The glorious Canary Islands. Credit: Insider

Explore the glorious Canary Islands with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)

Author: Kaye Holland

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Cruise to the sun-blessed shores of the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands are a popular winter sun destination for travellers from the UK, and for good reason.

Just a short, four-hour flight from most UK airports, these eight Spanish islands – take a bow Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa – off the Moroccan coast have sunshine at times of the year when Europe is under a dark blanket.

Yet while balmy temperatures and year-round blue skies are arguably the Canary Islands’ biggest draw, the islands are also incredibly beautiful – and surprisingly diverse.

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Gran Canaria never disappoints. Credit: Shutterstock

Make no mistake: the eight main Canary Islands each have their own distinct charm and character.

Lanzarote, for instance, has unique architecture and a lunar landscape; Tenerife is blessed with a snow-capped volcano; Fuerteventura is famous for its rolling sand dunes; Gran Canaria has both historical towns and brilliant beaches, La Gomera is a favourite with foodies; the hidden treasure that is El Hierro serves up lush flora and fauna; La Palma is famed for its craggy rock formations and black-sand beaches; and La Graciosa, reported to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Treasure Island, remains wonderfully untouched with roads and cars conspicuous by their absence.

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But why settle for one Canary when you can have several? On a Canaries cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), explore everything that these Atlantic gems have to offer.

And on an NCL cruise to the Canary Islands, you're guaranteed as much enjoyment onboard Norwegian Sun as you are on-shore, thanks to a fantastic, award-winning entertainment programme, superior service, and a relaxed approach to cruising.

You're guaranteed as much enjoyment onboard Norwegian Sun as you are on-shore. Credit: Travel Weekly.

Imagine a cruise where you get total freedom and flexibility – no assigned dining and entertainment times and no formal dress codes. With Norwegian Cruise Line, you get all of this.

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It was, after all, the Miami-based cruise line that pioneered the concept of “freestyle cruising” – which sees dress codes and strict dining schedules scrapped – and it’s still the cruise line of choice for passengers who prefer a more laid back, informal vibe.

NCL’s Norwegian Sun sails to the Canaries and, following an extensive refurbishment in spring 2018, she is sparkling once more.

Daily activities onboard Norwegian Sun include aerobics classes and dance lessons, while by night there are polished Broadway-style production shows, pianists, cabaret, comedy, and dancing – every night is a night on the town.

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The food is pretty fantastic too with 14 dining venues to choose from. Enjoy a multi-course meal in Four Seasons or Seven Seas restaurant, grab a burger in the sports bar or upgrade to one of the eight specialty restaurants. Standouts include Los Lobos Cantina – the line's popular Mexican restaurant that offers a fresh take on traditional favourites – and a chi-chi sushi bar.

Cabins are comfortable, with plenty of storage, and come in ​​four categories. Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line.

Want to be a healthy hedonist? Head to the first-rate fitness centre, flex your muscles on the sports court or expel any toxins in the full-service spa.

Despite being one of NCL’s smaller ships – Norwegian Sun can accommodate 1,936 passengers compared to the cruise line’s Breakaway Plus class ships – cabins are comfortable, with plenty of storage, and come in ​​four categories: Inside cabins, ocean-view cabins, balcony cabins, and suites.

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Our tip? Upgrade to a NCL Free at Sea package which allows you to enjoy an open bar, speciality dining, an internet package, shore excursion credit, a fabulous friends and family offer and much, much more.

Ready to enjoy a winter-sun escape brimming with beach life, history, hiking, and some of the best food and service at sea? Credit: KE Adventure Travel.

Ready to enjoy a winter-sun escape brimming with beach life, history, hiking, and some of the best food and service at sea? ​​A cruise to the Canaries with NCL could be just the ticket.

Here are six enticing NCL cruises to the Canary Islands to try…

Eight-day Europe: Spain & Morocco
Departing from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of Tenerife, on March 25, 2023, this eight-day cruise onboard Norwegian Sun calls at nine ports including Las Palmas, the lively capital of Gran Canaria, and Arrecife – Lanzarote's small capital. From £698 per person.

10-day Europe: Spain, Madeira & Canary Islands from Lisbon
Got 10 days to kill? Board Norwegian Sun and spend 10 incredible days island-hopping around the Canaries – ports of call include Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas, and Arrecife. There are various sailings from November 2022 through March 2023, with prices starting from as little as £615 per person based on Jan 5, 2023 sailing.

10-day Europe: Spain, Madeira & Canary Islands from Lisbon
Set sail from Tenerife’s capital onboard Norwegian Sun and call at a couple of Canary Islands – as well as Spanish gems such as Seville and Granada and more. This memorable 10-day cruise has departures from December 2022 throughout February 2023 and costs from £590 per person based on Dec 4, 2022 sailing.

12-day Europe: Spain & Portugal from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
Ring in the New Year on an unforgettable cruise aboard Norwegian Sun. Snorkel the calm waters of Playa de las Cantas – considered one of the world's best city beaches – or soak in the relaxed atmosphere while strolling along the scenic promenade and discover why the Canary Islands are such a popular European retreat. Departs December 27, 2022, with prices starting from £850 per person.

Norwegian Sun's 10-day and 16-day itineraries depart from Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Credit: Kayak.

14-day Europe: Spain, Morocco & Portugal from Granada (Malaga)
On this epic two-week Canaries cruise onboard Norwegian Sun, you call at six favourites – step forward San Sebastian de La Gomera, Puerto del Rosario, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas, and Arrecife. Departs March 17, 2023, with prices from £1,019 per person.

16-day transatlantic: Spain, Bermuda & Azores to New York from Lisbon
A transatlantic cruise ranks among the most iconic types of travel and on this 16-day cruise you’ll take in two continents. The cruise aboard Norwegian Sun departs Lisbon and calls at 10 ports – including Canary staples Arrecife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and Las Palmas – before heading to Bermuda and ultimately New York. Departs April 2, 2023, from £1,110 per person.

To book, please call 0333 336 1598, contact your travel agent or visit

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About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a range of publications including The Times, The Independent, The I, Culture Trip, The Sun, and ABTA among others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Real Response Media where she looks – together with Lucy Abbott – after the World of Cruising website. Want to get in touch? Kaye can be reached at: [email protected]