Are you dreaming of a warm winter vacation this year? As the weather cools down, heat things up with a holiday cruise to a sun-drenched destination. Find Christmas cheer at sea, welcome the New Year in with friends on deck or spend February on a cruise to tropical islands.
Ready for some inspiration? Here are our top picks for the ultimate winter cruise vacation.
1. Grand Cayman
If all you can think about is swimming in aqua seas, snorkeling with colorful marine life and lazing on the sand, a cruise to Grand Cayman delivers. Here, you’ll even have the opportunity to get up-close and personal with stingrays, dolphins and turtles. Can’t wait to hit the shops? Charming George Town is just minutes from the cruise dock, for retail therapy.
When you embark on an excursion to explore Cayman by land and sea, you’ll enter the underwater world via a luxurious, semi-submarine. Discover mysterious shipwrecks and spot pretty angelfish on coral reefs. You’ll also see the grand Governor’s House, the famous Seven Mile Beach and green sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Center.
With long sunny days and balmy nights, Belize ranks up there with the best cruises in December and throughout winter. This is a destination made for thrill-seekers, with jungles for mountain biking and zip lining, rivers for tubing and kaleidoscopic coral gardens for snorkeling.
A cruise to Belize wouldn’t be complete without a trip to ancient Mayan sites. Visit the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, located just two miles from the Guatemala border. A 40-meter high temple, El Castillo joins plazas and palaces on a backdrop of panoramic views. Back in port, Belize City offers a culture fix with colonial charm and the bustling Tourism Village for souvenir shopping.
A warm winter family vacation to The Bahamas offers something for all ages. The region is a top spot for the best cruises in February, with islands basking in warm temperatures under clear blue skies.
The Bahamian capital radiates Caribbean vibes, with the rhythmic beats of calypso music and fresh seafood to delight your taste buds. This picture-perfect paradise blends colonial history, private island luxury, underwater magic and dynamic adventure, all surrounded by some of the clearest waters you’re ever likely to see.
An excursion to Atlantis Resort is a must, especially if you’re cruising with children. The Aquaventure water park offers hours of fun on high-speed water slides, a river ride with rolling rapids, 20 swimming areas, and a Mayan-themed pool with mini-slides and water cannons for the little ones. Then, there’s the Atlantis marine habitat, home to more than 50,000 fish species. This is the place to swim with dolphins and play with sea lions.
4. Princess Cays
With a marina called Love Boat, you’ll have an inkling of what’s in store at the classic cruise destination of Princess Cays. The private resort is located on the island of Eleuthera, encircled by white sand beaches and calm, turquoise swimming lagoons. It really is heaven on earth if you want to feel the sand between your toes, the breeze in your hair and the silky water on your skin, all day long.
If you can tear yourself away from your private bungalow by the beach, there’s plenty to do, such as snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and biking. A Dune Buggy Heritage Adventure Tour gets you off-road to discover remote beaches at Bannerman Town Park and historical sites including The Anglican Church of the Assumption and the Packing House Ruins.
If you’re looking for the best cruises in January, Mexico is a destination that helps you bring the New Year in with excitement, fun, adventure and, of course, tequila!
Cozumel is surrounded by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is teeming with exotic sea life to discover, like loggerhead sea turtles and foureye butterflyfish. The Chankanaab National Park is close to the cruise dock, with historical walking trails and a postcard-pretty, white sand beach. As for buying souvenirs, shopping is a delight along the seafront at San Miguel.
To make the most of this island paradise, a Deluxe Snorkel, Sail and Beach Party takes you sailing in style on a sleek catamaran. Explore Paradise Reef to see spotted morays and splendid toadfish – a species unique to Cozumel. Play a game of volleyball on Fury Beach, try kayaking or simply sway in a hammock to the sounds of island music.
6. Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is located between the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez and the waves of the Pacific. Therefore, you’ll find plenty of picturesque spots for swimming, fishing and sipping margaritas in the sun. Culture lovers will enjoy colonial San José del Cabo, with its mission church, art galleries and historic town square.
To delve into local highlights, a Camel and Mexican Outback Adventure takes you to an oceanside ranch to taste tequila, learn how to make tortillas and go for a camel ride on the beach. You’ll travel aboard a 4×4 Mercedes Unimog along cactus-lined streams and lush nature trails.
The best cruise destinations in winter all have one thing in common – sundrenched beaches. Then, there’s everything from jungle zip lining in Belize to swimming with dolphins in Nassau and dune buggy adventures in Princess Cays. You’ll forget the cold even exists, on a cruise to one of these paradise locales.
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.