From classic holiday havens to exciting new ports of call, we have the lowdown on the best holiday destinations to visit in 2020 – and the cruises to get you there.

Rome

There’s a reason why all roads lead to Rome. The Eternal City is one of the most magical, romantic and mesmerising destinations in the world, where ancient ruins lie beside bustling trattorias, and sun-soaked squares buzz with clinking aperitivo glasses. Stretching along the banks of the River Tiber, Rome is home to fabled sights such as the mighty Colosseum, the Vatican and the sparkling Trevi Fountain. To live la dolce vita, grab a slice of Roman pizza, get a gelato to go and simply wander the narrow streets, strung with colourful washing lines and dotted with enticing cafes.

Go for? Roman ruins and the world’s best pizzerias

Get on Board

7-night ‘Western Mediterranean’ cruise aboard Explorer of the Seas, round trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) via Barcelona and Florence, departing 21 June 2020, from £649, royalcaribbean.co.uk

10-night ‘Mediterranean’ cruise aboard Silver Shadow, from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Barcelona via Sorrento, Valletta and Cagliari, departing 23 April 2020, from £4,200, silversea.com

solo cruises: rome
The Roman skyline is one of Europe’s most elegant sights

Stockholm

Sweden’s capital is everything you want from a Baltic city – cool, crisp and impossibly pretty. Scattered across 14 islands on a gleaming blue lagoon, Stockholm is known to the locals as ‘beauty on the water’, and visitors soon agree. The city’s oldest district, Gamla Stan, is straight out of a fairytale, with brightly coloured medieval buildings, winding lanes, cathedrals and a stunning royal palace. Safe, clean and easy to explore on foot, Stockholm also offers intriguing museums – housing everything from Viking relics to Abba memorabilia – as well as a dynamic foodie scene with the focus on local and sustainable produce.

Go for? World-class museums and Scandi-cool hygge cafes

Get on Board

13-night ‘Baltic Cities & St Petersburg’ cruise aboard CMV Magellan, round trip from Newcastle via Copenhagen, St Petersburg and Stockholm, departing 31 May 2020, from £1,279, cruiseandmaritime.com

Viking 10-night ‘Russia & the Baltic Sea’ cruise aboard Viking Sky, from Stockholm to Copenhagen via St Petersburg, Tallinn and Visby, departing 18 July 2020, from £4,990, vikingcruises.co.uk

Singapore

Imagine a country the size of a city, a tropical bubble where shining sci-fi towers rise from a streetscape of hawker stalls, colonial buildings and traditional Chinese markets. This curious mix is Singapore, a nation of great financial wealth that is equally rich in sights and culture. Must-sees include the spectacular Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer observation wheel and boutique-lined Orchard Road. Blend the old and new by swigging a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel, strolling through the Botanic Gardens and gorging on chicken satay skewers at Lau Pa Sat food market.

Go for? Southeast Asian street food and mind-boggling buildings

Get on Board

10-night ‘Malaysian Peninsula & Indonesia’ cruise aboard Sapphire Princess, round trip from Singapore via Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Bali, departing 12 March 2020, from £799, princess.com

18-night ‘Tokyo to Singapore’ cruise aboard Queen Elizabeth, via Shanghai, Hong Kong and Hanoi, departing 19 October 2021, from £2,329, cunard.com

Best destinations: Singapore
Enjoy the delicious street food in Singapore

Sydney

When it comes to world-class, modern waterfront cities, few can rival super Sydney. The capital of New South Wales is a serious bucket-list destination, home to a glittering harbour, sun-soaked beaches, quirky coffee shops and cutting-edge restaurants. Its iconic cityscape of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House is known the world over, but Sydney is also fringed by national parks and the wildlife-packed Australian bush. Relax on famous Bondi Beach, conquer your fear of heights as you walk across that iconic bridge, and hang out with the locals at a leafy suburban café, where only a creamy flat white will do.

Go for? Magnificent cityscapes and golden beaches

Get on Board

14-night ‘Australia & New Zealand’ cruise aboard Noordam, from Auckland to Sydney via Wellington, Hobart and Melbourne, departing 19 March 2020, from £1,249, hollandamerica.com

14-night ‘Tasmania & Fjords of New Zealand’ cruise aboard Crystal Endeavor, from Sydney to Christchurch via Coles Bay, Hobart and Stewart Island, departing 14 November 2020, from £12,704, crystalcruises.co.uk

Miami

With its thrilling blend of cosmopolitan beaches, high-end shopping and cool cultural experiences, it’s no wonder Miami is one of the most popular cruise ports in the whole USA. Book yourself some pre or post-cruise quality time and soak up the vibe on stylish South Beach, drink in the pastel-hued Art Deco beauty of Ocean Drive, shop till you drop in Sunset Place and seek out Cuban cigar shops and art galleries in Little Havana. Further afield, you’ll want to spot ’gators and manatees in the Everglades, or count the cats in residence at Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West.

Go for? Sensational shopping and sophisticated beach life

Get on Board

5-night ‘Western Caribbean’ cruise aboard Celebrity Infinity, round trip from Miami via Key West and Cozumel, departing 23 March 2020, from £704, celebritycruises.co.uk

5-night ‘Riviera Maya’ cruise aboard Scarlet Lady, round trip from Miami via Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and The Beach Club at Bimini, departing 17 May 2020, from £2,420, virginvoyages.com

Miami
You can’t beat Miami beaches

Reykjavik

As the most northerly capital in the world, Reykjavik tends to avoid the spotlight when it comes to Nordic cities, but you get the feeling that’s how it likes to be. Translating as ‘Smoky Bay’, the Icelandic capital is bursting with charm and character, and is filled with boutique shops, Viking museums and art galleries, including the uber-fashionable Marshall House. Wander the cosmopolitan streets and you’ll find high-concept Icelandic eateries, bubbling outdoor swimming pools and late-night music venues, but venture beyond the city limits and you’ll be met with sparkling glaciers, icy waters and the rugged coastline of Iceland’s breathtaking Faxafloi Bay.

Go for? Steaming outdoor pools and a fantastic homegrown music scene

Get on Board

9-night ‘Introduction to Iceland’ cruise aboard Balmoral, round trip from Newcastle via Reykjavik, Isafjordur and Akureyri, departing 6 May 2020, from £1,399, fredolsencruises.com

7-night ‘Around Iceland’ cruise aboard Star Legend, round trip from Reykjavik via Heimaey Island, Seydisfjordur and Isafjordur, departing 25 July 2020, from £3,487, windstarcruises.com

Galapagos Islands

When Charles Darwin visited here aboard the Beagle in 1835, the indigenous wildlife helped to inspire his theory of evolution. And still today, these breathtaking islands are the ultimate bucket-list destination for nature-lovers. From swimming iguanas and gregarious mockingbirds to iconic giant tortoises and unique cactus trees, there are amazing sights on every single one of these 18 volcanic islands. Other highlights of this once-in-a-lifetime trip include the chance to swim with wild sea lions and snorkel with the cute Galapagos penguins.

Go for? Close-up encounters with unique wildlife

Get on Board

7-night ‘Galapagos Southern Loop’ cruise aboard Celebrity Xploration, round trip from Baltra via Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal, departing 22 August 2020, from £2,931, celebritycruises.com

14-night ‘Discover the Galapagos & Peru’ cruise aboard Treasure of the Galapagos, from Lima to Quito via the Galapagos Islands, departing 10 May 2020, from £5,165, avalonwaterways.com

Best holiday destinations: Galapagos
Discover the incredible wildlife in the Galapagos

Cape Town

Against the iconic backdrop of Table Mountain, South Africa’s loveliest city offers pristine beaches, lively neighbourhoods and acres of vineyards that produce some of the country’s best wines. Culture-loving Cape Town is also a hotbed of designer boutiques, innovative restaurants and exciting art spaces including MOCAA, home to the world’s largest collections of African contemporary art. Other must-do highlights include the famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and a ferry trip to explore Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 18 years.

Go for? Fab food and fascinating history

Get on Board

4-night ‘South Africa’ cruise aboard MSC Orchestra, round trip from Cape Town via Walvis Bay, departing 10 April 2020, from £479, msccruises.co.uk

15-night ‘Cape Town to Southampton’ cruise aboard Queen Victoria, via Walvis Bay and Gran Canaria, departing 14 April 2021, from £1,539, cunard.com

Cadiz

For a hearty helping of authentic Spanish life, head to Cadiz, capital of the Costa de la Luz, where Spaniards themselves flock to enjoy succulent seafood and impressive beaches. The city from which Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492 is renowned as the oldest in Spain. Don’t miss a visit to the picturesque 18th century St Sebastian castle, where scenes from the Bond blockbuster Die Another Day were filmed, and if you travel in February and March you’ll get to see the incredible 11-day Cadiz carnival. The city is also just a short coach journey away from the historic and cultural delights of Seville.

Go for? A hit of authentic Spain and some of the best tapas in Andalucia

Get on Board

11-night ‘Spain and Portugal’ cruise aboard Ventura, round trip from Southampton via Lisbon, Malaga and Cadiz, departing 17 March 2020, from £749, pocruises.com

13-night ‘Mediterranean Beaches’ cruise aboard Anthem of the Seas, round trip from Southampton via Valencia, Nice and Cadiz, departing 28 June 2020, from £1,736, royalcaribbean.co.uk

Buenos Aires

Tango on the streets, amazing museums, the famous flea market of San Telmo, sensational steak and seafood in puertas cerradas pop-up restaurants – the attractions of Argentina’s capital are almost infinite. You could easily spend a week in this sprawling city divided into a patchwork of distinctive barrios – but if time is tight, make a beeline for Puerto Madero, the beautifully renovated waterfront area, don’t miss a tour of La Boca district, home of the world famous soccer team, and save some pesos to buy your Maradona T-shirts and other souvenirs in brightly painted shops along the Caminito.

Go for? The tango lifestyle and those world-class museums

Get on Board

14-night ‘South America from Buenos Aires’ cruise aboard Norwegian Star, from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Punta del Este, Port Stanley and Ushuaia, departing 16 January 2021, from £1,599, ncl.com

20-night ‘Charismatic Cape’ cruise aboard Marina, from Lima to Buenos Aires via Santiago de Chile and Montevideo, departing 19 December 2020, from £5,109, oceaniacruises.com

Tango Dancers in Argentina
Tango on the streets in Buenos Aires

Barbados

Combining a lively colonial capital and wide sandy beaches, Barbados offers the very best of the Caribbean. Dubbed Little England because of its anglocentric culture, Barbados is where you’ll find the famous Kensington Oval – home of West Indies cricket – and the distilleries of Mount Gay, the world’s oldest rum company, founded in 1703. Nature-lovers will seize the chance to see green monkeys and red-footed tortoises in the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, while horticulturists will be in heaven among the tropical plants of the vast Andromeda Botanic Gardens.

Go for? Brit lifestyle with a Caribbean flavour and lots of sun

Get on Board

5-night ‘Southern Caribbean’ cruise aboard Carnival Fascination, from San Juan to Barbados via St Thomas, St Maarten and St Lucia, departing 22 November 2020, from £386, carnival.com

10-night ‘West Indies Explorer’ cruise aboard Viking Star, round trip from San Juan via Tortola, Barbados and Antigua, departing 30 October 2020, from £2,990, vikingcruises.co.uk

The Seychelles

With its satin-soft, powder-white beaches, amazing nature reserves and year-round tropical warmth, this Indian Ocean archipelago is the ultimate romantic getaway – even earning the royal seal of approval when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge honeymooned here in 2011. Shipwrecks and reefs – including the UNESCO-listed Aldabra atoll, which is home to the giant Aldabra tortoise – mean that diving and snorkelling are the must-do activities on these 115 islands, northeast of Madagascar. An exciting blend of French, Indian and Chinese culinary influences will keep foodies happy, too.

Go for? Unique wildlife and one of the world’s most romantic settings

Get on Board

14-night ‘African Wildlife Adventure’ cruise aboard Boudicca, from Cape Town to the Seychelles via Durban and Madagascar, departing 3 December 2020, from £3,199m fredolsencruises.com

30-night ‘Indian Ocean Odyssey’ cruise aboard Nautica, from Cape Town to Singapore via Maputo, Seychelles and Columbo, departing 3 February 2020, from £7,859, oceaniacruises.com

Best holiday destinations: Seychelles
Find your own slice of paradise in the Seychelles

Japan

Encompassing a string of culturally rich volcanic islands, Japan is an endlessly fascinating combination of traditional culture and visions of the future, where you’ll find ancient incense-clouded shrines next to glittering skyscrapers, and huge shopping malls towering above traditional street markets. Whether you head out to sample octopus dumplings and other foodie delights in gourmet capital Osaka, take a gleaming bullet train to Kyoto’s historic Gion geisha district or spend the night in a traditional Japanese ryokan inn, you are guaranteed to be enchanted by life in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Go for? Culture shock and countless Lost In Translation experiences

Get on Board

3-night ‘Taipei to Tokyo’ cruise aboard Diamond Princess, departing 12 March 2020, from £544, princess.com

10-night ‘Grand Japan’ cruise aboard Star Breeze, from Osaka to Tokyo via Hiroshima, Busan and Shimizu, departing 11 October 2020, from £2,790, windstarcruises.com

Jordan

From touring the world-renowned ancient site of Petra and the amazing moonscape of Wadi Rum, to bird-watching, shopping for spices and bobbing in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, a visit to Jordan is packed with cultural delights and exciting adventures. A paradise for hikers and ornithologists, Jordan also offers more than a dozen nature. reserves, including the immense Dana Biosphere near Wadi Araba, and the Azraq Wetlands in the eastern desert. History buffs will want to check out the new Jordan Museum, which is packed with stunning archaeological exhibits including the legendary Dead Sea Scrolls.

Go for? Cultural and historical riches, and adventures in the desert

Get on Board

7-night ‘Journey to Jordan’ cruise aboard Marella Discovery 2, from Naples to Aqaba (for Petra) via Heraklion and Suez Canal, departing 5 November 2020, from £967 including flights, tui.co.uk

17-night ‘Athens to Dubai’ cruise aboard Silver Spirit, via Ashdod, Sharm El Sheikh and Aqaba, departing 5 November 2020, from £9,360, silversea.com

Best holiday destinations: Petra
The stone city of Petrais one of the great sights of the ancient world

Antarctica

Setting out from Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, to arrive in the icy expanse of Antarctica must be one of the greatest experiences in cruising. No TV documentary can prepare you for this white wonderland – it has to be experienced to be believed. On the way there you can visit South Georgia, site of the whaling station where polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton was finally rescued after the failure of his Antarctic expedition in 1916. But for serious off-the-beaten-track bragging points, factor in a visit to Tristan da Cunha – far out in the Atlantic and said to be the remotest inhabited island on earth.

Go for? One of the planet’s most thrilling travel experiences

Get on Board

21-night ‘Antarctica to Africa’ cruise aboard Le Lyrial, from Ushuaia to Cape Town via the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha, departing 7 March 2021, from £7,137, en.ponant.com

17-night ‘Voyage of Discovery’ cruise aboard MS Roald Amundsen, from Valparaiso to Punta Arenas via the Chilean fjords and Antarctica, departing 19 October 2020, from £7,978, hurtigruten.co.uk

Greenland

The world’s largest island is also its least densely populated territory, with just 56,000 hardy souls sharing this vast landscape with the only permanent ice sheet outside Antarctica. With its profusion of wildlife, ranging from whales and walruses to polar bears and the extraordinary horned narwhal, Greenland makes for one of the planet’s great expedition cruises – and there’s the extra thrill of knowing that you’re following in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest explorers as you discover this beautiful landscape of mountains, fjords and icebergs.

Go for? The chance to spot rare wildlife in a pristine setting

Get on Board

21-night ‘Greenland Explorer’ cruise aboard Spirit of Discovery, round trip from Dover via Reykjavik, Nuuk and Disko Bay, departing 16 June 2020, from £5,835, travel.saga.co.uk

7-night ‘The Best of Spitsbergen’ cruise aboard L’Austral, round trip from Longyearbyen via Magdalena Bay, Texas Bar and Monaco Glacier, departing 28 May 2020, from £6,906 inc flights from Paris, en.ponant.com

Greenland
Greenland makes for one of the planet’s great expedition cruises

Norway

This world-renowned landscape, more than a third of it inside the Arctic Circle, abounds in natural attractions, including soaring mountains, picture-postcard villages and deep blue fjords where visitors can enjoy hiking, glacier walking or kayaking, depending on the season. Wildlife-spotting is another big attraction here, but the Land of the Midnight Sun is also famed for its historic architecture, ranging from Bergen’s UNESCO-listed Bryggen wharf, lined with 14th-century Hanseatic warehouses, to ancient Trondheim, the capital of Norway during the Viking era.

Go for? Spectacular scenery and insights into Viking history

Get on Board

7-night ‘Majestic Fjordland’ cruise aboard Magellan, round trip from Newcastle via Bergen, Geirangerfjord and Flam, departing 25 April 2020, from £659, iglucruise.com

14-night ‘Northern Lights and Fjords Expedition’ cruise aboard MS Maud, round trip from Dover via Bergen, Tromso and Stavanger, departing 6 October 2021, from £3,499, hurtigruten.co.uk

Mykonos

A magnet for celebrities in the swinging sixties, gay-friendly Mykonos still attracts a raft of glitterati, who come here to laze on the island’s soft sand beaches, take selfies in the windmill-studded streets of Little Venice, shop in the designer boutiques of capital Chora, or just chill in one of the island’s countless nightclubs. Meanwhile culture vultures can enjoy the historic charms of Delos. A short ferry ride away, the mythical birthplace of Apollo is now the site of one of Europe’s largest and most important archaeological digs.

Go for? Celebrity-spotting and club-hopping

Get on Board

7-night ‘Idyllic Aegean’ cruise aboard Celestyal Crystal, round trip from Athens (Piraeus) via Rhodes, Santorini and Mykonos, departing 23 May 2020, from £899, celestyalcruises.uk

11-night ‘Greece Intensive Voyage’ aboard Azamara Journey, from Venice to Athens (Piraeus) via Kotor, Corfu, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos, departing 7 July 2020, from £3,255, azamara.co.uk

Best destinations: Mykonos
Look out for celebs among the sugar-cube houses and azure waters of Mykonos

The Bahamas

With more than 2,000 islands and cays surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters and lined with silky white and pink sand beaches, the Bahamas are justly famed for their stunning scenery and year-round sunshine. Just a short hop from the Florida coastline, the vibrant capital, Nassau, offers chic shopping and lively nightlife, while Paradise Island has glitzy casinos and glittering skyscrapers. But these islands also boast the world’s third largest barrier reef, so there’s plenty to do for snorkelling and diving thrill-seekers, too.

Go for? An exhilarating blend of city lights and off-the-beaten-track delights

Get on Board

4-night ‘Bahamas & Perfect Day’ cruise aboard Mariner of the Seas, round trip from Port Canaveral via Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay, departing 1 February 2021, from £547, royalcaribbean.co.uk

5-night ‘Bahamian Cruise’ aboard Disney Magic, round trip from Miami via Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay, departing 4 January 2021, from £1,954, disney.go.com

Alaska

For nature lovers who long to sail past glistening glaciers, spot the Northern Lights or watch brown bears fish for salmon, this is one destination with an irresistible allure. Alaska is seven times the size of the UK, and a cruise is definitely the best way to explore this enthralling US state, much of which is virtually inaccessible by land.

Highlights of a trip to America’s ‘final frontier’ include sailing through the legendary Inside Passage, visiting Juneau, Alaska’s attractive capital and gateway for sledding on the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier, and strolling through the streets of Skagway, the town that Jack London used as a model for his classic novel The Call of the Wild. But you don’t even have to leave the ship to see amazing sights – these waters are a regular route for migrating whales.

Go for? Mighty glaciers, gold-rush history and brown bears

Get on Board

7-night ‘Alaskan Explorer’ cruise aboard Eurodam, round trip from Seattle via Juneau and Ketchikan, departing 15 August 2020, from £1,022, hollandamerica.com

9-night ‘Awe of Alaska: Inside Passage & Glacier Bay from Seattle’ cruise aboard Norwegian Bliss, round trip from Seattle via Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, departing 3 October 2020, from £1,699 including flights, iglucruise.com

Best destinations: Alaska
For nature lovers, Alaska has an irresistible allure

Costa Rica

Home to spectacular volcanoes, stunning beaches, and around six per cent of the world’s plant and animal species, the Republic of Costa Rica is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most popular eco-cruise destinations.

Visitors can relax on palm-lined beaches (taking a tip from the chilled-out residents of Puerto Limon’s Sloth Sanctuary) or visit the Tortuguero National Park – dubbed Costa Rica’s Amazon – to see monkeys, crocodiles and all manner of exotic fauna. Thrill- seekers should make a beeline for the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, which is renowned as a haven for surfers.

Go for? Eco-friendly activities and mind-boggling biodiversity

Get on Board

9-night ‘In the Wake of the Spanish Armadas’ cruise aboard Wind Surf, from Oranjestad to Colon via Cartagena and Puerto Limon, departing 1 February 2020, from £1,007, windstarcruises.com

11-night ‘Fort Lauderdale to Colon’ cruise aboard Silver Explorer, via Port Antonio, San Andres Island and Puerto Limon, departing 20 October 2020, from £4,950, silversea.com

Jamaica

The home of reggae and Blue Mountain coffee, this Caribbean island country is a magical wonderland of lush forests, coral reefs, white beaches and rum plantations. Highlights include visiting Bob Marley’s house – now a museum – in Kingston, enjoying lively nightlife on Montego Bay’s Hip Strip, or simply lazing on Negril’s palm-lined beaches while watching daredevil locals cliff-diving near the famous Rick’s cafe.

Go for? Tropical weather and a feel-good, friendly atmosphere

Get on Board

15-night ‘Atlantic Vistas’ cruise aboard Marella Discovery 2, from Montego Bay to Naples via Amber Cove, Funchal and Ajaccio, departing 21 April 2020, from £1,314, tui.co.uk

14-night ‘Panama Canal & Central America’ cruise aboard Viking Sky, round trip from Miami via Cozumel, Belize City and Montego Bay, departing 24 January 2020, from £4,990 including flights, iglucruise.com