The best itineraries of 2021

After a year to forget, Sam Ballard looks ahead to some of the most exciting cruise itineraries for 2021, showcasing the newest ships and most far-flung destinations

It doesn’t need overstating, but 2020 has not been a year to get away and explore the world. However, we’re not alone in hoping that what has been 2020’s loss will be 2021’s gain. According to luxury operator Kuoni, guests are looking at “saving and upgrading” for next year, which means bigger holidays to more faraway destinations. While that’s where we’re setting the bar with our best itineraries of 2021, we’ve also included some shorter cruises to showcase the industry’s newest ships, the perfect chance to convert first-timers.

P&O Cruises

Norwegian Fjords – seven nights
Departure dates: Throughout the summer, but we’ve chosen the 21 August sailing
Destinations: Norway
Ship: Iona
Prices: £729 per person
Why? Iona is the biggest ship ever built for the UK market and packs a real punch. This sailing, which takes place during the summer holidays, means the whole family can enjoy everything the ship has to offer, from Ocean Studios, the four-screen cinema, to the SkyDome – an incredible new venue to enjoy both day and night.


Icelandic Adventure
Departure dates: June 19, 2021
Destinations: Iceland
Ship: Spirit of Adventure
Prices: From £3,319 per person
Why? This 14-night circumnavigation of Iceland will be a sailing to remember. Departing from Dover, guests will call at Orkney before arriving in Seydisfjordur, on Iceland’s east coast. From there they will travel anti-clockwise around one of the most ruggedly beautiful islands in the world.

Virgin Voyages

French Daze and Ibiza Nights
Departure dates: May 9, 2021
Destinations: Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Ibiza
Ship: Valiant Lady
Prices: From £2,300 per person
Why? Virgin Voyages’ second ship, Valiant Lady, will be based in the Mediterranean, meaning guests won’t have to travel to the US to get on board. This sailing includes overnight stays in Ibiza and Monte Carlo – the perfect party cruise.


Southern Scandinavia – Archipelagos, fjords and quaint fishing towns
Departure dates: From Dover, June 20, July 18 and August 27, 2021
Destinations: Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway
Ship: MS Maud
Prices: Starting from £3,199 per person
Why? Join this 15-night roundtrip from Dover on board Hurtigruten’s MS Maud on the line’s inaugural season out of the UK. Few companies know Norway like Hurtigruten, which has more than 100 years of experience sailing the famous fjords.

Viking River Cruises

Pharaohs and Pyramids
Departure dates: January 1, 2021
Destinations: Cairo, Luxor, Aswan
Ship: Viking Osiris
Prices: From £6,355 per person
Why? Viking Osiris is set to be the newest vessel on the Nile and will mimic the company’s beautiful European Longships. This is the chance to explore one of the world’s great ancient civilisations, on the famous river’s most modern ship.


Incredible Iberian Discovery
Departure dates: April 11, 2021
Destinations: Lisbon, Seville, Tangier, Cartagena, Barcelona
Ship: Scenic Eclipse
Prices: From £4,425 per person
Why? Scenic Eclipse’s first foray into the Mediterranean will begin with this nine-day sailing from Lisbon to Barcelona. While on board, your client will be able to take a ride in one of the ship’s submersibles or jump on one of the onboard helicopters – for the holiday of a lifetime.

Royal Caribbean International

Three-night weekend Getaway
Departure dates: April 2, 2021
Destinations: Bruges and Rotterdam
Ship: Odyssey of the Seas
Prices: From £453 per person
Why? Royal’s newest ship – and first Quantum ultra-class vessel – will be running two mini-cruises out of Southampton before it transitions down to the Mediterranean. This is a great chance to get any new-to-cruise customers onboard and see what one of the most innovative cruise lines in the world has come up with.

Crystal Cruises

The Northeast Passage
Departure dates: August 18, 2021
Destination highlights: Wrangel Island, Siberia, Tromsø
Ship: Crystal Endeavor
Prices: From $100,998 per person (two-for-one offers available)
Why? This epic 29-night adventure is on board the highly anticipated Crystal Endeavor,Crystal Cruises’ first expedition vessel. The itinerary takes guests to the islands of Siberia and Severnaya Zemlya, the last charted place on Earth.


12-day inaugural Norway, Northern Lights & North Cape
Departure dates: December 11, 2021
Destination highlights: Greenwich, Bergen, Ålesund
Ship: Seabourn Venture
Prices: From £11,799 per person
Why? A very rare opportunity indeed – a chance to sail out of Greenwich on board Seabourn’s first expedition vessel, Seabourn Venture. Explore the Norwegian Fjords, Lofoten Islands and Honningsvåg – the most northerly point on mainland Europe – in the absolute lap of luxury.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Borealis’ six-night S2107 ‘Scottish Lochs & Isles’ maiden cruise
Departure dates: April  23, 2021
Destination highlights: Liverpool, Belfast, Scottish Highlands
Ship: Borealis
Prices: From £929 per person
Why? Departing from Liverpool, this is the maiden voyage of Borealis, one of two ships to join the Fred Olsen fleet in 2021. This sailing calls at some of Scotland’s most picturesque islands before heading back to Liverpool, via Belfast.