The Best Cruise Destinations for Guaranteed Winter Sun

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Credit where credit is due, summer 2016 has tried to hang on for as long as possible, treating us to a couple of sunny (if not quite t-shirt-worthy) weekends well into September this year. But none of us will have failed to notice the temperatures falling a good few notches over the past week, and the light layers of frost which have started to appear as we leave the house in the morning. The upcoming five months of terrible weather seem a bit too close for comfort, leaving us longing for those balmy summer evenings to reappear.

Best Winter Sun Cruise Destinations

And, because a freak hot flush hitting the UK is unlikely, the only realistic way to achieve this is to hotfoot it abroad, where the sun is shining and the seas are sparkling. Sadly, some of our most trusted holiday escapes such as France, Spain and Portugal are facing the same meteorological issue as us (although to a far lesser extent), so we may have to look further afield for our winter sun.

A cruise is a delightful way to be transported to these far-flung parts of the planet in guaranteed luxury. So, here we’ve compiled a list of the best cruise destinations which guarantee winter sun.

The Caribbean

caribbean cruise winter sun

There’s a reason why the Caribbean is the world’s most popular location for cruise ships. The ultimate escape from the grey, dreary skies and lingering frost, the Caribbean offers wall-to-wall sun, golden beaches, azure waters, coconut and rum cocktails, and just about everything else you could possibly want from a summer paradise. With the official end of hurricane season coinciding with the start of December, there’s never a better time to visit than in the midst of the northern hemisphere’s winter.

The temperatures across the islands of the Caribbean can change from location to location, but we’d recommend cruise itineraries visiting these destinations (they’re the ones with the warmest weather and lowest rainfall): Aruba, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Thomas and Curaçao.

Check out our amazing selection of Caribbean cruises

Miami

And the perfect place to start and end a cruise to the Caribbean? Miami, of course. The Floridian city is a major cruise port and an exciting destination in its own right. Known as the cruise capital of the world, a huge number of ships from the leading lines – including Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and more – all sail out of the port.

We’d recommend bookending a Caribbean cruise with a few days in Miami at the start and beginning of the voyage. Miami Beach is a long, beautiful stretch of golden sand, visited by the bright and beautiful of Florida – backed by row after row of delightful art deco hotels and leading eateries.

Cape Town

cape town south africa cruise

We think it’s amazing that Cape Town is not included on more ‘must-visit destination’ lists, with the delightful South African port city boasting white beaches, amazing wildlife, a thriving cultural heart and views over the incomparable Table Mountain. Our winter months are the perfect time to head over to Cape Town, where the temperatures never drop below 27°C.

Approaching Cape Town by cruise ship is one of the most jaw-dropping experiences you’ll ever enjoy, especially if you’re lucky enough to arrive when the sun is rising above Table Mountain.

For an amazing selection of sea voyages visiting Cape Town, head over to our dedicated South Africa cruises page

The Canary Islands

We’re aware that, so far, our picks are located quite a trip from home. If you’d rather travel not so far, the Canary Islands are perhaps the best bet. The most southerly islands of Europe (they’re closer to the equator than Manchester), the Canary Islands are actually positioned just off the coast of Western Sahara, a massive leap from their motherland, Spain. This means the islands are not subjected to the cold snap the rest of Europe has to suffer.

Lanzarote and Tenerife have managed to escape the negative stigmas attached to the islands during the British holidaymaker invasion of the 1980s, having matured into beautiful retreats for all ages. Stunning beaches, relaxed villages and delightful cuisine are all par for the course during a winter retreat to the Canary Islands.

Fancy heading to there this winter? Head over to our dedicated page for Canary Islands cruises

California

california redwood forest

Things are a little bit different in California to the rest of the USA – and the world, it seems. Whilst New York et al. are struggling under a blanket of snow, California continues to enjoy endless sunny days and one of the most diverse cultural hotbeds the planet has to offer. It’s no wonder the stars congregate in the LA region of California, making the most of the near year-round sun.

There’s a huge array of things to do and see during a trip to California. Alongside the Hollywood tours, leading theme parks and miles upon miles of beaches, head further into the state and you’ll uncover some of the most beautiful wildlife the Americas have to offer. Death Valley national park, Yosemite national park and the mighty redwood trees provide some of the most unique and awe-inspiring backdrops California has to offer.

The best of California can be enjoyed as part of a cruise itinerary, so check out our huge range of deals on West Coast America cruises

Phuket

Like the Caribbean islands, the gorgeous island of Phuket enjoys its dry season between December and April every year, perfect for a wintry escape from the UK. Thailand’s largest island is a lush paradise which combines luxury resorts with hidden gems. Whether you want to be waited on hand and foot, or you want to escape the crowds, Phuket offers a delightful retreat from the mire of the UK winter.

January, February and March are regarded as the best times to visit the island of Phuket, with long sunny days welcoming visitors. Steal a day or two in Phuket, and some of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders will open up for you. From the limestone cliffs and caves of Phang Nga Bay to the colonial architecture of Old Phuket Town, there’s so much to see and do on this beautiful island in the Andaman Sea.

Check out our amazing selection of cruises to Thailand

Rio de Janeiro

christ the redeemer rio cruise

The unforgettable carnival city of Rio de Janeiro is as unique as it is enigmatic. Whether you’re hitting the surf with the beautiful Brazilians on Copacabana Beach or trekking up to take in the splendour of Christ the Redeemer, Rio mixes the old with the new, the chaste with the exotic, and all with a delightful flair.

The sun still soars high above Copacabana Beach during our winter months, making Rio a brilliant destination to escape the cold weather of home. Secure a couple of days in Brazil, and you should venture inland, exploring one of the most dynamic nations on the plant, rich with a vibrant ecosystem and a myriad of indigenous cultures.

Check out our fantastic prices on cruises to Brazil

If none of these are ticking all your winter sun boxes, why not have a chat with our friendly sales team and we’ll find the perfect package for you. Give us a call on 0808 231 3669.

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About Author

Claire Wilde

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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