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8 Best Cruises In February To Warm Destinations {2024}

Princess and Holland America ships in Puerto Vallarta

If you’re looking to escape winter, consider a February cruise. Warm destinations like the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Australia offer sunshine and relaxation. If you’re searching for the best cruises in February, your chosen destination may depend on your home base.

With children in school, February holidays tend to attract fewer crowds. So, whether you’re seeking sandy beaches, cultural experiences, or diverse wildlife, you can score great cruise deals after the seasonal holidays.

These eight cruise destinations offer an ideal getaway for different reasons.

1. Caribbean

If you live in Canada, the United States, or Europe, heading out to the Caribbean Sea may be on your vacation list. With warm weather, fewer crowds, and off-peak pricing, you can choose from southern, eastern, and western Caribbean cruises.

Two cruise ships docked in Mexico in February, Chinese New Year decorations and Hobbiton
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With hurricane season over, there’s no risk of severe storms or itinerary diversions. If you love music, soak up the vibes at the US Virgin Islands Caribbean Music Festival.

Alternatively, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival immerses you in a colorful parade featuring cultural costumes.

January and February are my favorite times to take a Caribbean cruise because of the warm but not overly hot weather.

The best islands to visit in February include:

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Puerto Rico
Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Puerto Rico

  • Puerto Rico: Old San Juan provides charm with its old forts and cobblestone streets.
  • St. Lucia: Offers stunning natural landscapes.
  • The Bahamas: Close to the US, ideal for sampler or mini-cruises.
  • Aruba: A Southern Caribbean island renowned for its dry, sunny climate, crystal-clear waters, and stunning beaches.
  • Dominican Republic: Combines beautiful beaches with rich history and culture.

🛳️ Ready to book your February Caribbean cruise?

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2. Mexican Rivera

Mexican Riviera cruise itinerary makes a great alternative to the Caribbean if you live on the West Coast. Cruises typically last seven days, although you can find ones that are ten days and include La Paz.

Princess Cruises offers ten and eleven-day itineraries from San Francisco’s cruise port. These longer cruises travel further south to Manzanillo.

Alternatively, you can book 3 to 7-day cruises from Los Angeles. The Los Angeles ports serve as embarkation for Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and Princess Cruises. Cruises of 3 to 4 days usually stop in Ensenada.

Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas are the popular ports of call. However, guests must tender at the latter to access shore excursions.

In February, expect average temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s. While it may seem cool to locals, I found it warm enough to swim in the ocean at Marietas Islands.

A humpback whale spotted in the Bay of Banderas
Whale watching in Mexico

It’s the ideal time for whale watching. Humpback and gray whales migrate to Mexico’s warm waters in the winter to mate and give birth. Whale-watching tours in Cabo and Puerto Vallarta are plentiful and don’t disappoint.

We watched in awe as humpback whales breached for over an hour. It was the highlight of our Mexico cruise.

3. South America

When you cruise to South America in February, you’re experiencing the tail end of summer. Central areas like Bolivia and Peru see temperatures in the mid-to high-70s. Northern and southern countries can vary from 68F to 86F.

At this time of year, the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro brings an explosion of color and festivities. Known as the world’s largest, it attracts two million daily revelers.

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

Visit Brazil and Argentina for vibrant local cultures and natural wonders like the Amazon River. 

On the Pacific Ocean side, guests can cruise to the Galapagos Islands. While most major cruise lines don’t sail there, you can book with Celebrity Cruises, which has expedition-type vessels for the area.

February is the ideal month to see marine iguanas, greater flamingos, Galapagos doves, and Galapagos penguins. You may also see Galapagos sea lions with their young.  

Since South America is experiencing summer from November to March, it’s also an ideal time to cruise to Antarctica. However, you’ll lose the warm weather traveling further south. During your cruise, expect average temperatures of 34°F in Antarctica.

Quark, Lindblad, and Hurtigruten offer an all-inclusive cruise with zodiacs to access the land. It’s an excellent time for whale watching and seeing penguin chicks.

4. Hawaii

In Hawaii, February weather typically includes average high temperatures around 78°F (26°C) and lows around 65°F (18°C). The chance of rain is relatively high, as February is one of the wetter months. 

However, rainfall usually comes in short, heavy showers and finishes with a rainbow – hence the name, the rainbow state.

During the month of February, you can take a roundtrip cruise to Hawaii from California. Norwegian Cruise Line offers the only cruise ship that sails around the islands from Honolulu, Oahu.

Pride of America in Kona
Pride of America in Kona

Expect to pay top dollar to cruise on the Pride of America with no competition from other lines. No matter where you choose to embark, a Hawaiian cruise provides a heavenly escape.

These remote islands vary, with the Big Island offering volcanic landscapes and Maui providing pristine beaches for snorkeling. Oahu, the most popular of the archipelago, has city attractions and a variety of activities.

Choose from a humbling visit to Pearl Harbor, a lazy day at Waikiki Beach, or climbing Diamond Head Crater, as we did. If you plan to hike, you now need a reservation. Aim to go early when the temperatures are cooler.

Climbing down Diamond Head in Oahu
On the Diamond Head trail

5. Southeast Asia

If you cruise around Southeast Asia in February, expect generally dry and warm conditions, with average temperatures ranging from 77°F to 90°F (25°C to 32°C). 

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas offers 3- to 4-day or longer itineraries that stop in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. These shorter family cruises are perfect for locals who want a quick getaway.

If you prefer a longer itinerary, the Diamond Princess, Celebrity Solstice, and Celebrity Millennium offer one-way journeys to Hong Kong or Bombay.

These cruises showcase Southeast Asia’s rich culture, scenic beaches, and bustling cities. Each cruise line provides unique amenities, ensuring a memorable journey through this vibrant region. 

Chinese New Year decoration in Singapore in February
Chinese New Year decoration in Singapore

Chinese New Year, which usually falls in February, is a great time to enjoy the festivities. With each port visit, you can savor local cuisine and the region’s authentic flavors.

6. Australia/New Zealand

While it’s winter in the northern hemisphere, it’s summer in Australia and New Zealand in February. Since storm season runs from March to April, February provides the perfect recipe for cruising! 

Expect temperatures in Australia ranging from 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C) and in New Zealand from 60°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C).

Cruises typically last longer than ten days, although you can find shorter itineraries under seven days. They offer diverse experiences, from Australia’s vibrant cities and iconic landmarks to New Zealand’s stunning natural landscapes and Māori culture. 

Hobbiton, New Zealand
Hobbiton, New Zealand

Visiting New Zealand allows you to tour the famed Waitomo Glowworm Caves or explore Hobbiton, featured in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series.

Embarkations in Sydney, Australia, provides an iconic sailaway past the Sydney Opera House. Once you set sail, you can savor the beaches of the Gold Coast, enjoy an Australian wildlife safari, or go scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef.

For those who don’t reside in Oceania, you’ll have a chance to spot unique wildlife. Kangaroos, koala bears, wombats, and Tasmanian Devils, to name a few.

7. Panama Canal

With hurricane season over, the Panama Canal offers one of the best cruises in February. Often, cruises start from Florida (like Miami or Fort Lauderdale) and California (like Los Angeles or San Diego), but they can also begin from places like New Orleans or Texas.

Stops along the way often include ports in Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Caribbean islands. You might visit Cartagena, Puntarenas, Aruba, or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Colorful Puerto Vallarta sign
Puerto Vallarta sign

Expect warm, tropical weather in February. It’s dry season in Central America, so there’s less rain and more sunshine. Temperatures are usually in the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit (around 21-29 Celsius).

Taking a full transit cruise allows you to marvel at the incredible engineering. The Panama Canal, which connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, was opened in 1914, allowing cruise ships and cargo vessels to avoid the treacherous journey around Cape Horn.

8. Canary Islands

Cruising to the Canary Islands in February offers several benefits, such as fewer crowds, milder weather, and diverse landscapes. If you’re not a fan of hot weather, the 18°C (64°F) weather allows you to enjoy outdoor activities.

The islands offer varying landscapes, from black sand beaches to barren volcanic cones. February is a good month for spotting whales and dolphins and experiencing local culture, like the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

On Lanzarote, you can explore the lunar-like landscapes and geothermal activity of Timanfaya National Park. Mount Teide is Spain’s highest peak on Tenerife, offering stunning views and cable car rides. I was stunned by the size of the volcano’s caldera.

But, no matter which islands you visit, you can enjoy unique Canarian dishes and wines.

Two cruise ships docked in Mexico, Cloud Dome in Singapore and a glacier in South America