5 ways to... take a cruise

From three-nighters to 4D cinemas and the route of the Vikings

If you’ve never taken a cruise before it is easy to be put off by outdated notions of float and bloat. But there’s so much more to do on board than eat and sit by the pool. Nowadays there’s a great choice of cruise styles that will suit almost everyone, whether you like sightseeing in vibrant cities, exploring remote corners of the earth, brushing up your history, splashing in water parks, dancing the night away or just reading in a deckchair, to the sound of the waves.

Dip a toe in the water

Taking a type of holiday you haven’t tried before is a big investment of time as well as budget. Before you book a long voyage, you could test out your sea legs on a mini-cruise, such as a P&O’s (0843 373 0111; pocruises.co.uk) no-fly, three-nighter from Southampton. Sailing away on 4 April, family-friendly Azura will dock in Zeebrugge to visit Bruges and have a day at sea to try the ship’s spa, gym, pools, kids’ clubs and lounges, from £299 per person.

The new “Enjoyment Promise” from Fred Olsen (0800 035 5242; fredolsencruises.com) is also an attractive prospect. New customers who book a cruise of seven nights or longer by 28 February and more than 14 weeks before departure, will be flown home if they decide the holiday is not for them within 48 hours of sailing. Destinations include Scandinavia, the Adriatic and the Canary Islands. Fares start at £629.

Cruise report: Satisfaction, super-ships and Dr Seuss: get aboard in 2014

Go off the beaten track

Explore the ancient rock art of the Kimberley on Australia’s rugged, tropical north east coast, land on pristine beaches and look out for crocodiles and sea eagles on a 10-day voyage aboard new luxury expedition ship Silver Discoverer (0844 251 0837; silversea.com) from Darwin to Broome. The cruise departs 13 April and costs from £6,650 excluding flights.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, has only 90 miles of roads – so the best way to explore is by boat. Follow the route of the Vikings sailing from Iceland to Southern Greenland aboard Norwegian ship the Fram (020 3582 6642; hurtigruten.co.uk). Sail among the towering icebergs of Illulissat, see the glaciers spitting them out, visit Old Norse remains and gasp at the beauty of the fjords. The trip departs Reykjavik on 4 June for 11 nights and costs from £4,565pp with flights.

Bring on the bling

Prepare to be be dazzled by mega-ship MSC Preziosa (0844 561 1955; msccruises.co.uk), with sweeping, glass staircases inlaid with Swarovski crystals and Murano glass chandeliers. More OTT features are Vertigo, the fast, twisty waterslide swinging out over the side of the ship; and a 4D cinema. Seven-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises from Venice, sailing April to November cost from £529 without flights.

Ship-shape: Le Soléal Ship-shape: Le Soléal Go chic and boutique

Sleek new ship Le Soleal (0800 980 4027; en.ponant.com), which accommodates a maximum of 264 passengers, is neat enough to get into smaller, less visited ports. There is a private yacht-club feel, with an open-sided bar, alfresco dining; teak decks and smart sun beds around the pool. Shipmates will be mostly French-speaking couples. A seven-night round trip from Venice to Croatia, departing 28 August, costs from €2,786, excluding flights. 

Broaden your horizons

A two-week cruise from Istanbul to Venice focuses on Byzantine art and architecture with Voyages to Antiquity (0845 437 9737; voyagestoantiquity.com). Byzantine expert Robin Cormack will be giving lectures and joining tours ashore. It departs 28 July and costs from £2,345 with flights.

Former ambassador to Norway, Sir Richard Dales, will be giving insights into modern Norwegian culture and politics on the “Scandinavian Spring” itinerary with Swan Hellenic (0844 417 1939; swanhellenic.com). The 12-night round trip from Portsmouth departs 28 April and costs from £1,980.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own