The Best Winter Cruises for Those Looking for a Last Minute Escape
Feeling some winter blues? If frigid temperatures and gloomy winter skies are getting you down, escape the ice and frost and find some turquoise blue water and sunshine. It’s not too late to book a winter escape and a last minute cruise is a great way to do so.
Here are my top picks for where to sail away to on a winter cruise.
North America Hot Spots to Escape to on a Winter Cruise
The Caribbean is a tropical oasis for many people worn down by the winter gloom and dropping temperatures. For those looking for a deal, you’re in luck – there are many cruise ships sailings to the Caribbean each winter, meaning ample opportunity to snag a great rate on a last minute sailing.
You can usually find cruises heading to the Caribbean from ports in Florida and Texas, making for easy flights, or if you want to maximize your time in the Caribbean, you can choose an itinerary that departs from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
After choosing your departure port, you’re ready for more planning fun as you figure out exactly where to go:
Do you want to do adventurous water activities in the Western Caribbean; visit the desert landscapes of the ABC Islands in the Southern Caribbean; or see beautiful natural formations like the emerald green pitons of St. Lucia or the curve of Magens Bay in St. Thomas while sailing through the Eastern Caribbean?
The choice is yours and thanks to a wide selection of itineraries you can likely see several of the Caribbean islands on your wish-list all in one easily planned last-minute cruise vacation.
Read More: What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise
One of the first questions anyone asks when you say you’re going to Hawaii is: What island?
Well, think how neat it would be to be able to reply that you’re going to…most of them! A cruise around the islands of Hawaii makes that possible.
It’s common for cruises to depart from Los Angeles or San Diego and sail to Honolulu, or vice versa.
Along the way you’ll get a couple relaxing days at sea to explore your ship, pamper yourself with spa treatments, and dine on gourmet cuisine. Once you reach Hawaii, you’ll visit several ports at different islands.
Spend your time in port snorkeling with sea turtles, hiking to waterfalls, visiting coffee plantations, and attending luaus – or just hanging out on a sandy beach and taking a swim in the warm ocean.
Last Minute Winter Cruises to…Summer?
The Caribbean and Hawaii are common destinations that pop into the mind of residents in North America when it comes to getting away somewhere warm during the winter months…but, guess what? It’s not winter everywhere!
Head to the southern hemisphere where residents are having their summer fun while you’re shivering in winter cold.
Some popular cruise escapes in the southern hemisphere are Australia and New Zealand itineraries and South America sailings.
New Zealand and Australia Summer Wonders
Australia and New Zealand are two neighboring countries in the southern hemisphere that are known for gorgeous coastline, outdoor adventures, and cosmopolitan cities.
Get away from the winter cold to the gorgeous beaches of Australia during its summer or ride a bike around the vineyards of New Zealand under a sunny sky.
If you’re flying all the way down to the South Pacific from the U.S. it makes sense to visit both countries, but that’s not as hassle-free as it might sound. You’ll have to pay for extra flights between the countries and figure out transportation around each country. An easy way to avoid those potential travel headaches is to visit both countries on a cruise.
If you’re looking for sandy beaches and ocean sports, choose an itinerary that has lots of stops along the northeast coast of Australia, which is home to the Great Barrier Reef.
City lovers will enjoy an itinerary that stops in Wellington and Auckland in New Zealand, and/or Sydney and Brisbane in Australia.
Those looking for wild, nature-filled scenery will enjoy a cruise that visit Australia’s less visited western region and explore the ports of Perth and Broome. Or take a cruise that focuses on New Zealand’s South Island, known for fjords, glaciers, and an abundance of hiking trails.
Read More: The Ultimate New Zealand South Island Bucket List By a Local
South America Last Minute Winter Cruises
While all the countries in South America are having their summer while North America is having its winter, if you’re looking for a tropical vibe, pick a cruise itinerary that sails closer to the equator, such as a Panama Canal cruise that also stops at ports in Mexico and Central America.
For itineraries that feature major cities, look into an itinerary that visits Rio de Janeiro and Buzios in Brazil, or Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Animal and nature lovers will enjoy a winter getaway to the Galapagos, though be warned, it’s going to be slim picking – if there is any availability at all – for last minute cruises to the Galapagos as these itineraries tend to sell out early; if your preferred dates to the Galapagos are sold out, consider booking next year’s vacation now.
Last Minute Flights to Your Cruise
You’ll have to do some research to find some good deals for last minute flights to these destinations, so make sure you double check flight prices before booking your last minute winter cruise.
Then you’re all set to be on your way to some warmth and sunshine!