Lights with latitude
Autumn is a fair bet for witnessing the Northern Lights; being at a high latitude under clear, open skies away from artificial light increases your chances further. With this in mind, board a Hurtigruten ship serving ports along Norway's crenulated coast. A two-for-one deal on some "Voyage North" cruises (up to 16 December) from Bergen to Kirkenes, way above the Arctic Circle, means a six-night voyage costs £470 per person full board, excluding flights (020-8846 2666; www.hurtigruten.co.uk).
If you prefer to sail under a warmer sun, then Cruise Thomas Cook's Nile trip looks appealing. A seven-night voyage on the four-star Sentido MS Mahrousa takes in Luxor, Karnal, the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Aswan. The cost is £439 per person all-inclusive, which also includes flights from Gatwick and is valid for an 8 December departure (0800 916 6070; www.cruisethomascook.com).
New York's hotels are filling up with eager Christmas shoppers. Yet Boston is an equally attractive destination to enjoy a festive break, with its walkable street-plan and wealth of history. Hayes and Jarvis is currently offering a three-night break to the city from £539 per person, which includes KLM flights from Heathrow via Amsterdam on 1 December and a room at the three-star Boston Park Plaza in attractive Back Bay (0871 664 0246; www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk).