The best cruise holidays for 2024 | Avanti travel insurance™ (2024)

This study was carried out by Avanti Travel Insurance. If you’d like to use the graphics or data from the study, please get in touch.

As we begin 2024, you might be looking forward to travelling more this year. To explore, to find peace, to meet new people, for romance, for personal growth and for making special memories.

Cruise holidays seem to be high on many travellers’ wishlists, with online searches for ‘cruise destinations’ increasing by over 700% last year.

If you love the idea of sailing on open seas and visiting several destinations in a single trip, then you’re in the right place. This guide is just what you need. From the azure waters of the Mediterranean to the diver’s paradise of Cozumel, here’s our list of the best cruise holiday destinations.

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Key findings

  • Barcelona is crowned the top cruise destination for couples, budget-minded travellers, and river cruises.
  • Cozumel, Mexico, is named the best cruise destination for older travellers.
  • Venice is the most popular cruise destination for lovers of food and fine wine.

Best cruise holiday destinations for older travellers

Top destination – Cozumel, Mexico

Runner up – Tampa, United States

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Cruise holidays are popular with older travellers for many reasons. For one, it allows them to travel leisurely while ticking off their bucket list destinations on one trip.

Many also seek a holiday that is comfortable yet refined, culturally enriching, and a little bit adventurous. And like most travellers, they’re looking for the best cruise deals, particularly ones that are all-inclusive.

Our study found that Cozumel Island in the Caribbean Sea is the best cruise destination for older travellers. It comes as no surprise, given its warm weather, welcoming culture and beautiful beaches.

Cozumel beaches, like Playa Palancar and Playa Chen Rio, are particular favourites to relax in the sun or take leisurely walks along the shore. The island boasts many resorts and hotels that offer fine dining and local cuisine experiences, as well as world-class spas, perfect for ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation.

There are also plenty of things to do on the island for older travellers. From visiting the world famous Mayan ruins to exploring historic museums and traditional villages, Cozumel offers a window into its rich cultural heritage.

Travellers also have the added reassurance of good healthcare facilities, and English is widely spoken.

The next top cruise destination on our list is Tampa, United States. This is followed by Grand Turk Island, Costa Maya in Mexico, and Grand Cayman—the largest of the Cayman Islands.

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Best cruise destinations for couples

Top destination – Barcelona, Spain

Runner up – Mykonos, Greece

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Looking for the perfect romantic getaway?

Then Barcelona should be at the top of your list if you’re planning a cruise this year. This capital city of Catalonia is all about romance, ready to sweep you right off your feet. Take a walk hand-in-hand down La Rambla, admire Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, or explore the beautiful La Sagrada Familia church.

When the sun sets, get cosy with candlelit dinners at one of Barcelona’s many rooftop restaurants or book a romantic sunset cruise. And the best part? There’s still so much more to do and explore. With traditional Catalan architecture, quaint cafés and a lively vibe around every corner, it’s no wonder Barcelona is one of the top all-round cruise destinations on our list.

The runner ups are the picturesque Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini. This is followed by the charming city of Lisbon and the exotic Caribbean paradise of Cozumel. Every one of these romantic hotspots is special – you’ve got culture, great food, and beautiful scenery, all perfect for a couple’s getaway.

Best cruise holiday destinations for families

Top destination – Sardinia, Italy

Runner up – Tampa, United States

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Family cruise holidays combine fun, education and relaxation. Kids, teens and adults can all find something just for them, with plenty of fun activities onboard. And, of course, there’s a whole new world to explore.

According to our research, Sardinia ranks as the best cruise destination for families. This enchanting region of Italy boasts over 850 family-friendly hotels and popular attractions for a fun-filled holiday for all ages.

You’ve got the Aquadream water park for splashing around, Neptune’s Grotto for some underground adventure, and the stunning La Pelosa beach that’s perfect for building sandcastles and soaking up the Mediterranean sun.

Other top family-friendly cruise destinations include: Tampa, Florida, Mallorca, the Grand Cayman, and the Grand Turk Island.

Best cruise destinations for foodies

Top destination – Venice, Italy

Runner up – Naples, Italy

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If you take delight in good food and drink, there are a few cruise hotspots that truly stand out. The Italian city of Venice is the top cruise destination for food and wine lovers, boasting local delicacies and a world-class dining experience with 30 Michelin-starred restaurants.

Other top culinary hotspots include: Naples, Marseille, Sardinia and Barcelona. Also home to many Michelin-starred restaurants and regional specialties, they all promise a gastronomic journey like no other.

Best value cruise destinations

Top destination – Barcelona, Spain

Runner up – Cozumel Island, Mexico

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Looking for an amazing cruise experience at an affordable price?

Barcelona tops our list for the best budget-friendly cruise destination. It comes with well-priced accommodation, dining and plenty of activities to do. And you can enjoy all this without spending a fortune. A memorable cruise holiday that is as budget-friendly as it is wonderful.

Barcelona is closely followed by the Mexican island of Cozumel. Other best value cruise destinations include: Lisbon in Portugal, Antigua Island in the Caribbean Sea, and Naples in Italy.

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Best river cruise destinations in Europe

Top destination – Barcelona, Spain

Runner up – Lisbon, Portugal

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If you’re someone who enjoys the peaceful serenity of river cruises, Europe offers some of the world’s best river cruise experiences. These river cruises are a unique way to explore the rich history and diverse cultures of the continent. They’re a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the heart of Europe’s iconic cities and stunning landscapes.

Barcelona tops our list once again as the best river cruise destination in Europe. This vibrant city seamlessly blends modern and Gothic architecture, making it the perfect location to kickstart your river cruise before exploring Spain’s waterways.

Nearby countryside and charming, quaint villages paint a scenic contrast. For a unique river cruise experience, Barcelona remains unmatched, as it should.

Other best river cruise destinations include Lisbon, Florence, Venice and Porto. Each city is steeped in rich history and vibrant culture, alongside beautiful waterways for an unforgettable river cruise experience.

Don’t forget to cruise with travel insurance

Cruises are a great way to see the world. Waking up in a new destination each day is exciting, but they also introduces new things that could potentially go wrong.

Thankfully, our Cruise Travel Insurance is built to give you peace of mind no matter where your sea adventures take you.

Want to pick the best cruise for you? Read our guide on how to choose the right cruise to help you find the perfect match.

If it’s your first cruise, we also have top tips to help you make the most of your first cruise holiday.


Our methodology involved collecting cruise port data. This was then used to identify cruises and their stop locations. We then looked at Trip Advisor reviews for each cruise ship. We analysed these reviews to create our cruise hotspot indexes.

These indexes reveal the best cruise holiday destinations for older travellers, couples, families, food and wine lovers, budget-minded travellers, and the best river cruise destinations in Europe.

The best cruise holidays for 2024 | Avanti travel insurance™ (2024)


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