Thursday, 11 October 2012
Convenient cruises that sail from – and return to – UK ports in 2013.
By Caroline HendrieHolidaying in the UK is the way to avoid airport hassles, but you can venture far further afield by choosing a cruise that leaves from, and returns to, a UK port. And nowadays we no longer have to live near Southampton to enjoy an easy start to a no-fly cruise either. There is now a greater choice of round-trip cruises from regional terminals. Here’s my pick of the bunch sailing next year.
Head for the sun from Liverpool, home port for Fred.Olsen Cruises ship Boudicca from April to August. Kicking off the season is a 12-night Gardens & Beaches Of The Canaries itinerary, departing on 21 April. A visit to the Botanical Gardens on Tenerife is a highlight. And, on all cruises with this line, if you love dancing but don’t have a partner, gentlemen hosts will step forward to lead you on to the floor. The cost is from £1,149.
Fred.Olsen Cruises: 01473-742424, www.fredolsencruises.com
Enjoy an American-style resort holiday without crossing the pond, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance Of The Seas, sailing all summer from Harwich on 12-night cruises to the Baltic capitals from £1,418. Steep the children in the history of St Petersburg, Tallinn, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen – or escape ashore on your own, leaving them on board to make friends of their own age in the five children’s clubs for ages 3 to 17. The 2,500-passenger ship has plenty to amuse adults too, with bars, a threetier theatre, an adults-only pool and a large day spa and gym.
Royal Caribbean: 0844-493 2061, www.royalcaribbean.co.uk
Cruises have a reputation for vast buffets, but Oceania’s Marina takes shipboard gastronomy to a higher level. There are no extra charges to dine in the five speciality restaurants: Italian, French, Far Eastern, a steak house and one offering tasting menus to be paired with wines. You can also sign up for classes in the only fully equipped cookery school at sea. Prices start at £2,550 for a 12-night cruise from Southampton departing on 29 July. It calls at 12 ports in the British Isles and Norway.
Oceania Cruises: 0845-505 1920, www.oceaniacruises.com
Experience the Scottish islands aboard the charming Hebridean Princess based in Oban. The Queen is a fan, having chartered the 49-passenger ship for family birthdays twice in recent years. On the seven-night Footloose Off The Beaten Track cruise, departing 30 April, you can join guided rambles, including ones on the isles of Muck, North and South Uist and from Loch Nevis. Everything (drinks, excursions, tips and coach transfers from Glasgow Central station or airport) is included in the cost, from £3,500.
Hebridean Islands Cruises: 01756- 704704, www.hebridean.co.uk
Generous-sized single cabins offered on Azura (P&O’s thoroughly modern ship) are a great retreat for grandmothers on three-generation holidays. And the night nursery for infants aged from six months to five years means that the grown-ups can enjoy uninterrupted dinners in Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar’s Asian-fusion restaurant. A 12-night cruise from Southampton to the Western Mediterranean, departing on 4 April, costs from £1,259. Ports of call are Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga and Cadiz.
P&O Cruises: 0843-374 0111, www.pocruises.com
Join Swan Hellenic’s Minerva in Portsmouth for a Taste Of France on 8 August. The 350-passenger ship will sail the Gironde estuary and dock in Bordeaux for an overnight stay. Other ports of call include St-Malo and St Peter Port, Guernsey. The 10-night cruise costs from £1,590 including shore excursions and gratuities.
Swan Hellenic: 0844-822 0679, www.swanhellenic.com
Enjoy a seven-night cruise to Oslo and the Norwegian fjords aboard Ryndam, sailing from Dover on 11 May or 8 June. Holland America Line offers a special share option on all its ships – you book and pay the regular per-person rate, they’ll find you a same-sex room mate to share a cabin. Fares from £699.
Holland America Line: 0843-374 2300, www.hollandamerica.co.uk
All prices are per person, with departures in 2013. Availability and prices correct at time of going to press.
Daily tip from the lady archive
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