The 20 best cruise destinations for 2023 and 2024

The 20 best cruise destinations for 2023 and 2024

So many places, so little time - and the best cruises for 2023 and 2024 are ideal for seeing as much of the world as you can.


One of our favourite things about a cruise is that you can visit multiple bucket-list destinations in one holiday and discover new treasures on your way. The best cruises let you explore places which are difficult to reach on foot, like some of Scotland’s most remote islands and Greece's hidden coves.

They also open up spectacular views you wouldn’t get on land, such as picturesque fairytale castles dotted along the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde Rivers or the whitewashed seaside towns of the Greek Cyclades.

Choosing a cruise means seeking new adventures, perhaps travelling to a continent you’ve never set foot in before or trying new activities like hiking, wildlife spotting or cooking. There are also other ways to expand your horizons on a cruise, such as seeing some local entertainment or making new friends on board.

As it’s become ever-more important to us to take a stress-free holiday, we've rounded up the very best cruise packages that won’t disappoint.

On these incredible cruises for 2023 and 2024, you can expect everything from the best river cruises to amazing cruise ideas for couples and excellent cruises around the UK.

It doesn't matter when you're looking to sail either, as these cruises take in all the seasons. Fancy setting sail for some winter sun? We've got an epic Caribbean cruise for that. Feel like a spring cruise to escape the summer crowds? We've got the perfect springtime cruise around Japan where you'll see thee country at the height of cherry blossom season.

However or whenever you want to travel, there's a trip for you and the best cruises in 2023 and 2024 take you to the most incredible destinations. You can travel with celebrities on star-studded holidays, visit lesser-known towns and villages to get a real taste of a location and sail to amazing wildlife destinations.

These are the best cruises for 2023 and 2024.

(Levente Bodo)
1) Japan - Best cruises

As each new spring begins, millions of Japanese residents and tourists wait with anticipation for the first buds of the pink cherry blossom, known as sakura, to appear.

These blossoms are a symbol of renewal, vitality and beauty, and they make Japan's already spectacular cities and landscapes even more breathtaking than usual.

In 2024, you'll have the chance to experience this phenomenon for yourself with Good Housekeeping's once-in-a-lifetime two-week cruise. The cruise begins and ends in Tokyo, where you'll find soaring skyscrapers contrasting with blooming gardens and traditional noodle houses.

Along the way you'll stop in Hiroshima, where you can learn about its devastating Second World War history, Osaka, where you can see some of the country's most ornate shrines and temples, and you'll even make a stop in Busan in South Korea to enjoy the city's subtropical landscapes.


(DoctorEgg - Getty Images)
2) Northern France - Best cruises

Northern France is home to some of the country's most glorious countryside, where you'll discover fairytale villages of half-timbered houses, rolling fields alongside rocky gorges, and the beaches of Normandy where you can learn more about the region's World War II history.

Good Housekeeping's cruise along the Seine begins and ends in Paris, taking you through Northern France's finest rural landscapes, including those that inspired impressionist master Claude Monet.

You'll see Monet's gardens at Giverny, visit the Palace of Versailles, and explore Normandy's beaches, and you'll have time to explore the many delights of Paris. This cruise coincides with the Rugby World Cup Final, meaning you can soak in the electric atmosphere of the city as it celebrates this important sporting event, or even attend the final if you’re lucky enough to have tickets.

Making the cruise even more special is the company of French chef Michel Roux Jr, who will host a cooking demonstration and a Q&A, allowing you to learn about fine French cuisine from a true expert.


(Martial Colomb - Getty Images)
3) Scottish Highlands - Best cruises

Loch Ness, Loch Nevis, the Sound of Mull, Iona, Eigg, Skye, Fort Augustus, Fort William… the names conjure up images of glistening waters, wild landscapes and towering castles, majestic flora and fauna, and myths and legends.

If you were going to compile a bucket list of British breaks, this is surely a contender, taking you through the Highlands and islands of Scotland to explore the endlessly beautiful Caledonian Canal, the magical islands of Scotland's western shore and hidden sea lochs that are only accessible on the water.

The deluxe Lord of the Glens hosts a maximum of 54 passengers and is one of the best ways to explore the area. Guests stay in outward-facing en suite cabins and enjoy superb cuisine throughout. You can experience the ship in October, when journalist Kirsty Wark joins us for a sailing through the tranquil Caledonian Canal and onwards towards the Sound of Mull.

You'll explore the West Highlands one day by rail, travelling along part of the West Highland Railway route and over the famous 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Kirsty will be on hand to chat with guests about the history of modern Scotland for the first few days, so you can learn more about the exceptional monuments and landscapes you'll be sailing past.


(WLDavies - Getty Images)
4) Northern Spain - Best cruises

Spain’s northern coastline is well-known for its verdant landscapes, fine cuisine, modern cities and picturesque villages along its vast, golden beaches. It’s also packed with art and architecture, making it a great cruise destination for lovers of culture.

From the Biscay town of Getxo, with its UNESCO-listed Vizcaya Bridge, to the Basque capital Bilbao, with its world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, there are gems to discover at every port.

Good Housekeeping's luxury five-night cruise in August 2023 takes you to the highlights of northern Spain as you sail in style on the luxury ship Bolette.

You’ll start in Getxo before heading to Bilbao and on to the magnificent city of La Coruña in Galicia, where you can wander between the medieval old town and the more modern districts to see the architectural contrasts.


(ondacaracola photography - Getty Images)
5) Antarctica - Best cruises

Choosing the best Antarctic cruise can seem like a daunting task - it’s an investment of your time and money and likely something you may only do once and remember in exquisite detail. It’s a remote and thrilling part of the world to explore, where 12 million penguins live in the coldest, highest, and driest place on earth.

To get the best out of this monumental experience, you need to go with experts who will take care of everything. Hurtigruten expedition cruises have explored Antarctic waters for over 20 years, and their premium ships have been designed so guests can explore the region comfortably.

Good Housekeeping’s Antarctic cruise on MS Fridtjof Nansen has one of the lowest possible CO2 footprints of all expedition ships in Antarctica, thanks to a special hybrid engine on this future-ready vessel.

You’ll depart from Ushuaia, a city nicknamed ‘End of the World’ and head through the icy waters of the Drake Passage, home to the incredible marine life you may have only seen on screen, where the white wonderland envelopes you on an adventure like no other.


Another chance to explore the White Continent is on a 13-day expedition cruise on board the well-equipped MS Roald Amundsen. This cruise will also take you to the intriguing Falkland Islands, where you'll find a land of rugged hills, wildflower meadows, sandy beaches, and colonies of penguins.

MS Roald Amundsen is a state-of-the-art expedition ship specifically designed for voyages in polar waters. On board you'll find a science centre, a two-level observation deck, and a range of excellent dining options.


(David Merron Photography - Getty Images)
6) The French and Italian Rivieras - Best cruises

The sunny Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy boast some of Europe’s most glamorous ports. There’s Alghero in Sicily, with its historic city walls and cobblestoned centre, Cannes, with its iconic Boulevard de la Croisette, and dazzling St Tropez, where you can kick back in chic seafront bistros and bars.

If you want to tick off several of the Mediterranean’s magnificent port towns in one trip, join a voyage on the Royal Clipper, a large, full-rigged sailing ship which mixes traditional elegance with modern comforts.

In September 2023, you'll be joined by Saturday Kitchen's James Martin, who will share some expert cooking skills during a live demonstration and answer questions about his fascinating career during an exclusive Q&A. You’ll spend seven nights on Royal Clipper as you visit St Tropez, Cannes, Alghero, Portoferraio and more.

Making this trip extra special is the chance to watch from Royal Clipper’s deck as hundreds of outstanding sailing ships race by as part of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez regatta.


(Giacomo Augugliaro - Getty Images)
7) The Cyclades - Best cruises

This cruise will take you from the bustling seaports to tranquil, uninhabited islands of the Cyclades. With their quaint white villages, golden sandy beaches and turquoise waters the Cyclades, 220 pristine islands in the Aegean Sea, are an ever-popular holiday destination.

The eight-day cruise, with departures between May and October 2023, will take you to the famous islands of Santorini and Mykonos, perhaps the most popular of the Cyclades and with good reason, with their stylish restaurants and nightlife.

You’ll also get the chance to visit the more off-the-beaten-track Folegandros, with its high cliffs and beaches that can only be reached by boat. You’ll be cruising on the wonderful MS Galileo, where you’ll be one of just 49 guests on board, meaning the specialist crew can ensure you receive outstanding service, heartfelt hospitality and personal touches.


(Francesco Riccardo Iacomino - Getty Images)
8) The Rhône and Saône rivers

The idyllic rural scenery of the south of France has inspired painters including Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin with its landscapes of fairytale fortresses, terraced vineyards and fields of lavender and sunflowers. The glorious Rhône and Saône rivers run through several of France’s most enticing regions, making a river cruise one of the best ways to explore.

On an eight-day cruise in March, you’ll sail these rivers to discover the history and gastronomy along their banks. You'll enjoy the region's incomparable wine and cuisine and discover its many treasures-from the medieval wonders of UNESCO-designated Avignon to Lyon's lively river banks.

Making the trip unique is the company of cricketing legend Ian Botham and chef Rosemary Shrager. Ian will join you for the whole week, including a visit to the Paul Jaboulet Aîné estate's wine cellar, and Rosemary will give a live cooking demonstration.


You can also join us on an eight-day solo cruise of the Rhône and Saône rivers in April, with plenty of exciting shore excursions to look forward to. Those who wish to get a bit more active can kayak on the tranquil Gardon River under the UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard, hike the steep vineyards on the banks of the Rhône, and pedal through lovely Lyon, the epicentre of French gastronomy.


(Marjolaine Tremblay - Getty Images)
9) Iceland - Best cruises

Iceland is the perfect playground for those who love nature and wildlife. This island country is famed for its dramatic natural landscapes with towering mountains, magnificent fjords, geothermal springs, and volcanoes to discover.

There’s also a wonderful array of wildlife to be found here. Humpback whales can often be spotted breaching in icy waters, and native birds soar in the skies overhead.

An adventure cruise is a great way to see the mesmerising landscapes of Iceland, and a wonderful two-week trip in September 2023 will take you to many highlights of this magical country. Making the trip extra special is the chance to meet weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, who will join you on an excursion and give an insightful talk and Q&A in Reykjavik.

You'll be sailing in style on the elegant ship Balmoral, specially designed to allow you to get up close to Iceland's awe-inspiring natural wonders.


(Laurie Noble - Getty Images)
10) British Isles - Best cruises

We needn’t travel halfway across the world to experience natural wonders. The British coastline is one of the most rugged and spectacularly beautiful in the world, packed with quaint and charming port towns full of history and beautiful wildlife, including rare seabirds.

Our British Isles cruise allows you to experience the best beaches, birds and whiskies of these islands in the comfort of Hurtigruten’s MS Maud. You can learn more about our coastline in the library or during onboard lectures, savour local ingredients in a choice of three restaurants, and kick back in the hot tubs or in your cabin with free room service.

Expedition boats take you ashore so you can trek around beautiful scenery and get involved in local activities on the Pembrokeshire coast, Rathlin Island, the Inner Hebrides, the Isles of Man and Scilly and the banks of the River Dart.

There’s plenty to do in each spot, and diving deep into our best towns and villages will take you on a tour of the UK’s most famous dishes - from freshly caught Devon crab to artisan fudge and classic cream teas. Taste your way around Britain's most beautiful spots with Good Housekeeping in 2023, from April to August.


(Michael Roberts - Getty Images)
11) Venetian Lagoon - Best cruises

Springtime is delightful in Venice, and a cruise along the Venetian Lagoon reveals more of this romantic and fascinating destination than a hotel city break.

On a cruise, you can visit the islands of Venice's northern lagoon, including Mazzorbo and Torcello. You can also explore the island of Burano during a sailing on the luxurious SS La Venezia.

Burano is known for its traditional lacemaking and where vividly colourful fisherman cottages line the lagoon.

The opportunity to visit Burano isn’t the only reason to sail onboard SS La Venezia this spring. On a special sailing departing in April 2023, you’ll watch an incredible performance by singing sensation Russell Watson in Venice, then have the opportunity to meet Russell for an exclusive talk and Q&A.


If you like your holidays with a focus on all things gourmet, you might instead choose to join our eight-day cruise of the Venetian Lagoon in the company of Rick Stein in October.

You’ll have a chance to explore the highlights of the Lagoon on this foodie break and Rick will be with you for a few days, joining a tour to the Rialto food market in Chioggia and hosting a cooking demonstration and Q&A.


For those who'd like to delve a little deeper into the rich artistic heritage of the Veneto region, our cruise in July with renowned art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon could be the right choice. Andrew will share his expert knowledge as you explore and join you on trips to the Accademia Gallery, the Scuola di San Rocco and The Frari Church.


If you'd like to explore the Venetian lagoon with fellow lovers of history and fine food as a solo traveller, why not join our cruise in July 2023 with no single supplement? You'll meet your fellow guests as you sail on board the S.S La Venezia, a small ship with attentive service and a friendly atmosphere. Exceptional meals are included on board, with the chefs creating excellent dishes to enjoy with other guests as you sail.


(Atlantide Phototravel - Getty Images)
12) Douro River - Best cruises

Portugal in October is a splendid time of year. Pleasantly warm temperatures make autumn the perfect season to explore north Portugal on a river cruise along the Douro. This scenic waterway is flanked by rolling landscapes and vineyards, with storybook villages rising from the banks.

The Alto Douro, the name of this wine-producing valley region, holds UNESCO status and is one of the oldest and most renowned wine-making regions in the world.

Good Housekeeping offers an exclusive cruise along the Douro, where you can truly soak in the beauty of this golden valley as you travel.

Whereas some cruises like their passengers to dress in their finest gowns for dinner, A-ROSA ALVA has no such rules. Instead, an eight-day cruise in October 2023 invites its guests to relax on a wine-themed voyage where you’ll have the chance to take part in a traditional grape harvest, including picking and crushing the grapes underfoot in traditional granite troughs.


(Ian.CuiYi - Getty Images)
13) Irish Sea - Best cruises

Taking holidays that are a little kinder to our world is becoming a more important factor in our holiday decision-making. And while cruise holidays have been linked with high carbon emissions and waste, there’s a lot being done to clean up the act.

Expedition cruise line Hurtigruten has sharpened its focus on what more can be done, including hybrid-powered ships, plastic-free cruises, and serving plant-based food on-board.

On a no-fly tour of the Irish Sea in April 2023, sustainability is on the agenda. Two beach clean-ups are scheduled as you call at Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Wales, and Ireland, before returning to Scotland.

It’s a fabulous and varied itinerary where your excursions are included, matching adventures on land with comfortable sailing at sea, and visiting a new port every day.


(DieterMeyrl - Getty Images)
14) Southwest France - Best cruises

A cruise is the perfect way for food and wine lovers to explore the Bordeaux region and be utterly spoiled by the bounty of gourmet treats here. If you’re going to take a food-themed cruise, what could be better than being in the company of legendary French chef, Raymond Blanc?

Discover his French roots on this luxury, exclusive and all-inclusive eight-day gourmet cruise through France, visiting Saint-Emilion, Cadillac, Blaye and Libourne. On an exceptional departure in October 2023, board the splendidly opulent Scenic Diamond for a memorable trip along the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde rivers.

Along with exciting stops and a beautiful ship to enjoy, you’ll have the opportunity to watch Raymond in a live cooking demonstration, and he’ll prepare a wonderful gala dinner. You can also experience the on-board cooking school and visit a local market on this foodie cruise.


If you'd like to travel to France and meet new people as an individual traveller, why not join a gourmet cruise in July 2023 and enjoy an exclusive no solo supplement offer?

This eight-day luxury river cruise along the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde rivers will take you to the UNESCO-listed citadel in Blaye, traditional wineries and charming châteaux in Cussac Fort Médoc, Cadillac, and Saint-Émilion, as you learn all about this romantic region's history and wine culture.

Your gourmet voyage begins and ends in beautiful Bordeaux, where you'll visit the Cité du Vin museum and learn even more about the region's fine wines.


(Ben Ferris - Getty Images)
15) The Hebrides - Best cruises

The islands of Scotland's Hebrides offer breathtaking scenery, dazzling wildlife and renowned whiskies which draw visitors from all over the world. Good Housekeeping's spring cruise offers the chance to explore these isles from the comfort of a luxury ship.

You’ll begin your journey in Glasgow, before setting sail for Arran, the Isle of Mull, and the 'whisky isle' of Islay, before heading back to the mainland to discover some of the delights of Scotland's Western shores. You'll tour some of the country's oldest distilleries on Arran and Mull and explore the incredible eight working distilleries on Islay.

There's a chance to see famous locations like Fort William, Glen Nevis and Glen Coe, as you sail through glistening waters witnessing wild landscapes and towering castles.

Travelling on the modern, environmentally progressive MS Spitsbergen, you'll be joined by an expert expedition team, who will lead activities both on the ship and on land and answer your questions about this beautiful region's wildlife and landscapes.


If you fancy a longer exploration of these stunning isles, there is an 11-day island-hopping cruise in April and May 2023. The journey begins in Glasgow, where you'll board the comfortable and modern MS Spitsbergen, which will take you to the Isle of Mull, the Isle of Iona, Hirta Island and many more intriguing Hebridean locations for an unforgettable holiday.


(Ashley Cooper - Getty Images)
16) Costa Rica and Panama - Best cruises

Plenty of sleek and modern cruise ships sail the Caribbean Sea, a dream winter sun destination. The trick to choosing the best Caribbean cruise to suit you is finding one with the ideal itinerary, whether one that visits the blockbuster ports or tucks into lesser-discovered harbours.

For a Caribbean journey that’s far from your average cruise, try an exceptional voyage to Costa Rica and Panama aboard Star Clipper, a traditional tall ship with 36,000 feet of billowing sails.

You’ll sail down the west coast of Central America on this opulent vessel that evokes the romance of a grander age. Over the week-long cruise in January, February and March 2024, you'll first get to know Costa Rica, sailing into the shimmering turquoise bays that hold a bounty of exotic marine life.

Heading south to Panama, you’ll then stop at two paradisiacal islands, Coiba Island and Parida Island. Both are celebrated for their white-sand beaches, lapped with jade-hued water.


(Getty Images)
17) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - Best cruises

Another great destination for those seeking powdery-soft beaches, crystal clear waters and Caribbean culture is a cruise around Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

From the botanical gardens on Bequia Island to the lush coral reefs of the uninhabited Tobago Cays, these islands offer so much for any nature lover, making them a perfect choice for those looking to spend time in unspoilt surroundings.

Good Housekeeeping's 10-day cruise in March 2024 focuses on mindfulness through connection with nature in some of the Caribbean's lushest, leafy locations. You'll sail to the Tobago Cays and Saint Vincent Island, where the bustling harbour offers plenty of opportunities for shopping. Grenada's Carriacou Island, known for its coral reefs and clear, shallow waters, is also on your itinerary,

You'll sail on board Emerald Azzurra, a luxury yacht boasting a sleek spa, tranquil infinity pool, á la carte and buffet dining options with fresh local produce.


(Sylvain Sonnet - Getty Images)
18) Danube River - Best cruises

The River Danube flows through the heart of Europe, through elegant cities that have witnessed centuries of artistic achievement and historic events, and through idyllic countryside dotted with fairytale villages.

Originating in Germany's Black Forest, it winds through or along the border of nine other countries, so it's a great river to cruise if you're looking to visit several of Europe's finest cities in one trip.

On our eight-day cruise in April 2023, you'll have the chance to visit Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Salzburg and Linz as you sail down the mighty Danube through the glorious Wachau Valley. There's a choice of 15 excursions while you sail, so you'll get the opportunity to discover the delights of these culture-rich cities.

On Uniworld's ultra-luxury Super Ship Maria Theresa, you'll enjoy a truly unforgettable voyage with world-class cuisine, exquisite service and carefree, effortless travel.

What's more, if you're a solo traveller you can make the most of an exclusive no single supplement offer, meaning you'll save money and meet like-minded travellers as you sail.


(Westend61 - Getty Images)
19) Norway - Best cruises

Norway's coast and magnificent fjords are truly captivating - dotted with calm waters, crashing waterfalls, and fishing communities dating back to pre-Viking times. If you follow this dramatic coastline all the way up to the north of the country, you'll find yourself in the Arctic Circle, where fascinating natural phenomena await.

There's a good chance of seeing the breathtaking aurora borealis here, allowing you to soak in the magic of these wild landscapes as beautiful waves of light dance in the skies above you.

You can also experience the Polar Night above Norway's arctic circle. Here, instead of total darkness, the skies will change to an ethereal shade of cobalt blue, bathing the fjords and mountains in otherworldly hues.

Join our fourteen-night arctic expedition cruise to discover the magic of Norway’s coast, fjords, fishing villages, and the arctic circle. We have departures between late September and December, when you'll have a very good chance of seeing the magical and unforgettable Northern Lights.


(ASMR - Getty Images)
20) Alaska - Best cruises

Alaska is one of the USA's most scenic states and a cruise is a great way to experience its rugged landscapes and captivating wildlife. Its Inside Passage is a protected network of waterways that wind through glacier-cut fjords and lush temperate rain forests along the rugged coast of the southeast. Here you can look out for humpback whales, orca, bald eagles and brown bears.

Join Good Housekeeping for a remarkable 15-day trip where you'll discover the very best that Alaska and British Columbia have to offer, enjoying a luxury coastal cruise in Alaska as well as a first-class train journey into the heart of the Rockies on the incredible Rocky Mountaineer.

You'll spend seven nights sailing through the Inside Passage - a network of waterways winding through the fjords and mighty forests of USA's largest state, where you'll learn about indigenous Alaskan communities, dine on freshly caught fish in the state capital Juneau, discover the sites of the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, and hike some of the region's beautiful mountains.


Looking for inspiration for your next holiday? Grab a cuppa and browse our brochure packed with unique escapes.


(Ron Sanford - Getty Images)

The best cruises to book for 2023 and 2024, from the Caribebean to the Douro River. Here are the best cruises to book around the world.