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Best for Cruising

Thurs 21 Jun 2018

Discover six of our favourite reasons to cruise, then call our cruising specialists on
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Best for Island Hopping: Greek Islands

The picture-postcard Greek Islands are laced with legend and tradition, alongside idyllic beaches, white-washed villages and traditional tavernas serving delicious local specialities. They make the perfect island hopping holiday, and there is no better way to experience them than on a relaxing small ship cruise.

Discover the wonders of the Aegean, from the serene Cyclades archipelago centred around the sacred island of Delos, to the tranquil Sporades Islands of Skiathos and Skopelos, featured in the much-loved film, Mamma Mia.


The Dodecanese archipelago includes picturesque Patmos, home to the Sacred Grotto where St John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelation, while the Ionian Islands scattered off the west coast of Greece each have their own distinct character. Lefkada is renowned for its stunning beaches and Kythira for its twin bays and striking Venetian architecture in the sleepy capital, Chora. Folegandros, one of the lesser-known islands of the Cyclades, is just a stone's throw from the iconic island of Santorini but worlds apart.

Traditional fishing boats bob on the calm waters and donkey trails connect secluded coves and authentic Greek tavernas. North of Folegandros is the tiny island of Syros, the perfect place to experience the real Greece with quaint villages and stunning 19th-century buildings, a real contrast to the lively bars and boutiques of neighbouring Mykonos.

Blue Water Recommends


Visit the idyllic Greek islands of Skopelos and Skiathos on a relaxing 7-night Star Clippers Mamma Mia sailing cruise from Athens departing May, June and August 2019 from £1291pp


Enjoy Variety Cruises' 7-night fly-cruise to Santorini, Mykonos and lesser-known Greek Islands on a 42-49 passenger megayacht, departing between May and October in 2018 and 2019, from £1811pp


Explore classical Greece and the islands of the Aegean on a 7-night Variety fly-cruise departing October 2018 and April, September and October 2019 from £2345pp

Best for Natural Wonders: Iceland

Experience nature at its most dynamic and awe-inspiring in Iceland. This breathtaking island is constantly being shaped by mighty forces; geysers gush, volcanoes rumble, waterfalls cascade down majestic mountains, and huge glaciers carve great pathways through the landscape.


Some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders can be found on the Land of Fire and Ice. Thingvellir National Park can be reached from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. This UNESCO-listed National Park is often visited as part of the popular Golden Circle route and is one of the best places to view the mesmerising Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Highlights include the majestic Nikulásargjá Gorge and Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake with lava fields feeding into the lake from the north.

The region of Geysir in south-west Iceland is renowned for its geothermal activity and home to the famous Strokkur geyser which erupts on a daily basis, while Gullfoss meaning 'golden falls' in Icelandic is a sight to behold. Often crowned by a rainbow, witness the force of mother nature as water plunges into the rugged canyon below.

Bubbling mud pools, lava formations and dramatic volcanic craters combine in picturesque Mývatn. It is also a paradise for birdwatchers as Gyr Falcons soar in the skies above and Tufted Duck grace the calm waters of the lake.

Blue Water Recommends


Discover the dramatic landscapes of Iceland on Viking Cruises' 7-night fly-cruise circumnavigating Iceland, departing between June and August 2020, from £4790pp


Cruise and Maritime Voyages offer fantastic no-fly cruises from a choice of UK ports to Iceland, the Shetland and Faroes departing May to September 2019. 1st passenger from £1759, second passenger free!


Join Viking Sky on a unique 12-night Viking Ocean fly-cruise showcasing the awe-inspiring scenery of Iceland and the remote Faroe Islands departing between May and August 2019 from £4290pp

Best for Northern Lights: Norway

A winter voyage along the coast of Norway high into the Arctic Circle is a beautiful experience with the chance to see the magical Aurora Borealis, one of nature’s most amazing phenomena.

The Northern Lights are caused by solar particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere, creating ghostly wisps of green, yellow, red and violet; a celestial ballet of light that dances across the night sky. During the Arctic winter the sun never fully rises over the horizon, creating a twilight that bathes the water and snow-capped mountains with a silvery light.

Northern Lights

There is no better way to experience the Northern Lights than by sailing through the sheltered waters of the rugged Norwegian coast with the Aurora Borealis set against a dark sky, free from artificial light.

Ports visited on one of these once-in-a-lifetime voyages include the medieval city of Trondheim with its impressive 14th-century cathedral, Bergen's colourful Bryggen Wharf and the tranquil Lofoten Islands, dotted with traditional fishing villages. Tromsø is home to the iconic Arctic Cathedral where the famous Midnight Concert provides an incredible musical experience.

Blue Water Recommends


Take an 11-night Hurtigruten voyage along the entire length of the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, with direct flights from regional airports. Departs October 2018 to March 2019 from £1174pp


Cruise and Maritime Voyages offer a range of no-fly cruises from a choice of regional UK ports between October and March in 2018 and 2019 from £1079pp


Cruise from London Tilbury to Bergen and along the Norwegian coast with Viking Ocean Cruises on a 12-night cruise departing January to March 2019 from £4095pp

Best for Food and Wine: River Rhone

Sample the gastronomic delights and fine wines of picturesque Burgundy and Provence on a cruise along the Rhone, past dramatic terraced vineyards and medieval walled towns.

River Rhone

The prized wine Chateauneuf-du-Pape is named after a hilltop chateau which was used as a summer residence for Avignon’s popes; today there are over 300 wine producers in the area, many of which offer tours and tastings. The picturesque region of Maconnais is known for its Mediterranean charm and Chardonnay wines, while Beaujolais is famous for its light, fruity red wines. The steep terraced vineyards of Hermitage tower above the Rhône and produce stunning full-bodied wines that take years to mature.

A perfect accompaniment to Burgundy wines are the region's speciality dishes coq au vin, escargots and boeuf bourguignon, as well as desserts including pears poached in locally produced red wine. Provence is famous for the most exquisite food, with local markets displaying a rainbow of regional fruit and vegetables. In the gastronomic capital of Lyon you can sample countless gourmet delights at the city’s famous indoor market, Les Halles de Lyon, or one of the colourful outdoor markets.

Few dishes epitomise Provence as well as bouillabaisse, a fish stew traditionally served with rouille (spicy mayonnaise) on thickly sliced bread. At truffle farms dogs sniff out the culinary delicacies which are then used to add a unique taste and decadent flair to dishes including truffle omelette, black truffle risotto and even black truffle ice cream.

Blue Water Recommends


Amadeus River Cruises offer a superb-value 7-night cruise along the River Rhone from the gastronomic capital of Lyon between March and October 2019 from £1129pp


Join stylish ship Emerald Liberte, launched in 2017, on a 7-night Emerald Waterways cruise from the culinary city of Lyon to historic Arles between April and October 2019 from £1695pp


Experience the River Rhone in luxury with Scenic, on a 7-night all-inclusive cruise between picturesque Chalon-sur-Saône and the Provencal town of Tarascon in May, August and September 2019 from £2695pp

Best for Beaches: Bali and Indonesia

Indonesia is a growing cruise destination and the world’s largest archipelago, made up of approximately 17,000 islands.

Tropical fish in Bali

One of these paradise islands is Bali, renowned for its alluring, picture-postcard beaches overlooked by verdant mountains and rice paddies. The island’s beaches are the perfect place to relax, unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The warm azure waters are perfect for snorkelling, with a kaleidoscope of corals and tropical fish just waiting to be discovered.

Lovina Beach on the island of Bali is nestled between the majestic Bedugul mountain range and the Bali sea. Its iconic black sands are overlooked by swaying palm trees and the surrounding waters are home to stunning coral reefs and pods of dolphins. The neighbouring island of Lombok is where you’ll find Senggigi Beach, a surfing hotspot set against a backdrop of dense jungle.

To the east of Bali is Komodo, renowned for its famous resident, the Komodo Dragon. Beachlovers also visit the island for its Pink Beach which gets its striking colour from Foraminifera, microscopic animals which produce a red pigment. This combines with the white sands to produce the iconic pink colour which contrasts beautifully with the vivid green mountains and turquoise waters.

Blue Water Recommends


Join magnificent tall ship Star Clipper on a 7-night Star Clippers sailing cruise from Benoa exploring the breathtaking landscapes and idyllic beaches of Bali and Indonesia. Departs weekly between June and September 2018 and 2019 from £1205pp


Explore the beaches of Indonesia on this superb Variety cruise from Bali on 49-passenger Panorama II, with visits to the Komodo National Park and famous Pink Beach, and opportunities for swimming and snorkelling. Departs June to October 2019 from £2265pp

Best for History and Culture: River Rhine

The River Rhine winds through glorious landscapes, overflowing with history and cultural charm. The steep river banks are scattered with an array of ancient, fairytale castles and intriguing medieval villages, with vibrant cities and quaint towns that burst with history and culture.

Discover the myriad churches of Amsterdam or soak up the culture in one of the world-renowned museums that the unique city has to offer such as Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum.

Explore Cologne, one of Germany’s oldest cities which is home to the Kölner Dom; a magnificent Gothic cathedral known as the spiritual heart of the city. Stroll through the narrow alleyways of the Old Town or visit the historical remains at the Archaeological Zone. Venture to the 2000-year-old town of Koblenz which is home to the fascinating Ehrenbreitstein Fortress or visit the gothic cathedral of Notre-Dame in the medieval city of Kehl.


Journey to Heidelberg, the oldest university city in Germany which has a striking historic flair and is known for its 16th-century castle ruins and romantic old town. Soak up the culture on a tour through the famous Black Forest and wander through the winding streets of picturesque Basel with its fascinating art museums and historical architecture.

Blue Water Recommends


See the castles along the Rhine on a superb-value 7-night Riviera Travel cruise from Cologne with regional flights or rail included, departing April to October 2019 from £1199pp


Viking River Cruises offer a 7-night River Rhine fly-cruise from Amsterdam to Basel departing March to December 2019 from £1195pp


Enjoy a 4-night fly-cruise from Strasbourg to Koblenz, Rüdesheim and Speyer with CroisiEurope, departing between April and October 2019 from £855pp

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