Top 10 Places to Cruise During the Winter
Once winter rolls around, it’s easy to get into a bit of a slump. It’s cold, dark and snowy — you may even start to regret wishing summer away so quickly. For some, an escape from the frigid temperatures and snow is the perfect way to cope with the long winter months.
If that’s you, here are 10 of the best cruises you can take this winter to make the most out of the season that makes everyone want to do absolutely nothing.
1. The Caribbean
The Caribbean islands are the classic winter cruise destination. Escape to a tropical paradise complete with palm trees, white sand and crystal-clear waters, where the typical weather is sunny and in the 80s. Most Caribbean cruises will include three or four destinations, since the islands are so close together, which is another perk.
2. Australia and New Zealand
Winter is a great time to take a cruise to Australia and New Zealand because it’s their summer. From late November until March, it can get quite warm Down Under — anywhere from the upper 70s to 90 degrees or more in some areas. The plus side to exploring these countries on a cruise ship is that you’ll almost always be close to the shoreline, where the temperatures aren’t too scorching.
3. Southeast Asia
Exploring countries in Southeast Asia — such as Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, and Vietnam — is best to do in the winter because it’s so hot and humid in this area during the summer.
While it’d take years to explore all of Europe, you can choose from several areas within the continent to cruise to for an incredible vacation. From the gorgeous beaches of France and Spain to the rolling mountains in the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, Europe has something to offer for anyone. You can also explore Iceland or the British Isles, including England, Ireland, and Scotland.
5. Galapagos Islands
Many people love traveling to the Galapagos Islands, which straddle the equator and feature an incredible variety of nature and wildlife. You’d likely have to fly to Ecuador to catch your boat to this destination — it’s about 600 miles off the coast. It’s summer in the Galapagos Islands during our winter, making it the perfect time to check out this volcanic archipelago and wildlife preserve.
There’s no need to leave the U.S. to escape the cold this winter — set sail to Hawaii to enjoy the warmth you’re craving. Winter temperatures in Hawaii are in the high 70s, so it’s worth the long journey to reach the tropical cluster of islands. Typically, you can choose from 7, 10 or 15-day itineraries to get to The Aloha State.
7. The South Pacific
The South Pacific includes a few islands off the coast of Australia, such as the French colonies of Noumea and Lifou. Fiji, and Tahiti are also popular locations in this area. You can scuba dive, explore hidden caves, and more at these destinations known for their secluded beaches and extraordinary views. Barrier reefs are another exciting draw to Southeast Asia, especially for a cruise.
8. South America
South America is a unique option for a winter cruise. Take in beautiful views and warm temperatures as you sail along one of two standard options for a South American cruise:
- Cruises along the Amazon River, where you’ll leave from Rio de Janeiro or another nearby port.
- Around-the-horn cruises in Punta Arenas, Buenos Aires and more.
No matter which route you choose, you’re sure to enjoy temperatures in at least the mid-70s in this area between November and March.
9. The Mexican Riviera
If you’re departing from the West Coast, a Mexican Riviera cruise may be an ideal winter getaway — even though not all West Coasters experience true winter weather themselves. Still, a winter vacation may be a good idea to relax before, after, or during the holidays. Several cruise lines and ships sail the Riviera each winter, so you’ll have plenty of options regarding your cruise’s length and price range.
10. Central America and the Panama Canal
If you or one of your travel buddies are a big history buff, you may enjoy cruising along the Panama Canal throughout Central America. Depending on where you’re leaving from, you can either go from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa. You’ll enjoy magnificent views during your journey along this 50-mile waterway.
The Time to Plan Your Winter Cruise Is Now
No matter which of these 10 destinations you choose, you’re sure to be warmer — and way more relaxed and entertained — than if you stayed home to endure the entire winter season. Give yourself at least a week’s break from the cold by planning one of these fantastic winter cruise getaways.