cayman is known for its fine dining scene, as well as superb snorkeling over reefs and wrecks.
One of the best things to do in Grand Cayman is to head to Stingray City, where you can stand on a shallow sandbar and hand-feed docile stingrays.
In George Town, stroll through the lush Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park, where there’s a conservation project to protect the blue iguana.
This itinerary also includes three blissful days at sea, during which you can enjoy the world-class restaurants and entertainment on the new Celebrity Ascent and relax by the pool.
2: The Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands is an archipelago off the coast of Ecuador filled with breathtaking nature and wildlife. Visiting these islands is one of the best winter cruises to take thanks to its year-round mild weather.
Marvel at the Galapagos tortoises, which can live to be over 100 years old. Snorkel alongside seals, and see the Galapagos birds that helped shape Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Enjoy the surreal landscapes from vantage points on both land and at sea. For an especially luxurious viewing experience, sail on Celebrity Flora, which was designed exclusively for sailing the Galapagos.
3: Southern Caribbean
On an Ultimate Southern Caribbean cruise, winter means white sand beaches, tropical cocktails, splashing in the sea, and exciting excursions and amenities at every turn. This 10-night cruise leaves from Ft. Lauderdale and takes you to world-class destinations with four fun-filled days at sea.
Get a unique and up-close look at jets as they roar just over your head at Maho Beach (“Jet Blast Beach”), right next to the airport in St. Maarten. In Roseau, hike to Trafalgar Falls and then enjoy the strange sensation of swimming through bubbles at Champagne Beach.
In Barbados, take nature watching to a thrilling new level with a 4×4 safari into the Barbados Wildlife Reserve to see species native only to the island.
Antigua offers the chance to join a yoga class on the beach or take part in a rum punch-making class. Don’t miss historic Nelson’s Dockyard to see the beautifully preserved 18th-century architecture.
If you can tear yourself away from the soft, sandy beaches of St. Kitts, take a ride on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, a century-old railway that was originally used to bring sugar cane from the fields to the mill in Basseterre.
Today, the train trundles past sleepy villages, deep canyons, former plantation houses, and working farms against a backdrop of high volcanic peaks on one side and the sparkling blue Caribbean on the other.
4: Key West, Belize, Cozumel & Grand Cayman
See the best of Key West, Belize, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman on a seven-night winter cruise that’s sure to delight and excite you.
Your first stop is boho Key West, where you can explore the popular bars, historic homes, and museums on Duval St. and Mallory Square. Join a boat tour to spot wild dolphins, or take an educational tour of the famous Shipwreck Museum.
Go on an adventure in Belize, where you’ll be immersed in nature when you take a riverboat tour to spot local howler monkeys, crocodiles, and hundreds of indigenous bird species. Then, refresh yourself with a mango smoothie as you explore local jade markets, and tour the historic city center before boarding your ship for the next adventure.
The next morning, you’ll wake up in Cozumel, where you can explore incredibly preserved Mayan ruins, have a cocktail at a swim-up bar, and check out one of the many popular shopping districts. Don’t miss a trip to the stunning Sian Kaʼan Biosphere Reserve near Tulum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its natural beauty.
Your last stop on this fabulous winter cruise is Grand Cayman, which blends its status as an international finance center with the persona of a laid-back Caribbean island.
Stroll along Seven Mile Beach, hand-feed stingrays at Stingray City, or snorkel over vibrant coral reefs. You can even experience snorkeling in Grand Cayman over a wreck, the World War II USS Kittiwake.
5: Puerto Rico, Tortola, & St. Kitts
Get your share of sunshine and relaxation on a cruise to Puerto Rico and beyond. In Old San Juan, visit historic fortresses, wander the cobblestoned steps of the atmospheric city center, and savor delicious Latin American food and drinks such as mofongo and mojitos.
When you cruise to the British Virgin Islands, you’ll stop in Tortola, which promises a long, lazy day on white sand under the palm trees. If you feel like being a little more active, you can head to nearby Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda on a day excursion, where there are plenty of excellent diving sites for avid snorkelers and scuba divers to enjoy.
On Virgin Gorda, don’t miss The Baths, a stretch of giant, tumbled rocks through which you can clamber. Stop to cool off in hidden lagoons and shallows at this beautiful spot.
Round out your winter cruise adventure in St. Kitts, where colonial traditions meet modern Caribbean style, all within reach of some of the region’s best beaches.
Shop for handmade batik clothing in the markets at Independence Square. Take a tour over to Nevis, the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, where you’ll find hiking, scuba diving, and unprecedented views from atop Nevis Peak.
6: Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Thomas & Puerto Plata
Explore some of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean on this seven-night winter getaway from Fort Lauderdale.
In Old San Juan, take a rum tour at the world-famous Bacardi headquarters, and spice up your day in port before investigating the city’s shopping and food delicacies.
Next, learn about local art and culture at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, where you can experience both the pre-Spanish and post-Spanish impact that art has had on the island.
St. Maarten, shared by the Netherlands and France, has plenty of local flavor. Shop for French fashions in pretty Marigot, or head to Grand Case village for a gourmet lunch overlooking the water.
If you choose to stay on the Dutch side, you’ll find fantastic duty-free shopping in Philipsburg. Visit Maho Beach, located at the end of the runway of the international airport, and experience the blast of huge jets roaring overhead.
As you arrive in St. Thomas on this seven-night winter cruise, you’ll be greeted by the gorgeous shoreline of Charlotte Amalie.
Visit the entertaining Pirates Treasure museum, where you can learn about the island’s pirating history with hands-on, interactive experiences. End your stay at Magens Bay Beach, a gorgeous beach in St. Thomas with a serene natural cove surrounded by low hills.
Puerto Plata, meanwhile, is the gateway to adventure. Slide down natural rock chutes at the 27 Charcos de Damajagua, a series of waterfalls and cool pools. Explore the countryside on an ATV, stopping to see how coffee is grown, or paddle a kayak through a nature reserve to spot manatees in the wild.
7: New Zealand
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere means long, sunny days in New Zealand, which is enjoying the height of summer at this time. These are days for the beach, long coastal hikes, and trips amid rolling vineyards to taste world-class wines.
The scenery is truly spectacular, especially in Milford, Dusky, and Doubtful Sounds, where mountains and ribbon-like waterfalls plunge straight into the still water.
Sail to New Zealand from Sydney, Australia on the luxurious Celebrity Edge. You’ll visit cosmopolitan Auckland, where there are some superb museums, including the Auckland Art Gallery, as well as the soaring Sky Tower, from which you can spot no less than 53 volcanoes.
Learn about Māori culture in Tauranga, and discover the alluring art deco architecture of Napier and the strong Scottish influences of Dunedin.
New Zealand is known for its fantastic food scene, whether you want to taste the famous lamb, learn about artisan coffee, or sample pavlova, a gooey meringue piled high with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
8: New Orleans & The Caribbean
Sail from Tampa to New Orleans and then head south to Central America on this exciting winter voyage.
What’s enticing about this winter cruise is that you’ll have two overnights in the Big Easy, with ample time to explore the jazz bars of the French Quarter and the renowned Southern cuisine.
Take a cruise along the Mississippi, browse the tempting stalls at the French Market, and visit the dramatic St. Louis Cathedral. After dark, why not join a ghost walk with a local historian?
There’s a complete change of scene at your next port, Roatan in Honduras, a gateway to adventure on land and at sea.
Snorkel over the dazzling corals of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, or fly high above the rainforest canopy on a zipline on the lookout for monkeys and parrots. Paddle a kayak through the mangroves or simply kick back on a gorgeous sandy beach.
There’s more fun to be had at Belize City, where you can drift through a dramatic cave system on an inner tube or take a boat cruise along the Belize River in search of manatees, dolphins, and crocodiles. There are also excursions to the fascinating Mayan ruins of Altun Ha, deep in the forest.
Your final stop is Cozumel, where the crystalline waters and teeming reefs of the National Marine Park beckon snorkelers.
Or perhaps use this stop for a deep dive into Mexican cuisine, with a chocolate-making workshop or a “Mexologist” class, in which you’ll learn to make the perfect guacamole to go with your margarita.
9: Canaries, Morocco, & Spain
Sail from Barcelona to the sun-drenched Canary Islands, basking in the Atlantic off the west coast of Africa. This Spanish-owned archipelago enjoys year-round sun and is a popular winter escape among Europeans.
Each island is different, although they’re all volcanic. In Tenerife, you could take the cable car up Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, and throw a snowball before descending for evening beers on the beach in the sunshine. Fuerteventura has endless sandy beaches, desert-like mountains, and a cool surf scene.
Gran Canaria, meanwhile, is much greener, with towering mountains and wooded valleys as well as glorious beaches. The capital, Las Palmas, is an elegant beachfront city with an atmospheric heart. Columbus is reputed to have stayed here in one of the whitewashed houses before embarking on his transatlantic crossing to the Americas.
These winter cruises also introduce you to the ancient culture of Morocco, where the cities bustle with colorful markets, and graceful minarets pierce the sky.
Casablanca, immortalized on the silver screen, has an aura of romance as you wander around the medina, the old center, where spices are piled high on market stalls and locals sip sweet mint tea in tiny cafes.
Your last port of call on this fascinating voyage is ancient Cadiz, in Spain. While Cadiz, one of the oldest cities in Europe, is fascinating in itself, it’s also the jumping-off point for glorious Seville. Here, the historic center is packed with exquisite palaces built by the Moors, and narrow, whitewashed alleys concealing alluring tapas bars.
10: Egypt & Israel
Step back 4,000 years in time on a 10-night cruise to Israel and Egypt from Athens, which includes three overnight stays, allowing you to get to the heart of each place.
In Haifa, you can explore the cascading Baha’i Gardens, or join a tour to Galilee and Nazareth to see the sites where Jesus preached, including the Mount of Beatitudes, from where he delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
From Ashdod, there’s an astonishing amount to take in. Visit Jerusalem for the Wailing Wall and the Via Dolorosa, or modern Tel Aviv and in contrast, Old Jaffa, which dates back to the time of the Old Testament. You could head to the Dead Sea, too, to visit the poignant clifftop site of Masada and float in the mineral-rich water.
Alexandria, in Egypt, is within reach of Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza, as well as the Sphinx and the superb Egyptian Museum of Civilization.
The port itself has a rich history and some extraordinary architecture, as you’ll find when you visit the ultra-modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, one of the best things to do in Alexandria. This impressive and vast library houses ancient scrolls and underwater archaeological finds, as well as two million books and several thought-provoking museums.
Your final night on this epic voyage is in Athens, where there’s one thing every visitor should do after dark: head for a rooftop bar and drink in the breathtaking views of the Acropolis, floodlit gleaming white in the moonlight.
Start planning your winter cruise today. Browse our cruise itineraries to some of the best winter cruise destinations around the world.