Long awaited changes to the government's travel rules came just as the warmth of summer was ebbing away, and for those still nervous about flying it may come as cold comfort to see our favourite ships heading for the Caribbean over the winter.
But not so fast! In actual fact, a number of ships continue to sail from the UK throughout the winter months and into the spring, visiting both sunnier climes to the south and less obvious winter destinations further north. Here is our guide to some of the best no-fly options...
The Canary Islands are sometimes written off as a destination with little to offer beyond beaches and balmy winter temperatures, but this rugged archipelago is surprisingly diverse, from the lush vegetation of La Palma to the lunar landscapes of Lanzarote. Saga Cruises have Canary Islands departures from Southampton in November, December, January and March on board the 999-guest Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, while Cunard's Queen Elizabeth visits the Canaries in November, December and January, also sailing from Southampton.
One of Cunard's other Queens, the Queen Mary 2, sails round-trip from Southampton to the Caribbean in both January and March 2022, visiting islands including Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia and St Kitts, with the March departure also including a call in New York on the way home. Saga's Spirit of Adventure travels a similar path from Southampton in late February, with plenty of relaxing sea days as you travel across the Atlantic to the Caribbean plus time in Bermuda and a brief visit to the Azores.
The Northern Lights
Not everyone is looking for winter sun, of course, and this winter there are more opportunities than ever to experience the Northern Lights on an ex UK cruise. Hurtigruten's biofuel-powered expedition ship MS Maud will operate a series of voyages throughout the winter sailing round-trip from Dover up the coast of Norway to the North Cape, giving you a great chance of witnessing the aurora, while Viking's ocean ship Viking Venus offers a handful of similar sailings from Tilbury to Bergen in January, February and March, and Saga's Spirit of Adventure sails north from Southampton in February.
How do you fancy a trip to Scotland in February? The inimitable Hebridean Princess kicks off her 2022 season on 28th February with a short four-night cruise out of Greenock, offering the opportunity to sample this unique ship without committing to the considerably higher fares she commands during the summer months.
Things should have warmed up by 10th April when Seabourn's first expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, makes her debut, sailing from Greenwich to Edinburgh on a lovely springtime itinerary that includes the Scilly Isles, the Orkneys and remote St Kilda. April also offers the chance to try out the rebooted Swan Hellenic in British waters, as the SH Vega sails from Portsmouth to Dublin on a varied itinerary that takes in some of the highlights of northern France, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
Belgium & The Netherlands
Of course, it's perfectly possible to enjoy a no-fly cruise without sailing from a UK port. Uniworld's river cruises include the option to travel from the UK to your ship by Eurostar rather than flying on selected itineraries, a convenient and low-carbon option if you live within striking distance of St Pancras station. Take a look at their lovely 'Tulips and Windmills' cruises between Amsterdam and Antwerp in March and April, with highlights including the windmills of Kinderdijk, the entrancing cities of Bruges and Ghent, and the famous gardens at Keukenhof.