The traditional appeal of a cruise holiday is the chance to switch off – to chill out by the pool, have a spa treatment, eat lavish meals and watch a show or dance in the evenings. With countless daytime activities and entertainments on offer as well, some cruise devotees feel practically no need to step on dry land.
But if you enjoy the variety of ports a cruise offers, it can be frustrating having limited time ashore. As passengers become increasingly adventurous, a trend is emerging for "Cruise and stay" holidays that combine the number of destinations a sea voyage offers, with the chance for in-depth exploration on land, that meets the needs of today's more youthful cruise customers.
Imagine Cruising (0800 840 5801; imaginecruising.co.uk) has a 21-night "Victoria Falls, African Adventure & Cape Town" voyage package from £3,999pp, including flights to Johannesburg. Starting on 12 April 2015, with a six-night tour by steam train to the falls and a Zambezi Queen river boat safari, followed by three nights in Cape Town, the holiday continues with a 15-night Atlantic cruise aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 to Southampton.
For those more pressed for time, P&O (0843 374 0111; pocruises.co.uk) has introduced one-week fly cruises aboard Ventura (from £599pp), with the option to add on one to three nights in Genoa, Venice, Nice or Milan. For example, two nights' B&B at the sleek and stylish Melia Genova hotel gives you time to visit the many Renaissance palaces in Genoa and costs an extra £200pp including transfers.
If you are travelling all the way to Alaska, it is worth extending your trip to have another great North American experience. Escorted tours specialists Titan (0800 988 5823; titantravel.co.uk) offers a 17-day trip with several departures from May to September. The tour starts with a journey from Banff to Vancouver through the Rocky Mountains aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train, including excursions and eight nights in hotels, followed by a seven-night scenic cruise from Seattle to Skagway aboard Norwegian Jewel. Prices start at £3,295pp.
You can bolt a three-night Outback Experience on to a 13-night luxury cruise sailing from Sydney on 24 November with Crystal (020 7399 7601; crystalcruises.co.uk) where you fly to Uluru from Sydney. Activities include a Sounds of Silence barbecue with an astronomer pointing out the constellations and excursions around the rock. The all-inclusive cruise up the east coast of Australia calls at Komodo, the Indonesian island inhabited by giant lizards, and ends in Bali. The price from £4,158pp does not include international flights.