We are proud to be a multi-award-winning cruise specialist

The best small ship winter sun cruises for 2024/2025

Cruise Advice

The chill is well and truly here, and if you're wishing you were somewhere warmer, why not plan for some sun next winter? Start planning a trip to round out the year in style or to start 2025 with some rest and rejuvenation. Luckily there are some fabulous itineraries out there for next winter, or indeed for a last-minute trip this year! Here are some of our favourite winter sun cruises for 2024 and 2025.


It's no secret that the Caribbean is popular with tourists in winter, due to the beautiful beaches, relaxed lifestyle and warm seas, but perhaps it's time to experience the hidden gems of this region from a new perspective.

The tiny 112- guest yachts of SeaDream Yacht Club are almost a permanent feature here in winter and their small size means they can visit lesser-known and relatively unspoilt islands including Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, Terre de Haut and Bequia. The SeaDream experience is akin to sailing on your own private yacht with friendly and personalised service from the 95-strong crew, a water sports marina, and an intimate and sociable atmosphere onboard.

Central America

For something further off the beaten track, Ponant's Le Bellot is operating a brand-new itinerary exploring Belize and Honduras this December, during which you can expect extraordinary biodiversity, friendly local communities and untouched tropical wilderness. The onboard team together with local naturalists ensure guests are fully immersed in this unique region, offering guided hikes, snorkelling trips and Zodiac outings.

Experience Ponant's trademark elegance and flair on board with just 92 rooms and suites, a stylish pool deck and a refined ambience, all whilst sailing to little-known locales boasting some of the best beaches, reefs and nature reserves in the world.

Or, the lovely Wind Star, Windstar's 4-masted sail-assisted ship, will sail 7-night itineraries between Panama and Costa Rica between November 2024 and March 2025.

A nature-lover's dream, excursions to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Darién National Park in Panama and Costa Rica's Curú National Wildlife Refugeare included. The yacht's small size means it is the perfect way to explore the scenic coastline including a chance to swim and use the water toys from the onboard marina in Panama's Pearl Islands and Isla Cebaco.

Canary Islands

Seabourn has a collection of 14- and 21-day itineraries to the Canary Islands sailing from various European ports, with voyages including lesser-known La Gomera, along with calls in to Morocco's Tangier and Casablanca. The sailings depart in November 2024 and February-March 2025 when the weather is still pleasantly warm without the chill that can come in December and January.

Santa Catalina beach, La Gomera

Indian Ocean

Ponant's chic and stylish Explorer Class yachts are operating in the Indian Ocean this winter from November 2024 to March 2025, with Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d'Urville offering itineraries focused on the beautiful Seychelles.

Enjoy Ponant's trademark élan and flair on board intimate ships with just 92 rooms and suites, a stylish pool deck and a refined onboard ambience, all whilst sailing amongst islands boasting some of the best beaches, reefs and nature reserves in the world.

Or, Emerald's 100-guest luxury yacht Emerald Azzurra will spend winter 2024/2025 island hopping in the Seychelles on some lovely 7- and 10-night voyages, some of which mix in stops in Tanzania and Kenya.

Ponant - Le Laperouse small ship cruise in the Seychelles

Australia and New Zealand

Silversea, Seabourn and Regent all head Down Under in December just in time for the Southern Hemisphere summer. Perhaps opt for Silversea's holiday sailing on 18th December on the beautiful new 728-guest Silver Nova that includes stops in the South Pacific islands before ending in Sydney.

Or, explore the raw beauty of New Zealand's North and South Islands in January 2025 with Regent, or take an extended 33-day voyage with Seabourn which visits New Zealand, Sydney and tropical Cairns before continuing on to Indonesia.

South Africa

For an exotic destination with minimal time difference from the UK, look no further than the beautiful landscapes and incredible wildlife of South Africa. Silversea's Silver Spirit spends the winter months here from January to March sailing 15-day itineraries.

Enjoy overnights in Port Elizabeth, gateway to the fantastic Addo Elephant Park, and Richard's Bay, gateway to the magnificent reserves of the KwaZulu-Natal region. On board, enjoy all-suite accommodation, eight varied and elegant dining options and spacious yet intimate lounges.

Far East

October to March is one of the best times to visit the Far East, coinciding perfectly with the UK winter. Seabourn's lovely 555-guest Seabourn Encore departs on regular 14-night Vietnam and Cambodia voyages between December and February, as well as Philippines and Malaysia itineraries.

Alternatively, recently-launched Crystal Cruises and the newly enhanced 606-guest Crystal Symphony remains in the Far East between January and March 2025 on in-depth itineraries departing from Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai, Manila and Tokyo. On board, expect refreshed and elegant décor, improved guest-to- space ratio and the exceptional service for which Crystal has been known over the past 30 years.

Silversea's Silver Whisper and Silver Dawn also remain here for the winter on a varying range of itineraries, mixing in stops in Sri Lanka and Singapore.

winter sun cruises
Meet the author

Louise is Marketing Executive at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for nearly a year and in travel for over 8 years. Most recently she's cruised on Explora Journeys and has also sailed with Crystal Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Seabourn, Ponant and Uniworld. Her favourite destination is New Zealand however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Pacific Islands, Norwegian Fjords, Indian Ocean and South Africa. When she’s not travelling she loves cooking and trying new restaurants.

More about Louise

Get your free subscription to Cruise News

The UK's most authoritative magazine about the world of luxury cruising. New ships, new destinations, new experiences and new offers. Be more informed, every two months, with Cruise News.

Order your copy