The Best Upcoming Cruise Holidays
The most common question asked by those who have never cruised is when to book their holiday to secure a good cabin at the best price. There is no easy answer to this.
Unless you are tied to a specific date or have your heart set on a specific ship, there is enough capacity for you to be able to wait a while in the hope of picking up a discount. But every now and then an itinerary comes along that demands quick action.
It might be one of the handful of P&O Cruises’ voyages on Britannia, a new ship launched this year by the Queen, that offers cookery classes hosted by celebrity chefs, including James Martin and Eric Lanlard. Then there is the sell-out demand for special-interest cruises and itineraries linked to world-class sporting events, such as the Olympics or the Formula One championships.
Azamara Club Cruises has a voyage in the Baltic in June 2018, that will be in St Petersburg during the World Cup. Tickets to the event are not yet on sale but once released are likely to be snapped up. Here’s a selection of some of the cruises in 2016 – and indeed 2017 – that are likely to sell out fast.
1. The Art Of Sailing
Known for their grace and beauty on the water, large classic sailing vessels hold appeal for sailors and non-sailors alike. These annual races, held for budding sailors, are definitely worth catching.
Swan Hellenic’s 14-night Iberian Maritime Adventure visiting Lisbon and Cadiz next July is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the hundreds of ships and millions of spectators who’ll be in both port cities to celebrate 60 years since the first Tall Ships Race in 1956.
The cruise is on the 350-passenger Minerva, a ship renowned for its eminent guest lecturers. Accompanying passengers on board is war historian Professor Andrew Hopkins.
Minerva will be sailing round-trip from Portsmouth and also cruising the Guadalquivir River in Spain, from where passengers can explore Seville.
2. Exotic Eclipse
There’s one opportunity to see a total eclipse of the sun next year and that’s the Pacific Ocean, which happens to be where Ponant’s cruise ship Le Soleal will be on March 9, as she sails from the Indonesian islands of Ternate and Tidore to Bunaken Marine Park. The 11-night Solar Eclipse cruise sails from Darwin to Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo.
A chic French-owned vessel, Le Soleal holds just 264 passengers, making this a rare opportunity to see darkness fall during the day. The total eclipse starts at 10am and lasts four minutes and nine seconds.
3. Cold Comfort
Luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises doesn’t usually stray into expedition waters, so expect high demand for its 15-night cruise from Dublin to Reykjavik next June. Combining all-inclusive luxury with soft adventure, the itinerary includes hiking and whale-watching in Greenland, kayaking in icebound fjords and flight-seeing tours over Iceland’s volcanoes and glaciers.
From Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, passengers can take a boat tour to the Vestmanna bird cliffs, sailing through narrow sounds where puffins, fulmars and kittiwakes nest. The cruise is on the Seven Seas Voyager, a 700-passenger, all-balcony ship on which the cruise fare includes all flights and transfers, many shore excursions, drinks and gratuities.
Elegant refresh: New Britannia Club Staterooms For Queen Mary 2
Perfect holiday: Is Seabourn The Ultimate In Luxury Cruising?
4. Flower Power
If it’s not on your bucket list already, Hanami, or cherry-blossom season, in Japan, is worthy of an entry. On Seabourn’s 18-day Pearls of the China Sea & Japan cruise in 2017 the blossom can be seen during port calls at Naha, Kochi and Kobe. In Nagasaki, the Hypocentre Park, built at the centre of the atom bomb blast in 1945, is the best place to witness spring’s magnificent pink hues.
The voyage from Hong Kong to Kobe is on Seabourn Sojourn, a luxurious ship holding 458 passengers, and includes a night in Manila (The Philippines) and a day in Hundred Islands National Park, home to dolphins and sea turtles.
5. Get Ready To Samba
Extravagant parades and street parties at the world’s biggest Carnival await on Celebrity Cruises’ 14-night voyage from Buenos Aires to Brazil in January. It is on the Celebrity Infinity, a 2,046-passenger ship recently fitted with upgraded suites.
She will visit Santos, for tours to Sao Paulo, and Buzios, but this trip is all about Rio and three days of colour, decadence and celebrations. Join up to 60,000 partygoers in the streets or book grandstand seats in the Sambadrome through Celebrity. An eight-hour excursion includes a costume and make-up for those who want to dance in their VIP box seats in the Sambadrome.
6. Sailing The Salween
Burma’s (Myanmar's) recent election has thrust the country into the spotlight and tourists can’t keep away. Long-established in Burma, Pandaw has launched new cruises on the Salween River. With 10 passengers per departure, space is at a premium.
The Salween is the longest river in Burma, flowing 2,815 kilometres from Tibet to the Andaman Sea, but only a small section is navigable. The eight-day cruise starts in Moulmein, the first British capital of Burma, and visits remote villages and caves. During transfers between Rangoon (Yangon) and Moulmein, there is an optional visit to the Golden Rock Pagoda at Kyaiktiyo and Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago.
7. Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
British designer Dame Zandra Rhodes is hosting the world’s first fashion week at sea on a transatlantic voyage from Southampton to New York next summer on Cunard’s ocean liner Queen Mary 2. The ship will undergo a significant makeover, with 45 more cabins to be added, including 15 for solo travellers.
During the seven-night crossing, Rhodes and co-hosts Colin McDowell, a fashion historian, and Fern Mallis, founder of New York Fashion Week, will talk about their lives. Rhodes, who lists Kylie Minogue among those she dresses, will be revealing designs from forthcoming collections during a catwalk special.
8. A Day At The Races
Historic, glamorous and always challenging, the Monaco Grand Prix is motor racing at its best. No wonder it has been one of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ top-selling itineraries over the years.
Back for May 2016, cabins are filling fast. The 15-night Sun, Sea and Monaco Grand Prix cruise sails from Dover on Black Watch, an 804-passenger ship.
The ship visits Barcelona and Cannes and is docked in Nice for race day. Transfers to Monaco with grandstand or general admission tickets to the event cost an additional £649 ($A1,340) and £199 ($A410) per person respectively.
For a more comfortable view of the action, a place on the terrace at the Hotel Miramar costs from £1,500 ($A3,100), including Champagne.
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This article was written by Jane Archer from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.