cruise havana

5 Quality Cruise & Stay Holidays For 2015/2016

Posted October 21st, 2015

Combining a cruise with a land-based holiday offers the best of both worlds. Not only do you get a value-for-money holiday at sea, or on one of the world’s great rivers, but you will also have time to stay in or near your departure port and explore the destination properly.

The inclusion of a land-based stay will make the holiday less of a gamble for first-time cruisers and offers a perfect compromise for families, couples or travelling companions who can’t decide which type of holiday to take. It’s easy to create your own cruise-and-stay holiday, as demonstrated here, but several companies do the job for you if you'd rather not worry about it.

1. Barbados

In the first three months of 2015 – peak time for cruising – 100,000 more visitors travelled to Barbados to join a cruise than to stay in one of its hotels, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation. But while Barbados is the Caribbean’s cruising hub, the island’s quirky British charm tinged with a West Indies vibe should not be overlooked.

It has sandy beaches, good restaurants and luxury hotels that sit well with a 6-star cruise. Silversea has ships in Barbados during the winter, along with Star ClippersCarnival Cruise Lines, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Windstar.

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Splurge: Arguably the best address on the island, Port Ferdinand is a new resort-cum-residential property with two, three and four-bedroom houses set around a marina. There are also short-stay rentals from $US650 ($A895) a night for a one-bedroom home.

Budget: Bayfield House Hotel is a 10-room, family-run hotel on the west coast, close to the beach and with its own swimming pool. Doubles from $US165 ($A230) a night, including breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

2. Cuba

MSC Cruises has new seven-night Caribbean cruises from Havana this winter that include two days in the Cuban capital. That’s long enough to stroll around old Havana, ride in a classic American car and wander along the seafront Malecon, but adding a few days at the end of the cruise will allow time to seek out restaurants and bars at your leisure and visit the Museum of the Revolution – as interesting for its lavish surroundings as for its subject matter.

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Splurge: Havana’s Hotel Saratoga is situated in an enviable location that affords a rooftop view across to the Capitol building, the seat of government until after the Cuban revolution in 1959. From $US179 ($A245 a night).

Budget: Rooms are spartan but what you lose in style you gain in location because Hotel Ambos Mundos is bang in the centre of atmospheric Old Havana. Doubles from $A95 a night.

All aboard: Carnival Announces Ports Of Call For Cuba Cruise

Destination immersion: Maximise Time Exploring Local Culture

3. Miami

Home to the world’s busiest cruise port (4.8 million passengers passed through its terminals last year), Miami, via Fort Lauderdale, is the North American springboard for voyages worldwide, with a focus on the Caribbean and South America. The port is used by 15 cruise companies including Carnival, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.

A great option for younger couples, Miami will also appeal to foodies and those with an interest in Art Deco architecture. It is one of those enviable cities that combine a fabulous beach with hip nightlife, sophisticated dining, glamorous hotels and great shopping, making it perfect for those who enjoy city breaks.

Other lines based here include Crystal Cruises and MSC Cruises. From November, Norwegian Cruise Line will have a new ship, Escape, home-ported in Miami all year.

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Splurge: SLS South Beach Hotel is in the heart of South Beach’s trendy Art Deco district, on the beachfront, and has two pools and dining options ranging from Spanish to Japanese. From $A695 a night.

Budget: YVE Hotel is on Bayside Marketplace, a 10-minute drive from Miami Beach. Rooms are simple but contemporary. Doubles from $US220 ($A305) a night.

4. Orlando

The main reason to add a few nights in Orlando to the start or end of a cruise from Port Canaveral (about 72 kilometres east of the city) is to spend time in the theme parks – making this the perfect family option. A week at Walt Disney World ahead of a three, four or seven-night Caribbean cruise with Disney Cruise Line, is the obvious combination, but there are alternatives.

Royal Caribbean, NCL and Carnival sail the Caribbean from Port Canaveral – and in Orlando you can visit Universal Studios, SeaWorld or Legoland. Near the port, Kennedy Space Centre tours take you inside the launch room.

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Splurge: The Disney Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is at Walt Disney World, just one stop by monorail from the Magic Kingdom. It’s not one for minimalists – think Victoriana, Disney-style. Doubles from $A810 a night.

Budget: On International Drive, Wyndham Orlando Resort provides a free shuttle to Universal Studios and SeaWorld. Doubles from $US179 ($A245) a night.

5. Hong Kong

Most ships offering turnaround cruises from Hong Kong (where one set of passengers disembarks and another comes on board) are sailing one-off itineraries through Asia to Europe or the Orient. Cruise lines calling at the port include Seabourn, Silversea, Cunard and Celebrity.

If you are making the nine-hour journey from Australia to join a cruise, it makes sense to add a few nights in this dynamic East-meets-West Asian metropolis. Safe, and good for exploring independently, the city has extensive, easy-to-use and affordable public transport, not to mention superb restaurants, vibrant markets, scores of temples and quieter, outlying islands to explore.

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Splurge: Perfect for special occasions and worth pushing the boat out for, The Peninsula Hong Kong on the harbour-front in Kowloon is one of Asia’s must-see hotels. The Star Ferry terminal, numerous shopping malls and waterfront museums are within easy walking distance. Doubles from $A630 a night.

Budget: The Novotel Hong Kong, on Kowloon’s busy Nathan Road, is minutes from Temple Street night market and a stone’s throw from the main shopping district. Doubles from $A170 a night.

Set sail on a dream holiday with CruiseAbout

This article was written by Jane Archer from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning UK English language broadsheet newspaper, published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.

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