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10 best cruise holidays and new cruises to book for 2023/2024

Glide glorious waters from Costa Rica to Scotland with these popular cruising itineraries

Natalie Wilson
Friday 08 September 2023 13:30 BST
<p>Set sail on luxe vessels across the world’s oceans for the ultimate winter sun holiday </p>

Set sail on luxe vessels across the world’s oceans for the ultimate winter sun holiday

Longing for the hassle-free holiday of a lifetime? Drifting between continents on an all-in luxury cruise might just tick your boxes.

With imaginative dining options, world-class wellness amenities and memorable excursions on offer – on and offshore – multi-stop cruises blend cultural discovery and spectacular scenery with glamorous comfort.

Regular routes across the five oceans and seven continents include Caribbean classics, jaunts on the French Riviera and close-to-home cruises around the wonders of the British Isles.

From leisure cruises to Arctic expeditions and tall-ship sailings in Central America, there’s a bucket-list cruise holiday for everyone to access new waters.

Here’s the cream of the crop of cruising voyages to book this year, along with new itineraries and vessels making their inaugural journeys in 2024.

Think shiny new ships, reimagined Middle East itineraries and the world’s largest cruise vessel to ever take to the sea – read on to find out more.

Read more on cruises:

Doha to Mahe, Silversea

Silver Spirit is the epitome of seafaring indulgence

Departs: Doha, Qatar

Arrives: Mahe, Seychelles

For an unforgettable cruise on the Indian Ocean, board Silversea’s Silver Spirit on a 16-day voyage from glamorous Qatar to the alluring Seychelles. Cruisers will find winter sun from the Persian Gulf to Mahe’s cerulean seas sandwiched between unrivalled luxury amenities and fine dining on deck. Stops to take in Abu Dhabi’s soaring skyline, Muscat’s palm-fringed gardens and the colourful chaos of Mumbai and Cochin are dotted with complimentary onshore excursions, including snorkelling, desert safaris and temple tours.

Door-to-door prices start at £6,400pp – all inclusive of airport transfers, flights and food and beverages – for guests staying in vista suites featuring panoramic ocean views and cosy seating areas.

Departing 2 December 2024.

Costa Rica and Panama, Star Clippers

Find intimate cruising on the 115m Star Clipper ship that carries just 166 guests

Departs: Balboa, Panama

Arrives: Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

Feel the power of the wind under the traditional white sails of the Star Clipper tall ship on a seven-night yoga cruise docking at San Jose Island, the largest of Panama’s Pearl Islands; Golfita, Costa Rica’s most southern port town; and Manuel Antonio National Park in Quepos.

From £1,535pp guests can stay in an inside stateroom with en-suite – rates do not include on-board gratuities, air, hotel or transfer arrangements. Star Clipper’s Central America itineraries from Panama to Costa Rica sail from early December to late March with free daily yoga and meditation offered on select cruises.

Departing 2 December 2023.

Scenic isles of Scotland, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Sail Scotland’s Loch Hourn and Bac Mòr archipelago on the timeless Bolette

Departs: Liverpool, UK

Arrives: Liverpool, UK

Cruise close to home with Fred Olsen’s voyage to the Scottish Isles departing from Liverpool on the Bolette. The five-night discovery of remote waters, islands and lochs calls at Lewis and Orkney for a taste of Scotland’s history at Neolithic sites such as the Ring of Brodgar. Duart Castle’s 17th-century stone, Fingal’s Cave and Iona Abbey are other cultural highlights of the hassle-free holiday on the water.

Securing one of Bolette’s 690 cabins will set Scotland enthusiasts back £1,699pp for a junior balcony suite kitted out with a private balcony, mini bar and sitting room.

Departing 3 May 2024.

In Search of the Northern Lights, Viking Cruises

Cruise to Norway’s far north to glimpse the dance of the Aurora Borealis

Departs: Tilbury, London

Arrives: Bergen, Norway

If watching the waltz of the multicolour Northern Lights is at the top of your bucket list, Viking Cruise’s 13-day “In Search of the Northern Lights” journey promises a deep dive into the wonders of the Norwegian Arctic and Sami culture. Five illuminating guided tours across the dramatic snowscapes of Norway’s most northern towns (Narvic, Tromsø and Alta) follow in the wake of Viking sailors, with opportunities to ride dog sledges and snowmobiles among the excursions on offer between scenic sails on the Norwegian Inside Passage.

The cruise is priced from £4,990pp to stay in a spacious veranda stateroom featuring king beds, premium toiletries, plush robes and slippers. Return flights, meals, beverages and gratuities are all included in the cost.

Departing 12 January 2024.

Antarctica Exploration, Seabourn

Cosy up in panorama veranda suites onboard the Seabourn Venture

Departs: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Arrives: Ushuaia, Argentina

Seabourn’s 13-day “Antarctica Exploration” fuses penguins and snow storms with the passionate flare of Argentina. The expedition begins in Buenos Aires, before arriving in the wild white continent of Antarctica. Sensational scenery from the Aitcho Islands to the iceberg-peppered Antarctic Sound and the infamous cruise route, The Drake Passage, are an untouched oasis of natural beauty.

Priced at a cool £14,489pp for a veranda suite, multiple dining options, world-class entertainment and enrichment activities.

Departing 6 January 2024.

New for 2023/2024

MSC Orchestra, MSC Cruises

Saudi Arabia and Red Sea

As part of MSC’s new Middle East itineraries for winter 2023, MSC Orchestra departs Safaga, Luxor for a seven-night voyage to new port stops including Jeddah, Agaba and Sharm el-Sheikh. Travellers can cruise and fly from £959pp with full-board interior accommodation when cruising on 17 December 2023.

First departure from 26 November 2023.

Sun Princess, Princess Cruises 

Grand Mediterranean Voyage

Sun Princess’ inaugural season and new 10-night Mediterranean itinerary are both on sale now. A ride on the new ship, accommodating 4,300 guests, from Rome to Corfu, Athens and Naples will set interior guests back £899pp.

Departing from 18 February 2024.

Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Western Caribbean and Perfect Day 

Arriving in 2024, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas will be the world’s largest cruise ship to take to the water – the ship even boasts the world’s largest waterpark at sea. A seven-night return trip from Miami with stops at Puerto Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico and CocoCay waterpark and beach club is priced from £1,750pp for an interior room.

Departing for its maiden voyage on 27 January 2024.

Come 2024, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship on the water

Vista, Oceania Cruises 

Jerusalem to Athens

The Vista, Oceania’s first new ship for a decade, started sailing this summer with new on-shore excursions, imaginative dining concepts and a balcony for every room on offer to guests. Spend 11 days journeying from Jerusalem to Athens with visits to Cyprus, Turkey and Greece from £5,129pp.

Departing 1 June 2024.

Costa Serena, Costa Cruises 

Flavours of India

Costa Cruises’ 23 new domestic sailing routes begin in November 2023 with unique visits to Cochin, Mormugao, Goa and, for the first time, the Lakshadweep Islands. An eight-day return journey from Mumbai is priced from £716pp on the Costa Serena.

Departing 19 November 2023.

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