2024 cruise destinations: The best places to visit each season

Ditch the destination dilemma, your year-round cruise planner is here. We tell you where to go and when.

With the new year, comes a chance to dream of 2024 cruise destinations – and what better way of escaping the January blues than by booking a holiday?

Forget the endless scrolling and last-minute booking meltdowns, as we’ve got the experts at Saga Cruise to do the legwork, to handpick gems for every season and mood.

Whether you’re a cruising novice or a veteran on the water, we have your back. So, get your sea legs on and prepare to embark on a journey through 2024’s most captivating cruise destinations.

The Spirit of Discovery in Norway illustrating the 2024 cruise plannerCredit: Saga
Plan your cruise holiday by knowing the best time to visit each destination

Spring

Island hopping ahoy!

The Mediterranean

Beat the summer tourist throngs and bask in the charm of iconic Mediterranean cities like Athens, Lisbon, Barcelona, and Venice – all top 2024 cruise destinations. Spring, from March to May, offers the perfect weather for soaking up their cultural and historical treasures, with just the right amount of cool air to keep you comfortable.

It’s also a lovely time of year for an island-hopping cruise. The Azores – an archipelago of nine islands, west of Lisbon – boasts dramatic landscapes, fishing villages and is one of only six Whale Heritage Sites worldwide.

Blooming lovely

While hydrangeas weren’t born in the Azores, a colourful wave of them washed ashore in the 17th century. Today, they paint the islands with their beauty, especially Faial, proudly nicknamed the “blue island” for its ocean-mirroring blooms.

Summer

A wonderful time to head north

Norway

First-time cruiser? Ditch the beach crowds and set your sights on the enchanting Norwegian fjords. These shorter cruises are the ideal introduction to the world of cruising, offering breathtaking scenery and charming villages like Flåm and Skjolden.

Disembark and take the legendary Flåm Railway up the mountains, all within a stone’s throw of the mighty Jostedal Glacier. A perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, this is cruising reimagined.

Iceland and Greenland

Another cool summer 2004 cruise destination is Iceland and Greenland. Embrace the spirit of adventure and spend your UK summer watching whales in their natural environment or visiting remote puffin colonies as you sail through immense fjords and blue-hued icebergs.

Sail under the sun that never sets

Embark on a northern hemisphere summer cruise and witness the majestic midnight sun, a celestial spectacle where the sun refuses to set, painting the landscape in an ethereal glow. You can experience this natural wonder between mid-April and late August, but for the most dazzling display, set sail around the summer solstice, June 21.

The UK

Ditch the passports and embrace the charm of a staycation cruise.

Summer is the peak season for exploring our own backyard, from the wild Cornish coast and sun-drenched Scilly Isles to the majestic beauty of Edinburgh. Choose your perfect UK adventure, and who knows, you might even snag a touch of that elusive British sunshine as a bonus!

Autumn

Experience the fall in the US

Gibraltar

Autumn whispers an invitation to set sail for a more rewarding cruise. Fewer crowds and pleasant weather, alongside the Mediterranean’s timeless beauty, makes it an irresistible combination for those wanting to escape the autumn weather in the UK.

A cruise to Gibraltar, for example, is perfect at this time of the year – with temperatures hovering between 15°C (59°F) and 20°C (68°F). The cooler weather provides an ideal climate for exploring the headland’s towns and cultural sights.

United States of America

If you want to travel further afield, this time of year is perfect for an American adventure. Don’t miss the spectacle of autumn on the East Coast, by visiting the ports of Boston and the iconic Martha’s Vineyard with its fall splendour.

Shark island anyone?

Jaws may have made Martha’s Vineyard synonymous with shark-infested waters, but Hollywood doesn’t tell the whole story. This island haven, adored by the rich and famous, is all about pristine beaches, charming harbours, and a laid-back vibe. Sure, sharks might make a cameo during their migratory journey, but they’re more interested in the Outer Cape’s seal buffet than Vineyard vacationers.

Winter

Winter sun and Northern Lights

Cruise the Canaries or the Caribbean

The warmth of the Canary Islands and the Caribbean make a great escape during our cold winter months. You can expect a balmy 22°C across the Canaries, while St Lucia, one of the many Caribbean islands, experiences highs of 30°C in November and December. Try an island-hopping cruise, in either the Canaries or the Caribbean, which are very popular at this time of year, especially as it’s a great time for whale and dolphin watching.

You can even enjoy a Christmas in these sun-drenched locations. Both are perfect for celebrating, with lots of festive on-board activities. The ships dock in Funchal, Madeira for the New Year celebrations, where you can take in the annual city firework display that lights up the skies.

Top for twitchers

Nestled in the shadow of the majestic Soufrière Hills volcano, Little Bay in Montserrat sings with native birdlife. Hike the Oriole Walkway Trail, a winding path that ascends Lawyers Mountain. Look out for the vibrant flash of the yellow-bellied Montserrat oriole, a jewel against the lush greenery, as you soak in panoramic vistas of the island below.

Norway

Prefer a colder climate? March in Norway is a magical dance of light and darkness. Daylight hours stretch longer, offering ample time to explore charming towns and soak in the glaciers. But at night, the stage is set for the Northern Lights’ dazzling performance. And where better to witness this celestial spectacle than from the deck of a cruise ship?

But Norway’s magic extends far beyond the aurora borealis. Towering glaciers like Jostedal, the largest on mainland Europe, stand sentinel against the horizon. As you glide past, waterfalls carved by ancient glaciers tumble down dramatic cliffs – an unforgettable experience. 

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her

Updated:

Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

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