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Best Winter Destinations for Christmas and New Year

4th December 2017

Updated July 2022

Have a Christmas or New Year celebration like no other by visiting a new and exciting destination on a cruise. The world is full of incredible places at every corner, and many of these play host to some wonderful parties and Christmas festivities throughout December and January. Here are our top 5 Christmas cruise spots we recommend everyone see at this time of year - at least once in their lives.


New York

For many people New York in winter is the epitome of Christmas spirit. This is in no small part thanks to movie classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life, in which New York is the setting for warm Christmas tales. Whether you cruise to New York in the run-up to Christmas or are there for New Year’s Eve, the glittering city that never sleeps will undoubtedly provide you with everything you need to feel like celebrating. From the buzzing atmosphere and lights in Time Square to a frosty, romantic moonlit carriage ride in Central Park, New York offers some truly special experiences.


Amsterdam is a fantastic destination for those who want a change of scenery, but don’t want to travel too far. Close to the UK, there are a number of options for a no-fly cruise here. In the winter months the city comes to life with music, lights, and decorations, and the friendly residents will welcome you with open arms. See the stunning Amsterdam Light Festival, at which global artists put together some beautiful displays through the streets and canals. There are of course Christmas markets as well, and some fabulous parties and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.


The famous City of Lights is, of course, a hub of illumination and bustling activity at this time of year, boasting stunning views and wonderful options when it comes to festive things to do. Revel in the Christmas spirit at the Christmas market on Avenue des Champs-Elysees, where you can also take a spin on the ice rink. If you have time, a visit to Disneyland is an absolute must. Whether you’re 6 or 66, a bit of Disney magic at Christmas is a great recipe to get you feeling merry and bright. Start planning your trip and see our cruises to France here.


Visit the land of Frozen and get lost in a real Winter Wonderland. A cruise in Norway is a great option for this time of year, particularly because of the chance to see the Northern Lights. December and January often have a high number of clear nights, meaning the vibrant lights are more likely to be visible. The sparkling scenery and welcoming ambience in this part of the world is perfect for celebrating during the festive season, where simply gazing at the stars with a hot chocolate, sat on the top deck of your cruise ship is truly the stuff of dreams. Find out more about our great range of Norway cruises.


The New Year’s Eve firework display at Sydney Harbour is a well-known event that causes visitors to flock to the city every year. Sydney is a port of call on many world cruises, and if you are lucky enough to be here at the right time, you can have one of the best views of the show available. The famous Sydney Opera House also holds glamourous New Year’s Eve celebrations too, giving you the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a bit of luxury during your holiday. See the New Year in with style on an Australasia cruise.

Whether you are considering a cruise during the main events, or are merely seeking a few days away before or after, you can rest assured that there are plenty of options out there. Take a look at all our December cruises and January cruises, and book your next adventure today.

Top 5 things to do in Rio de Janeiro

12th August 2016

Updated February 2017


We take an in depth look at Brazil's passionate heart and soul. Read on for the top five things to do in Rio.


Cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain

The city of Rio is by far one of the most breathtaking cities in the world, where vibrant beaches meet modern architecture mixed with verdant rainforests and soaring mountains. This incredible view can only really be seen from above and the Sugarloaf Cable Car is the ultimate way to experience this.

Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the world’s most famous natural landmarks and stands on top on this phenomenal city. The cable car is divided into two stages: the first goes from Praia Vermelha to Morro de Urca and the second from Morro da Ulca to the tip of Sugarloaf Mountain. Reaching an altitude of 528 metres, these cable cars travel at a fairly slow pace allowing you to catch every inspirational view on the way.

The most captivating sight you will ever experience will be the Rio beaches, Dedo de Deus (God’s Finer), Rio Niteroi Bridge and the bright city that shows off it's dynamic lifestyle even from above.


Things to do in Rio De Janeiro: Sugarloaf Mountain


Go to a carnival

Everyone knows about Rio Carnival. The most famous carnival in the world truly celebrates what this country is all about – dancing, fun and parties!

Although the main carnival is held in February, if you are not lucky enough to go during this time rest assured there will be a carnival happening somewhere. In fact, Brazilians are known for having any excuse to throw a carnival party.

I would not believe anyone who goes to a carnival in Brazil and says they didn't want to join in. From the extreme costumes, happy music and sensational dancing, nowhere else in the world could put on a show like this.

Even if you stand on the sideline, the spirit of Carnival and the locals will entice you. Read more about the world's best festivals.


Things to do in Rio De Janeiro: Rio Carnival



Brazilians are known for their love of dance. Everywhere you turn, even if it’s just along the street there will be someone moving to the sounds of music. Whether first thing in the morning or in a night club, there is never a bad time to put on your dancing shoes.

From the famous Brazilian Samba to the romantic Latin tango, these guys really know how to take control of any dance floor. You cannot stand and watch this happen around you, your trip to Rio will not be complete unless you test your dancing feet. The great thing is the locals are just as willing to teach you as they are to dance amongst themselves.

There is a venue for every taste, from the larger nightclubs to the smaller local hangouts, dancing will play a key part of every venue.

If you're a solo traveller and love to dance, take a look at our post about dancing options for single cruisers.


Things to do in Rio De Janeiro: Dancing


Participate in beach activities

Endless beaches line the city of Rio and act as a carefree backyard to the exotic lifestyle lived here. From the small secluded beach areas to the lively Copacabana beach, a trip to Rio will have you experience 'beach life' like never before.

From tiny bikinis, market stalls and barbecues serving local cuisine, there is no shortage of exciting things to see and do upon these lively shores. However the main thing seen here is the array of beach activities and competitions being played by both locals and tourists.

Beach volleyball, polo and surfing are among the activities you should try when visiting these shores. If you are unsure of how to play, the locals are more than happy to show you and make you feel included.

Fun fact: Brazillians do not take towels to the beach, the women will use their sarong to lay on and the men will use a chair. Using a towel will ensure everyone knows you are a tourist.


Things to do in Rio De Janeiro: Beach


Watch the sunset

As if this city is not striking enough, as the sun sets it projects a luminous glow over every inch. The beaches will be covered in palm tree silhouettes and the mountains create giant shadows on the side of the radiant buildings. Accompanied by sounds of exotic music and cocktails being served, I would recommend you take in a sunset if nothing else.

Although experiencing it from the top of Sugarloaf mountain is an unforgettable experience, it is just as inspiring from the beach, your hotel balcony or cruise ship.

Most of us think of a sunset as the close of a day, however in Brazil it is often referred to as the beginning of the night. As the sun goes to bed, the bars and streets come alive with the most exciting nightlife in the world.


Things to do in Rio De Janeiro: Watch the Sunset


Visit Rio on a cruise with these cruise lines MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, Hurtigruten, Cunard, Celebrity and more.


See cruises to Rio de Janeiro.

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