If you’re anything like me then you won’t want to wait until the days shorten and the weather takes a turn for the worst before thinking about booking your next winter getaway. |
Probably the best way to escape the British winter is to, quite literally, sail off into the sunset with a winter cruise to a sunshine destination. Avoid the peak seasons around the Christmas holidays, and you might even bag yourself a winter bargain.
Check out my selection of the best destinations for guaranteed winter sunshine, and you could be booking your ticket and taking out cruise travel insurance long before the UK’s first snowfall.
With its guaranteed sunshine and warm, welcoming atmosphere, the Bahamas is a great cruise destination. Just 70 miles from Palm Beach in Florida, many ships set off from Jacksonville in the US and make the short hop over to Grand Bahama for the first stop. Enjoy the white-sand beaches of one of the island chain’s most populated islands and take in the restaurants, bars and watersports on offer here.
If you’re lucky enough to have an itinerary which takes in Half Moon Cay, the private island owned by Carnival Corp, then you’re in for a treat: the remote island is a Caribbean idyll of white sand and turquoise waters unspoilt by crowds and development.
A stop off in Nassau is always an adventure. The capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a bustling port with a vibrant tourist scene well served by the town’s bars, restaurants, shops and casinos. Head out of the centre and you’ll discover the five-star luxury of Nassau’s beachfront accommodation.
From Nassau, many cruises head back to the US, taking just enough time for you to really enjoy the facilities and relaxation offered on-board your ship.
Australia and New Zealand
While we’re shivering in the cold, Australia and New Zealand are enjoying their summer so it makes sense to head ‘down under’ for winter. But the Antipodes offer much more than just sunshine: beautiful rugged coastlines, extraordinary reefs and cities bursting with elegant eateries and boutiques make this a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Taking a trip around New Zealand’s coastline can take you from the modern buzz of Auckland to the remote Fiordland National Park or the beautiful Bay of Islands. Take time to check out the historic city of Port Chalmers, established by Scottish gold prospectors in the 1800s, with its pretty Victorian architecture and neo-Gothic Castle.
In Australia you’ll stop off at vibrant modern cities and historic villages, but perhaps the most memorable part of your cruise will be the stunning natural landscape. From the protected rainforests to the Great Barrier Reef, there is so much to see you may need to come back.
If you want to feel that you’ve not only left winter behind, but the familiar hustle and bustle of ‘Western’ culture, then a cruise to Southeast Asia could be just what you’re looking for.
While weather patterns vary around the region, the best time to visit Southeast Asia is between November and March, making it the perfect winter cruise destination.
A vast area, the itinerary will be up to you to choose depending on which countries you would like to discover. But highlights in the region definitely include visiting Thailand’s beautiful coastline, with stop offs at some of its islands and its bustling capital Bangkok. From here you can venture on to Vietnam to explore the fascinating architecture and history of Phu My (formerly Ho Chi Minh City).
If you want to travel inland there are a variety of river cruises which will allow you to explore the interior of these beautiful countries, including the fascinating ruins at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.
There is a huge range of cruise companies offering various trips to these locations so make sure that you do your research carefully to ensure you get what you want.
WARNING: always take out cruise travel insurance before you travel.
Cruise travel insurance can be especially important, as it will not only protect you against the usual travel mishaps, but cover the unique circumstances and requirements of life on-board a ship and the multiple destinations your journey will include as well.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, family, annual and cruise travel insurance policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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