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Where to go in January – 10 best cruise destinations

January cruises are an excellent way to start the New Year right, whether you’re on a far-flung eastern adventure or a short-haul snowy mini-break, so we ask – where to go in January?

January cruises open up a plethora of post-Christmas travel options, from the beaches of the sun-soaked Canaries and streets of historic Cuba to the snowy wonders of Finland and the wildlife magic of icy Antarctica.

We’ve rounded up the best places for cruises in January 2024, 2025 and beyond to help you get planning your New Year right. That way you know your vacation is set in stone, even if your resolutions aren’t!

Best January cruises

kerala india January cruises



Kerala, known as “God’s Own Country,” is knitted with beautiful backwaters where houseboat cruises carry you along serene waterways, allowing you to soak up the lush green landscapes, local life along the banks and peacefulness of the region – perfect after the overindulgence of Christmas!

The weather during January in Kerala is particularly appealing thanks to mild temperatures (around 23°C to 31°C) and low humidity, so you can explore the backwaters, beaches and countryside of the region without getting soaked.

You won’t find any well-known river cruise brands plying these waterways but there are different types of cruises available, ranging from day trips to multi-day stays on houseboats equipped with modern amenities. Exploring destinations like Alleppey, Kumarakom or Kollam through a houseboat cruise is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Kerala’s natural beauty.

If you want to go Full Cruise, you can always look for an itinerary that calls at Kochi (Cochin) and then head into Kerala from there to hop onto a houseboat – or just fly in directly and escape the liner hordes! There are yoga retreats aplenty here too, to help you reach your New Year’s zen.

Which cruise lines go to Kochi?

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Azamara, Viking Ocean Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Silversea Expeditions, Celebrity Cruises, Ponant, Seabourn Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line



Amsterdam takes on a serene atmosphere at the year’s inception with fewer crowds allowing visitors on January cruises to explore its cultural treasures at a more relaxed pace. The canals often freeze over, too, transforming into picturesque ice rinks, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the city blanketed in snow.

Museums and indoor attractions in Amsterdam are particularly inviting during this time, doubling up as a warm refuge to discover world-class art and history without the long queues. The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, the Anne Frank Huis and more all remain open.

Another way to keep warm is to knock back a shot of Dutch gin known as jenever – best sampled in such 17th-century bars as De Drie Fleschjes or Wynand Fockink.

January also hosts events like Amsterdam’s Light Festival, where the city becomes an open-air gallery showcasing dazzling light installations, adding a magical touch to the winter nights.

Which cruise lines go to Amsterdam?

Avalon Waterways, Emerald River Cruises, AmaWaterways, Viking River Cruises, Scenic River, Riviera River Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International, Oceania Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Windstar Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line and Azamara.

amsterdam January cruises
cuba old havana-



Cuba – a popular stop on Caribbean voyages – is blessed with a dry season in January, minimizing the chances of rain and hurricanes, ensuring sun-drenched days perfect for enjoying Cuba’s beautiful beaches, cultural heritage and colorful cities on cruises in January.

Absorb the pastel grandeur of Old Havana (Habana Vieja), and – if you’re staying on and have time to head east – the cobbled streets of Trinidad, the beaches of La Boca or Playa Ancón, the neoclassical architecture of Camagüey and the music-soaked city of Santiago de Cuba – as well as trying plenty of rum along the way. After all, Bacardi was founded here!

With fewer crowds compared to peak tourist seasons, January allows for a more intimate experience, letting travelers immerse themselves in Cuba’s music, art, history and distinct flavors without the hustle and bustle.

Which cruise lines go to Cuba?

Ambassador Cruise Line, Marella Cruises and Sea Cloud Cruises.

Note changes in US regulations in 2019 led to the banning of cruise ship travel from the US to Cuba in an attempt to curb tourism revenue flowing to the Cuban government and limited legal avenues for American travelers to visit the country via cruise ships. This restriction affected both direct sailings and cruise itineraries that included stops in Cuba, hence reduced offerings at the time of writing.

– READ MORE: The bucket list guide to Havana



It’s also dry season over in Myanmar (formerly Burma) – January cruises are blessed with winter sun and minimal rainfall, creating ideal cruising conditions along the Irrawaddy River which snakes between Yangon and the former royal capital of Mandalay, famous for its royal palaces and ancient monasteries.

It’s not just the temperatures that are warm though – the locals are unfailingly welcome so be sure to mingle if you swing by villages known for pottery, traditional silk-weaving or local handicrafts on January cruise excursions. There’s lots to admire as you float along as well – expect lush greenery, rural farmlands and calm countryside scenes plus excellent sunrises and sunsets and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

The vast plain of Bagan is particularly striking, where thousands of ancient temples dot the landscape, offering a glimpse into Myanmar’s rich architectural and religious heritage, while the U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge, near Amarapura, is an impressive sight.

Which cruise lines go to Myanmar?

Oceania Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas call at Yangon on ocean cruises while river cruise lines sailing the Irrawaddy include Scenic River Cruises and Pandaw River Cruises.

bagan myanmar
helsinki cathedral January cruises



If it’s winter wonderlands you’re after when cruising in January – the Finnish capital of Helsinki certainly delivers the goods. The city is blanketed in snow at this time of year, creating a picturesque setting perfect for exploring historical landmarks such as the 18th UNESCO-listed marine Suomenlinna Fortress and the 19th-century green-domed Helsinki Cathedral.

The chilly climes also make it an ideal time for activities such as cross-country skiing on the trails around Helsinki, sledding on the slopes of Sinebrychoff Park and ice skating – either on the frozen Baltic or one of the pop-up rinks in the suburbs.

Warm up in traditional Finnish saunas (there are reputedly two million in this country!), with the modern Löyly public sauna and restaurant complex in Hernesaari a popular spot. Of course, mulled wine (known as glogg) will also be just the ticket!

Be sure to keep your fingers crossed for the chance to spy the breathtaking Northern Lights if conditions are favorable when you cruise in January, but even if Mother Nature doesn’t play ball, the first month of the year hosts the annual Lux Helsinki light festival, where the city comes alive with light installations, adding a touch of magic to the wintry nights.

Which cruise lines go to Helsinki?

Princess Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Ponant, Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Windstar Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal and Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines.



The Caribbean is a winter sun mecca but the worst-kept secret among warmth-seeking Europeans and North Americans. Luckily, the spindly island of Anguilla is still under the radar so here you’ll get all the sun (around 25-28°C), sea (crystal-clear) and sand (powdery white) your frost-bitten heart desires but without the crowds on cruises in January 2024 and beyond.

Snorkeling is top-notch in Anguilla – particularly off Prickly Pear island – while divers can roam the action-packed coral reef or extraordinary wreck of El Buen Consejo, an 18th-century Spanish galleon. Boat tours for views and exploring hidden coves are popular too.

For simply topping up the tan, the best beaches on this British overseas territory are Shoal Bay, Meads Bay and Rendezvous Bay, and don’t forget to try the island’s culinary bounty – think fresh seafood and local specialties like crayfish, conch and barbecued ribs.

Which cruise lines go to Anguilla?

Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea Cruises, Star Clippers, Explora Journeys, Seabourn and Azamara.

anguilla January cruises
Unawatuna Jungle Beach si lanka


Southwest Sri Lanka

Southwest Sri Lanka is in its Goldilocks era come January – holidaymakers can both relish the beaches on the south coast (Mirissa, Bentota or Unawatuna are particularly picturesque), as well as the opportunities for stretching one’s legs – head to the central highlands, the cloud forest of Horton Plain, the tea plantations around Hatton and the cooler grasslands.

Wildlife lovers are also in luck at this time of year too – blue, sperm and Bryde’s whales can be spotted in coastal waters while Udawatuna National Park boasts big herds of elephants and copious birdlife.

Do try to visit the 17th-century Dutch fort in the historic city of Galle on your January cruises if you can; it’s a fascinating example of European colonial influence in the region and bases well-preserved ramparts, bastions and narrow streets lined with colonial-era buildings.

Cruises generally call at the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, with some also visiting Galle.

Which cruise lines go to Sri Lanka?

Cunard, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Marella Cruises, Ambassador Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, Azamara Cruises, Holland America Line, Virgin Voyages, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Ponant and Fred. Olsen.

– READ MORE: Sri Lanka for animal lovers

British Overseas Territory

St Helena

St Helena, cast out to sea between Africa and the Americas in the South Atlantic (and approximately 703 miles from the nearest landmass), is not your average vacay destination.

However, take a cruise in January – when it’s sunny with occasional showers (it is a tropical climate after all) – and you’ll be able to swim with whale sharks who congregate in large numbers during the southern hemisphere’s summer months. The fish are the biggest in the world and grow more than 33 feet long!

On land there’s also Jonathan the giant tortoise; found in the grounds of Plantation House, he’s the longest recorded living land animal and even has his own Twitter account.

St Helena became an ideal haven for exiled prisoners, notably French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, whose final resting place lies in Jamestown, the capital established by the East India Company in 1659 where with top sites including the Museum of St Helena, St. James’ Church and Longwood House (where Napoleon spent his last years).

The island offers awe-inspiring landscapes, encompassing world-class hiking trails catering to all skill levels – Heart-Shaped Waterfall, Diana’s Peak and Lot’s Wife’s Ponds are all scenic – as well as aquatic adventures aplenty thanks to remarkable snorkeling and diving opportunities, unveiling historic shipwrecks, labyrinthine caves and rocky reefs.

By ship is actually the best way to visit the island, St Helena recently became known for having “the world’s most useless airport.”

Which cruise lines go to St Helena?

Oceanwide Expeditions, Azamara, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Fred.Olsen and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

whale shark
antarctica penguin

End of the earth

Antarctic Peninsula & South Georgia

Also very, very far away from Blighty is the Antarctic Peninsula – again perfect for those looking to get away from it all after the freneticism of the festive season on a January cruise.

The huge penguin colonies are at their most raucous as the chicks that hatched at the new year demand to be fed. There are also seal pups to be seen on South Georgia and whale sightings towards the end of January.

Crossing the Drake Passage is always a dicey business – it can get very rough indeed – but January cruises at least give visitors a good chance of swaying past elephantine icebergs and icy cliffs in the sunshine. In fact, it’s nearly always daylight here at this time of year! Feeling courageous? Brave a polar plunge.

Which cruise lines go to the Antarctic Peninsula?

Silversea, Ponant, Hurtigruten, Viking Expeditions, AE Expeditions, Polar Routes, Lindblad, Swan Hellenic, Oceanwide Expeditions and Quark Expeditions.

Canary Islands


All sound a bit…cold? The Canary Islands are Europe’s best answer to winter sun with the archipelago offering an array of activities – from exploring pretty towns and historic sites to lazing on golden (or volcanic!) beaches and engaging in outdoor adventure – plus mild temperatures of between 15°C to 22°C.

Tenerife is a popular port of call on Canary Islands cruise holidays. One of its biggest claims to fame (literally) is Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also home to Siam Park, one of the world’s best water parks,

Beaches such as Playa de las Teresitas or Playa del Duque provide ample opportunity for sunbathing, swimming and water sports while those keen to get their steps in should try some of the hiking trails across the island, such as Anaga Rural Park or Masca Valley, for top views.

Hungry? Tuck into such dishes as papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) with mojo sauce or fresh seafood on cruises in January 2024 and beyond. Shopping is good too – the Canary Islands are a low-tax area so there are lots of well-priced goods to be picked up.

Which cruise lines go to Tenerife?

P&O Cruises, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Cunard Line, Marella Cruises, Princess Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Saga Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Saga Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Emerald Yacht Cruises, Holland America Line, Azamara, Royal Caribbean International, Scenic Luxury Ocean, Silversea Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Ponant and Star Clippers.

mount teide tenerife
Published 12.05.23