The best cruises to book right now, from a yoga-themed tall-ship trip around the Caribbean to a voyage along India’s sacred Ganges river
- Star Clippers’ one-week Caribbean Treasure Islands cruise departs St Maarten on December 17
- Luxury river cruise line Uniworld has launched a 16-day Sacred Ganges & The Maharajas’ Express tour
- English Holiday Cruises is offering a hotel boat cruise from Paris to Burgundy next summer
Whether you’d love one last getaway this year or wish to plan a holiday for next year or 2024, there are some great cruises to book now. Here are Caroline Hendrie’s pick of the best.
Escape the pre-Christmas hurly-burly at home and salute the sun on a teak deck under acres of billowing white sails in the Caribbean. Star Clippers has announced 15 new yoga-themed cruises on its tall ships this winter, with instructors on board to lead early-morning and late-afternoon sessions.
The four-masted Star Flyer’s one-week Caribbean Treasure Islands cruise, a round trip from St Maarten on December 17, hops through the British Virgin Islands and visits Anguilla, St Kitts and St Barts. Fares start at £1,530pp excluding flights (starclippers.co.uk).
Uniworld is offering a 16-day voyage through India aboard its luxury riverboat, Ganges Voyager II (pictured), from October 28, 2023
Uniworld’s 16-day Ganges Voyager II tour combines a week on the tranquil lower Ganges, sailing from Kolkata, with a luxury private train journey through the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan. Above is one of the bedrooms on Ganges Voyager II
If you prefer a no-fly Advent adventure, you can sail for a week from Liverpool on December 14 from just £485pp on a Festive Spanish City Break.
You’ll visit the delightful cities of Vigo, Gijon, La Coruna and Bilbao, where you can feast on churros dipped in hot chocolate and browse the Christmas markets, picking up foodie treats and presents to bring home.
Relax on board your ship Borealis with a swim in the glass-roofed pool. You can also enjoy daily afternoon tea, and shows and dancing in the evenings (iglucruise.com).
Caribbean queen: Star Clippers has announced 15 new yoga-themed cruises on its tall ships this winter, including the four-masted Star Flyer (above)
Star Flyer’s one-week Caribbean Treasure Islands cruise, a round trip from St Maarten on December 17, will take you to Anguilla, St Kitts and St Barts (pictured)
Enjoy a festive Spanish break onboard Fred Olsen’s Borealis (left), departing December 14. You’ll visit the cities of Vigo, Gijon, La Coruna and Bilbao (right)
With long-haul travel making a comeback, luxury river cruise line Uniworld has launched its new Exotics Collection, packaging up land tours with river cruises to create longer holidays filled with wow factors.
A 16-day Sacred Ganges & The Maharajas’ Express tour combines a week on the tranquil lower Ganges, sailing from Kolkata, with a luxury private train journey through the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan. You will visit Mumbai, New Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Ranthambore National Park to hunt for tigers, among other fabulous experiences.
The tour, priced from £15,089pp, excluding flights to India, starts on October 28, 2023 (uniworld.com).
P&O Cruises’ Iona will sail on a week-long itinerary to Northern Europe on November 2, 2024. Onboard activities include a trapeze show in the giant SkyDome (pictured)
Above is Iona’s impressive exterior
Closer to home, English Holiday Cruises has teamed up with French line CroisiEurope for its first cruise abroad next summer.
Sailing on the intimate hotel barge MS Deborah, with a maximum of 22 passengers, you’ll explore the quieter reaches of the Seine and Yonne rivers, between Paris and charming Sens in Burgundy.
Highlights include visits to glorious baroque Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the village of Barbizon – beloved by 19th Century artists – and Fontainebleau palace.
Prices for six-night cruises departing in July 2023 start at £2,495pp. Travel to the barge is extra (river.englishholidaycruises.co.uk).
Looking further ahead, book now to bag a bargain. P&O has announced its winter 2024/2025 schedule and is offering deals for early bookers including discounts, low deposits and third and fourth guests sailing free.
English Holiday Cruises has teamed up with French line CroisiEurope for its first cruise abroad next summer. Sailing on the intimate hotel barge MS Deborah, you’ll explore the quieter reaches of the Seine (pictured) and Yonne rivers, between Paris and Burgundy
MS Deborah carries a maximum of 22 passengers. Above is a twin cabin
A week’s Northern Europe round-trip cruise aboard Iona from Southampton on November 2, 2024 starts at £1,042 for up to four people sharing a cabin (fares are from £521pp).
Ashore, you can explore Hamburg, take an excursion to Amsterdam from Rotterdam, visit Belgium’s chocolate capital Bruges (from Zeebrugge) and tour Normandy from Le Havre.
On board, you’ll be kept busy with more than 30 places to eat and drink, including a gin distillery, and eye-popping trapeze shows in the giant SkyDome, movies in the four-screen cinema, fitness classes in the gym and massages and beauty treatments in the spa (pocruises.co.uk).
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