There’s  lots to look forward to in the world of cruises in the coming year….new cruise-liners are being launched, fresh itineraries and on-board entertainment are being rolled out, and there is so much choice out there for both the new and seasoned cruise-goer.

The benefits of cruise holidays however, remain unchanged – there is great appeal to going on a holiday where you are travelling to a variety of places to visit and explore, and the actual business of travelling between ports is a source of enjoyment in itself.

Modern cruise liners are well-appointed, luxurious and well-equipped to keep you entertained – and well fed! And because there is such a lot of choice out there in terms of what kind of cruise holiday you are looking for – all ages and budgets are catered for.

Here are some ideas for your perfect cruise holiday in 2015.  Be warned though – once you’ve been on a Cruise, you may not want to take another kind of holiday again!

The Brand new cruise ship Britannia

P & O are launching the brand new cruise ship Britannia, which is the biggest-ever cruise ship ever built for the British market.  This luxurious family-friendly ship will feature the first-ever British cruise-based cookery school, headed up by the lovely TV chef James Martin. The food on board should be top-notch as it’s been created by the exacting Marco Pierre White amongst other celebrity chefs. You can even meet your food heroes on a selection of the cruises.   The space and sumptuous interior design on the ship is breathtaking, and there are a number of different itineraries including the Norwejian Fjords and Spain and Portugal.   If you’re not sure if a cruise is the holiday for you, a two-night taster cruise round-trip from Southampton to Guernsey might be ideal to get your sea-legs and enjoy a mini-break on the ocean waves.  What could be more exciting than an amazing cruise holiday on a brand new ship?

Two-night taste cruises round-trip from Southampton to Guernsey on board Britannia from £315pp P&O Cruises

 

River Cruises

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River cruises are a popular trend as they are taken on smaller vessels that allow you to get much closer to the destinations that you want to explore. Viking River cruises are the world’s leading river cruise provider and have lots of expertise in tailoring your perfect holiday package.  Their prices are inclusive of return-flights from the UK and all-on board meals and much more.  They promise there wont be any long days at sea, and every day there’s a chance to explore somewhere new.  They have a great selection of excursions as well as on-board entertainment, which are included in your all-inclusive price. An advantage for those who experience sea-sickness, is that there is no wave motion, and there are great views as you’re always close to the riverbank. In the past, settlements grew up along rivers, as a trade route and source of precious water and as a result,   history, culture, beautiful sights and landmarks are an integral part of all river cruises.  One Viking River Cruise that promises culture and beauty in abundance is ‘Memories of Mandalay’ which cruises the rich history and mystical wonders of Thailand and Myanmar (Burma).  Explore the final royal capital of Mandalay in Burma, the ancient city of Bagan, the bustling metropolis of Bangkok in Thailand, and much more.  This type of cruise promises to deliver relaxation, romance and top-class excursions in equal measure.  Now is the time to go, while Burma is still relatively undiscovered and untainted by Western influences and the high-rise hotels are built.

Viking River Cruise ‘Memories of Mandalay’ – from £4, 549 for 16 days – 14 guided tours, Thailand and Burma

A Trip to the Northern Lights

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A chance to marvel at the ethereal spectacle of the Northern Lights (the Aurora Borealis) is something that lots of us have on our Bucket List.  You may not have thought of incorporating a cruise into your plans, but this is a truly memorable way to enjoy Nature’s best lightshow.  Go in January, February or March, when the air is crisp and the nights are clear, and the Northern Lights are almost guaranteed.  Fred Olsen Cruises offer a cruise on Boudicca from Southampton, to the coast of Norway en route to the Arctic Circle.  Stops in Tromso and Alta offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to ride a husky sled, experience the Ice Hotel and meet the indigenous Sami people.  Memorable sights include not only the dancing lights of green, blue and pink (hopefully!) but also the awe-inspiring glaciers, fjords and forests.  Make 2015 the year that you visit this incredible part of the world and witness the beauty of the landscape of Disney’s ‘Frozen’ brought to life.

‘In Search of the Northern Lights’ (Fred Olsen) departs 21st February 2015 for 16 nights Departs from Southampton from £1, 399 pp

Commemorate the Anniversary of the sinking of the Cruise Ship Lusitania

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2015 sees the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landings by the ANZACS from Australia and New Zealand, and there will be lots of fitting commemorations of this in these countries next year, including a cruise from Australia to the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli, with stops in Sri Lanka, Egypt and Greece too. The actual anniversary is 25th April 2014. This Cruise offers a chance to visit the resting place of HMAS Sydney, Australia and on the ship’s return on 25th April, there will be a special commemoration service.  2015 also sees the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ by a torpedo fired from a German U-Boat on 1st May 1915 with 1959 passengers and crew onboard.  Whilst 761  souls were rescued before the shop listed and sank in just 18 minutes, many sadly perished.  The Lusitania was equipped for war as she was able to carry guns and travel at 25 knots in order to outpace submarines, but at the time of her demise, she was serving as a luxurious and spacious passenger liner, travelling from Liverpool for New York.  Cunard have put on a special ‘Lusitania Remembered’ cruise on the Queen Victoria for a 7 night cruise from Southampton which docks at St.Peter Port, Le Havre and Cobh in Dublin – where you will be invited to attend ceremonies and events at the memorial in Cobh, close to where Lusitania still lies.  If you’d like to be a part of the commemorative events for either of these anniversaries, these cruises will offer a chance to pay your respects close to where the actual events in these historic events unfolded, to find out more about them,  and to meet others who also want to play their part.

The Lusitania Remembered Cruise (Cunard) from Southampton, 7 days, from £879 pp

Experience the TV cruise ship for yourself

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The Royal Princess and its crew have become TV stars in their own right after starring in ITV’s The Cruise Ship recently.  The series highlighted one of the most glamorous ships afloat which includes a fabulous spa and adults-only area, The Sanctuary.  This 3, 560 passenger vessel is the world’s seventh-largest cruise ship, and it was launched with due pomp and ceremony by the Duchess of Cambridge last year.  The TV series allowed us to marvel at the sheer scale of the operations involved with making sure that the exacting standards of the Chief of guest Hospitality Dirk Brand, are maintained.  Who knows? If you take one of their cruises, you may get to meet the man himself, or British hairdresser Kelly Woods, Australian chef Brent Waterson and Canadian singer George Evans.  All of these hard-working members of staff demonstrate the metaphor of the swan swimming gracefully on the surface whilst the legs are frantically moving below water.   Such is the life of the staff of the Royal Princess!

A 12 night British Isles cruise on Royal Princess, departing 21st May 2015, starting at £1, 482pp (Princess Cruises)

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