More people are choosing to go an a cruise than ever. Find your perfect holiday...
The fashion for huge floating resorts that hold 2,000-plus passengers is attracting a steady flow of new, younger cruisers. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, look at Celebrity Cruises’ clean-lined Solstice Class ships. One of their great strengths is that they never sacrifice style for novelty. On a recent Med cruise aboard Silhouette, we found surprising pockets of tranquility too. Best places to steal away with a novel: the grass lawn that stretches across the top deck and a funky Hideaway dotted with mid-century ball chairs.
See celebritycruises.com for more details.
Antipodean cruises are the latest must-sail. Our shot shows ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea’s Silver Shadow easing under Sydney Harbour Bridge. And this season, thrillingly, its sister ship Silver Discoverer will be visiting the yellow-eyed penguins and wandering albatross of New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands for the first time. Tempted? You’ll be swanning onboard an all-suites, all-inclusive smaller-sized ship that’s designed to evoke the golden age of cruising. Expect butlers, white-gloved service, the works!
See silversea.com for more details.
One of the joys of cruising is that it brings the world’s most alluring and remote corners such as French Polynesia, above, within reach. Ultra-luxury company Crystal Cruises has a irresistibly exotic cruise departing from Peru on 31 January that takes in Easter Island’s mysterious statues, a visit from descendants of The Bounty’s mutineers at Pitcairn Island and a lazy day on the sugar-spun sands of Bora Bora. So much adventure, so little effort!
See crystalcruises.co.uk for details.
Masterclasses with the irrepressible Marco Pierre White (above) and Michelin starred Indian chef Atul Kochhar are part of the foodie fun on P&O’s Ventura. The mighty ship, which carries 3,000-plus mostly British passengers, has cleverly harnessed the TV-chef trend to offer small-numbers experiences you’d never get back home. And its soon-to-launch sister ship Britannia will also have a state-of-the-art cookery school run by James Martin so you can brush up your macaroon-making skills on days at sea.
See pocruises.com for more details.
Caviar in the Surf - in which waiters wade into the waves to serve guests deliciously salty snacks washed down with chilled champagne - is the signature experience of Seabourn. The cruise line’s ships, which carry several hundred rather than several thousand passengers, are all about exclusive-feeling holidays with personalised service and fabulously dressy dinners. Special memories are guaranteed - it’s not unusual for a boat to take over an entire Caribbean beach for a party!
See seabourn.com for more details.
We can’t wait to check into our cabin on Quantum of the Sea’s inaugural cruise at the end of October. Royal Caribbean’s innovative ship, which will carry a mighty 4,180 passengers, has been grabbing headlines for months with news of the fun on offer, from skydiving to dodgems. We’re expecting the staterooms, which include two-storey loft suites, to be nothing short of amazing. And whoever thought of putting screens with real-time ocean views into the interior staterooms deserves a design award!
See royalcaribbean.co.uk for more details.
A cruise within a cruise: that’s a trend you’ll hear much more about in the future. The largest ships have begun to carve off exclusive spa-style relaxation zones for customers who are happy to pay a little extra. We tested The Sanctuary, which offers peace and pampering on the top deck of the recently launched Regal Princess. After an afternoon spent basking on plump loungers as serenity stewards’ dished out chilled prosecco and Evian face sprays, suggested spa treatments and offered titbits from a trundling afternoon-tea trolley, we give the idea a (beautifully manicured) thumbs-up.
A round-the-world cruise, which takes you from Middle Eastern desert to Sri Lankan spice market to South African bush, is one of travel’s greatest experiences. Cunard World Cruises are best-established - they’ve been in offering them since George V was on the throne! Expect a super-elegant, traditional experience with creme de la creme speakers like Dick Clements and Ian Le Francis (writers of Porridge and Auf Weidersehen), who will be on Queen Mary 2’s 113-night World Cruise departing Southampton on 10 January.
See cunard.co.uk for more details.
We envy the lucky passengers on board NCL’s Norwegian Jade at Venice who were spotted watching George Clooney’s wedding flotilla from the decks. What a way to start your Mediterranean cruise! But the city doesn’t need Hollywood pzazz to dazzle. Floating past its artfully crumbling palazzos is the best way bar none to launch your holiday. Don’t delay booking: restrictions on larger ships are on the way, though smaller ships like this Paul Gauguin one won’t be affected. For the trip of a lifetime, do like George and tag on a couple of days at the legendary Hotel Cipriani.
See kuoni.co.uk for tailormade Mediterranean cruises.