The best cruise destinations for 2024

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The best cruises for 2024joci03 - Getty Images

So many places, so little time - and the best cruises for 2024 are ideal for seeing as much of the world as you can.

BROWSE THE BEST CRUISES

One of our favourite things about a cruise is that you can visit multiple bucket-list destinations in one holiday and discover new treasures along the way. The best cruises let you explore places which are difficult to reach on foot, like some of Scotland’s most remote islands and Croatia's hidden coves.

They also open up spectacular views you wouldn’t get on land, such as fairytale castles dotted along the Danube or the rolling vineyards flanking the Douro Valley.

Choosing a cruise means seeking new adventures, perhaps travelling to a continent you’ve never set foot in before or trying new activities like hiking, wildlife spotting or cooking. There are other ways to expand your horizons on a cruise too, such as seeing some local entertainment or making new friends on board.

As it’s become ever-more important to us to take a stress-free holiday, we've rounded up the very best cruise packages that won’t disappoint, with everything from the best river cruises to amazing cruises for couples and excellent cruises around the UK.

It doesn't matter when you're looking to sail either, as these cruises take in all the seasons. Fancy a wintery adventure? We've got an epic Norwegian expedition cruise for that. Feel like a spring cruise to escape the summer crowds? We've got the perfect cruise around Japan at the height of cherry blossom season. Japan cruises are always popular and tend to sell out early, but we've got you covered with an excellent 2025 sailing already available — make sure to take a look before it sells out.

However or whenever you want to travel, there's a trip for you, and the best cruises in 2024 take you to the most incredible destinations. You can travel with celebrities on star-studded holidays, visit lesser-known towns and villages to get a real taste of a location and sail to amazing wildlife destinations.

These are the best cruises for 2024.

Venetian Lagoon - Best cruises

Venice is a city that's famous for its water, and a cruise around the Venetian Lagoon reveals more of this romantic and fascinating destination than a hotel city break ever could.

On a Venetian cruise, you can visit the islands of Venice's northern lagoon, including Mazzorbo, Torcello and Burano during a sailing on the luxurious SS La Venezia. Burano is known for its traditional lacemaking and its vividly colourful fisherman cottages lining the lagoon.

The opportunity to visit Burano isn’t the only reason to pick a cruise in the Venetian Lagoon. On Good Housekeeping's special cruise, you’ll sail in the company of top chef James Martin, who will give a talk and Q&A about his career, and design and cook a grand gala dinner on board the luxurious ship SS La Venezia.

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If you fancy an autumnal sailing with more of a musical theme than a foodie one, you might choose to join an eight-day cruise of the Venetian Lagoon in the company of world-famous tenor Russell Watson, who will give a special talk and Q&A, sign your complimentary CD, and give an exclusive intimate concert.

You’ll have a chance to explore the highlights of the Lagoon as well, with trips to its islands of Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello and private visits to Venice's iconic Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica.

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Vietnam and Cambodia - Best cruises

A cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia is a fantastic way to discover the rich cultures, fascinating histories, and delicious cuisines of these two Southeast Asian gems. The countries are connected by the mighty Mekong River, which is a destination in itself, providing a home for diverse ecosystems and fishing communities on the delta and with ancient archaeological wonders along its banks.

Good Housekeeping is offering a 17-day tour of Vietnam and Cambodia, which includes seven nights cruising the Mekong on board the Mekong Jewel - an ornately decorated luxury ship.

You'll visit Ho Chi Minh City, where skyscrapers tower over ancient temples, Phnom Penh, Cambodia's thriving capital, and Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, where you can visit excellent museums and historic sites before indulging in some delicious Vietnamese street food.

There are excursions to the sprawling temple complex of Angkor Wat, the remnants of the last capital of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Thom, and to local villages and markets on sampans - traditional wooden boats.

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Northern France - Best cruises

If you want to enjoy pretty coastal towns with a touch of history, a cruise to Northern France can offer you all of this without having to spend a huge amount of time at sea.

Sail to the Normandy region and you'll discover charming harbourfront towns like Honfleur, where you can sample local delicacies like camembert and Calvados, a rich local brandy made from apples and pears. Originally occupied in the 9th century by the Vikings, Honfleur has attracted artists for many years, including a young Claude Monet.

Join Good Housekeeping on a cruise to Normandy on board the luxurious ship Borealis. On the way to Northern France, you'll make several stops in the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands, including Guernsey, with its elegant Georgian and Regency architecture, and St Mary's, a marine conservation zone with lovely coastal walks.

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waterfront with beautiful old buildings in honfleur, famous french town in normandy
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Japan - Best cruises

As each new spring begins, millions of Japanese residents and tourists wait with anticipation for the first buds of the pink cherry blossom, known as sakura, to appear.

These blossoms are a symbol of renewal, vitality and beauty, and they make Japan's already spectacular cities and landscapes even more breathtaking than usual.

You'll have the chance to experience this phenomenon for yourself with Good Housekeeping's once-in-a-lifetime two-week cruise around Japan. The journey begins and ends in Tokyo, where you'll find soaring skyscrapers contrasting with blooming gardens and traditional noodle houses.

Along the way, you'll stop in Hiroshima, where you can learn about its devastating Second World War history, Osaka, where you can see some of the country's most ornate shrines and temples, and you'll even make a stop in Busan in South Korea to enjoy the city's subtropical landscapes.

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Norway - Best cruises

Another wonderful European cruise destination for seeing the Northern Lights is Norway. It's one of Europe's best destinations for aurora spotting, especially if you head north above the Arctic Circle, where sightings of the lights are an almost daily occurrence at certain times of year.

From the Arctic capital of Tromsø, you can sail on to the remote and mysterious Lofoten Islands and visit North Cape, Europe's most northerly point, passing ancient Viking villages and herds of reindeer on the way.

On Good Housekeeping's Northern Lights cruise of Norway, you'll enjoy all the highlights of Norway's spectacular coastline: from exploring the Unesco-listed port of Bergen, the city of Tromsø and the ancient Viking trading post of Trondheim.

You'll sail through some of Norway's most jaw-dropping landscapes, cruising past more than 1,000 mountains and 100 fjords. There'll be opportunities for wildlife spotting and stargazing and you'll be sailing with an expert expedition team who'll give you the best chance of catching a unique light display.

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If you'd prefer a summer sailing, Good Housekeeping has a wonderful cruise over the August bank holiday weekend. You'll sail through several of Norway's most heavenly fjords, learning about ancient Viking history and the fascinating myths and legends that surround these icy waters.

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aurora borealis over snowcapped mountains and fishermen cabins by the sea, sommaroy, troms og finnmark, norway
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Scottish Highlands - Best cruises

Loch Ness, Loch Nevis, the Sound of Mull, Iona, Eigg, Skye, Fort Augustus, Fort William… these names conjure up images of glistening waters, wild landscapes and towering castles, majestic flora and fauna, and ancient myths and legends.

A cruise in this part of Scotland would surely be a contender for the most scenic of British getaways. You can travel through the Highlands and islands of Scotland to explore the endlessly beautiful Caledonian Canal, the magical islands of Scotland's western shore and hidden sea lochs that are only accessible on the water.

The deluxe Lord of the Glens hosts a maximum of 54 passengers and is one of the best ways to sail the Highlands. Guests stay in outward-facing en-suite cabins and enjoy superb cuisine throughout.

You can experience this ship on a exclusive sailing with weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, who'll join you on a journey through the tranquil Caledonian Canal and onwards towards the Sound of Mull, sharing stories of her Scottish family's history.

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Egypt - Best cruises

If you're looking for a culture and history-filled cruise a little further afield, a river cruise through Egypt is a great option. Sailing along the Nile allows you to visit magnificent temples including Kom Ombo, Philae, Edfu and the Valley of the Kings, the ancient burial grounds of Egyptian royalty.

Good Housekeeping has a fabulous 12-day trip to Egypt packed full of historical and archaeological excursions. The trip begins in Cairo, where you'll take a trip to Giza to see the ancient pyramids and the Great Sphinx before heading to Luxor and boarding an opulent river ship for your seven-night cruise.

Making this cruise extra special is the company of historian Lucy Worsley. Lucy is an expert in Agatha Christie and will share her knowledge of the author's work during Q&As and talks, pointing out her connections to Egypt and the locations which inspired one of her most famous works, Death on the Nile.

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Antarctica - Best cruises

Choosing the best Antarctic cruise can seem like a daunting task. It’s an investment of your time and money and likely something you may only do once and remember in exquisite detail. It’s a remote and thrilling part of the world to explore, where 12 million penguins live in the coldest, highest, and driest place on earth.

To get the best out of this bucketlist experience, you need to go with experts who will take care of everything. Hurtigruten expedition cruises have explored Antarctic waters for over 20 years, and their premium ships have been designed so guests can explore the region comfortably.

Good Housekeeping’s Antarctic cruise on MS Fridtjof Nansen has one of the lowest possible CO2 footprints of all expedition ships in Antarctica, thanks to a special hybrid engine on this future-ready vessel.

You’ll depart from Ushuaia, a city nicknamed ‘End of the World’ and head through the icy waters of the Drake Passage, home to the incredible marine life you may have only seen on screen, where the white wonderland envelopes you on an adventure like no other.

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The Hebrides - Best cruises

For a slightly different kind of island holiday - one that's more about getting out and about in wild, untamed nature and spotting incredible wildlife - try a cruise around the dramatic Hebrides.

These Scottish islands offer rugged coastlines, varied flora and fauna and delicious local whisky to taste at several historic distilleries.

Each island has its own special charms. There's the outstanding wildlife haven of Arran, the Isle of Mull with its brightly painted harbourfront houses, the 'whisky island' of Islay, world-renowned for its peaty single-malts, and the uninhabited Hirta Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you're interested in exploring the Hebrides, we have an eight-day sailing that will take you to Iona, Eigg, and Skye, as well as many other picture perfect locations on the mainland.

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Greece - Best cruises

The idyllic Cyclades, a collection of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, are known and loved for their pretty white-walled houses draped in pink bougainvillea, sandy beaches and bright blue waters.

But there is more to the Cyclades than just sun, sea and sea. These isles have a rich history, shaped by their many past conquerors, including the Minoans, Persians, Byzantines and Romans. You'll see remnants of these cultures in the architecture, from the Monastery of the Apocalypse Patmos to the cliff-clinging monastery of Hozoviotissas on Amorgos.

Discover a range of these intriguing buildings and monuments with Good Housekeeping on a cruise of the Cyclades. As well as the Cyclades you'll also spend time in Athens and Kusadasi, a beach resort in Turkey.

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samos is a greek island in the eastern aegean sea, south of chios, north of patmos
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Douro River - Best cruises

Anyone wanting to explore the Douro wine region should choose a cruise along the Douro River. This scenic waterway is central to the Portuguese wine trade and is flanked by rolling hills and vineyards, with storybook villages rising from the banks.

The Alto Douro, the name of this wine-producing valley region, holds UNESCO status and is one of the oldest and most renowned wine-making regions in the world.

Good Housekeeping offers an exclusive cruise along the Douro, where you can truly soak in the beauty of this golden valley as you travel.

Whereas some cruises like their passengers to dress in their finest gowns for dinner, A-ROSA ALVA has no such rules. Instead, an eight-day cruise invites its guests to relax on a wine-themed voyage where you'll visit multiple wine estates. Depending on the time of year, you might even get the chance to take part in a traditional grape harvest, including crushing the grapes underfoot in traditional granite troughs.

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Croatia - Best cruises

If you're looking for a sunny Mediterranean cruise you'd do well to consider Croatia and its stylish seaside towns and dozens of sun-kissed islands and islets off the glittering Dalmatian Coast.

With their astounding natural scenery, stylish coastal towns and off-the-beaten-path beaches, Croatia’s islands are wonderful to explore by small ship where you can dock in hard-to-reach corners only accessible by boat.

There mainland has no shortage of attractions either, with bustling cities to be explored too, like Dubrovnik, with its labyrinth of limestone streets and alleyways, palaces, churches, monasteries and picturesque piazzas, and Split, which has a long and varied history and excellent museums.

On Good Housekeeping's cruise you'll dock in Hvar, Dubrovnik and Split as well as one of Croatia's most beautiful beaches at Zlatni Rat - the Golden Horn - whose distinctive shape has made it an icon of Croatian tourism. You'll also visit the island of Mljet and discover the Mljet National Park with its serene saltwater lakes and verdant pine forests.

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Germany - Best cruises

The Rhine Valley is a captivating part of Germany, characterised by storybook castles and hilltop vineyards. A cruise on the Rhine is particularly inviting during the weeks leading up to Christmas, when the towns, villages, and cities along its banks go all out for their famous Christmas markets.

Good Housekeeping has a Christmassy cruise which will take you to the best of these markets. Starting in elegant Cologne, you'll see the incredible Gothic cathedral before boarding your beautifully appointed ship and setting sail along the Rhine.

You'll make several stops along the way, including in Mainz, Frankfurt, Koblenz, and Rüdesheim. At each stop you'll have time to browse the fairytale markets, picking up unique gifts and trying local delicacies as the heavenly scent of roast almonds, mulled wine and spiced cider fills the air.

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India - Best cruises

The Ganges is India's most sacred river, meandering 2,500km through the country from its starting point high in the Himalayas. Flowing through sprawling cities, tiny villages, and spectacular nature, a cruise down the Ganges is a fantastic way to see some of India's best attractions.

On a Ganges cruise, you can visit highlights like the Rajbari temple complex in Kalna, the artisan village of Matiari, and the neoclassical Hazarduari Palace in Murshidabad.

Good Housekeeping has a once-in-a-lifetime tour of India, which includes a seven-night cruise down the Ganges. After exploring India's Golden Triangle – including an unforgettable trip to witness both sunrise and sunset over the Taj Mahal – you'll board the luxurious Ganges Voyager II, a spectacular ship adorned with hand-painted murals.

Another highlight of any trip to India is the food, and you'll be joined on board by the Michelin-starred British-Indian chef Atul Kochhar, who'll share his passion for Indian cuisine in a live cooking demonstration.

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amber fort and maota lake at sunset jaipur, rajasthan, india, asia
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Alaska - Best cruises

With its staggering mountain ranges, lush forests, rolling tundra, dramatic glaciers and a jaw-dropping range of wildlife, ranging from bears and moose to whales, Alaska is wilderness at its best. And no location in Alaska is more inviting for nature lovers than its Inside Passage, a network of waterways that wind through the fjords and mighty forests of the USA's largest state.

Cruising through this incredible body of water gives you a rare chance to glimpse humpback whales, orca, bald eagles and bears in their natural habitat, and to discover the diverse and fascinating culture and history on its banks. From intriguing Gold Rush history to the traditions of Native Alaskan communities, there's so much to learn about on an Alaska cruise.

Good Housekeeping has a once-in-a-lifetime cruise of the Inside Passage as part of a Canadian and Alaskan adventure. You'll ride on a scenic train route through the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver, where you'll set sail for a week-long Alaskan cruise on board a well-equipped ship.

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Danube River - Best cruises

The enchanting Danube is a wonderful river for a culture-packed European cruise. It winds through seven European countries and boasts opulent cities on its banks, as well as picturesque towns and villages and dramatic unspoilt rural scenery, including the UNESCO-protected Wachau Valley.

Good Housekeeping is offering a week-long Danube cruise, where you'll discover the highlights of three of the great capitals on its banks. You'll enjoy the culture and culinary treats of Vienna, marvel at the its magnificent buildings in Budapest, and take in the Gothic architecture and imposing castles of Bratislava.

In Vienna, you'll also have a very special event to look forward to; a trip to the famous Royal Lipizzaner Stables and Spanish Riding School with one of UK's best-loved historians, Lucy Worsley. Here, you'll get an insight into the training work of the riders with their Lipizzaner stallions as you watch them train to the sounds of classical Viennese music.

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Looking for inspiration for your next holiday? Grab a cuppa and browse our brochure packed with unique escapes.

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