Okay, it might not have worked out as a good year for cruising, following the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. However, it’s the perfect time to start planning 2021 cruises.

While we might be quarantined to our houses for now, it’s not going to be forever, and we will all get the chance to safely cruise again soon.

Make the most of your time in lockdown by planning your dream cruise for 2021, from a luxury polar expedition to a historic sun-soaked sailing down the River Nile. It’s time to get dreaming…

1. CroisiEurope’s Venice to Mantua cruise

2021 cruises
The ship will dock in the Venetian lagoon and act as a floating hotel

 

Italy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, so a cruise to this gorgeous, friendly country is a chance to not only have an incredible cruise, but to give its economy a much-needed boost.

Sailing the river Po and the Venetian Lagoon, CroisiEurope’s MS Michaelangelo is the river cruise ship to be on in 2021. The ship sails itineraries covering Milan, Lake Como, Mantua, Cremona and Venice, allowing you to explore three divine Italian regions.

We’ve got our eye on the 7-day ‘From the Canals of Venice to Renaissance-infused Mantua’ cruise, a slow sailing where the ship acts more like a floating hotel than a ship. Overnight stays in Venice and Mantua, allowing you to take in local nightlife and eateries, as well as sights, are a major pull.

Get on Board

7-day Venice to Mantua cruise on MS Michelangelo via Rovigo and Valdarno, departing on 22 May 2021, from £1,313, croisieurope.co.uk

2. Oceania Cruises’ Around the World in 180 Days

2021 cruises Oceania in Miami
Sail from glorious Miami on a global adventure

 

A year off cruising is the excuse you need to book a world cruise, right? The idea of getting away for 180 days practically has us salivating, and Oceania Cruises is whetting our appetite with its immense 2021 world cruise.

Sailing from Miami to New York, via pretty much the entire world, the cruise will take you on an adventure through the world’s oceans, sailing through the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific islands, Australasia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East and finally Europe and the Mediterranean. Now that makes up for the lack of cruising in 2020…

Get on Board

180-day cruise aboard Insignia, from Miami to New York via South America, Australasia, Asia, Middle East and Europe, departing on 9 January 2021, from £34,479, oceaniacruises.com

3. Viking Cruises Pharaohs and Pyramids

2021 cruise Nile river cruise
Cruising the Nile is a true bucket list experience

 

Sailing down the Nile is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, perfect for sun-seekers and history lovers alike. Journey down the fabled banks of one of the world’s most famous waterways with Viking Cruises, on its new luxury river ship Viking Osiris.

Sailing from Cairo you’ll venture past Ancient Egyptian tombs, palaces and temples, all from the comfort of the Scandi-chic ship, complete with sun deck pool, Aquavit Terrace and spacious staterooms.

Get on Board

12-day Pharaohs and Pyramids cruise aboard Viking Osiris, round-trip from Cairo via Luxor, Qena, Esna and Aswan, departing on 20 January 2021, from £5,225, vikingrivercruises.co.uk

4. Norwegian Fjords cruise aboard P&O Cruises’ Iona

2021 cruises: Norwegian Fjords
Iona passengers are able to sail through the spectacular Norwegian fjords

 

By next year, P&O Cruises’ incredible new super ship Iona will be sailing, and she really is something special. The largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market, Iona will be a sailing haven of modern, chic interiors, countless drinking and dining options, a host of entertainment and amazing features like a sprawling skydome and the world’s first gin distillery at sea.

With that said, there are few better ways to take in the sheer beauty of the Norwegian Fjords than on Iona, sailing through clear waters and past towering rugged cliffs, breathing in the fresh Norwegian air as you sip on a glass of P&O’s own blend of Salcombe Gin. Now that’s what freedom tastes like…

Get on Board

7-night Norwegian Fjords cruise aboard Iona, round-trip from Southampton via Stavanger, Nordefjord and Geiranger, departing on 10 July 2021, from £679, pocruises.com

5. Crystal Endeavor’s Antarctica and the Ross Sea Expedition

2021 cruises Crystal Endeavor
Crystal Endeavor will take guests on siz-star expedition cruises

 

Think of a Crystal Cruises cruise, but instead of sailing around the sun-soaked Pacific or Mediterranean, or even down one of Europe’s rivers, your sailing through the icy wilds of Antarctica. The ultra-luxury cruise line has a stunning new expedition ship launching next year, Crystal Endeavor, and there’s never been a better excuse to get booking.

Sailing for 22 nights, you’ll venture from Christchurch to Hobart, via Antarctica’s Ross Island in six-star accommodation, complete with butler service and a Nobu restaurant on board. Be prepared to meet penguins, trek glaciers and scale the southernmost active volcano on earth – now that was worth the wait.

Get on Board

22-night Antarctica & The Ross Sea Expedition cruise aboard Crystal Endeavor, from Christchurch to Hobart via Ross Island, Coulman Island and the Balleny Islands, departing 28 January 2021, from £26,371, crystalcruises.co.uk

6. Ponant’s The Essential Maldives

2021 cruises Maldives
Sail the Maldives on Ponant’s luxurious vessels

 

Luxury French line Ponant has launched two new 92-cabin vessels, Le Lapérouse and Le Bougainville, and the cruises on both of them for next year are pretty awesome. Small, intimate and environmentally friendly, Le Lapérouse has the feeling of a chic beachy French summerhouse rather than a ship.

What makes it special is its Blue Eye Lounge, a multi-sensory underwater lounge and bar deep within the ship where you can watch wildlife as you enjoy a cold one. Treat yourself to a sailing around the Maldives on this gorgeous ship, enjoying eight nights hopping from one paradise islet to the next.

Get on Board

8-night The Essential Maldives cruise aboard Le Lapérouse, from Male to Colombo via Mulaku Atoll and Baa Atoll, departing on 2 February 2021, from £3,120, uk.ponant.com

7. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Greek Islands & Corinth Canal

2021 cruises Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred Olsen’s Braemar was the largest ship to navigate the Corinth Canal

 

Last year, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines made the headlines when its ship Braemar became the largest ship to ever navigate the pin-thin Corinth Canal. The pictures were pretty extraordinary, and it was only ever meant to be a once-off, but things changed.

The line has introduced more itineraries with the Corinth Canal for 2021, meaning anyone can experience this thrilling sailing and nervewracking sailing through the Canal. Combined with a dreamy Greek islands cruise and you’re good to go – the perfect mixture of relaxation and excitement.

Get on Board

25-night sailing aboard Braemar, round-trip from Southampton via Valletta, Rhodes, Corinth Canal and Ibiza, departing on 16 April 2021, from £4,999, fredolsencruises.com