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As the cold starts to draw in and the year winds down, setting off on a cruise is probably not at the top of your to-do list. But if layers upon layers, the endless chill of winter and waiting for the weather to get better isn’t your idea of fun, then luckily, the opportunities to get in on some winter sun are on the up.

Fancy exchanging gloomy skies for glorious sun before the chill kicks in? Check out these winter warmers; we’ve collected some fantastic destinations that wave goodbye to the cold and say hello to the heat.

Aerial view of city Doha, capital of Qatar

Doha, Qatar

In the summer, the Middle East’s heat might be too much for some, so visiting in the winter when the temperatures are less intense makes it a great getaway. Extravagant, vibrant and without the worry of melting to spoil your time, it’s an exquisite place to visit in milder climes.

Offsetting breath-taking skyscrapers with beautiful mosques and traditional marketplaces, the worlds of new and old meet in stunning fashion. Be sure to give Qatari brunch a try too; a seafood spread like you’ve sampled before.

Sydney, Australia

When winter’s in full swing, Australia’s cruising season is at its peak. Until March, the weather’s never warmer, so if you’re looking to greet the heat, then now’s the time to go. While everyone else is shivering back home, head over to Bondi Beach, sit back, relax and bask in the unbelievable blue surf, pristine sands and paradise atmosphere.

Swing by the Royal Botanic Gardens, the oldest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and take in the serene 30-hectare greenery in all its glory, or if you’re feeling brave, try climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge with a group of fellow adventurers – it’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

Malecon Avenue as seen from the castle in Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

The weather may be a little more unpredictable than other places on the list, but Cuba’s abundant character and old-world charm makes it an exceptional place to visit, and at the very least, you’ll miss out on the stifling heat of the summer.

Journey back into the past with a jaunt around Old Havana, before taking a seat at La Bodeguita del Medio aka the bar that invented the mojito – it doesn’t get any better (or more Cuban) that this. Head over to Playa Giron and soak in some sun, followed by a dive in its shimmering waters where you can say hello to the denizens of the ocean floor.

Florida, United States

Not called the Sunshine State for nothing, the ever-popular destination has a near-endless supply of the stuff. With temperatures constantly simmering in the 20s all year-round, the vast coastlines of Florida make it a bit of a no-brainer for those looking for a break from the cold.

Great for families (its theme parks need no introduction, really), Florida offers plenty – from seeing wild manatees in the flesh, to vibrant boat parades full of character. Alternatively, why not head to an orange grove for a drop of some of the finest orange juice you may well ever taste?Aerial panorama of Botafogo Bay and Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If winter’s sapped your spirit, then prepare to have it recharged with a visit to Rio de Janeiro. In the winter, Mardi Gras celebrations descend all over, infusing Rio with the infectious rhythms of Samba, while two million revellers take in a variety of floats, parades, and performances in the heat.

Home to some incomparable sights, such as the iconic Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana beach makes the perfect retreat from the parade. Why not enjoy the sunset with a drink in hand? You’ll forget all about it being winter in seconds.

Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Forget the Tenerife you know, delve deeper into its city, Santa Cruz, and you’ll soon see the sunburns and full English fry-ups of the Canary Islands are a thing of the past. Small enough to traverse on foot, check out Palmetum, a 12-hectare botanical garden that features Europe’s most diverse collection of palm trees, before a meal at La Hierbita, the city’s first licensed restaurant that opened in 1893.

With food that sits between rustic and extravagant, birdsong to serenade your every step and a warming, sunny climate that’s as welcoming as the locals, Santa Cruz is well worth a visit in the winter.

Antigua, Caribbean 

According to legend, Antigua’s buoyant, sunny oasis boasts 365 beaches. Even if the number isn’t quite this high, any one of its beaches feature clear blue waters, golden sands and a backdrop of sunny, enriching warmth, essential for escaping the winter.

Popular in the wintertime with honeymooners, you don’t have to have tied the knot to enjoy it here, with opportunities for snorkelling, fishing and meeting the local stingray in abundance. And with plentiful rum in supply, this is the perfect place to relax when the ship’s in port.

If you feel like ditching the winter blues, then it sounds like a cruise to somewhere sunny might be for you. To view our full range of cruises, head over to our dedicated page here, or alternatively, talk to our friendly customer care team, please call 01 536 0938.

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About Author

Belinda Goodman

Cruise 1st veteran Belinda has a passion for travel, especially cruising. She has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years, including a 3-year stint working on cruise ships as a croupier. Belinda regularly writes for the Cruise 1st blog, with a focus on company news and advice for first-time cruise travellers.

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