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The best places to cruise in December

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Couple at a Christmas market

Christmas is a magical time of year, and what better way to make it even more special than to book a cruise with your nearest and dearest? Whether you are looking to enjoy the festivities on a winter cruise to some of Europe’s best Christmas markets or want to escape the colder climes and head somewhere a little more tropical, then there is an option to suit everyone.

Our range of no-fly cruises sail from eight regional ports, including cruises from Belfast, cruises from Falmouth and cruises from Newcastle you’ll be closer than you think to your next holiday. Keep reading to find out which locations we think you should be visiting during the most festive of months and why.

The best places to cruise in December:

  • Amsterdam

  • Germany

  • The Caribbean

  • Canary Islands

  • Belgium


Amsterdam in the Netherlands is a wonderful city to visit all year round, full of historic sites, winding canals, open green parks, and bikes galore. However, Amsterdam comes alive at Christmas with twinkling lights, festive foods, and splendid Christmas markets. A cruise to Amsterdam is the perfect way to get yourself excited for the big day and the capital city is ready to welcome you with open arms. We spoke to Jenni Fielding from the blog Cruise Mummy, a keen traveller and avid lover of cruises. She told us what locations she thinks people should visit in December as well as some other great locations in Europe, she mentioned Amsterdam:

“My favourite destinations to cruise to in December are the cities of northern Europe because I love to visit the Christmas markets. On a cruise, you can visit several Christmas markets in Germany, Holland, and Belgium, all in just a few days. Many European cities like Hamburg, Amsterdam and Bruges have fantastic Christmas markets that are open throughout December. I love nothing more than to wander through the festive stalls, admiring the handmade gifts. The food and drink options are always fantastic too, whether you like Belgian waffles, German sausages, or a nice cup of warm mulled wine.”


Germany is a metropolis of magic, and with mesmerising cities like Hamburg, you really can’t say no to a German cruise here. Our sailings take you to some of Europe’s best Christmas markets and allow you to experience the sights and sounds of these wonderful cities that come alive in December.

Being the second-largest city in Germany, Hamburg is known for its extensive Christmas markets including the likes of City Hall Market, Winterwald in Hamburg, and Fleet Christmas Market, which all feature wonderful food stalls, handmade and handcrafted gifts and often some rides and entertainment. For those looking to enjoy the wonderful food on offer during the later months of the year, then Germany is a mecca for delicious fancies, including traditional Bratwurst sausages, mulled wines and sweet treats, including waffles and pancakes - it makes your mouth water just thinking about!

The team at the blog The Common Wanderer has commented about their experiences at Hamburg’s Christmas markets and explained why they would highly recommend it to anyone looking to enjoy a festive markets cruise:

“Hamburg's Christmas markets, much like the city itself, are a mix of traditional and contemporary, quirky, and cool. We spent an awesome weekend exploring some of the best and filling our souls with delicious treats along the way. As you can imagine, we left with all the warm, fuzzy festive feelings. If you’re looking for a very merry (and at times, very unusual!) Christmas market city break, Hamburg’s definitely your place.”

READ MORE: Christmas Around the World

The Caribbean

A beach in the Caribbean

If you’re looking to escape the cold days and dark nights of winter in the UK, then why not consider a cruise to warmer climes over the month of December? The Caribbean is a dream holiday destination for many and a cruise to the Caribbean is no exception. Made up of over 700 islands, the Caribbean is a location unlike any other, the perfect mixture of warm white sands, crystal clear blue waters, creative and delicious food and an abundance of unique animals and wildlife; it truly is a location unlike any other.

Barbados is often the chosen location for those looking to visit the Caribbean and luckily for you, we travel to this very destination. Bridgetown, the island’s capital, is full of history and here you’ll find ex-military complexes and museums that are waiting to inform you about this fascinating country. If relaxing is more your thing, then you’re bound to find the perfect quiet spot to sit back, sip a cocktail and enjoy the stunning temperatures.

If you’re looking for colonial buildings, bustling shopping areas and friendly atmosphere, then Willemstad, the capital of Curacao is your answer. Its picture-postcard colourful buildings are nothing short of breathtaking and its popular casinos are the perfect place to try your hand with lady luck.

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are made up of several popular holiday destinations but none quite as magical as Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. These small but mighty islands sit off the west coast of Africa and benefit from warm weather all year round as well as stunning coastlines and contrasting mountainous landscapes inland.

Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria and is a coastal city with plenty of charm and quirk. A vibrant melting pot of cultures the city will delight visitors of all types, whether you’re looking for wonderful beaches or a bustling city centre, Las Palmas can do both.

READ MORE: What to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on your stopover

Saltwater lagoons, sun-kissed rooftops, and sandy beaches, we must be talking about Arrecife in Lanzarote. From designer boutiques to bargains galore, you’re not going to leave this location empty handed, we don’t there is better way to spend your port day.

Emma from the blog Emma Cruises loves cruising to the Canary Islands in December and she told us a little more about why she would recommend it: “My favourite place to visit in winter on a cruise is the Canary Islands. They are beautiful, consistently warm and there is so much to see and do. I recently took a Christmas cruise to the Canary Islands and being able to wander around without a coat or jumper on in December was INCREDIBLE. The ports visited on cruises like this are easy to navigate and very walkable meaning that I don't have to spend a lot of extra money in the ports to have a great day. Escaping the winter and short days of the UK for somewhere sunnier always lifts my spirits and I'd highly recommend it.”


Known for its world-renowned chocolate, waffles and beer, there is no better location for a festive escape than on a mini cruise to Belgium. What’s even better is that our festive market cruise takes you right to the heart of Belgium and along the River Scheldt to Antwerp and Bruges.

Known for its diamond industry, Antwerp is a somewhat forgotten city, but one that should not be dismissed. Wander the streets and enjoy the vibrancy of the fashion, art and architecture that make it one of the most beautiful cities in the country, that combined with a relaxing cruise down the River Scheldt is the perfect recipe for a December cruise.

If you’re tempted to get away from the stresses of December and Christmas, then why not consider one of these locations on an Ambassador cruise? Our Christmas cruises are nothing short of magical and if you choose to sail with us over Christmas, our friendly team are on hand to greet you with a smile. For more blogs and travel articles like this, make sure you take a look at our blog.

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