TRAVEL

Take your pick of a variety of cruise holidays

Set sail for a suite life on the high seas or on other waterways

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You might never have considered cruising before, but imagine the ease, glamour and adventure of being on an ocean or river voyage.
Leave the driving to the captain as you arrive in a different city every day, ready to pursue your favourite interest. Here’s a round-up of water-based alternatives.
Like European culture? Try an expert-led cruise
One of the easiest ways to see several cities in a short time is to take a cruise. Destinations such as Athens, Vienna, Florence and Venice are well-served and many cruise lines sail with expert lecturers on board.
Opera lovers can enjoy a performance of Puccini’s Tosca in the Roman amphitheatre in Verona on a cruise aboard the 20-passenger La Bella Vita with European Waterways.
Avid history lovers and culture buffs should look at Voyages to Antiquity, whose single ship, Aegean Odyssey, offers historical itineraries that delve into Crusader history in Israel or the Byzantine past of Turkey.
Love lakes and mountains? Head to Alaska or Norway’s fjords
Snow-capped mountains reflected in shimmering lakes are awe-inspiring, whether in Norway, Alaska or sailing along the lochs of Scotland.
In Japan, Imagine Cruising offers a nine-night voyage on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth combined with a tour of Mount Fuji including the Hakone Sky Gondola and a boat trip across Lake Ashi, enjoying the natural beauty of the water-filled volcano crater.
Iona, a new ship from P&O Cruises, will spend its inaugural season taking in the fjords and mountains of Norway in 2020.
Arriving by sea is a great way to view the shoreline waterfalls and mirror-like lakes, but excursions allow you to explore further by kayak, hiking or taking the Flam railway.
Many cruise lines serve Alaska, where mountain vistas and serene waterscapes are guaranteed. For wildlife lovers, there’s the chance to see humpback whales, track brown bears or spot bald eagles.
Seabourn offers special excursions including meeting the Kitasoo and Xai’xais townspeople in tiny Klemtu, British Columbia.
The family-friendly Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy are partnering for an Alaskan season in 2019 with on-board go-kart tracks, laser tag and water chutes.
Scotland is spoilt for small-ship cruising round the bays, islands and lochs, with operators such as Hebridean Island Cruises and Majestic Line calling at picturesque stops such as Argyll and Bute, St Kilda and Orkney. Excursions might focus on gardens, wildlife or, of course, whisky.
Are you a wine lover? Sample a European river cruise
Whether it’s the Loire, Rhône and Dordogne in France, the Wachau valley along the Danube in Austria, the Rhine at Rüdesheim or the rivers of Washington State – where American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines sail the Columbia and Snake rivers – a cruise is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the local viticulture.
Emerald Waterways organises guided hikes through vineyards in Provence or you can visit the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand on a Holland America voyage from Auckland to Sydney.
A 10-day wine cruise from Lisbon to Portsmouth on Ponant’s L’Austral departs on April 13, and includes trips in Porto and vineyards in Bordeaux.
Seeking winter sun? Set sail in the Caribbean
If there’s one thing better than fleeing to a Caribbean island in the middle of winter, it’s being able to visit a different one every day. The biggest passenger ships in the world sail from Miami and Fort Lauderdale to the larger islands, such as Jamaica.
With Cuba back on the map for US travellers, many cruise lines are heading there too.
Extended family? There’s plenty of choice
You can’t beat cruising for keeping the whole family happy. On the same ship you can have dance classes for seniors, laser tag for teenagers and a water park for youngsters.
Plus all generations can get together to enjoy a show, play arcade games or a round of mini golf before sitting down in a friendly restaurant.
Children from six months to 17 years old are catered for with age-specific clubs and babysitting services. Lines especially good at this are Disney, MSC, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess.
Keen on safari holidays? Look at a wildlife cruise
Think of a place synonymous with wildlife and there’s probably a cruise that can take you there – from the Brahmaputra (tigers and Asian elephants) in India to whales in Baja and rare birds in the sub-Antarctic islands off New Zealand.
African Dream, a 16-passenger boat operated by CroisiEurope, offers the chance to spot hippos from the deck and to take jeep safaris in Chobe National Park, home to a quarter of Africa’s elephant population.
Some lines sail along the Amazon and UnCruise has a voyage to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, which includes snorkelling with sea lions and swimming with whale sharks.
Azamara Club Cruises combines a 10-night cruise from Cape Town with a five-night safari in Chobe National Park.
A fan of the Greek islands? Take a chance on these
Cruising comes into its own in the Med.
Greece-based Celestyal Cruises offers a range of itineraries, including a three-continents voyage from Athens in late 2019 that calls at Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus and Rhodes.
The line is also returning to Istanbul for the first time since 2016 with sailings that include excursions to Troy and Gallipoli. To visit the settings for the 2008 film Mamma Mia!, Star Clippers is offering seven-night cruises from Athens in 2019 which include the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos.
Addicted to active breaks? Pack your running shoes
Cruising can be as active as any land holiday, both on and off board.
Most ships are equipped with gyms and running tracks, and some have basketball courts, rock-climbing walls and ice rinks.
If you want to kayak, jet ski, dive, snorkel or paddleboard from a ship, look for those with marina decks where you can get into the water while at anchor. Seabourn, Star Clippers and SeaDream are among them.
Many five-star river ships come equipped with small gyms, bicycles and e-bikes and offer a variety of active excursions.
A fan of the Greek islands? Take a chance on these
Cruising comes into its own in the Med.
Greece-based Celestyal Cruises offers a range of itineraries, including a three-continents voyage from Athens in late 2019 that calls at Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus and Rhodes.
The line is also returning to Istanbul for the first time since 2016 with sailings that include excursions to Troy and Gallipoli. To visit the settings for the 2008 film Mamma Mia!, Star Clippers is offering seven-night cruises from Athens in 2019 which include the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos.
Train enthusiast? Take a rail and sail holiday
Classic rail journeys that dovetail with cruises offer the best of both.
Every year the scenic Rocky Mountaineer network in western Canada delivers thousands of cruise customers to the ports of Vancouver and Seattle.
On an Alaskan voyage, guests can travel in the tracks of gold rush prospectors on the White Pass railroad from the US port of Skagway to the Canadian border.
Cruisers who leave their ships at Seward can take the Alaska Railroad to Anchorage, Denali National Park and Fairbanks.
In Britain, travelling by Eurostar also connects to routes to other European cities.
Agatha Christie fans can take the Orient Express from London to Venice to join a ship, or ride the Eastern Orient Express from Singapore to Bangkok, before connecting with river cruises in Myanmar.
Trailfinders combines a journey in the wood-panelled carriages of Rovos Rail with a meander on the Chobe river on the 14-passenger Zambezi Queen. Highlights include a helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls.
White-knuckle rides and cartoon characters? They’ve got it covered
Most of the newer, family-orientated ships excel at fun activities (ropes courses, dodgems, skydiving and F1 simulators, shows, movies and water parks).
Disney offers packages of a week at its Orlando showpiece with voyages on its own ships which sail from Cape Canaveral to the Bahamas and Caribbean, often stopping at the company’s private island of Castaway Cay.
In the summer, Disney Magic cruises the Norwegian fjords, where children learn how to make treats in Freia’s Magical Chocolate Factory.
Some Royal Caribbean ships feature surf simulators and laser tag; Carnival has a Dr Seuss-themed activity programme at sea.
Princess Cruises has partnered with the Discovery Science Channel to provide Camp Discovery, which offers fun learning activities, while MSC indulges fans of Lego.
Avid golfer? Tee off here
Do exclusive rounds of golf in Honolulu, Monte Carlo and American Samoa sound enticing?
With entry to top courses and tickets to headline tournaments included in the cruise fare, and plenty on board (or ashore) to occupy non-golfing companions, golf and cruise is a win-win combination.
Azamara’s cruises follow the golfing calendar around the world, beginning in February with New Zealand and Australia,
South Africa (new in 2019), Charleston and Bermuda (including an option to attend the 2019 Masters) and the British Isles with tickets to The Open.
Travelling alone? Join the party
Some lines offer solo cabins situated in a dedicated part of the ship and those travelling alone can join hosted tables and socialise at special get-togethers arranged for them.
Smaller operators, such as Hebridean and Majestic Line, have the highest proportion of solo cabins, but even Cunard’s QM2 and Queen Victoria were refurbished with solo travellers in mind. – The Telegraph
Keen on safari holidays? Look at a wildlife cruise
Think of a place synonymous with wildlife and there’s probably a cruise that can take you there – from the Brahmaputra (tigers and Asian elephants) in India to whales in Baja and rare birds in the sub-Antarctic islands off New Zealand.
African Dream, a 16-passenger boat operated by CroisiEurope, offers the chance to spot hippos from the deck and to take jeep safaris in Chobe National Park, home to a quarter of Africa’s elephant population.
Some lines sail along the Amazon and UnCruise has a voyage to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, which includes snorkelling with sea lions and swimming with whale sharks.
Azamara Club Cruises combines a 10-night cruise from Cape Town with a five-night safari in Chobe National Park.

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