The most popular cruise destination might surprise you

view on reine, a small fishing village on lofoten islands, as seen during sunrise in august captured in norway
The most popular cruise destination revealedDennis Fischer Photography - Getty Images

New research has revealed the most popular countries for cruises among British travellers, and the top results might surprise you.

Insurance specialist AllClear Travel analysed Google search data to determine the ten most popular destinations, and Norway came out on top, with an average search volume of 134,018 a month.


And while it might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of classic cruise destinations, it's easy to see why Norway appeals to many Brits.

First of all, with many Norway cruises departing directly from the UK, it's a great option for a no-fly holiday if you're trying to avoid the hassle of air travel.

Bergen, NorwayIstock - Getty Images

And once you arrive, it won't take long to see why this Scandi gem tops the list. This land of astonishing natural beauty, from UNESCO-protected fjords to breathtaking glaciers and rugged coastlines is dotted with fishing villages of red wooden houses.

The landscapes of Norway are some of the most dramatic in Europe and are beautiful at any time of year. But if you visit between October and March you might also have the privilege of seeing them illuminated by the jaw-dropping Northern Lights.

In fact, Good Housekeeping has a 15-night cruise around Norway, which departs from Tilbury and sails into Nordfjord, with wonderful stops in Alta and Tromso.

aurora borealis dancing over tromso urban skyline tromso panorama and winter night landscape with northern lights aurora polaris on a cold night, with starry sky, polar lights and snowcapped mountains on kvaloya island in the background cityscape with brightly street light of the arctic capital, northern norway
The Northern Lights above TromsoJuan Maria Coy Vergara - Getty Images

It's easy to see why cruises are favoured when it comes to visiting in Norway. With so many of the country's attractions, like the fjords, glaciers, and pre-Viking villages, found on and around the water, a cruise is the best way to explore, allowing you to dock in hard-to-reach corners.

An expedition cruise, like a 15-day adventure at the end of this year, allows you to travel in the company of experts, who will help you truly immerse yourself if Norway's landscapes, and give you the best chance of seeing the spectacular Northern Lights, drawing on their in-depth knowledge of the landscapes and the skies.


Other top cruise destinations

Norway was crowned the top cruise destinations, but there were other European favourites in the top ten cruise destinations from AllClear Travel's data.


In third place was Italy, an ideal destination if you're looking for a cruise that combines culture and history with time to relax and enjoy the sun with a glass of good wine and some delicious food.

aerial view of the lagoon of venice and san giorgio maggiore at sunset heavy ship traffic, turistic boats and beautiful blue sky with fantastic cloudscape over the island venice, italy
The Venetian LagoonAleksandarGeorgiev - Getty Images

Good Housekeeping's cruise of the Venetian Lagoon in April 2024 contains all the elements that make Italian cruises so wonderful.

There'll be plenty of incredible food (you'll even be joined by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge) and you'll get to see several cultural highlights on this trip too, with VIP access to Doge's Palace and a special lighting ceremony in St Mark's Basilica.


But Venice isn't the only city you can explore on an Italian cruise. With its historic Civitavecchia Port, Rome is a popular starting point for many Mediterranean cruises, including our 11-day cruise in October 2023, when you'll spend three nights in the heart of Rome's vibrant Monti district before setting sail.

square of saint marys and valencia cathedral temple in old townspain
Valencia, SpainVitalyEdush - Getty Images


It should come as no surprise that Spain is also on the top ten list, and that the second most popular region for cruises overall was the Mediterranean.

There are several beautiful and culturally-rich cities dotting Spain's Mediterranean coast, from Barcelona, with its unique architecture and distinct Catalan cuisine, to Valencia, the home of paella and horchata, and Tarragona, another Catalan gem with a fascinating Roman heritage.

Join Good Housekeeping's Mediterranean cruise in September or October and you'll dock in Valencia and Tarragona as well as Rome, Livorno and Genoa.

aerial panoramic view at famous european travel destination, dubrovnik cityscape on adriatic coast, croatia
Dubrovnik, CroatiaDreamer4787 - Getty Images


Also making the list of the top ten most popular countries for cruises is Croatia. With more than 1,100 miles of spectacular coastline along the Adriatic, and with over 1,200 islands and islets, exploring Croatia by boat just makes sense.

On our cruise of Croatia's pretty towns and islands in September or October 2023, you'll drop anchor in hidden coves, visit historic towns and spend evenings in the atmospheric streets of the Adriatic’s prettiest ports.

Top 10 places for a cruise holiday in 2023

  1. Norway

  2. Greece

  3. Italy

  4. Iceland

  5. Australia

  6. Croatia

  7. Canada

  8. Dubai

  9. Spain

  10. Bahamas

Feeling inspired to take a cruise this year or next? Check out Good Housekeeping's selection of cruises for 2023 and 2024 and discover top destinations in Europe and beyond by water.


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