Iglu Cruises' reveals he cream of the crop of voyages to book this year. Credit: Shutterstock

The best cruises to book for 2024

Author: Kaye Holland

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From classic routes to more unusual, here's Iglu Cruises’ expert guide to the holidays at sea that should be on your radar

Approximately 35.7 million people are planning to set sail in 2024 – up from 31.5 million in 2023 and a six per cent increase from the record levels set in 2019 – according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

And for good reason: a cruise is fantastic and cost effective to see an array of destinations in just one trip, while only unpacking once.

Life onboard has come on leaps and bounds too and today’s ships, just like hotels, come in all different sizes and styles ensuring everyone can find a cruise to suit them.

But which are the cruises you should be booking for the year ahead? We spoke to Iglu Cruises, the UK's largest independent cruise travel agency, to find out which cruises you should book immediately in order to avoid disappointment. So grab your credit card, get online and nab yourself an exciting cruise (or two) for 2024.

The Norwegian fjords are known for their outstanding natural beauty. Credit: Shutterstock

Norwegian Fjords from Southampton with P&O Cruises
Sail from Southampton with P&O onboard the 5,200-passenger Iona, the biggest cruise ship that the British cruise line has ever built. (The vessel weighs 185,000 tonnes, has 17 passenger decks and takes up the size of four football pitches). Two days of scenic sailing are broken up with stops in stunning Stavanger, aka the gateway to the fjords, the tiny village of Olden (it only has 500 inhabitants), Geiranger (one of the world’s longest and deepest fjords) and the former Viking stronghold of Haugesund.
A seven-night Norwegian Fjords from Southampton cruise departs June 8, 2024. From £653 per person.

Fuelled entirely by liquefied natural gas, Iona is P&O's first next-generation, Excel-class ship. Credit: Shutterstock

Mediterranean Voyage with Lake Garda, Venice & Barcelona Stays
Can’t decide between a land break or an ocean voyage? Then Cunard's 14 night cruise and stay holiday could be the solution. You’ll fly from London Heathrow to Lake Garda, the largest and arguably the best of all the Italian lakes, for a three night stay before being whisked by train to Venice. Enjoy a two-night stay in Italy's famous floating city before picking up your cruise. Expect to visit Zadar, Split, Valletta, Palma De Mallorca, and buzzy Barcelona (where you’ll also have two nights on land so as to fully immerse yourself in Catalonia’s sultry capital) before flying back to Heathrow. Two sea days afford plenty of time to make the most of life onboard Queen Victoria, one of Cunard’s three iconic Queens.
Cunard’s 14-night Mediterranean Voyage with Lake Garda, Venice & Barcelona Stays departs September 18, 2024. Prices from £1,929 per person including flights and transfers.

Italy's famous floating city never disappoints. Credit: Shutterstock

Sydney Stay, Hunter Valley & Australia Circumnavigation with Princess Cruises
Say G’day to the land Down Under with Princess Cruises. This epic 34-night cruise starts with a three-night stay in Sydney – so that you can take in famous landmarks like Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach – before ticking off all the big hitters: Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, the Kimberley Coast, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and more. All told, if it’s an epic Australian adventure you’re after, then this cruise has your name on it.
Princess Cruises’ Sydney Stay, Hunter Valley & Australia Circumnavigation cruise departs on March 14, 2025. From £4,579 per person including flights.

Sydney Opera House needs no introduction. Credit: Shutterstock

Greece, Cyprus & Turkey from Athens
Soak up the gorgeous Greek Isles on Celebrity Cruises’ 10-night sailing onboard the contemporary Celebrity Infinity. This itinerary will transport you to Kusadi, Rhodes, Limassol, and Crete – and each island has its own distinct character. Think of this cruise as a Greek mezze, aimed at giving you a taste of what the islands have to offer. On board, expect stylish, all-inclusive dining, lively nightlife and welcoming kids’ clubs.
Celebrity Cruises’ Greece, Cyprus & Turkey from Athens cruise departs April 5, 2024. From £1,116 per person including flights and transfers.

Crete is by far the largest island in Greece. Credit: Shutterstock

Christmas & New Year Caribbean Islands from Barbados with Marella Cruises
Dreaming of a warm Christmas? You're not alone. Bing Crosby may have yearned for a White Christmas but here at World of Cruising

HQ, we’d rather have some vitamin D. If you share our sentiments, then Marella’s Caribbean cruise is sure to put a smile on your face. Departing from Bridgetown, Barbados’ charismatic capital, this 15-night holiday season sailing provides guaranteed sunshine, white sand beaches and plenty of diverse islands – St Thomas, St Croix, Dominica, Grenadines, Barbados, St Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, and Grenada – all feature.
Marella Cruises’ Christmas & New Year Caribbean Islands from Barbados sailing departs December 22, 2024. From £3,210 per person including flights and transfers.

The rum-drenched island of Barbados never disappoints.

Half-term Spain & France from Southampton cruise with Royal Caribbean
The May half-term is a golden opportunity for a family getaway and if you’re looking to take the kids on a cruise, Royal Caribbean – with its family-friendly entertainment and all-inclusive prices – gets our vote. On their ‘Half-term Spain & France’ sailing you’ll also avoid the stress of flight delays and luggage restrictions by departing from Southampton. The seven night voyage calls at Bordeaux, Bilbao, La Coruna and Paris, before returning to Southampton. On the two sea days, children (and adults) can take advantage of the array of pools and waterslides.
Royal Caribbean’s Half Term Spain & France from Southampton cruise departs May 26, 2024. From £714 per person.

Since its completion in 1889, the Eiffel Tower has dominated the Paris skyline. Credit: Shutterstock

Bruges & Amsterdam from Portsmouth with Virgin Voyages
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy spending your holiday-at-sea surrounded by screaming children, the adults-only Virgin Voyages is the cruise line that needs to be on your radar. The 2,700-passenger Resilient Lady – the third ship in Sir Richard Branson’s fleet – has a five-night itinerary, departing from Portsmouth and calling at Amsterdam (where you'll stay overnight) and Bruges, that’s ideal for those who don’t want to commit to a full cruise. Onboard sailors (as Virgin Voyages refers to passengers) will be able to get a tattoo, and attend a drag show or pool party sans kids.
Virgin Voyages’ Bruges & Amsterdam from Portsmouth cruise departs on September 14, 2024. From £593 per person including WiFi and tips.

Resilient Lady is Virgin Voyages' third cruise ship. Credit: Virgin Voyages

South America Transatlantic & Canaries with Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon stays with NCL
The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro is a seductive mix of sun, samba, football, food, beaches and Bossa Nova and chances are, if the city isn’t on your bucket list, it’s because you’ve already been. For everyone else, there’s NCL’s unforgettable 22-night cruise that includes a pre cruise stay of two nights in the sizzling Samba city. Next, you’ll board Norwegian Star and sail to other Brazilian destinations including beautiful Buzios, Salvador, Maceio, and Reclife before crossing the Atlantic to Canaries. Book this cruise and you’ll never run the risk of being dull at the dinner table again – you’ll be able to dine out on this sailing for weeks, months, and maybe even years to come.
NCL’s 22 night South America Transatlantic & Canaries with Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon stays departs on April 7, 2024. From £2,499 per person including hotel stays in Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro, flights and transfers, and free at sea upgrade.

Rio is an intoxicating city of sun, samba, football, food, beaches and Bossa Nova. Credit: Shutterstock

Caribbean Spice Islands with Seabourn
Explore the Caribbean in style on Seabourn Ovation who counts the First Lady of British Musical Theatre, Elaine Paige, as her godmother. Think of Ovation as an intimate, all-inclusive hotel at sea that will whisk you to flagship islands such as Antigua, Grenada and Barbados over the course of 11 sun-drenched days. Seabourn crew will have the low-down on the best spots for swimming and snorkelling before serving you expertly made cocktails on your return to the ship.
Seabourn’s 11-night Caribbean Spice Islands cruise departs on November 20, 2024. From £4,879 per person including flights, transfers and a three-night stay in Barbados.

Elaine Page serves as godmother to Seabourn Ovation. Credit: Kaye Holland

The Svalbard Express Full Voyage from Bergen with Hurtigruten
Experience much-loved Norway with the line that has been sailing these waters for 130 years: Hurtigruten. Perhaps less known by the mass market, Hurtigruten’s ships and itineraries create an elevated experience for those seeking to do more than just look. Don’t just visit Norway. Live it. And if there’s one itinerary that rises up above the rest, it’s got to be Hurtigruten’s signature voyage: The Svalbard Express – a 16-day adventure onboard MS Trollfjord, from Bergen all the way along the northern Norwegian coastline to Spitsbergen, the largest of Svalbard’s islands.
Hurtigruten’s 15-night The Svalbard Express voyage departs May 17, 2024. From £3,670 per person including flights and transfers.

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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]