The Atlantic Islands present often overlooked but beautiful destinations. Warm throughout the year, these islands offer stunning beaches and fauna which make these island's cruise favourites.
The Atlantic Isles include the Canary Islands and Madeira although cruise itineraries may often include a French, Spanish or Portuguese port as well, especially when sailing on itineraries that begin and end in an English port. It can therefore be anticipated that a cruise to the area will involve a day or two at sea at the beginning and end of its voyage. Due to the short travel time from the UK, many lines travel to this region out of home ports in the south of England
Ports used by ships travelling to the Atlantic Isles are often Vigo, Leixoes or Lisbon. A shore excursion to Spain's Santiago de Compostela will be remembered for ever, while testing the famous port wine at the ancient riverside houses, near Leixoes, and strolling through ancient Alfama in Lisbon will provide fascinating insights that broaden the mind and provide memorable experiences.
The warm winter months and steady ocean breezes of the summer lend themselves to cruise holidays in the region at all times of the year. However, the Canary Islands tend to enjoy warmer winter temperatures than Madeira, and Gran Canaria is usually a little warmer and sunnier than Tenerife, although the tax free shopping options available in both of the latter ports tend to wash away gloom about chillier weather. Voyage durations between the islands are relatively short and so ships tend to make use of sheltered waters..
For those who are interested in sailing on a cruise around the Christmas and New Year period, this is definitely an itinerary not to be missed. There are many celebrations on the islands around this time of year and Funchal is regarded as one of the most visually spectacular New Year's fireworks displays in the world.
The journey by sea to and from the Atlantic Isles is very much part of the holiday and it is to be enjoyed as much as cruising around the islands. Those people who prefer a temperate climate with generally sunny days and temperatures that are neither excessively hot nor too cold should not be disappointed. In Tenerife, however, it is possible to bask in the sun on a sandy beach and look up at the snow clad Mount Teide, beyond the lush green golf courses, a major draw for many visitors to these islands.