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Autumnal adventures

Where to go in October – 10 best cruise destinations

October holidays are the perfect antidote as the UK’s weather cools, whether you want an easy October half-term holiday jaunt to the Med or a blow-out getaway further afield.

Short-haul Long-haul

October holiday destinations are varied and wonderful, with plenty of short-haul and long-haul options to choose from.

If you want a quick and easy break to the continent for some guaranteed sun but without the crowds of the summer season then there are such fabulous holiday destinations in October as Cyprus or Croatia, whether you’re after October half-term holidays with the kids or off-peak getaways.

Or maybe you fancy something pretty exotic to really get away from it all and would rather head to Dubai, steering clear of the searing heat of peak season, or the Seychelles for postcard-worthy beaches? Hell yeah you would.

We’ve rounded up the 10 best destinations you can cruise to in the month of October.

Best short-haul October holidays



The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is blessed with the climate of the Middle East it’s so far south, making this the perfect spot for simple beach breaks offering the idyllic triumvirate of sun, sea and sand with average temperatures of 28°C.

The holiday favourite is beloved by families and ravers alike thanks to Cyprus’ ancient sites, vast sandy beaches and booming nightlife.

The Larnaca region is great for those with children on Cyprus holidays in October, Ayia Napa is a clubbing mecca and has the island’s best beaches and Paphos is home to oodles of historical gems. Inland there are the picturesque Troodos Mountains featuring sleepy, hidden hamlets and vineyards.

Cruises lines such as MSC Cruises, Fred. Olsen, Princess Cruises, TUI and Royal Caribbean all cruise to Cyprus.

Málaga, Spain

Among the best holiday destinations in October is southern Spain. Málaga is the gift that keeps giving for British holidaymakers, still offering warmer temperatures in the autumn, with an average of 20°C.

There’s not just fun in the sun to be had, though. There’s culture aplenty thanks to such attractions as the Picasso Museum (the great artist was born here) and the Pompidou Centre, not to mention the charming architecture and ancient fortresses.

Málaga’s old town is delightful and the food scene is fabulous – it’s basically a diminutive Barcelona! There are seven sandy beaches plus some top-notch shopping.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Marella, Virgin Voyages, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Azamara are among the lines that cruise to Málaga.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

October is really the best month of all to visit Rome – it’s no longer unbearably hot and crammed with other bodies nor is it too nippy. The weather is still warm in autumn (at an average of 23°C) but with fewer crowds.

The Italian city is bursting with myriad things to see and do, from admiring Renaissance art and Roman ruins to gorging on gelato and exploring the many fancy shops.

Highlights include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Capitoline Hill and Vatican City.

As for cruise lines which cruise to Rome, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Marella Cruises, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Viking all offer Roman itineraries (no gladiators included).

Split, Croatia

The Dalmatian Coast is beautiful – but the problem is, thanks to Game of Thrones, everyone now knows this. Hence why October, out of peak season, is the best time to head to Croatia, when the temperature is, on average, 17°C.

Halfway between Dubrovnik and Zadar, looking out across the Adriatic Sea, Split is famous for its intriguing history – from Roman to Middle Ages ruins – making it ideal for wandering around as you stumble upon impressive archways and beautiful buildings. The ancient palace and cathedral are standout.

Split is also home to Croatia’s iconic terracotta rooftops and marvellous beaches. Bačvice is the best of all and has a Blue Flag thanks to its cleanliness while the water is shallow and clear at the shoreline.

There’s plenty of partying to be done in Split as well, with chic bars on the seafront and nightclubs open until the wee hours.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises, Marella Cruises and Princess Cruises all offer cruises to Split.

Split Croatia
Vienna Austria

Vienna, Austria

Vienna in October is perfect for culture vultures as the Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of the Museums) sees museums across Austria’s capital city stay open late into the night.

The vineyards are at the greenest in October so a river cruise down the Danube will afford gorgeous verdant views at this time of year as well as the grand architecture of the city itself. Schonbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburg family, is on the edge of the city while the 13th-century Hofburg Imperial Palace is in the centre.

You must enjoy some classical music during your time in Austria – Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Mahler all called Vienna their home at some point – and you can fuel up for your cobbled street-wandering at the many kaffeehäuser (coffee houses). October temperatures are a mild 14°C.

Avalon Waterways, Saga, Viking River Cruises, TUI River Cruises and Rivera Travel offer cruises to Vienna.

Best long-haul October holidays

Halong Bay Vietnam


October holidays to Vietnam come just before the high season in the country (November) so you can still bag some lower hotel rates, plus the month marks the start of the dry season in the north and the south with average temperatures of 25°C.

Not only does this mean good weather for the tourists but some sights are actually at their finest- the floating villages on the huge lake of Tonlé Sap are at their fullest after the rains, for instance.

Highlights in Vietnam are the city of Siem Reap (the gateway to exploring the stunning temples of Angkor), Hanoi and its fantastic food scene, buzzing Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) with its colonial landmarks and the beautiful floating world of the Mekong Delta.

Navigating the Saigon River takes you right into HCMC while cruising Halong Bay soaks up one of the country’s famous features, studded with thousands of karstic limestone islands iced with shaggy tropical vegetation.

Other cruise ports of call in Vietnam include Chan May, for Hue and Danang, and the beach resort of Nha Trang. Mekong River cruises are also popular.

Seabourn, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea, Royal Caribbean offer Vietnam cruises as well as river cruise lines Avalon Waterways and Riviera Travel.


Summer temperatures in Dubai are nigh unbearable so October makes the UAE city one of the best holiday destinations in October when it finally starts to cool down while still offering guaranteed sun and warm temperatures, with an average of 31°C.

Come autumn in Dubai, restaurant terraces are buzzing, beach clubs reopen and swimming in the waters of the Arabian Gulf is pleasant. Enjoy the luxurious hotels and restaurants in the city (it’s home to nearly every architectural superlative) or check out the boutiques and galleries of the Dubai Design District.

There are beaches and waterparks, too, but should you fancy some balance to the opulence, head out into the desert to explore the nation’s Bedouin heritage.

Cruise lines that sail to Dubai include MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises and Costa Cruises.

Petra Jordan


Similarly, Jordan is no longer baking come October and the chilly evenings have not yet set in, with average temperatures of 20°C.

Petra and Wadi Rum hold the greatest appeal for tourists visiting Jordan. The former is a hidden Nabatean city carved into the mountains while the latter is a haven for adventure sports enthusiasts and hikers thanks to the famous Burdah Arch and Jebel Umm Adaami, the country’s highest mountains.

There’s also the Dana Reserve Biosphere with its archaeological treasures as well as the capital city of Amman, home to the Temple of Hercules and the museum at the Amman citadel Jabal al-Qal’a. Those looking for relief from the dust and city life will enjoy the relaxed Mediterranean resort of Aqaba and the salty pleasures of the Dead Sea.

Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard, MSC Cruises, Azamara and Royal Caribbean all cruise to Jordan.


Heading to the Seychelles very much means getting away from it all, and the benefit of travelling in October is that the month marks the changeover between the southeast and northwest trade winds so it doesn’t matter which side of the islands you stay on. The temperature, on average, is 28°C.

There are 115 paradise islands, with beaches and forests here virtually untouched thanks to the incredible isolation of the archipelago.

Mahé is the main island and home to splendid beaches and forests abundant with wildlife as well as the Seychelles’ highest peak in Morne Seychellois National Park.

Praslin (boasting Anse Lazio, one of the world’s best beaches) and La Digue are famous for their white sands and topaz waters. Look out for blue pigeons and endangered black parrots in the former!

Cruise lines operating in the Seychelles include Variety Cruises, Ponant, Oceania Cruises, and MSC Cruises.

Seychelles rocks
Mexico ruins


Mexico is also one of the best holiday destinations in October. This time of year in Mexico hits that sweet spot after the heat and rains of the summer but before the crowds of the winter. The average temperature in Mexico in October is 27°C.

Los Cabos, at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, is both stylish and sun-drenched, with its (often celebrity-studded) luxury hotels while Cancun is famous for its parties and vast beach.

Away from the vibrant resort cities, are jaw-dropping Mayan ruins and wildlife-packed tropical jungles. There are also opportunities to try out sand, abseiling and zip-lining circuits through the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival, and NCL are among the cruise lines sailing to Mexico.

Published 09.08.22