A Christmas cruise offers a welcome escape from a British winter, and is the perfect time to explore the world.
1 Golden days
Blessed with a mild climate, an abundance of culture and friendly locals, Spain and Portugal will always be popular with Brits. Viking’s 10-day River of Gold cruise includes the chance to explore two of Iberia’s oldest university towns – Coimbra, Portugal and Salamanca, Spain – roam the port warehouses of Porto and enjoy traditional food and wine. Departing on various dates in December 2017, the cruise tour includes eight guided tours and a hotel stay in historic Lisbon, one of Europe’s most romantic capital cities, along with a visit to Spain. From £2,195 per person.
Book it: vikingrivercruises.co.uk; 0800 319 66 60
2 Cape crusader
Cape Town is renowned for being the “Mother City” of South Africa, and Crystal Symphony’s 16-night South African Holidays cruise sails round-trip from Cape Town, marking Crystal’s first-ever Christmas voyage in Africa. ‘Big Five’ safaris are offered in South Africa and Mozambique, while authentic village feasts and visits highlight the region’s culture. The cruise starts with an overnight in Cape Town and visits Maputo, Richards Bay, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Walvis Bay and Luderitz. Departing on December 22, all-inclusive cruise only prices start at £3,807 per person.
Book it: crystalcruises.co.uk; 020 799 7601
3 Shore thing
A white sand Christmas is within reach on a seven-night Tahiti & Society Islands cruise on board the Paul Gauguin. This cruise round-trip from Papeete includes the destination that enchanted painter Paul Gauguin, author James A. Michener, and others. The itinerary includes the best of the South Pacific, with stops in Huahine, Bora Bora and Moorea. On Christmas day, clients will relax on private islet Motu Mahana, complete with a BBQ lunch and a floating lagoon bar. With two departures in December, all inclusive fly/cruise prices are from £5,306 per person.
Book it: pgcruises.com; 1 (800) 848 6172
4 Southern belle
Andalusia is situated in southern Spain, with the average temperature throughout the year reaching over 16c. An Andalusian Christmas taking in Seville, Cadiz, Jerez and Cordoba can be enjoyed while sailing along the Guadalquivir on a six-day cruise round trip from Seville, on board the MS La Belle de Cadix. The cruise departs Seville on December 22 and highlights include an equestrian display in a bodega, Christmas Mass in El Puerto de Santa Maria and a gourmet Christmas dinner with wines. Cruise only prices from £677 per person.
Book it: croisieurope.co.uk; 020 8328 1281
5 Virgin voyage
Small ship cruising enters new waters this Christmas, with Voyages to Antiquity’s 17 day inaugural Christmas in Cuba cruise on December 15. Setting off from Bridgetown (Barbados) and disembarking at Havana (Cuba), calls include Rodney Bay (St Lucia), Falmouth Harbour (Antigua), Gustavia (St Barthelemy), Charlestown (Nevis), Port Antonio (Jamaica), Santiago de Cuba, and Cienfuegos (Cuba). The itinerary includes lectures from the likes of forensic botanist Dr Mark Spencer. The cruise includes nine excursions, all meals and drinks with dinner and flights. From £3,995pp.
Book it: voyagestoantiquity.com; 01865 302550
6 Caribbean dream
Sailing the Caribbean’s most secluded destinations, SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream II will sail round-trip from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on December 21, calling at boutique ports including St. John, St. Barts, Virgin Gorda, Tortola, and Jost van Dyke, B.V.I, before arriving back to St. Thomas on December 28. The 112-guest mega-yacht will offer sourced ingredients and cuisine including Slowly Roasted Tom Turkey and Pumpkin Pie. The inclusive fare starts at £4,243 per person and includes meals, gratuities, and wine with lunch and dinner.
Book it: seadream.com; 0800 783 1373