Category Archives: Cruises

Cruising for young(ish) people, by a first-timer

imageNatalie Paris boards a cruise for the first time, as part of a multi-generational family holiday in the Mediterranean.

We lined the upper deck, clinging to the railings and waving farewell to the shrinking tower of St Mark’s basilica. The chorus from Time to Say Goodbye blared cheesily from loudspeakers behind us. Below, on canal-side terraces, tourists squinted up from their Bellinis as all 93,330 tons of us slid by, rudely blotting out the sun. Our Mediterranean cruise had finally begun, with a showy sail along the Grand Canal in Venice. Even for this apprehensive first-timer, it was a pretty exciting moment.

In common with most independent people in their twenties or thirties, I wouldn’t have chosen a cruise for myself. Holidays for me are about the freedom to get out and explore. And once I’m out, I tend to want to stay out. Late. But this trip was not solely about me. Our party consisted of three generations of my boyfriend’s family, all avid cruisers. One was celebrating a significant birthday and so those of us unaccustomed to itineraries and fixed mealtimes had agreed to be open-minded. What the occasion required was easy sightseeing at a reasonable price, with plenty of opportunities for ballroom dancing. "We don’t have to spend every minute together," the cruising regulars assured us, "just don’t be late back or the ship will leave without you."

Princess Cruise Line

imageLose yourself like Gilligan on a Princess Cruise – featured on the hit show the Love Boat, Princess cruises have long been a trusted name in the cruise industry. With 15 ships and a bevy of exotic itineraries to peruse, on Princess Cruises you are only limited by your imagination.

Even if you don’t cruise for entertainment you will be impressed by the shows on the Caribbean Princess or any other vessel you choose to sail on. These large ships are accustomed to having to entertain large groups of discerning travelers so you might find yourself coming back just to hear that great singer from dinner last night again.

All outside cabins, many equipped with balconies greet you on the Regal Princess, a large vessel that can carry up to 1200 passengers. Unlike other large cruise ships, the Princess Cruise lines have fresh water pools, so you can enjoy a swim whether you’re out at sea or docked in a port.

Telegraph Cruise Show 2012

imageTelegraph readers can claim two free tickets to next week’s event, which features talks and exhibitions on all aspects of cruise holidays. Britain’s biggest cruise show is returning to London Olympia later this month.

More than 100 exhibitors will attend, representing ocean-going cruise lines, expedition ships and river cruises, alongside consumer experts and members of cruise publications and specialist websites.

Western Caribbean Cruise Tips

imageA Western Caribbean Cruise is one of the most in-demand cruise itineraries among cruise vacationers, offering an assortment of exotic destinations while many different cruise companies offer routes that customers can choose from. A Western Caribbean cruise may consist of stops such as Central America countries like Panama or Costa Rica, Belize, Jamaica, Mexico and the Cayman Islands. Magnificent coasts, varied wild life and offshore reefs are just some of the many attractions included in a Western Caribbean cruise. But when embarking on a Western Caribbean cruise, a cruiser may want to keep in mind several useful tips that would ensure their trip is one for the books.

Tips for Cruise Travel

imageAre you intending on going on a cruise? Well if this sounds your brand new, you possibly will not be sure what to prepare for. Having a few suggestions to give you a hand can be quite to your benefit. So, listed below are some important cruise travel guidelines to don’t forget when you go for a cruise.

Tip 1 – Receive a Map on the Ship – Cruise lines are huge. You won’t want to stray along with a map will surely be described as a huge assistance to you. Make sure you will have the map and take a bit to search it over making sure that it is possible to quicker travel the ship.

Carnival Cruise Ship to Undergo Major Overhaul

imageCarnival Cruise Lines has announced plans for the Carnival Destiny cruise ship to undergo an extensive dry dock in early 2013.   The Destiny was launched in 1996 as the world’s largest cruise ship carrying 2,642 passengers and began the current era of the mega ships.  The dry dock will last for 49 days and cost $155 million, radically transforming her into the Carnival Sunshine.

The Carnival Sunshine will receive the full Carnival Funship 2.0 experience, an additional 182 cabins, and the expansion of 2 decks completely transforming the layout of the ship.  Carnival President and CEO released the following statement,

How to save the United States

imageWould you like to know how to save the United States? The SS United States that is, the last remaining US-flagged transAtlantic superliner which has been pretty much just sitting around rusting at a Philadelphia pier since 1996, needs our help. An independent national non-profit organization is dedicated to protecting, revitalizing and promoting America’s flagship seen here parked in Philadelphia.

Swan Hellenic’s ship Minerva upgraded

imageMinerva, Swan Hellenic’s solitary cruise ship, which was saved from extinction by Telegraph readers, has returned to service after a three-month overhaul.

Passengers on board the 350-berth vessel can now expect refurbished en-suite bathrooms, a newly installed promenade deck, a lounge bar with 360 degree views, and an improved internet area.

The ship will be sailing in Europe this spring, offering cruises to the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Mediterranean cruise guide

imageMediterranean cruises are a wonderful way of taking in a number of fascinating sights with a minimum of hassle. Douglas Ward offers a complete guide to taking a Mediterranean cruise.

Mediterranean cruises can be rewarding in so many ways – culturally, educationally, visually, architecturally, and historically, as well as from a culinary viewpoint. The Mediterranean is the second most popular cruise region in the world, after the Caribbean. It is loosely divided into two cruising areas: the Western Mediterranean (typically including France, Spain, Portugal and Italy) and Eastern Mediterranean (countries east of Italy, such as Croatia, Greece and Turkey).

The world’s best adventure cruises

imageFancy climbing a volcano, husky sledding or flying in a fighter jet? Wendy Gomersall picks the best adventure cruises for 2012.

Gone are the days when an excursion meant a gentle potter around a picturesque town centre or a scenic ride on a comfy coach. Nowadays, adventurous and unusual experiences you would never be able to enjoy at home are all part of what makes a cruise holiday so memorable.

Here’s a taster of the more “extreme” excursions on offer.

Alternatives to Mega Cruise Ship Tourism

imageCruises are one of the most popular and low-cost vacation options, allowing passengers to visit multiple locations while enjoying all the standard amenities of a luxury vacation. However, cruises also contribute a disproportionate amount of waste when compared with other means of travel. The U.K.-based Climate Care estimates that cruise ships emit more carbon dioxide than long-haul flights, and other studies have shown that cruise ships generate about 21,000 gallons of sewage a day, 170,000 gallons of grey water (waste water from laundry, showers, and dish cleaning), and other harmful wastes. Cruise ship passengers are also estimated to dispose of more trash daily than local residents.

Briton missing from Mexico cruise ship

imageA search was under way today for a British passenger who apparently went overboard from the world’s biggest cruise ship in waters near Mexico.

The 30-year-old man was seen falling over the railings by another passenger on the Allure of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean International cruise line said.

He could also be seen falling over in footage from an on-board video camera.

The man went overboard as the ship was sailing to Cozumel, Mexico and the Mexican navy and coastguard are assisting in the search.

The Allure of the Seas left Fort Lauderdale in Florida on Sunday for a seven-night cruise. The ship can carry 5,400 passengers.

The man’s name has not been released.

Cruises: voodoo with Saga in Africa

imageIf you think you know what Saga stands for, a cruise with the company that takes in Togo, Benin, fetishes and voodoo might change your mind. It’s the perfect introduction to West Africa

There are two surprises about this cruise. One is where it went, and the other is the cruise line.

If you drew up a list of the countries you are least likely to visit on holiday, they would probably include most of those on this journey down the west coast of Africa. Benin, anybody? Togo? And if you had to think of a tour company to run such an intrepid voyage, Saga might not immediately come to mind. How wrong you would be – as I was – on both counts.

The Offer Attractive To Travelers

imageAmong their offerings of particular interest to the traveler are the mini-cruises, a proposal with all the advantages and comforts of a traditional cruise, but whose journey is shorter. These trips were called mini-cruises designed especially for people who can not afford to sail aboard a ship for so many days, whether for reasons of time or cost.

The Cruise xyo website you can find information and resources necessary to choose the trip that best suits your needs. Access to these will be very easy because the site has a search section that includes the typical classical search by region, shipping, ship, date, travel time and output port.

Mediterranean Luxury Cruises – The Time Of Your Life

imageWith three continents and more than a dozen countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea there is much to see and do here. A luxury Mediterranean cruise will see you visiting everything from romantic Islands to busy vibrant cities and towns.

Whether you take one of the smaller ships to a few of the smaller Islands or a luxury cruise liner around the Mediterranean you will not be disappointed. With countries such as France, Italy and the Greek Islands being in easy reach by sea you will be sure of a fun filled holiday that creates memories you will cherish forever  On a Mediterranean cruise you will be able to enjoy a vast multitude of different flavours, historical sights, cultures and cuisines and there will be something for even the fussiest guest on a Mediterranean cruise.

Cruising Tips

imageEvery year more and more people discover why cruises are the ideal vacation. A cruise ship is basically your giant buffet of wonderful experiences, with a wide selection of cuisines and cultures, activities in the sun and spas to pamper your every indulgence, destinations to exotic locales and a million ways to relax. You can do it all or do absolutely nothing – the choice is yours!

Chart Your Course! Pick the Cruise That’s Right for You
Your first choice is the most enjoyable, for it allows your mind to wander around the globe and back again, revisiting every destination your dreams have ever taken you to. Where in the world do you want to go and for how long?

Top 10 Cruises for Adventure Travel

Here are the top 10 Cruises for Adventure Travel
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1. Nova Scotia and Labrador Tall Ships, Canada
Cruises of Nova Scotia and Labrador Tall Ships last up to a week, the excitement of the wind through the sails of the ships will add you with seafaring heritage of eastern Canada

2. San Juan Islands, Washington
When you travel with San Juan Islands cruise from Washington, you can skip from island to island. Breathtaking views of beautiful wilderness are offered by the classic wooden vessels. You can also get gourmet meals which matches the flavors of the Pacific Northwest.

3. Pirate Cruise, Grand Cayman Island
Pirate Cruise of Grand Cayman is the Caribbean cruise, this is perfect for young and old children. This is duplicate of 17th century Spanish boat, it offers firing cannons, planks to walk and sword fighting as well.

American Cruise Lines

imageAmerican Cruise Lines offers intimate local trips, primarily along the East Coast of the United States, and offers a unique experience of charming stops and entertainment that every passenger is sure to remember long after their journey has ended. Each American Cruise Line Ship runs a different route, and while the majority of the fleet operates along the eastern seaboard, there is one ship that has headed west to serve passengers in Oregon and Washington. American offers four different vessels, each with an interesting selection of ports of call, entertainment, and itineraries. Guests aboard any one of the cruises on American ships will find lasting ruminations of a delightful experience.

Cunard to register ships in Bermuda

imageThe luxury cruise operator Cunard has confirmed that its ships will no longer be registered in Britain for the first time in its 171-year history.

Cunard’s vessels will instead be registered in Bermuda, enabling it to take advantage of the lucrative market for weddings at sea – ceremonies which are not recognised under British law.

This means the home port of Southampton, which is currently displayed on the stern of the company’s three ships, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, is likely to be replaced by Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda.

Cruise

imagenolvidableHoy experience in more and more people are choosing the alternative of a cruise for all the advantages it offers.

First of all the transportationfactor is already included. There are many good deals on cruises where you can visit more than one destination, such as for example a Mediterranean cruise where you have the opportunity to visit several islands during the time of travel of the route.

The cruises offer much flexibility in the number of travel days. There are cruises of 3 to 4 days and another 15 days. Everything will depend on the route and the number of destinations to visit. You can go as much as two weeks, 1 week or for a few days, for example in a long weekend, the choice is yours alone.

Tips For Single Cruise Ship Passengers of Any Age Group

imageCruising on a passenger liner is generally a matter of conversation among people today of any age. Singles of this 2nd decade of the new millennium, take points into their very own fingers and generally launch careers, or vacations — by on their own or along with other singles. Their goal could be to have fun, or meet other singles who are like-minded and really like to do the items they do, as well as to talk about new ideas and ideas. Due to the fact of the financial system these days, we all have to check out our finances and financial institution account and get great funds for whenever we obtain. Cruising is no exception, so we’ll provide up a handful of guidelines and assistance for booking your best cruise.

Cruising Travel Tips For Beginners

imageMost of the cruising travel tips for beginners we see at CruiseTravelReview.org revolve around ships etiquette, how to find the cheapest cruise deals and what to pack for a cruise. We see very little in the way of what the following article at seawardtravels.com talks about and while this may mean that it’s not that important, don’t be fooled, it’s very important for you to know this stuff.

Cruising tips for beginners such as how to avoid losing your bag during the baggage check-in and collection process; this is one of the most frustrating aspects of a cruise vacation, protecting yourself against injury, how to avoid problems on shore excursions and how to make the most of a ships port-of-call. These tips will help take the enjoyment experience to another level.

At the end of your cruise you will find that you luggage will be placed with many other peoples luggage and so we certainly recommend getting some distinctive tags or tape on your travel luggage or travel holdalls so that they are easily identifiable. There is nothing worse than at the end of your trip having to wait around searching through countless holdalls, handbags, briefcases, rucksacks and travel bags looking for your luggage for hours on end.

Respect The Sun

When you are out on the ocean it can feel quite mild with the cool ocean air running over you, however do not let this mislead the power of the sun and UV rays. One of the most common reasons people have to visit the cruise infirmary for treatment is due to sun burn and once burned it could be the end of you being able to sit outside in the direct sun light for the remainder of the trip.

The best advice is to take good factored sun cream with you that suits your skin type and apply regularly. Of course a lot depends on what cruise you are going on and at what time of year, as this will determine the sun strength. If unsure just ask the crew and they will be able to advise on the sun strength on your particular cruise voyage.

On The Streets

On the excursions to the shore of where ever your cruise ship docks you will find many street vendors approaching you who will be selling a lot of ‘questionable’ goods such as pirated CDs, fake bags, cigars etc. Many of these vendors are very persuasive and very skilled at getting you to hand over your money however be warned that many times the good will be flawed and you will have no way of getting your money back.

The best advice is to keep your wallet in your pocket and do not engage with them unless you really know the ‘score’ and are sure that the deal they are offering is legitimate. If you want to spend your money, do it with a local in their small shop as this way you know they are a legitimate store owner…..

Advice Before Making The First Cruise

imageFollowing the recommendations on cruises when you book you will be informed of the rules regarding clothing cruise, gratuities, meals and more. Except in the luxury cruises, the best clothing is casual with comfortable shoes. On the boat you walk a lot and there are many stairs.

When booking let you know if there is a dinner where the label is required. Do not take more than a suitcase, cabin space is not much and the boat has everything, gel, shampoo, etc. Do not forget your swimsuit, sunglasses and light clothing for excursions. The topless is not normally allowed, must be respected boat nomas.

A guide to finding cruise deals

imageEven today, when travel is becoming increasingly affordable, cruises are still somewhat surrounded by an air of luxury and unattainability. Magazine pictures of the rich and/or famous lounging on the decks of cruise ships sailing through aquamarine water with a tropical sun shining down on them often seem out of the league of the regular traveler, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you are not well-versed in deal finding, going on a cruise might seem a bit improbable to you, but luckily there are ways to get cruise tickets for cut-rate prices. Here is a short guide to finding cruise deals that are too irresistible to pass up.

Belize Cruises

imageThere are a few different ways to get to Belize, and among them are the Belize cruises. Some 1 million people a year enjoy cruises to Belize, and a good amount of the country’s visitors take advantage of the smaller Belize cruises and sailing charters that operate within the country.

Generally, cruises to Belize will include other stops in the Caribbean and Central America, so you’ll have other exciting places to explore in addition to experiencing some of what Belize has to offer. It’s always a treat to pass through the Panama Canal. Once you pull into port at Belize, there will be no shortage of fun Belize cruise excursions to enjoy, from zip-line tours to trips to one of the Belize Mayan sites. Since most of the top cruise companies offer cruises to Belize, you should have little problem booking one, and should you be staying in Belize for an extended period of time, you might entertain the options for inner-country Belize cruises. A sunset dinner cruise is sure to add spice to that romantic getaway.

Why Choose A European River Cruise Vacation?

imageAnyone that wants to take a luxury vacation, you should consider a European cruise.

If you are interested in traveling though Europe, one of the best ways to see the historic and magnificent sites throughout the continents is aboard a luxury cruise boat. Simply fly to your chosen departure destination, board the ship, unpack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable journey.

One of the most popular types of cruises is a European river cruise. Nearly all the major rivers of Europe have luxury cruise packages available. When cruising on one of these magnificent boats on the mighty rivers, travelers enjoy some of the most incredible scenery, not to mention history. When you take a river cruise, you can expect to visit a different city, town, or village every day.

Factors to Consider when Planning a European Cruise

imageOnce you decide to take a European cruise, you will quickly find that planning the vacation is not an easy task.  There are many factors to consider when planning your dream vacation such as voyage lengths, price ranges, potential destinations, and the many different cruise lines.  This article will cover some of the factors you must think about to ensure you find the European cruise that meets your needs and desires, allowing you to enjoy a perfect vacation.

The first thing you have to think about is the time of year you will take your cruise.  If you have commitments or a work schedule that will limit when you can travel,

there may be a significant impact on selecting a destination.  You will have to decide when you can travel so you can research the European cruises that are best to take at that specific time of the year.

Fuel regulations send Antarctic cruise costs up

Anti-pollution rules will curb tourism to the continent and push up the cost the cruises, writes Caroline Shearing.

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The cost of cruising to Antarctica is likely to rise next month with the introduction of new regulations that will compel ships visiting the region to use less polluting fuels.

From August 1, they will be banned from burning or carrying heavy fuel oil and must instead use marine gas oil, which is cleaner but considerably more expensive.

The change, which could cost large-scale tour operators several million pounds a season, has prompted some cruise lines to withdraw from the region, and visitor numbers are expected to fall to their lowest in almost a decade.

Cruise passengers take legal action over illness

More than 130 British holidaymakers are taking legal action against Fred Olsen after allegedly falling ill on board one of its ships.

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The cruise line was this week accused of “repeatedly failing to protect the health of tourists” on the MV Boudicca following several outbreaks of sickness.

Irwin Mitchell, a British law firm that specialises in travel-related cases, is representing 138 people who claim they suffered severe gastric illness on the ship, which sails to the Canary Islands, Europe and west Africa, between 2009-2011. Some of those passengers have blamed poor hygiene.

Fred Olsen accepts that illness has occurred on the ship, but says the symptoms suffered by passengers were indicative of norovirus – a common cause of infectious gastroenteritis that it says is beyond its control.

Transatlantic cruises: The Queen and I

Even after more than 150 crossings, Douglas Ward feels a thrill of anticipation as he boards the Queen Mary 2 for a voyage to New York. But can the largest ocean liner ever built match the style and glamour of its majestic predecessor?

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It was July 1965 when I boarded the original Queen Elizabeth as the fresh-faced leader of a jazz band for my first transatlantic crossing. Some 46 years may have passed, but as my wife and I drove to Southampton’s Ocean Terminal last month for my 157th crossing, I still felt the same thrill at the prospect of embarking on an ocean liner – and sailing in grand style. The journey may now be a more leisurely seven nights rather than the five of yesteryear to save on fuel, but the voyage from the Old World to the New remains special.

Cruise Travel Agents

imageTo find a good travel agent is as much as difficult as finding a good doctor or other professional. If you are un experienced, don’t have enough knowledge, you are on outing for the 1st time or if you don’t have enough time to find the best cruise then getting a best cruise travel agent is must.To book a cruise travel agent is not an easy task to perform, it is just like a finding a specialist heart surgeon having a lot of experience for your heart problem. There are many cruise-travel agencies providing specialist travel agents, but the travel agents should have these qualities.

Crew member missing after jumping into English Channel

A cruise ship crew member is missing after jumping from the vessel into the English channel, a travel company confirmed today.
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The ship, owned by Celebrity Cruises, was eight miles north of Cherbourg, France, when the incident happened.

Crew immediately turned the vessel around and headed back towards the spot where their colleague had jumped. They alerted the French coastguard but no trace of the man was found in an overnight search.

Emergency workers called off the search and rescue mission this morning.

A spokeswoman for Celebrity Cruises said: ”Celebrity Cruises’ Care Team is providing support to the crew member’s family, as well as his friends and colleagues onboard, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Cruising on Seabourn Odyssey

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Graham Boynton thought cruising wasn’t for him. That was until he took a trip with his family on Seabourn Odyssey from Istanbul to Athens.

There are some things in life that one should avoid confessing to when in serious company. For example, in the mid-Seventies it was social suicide to admit liking Abba’s music, as it is today with Sir Cliff Richard’s canon; equally, to claim a secret fondness for the novels of Barbara Cartland or the paintings of Vladimir Tretchikoff remains cultural death.

All aboard for the Telegraph Cruise Show

imageCruising is more popular than ever – and our travel show can help you find a trip that suits your tastes and budget.

If you are thinking of taking a cruise this year – and nearly 1.8 million Britons are likely to do so – then you should benefit from a trip to the The Telegraph Cruise Show, which takes place at Olympia in London this weekend.

P&O Cruises Grand Event: exclusive deals for Telegraph Travel readers

imageP&O Cruises will be celebrating its 175th anniversary with a series of heritage-themed cruises.
All seven ships in the P & O fleet will dock together for the first time next summer to mark the company’s 175th anniversary.

The vessels will meet in Southampton on July 3 2012, before embarking on seven different itineraries. Each cruise will be heritage-themed – with special entertainment, artwork and guest speakers – and will include an anniversary dinner.

A prize draw will also take place on board each ship, with seven passengers winning a place on a P&O world cruise in 2013.

Tickets are still available for five of the seven anniversary cruises, visiting the Canaries on board Azura, Iceland on board Arcadia, the Baltic on board Aurora, or the Mediterranean on board Ventura or Adonia.

Crew member missing after jumping into English Channel

A cruise ship crew member is missing after jumping from the vessel into the English channel, a travel company confirmed today.

imageThe 31-year-old Filipino man was seen on CCTV climbing over a railing and jumping from the Celebrity Eclipse at around 10.15pm last night.

The ship, owned by Celebrity Cruises, was eight miles north of Cherbourg, France, when the incident happened.

Crew immediately turned the vessel around and headed back towards the spot where their colleague had jumped. They alerted the French coastguard but no trace of the man was found in an overnight search.

Emergency workers called off the search and rescue mission this morning.

Disney Dream ship review : Disney Cruise

Jane Archer reviews Disney’s latest ship, Disney Dream and finds something for everyone, including an aquatic roller-coaster.

Only Disney would christen a ship by emptying on to it a giant bottle of dreams collected by Captain Mickey. OK, it was air to you and me, but Disney is all about suspending belief, accepting the magic. If you can’t do that, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream, named last week in Port Canaveral, is not the ship for you.

It’s the first ship Disney has launched for more than a decade, and 50 per cent bigger than its other two vessels, so there has been room to expand the areas for children, for teenagers and for “adults only”.

The best cruise deals on offer

This is the time of year when cruise companies unveil many deals and special offers. Sara Macefield highlights some of the best.
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This time of year is traditionally when cruise companis bring out some of their most tempting offers. Known as the “wave” period, it runs during December and January and is marked by discounted prices and other benefits, including cabin upgrades, free port parking and complimentary drinks.

With more ships to fill than ever before in 2011, competition is fierce. Here’s a selection of some of the best deals. Prices are per person and include flights unless otherwise stated.
THE MEDITERRANEAN

Customers booking a winter 2012 cruise with Thomson (0871 231 3235; www.thomson.co.uk) by January 31 can enjoy free drinks as part of the company’s £1 million “Great Bar Giveaway”. Thomson Spirit will be based at Limassol, Cyprus, in March and April, 2012, offering one-week eastern Mediterranean voyages visiting Alanya in Turkey, Alexandria and Port Said in Egypt, and Ashdod in Israel. Prices start at £799 and include a free, all-inclusive upgrade.

Experience Carnival Cruises’ newest “fun ship” Carnival Magic, which launches in May and promises, among other things, corkscrew waterslides, an aqua park, mini golf and a seaside theatre. Carnival (0845 351 0556; www.carnivalcruise.co.uk) offers a 12-night fly-cruise from Barcelona with calls including Marseilles, Civitavecchia (for Rome), Naples, Venice (where it spends a night) and Messina in Sicily. Prices start at £1,209, with departures on May 22.

Cruise specialist agency, The Cruise Village (01253 341014; www.thecruisevillage.com) is offering a Royal Caribbean International cruise from Palma aboard Grandeur of the Seas from £381, though this excludes flights. The one-week sailing on May 22 visits Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga and Gibraltar before returning to Palma.

Spend autumn in the eastern Mediterranean aboard Seabourn Quest, the newest ship of upmarket line Seabourn (0845 070 0500; www.seabourn.com), due to launch in June. A seven-night Turkish Delights and Greek Isles sailing from Istanbul to Athens, starts at £2,149 and includes a suite upgrade. The cruise departs on October 10 with calls at Dikili and Kusadasi in Turkey, plus the Greek islands of Mykonos, Rhodes, Patmos and Mylos.

Cultural cruise line Voyages to Antiquity (0845 437 9737; www.voyagestoantiquity.com) has axed supplements for single travellers on its “Sicily is the Key to Everything” sailing from Athens to Rome on May 20.

The cruise calls at ports in Italy, Malta and Sicily and costs from £2,250. Discounts of up to £1,000 are offered for couples. Also included are tours, wine with dinner and gratuities.
SCANDINAVIA AND THE BALTIC

Hurtigruten (0844 448 7601; www.hurtigruten.co.uk) is offering free cabin upgrades on bookings for selected voyages made by March 31. An 11-day Pearls of the Baltic Sea sailing departs on April 25 from Oslo, calling at Copenhagen, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Gudhjem before returning to Oslo. It costs from £2,511 cruise-only.

Noble Caledonia (020 7752 0000; www.noble-caledonia.co.uk) is offering savings of up to £500 on a Baltic Renaissance cruise booked by February 28. The 14-night sailing on Island Sky departs on August 9 from Stockholm and finishes in Leith. Ports of call include Helsinki, St Petersburg (where it spends three days), Gdansk and Copenhagen. Prices now start at £3,895.
THE MIDDLE EAST AND FAR EAST

Enjoy a break in Dubai and travel back to the UK amid the grandeur of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 on this 21-night package from Reader Offers (0845 458 8909; www.readeroffers.travel). The cruise departs on March 29 and includes four nights in the emirate followed by a 16-night sailing through the Arabian Sea and Red Sea into the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.

Ports of call include Sharm el Sheikh, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Prices start at £2,399 and include flight; hotel stay and breakfast; upgrade from inside cabin to balcony stateroom; and $300 on-board credit for customers booking Princess or Queen’s Grill suites.

Explore Vietnam on a nine-day voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore with Silversea Cruises (0844 770 9030; www.silversea.com). Highlights include the outcrops of Ha Long Bay and an overnight stop in Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh. Other calls include Haiphong (for Hanoi), Chan May (for Da Nang) and Nha Trang. Prices for the Silver Shadow voyage start at £4,223, including drinks and gratuities. A $1,000 on-board spending credit per suite is also included, along with a free shore excursion in Ha Long Bay.
ALASKA

P & O Cruises (0845 678 0014; www.pocruises.com) has slashed £1,100 off the price of its 72-night sailing to Alaska – the first time the line has cruised in the region in nearly 40 years. It departs from Southampton on April 12 and includes two transits of the Panama Canal, with calls in the Caribbean, Mexico, the US west coast and Alaska. Prices start at £6,399 and adults receive an on-board credit of £250.
THE CARIBBEAN

Across-the-board savings of up to 20 per cent are being offered by tall-ship line Star Clippers (0845 200 6145; www.starclippers.co.uk) on bookings for Mediterranean sailings made by January 31. Customers looking at Caribbean and Central America cruises need to book by April 30.

A saving of £177 is offered on a six-night Caribbean pre-Christmas cruise on Star Clipper, departing from St Maarten on December 17. The itinerary includes Nevis or Saba (depending on the wind); Iles des Saintes in the French Caribbean; Falmouth Harbour, Antigua; and St Barts. Prices start at £708, excluding flights and port charges.

Windstar Cruises (020 7292 2369; www.windstarcruises.co.uk) has reduced the price of one of its Caribbean voyages by more than £650. A round-trip cruise from Barbados on March 13, calling at St Kitts, St Martin, St Barts, Iles des Saintes and St Lucia now starts at £2,485.
RIVER CRUISES

AmaWaterways (0808 223 5009; www.amawaterways.co.uk) has waived its 50 per cent single traveller supplement on four seven-night “Tulip Time” sailings of the Dutch and Belgian waterways with stops including Antwerp and Ghent. Prices now start at £1,095 based on two people sharing, or £1,376 for single travellers, departing on March 28. Other departures are April 1, 8 and 25.

Avalon Waterways (0800 668 1865; www.avaloncruises.co.uk) has reductions of up to £900 per couple on some river cruises. Save £450 per person on a Danube cruise to the Black Sea, which departs from Vienna for Oltenita (for Bucharest) and includes stops in Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. Prices start at £1,705, departing on March 30 or April 9.

Savings of up to £3,200 per couple are offered by Titan HiTours Elegant River Cruises (0800 988 5858; www.titanhitours.co.uk) on the 15-day “Imperial Capitals of Europe”, which visits seven countries. The trip starts with three days in Istanbul before passengers fly to Bucharest to join the River Princess at Giurgiu for the Danube sailing. Stops include Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade. The cruise, leaving on April 16, costs from £2,499 if booked by January 31.

Discounts of up to £500 are offered on various sailings by Viking River Cruises (020 8780 7900; www.vikingriver cruises.co.uk). An eight-day Rhine Discovery sailing from Amsterdam to Basel is down from £1,395 to £895 and includes wine with dinner, six escorted tours and a programme of talks and demonstrations. There are weekly sailings between May and October, but bookings must be made by January 31.

What to avoid

Some ex-UK cruises finish at an overseas port, so think ahead to arrange transfers accordingly (or ask your cruise line or travel agent to). Don’t fall into the trap of leaving your car at a UK port and returning to an airport miles away.

Beware the Bay of Biscay – especially in the winter, when conditions here and in the English Channel and North Sea can be enough to turn the strongest stomach.

Don’t confine your cruise departures to Southampton. While this is the UK’s premier cruise port, there are regular sailings from around Britain, including Dover, Tilbury, Hull, Liverpool, Newcastle, Greenock and even central London at Tower Bridge.

If you’re cruising between the UK and the Mediterranean, remember that the first and last two days of the voyage will be spent at sea – and the weather won’t necessarily be good. So make sure you pick a ship with enough facilities to keep you entertained, especially if travelling with children.

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