Chilly mornings, golden hues and crisp, falling leaves. The sure signs that autumn has arrived and winter is on its way. As magical as it sounds, the Great British Winter can be a rather dismal and dark affair (particularly given the current political climate), which makes it the perfect time to set sail in pursuit of some much-needed winter sun. And with more choice than ever before, there has never been a better time to book a cruise.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, here’s our pick of the best winter sun cruise destinations and the cruises that will take you there.

Australia and New Zealand

On many passengers’ bucket list, a cruise around Australia and New Zealand provides the opportunity to explore beyond your imagination. From thriving metropolises to dramatic landscapes, extraordinary destinations and an abundance of wildlife, the British winter provides the perfect excuse to head down under for a healthy dose of vitamin D. Add in a dash of history and culture and you will leave with more than just a golden glow, but an enriched soul.

Get on Board

8-night Tasmania and Southern Australia aboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, departing December 2019, from £1,369pp, cunard.com

Australia, winter sun, cruise

Central America and the Panama Canal

With winter temperatures reaching above 30 degrees, Central America and the Panama Canal offer the perfect getaway for your winter sun cruise. Whether you lose yourself among the awe-inspiring structures of the Mayan legacy or kick back and take in the wonder of a transit through the canal itself, there will be enough sun and sea to brighten even the gloomiest of moods. Sail from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale, exploring the delights of Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia along the way.

Get on Board

15-day Panama Canal aboard Holland America’s Eurodam, departing November 2019, from £1,099pp, hollandamerica.com

Cruise ship review: Safari Voyager

Dubai and the United Arab Emirates

Offering an eclectic mix of East and West, here you will find plenty of sunshine, golden beaches, and futuristic skyscrapers. A closer look reveals a region rich in culture, architecture, and history. Known for its splendour and opulence, time ashore in Dubai provides plenty of opportunity to discover long-standing traditions and delicious cuisine. Add in an abundance of shopping malls, resorts, and luxury hotels, and it may just be the perfect winter sun escape.

Get on Board

7-night Oman & United Arab Emirates aboard Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, departing February 2020, from £406pp, royalcaribbean.co.uk

Dubai's famous Burj-Al-Arab

The Pacific

Turquoise lagoons, soft white sands, incredible wildlife and dreamy landscapes make a cruise taking in some of the gorgeous islands in the Pacific a popular choice for those in search of something off the beaten track. Add in age-old traditions, oodles of charm, and temperatures in the mid to late twenties, and you will find those winter chills soon fade into a distant memory.

Get on Board

15-day Hawaiian Islands aboard Princess Cruises Grand Princess, departing December 2019, from £1099pp, princess.com

Winter sun, sea turtle, pacific ocean

Canary Islands

Being able to sail directly from the UK makes the Canary Islands one of the most popular winter sun cruise destinations for us Brits. With year-round sunshine, sandy beaches, volcanic landscapes and a multitude of water parks and activities, an island-hopping cruise around the Canaries will leave you wanting to abandon ship and head off into the sunset. From the sleepy villages of La Gomera to the golden coastline of Fuerteventura and Tenerife, you won’t be short of intriguing destinations to explore ashore.

Get on Board

7-night Canarian Flavours aboard Marella Explorer, departing February 2020, from £839pp, tui.co.uk

Winter sun, Tenerife, Canary Islands


The Mediterranean


Although temperatures may be a little cooler than in summer, the Mediterranean is still a noteworthy destination you shouldn’t overlook in your search for winter sun. Stretching over 2000 miles, here you will find enough culture, history and architecture to fascinate the mind and ensnare the senses. With so many incredible ports of call on offer, from the bustling streets of Barcelona to the dreamy vistas of the Greek Isles, why not immerse yourself in the spirit of the Med this winter?

Get on Board

7-night Mediterranean cruise aboard MSC Bellissima, departing October 2019, from £829pp, msccruises.co.uk

win a romantic mediterranean cruise

The Caribbean

If you’re seeking a touch of paradise this winter, then look no further than the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean. Lush rainforests, rugged valleys and some of the most stunning beaches on the planet, it’s not difficult to see why this is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. There is perhaps no better way to explore the Caribbean islands than by ship, where every day you can wake up to find a new piece of paradise on your doorstep.

Get on Board

14-night Caribbean cruise aboard P&O Cruises Britannia, departing January 2020, from £1,499pp, pocruises.com