The Canary Islands are popular all year round thanks to their lovely climate, exciting volcanic landscapes and beautiful beaches. Taking a cruise here means that you can see more than one of the islands - great if you just can't decide! Plus, flight-phobics are well catered for on this route, as most of them depart from UK soil in Southampton.
Shorter cruises will tend to visit just two ports in the Canary Islands, as well as having a stopover along the way. This is usually on the island of Madeira, but can also be Lisbon or La Coruna. Longer cruises will give you the chance for more stops on these sunny shores, with Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria usually all featuring.
Spend time both soaking up the sunshine on the beaches and exploring the islands' volcanic roots - Mount Teide National Park in Tenerife and Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote are great for that other-worldly experience. In Lanzarote you can even dine on a meal cooked by the volcano's heat!
The tiny island of Madeira is often a stop along the way to the Canary Islands on your cruise. You'll dock in Funchal, the capital, where it's all about the gardens. Take the cable car to Monte for a bird's eye view! Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria all offer a huge range of attractions and day trips. That means you can spread your time between the coast and inland. Take in some of the almost-alien landscapes that the volcanoes have produced, and spend time wandering the palm-fringed promenades, trying your hand at banana boating, or just relaxing.
La Palma is often included on longer trips as well - this lesser-known island is all about greenery, with gorgeous leafy walks and lovely vantage points for lunch. Use a stop here as an excuse to take things even easier! On the return leg you will stop along the way, with Casablanca becoming increasingly popular. Explore this exotic Moroccan city, and take advantage of all-you-can-carry luggage allowances to stock up on treats from the souks.
As the Canary Islands are sunny all year round, there is no one time when you can find cheap deals - but cruise providers tend to discount this route on a regular basis. Avoid school holidays, including Christmas, and seek out the "shoulder" season for the best deals. March-April and October-November are a great time for a cruise to the Canary Islands as the weather is nice and sunny. You'll be able to enjoy the outside cruise facilities once you travel a little south, yet the crowds won't be too great once you get there.
With most cruises departing from the UK, you can often find combined cruise and hotel deals in Southampton, or money off parking when you book it all together. Many of the hotels close to the port will offer a drop-off service or be served by shuttle buses. Keep an eye on your spending on the ship too. Look out for drinks packages to save yourself some money onboard, as the drink prices can really rack up quickly - try to book them in advance too as some cruise companies give you a better deal this way.
Updated 20th August 2014
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posted by psteinerGoing to a museum whilst on holiday in Lanzarote might not appeal to you, but if it does, head to the Castillo San Gabriel. There's is a great collection of art by and ethnographic information on the aboriginal people who lived in Lanzarote before the Spanish arrived.