Cruising and dancing: Learn new steps and hit the deck

Cruise report

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The Independent Travel

Dancing has long been a tradition on sea voyages, and nothing evokes the glamour of the golden age of sea travel more than couples in evening dress waltzing to the orchestra on an ocean liner in 1930s movies.

Strictly Come Dancing has not only revived interest in an old-fashioned hobby, it has got thousands off their sofas and having a go themselves. Days at sea to learn new steps, formal nights, and live music make a cruise a great environment to take to the floor.

P&O was the first to tap into the new wave of ballroom dance fans in 2012 by getting Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers and judge Craig Revel Horwood on selected cruises. The formula has worked so well that next year, in addition to four Strictly ... cruises with some of the show's stars on board, the line will have its own version of the contest on every cruise with more than three sea days.

Meanwhile, Holland America Line has harnessed the US version of the show, Dancing with the Stars, and will be bringing its celebrity dance pros and judges on board six cruises departing from ports in America over the next 13 months.

If you simply wish to sail across a polished floor to the strains of a resident orchestra, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is a good choice of ship, with the largest ballroom at sea, dress codes after 6pm, and sure-footed "Gentleman Hosts" ready to partner lone passengers on every voyage.

Luxury all-inclusive line Crystal Cruises has gone one dainty step further. Next year, "Ambassador Hostesses" will sail on transatlantic voyages to dance with single men (all voyages already have "Ambassador Hosts") and join daytime dance classes.

* Sail for 14 nights round-trip from Southampton on 28 May to Portugal, Monaco and Italy on a Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise aboard Ventura. The cost is from £1,129pp with P&O (0843 374 0111; pocruises.com).

* Compete in the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea contest aboard Westerdam, sailing the Eastern Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale for seven nights on 10 January. The winners will be offered a free cabin to compete in the Champions Cruise finals, sailing to the western Caribbean on 10 January 2016. The cost is from £989pp, including flights and one-night stay, pre-cruise, in a hotel, with Holland America (0843 374 2300; hollandamerica.com).

* A 16-night cruise from New York to Dover (with calls in Canada and Iceland) aboard Crystal Symphony has a "Ballroom@Sea" theme. Departure is on 12 June and the cost, from £4,029pp, includes flights to New York, drinks and gratuities with Crystal Cruises (020 7399 7601, crystalcruises.co.uk).

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