The sales season of the holiday market is in full swing as hopeful holidaymakers rush to book some sunshine and the promise of a well earnt break. Despite a general trend towards later bookings and last minute deals, January is still the busiest month for the travel industry according to the Telegraph.
For those planning something really special for 2016, perhaps to celebrate your retirement or a significant birthday or anniversary, then a cruise could be just what you are looking for. With holidays on the high seas as popular as ever, now could be the perfect time to find your sea legs.
On a cruise ship, full-board accommodation comes as standard with all-inclusive options often available, plus unlike a “package holiday” there are no baggage restrictions for cruises departing from the UK. When you think about it, a cruise is actually more hassle-free than any other type of touring holiday as you only have to unpack once!
Whether you’re looking for some summer fun or winter sun, there’s a cruise to suit all interests, wants and budgets. So here’s our handy guide to cruising your way through 2016…
If you think your toes tap when Strictly Come Dancing’s on the TV, imagine the excitement when all the glitz happens live before your eyes – and just a cha-cha-cha from your cabin.
Take in the sun-drenched islands of the Canaries and then return to Ventura in the evening for sparkling entertainment from your favourite Strictly Come dancing stars. Enjoy all things Strictly, including Q&As, book signings and a live performance with a guest judge.
Details: 14 Night Cruise, full board from £899 with up to £200 on board spend.
Imagine a transatlantic holiday to the warmth of the USA and the Caribbean, with a combination of beautiful blooms, space ships, old fashioned lemonade and the chance to enjoy the Jazz Fest of New Orleans.
Whilst journeying across the Atlantic you’ll have plenty of time to savour all the delights Oriana has to offer – including her restaurants, spa, bars, club and lounges. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the "Jazz Fest" as it's known locally, a feel-good musical smorgasbord served up on more than 12 stages. Dating back to the 1970's with previous musicians like Fats Domino and Duke Ellington. Where better to experience jazz than in its birthplace?
Details: 35 Night Cruise, full board from £1,899 with up to £430 on board spend
This 50-night holiday on board Arcadia takes you to a string of iconic destinations stretching from the US and across the Pacific, to New Zealand and Australia.
As you settle into the luxurious surroundings of Arcadia while crossing the Atlantic, your first port of call is the ‘Floating Garden’ of Madeira. Your next stops are in the Caribbean sunshine and warm turquoise waters of Barbados and Curacao. The mighty Panama Canal beckons next, then it’s time for a bit of California dreamin’ in San Diego’s famous zoo, LA’s glitzy film sites and San Francisco’s steep, winding streets.
You’ll be welcomed with flower leis on the beaches of Honolulu, tempted by Bora Bora’s crystal clear waters, and seduced by Tahiti’s cascading waterfalls. The cruise also takes in Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’, Napier, Wellington, and of course the stunning Sydney harbour, before reaching your final port – the culturally rich city of Brisbane.
Details: 50 Night Cruise, full board from £4,849.
If you’re looking for something really special this year, what better way to mark an occasion than with a round-the-world cruise?
Stopping at 43 ports, you’ll first call into fortified Malta before reaching the lands of ancient Egypt. After sailing the Suez Canal and discovering the hidden treasures of Jordan, it’s on to the larger-than-life Dubai, before taking in the incredible sights and sounds of Mumbai and Cochin. Unlock the secrets of the Orient as you sail from Colombo, Penang and Singapore to Semarang and Bali.
Head ‘down under’ to discover Australia and New Zealand before venturing out into the Pacific in search of a Hawaiian paradise. Next, sail under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco, onto San Diego and Mexico before witnessing some enigmatic Mayan remains in Puerto Quetzal.
The mighty Panama Canal takes you through to the treasures of Cartagena, and the warm sunshine and turquoise waters of St Lucia and Barbados. As you cross the Atlantic on your home stretch you’ll call into the Azores before reaching Southampton.
Details: 104 Night Cruise, full board from £10,299.