With their pristine beaches, balmy weather, lush scenery and volcanic landscapes, the Atlantic Islands are ideal for all-year-round cruising.
Bathing in the same vast body of water, each island in the Atlantic has its own character – from the cobbled alleys of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, to the volcanic landscapes of Lanzarote or the Brazilian ambiance of the Cape Verde archipelago.
There are also distinct differences in climate between the volcanic Azores, the warmer Canary Islands, and the rugged and remote islands of St Helena and Ascension, which is why the majority of Atlantic island cruises take place in autumn and spring.
A range of cruise companies, including Seabourn, P&O Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Star Clippers, sails to these fascinating places. Mary Stuart-Miller, Star Clippers’ PR representative in the UK, says: “For agents, a transatlantic sailing represents very good value for their clients and the Atlantic crossings provide an opportunity for guests to enjoy complete solitude: inky-black skies, the stars clear and sharp without land pollution, no internet, and just the sea, the wind and the sky.”
With plenty of activities on offer, ranging from excursions to pineapple and coffee plantations to quad biking, diving or even scaling a volcano, it’s easy to see why the Canary Islands are among the most popular of these exotic destinations. Cruise lines, including Saga, Marella, Fred. Olsen and Cunard, offer departures from the UK, making port calls in Spain, Portugal or Madeira en route, while Azamara has departures from Barcelona, and Star Clippers from Malaga.
Pearl of the Atlantic
Some cruise lines, such as Cunard, P&O, Princess Cruises and Fred. Olsen, include Cape Verde on their itineraries, stopping over in Mindelo, a cosmopolitan city where Brazilian and European influences can be felt in the local music and food.
“At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, we are also running our longest-ever cruise next year – 168 nights on Boudicca. The ship will take you on an epic journey south to discover distant destinations galore, including a string of stunning islands in the South Atlantic,” says Ellis Barker, public relations executive for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Mindelo is on the itinerary of many longer transatlantic sailings and repositioning cruises, as are The Azores, an archipelago of nine mountainous and lush islands roughly halfway between Europe and North America, and Madeira, which was colonised by Portugal in the 15th century and nicknamed the Pearl of the Atlantic because of year-round balmy weather and exotic vegetation.
“For the traveller looking for the ultimate experience on the Atlantic, our 2020 World Cruise would certainly top the list,” says Brian Badura, director of global public relations and strategic initiatives for Seabourn. “Once a traveller departs Miami, they begin their journey eastward towards Africa, where they can visit wonderful Atlantic Island ports. For the travel professional looking for what’s hot, this itinerary should be a ‘must-do’ for any luxury traveller.”
Adventurous destinations certainly abound in the Atlantic, and clients seeking to explore should make a beeline for the beautiful St Helena and the volcanic isle of Ascension in the South Atlantic Ocean. Located halfway between Africa and South America, these are among the world’s remotest destinations. Fred. Olsen, Marella, MSC, Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas all have sailings that visit these remote places.
“Guests can see more of the world with a repositional cruise and even add a cruise-and-stay option to offer more variety. Plus, all of our cruises will be all-inclusive from summer 2019, which means all tips and service charges will be part of the deal,” says Amy Dowling, PR marketing and customer experience manager for Marella.
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge will reposition on a leisurely 16-day transatlantic cruise, departing Fort Lauderdale on 27 April 2019, calling at Bermuda, the Azores, Lisbon, Bilbao, Paris and Southampton. Prices from £4,329pp for a balcony stateroom, including flights. celebritycruises.co.uk
Covering a less-visited part of Europe, Windstar’s eight-day Tapestries, Towers & Tarte Normande: Europe’s Atlantic Edge cruise, departing Lisbon on 6 May 2019, calls at Lisbon, Porto, El Ferrol, St Malo, Cherbourg, St Helier, Bruges and Amsterdam. Prices from £2,337pp for an ocean view suite, not including flights. Windstarcruises.com
Travelling from the Atlantic to Africa, Seabourn’s exotic 15-day Moroccan Gems and Canary Island cruise, departing from Lisbon on 17 April 2019, calls at Lisbon, Funchal, Tenerife, Puerto de la Estaca, Las Palmas, Arrecife, Casablanca, Tangier, Malaga and Barcelona. Prices from £5,498pp for a Seabourn suite. Flights not included. Seabourn.com
A trip to discover some of the best-known Atlantic destinations, Cunard’s 12-night round-trip cruise departs from Southampton on 9 October 2019 and calls at Funchal, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Lanzarote and La Coruña. Prices from £1,947pp for an inside cabin, not including flights. Cunard.com
- Sell the sun. With year-round warm weather, this region is ideal for winter sun seekers
- Passengers will be excited at the chance to visit so many striking volcanic landscapes
- From Gran Canaria’s countless beaches to the glorious, near-deserted stretches of sand on São Vicente, sun-worshippers are spoilt for choice
- With spectacular fauna and flora around every corner, nature lovers will be thrilled
- Whether it’s hiking or spotting wildlife, companies offer themed cruises to suit all tastes and budgets