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APRIL/MAY 2014 | £3.95

iROnPEAN w OR A EU EF CRUISWO ES T P&O CRUIS WITH

HOT MED

CHASING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS Stargazing on the Norwegian coast

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THE LUXE FACTOR PRIVATE ISLANDS, CABANAS AND BUTLERS: HOW TO CRUISE IN STYLE

9 771758 232012

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AFRICA CELEB CHEF RECIPES FLORIDA OZ CLARKE MOROCCO LESLEY GARRETT

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HOLIDAYS


Discover the premium all-inclusive, six-star ‘World’s Best River Cruises’ overleaf... Douro | Rhine | Moselle | Danube | Rhône | Seine | Dutch Waterways | Garonne Dordogne | Gironde | Venice & the River Po | Volga | Mekong | Yangtze


T’s & C’s apply. Calls free from BT landlines, mobiles may vary. Prices shown are per person based on twin share, subject to availability, may be subject to change and will be confirmed upon enquiry.


The ‘World’s Best River Cruises’â€

with door to door transfers wherever you live in the UK

Uniworld really is a class apart from other river cruise companies. Its magnificent fleet of boutique ships, each uniquely designed and furnished, plies the great waterways of Europe in peerless style. Appreciate Zagatrecommended fine cuisine and all river-view staterooms, exceptional service, a choice of shore excursions in every major port of call, outstanding amenities including Serenity River Spa centres, unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (including many premium brands)‥* and, thanks to Uniworld’s exclusive partnership with Titan, door to door transfers wherever you live in the UK†. Call free to book the below special offers or request the latest Uniworld brochure, quoting CI0 7ET.

     3,#,',*.%(-$-'#/(*%

Bordeaux, Vineyards and Châteaux

Enchanting Danube

A Week on the River Douro

8 days from ÂŁ2749 ÂŁ2249

8 days from ÂŁ3129 ÂŁ2629

8 days from ÂŁ2829 ÂŁ1929

Departs Apr-Nov 2014

Departs Mar-Nov 2014

Departs Mar-Nov 2014

Day 1 London - Bordeaux Day 2 Garonne River & Gironde Estuary Pauillac Day 4 Libourne (Bergerac) Day 5 Libourne (Saint-Émilion) - Dordogne River - Bordeaux Day 6 Cadillac - Bordeaux Day 7 Bordeaux Day 8 Bordeaux - London Saving applies to 2 Nov 2014 departure

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5

London - Budapest Budapest Cruising the Danube - Vienna Vienna DĂźrnstein - Cruising the Wachau Valley - Melk Day 6 Linz (Salzburg or Linz) Day 7 Passau Day 8 Passau - Munich - London Saving applies to 2 Nov 2014 departure

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6

London - Porto Porto - Bitetos RÊgua - Pinhão Pinhão - Vega de Terrón Vega de Terrón (Salamanca) Barca d’Alva (Castelo Rodrigo) RÊgua Day 7 Porto (Guimarães) Day 8 Porto - London Saving applies to 9 Nov 2014 departure

Strike-throughs indicate anticipated full selling price after discounts expire. †Excludes Scottish islands and Sark. Flight supplements may be applicable *Only on European itineraries, excludes Russia, the Mekong and China.


*

Outstanding all-inclusive value

REMEMBER NO-ONE INCLUDES MORE! In addition to superior, high-quality river cruising, Uniworld also offers superb value - because all this is included: 2Door-to-door transfers from any UK mainland address at the start and end of your holiday† 2Scheduled flights with reputable airlines

2All meals on board, including al fresco dining on deck, early-riser breakfast, all-day bistro menu, Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Dinners

2All transfers

2All entertainment plus enlightening lectures on board

2All airport and port taxes, security charges, UK Air Passenger Duty and applicable fuel surcharge

2Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi access on board

2All-inclusive* cruising on one-of-a-kind ships 2All gratuities onboard and ashore worth up to £80pp 2Unlimited drinks onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, speciality coffee, tea, bottled water‡

2Complimentary portable audio headset system on all shore excursions 2Complimentary use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks

Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy

Burgundy and Provence

Castles along the Rhine

8 days from £2799 £2099

8 days from £2399 £2149

8 days from £2549 £1849

Departs Apr-Nov 2014

Departs Apr-Nov 2014

Departs Mar-Nov 2014

Day 1 London - Venice Day 2 Venice Day 3 Venice - Chioggia (Padua) Taglio di Po - Polesella Day 4 Polesella (Bologna or Ferrara) Day 5 Polesella - Taglio di Po (Porto Levante) - Chioggia - Venice Day 6 Venice (Verona) Day 7 Venice Day 8 Venice - London Saving applies to 26 Oct 2014 departure ‡

2A choice of shore excursions in every major port of call, with English-speaking local guides

Day 1 London - Lyon Day 2 Chalon sur Saône (Beaune) Day 3 Lyon Day 4 Tournon - Tain l’Hermitage Day 5 Viviers Day 6 Avignon Day 7 Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon) Day 8 Avignon - Marseille - London Saving applies to 9 Nov 2014 departure

Unlimited beverages exclude only the most premium wines, spirits and champagne.

Day 1 London - Amsterdam Day 2 Cologne Day 3 Koblenz - The Rhine - Boppard Day 4 The Rhine - Rüdesheim Day 5 Germersheim (Speyer) Day 6 Kehl (Strasbourg) Day 7 Breisach (Kayserberg and Riquewihr or Colmar) Day 8 Basel - London Saving applies to 9 Nov 2014 departure


THE FRESH NEW FRAGRANCES FROM

www.yardleylondon.co.uk


CONTENTS APRIL/MAY 2014 EDITOR’S LETTER

UP FRONT 8

Welcome to your new look, bigger and better than ever travel magazine, packed with even more ideas and tips to inspire you to have your best holiday ever. In this issue you’ll find the coolest Mediterranean cruises around (page 51), plus features on chasing the Northern Lights in Norway (page 102) and discovering the intriguing cities of Morocco (page 70). And if you’d love to combine a cruise with a safari, turn to page 122 to read about the Zambezi Queen experience. Foodies will adore the Oceania cruise review (page 88) – just don’t read it when you’re hungry; meanwhile on page 25 we have mouthwatering curry recipes from celebrity chef Atul Kochhar for you to try making at home. There’s also a look at a wine cruise with Oz Clarke (page 108), who shares his favourite destinations on page 130. One of the biggest trends right now is cruise-and-stay holidays – on page 29 you’ll find our pick of the cruises that let you stay just a little bit longer in destinations from Asia to the Caribbean. If you fancy a taste of the high life (and frankly, who doesn’t?) then on page 74 you’ll find cruise lines that offer a truly luxurious experience so you can holiday in style. From private islands and cabanas to butlers, these cruises offer non-stop pampering. Plus on page 112 there’s the chance to win a gorgeous mini-cruise to the beautiful city of Bruges with P&O. Enjoy,

HOT SPOT The beautiful harbourside village of Portofino, Italy

FEATURES 24

CELEBS AT SEA Lesley Garrett, James Martin & Atul Kochhar

25

ASIAN SENSATION Atul Kochhar shares his best curry recipes

25

29

CRUISE AND STAY From Florida and New York to Asia and the Caribbean, our guide to where to cruise and stay

44

STOCKHOLM CITY GUIDE Discover this cool Scandi-city

46

BREEZE EASY Liz Jarvis discovers the Carnival difference on a Caribbean cruise

70

PLAY IT AGAIN Julie Peasgood experiences Morocco on a trip to Agadir and Casablanca

74

THE LUXE FACTOR Indulge in gourmet cuisine, opulent evenings and private islands

88

51

70

FOOD ODYSSEY Pairing gourmet cuisine and top destinations on an Oceania cruise

92

NOW, VOYAGER A review of the newly-refurbished Regent Seven Seas ship

96

THEME PERKS Feel enriched on a themed cruise

102 CHASING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS The ultimate voyage for stargazers

108 FROM GRAPE TO GLASS Learn from the experts on a wine cruise

118 ON YOUR BIKE Cruise and cycle round Europe

122 AFRICAN QUEEN See elephants, giraffes and zebras on a cruise on the wild side

COMPETITION

Liz Jarvis, Editor liz.jarvis@cruise-international.com CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

112 WIN A EUROPEAN CRUISE Escape to the charming city of Bruges on board P&O’s Aurora A PR IL /M AY 2014 |

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APRIL/MAY 2014

Norway (p102)

Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place London SW3 3TQ Tel: 020 7349 3700 info@cruise-international.com www.cruise-international.com

Japan (p41)

EDITORIAL EDITOR Liz Jarvis ART EDITOR Rhian Colley ASSISTANT EDITOR Josephine Price SUB EDITOR Ben Grafton DESIGNER Alicia Fernandes CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Julie Peasgood, Deborah Stone

Morocco (p70) Jamaica (p38)

ONLINE DIGITAL PRODUCT MANAGER Oliver Morley-Norris

Namibia (p122)

ADVERTISING GROUP ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER Lyndal Beeton PUBLISHING PUBLISHER Simon Temlett MARKETING MANAGER William Delmont COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Vicki Gavin DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR Steve Ross MANAGING DIRECTOR Paul Dobson

CONTENTS

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD AVALON WATERWAYS Alan MacLean, THE CAPTAIN’S CHOICE TOUR Gary Bartelings, CARNIVAL Lynn Narraway, EWATERWAYS Daniela Wagner, FRED. OLSEN Nathan Philpot, HEBRIDEAN Ken Charleson, ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL Jo Rzymowska, TITAN TRAVEL Richard Tarrant, VIKING RIVER CRUISES Wendy Atkin Smith, THE LUXURY CRUISE COMPANY Scott Anderson

MEDITERRANEAN SPECIAL 51

SUBSCRIPTIONS CRUISE INTERNATIONAL Subscriptions Department, 800 Guillat Avenue, Kent Science Park, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8GU, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1795419841 Email: cruise@servicehelpline.co.uk http://cruise.subscribeonline.co.uk SUBSCRIPTION RATES UK £33 (6 issues) ROW £40 (6 issues) NEWS DISTRIBUTION News Trade (UK and Rest of World): Seymour International Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London, EC1A 9PT CRUISE INTERNATIONAL (ISSN 1758-2326) (USPS 025-056) is published bi-monthly by The Chelsea Magazine Company, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ UK.

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REGULARS

© The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd 2014.

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All rights reserved. Text and pictures are copyright restricted and must not be reproduced without permission of the publishers. The information in CRUISE INTERNATIONAL has been published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. However, where appropriate, you are strongly advised to check prices, opening times, dates etc, before making final arrangements. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or damage caused by reliance on the information contained within this publication is hereby excluded. The opinions expressed by contributors to CRUISE INTERNATIONAL are not necessarily those of the publisher. For up to date travel advice, always check fco.gov.uk before you go.

Printed in England by Wyndeham Heron Origination by All Points Media allpointsmedia.co.uk Cover image © Trinette Reed Alamy

Follow us @Cruisemag Like us facebook.com/cruiseinternational Visit us cruise-international.com

YOUR GUIDE TO CRUISING THE MED 52-56 FROM THE UK 58-59 FROM BARCELONA 60-63 FROM ITALY 64-65 FROM ISTANBUL 66 FROM CYPRUS 68-69 FROM ATHENS

CRUISE NEWS Great British chefs at sea; Tom Daley on Royal Caribbean; Cruise Awards 2014

14

CRUISE STYLE Gorgeous fashion, accessories and the best beauty buys for your holiday

22

CRUISE WELL The latest health and wellbeing news

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127 ASK THE EXPERTS River cruises; best ships for a traditional cruise; the benefits of cruising in the Med

114 RIVER CRUISE NEWS Godmother announced for Emerald Waterways; city break and cruise in Portugal

129 YOUR CRUISE PHOTOS 130 CELEBRITY TRAVELS Wine-expert Oz Clarke

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CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM


INSPIRATION

Hot sp t o

PHOTO: © SHUTTERSTOCK

PORTOFINO, ITALY Since the 1950s when Bergman and Bardot paddled in its crystalline green waters, Portofino has been playground to the stars. Founded by the Romans and situated in the northern Italian coastal region of Liguria, the jewel of the Italian Riviera is still synonymous with chic: designers Dolce and Gabbana own villas there. Despite the glamour, Portofino retains a 19th-century fishing village charm. Picturesque pastel houses line the shore of the crescent-shaped harbour while its colourful cafés and boutiques come without an A-list price tag. >> Turn to page 51 to read about cruises to the Mediterranean


ȱȱȱ Available at House of Fraser and independent stores. Find your local stockist at www.story-jewellery.com


CRUISE

News

W H AT ’ S H O T

SHIPS EVENTS DESTINATIONS O

O

BRITANNIA’S FOOD HEROES P&O has unveiled its ‘Food Heroes’ – the ďŹ ve food and drink experts who will head up their culinary offering on board new ship Britannia when it launches in 2015. They are Marco Pierre White, James Martin, Atul Kochhar, Eric Lanlard and wine guru Olly Smith. P&O Cruises marketing director Christopher Edgington said: “The addition of James Martin and Eric Lanlard on Britannia further enhances the already incomparable level of culinary excellence we are proud to offer across our eet.â€? Britannia’s maiden voyage will be on 14 March 2015 from Southampton to the Med (pocruises.com). Turn to page 25 to see recipes from Atul.

DALEY MAKES A SPLASH British Olympic swimming star Tom Daley has tried his luck at the FlowRider on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. You can see how he got on at cruise-international.com

Cruise Awards 2014 Nominations for the Cruise Awards 2014 open on 2 April – your chance to nominate your favourite cruise lines, destinations and services, which will be used to compile the voting list. Go to cruise-international.com for more info. 

PHOTOS: Š P&O CRUISES/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

British Airways has scooped the coveted title of ‘Consumer Superbrand of the Year’. The airline recently launched flights between London and Austin, Texas, three hours from the port of Galveston (ba.com).

AWARDS

2013 2014 A PR IL / M AY 2014 |

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W H AT ’ S H O T

FIRST CLASS ADVENTURE Looking for a unique experience on your next holiday? The Captain’s Choice Circumnavigation of the Globe tour includes seven World Heritage Sites and a host of iconic destinations, from the Taj Mahal in India and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat to Australia’s Blue Mountains and the Ancient ruins at Chichén Itzá, Mexico. Transport is by private plane with all VIP class seating. The tours are fully inclusive and a tour doctor is part of the escort team, giving reassurance in remote areas – definitely one for the bucket list (captainschoice.co.uk).

The Visitors: Sally Beauman (Little Brown, £16.99) Arriving in Egypt in 1922 to escape typhoid, Lucy meets a lifelong friend and they both get involved in an exciting adventure in the hunt for Tutankhamun’s tomb.

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The Steady Running of the Hour: Justin Go (Cornerstone, £14.99) A young man’s journey to trace his inheritance leads him across the world from London and to the remote Eastfjords of Iceland, to the Somme Battlefields and Mount Everest.

All the Beggars Riding: Lucy Caldwell (Faber & Faber, £12.99) Inspired by an evening class in creative writing, Lara attempts to piece together family memories from times spent in London, Belfast and Spain. This is a stirring tale of love, desire and family.

CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

PHOTOS: © CAPTAIN’S CHOICE

Holiday Reads


FA S H I O N A N D B E A U T Y

CRUISE Our pick of the hottest fashion and beauty buys for your trip

vintage CHIC

Unleash your inner screen goddess in this Fifties-inspired Frankie bikini (£159, pistolpanties.com).

arm CANDY

Make a statement with a beautiful Modern Extravaganza handbag in Powder Pink & Taupe by designer Anya Sushko (£985, anyasushko.com).

modern CHARM

For added sparkle (day or night), try a charm bracelet with a modern twist from Danish brand Story (from £59, available from storyjewellery.com).

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t f i h s Spring A pretty cotton shift is the perfect day dress to pack for your Mediterranean cruise (Vintage floral dress, £85, lauraashley.com).

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cult CLASSIC

The simple iconic style of Solillas sandals has made them a big hit with beach-lovers around the world (from £44, office.co.uk).


Bobbi Brown Pale Nail Po l i s h ( £ 9. 35 ) , B ro n ze Eye Pa l e t t e ( £ 29.75 ) , N u d e G l o w Brightening Finishing Powd e r ( £4 0 ) , ava i l a b l e f r o m W o r l d D u t y Fr e e

This spring less is definitely more and the biggest beauty trend right now is to keep it simple with eyeshadows and lipsticks in shades of bronze, gold, pink and taupe.

CLEVER STICKS

Chubby Sticks £ 1 7, f r o m clinique. co.uk

Clinique’s brilliant Chubby Stick eyeshadows (shown here in lots o’latte and beautiful beige) are foolproof simply smooth on to your lids.

STAR QUALITY Bobbi Brown’s muse, actress Katie Holmes, shows off the nude look to perfection.

MAC Magnetic Nude Fluidline in C h i l l e d ( £ 1 2 .75 ) , E x t ra D i m e n s i o n S k i n f i n i s h i n Fa i r l y P r e c i o u s ( £ 1 8 .70 ) , l i p s t i c k i n C l o s e C o n t a c t ( £ 1 2 .75 ) , a l l a va i l a b l e f ro m W o r l d D u t y Fr e e

Finishing touch Sun sense PHOTO: © ISTOCK

Add some instant glamour to nails with Ted Baker’s pretty new Nail Duos in Sweet on You and Champagne Sundays, (£8.50, Boots).

CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

Whether you’re in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, a breeze on board can be deceptive. Stay protected in the sun with Clinique’s high SPF suncare range (from £17, clinique.co.uk and World Duty Free).

A PR IL /M AY 2014 |

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LUGGAGE MSC GODMOTHER SOPHIA LOREN WITH FENDI LUGGAGE I N 1 9 72

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

BRIGHT BAGS

A bright case from PiP Studio will never get lost on the carousel (£180, amara.com).

New York designer Jonathan Adler has teamed up with luggage brand Tumi for this continental carry-on case (£545, tumi.com).

o g s ’ t Le

Pack right with our pick of the hottest buys for your travels

SIGNATURE STYLE Lulu Guinness has put her legendary lip design on to this glam case (£225, caseluggage.com).

SAIL AWAY Keep things nautical on your next cruise with a pretty sailboat washbag (£17.50, emilyburningham.com).

Keep your documents organised with this classic travel wallet, lined with silk and made from soft calfskin leather. Available in six bright colours, it can also be personalised with a message, your initals or those of a special somebody (£225, noblemacmillan.com).

Chic and stylish luggage to take on your cruise

PHOTO: © HENRY CLARKE CORBIS

ALL IN ORDER


TAILOR-MADE TRAVEL Luxury leather goods and accessories hand crafted in the United Kingdom

You can view the complete travel range and buy online at www.ettinger.co.uk Ettinger is offering Britain readers free delivery worldwide for every order above £200 on www.ettinger.co.uk by using the following code during checkout: BRITFD0211 Visits to the London Showroom are possible by appointment: +44 (0)20 8877 1616 or info@ettinger.co.uk · Ettinger Ltd, 215 Putney Bridge Road, London SW15 2NY, UK


ACCESSORIES TRAVEL COMPANION Smythson’s stylish leather currency case features four pockets, handy for cruises with lots of ports of call (£170, smythson.com).

HOLIDAY SNAPS Sony’s latest autofocus camera has an interchangeable lens and a sleek new design (£670, sony.co.uk).

CRUISE

GADGETS TIME TRAVELLER

Our pick of the latest essential items to take on your holiday

HANDS FREE This smartphone and tablet accessory makes hands-free even easier. The new technology attaches to a device and sticks it to any surface (from £15, selfridges.com).

PRESIDENT’S WATCH Luxury US brand Jorg Gray is a favourite of President Barack Obama. He wore the Chronograph 6500 model (pictured) at his 2009 inauguration (£340, jorggray.co.uk).

The C900 Worldtimer is the perfect accessory for world travellers with a display that covers two time zones (£1,575, christopherward.co.uk).

QUALITY SOUND Bose’s headphones are fun, great to use on-the-go and they look fantastic. Bonus (£129.95, bose.co.uk).

ITALIAN ESSENTIALS Carry your tablet in style in this luxurious Italian leather case from Piquardo, available in 10 colours (£95, piquadro.com). CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM


Swiss movement, English heart

C9 HARRISON B IG D AY- D AT E A U TO MATIC Made in Switzerland / ModiďŹ ed ETA 2836-2 automatic movement with Big Day-Date complication by Johannes Jahnke / 38 hour power reserve / 43mm, Hand-polished, 316L stainless steel case / Anti-reective sapphire crystal / Exhibition case-back / Italian leather strap with Bader deployment


H E A LT H & W E L L B E I N G

CRUISEWell

Every issue we bring you the latest health and wellbeing news CHOCOLATE HEAVEN

La dolce vita

Want healthy cruise food without feeling you’re missing out? The Eataly restaurants on MSC Preziosa and MSC Divina offer Italian cuisine with healthy ingredients from the Med; flavonoid-rich tomatoes and fresh seafood (msccruises.co.uk).

GO SMILE If you’ve ever fancied brightening your smile, a sea day offers the perfect opportunity to try teeth whitening. Carnival’s Cloud 9 spas offer the Go Smile tooth whitening treatment (from $149*, carnival.co.uk).

BRAND ON BOARD

Sleep easy A good night’s sleep makes the world of difference to your holiday, especially if you’ve had a long flight. Aromatherapy Associates have a luxurious new eye mask to take with you on your next escape. The lightly-cushioned silk Relax Eye Mask has a velvet lining and lavender filling which will help you drift into a relaxing sleep on board (£46, available from aromatherapyassociates.com). 22

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Luxury British perfumer Penhaligon’s have teamed up with Cunard to offer their richscented toiletries on board. Quercus will be available on the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 for all of 2014 (cunard.co.uk).

WORDS: JOSEPHINE PRICE PHOTOS: © ISTOCK/ VALENTINA FUSCO MSC/ KENT PHILLIPS DISNEY CRUISE LINE *PRICE QUOTED FOR A 30 MINUTE TREATMENT

Happy Easter: not only does chocolate contain the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin so it makes you feel good but it has soothing antioxidant properties as well. Disney Cruise Line’s Senses spa offers a Hot Chocolate Wrap: you’re cocooned in a chocolate masque then given a massage. Bliss (disneycruise. disney.go.com).


Passion AN AFFORDABLE LUXURY

True passion is born when a team is devoted to perfection. Oceania Cruises’ chefs present the finest culinary experience at sea as inspired by Master Chef Jacques Pépin. Dine whenever you wish and with whomever you choose in our complimentary gourmet restaurants. Immerse yourself in the cuisine and culture of more than 300 global destinations. Or simply relax with a massage in our Canyon Ranch SpaClub®. Our passion is

Value

without compromise.

New Offers Available Now Visit us at the London Cruise Show, 22-23 March PLEASE CONTAC T OCEANIA CRUISES 0845 505 1920 | O C E A N I AC R U I S E S . COM


S TA R C R U I S E R S

CELEBS

at sea

[ INTERVIEW WITH ] Atul Kochhar

Lesley Garrett

The soprano singer performs on Saga Sapphire’s nine-night Nordic cruise this September OI

love the pace of cruising: it’s a bit like being a snail. You’ve got your house on your back and you can just be so comfortable and looked after on the ship. But you can then venture forth and see the most extraordinary things.

OI’m

a real foodie. If I can, I like to do cookery courses in the countries I visit. I’m desperate to learn Moroccan cookery there’s a cookery course in Marrakech that I really want to try.

It would have to be Mauritius and the Maldives for family holidays, but from an eating point of view, I adore Italy. It’s a paradise.

OOf

OMy

most exciting experience of travelling so far would be visiting the waterfalls of Atherton Tablelands in Australia. It was absolutely idyllic. *The nine-night opera-themed Nordic Notes cruise departs from Dover on 2 September on Saga Sapphire, with prices f ro m £ 1 ,1 36 p p (sa g a .co.u k) .

I LOVE discovering new food when travelling. I have tried all sorts of things – insects, bugs, new fruits of the Amazon – but nothing can beat a good old simple chicken curry for me. MEETING NEW PEOPLE is always

JAMES MARTIN is the latest celebrity chef to join P&O Cruises’ Food Heroes. The presenter of Saturday Kitchen will be heading up the first British cookery school at sea, The Cookery Club, on board the new ship Britannia when it launches in 2015. “I’ve been fortunate that my career has been very varied, but I’m always most at home when I have the opportunity to talk to people face-to-face,” James said. “I’m delighted with the progress of The Cookery Club: the plans look amazing and I think it will be a world-class space.” Two-hour classes for up to 24 passengers will offer the chance to learn a range of cuisines from Asian to European. Go to pocruises.com.

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exciting, which is why I enjoy being one of P&O’s chefs at sea. There is something about cruise passengers that I love. They’re so engaging and interesting, they always have a story to tell. CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

WORDS: JOSEPHINE PRICE PHOTOS: © SIMON FOWLER DECCA RECORDS/ISTOCK/ NEALE HAYNES/ STEVE DUNLOP/TOURISM MAURITIUS/MIKE COOPER/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

my family, I’m probably the one with the biggest wanderlust. I just love to travel and have been all over the world with my work. When I was growing up we only had one week-long holiday per year so holidays are very precious to me – I try to make sure I have as many as possible now I’m an adult.

MY FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD?


RECIPES

AsiaN

SENSATION

Stir your senses with Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar’s mouthwatering curry recipes

Cambodian Aubergine & Beans Curry 2 tbsp vegetable oil 4 cloves of garlic, minced 2 shallots, sliced 2 dried red chillies 3 tbsp kroeung paste 1 tbsp shrimp paste, tuk prahok 1 tbsp palm sugar

500ml coconut milk 300ml vegetable or chicken stock 4-5 aubergines 6 kafďŹ r lime leaves fresh basil leaves salt and pepper 2 limes, cut in half 1 small red onion

CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

SERVES 4

FOR THE MARINADE OIn the top of a double boiler, combine all of the marinade ingredients and place over simmering water in the lower pan (or use a heatproof bowl over a saucepan). As the mixture heats, whisk until the sugar and miso melt and the mixture is smooth. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. OPre-heat oil in a wok or pan and sautĂŠ garlic,

shallots, red chillies for 2-3 minutes or until lightly coloured. Stir in kroeung, shrimp paste and palm sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until mixture darkens. Add aubergines and lime leaves followed by coconut milk and stock. OSimmer gently for 20 minutes or until aubergine is cooked. Stir in the basil leaves and correct the seasoning and serve with jasmine rice and lime wedges and sliced onion rings.  OCTOBER / NOV EMBER 2013 |

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Serve garnished with chopped coriander, mint, chilli and ginger

4 tbsp vegetable oil 2 cloves 2 green cardamom pods 3 tbsp ground almonds 3 tbsp Onion Masala Gravy ½ tsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground coriander ¼ tsp red chilli powder 150ml coconut milk 150ml single cream 2 tsp butter 80g squid rings

8 king-sized scallops, with coral removed 8 large raw prawns, peeled (tails left on), cleaned and deveined 8 green lip mussels Salt and black pepper

TO GARNISH Finely chopped coriander and mint leaves 1 green chilli, finely chopped 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

METHOD OHeat half the oil in a pan and sauté the cloves and cardamoms for a minute until the spices sizzle. Add the ground almonds, coriander, cumin and chilli powder and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 3–4 minutes, then add the single cream and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. O In a frying pan, heat the remaining oil and the butter and sauté the

seafood pieces one type after the other, for 1–2 minutes, to seal and sear. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon before adding the next. Set aside until required. OBring the sauce to a simmer and add all the seafood and juices. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until completely cooked. Serve garnished with the chopped coriander, mint, chilli and ginger. Add a flourish by presenting with a few edible flowers.

PHOTO: ©

Seafood korma SERVES 4


Vietnamese chicken curry SERVES 6

PHOTOS: © MIKE COOPER PHOTOGRAPHY

800g skinless chicken thighs or drumsticks 400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm dice 3 tbs vegetable oil 2 onions, finely chopped 2 bay leaves 3 lemongrass stalks, lightly bruised 2 red chillies 1 tsp sugar

600ml coconut milk 4 spring onions, sliced

FOR THE PASTE 1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled 3 lemongrass stalks 3 garlic cloves, peeled 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp curry powder ½ tsp black peppercorns 2 red chillies

METHOD O Make a fine paste from the paste ingredients. Rub all over the chicken pieces, then leave to marinate in a cool place for 30 minutes. OMeanwhile, blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, until just cooked. Drain well. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside until required.

OReheat the oil in the pan and fry

the chicken and onions until lightly coloured. Add the bay leaves, lemongrass, red chilli, sugar, coconut milk and salt to taste. Stir well, then simmer gently for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is perfectly cooked. OAdd the potatoes and simmer for a couple of minutes to reheat, and then garnish with the spring onions to serve.


Haeundae Beach Busan Cinema Center

Beomeosa Temple

Nurimaru APEC House

⯽⯽⯽⮴⯨⯻⯹⯧⯴⮴⯭⯵⮴⯱⯸


CRUISE AND STAY

Stay… a lit tle bit longer

PHOTO: © ISTOCK

One of the hottest holiday trends right now is to combine a cruise with a hotel or resort stay. Here’s the Cruise International guide to some of the most exciting options around.


CRUISE AND STAY

florida but within easy reach of South Beach; Tampa has the Sandpearl Hotel with rooms from £216pp per night (sandpearl.com). In Orlando, there are plenty of hotels to suit all tastes along International Drive and an excellent range at Walt Disney World Resort, but one of the best options has to be Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Resort from £253pp per night (universalorlando.com) – it’s an astonishing replica of the Italian resort. SAMPLE CRUISE: Carnival has an eight-night Caribbean cruise on Carnival Breeze departing from Miami on 6 December 2014 from £1,279pp (carnival.co.uk/0845 351 0556). FIND OUT MORE: miamiandbeaches.com; visittampabay.com; visitorlando.com; sunny.org 

Below: The bright lights of Tampa Bay

PHOTO: Š VISITTAMPABAY.COM

The Sunshine State is exceptionally cruise-friendly with four ports: Tampa, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades and Miami. Its golden beaches and family attractions are all within easy reach making it a great location for a cruise-and-stay holiday. MUST SEES: Kennedy Space Center; Miami’s South Beach; the historic neighbourhood of Ybor City in Tampa; Everglades National Park, Fort Lauderdale; Orlando’s theme parks: Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. WHERE TO STAY: The JW Marriott in Miami (marriott.co.uk) is a luxurious hotel with rooms from £188pp per night, ideally located on the waterfront, just 10 minutes from the Port of Miami


PHOTOS:©©ISTOCK PHOTO:

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CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM


CRUISE AND STAY

seat tle favoured by President Obama. For those who love the outdoors and who fancy escaping the city, there are three national parks within two hours of Seattle: Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic. MUST SEES: The 650ft-high Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass, Puget Sound islands. WHERE TO STAY: Luxury hotel, Fairmont Olympic (fairmont.com/seattle) has rooms from ÂŁ192pp per night and is located in downtown Seattle. SAMPLE CRUISE: A 10-night Alaska cruise with Royal Caribbean on Rhapsody of the Seas departing on 6 June 2014 costs from ÂŁ1,814pp (royalcaribbean. co.uk, 0844 493 2061). FIND OUT MORE: visitseattle.org 

PHOTOS: Š ISTOCK

Seattle is known as the gateway to Alaska and makes a wonderful pre- or post-cruise stay. It’s a beautiful waterfront city, which is bordered by the Cascade Mountains and overlooks the pretty islands of Puget Sound. As the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle will keep you busy during your stay. Explore the city’s Experience Music Project which traces the heritage of American popular music and houses the world’s largest collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia or check out the Seattle Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park. If you’re a foodie, head to the waterfront to find the best seafood restaurants to try the famous salmon, Olympia oysters and Dungeness crab. Make sure to sample a Top Pot doughnut - as

CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

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new york

PHOTO: Š ISTOCK

The Big Apple makes for an exhilarating stay before or after your cruise to the Caribbean or New England and Canada. Manhattan is famed for its restaurants, shops, theatres, towering architecture and cool, urban lifestyle. Experience life as a New Yorker and enjoy the buzz of hailing a yellow cab, Madison Square Garden or strolling through Central Park with a hotdog. For a change of pace, Boston is just a few hours away, with its rich architecture, history and grand universities. MUST SEES: The views from the Empire State Building; newly reopened Ellis Island; the Statue of Liberty; Soho and the Meatpacking District; the urban beauty of the High Line and Chelsea Market. WHERE TO STAY: The Le Parker Meridien (parkermeridien.com) boasts a fantastic address in New York, a short stroll away from Central Park and within easy reach of the renowned boutiques that line Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and the Rockefeller Center. Rooms start at £257pp per night. SAMPLE CRUISE: Norwegian Cruise Line has a seven-night Canada and New England cruise on Norwegian Gem departing from New York on 13 September 2014 from £449pp (ncl.co.uk/ 0845 201 8900). FIND OUT MORE: nycgo.com 


PHOTOS: ©


Caribbean Longing for idyllic sun-kissed beaches and the chance to really relax on your next holiday? Carnival Cruise Lines offers fabulous itineraries sailing on their fun-filled ships

Clockwise from above: try out the onboard mini golf courses for fun in the sun; watch the world go by from your balcony room; Carnival Dream; enjoy an apéritif or after-dinner drink in one of the bars or pubs; chill out in the Cloud9 spa

D

id you know that Carnival Cruise Lines has 17 ships sailing the Caribbean year round in 2014, departing from Miami, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale and many more fantastic US ports? When it comes to exploring these wonderful islands, they’ve got it covered. Whether you fancy taking a tour in a glass-bottomed boat in the Bahamas, going diving in the world-famous Palancar Reef at Mexico’s Cozumel, mountain biking through the lush rainforest of Belize, visiting colonial fortresses in San Juan or chilling on a beach on the beautiful island of St Kitts, there are some unforgettable experiences waiting for you on a Carnival Caribbean cruise. 36

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THE SHIPS AND ITINERARIES Carnival’s ships depart from some of the most exciting cities in the US, meaning you can combine your Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean cruise holiday with a fabulous preor post-cruise stay. Carnival Breeze sails from Miami, with great nightlife on Ocean Drive, beautiful art deco South Beach and of course those famous white sandy beaches. There are six and eightnight Caribbean cruises on Carnival Breeze in 2014, with ports of call including St Maarten, St Kitts, San Juan, Cozumel, Nassau, Aruba, Curaçao and Grand Cayman. If you choose Carnival Dream you’ll depart from New Orleans, where you can

enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the historic French Quarter or visit one of the city’s incredible museums. In 2014 a seven-night Exotic Western Caribbean cruise features Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel; a seven-night Eastern Caribbean trip takes you to the Bahamas, and a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise goes to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Fort Lauderdale, home to Carnival Freedom, is a bustling seafront city known for its wonderful beaches, restaurants and shopping malls – plus the chance to see alligators in the Everglades. Cruises from here go all over the Caribbean with a choice of six or eight-night itineraries. CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM


PHOTOS: © CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES

PROMOTION

Carnival Sunshine departs from Port Canaveral, on Florida’s Space Coast – just an hour away from Orlando with its fabulous theme parks. The seven and eightnight itineraries include Eastern islands like Grand Turk with its aquamarine seas and protected coral reef – perfect for divers, Western stops such as Isla Roatán and the hidden coves of Curaçao in the south. Carnival Valor offers two seven-night Southern Caribbean cruises in 2014 with calls including St Thomas, San Juan, Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts and St Maarten. You can start your cruise from historic San Juan in Puerto Rico, with its cobblestone streets and wide boulevards, Spanish architecture and designer boutiques – this city of contrasts is well worth exploring. Or choose to depart from Bridgetown in Barbados, and visit rum distilleries and sugar plantations as well as stunning pearly-pink sand beaches and underground pools.

NON-STOP FUN Carnival won Best for Activities at last year’s Cruise International Awards – so why not join them for some well-deserved fun? Here’s just a taste of what’s waiting for you on board… CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

THE PUNCHLINER COMEDY CLUB New for the Fun Ship 2.0 programme, the Punchliner Comedy Club has live comedians, with a mix of family-friendly and late-night shows. Plus, on sea days you’re treated to a mid-morning Punchliner Comedy Brunch.

THE STEAKHOUSE Carnival’s most sophisticated spot offers juicy steaks and fine wines in a sumptuous setting modelled on a New York steakhouse. As well as juicy steaks you’ll find other delectable entrées on the menu including double-cut lamb chops, lobster tail and broiled rosemary-infused chicken.

ALCHEMY BAR

Treatments include an energising Thai herbal poultice massage, a soothing bamboo massage and a range of facials. On deck the Serenity adults-only retreat has relaxing pods and beds, and you can take a dip in the whirlpool and enjoy drinks from the private bar – a true oasis of calm.

CARNIVAL WATERWORKS Zip down the Twister waterslide in the onboard waterpark – Carnival Sunshine has side-by-side racing slide Speedway Splash – and if you hang out under the PowerDrencher you’re in for a serious soaking. Cruise the Caribbean with Carnival Cruise Lines in 2014 and you’ll have a fun-filled holiday to remember.

This is the perfect place for an apéritif or after-dinner drink with its cool and sophisticated vibe. Take a seat at the vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” where mixologists will fix you a bespoke cocktail, or try one of the carefully crafted drinks on the backlit menus.

CLOUD 9 SPA & SERENITY With its heated beds overlooking the sea, a thermal suite based on traditional Turkish baths and a thalassotherapy pool, the Cloud 9 Spa is made for serious pampering.

Go online: Cruises start from just £249pp (not including flights). To book your holiday to the Caribbean go to carnival.co.uk, call 0845 351 0556 or call your travel agent

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CRUISE AND STAY

jamaica With its lush rainforest, waterfalls and superb beaches, Jamaica is one of the most extraordinary islands in the Caribbean. Whether you’re setting off on an inland adventure to the Blue Mountains or enjoying its crystalline waters, the island guarantees the ultimate relaxation. Cruises depart from the ports of Montego Bay, Falmouth or Ocho Rios. MUST SEES: Dunn’s River Falls; the Black River (home to crocodiles and over 100 species of birds); the Bob Marley Centre.

PHOTO: Š ISTOCK

SAMPLE CRUISE-AND-STAY PACKAGE: Thomson Cruises offers a 14-night Cuban Fusion itinerary with seven nights on board Thomson Dream and seven nights at the Sensatori resort. Departing from Birmingham, London Gatwick and Newcastle airports on 13 January 2015, prices begin at ÂŁ1,879 (thomson. co.uk/cruise or call 0871 230 2800).  FIND OUT MORE: cruisejamaica.com


Exotic Escapes *ALL OFFERS ARE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY AND ARE DEPENDENT ON DATE OF DEPARTURE AND TIME OF BOOKING. FOR FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS PLEASE VISIT THOMSON.CO.UK/CRUISE PHOTO: © THOMSON CRUISES

With a range of exciting Caribbean and Central American destinations, upgraded ships and fantastic excursions on offer in 2014, there’s never been a better time to book a Thomson Cruises holiday Clockwise from left: idyllic Caribbean beach; 3RUN showcases the delights of Jamaica; and spectacular Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, Mexico

A

cruise is one of the best ways to discover the extraordinary diversity of the Caribbean – and Thomson Cruises offer great value for money holidays and enticing itineraries to help you make the most of this beautiful region. Their exciting ports of call for the 2014/15 winter season include Havana, the Cuban city that never sleeps, famous for its fabulous architecture and cultural vibrancy; Playa del Carmen, known for having Mexico’s best beaches and home to Chichén Itzá, one of the most spectacular Mayan historical sites; Roatán in Honduras, a top spot for divers with its coral reef, hidden shipwrecks and a variety of exotic sea creatures; Belize, with its breathtaking barrier reef; the Panama Canal, widely regarded as one of the world’s must-see sights; and Costa Rica, with its magnificent rainforests, wildlife and sun-baked sands.

ONBOARD FUN Thomson Cruises, part of TUI UK & Ireland, is the third largest cruise line in the UK, with four ships offering superb entertainment and delicious food. Entertainment on board includes West End style shows, games and quizzes, and there’s a wide choice of dining options. Tips are included too, giving you total peace of mind when you’re budgeting for your cruise.

revolutionary Thomson 787 Dreamliner from a number of airports. Fancy a cruise-and-stay holiday? You can combine your cruise with hotels from Thomson Couples to A la Carte properties – or stay at the luxurious Sensatori hotel. There are some great early booking deals, too. Upgrade to an all-inclusive drinks package from just £10pp per night on all winter 2014/15 cruises from Barbados. And couples sailing on Thomson Dream from Montego Bay will get £100 to spend on board.* With so much on offer, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable time on a Thomson Cruises holiday. To celebrate the new home port of Montego Bay in Jamaica, Thomson Cruises with the help of the Olympic medallist, Yohan Blake have created a promotional video called Dream Runners. Collaborating with the renowned freerunning group, 3RUN, the video shows Yohan and the runners make their way down to the ship with some spectacular stunts along the way which highlight some of the stunning attractions on the island of Jamaica. To watch the video, search for Thomson Cruise and Dream Runners on YouTube.

DREAMLINER FLIGHTS Thomson Dream will have a new home port in Montego Bay, Jamaica from December 2014, while Thomson Celebration will operate from Bridgetown, Barbados. As part of your package you can fly on the CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

To find out more about Thomson Cruises visit thomson.co.uk/cruise or call 0871 230 2800

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“This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about”

RUDYARD KIPLING

Burma Yangon

Bay of Bengal

INDIA Chennai

Sri Lanka Colombo

andaman islands Port Blair Thailand Malacca Phuket

Strait

Penang

Galle

Malaysia Malacca Singapore

COLOMBO TO SINGAPORE 21-DAY CRUISE-TOUR DEPARTING JANUARY 4, 2015 Fly to COLOMBO Sri Lanka (2-night hotel stay) Cruise to GALLE ~ CHENNAI (Madras) India

Burma & the Malay Peninsula Sail into the heart of Burma, historical Malaysia and the dynamic city of Singapore

This voyage will take you into the heart of this mysterious, beautiful and deeply

spiritual country of incredible landscapes, truly breathtaking, man-made edifices – like the temples at Bagan or the golden Shwedagon – and a warm and friendly people. Your arrival is fittingly spectacular as the size of our ship allows us to sail up the Yangon River to berth in the port of Yangon (Rangoon), the former capital of Burma. From Burma you will sail to Phuket in Thailand to explore this delightful resort. An overnight cruise takes you to the Malaysian island of Penang with its rich colonial history and then on to the port of Malacca, once the centre of the spice trade. Your journey ends with a two-night hotel stay in Singapore, the city that combines the colonial elegance of the Sir Stamford Raffles era with the dynamism of a modern hi-tech city-state.

On board you will be accompanied by a team of expert guest speakers including Robert Gordon who was British Ambassador in Burma from 1995-99. He is currently President of the Britain-Burma Society and was a panellist for Aung San Suu Kyi’s 2011 Reith lecture.

PORT BLAIR Andaman Islands YANGON Burma (2 nights on board) PHUKET Thailand ~ PENANG Malaysia MALACCA ~ SINGAPORE (2-night hotel stay)

EXCEPTIONAL VALUE – CRUISE-TOUR FARES INCLUDE: t

Return scheduled economy class flights with overseas transfers/baggage handling

t t

Domestic connections from selected UK airports

t t

2 nights on board in Yangon

t

Open-seating dining with choice of 2 restaurants on board

t

Complimentary wine with dinner on board (beer or soft drinks if preferred)

t

Gratuities for on-board cabin and restaurant staff

2-night hotel stays in both Colombo and Singapore before and after your cruise Sightseeing excursions ashore at all ports of call – escorted by expert guides, and with your own audio headset

SAMPLE FARES

Brochure Fare pp

Saver Fare pp

CAT M Standard Inside CAT J Standard Outside CAT D Deluxe Balcony

£4,450 £5,195 £7,195

£3,995 £4,675 £6,495

Book by 31 March 2014

Aegean Odyssey Small-ship cruising at its best

£2,000

†PER CABIN SAVE UP TO 20% SINGLE SUPPLEMENT* £6 W LO

CRUISES TO

WINTER

£5

,0

00

S RE FA

AFRICA, INDIA &

SOUTHEAST ASIA

BO O

K SA EA VE RL FR Y PE TO OM R CA BIN

00

LE NG SI

Classically elegant, but far from formal, Aegean Odyssey is a premium class, small ship, that provides gracious public rooms, a choice of two restaurants with open-seating dining, generously-sized suites, junior suites and cabins, with and without balconies. Her size also means she has the ability to visit ports that are too small for larger vessels. Accommodating around 350 guests, with a casual and relaxed atmosphere on board, Aegean Odyssey offers the sophisticated traveller every comfort at sea.

2014-2015

DISCOVER THE HISTORY, CULTURES AND NATURAL WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

8 South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JL

TO RESERVE YOUR CABIN CALL 0845 437 9737 †Based on double occupancy (varies by cabin category) *In categories with dedicated single cabins

ABTA No.Y2206

To find out more, call 0845 437 9737 or visit: www.voyagestoantiquity.com


CRUISE AND STAY

PHOTO: Š ISTOCK

asia Whether you choose an ocean or river itinerary, a cruise is an easy way to discover some of the most intriguing destinations in this incredible region. From the ancient temples of Burma, the Great Wall of China, Mount Fuji, Hiroshima and Kyoto in Japan; to floating markets in Vietnam, the Middle Eastern modernity of Dubai and sushi in South Korea’s Busan, it’s a feast for the senses. MUST SEES: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; the Three Gorges, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, China; the Shwedagon Temple, Burma; Mount Fuji, Japan; the Haedong Yonggungsa temple, South Korea; Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Burj Khalifa, Dubai. WHERE TO STAY: An easy way to do a cruise and stay in this region is to spend a few nights in Singapore or Hong Kong. In Singapore, one of the best hotels is the Fullerton Bay (fullertonbayhotel.com), which has rooms

from £259 and views over the Marina Bay. It is within walking distance of the main attractions, including the Raffles Hotel and the Lau Pa Sat food market; while in Hong Kong, the Peninsula Hotel (peninsula.com/HongKong) remains one of the best addresses in the city with rooms starting at £399. It’s close to the the waterfront, where you can take a ferry across to the other islands. SAMPLE CRUISE: Princess Cruises offer a five-day cruise on Sun Princess from Hong Kong to Kobe, Japan departing on 20 April 2014 from £738pp (princess.com/0843 374 4444). FIND OUT MORE: yoursingapore.com; discoverhongkong.com; english.busan.go.kr; cnto.org; definitelydubai.com; vietnamtourism.com; myanmartourism.com; seejapan.co.uk; tourismcambodia.org 


the baltic The cities of the Baltic have retained their old-world charm and are catering to a new wave of visitors inspired by the current obsession with all things Scandinavian. Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki have a rich culture; St Petersburg, Russia, is an absolute revelation, with the Hermitage Museum, the Catherine Palace and the Peter and Paul Cathedral among its many attractions. Berlin and Tallinn boast a wealth of contrasting modern and historic urban places to visit and Amsterdam is a quintessential Dutch hub, with its waterways winding through the heart of the city where many cruises in the area start and finish.

PHOTOS: © ISTOCK/HELSINKI TOURIST BOARD/ TOOMAS VOLMER TALLINN TOURISM BOARD

MUST SEES: The Winter Palace, St Petersburg; Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen; the Berlin Wall, Berlin; the Unesco World Heritage Site of Suomenlinna, Helsinki; the medieval old town in Tallinn; the canal culture and Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam. WHERE TO STAY: You’re spoiled for choice in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Berlin with hotels to suit all budgets. Helsinki is a fantastic city and the Hotel Kämp (hotelkamp.com) is a great place to set up base and explore. Rooms start at £213pp per night. It’s also worth considering staying in Tallinn and the Merchant’s House Hotel (merchantshousehotel.com), in the heart of the Old Town, offers beautiful rooms from £99 in this historical boutique hotel (find out where to stay in Stockholm on our City Guide overleaf). SAMPLE CRUISE: A 10-day Stockholm to Copenhagen cruise from Oceania departing on 21 June 2014 on Marina costs from £2,186pp (oceaniacruises.com, 0845 505 1920). FIND OUT MORE: visitstockholm.com; visitcopenhagen. com; tourism.tallinn.ee; visitberlin.de; iamsterdam.com; visithelsinki.fi; saint-petersburg.com 42

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Clockwise from top: The Catherine Palace, St Petersburg; Brandenburg Gate, Berlin; the old town of Tallinn; Helsinki by night


PHOTOS: ©

CRUISE AND STAY


Stockholm

CITY GUIDE

Named Best Destination (Europe) at the Cruise International Awards 2013, the Swedish capital is built on 14 islands, and one of the coolest cities to begin or end your Baltic cruise

TAKE A WALK

A stroll around the narrow lanes of the Gamla Stan (old town) is essential, not least because it’s here that you’ll find traditional Swedish shops selling the painted wooden Dala horses and egg-white soaps that are practically synonymous with the country. Fans of the Swedish author Stieg Larsson, creator of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, can stretch their legs on The Millennium Tour on Södermalm – the southern island. This affords great views of the city, takes you to where Larsson’s characters live and provides a brilliant political context to Stockholm. However, at over an hour and a half in length, only diehard fans may want to join this tour (themillenniumtour.com).

GETTING AROUND

The best way to see Stockholm is by ferry: island hopping takes about five minutes. Trams and metros are also frequent and reliable. Buy a Stockholm Card (£46*) for free transport use and entry to over 80 museums.

EAT LIKE A LOCAL

Prinsen is an iconic Stockholm restaurant boasting rustic, romantic charm with red banquettes and wood-panelled walls. Food here is traditional Swedish fare, from herring to minced veal. Popular with locals, it’s hard to get into so book ahead (restaurangprinsen.eu). Definitely take time out for a traditional fika (coffee and pastry break); and at the Saluhall food market pick up a delicious shrimp wrap and watch the world go by (ostermalmshallen.se).


Clockwise, from top left: Stockholm skyline; wooden Dala horse; arty shops on Södermalm; vintage 80s shoes; elk; Abba dolls; street art; the Grand Hôtel; tram travel

SHOPPING

From designer glamour to vintage bargains, Stockholm has all the ingredients for a shopping spree on any budget. Nordiska Kompaniet (nk.se) is a splendid art nouveau department store that sells designer handbags and luxury toiletries. You’ll also find lots of chic boutiques, particularly on Södermalm, offering offbeat fashion and homewares.

Swedish culture

*PRICE QUOTED IS FOR AN ADULT FOR 1 DAY. PHOTO: © ISTOCK/ BJORN TESCH/ CECILIA LARSSON/ TUUKKA ERVASTI VISITSWEDEN/ MIKAEL SJÖBERG VISITSTOCKHOLM/ STOCKHOLM VISITORS BOARD GRAND HÔTEL/LIZ JARVIS/SKANSEN

FROM THE ABBA MUSEUM TO THE TRADITIONAL CHARM OF SKANSEN, STOCKHOLM HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

WHERE TO STAY

With its views of the Palace and parliament buildings, the Grand Hôtel (grandhotel.se) on Östermalm has been offering guests (including Frank Sinatra and Princess Grace of Monaco) total luxury since 1874. Bedrooms are opulent and the breakfast is a feast: pastries, pancakes, smoked fish, rye breads and delicious coffee served in the waterfront restaurant. The basement pool is a grotto of serenity and the sauna is a must. Doubles from £299 per night (B&B). CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

A must-see is the open-air museum Skansen on Djurgården, the island that was once the royal hunting ground. From traditional buildings to native bears and elks, you’ll step back in time and be immersed in Swedish culture. Skansen is a great place to taste some typically Swedish food, too. Enjoy apple cake in a quaint wooden cafe with flock floral wallpaper and a 19th-century cash register (skansen.se).

The Moderna Museet (modernamuseet.se) on Skeppsholmen boasts a brilliant permanent collection with works by Matisse and Dalí, while the Vasa Museum (vasamuseet.se) is built around an enormous 17thcentury galleon, salvaged after 333 years under the sea. The city’s newest addition is Abba: The Museum (abbathemuseum. com), a tribute to Sweden’s most popular musical export.

Go online: For more information on seeing Stockholm go to visitstockholm.com

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PHOTOS: ©

Clockwise, from top left: Kick back in a hammock on board; the kids go hula crazy; blissful blue waters of Grand Turk; Curaçao island; school of tropical fish; the Waterworks slides


CARIBBEAN CRUISE

Breeze

easy

PHOTOS: Š

W

e haven’t even left Miami yet and already a party is in full swing on the decks of Carnival Breeze. Everyone from toddlers to grandparents, teenagers and groups of 40-something women are dancing, trying to follow the choreography of the extremely energetic entertainment crew or simply doing their own thing. Miami Vice cocktails are being poured liberally at the Red Frog bar and there’s a definite holiday atmosphere on board. Carnival Cruise Lines pride themselves on their Fun Ship 2.0 concept, but it doesn’t feel forced: all the guests on board are genuinely having a good time, determined to make the most of their breaks in the sun. This is carefree, laid-back cruising. No one will bat an eye if you want to turn up for dinner in jeans (although there’s usually at least one ‘Elegant Evening’ – formal night – on each cruise). Carnival Breeze is the most recent new-build ship in the line’s fleet. The staterooms are well presented and spacious, public areas are comfortable and stylish with plenty of outside bars and seating areas from where to sit and admire the views. Our Caribbean cruise took us from Miami to islands including the Dominican Republic, Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos and the charming Dutch-owned islands of Curaçao and Aruba. Take it from me, leaving behind the

unpredictable British weather to bask in the sunshine at sea is the best possible way to recharge your batteries. Excursions are run by local people, adding an authentic feel. There’s a huge range of options available in every port, ranging from guided tours to those which let you do your own thing. In Grand Turk I opted to go snorkelling off Governor’s Beach, which is probably about as close to Caribbean perfection as it’s possible to get: glittering aquamarine sea teaming with tropical fish, white gold sand so soft you can sink right into it, plenty of palm trees for shade, a single bar and very little else. We were handed our snorkelling equipment and then the rest of the morning was up to us. On the Dominican Republic I chose the tour of Santo Domingo, not only the oldest city on the island, but in the Americas. It’s well-preserved, with some slightly crumbling facades adding to the sense of history and romance. Our excellent guide kept us enthralled with tales of history and culture during the coach journey there and back. We explored centuries-old buidlings including the Alcåzar de Colón and the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, were given a meal of rice and beans, plantain, stewed chicken and aubergine with cheese, and treated to a traditional dance display. It felt very much as though 

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PHOTOS: Š CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES/CHRIS CRUMLEY ALAMY/ISTOCK/ SOLOMON BAKSH TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS TOURIST BOARD

Liz Jarvis joins a cruise on Carnival Breeze from Miami to the Caribbean and discovers the Fun Ship 2.0 concept ďŹ rst-hand


Carnival pride themselves on their Fun Ship 2.0 concept but it doesn’t feel forced: all the guests on board are genuinely having a good time


CARIBBEAN CRUISE

PHOTOS: ©DOMINICAN REPUBLIC MINISTRY OF TOURISM/CARINVAL CRUISE LINES/LIZ JARVIS

Facing page, clockwise from top left: Glorious views in the Dominican Republic; fresh tortilla wraps served at Blue Iguana; Carnival Breeze in Grand Turk; traditional dancers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Waterworks fun slides we’d been given the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the local culture, rather than simply observing it. Back on board Carnival Breeze there are plenty of places to relax in the sun, including the adults-only Serenity area. Unusually there is no extra charge to access this – but if you want a lounger, my advice is to get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as they’re so popular. Water fun comes in the form of the three pools, the Waterworks (slides and chutes to suit all ages) and various jacuzzis: my personal favourite was the one close to my stateroom, overlooking the ocean. The children we were travelling with were thrilled with the kids’ clubs which are wellplanned, with a huge range of options for ages two to 17, ranging from craft sessions and entertainment to activities on the sports and pool decks. I was particularly impressed with the teen spaces, as this is a notoriously difficult age group to please: when I popped my head round the door of the clubs for the 12- to 14-year-olds and the 15- to 17-yearolds I was delighted to see girls and boys talking and laughing with each other (albeit while closely monitoring their mobile phones at the same time). The head camp counsellor told me that many kids make such good friends on board they’ll stay in touch via social media. The younger children all seemed to be having an excellent time, and are closely supervised: parents are given walkie-talkies (free of charge) for the duration of their cruise so they can stay in close contact. When the Dr Seuss characters arrive on board later this year it will consolidate Carnival’s position as one of the leaders in the family cruise market. CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

For adults the Cloud 9 spa is definitely worth a visit. There’s a Thalassotherapy pool with ocean views, a laconium, sauna and steam rooms, and an excellent treatment menu. I plumped for a divine Elemis facial and drifted off, waking with polished skin. Although there are only two speciality restaurants on board (including Fahrenheit 555, $35 cover charge per person), the quality and range of options available in the Lido Marketplace food court and at the Sapphire and the Blush main dining restaurants is very good; lobster is available on Elegant Evening – the maître d’ informed us they’ll serve 1,200 of these in one night. The Melting Chocolate pudding is delectable (and I’m not ashamed to admit I had it two nights in a row). Must-tries on the Lido Deck include the Blue Iguana, famed for its bespoke tortilla wrap service (they’re incredibly fresh), and the heavenly Guy Fieri burgers: my advice is to stick to the adage that calories don’t count at sea, and just enjoy the culinary experience. You can always hit the gym if you’re feeling guilty. Or not. Carnival Breeze is a ship that never really sleeps, so you’ll find plenty to do after dinner, including karaoke, a range of bars, a cool nightclub and, should you so desire, there’s even a pub (with nightly quizzes). There are regular performances in the theatre including an excellent magician and the popular Motown Nights show, plus stand-up comedy at the Punchliner Comedy Club. What struck me most about Carnival is that it’s an incredibly inclusive cruise line – possibly one of the most inclusive I’ve experienced. Everyone is welcome and treated the same: young or old, able-bodied or not.

The crew were friendly and helpful, and there are flourishes such as a nightly turndown service complete with chocolates and towel art (my favourite was the baby elephant). Overall, it’s a completely unpretentious experience and that’s probably why so many of the holidaymakers on board seemed to be repeat guests. We could probably have done without the slightly mad crush to get off the ship in ports of call (everyone’s allowed off at the same time, rather than being staggered), and the scramble for poolside space on sea days. But these are minor issues because you soon find your own rhythm on board. For now, if you want to join a cruise on Carnival Breeze you’ll have to fly to Miami, but this is an opportunity to spend a night in one of the most exciting cities on the East Coast of the US. And I promise you, as soon as you step into that Florida sunshine and board your ship, you’ll start to relax: exactly what a holiday should be about, right?

GETTING THERE An eight-night Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise on Carnival Breeze starts at £2,359 for a family of four, departing 2 August 2014. See carnival.co.uk or call 0845 351 0556. British Airways has daily flights to Miami from £604 return including all taxes, fees and charges (ba.com).

Go online: Watch Liz’s video review at cruise-international.com/carnivalcruise-review

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MEDITERRANEAN CRUISES

Med 2014

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COOL

Since ancient civilizations first thrived around its sandy shores, the Mediterranean has influenced Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. From Roman ruins and fishing villages to chic marinas, idyllic beaches and cosmpolitan cities, Deborah Stone selects this year’s hottest ports of call


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EXPLORE THE Moorish STREETS OF Alicante’s SPLENDID historic quarter


WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN

Clockwise, from left: The town of Altea, Alicante province; lemons and red peppers for sale, AmalďŹ ; balcony in Seville; traditional pots, Capri

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Britain Most cruises from Britain that are heading to the Mediterranean will leave from Southampton, Portsmouth and Dover because they are just that little bit further south, although Avonmouth in Bristol has some Mediterranean-bound cruises. Round-trips from the UK to the Med are very popular because you don’t have the luggage restrictions of airlines or the stress of airport security checks and queues. They are particularly popular with families and older passengers who might not want to fly. Celebrity Cruises has a 14-night Mediterranean Cruise round-trip from Southampton, with its first stop at GIBRALTAR, where the streets are still recognisably British but the temperatures are decidedly Spanish. With full days in Civitavecchia and LIVORNO passengers can visit Rome and FLORENCE or Pisa, and on the way home a day in Malaga gives them the opportunity to take an excursion to SEVILLE. There are also plenty of sea days to enjoy Celebrity Eclipse’s facilities. The cruise costs from £1,499pp, two sharing. (celebritycruises.co.uk/0844 493 2043). Round-trips from Southampton to the Mediterranean often go to the same big ports, but P&O Cruises’ adults-only Adonia is small enough to get into some of the more out-of-the-way places. Its 18-night round-trip from Southampton departing 5 October heads straight to spicy Tangiers where you can enjoy the colourful markets, then to romantic SORRENTO on Italy’s Amalfi coastline, where you can go up Pompeii or over to Capri. Have a go at breaking the bank at Monte Carlo and explore the Moorish streets of ALICANTE’S splendid historic quarter – easily walkable from the new cruise terminal. Prices start at £3,149pp, two sharing (pocruises.com/0843 374 0111).  A PR IL /M AY 2014 |

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It’s not the prettiest of ports, but Genoa’s position on the Italian Riviera means it’s well placed for cruises west towards France and Spain, around Italy or further east to the Greek islands and Israel. A 20-minute walk from the terminal reveals a brighter side to the city, with the old centre a mostly pedestrianized area of shops, cafÊs and buildings such as the Doge’s Palace and Cathedral of San Lorenzo. P&O Cruises has a 7-night Italy and Croatia cruise that leaves Genoa on 3 September and heads south to Livorno, where you can take an excursion to Florence, and Naples, where Pompeii and the equally fascinating Herculaneum is easily visited, before sailing up the south-east coast of Italy to Croatia’s glorious terracotta-tiled town of DUBROVNIK then overnight in incomparable Venice (pocruises.com/0843 374 0111). MSC Cruises has a 7-night Italy, France and Spain cruise with departures until 15 September on MSC Sinfonia from £599 cruise only. After a day in Cannes the ship heads to lesser-visited destinations IBIZA, with its great beaches and the famous Hippy Market and MAHÓN, on MENORCA, a wonderful town with a honey-coloured stone cathedral and historic Moorish  buildings (msccruises.co.uk/0844 561 1955).

Above: Menorca’s unspoilt turquoise waters make it a favoured destination for Spanish holidaymakers

PHOTOS: PHOTOS: Š ISTOCK

WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN


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The Most Awarded Ultra-Premium Vodka In The World purityvodka.com · facebook.com/purityvodka · @purityvodka PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. Purity® Vodka 40% Alc by Vol. Distilled from Grain. Imported by Purity Vodka, Manhasset, NY. Product of Sweden. © 2014 Purity Vodka Inc.


WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN

Clockwise, from bottom left: Ravello, the AmalďŹ Coast, southern Italy; traditional ďŹ shing village of Assos on Cephalonia island in Greece; bright pink Petunias grow on a window sill of a home in Monterosso, Italy

FROM

You’ll feel like a millionaire when you sail from MONACO, with its manicured streets winding up to the old town with its royal Palace and unique Oceanographic Museum, Temple of the Sea, which opened in 1910. On the other side of the harbour are Monte Carlo’s casino, designer shops and upmarket restaurants. Most cruises from Monaco stick to France and Italy, although Barcelona may be on the itinerary and longer cruises will go as far as Croatia and western Greece. Azamara Club Cruises has a 7-night Monaco to Rome cruise on 20 September, from £1,884pp, two sharing. It calls at Livorno and Civitavecchia and at colourful, old-world PORTO VENERE. It is south of the splendid Cinque Terre ports, which include MONTEROSSO, but equally picturesque (azamaraclubcruises.com/0844 493 4016). Regent Seven Seas has a 10-night Monte Carlo to Venice cruise, including an overnight stay in Monaco, on Seven Seas Mariner from £4,199. Departure is on 13 September with stops at SORRENTO and Argostoli on the Greek island of CEPHALONIA, setting for the novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (rssc.com/02380 682 280). 

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Monaco


CAP PRIN SAV TAIN’SCESS E U CIRC PER P TO C £ LE OU

PLE

*

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COME BACK NEW

Discover new places. Experience new cultures. Learn more about the world you don’t see every day. A cruise with Princess offers beautiful scenery, brand new experiences and fresh perspectives. You’ll come home with new friendships, new stories to tell and new memories to share. This is our promise – that you’ll come back new. Cascading waterfalls, the glow of the midnight sun. Fairy tale palaces and scented lavender fields. All are within easy reach with a Princess cruise from Southampton. Discover the jewels of the Mediterranean, capitals of the Baltic and the drama of the Norwegian Fjords. Take a fly-cruise to explore ancient treasures of the Greek Isles and Black Sea. Or join Royal Princess on a voyage around the British Isles. We don’t think a cruise is good enough unless you come back new. So pick up a copy of our Mediterranean & Northern Europe 2015 brochure now and find out why only Princess has been awarded ‘Best Cruise Line Itineraries’ nine years running.

MEDITERRANEAN & NORTHERN EUROPE 2015 CRUISES ON SALE NOW EXCLUSIVE LAUNCH OFFERS: ,756£99pp DEPOSIT^  $4#0&0'9FREE DRINKS PACKAGE† WITH CARIBBEAN PRINCESS CRUISES SAILING ROUNDTRIP FROM SOUTHAMPTON

TO BOOK OR REQUEST A BROCHURE †Free drinks package applies to 2015 Caribbean Princess sailings roundtrip from Southampton only, on bookings made by 30 June 2014, subject to availability. Package includes beer, cocktails, spirits and glasses of wine under $10; all nonalcoholic beverages including tea & coffee; 40% discount on bottles of wine under $100; and any food items included with the coffee card (crepes, gelato, etc). Package does not include any room service or mini-bar. The drinks package is available to passengers 18 years or older. Passengers under 18 will receive the “Unlimited soda & more package” with their booking. Drinks package is non-transferable. ^Reduced deposit of £99pp applies to 2015 Alaska, Mediterranean & Northern Europe cruises booked by 30 June 2014. *Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle savings of £100 per couple apply to new bookings made by 31 August 2014. Savings apply to first two passengers per stateroom only.

contact your travel agent call us on 0843 373 0333 visit princess.com


Clockwise, from this picture: Gaudí’s Park Guell, Barcelona; Peniscola port, Valencia; lavender fields in Provence; Matisse museum, Nice; port, Nice


WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN

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PHOTOS: Š ISTOCK/ATOUT FRANCE/ VILLE DE NICE MUSÉE MATISSE/NATHALIE LAVARENNE/ NICE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU

Barcelona Cruise from BARCELONA, one of the most central positions in the Mediterranean, with France just a short distance, Italy only a little further and the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Majorca and Menorca within easy reach. Barcelona’s Las Ramblas and old Gothic quarter are a 10-minute bus ride from the cruise terminal or brisk 30-minute walk (or more in 40°C summer temperatures). Royal Caribbean International’s 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise leaves Barcelona for the French Riviera. First stop is Marseille, gateway to PROVENCE but an excellent destination in its own right if you visit the Vieux Port, or old port, area with its charming streets of boutiques, restaurants, cafÊs and galleries. NICE is equally stylish and especially attractive for art lovers. There are museums for Matisse and Chagall as well as a Contemporary Art Museum. The Liberty of the Seas cruise, departing 19 October, also takes in Livorno, Civitavecchia and Naples, from £973pp, two sharing, including flights (royalcaribbean. co.uk/0844 493 4005).

VISIT the old port IN MARSEILLE WITH ITS charming boutiques Barcelona can offer Mediterranean cruises that go much further west than most. Oceania Cruises’ 10-day Barcelona to Lisbon cruise, departing 14 September from £2,317, will get you to TANGIER, in Morocco, where the smell of spice, colourful souks and narrow streets are a world away from other Mediterranean experiences. This cruise has a very Spanish flavour, though, with calls at Palma, in Mallorca, where the streets around the impressive cathedral are filled with tapas bars and tiny shops; VALENCIA, with its City of Arts and Sciences complex, and Cartagena, which has a restored Roman amphitheatre, ancient castle and city walls (oceaniacruises.com/0845 505 1920).  CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM


A MORNING ON Sardinia GIVES YOU TIME TO HIT THE DESIGNER SHOPS AND WHITE SAND beaches

FROM

Civitavecchia On the west coast of Italy, CIVITAVECCHIA is the departure point for cruises along the romantic Amalfi Coast but it’s also close to the French Riviera and islands of CORSICA, SARDINIA and SICILY. Civitavecchia is an hour from Rome by train and has a charming archaeological museum and an unusually good beach for a major port. SeaDream Yacht Club has a 10-day round trip from Civitavecchia with an overnight stop in chic Bonifacio, on the French island of Corsica, while a morning at the Costa Smeralda on nearby Sardinia gives you time to hit the designer shops or white sand beaches. SeaDream I calls at three ports in Sicily, including Syracuse with its ancient Greek history, Taormina, overlooking Mount Etna, and Trapani (overnight), near picturesque medieval villages. Departs on 29 July 2015 from £4,443pp, two sharing (seadream.com/0800 783 1373).




WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN

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PHOTOS: Š SUPERSTOCK/ TUNISIAN NATIONAL TOURIST OFFICE

Naples This southern Italian port is excellently placed for both western and eastern Mediterranean cruises. France, Spain and the Mediterranean islands are within easy reach, but its position on the west coast gives it access to Turkey, Greece and even further east to northern Egypt and Israel. Naples itself is a wonderful destination. The cruise terminal is an easy walk past the Norman castle up to the heart of NAPLES and the Royal Palace in the massive Piazza Plebiscito, where there are elegant old cafÊs and bars. A bus ride will get you to the archaeology museum which is full of Greek and Roman artefacts including many from POMPEII – an easy half-hour train journey away. A hydrofoil to romantic Capri with its delightful panoramic views departs from near the cruise terminal. MSC Cruises has regular 7-night round trips from Naples that take in Sicily, Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa but also stop at Tunis, the colourful capital of TUNISIA, which is a mix of Arab souks and Parisianstyle boulevards. On the outskirts of the city are the ancient ruins of Carthage which date back to the Ninth Century BC. Once one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world, Carthage’s sprawling sites of interest include the former citadel of Byrsa Hill, the Carthage National Museum and the Roman Amphitheatre which is said to have held 35,000 spectators. Also worth a visit is the pretty seaside town of Sidi Bou Said, about 20km away from the capital and famous for its blue and white Moorish houses. Named after a 12th or 13th-century religious figure, the town has more recently been the home to a variety of artists who find inspiration in its strikingly-colourful architecture. The MSC Splendida cruise costs from £499pp, based on two sharing, cruise only (msccruises.co.uk/0844 561 1955). 

From facing page, left to right: Translucent seas of the Maddalena archipelago, Sardinia, Italy; the Bardo Museum, Tunis, has a vast collection of mosaics gathered from the country’s Roman sites A PR IL /M AY 2014 |

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FROM Venice This is the most dramatic departure point for an exploration of southern Italy and the Croatian coastline, or Turkey and Greece. You will never forget sailing past Venice’s St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace, although new laws in place this year have banned the biggest ships and are limiting the number of others sailing into the Giudecca Canal. A new access channel will be built over the next few years. In the meantime, most ships leave from the Marittima cruise terminal, which is a vaporetto (water bus) ride from the city’s main attractions, while medium to small ships usually moor at San Basilio, which also has a vaporetto stop

but is an interesting walk to St Mark’s through narrow streets and open squares.Venice is close to CROATIA so the ancient walled city of DUBROVNIK and handsome Unesco-listed Split are regular stops. Norwegian Cruise Line’s 7-night Adriatic & Italy cruise calls at both, as well as Koper, Slovenia, which has a medieval centre with cobbled streets, 18thcentury Venetian palaces, fascinating churches and lovely boutiques, cafÊs and bars. The cruise departs from Venice on 25 October and also calls at Naples and Civitavecchia. From £910pp, two sharing, including return flights  (ncl.co.uk/0845 201 8900).


EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

PHOTOS: © ISTOCK

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET SAILING PAST VENICE’S St Mark’s Square AND THE Doge’s Palace


EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

PHOTOS: Š SUPERSTOCK/ALAMY/ISTOCK

Clockwise, from left: Mykonos, Greece; donkeys carrying weight on Santorini, Greece; Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul; wooden Trojan horse Canakkale, Turkey

This runs a close second to Venice as the world’s most evocative port from which to depart or arrive. You sail past the old city, with the centuries-old Galata Tower and minarets of the Hagia Sophia Museum and nearby Blue Mosque pointing skywards above the mass of medieval buildings and bustling streets. Istanbul famously has one foot in Europe and another in Asia and is ideally positioned for cruises to many sites of ancient civilisations, but also to beautiful beaches. There are excursions to the Troy of Greek legend from CANAKKALE, in Turkey, and to the Unesco-listed ruined city of Ephesus from Turkey’s third city, IZMIR. Katakolon, in neighbouring Greece, is an hour from Olympia, where the Olympics were created and idyllic Greek islands such as SANTORINI and MYKONOS are also typical destinations. Voyages to Antiquity’s Istanbul to Athens cruise starts with two full days in Turkey’s most famous city for included tours of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia before sailing to Canakkale for an included tour of Troy and Gallipoli. There are two days in Kusadasi to allow for a visit to APHRODISIAS – a site twice the size of Pompeii – as well as Ephesus, and a day at the ancient city of CORINTH in Nauplia, Greece, where Saint Paul lived for 18 months. The cruise on Aegean Odyssey departs on 11 September and costs from £2,575pp, based on two sharing, including flights (voyagestoantiquity.com/0845 437 9737).  A PR IL /M AY 2014 |

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EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

KUSADASI IN TURKEY IS A 30-MINUTE DRIVE FROM WHERE Saint Paul ONCE PREACHED AND THE Virgin Mary LIVED FOR A WHILE

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Cyprus

The Greek islands and Turkey await you when you book a fly-cruise from LIMASSOL, the biggest coastal town in Cyprus. But thanks to its position in the Eastern Mediterranean you can also find yourself visiting northern Egypt or ASHDOD, in Israel, where the tomb of Jonah – the Biblical character swallowed by a whale – can be found. There are also plenty of beaches and laid-back restaurants to relax in, which is also the case at Limassol. If you have the time, though, you should visit the ancient Greek temple and cliff-top theatre at Curium or Limassol’s medieval castle in the increasingly trendy Yermasoyia quarter. Thomson has a 7-night Eastern Odyssey on Thomson Spirit, in a round-trip from Limassol departing 29 October from £621pp, two sharing. Among the ports of call is Herakalion, in Crete, where you can visit the Palace of KNOSSOS, which dates from 1,700 BC and is where Theseus fought the Minotaur. KUSADASI in Turkey is a 30-minute drive from EPHESUS where Saint Paul once preached and the Virgin Mary lived for a while. There is also a stop at Beirut, capital of Lebanon, where the restored old city centre has a Parisian-style cafÊ society vibe (thomson.co.uk/0871 231 4691).  66

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Downwards, from above: Wall painting at Knossos Palace, Crete, Greece created in 1500 BC; carpets on show outside a carpet shop in Kusadasi, Turkey


ROUND TRIP CRUISES WILL TAKE IN Greek islands INCLUDING THE IDYLLIC Santorini


Clockwise, from facing page: A church with a blue dome, Santorini, Greece; harbour at Patmos Island. Greece; coffee shop in the German colony area of Haifa, Israel

The port of PIRAEUS is one of the oldest in the world, with dozens of ferries coming and going every day as well as cargo and cruise ships. But there is a bright, bustling excitement to Piraeus, which is just a tram ride from downtown ATHENS and the Acropolis, with its famous Parthenon building, and the impressive new Acropolis Museum nearby. The historic PLÁKA district has narrow streets full of bars, restaurants and small shops, and is a lovely place to escape the summer sun. Round-trip cruises will take in Greek islands and Turkish ports, but Athens can also be the start of a longer cruise west to Italy, France and Spain, with smaller ships sailing through the narrow 19th-century Corinth Canal, which is only 70ft wide in places. Cunard has a 7-night round-trip Aegean Interlude cruise on Queen Elizabeth departing 12 September from £1,269pp, two sharing, including flights. Unusually, there is daylight cruising through the DARDANELLES, the 28-mile wide strait between European Turkey and Asian Turkey. The First World War battlefields of Gallipoli are on the European side. The ship spends two days in Istanbul then calls at Volos, Greece’s third largest port, where the downtown area has restaurants and shops lining the marina, and excursions include the centuries-old monasteries built on inaccessible cliffs (cunard.co.uk/0843 374 2224). Princess Cruises has an 11-day Holy Land cruise from Piraeus that starts with a day on the holy island of PATMOS, where Saint John received the visions that became the New Testament’s Book of Revelations. Ocean Princess continues to KUSADASI, in Turkey, plus HAIFA and Ashdod in Israel – which all have Biblical connections – before arriving in Egypt’s Port Said, for excursions to Cairo to see the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. It also visits Alexandria, once ruled by Cleopatra, where there are still Roman catacombs and an amphitheatre. The cruise departs on 20 November, from £1,199pp, two sharing. Flights are available for an additional cost (princess.com/0843 374 4444). A PR IL /M AY 2014 |

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PHOTOS: © ISTOCK/ISRAELI MINISTRY OF TOURISM ITAMAR GRINBERG

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN


This picture: The majestic Hassan II mosque in Casablanca Morocco |


Play it AGAIN

An MSC cruise to Agadir and Casablanca is a captivating introduction to Morocco that will leave you wanting more, says Julie Peasgood which held a special appeal for me were the exotic Moroccan cities of Agadir and Casablanca. With its well maintained, 10km-long sandy beach, Agadir is the top seaside resort in southern Morocco. It’s also the world’s premier port for purveyors of sardines. Millions of tons are sold on the buzzing port, with pop-up stalls feeding hordes of busy Moroccans and a few intrepid Westerners. The air is filled with the fierce smell of sizzling fish over makeshift barbeques, without a mention of ‘health and safety’. It’s a fascinating contrast to the more

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t’s a tiny, scruffy cafÊ in a back street of Agadir, but it’s painted in such an exuberant shade of blue that it takes my breath away. Opposite me is an intricately carved, huge wooden door and every time it’s opened the heady smell of incense wafts out enticingly. At one point a street vendor comes out to tempt me with a set of ruby red glasses, and after some fierce bartering they’re coming back with me to my stateroom on board MSC Armonia. Our cruise began and ended in Tenerife, taking in Lanzarote and Las Palmas en route. But the places


EXOTIC VOYAGE modern, sophisticated city centre and made a dynamic start to our tour. From the frantic atmosphere of the port, we drove into the silent Atlas mountains to reach the ruins of the ancient kasbah. This 16th-century fortress no longer has crenellated ramparts (a casualty of the 1960 earthquake that destroyed 90 per cent of Agadir) but it commands imposing views of the bay and the rebuilt city. Inevitably we were also offered close-up views of assorted camels, but their owners aren’t too insistent if you don’t fancy a ride. Agadir lies on one of the most fertile plains in Morocco, and on our next drive south to the suburb of Inezgane, our guide Ahmed pointed out the Argan trees that grace only this region. Now under Unesco protection, these trees – their fruit produces the prized Argan oil – are dwindling in numbers, making it one of the rarest, most expensive oils on the market. Goats famously climb the gnarled trunks to perch in the branches for a spot of lunch. It’s a surreal sight.

pure Argan oil for ourselves – one of Morocco’s best souvenirs since it’s much cheaper here than at home. It comes in two grades: culinary and cosmetic, and I can vouch for the anti-wrinkle powers of the latter (it’s known as liquid gold). Back on board I continue nourishing my skin with a session in the Aurea Spa. The menu of treatments is attractive, including a new generation of massages. I chose a fragrant candle massage, using organic, gently melted candle wax administered by Sari, a lovely Balinese masseur. Fifty minutes later I came away feeling soothed, pampered and with skin as soft as butter. My confidence rising, I booked a salsa class with Victor, an MSC trainer who also gives yoga, Pilates and dance classes. There are daily merengue, tarantella and bachata classes onboard, so everyone can strut their stuff in true Latin style. Our next port of call was Casablanca, immortalized by Bogart and Bergman, and the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Morocco. There are elegant,

I’ve visited a few souks on my travels, but Agadir’s Souk El-Had takes the proverbial biscuit (cardamom of course). A riot of colour, its 3,000 stalls sell everything from musical instruments and old-fashioned mannequins, to fresh fruit and leather slippers. We threaded our way past clothes, ceramics, piles of pungent spices and iron railings crafted before our eyes. It’s a real market, for locals not tourists, offering the visitor insights into the Berber way of life. Then on to the Herboristerie Malak in Rue Al Koufa to purchase some

sensitively-restored French colonial buildings alongside upmarket shops, nightclubs and galleries; driving around feels a bit like being in Paris. Casablanca’s highlights are the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Lourdes and the magnificent King Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the Islamic world. Inside, 25,000 worshippers can congregate while its huge courtyard accommodates 80,000. Boasting the tallest minaret in the world, a wealth of carvings and a wonderful ocean-side location, it is both awe-inspiring and peaceful. The ship offers a tour of Casablanca by night, where the fountain in the Mohammed V Square (the nerve centre of the city) comes alive with a spectacular sound and light show. I opted for an equally impressive show on board in the Teatro La Fenice. Overall I had a great time on Armonia: the excursions were excellent (if confusingly explained) and I was well looked after on a bright, spacious ship with destinations I’d revisit in a heartbeat. Certainly a case of “play it again, Sam.”

Downwards from top: Relax at the town beach at Agadir; bargain for the best price on fresh olives; tagine pots; Argan oil with fruits; fine Moroccan architecture GETTING THERE An eight-night cruise on MSC Orchestra, round trip from Genoa calling at Malaga; Lisbon; Casablanca, Morocco; Barcelona; costs from £499 per person departing on 7, 15 and 23 April 2014. For more info go to msccruises.co.uk or call 0844 561 1955.

CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

ILLUSTRATION: SCOTT JESSOP PHOTOS: © IAN DAGNALL SUPERSTOCK/ MARCO MARRÈ BRUNENGHI SUPERSTOCK/MSC CRUISES/ISTOCK

I ,ve visited a few souks on my travels but , Agadir s Souk El-Had takes the biscuit


WINNER

AWARDS

2013 MSC CRUISES VERTIGO ON MSC PREZIOSA BEST INNOVATION


LUXURY CRUISES

THE FACTOR From butlers catering to your every whim to private islands and gourmet cuisine, here’s our pick of the cruise lines that give you a truly indulgent experience


Exuding contemporary style, Celebrity Cruises offers a worldclass experience. They have honed modern luxury on their ships: from perfectly manicured lawns on deck to interactive dining experiences at the Qsine restaurant, the quirky touches are totally unique. Guests can enjoy the exclusive private stop off at Maya Key on the island of Roatán, Honduras. Here, Celebrity has a private 11.5 acre key where you can enjoy two secluded beaches, swimming pool, lounge deck and lush tropical gardens without the usual crowds. A 10-night round-trip Eastern Mediterranean fly/cruise departing on 5 September 2014 from Rome on Celebrity Reflection costs from £1,525pp. For more information visit celebritycruises.co.uk or call 0845 456 0623.

MSC YACHT CLUB MSC’s glamorous ‘ship within a ship’ concept gives you a wonderful yachting experience on MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida, MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa. With its own Swarovski crystal-studded staircase, the Yacht Club complex is located on the foredecks of the ships and offers passengers the chance to luxuriate in their very own haven equipped with a private pool, gourmet restaurant, excellent butler service and exclusive suites for a unique ‘members-only’ experience. A seven-night Mediterranean cruise departing from Venice on 26 April 2014 on board MSC Preziosa costs from £1,499pp on a cruise only basis. For more information visit msccruises.co.uk or call 0844 561 1955.

ENJOY A HAVEN OF PRIVATE POOLS, GOURMET RESTAURANTS, LUXURY SPAS, BUTLER SERVICE AND EXCLUSIVE SUITES

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PHOTO: © CELEBRITY CRUISES/MSC CRUISES/CUNARD

CELEBRITY CRUISES


LUXURY CRUISES

CUNARD Cunard’s glamour and opulence on its three transatlantic cruise ships – Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – hark back to an era of traditional cruising while keeping things modern and accessible for new cruisers. Its onboard White Star service is true to its mantra: legendary, elegant and memorable. Waiters in white gloves tend to any requests and formal evenings are traditional, giving the whole experience a real sense of occasion. With cruises sailing to the Caribbean, North America and the Mediterranean, Cunard offers all-inclusive luxury on a truly global scale. Queen Mary 2’s seven-night Atlantic cruise from Southampton to New York on 24 June 2014 costs from £1,349pp. For more information visit cunard.co.uk or call 0843 374 0000. 


HEBRIDEAN ISLAND CRUISES

SEADREAM YACHT CLUB Small ship cruising is almost defined by luxury yachting company SeaDream and its two vessels. They celebrate the very best of the yachting lifestyle: Champagne and caviar parties in the Caribbean, messing about on jet skis from the ship’s retractable marina and decadent barbeques on the beach. With their all-inclusive packages, SeaDream cruises are just like staying at your favourite boutique hotel, but at sea. A seven-night voyage sailing on board SeaDream II from Venice to Athens on 16 August 2014 costs from £3,329pp. For more information visit seadream.com or call 0800 783 1373.

PHOTO: Š HEBRIDEAN ISLAND CRUISES/SEADREAM YACHT CLUB/SCENIC TOURS

This cruise line is quintessentially British from its fine china to its service. The cruise line has two ships: Hebridean Princess and Hebridean Royal Crown. Each ship carries fewer than 90 passengers so you can expect exquisite personal service from the attentive staff. The ships have extended their sailings this year and now cater to the Scottish Highlands, European waterways, Northern Ireland, Norway and the Isle of Man. The interiors are like a glamorous country house ensuring you feel settled in your surroundings. Enjoy fine wine and dining in the evenings and rest assured Hebridean even has the royal seal of approval: the Queen has holidayed with them and awarded them her Royal Warrant. A seven-night cruise on Hebridean Princess around the west coast of Scotland departing on 13 May 2014 costs from ÂŁ3,520pp. For more information see hebridean.co.uk or call 01756 704700.

SCENIC TOURS

PHOTO: Š

Scenic Tours concentrates its 10-ship fleet on the European and Russian waterways. Scenic Jewel joined the fleet last year and features six different culinary experiences on board as well as beautiful, newly-designed staterooms. Visit captivating cultural riverside destinations with the Scenic Enrich programme of events, which includes exclusive tailor-made tours. Onboard butler service keeps things refined. An eight-day Treasures of the Rhine cruise from Nuremberg to Amsterdam departing on 30 July 2014 costs from ÂŁ1,920pp. For more info visit scenictours.co.uk or call 0808 102 0092. 

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The impressive American Queen is the largest steamboat ever built and characterises all the opulence of the American Victorian era. The ship is elegant, yet casual and combines modern day luxury with the historic charm of times past. Resident historians keeps guests busy by day, while showboatstyle entertainment and Calliope concerts fill the evenings. Itineraries include the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers. Cruising on a traditional paddlewheel steamboat is an unparelled all-American adventure. A nine-day Good Old Summertime cruise on American Queen departing from St Louis on 15 July 2014 costs from £1,527pp. Visit americanqueensteamboatcompany.com or call +1 888 749 5289 for more information.

PHOTO: © AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT COMPANY/PRINCESS CRUISES/ VIKING *ADDITIONAL CHARGES APPLY

AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT COMPANY

PRINCESS CRUISES Princess offers a glamorous onboard experience, making sure guests receive the very best in relaxation. Escape to the outdoor Sanctuary area to relax*, with stewards on hand to make your visit special – they even have MP3 players available for guests pre-loaded with themed relaxation playlists, and will serve you afternoon tea. And the facilities and ambience in the Lotus Spa would rival any top hotel spa. All ships (apart from Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess) have a special adults-only Retreat pool bedecked with private cabanas. In the Caribbean, guests can also enjoy the exclusive port of call of Princess Cays on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. The private resort offers the utmost in privacy along the half-mile of white-sand shoreline. New ship Regal Princess will set sail in May 2014. A 14-night Mediterranean Medley cruise from Southampton on Emerald Princess on 10 May 2014 costs from £949pp. Visit princess.com or call 0843 374 4444.

PHOTO: ©

THE FACILITIES AND AMBIENCE IN THE LOTUS SPA WOULD RIVAL ANY TOP HOTEL SPA

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LUXURY CRUISES XXX

VIKING Viking has brought Scandinavian style to river cruising. They cover the great Asian rivers such as the Irrawaddy, Yangtze and Mekong as well as their original luxury sailings along the European waterways. Fantastic shore excursions ensure you capture the essence of every port of call with their expert guides. The Longships are contemporary and stylish and offer river views with every room. Their Explorer Suites are the largest on the European rivers and feature a wraparound veranda, which offers privacy and a real sense of space. The cruise line are launching their ocean line in May 2015 which will boast first-rate spa facilities in line with the holistic wellness philosophies of Scandinavia. An 11-day Passage to Eastern Europe cruise departing on 16 March costs from ÂŁ2,445pp. For more information and to book see vikingrivercruises.co.uk or call 0800 319 6660. 


LUXURY CRUISES

Avalon Waterways’s fleet of beautiful ships sail on the world’s best rivers. Their well-designed Suite Ships offer panoramic views in all staterooms with a real attention to detail. The all-inclusive service also includes the Avalon Choice option, which allows passengers to customize their cruise. The fleet will welcome two newcomers to the French rivers next year, Avalon Tapestry II and Avalon Tranquility II, which will double capacity on the Rhône , Seine and Saône rivers. A seven-night Romantic Rhine cruise on board Avalon Vista departing on 14 December costs from £1,275pp. For more information visit avaloncruises.co.uk or call 0800 668 1801.

SEABOURN A glass of Champagne to welcome you on board is just one of the stylish touches that make you feel well looked after on a Seabourn cruise. All-suite accommodation gives the privacy you need on a luxury cruise, but passengers share expansive open decks, gourmet restaurants and beautiful bars. Skilled sommeliers will introduce you to the Vintage Seabourn scheme which allows passengers to sample premium wines from around the world from the ships’ well-stocked cellars. The line will welcome a new ship in 2016 which promises to be its most luxurious yet. A 14-day Harbours of Western Europe cruise costs £4,629pp including flights and departs on 14 May 2014. For more info visit seabourn.com or call 0843 373 2000. 

SKILLED SOMMELIERS INVITE YOU TO SAMPLE PREMIUM WINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD FROM THE SHIPS’ WELL STOCKED CELLARS

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PHOTO: Š SEABOURN/AVALON WATERWAYS

AVALON WATERWAYS


(Clockwise from top left) A personal welcome aboard our Private Jet; Chichen Itza in Mexico; the iconic city of Sydney; Moai statues on Easter Island; the Taj Mahal seen from our hotel; Delhi; idyllic Tahiti; the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro; wildlife on the Serengeti plains; Iguassu Falls in Brazil and the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.

T H E M O S T E XC LU S I V E TO U R O N E A R T H. A J O U R N E Y A R O U N D I T BY P R I VAT E JE T. Ever since the discovery that the world was round, travellers have been fascinated by the idea of circumnavigating it. Now, Captain’s Choice offer you the opportunity to make this once-in-alifetime journey in the comfort and luxury of our private jet. Freed from the constraints of scheduled transport, this 21 day itinerary lets you explore the world’s most iconic and exotic places in a style which would simply not be possible otherwise. You will travel aboard our spacious all business class private jet, stay at the some of the world’s finest hotels, enjoy gourmet dining and discover all the iconic sites accompanied by knowledgable local guides. And your every need will be taken care of by our experienced escort team which includes a tour doctor.

Taking off from London, you will head west across the Atlantic to Merida, in Mexico, gateway to the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza. Your second stop is vibrant Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, alive with the rhythms of the Samba. Then it’s a short flight to one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, Iguassu Falls. Heading out over the Pacific, you’ll touch down on remote Easter Island, dotted with its almost 800 mysterious Moai statues. Tahiti, the spectacularly beautiful island nation is your next destination, before your flight across the international dateline to Australia. Here, you’ll land in Sydney, often described as one of the world’s favourite cities. Climb the harbour bridge, or simply marvel at the iconic Opera House from your hotel window.

After a three night stay you’ll head north aboard your private jet to Cambodia where you will visit the astonishing temple site of Angkor Wat. Then it’s onward to India, and a stay in Agra, with a view of one of the world’s most iconic buildings, the Taj Mahal, from your bedroom window. You’ll also spend a night in bustling Delhi before the final leg of this incredible journey takes you to Africa, for a stay in the Serengeti National Park, with its breathtaking scenery and fascinating wildlife. Then, boarding your private jet for the last time, you’ll fly back to London with memories of your trip that will last a lifetime. Prices from £34,850 per person, twin share Tour date: 5 March – 26 March 2015

SIMPLY THE FINEST WAY TO SEE THE WORLD CALL 0845 304 1668 WWW.CAPTAINSCHOICE.CO.UK


All-inclusive luxury teamed with a sense of adventure and discovery welcomes you on board Crystal Cruises. Their large, spacious ships are bright and modern and the redesign of Crystal Serenity last year epitomises their commitment to keeping the ships chic and stylish. Afternoon tea in the Palm Court is a special highlight where guests are treated to themed events from Mozart Tea to English Colonial Tea. Butler service is also included. On shore, Crystal provides a wealth of adventure excursions so whether you want to go trekking with gorillas in Uganda or go sledding with husky dogs in Norway, their excursions are thrilling ways to explore the destinations. A seven-night Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Rome departs on 17 August 2014 and costs from £2,623pp. For more information visit crystalcruises.co.uk or call 0207 399 7601.

PHOTO: ©CRYSTAL CRUISES/OCEANIA/UNIWORLD

CRYSTAL CRUISES

OCEANIA If it’s haute cuisine you’re after, Oceania claims to offer the finest food at sea with acclaimed French chef Jacques Pépin heading up the kitchens. Its five ships offer an elegant way to travel to over 330 ports around the globe. They mix the lesserknown and familiar destinations giving you a chance to have a unique experience on shore excursions as well as on board. Their Signature Sailings offer you a refined way to explore culinary, wine, music, health and leisure themes with experts in luxurious surroundings. The newest ship, Riviera, launched in 2012, is a sophisticated ship. Owner’s Suites are decked out in Ralph Lauren Home and the entire fleet resembles a refined country club experience on the water (see feature, page 88). A 10-day Scandinavian Treasures cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm departing on 1 July 2014 on Marina costs from £1,759pp. See oceaniacruises.com or call 0845 505 1920.

PHOTO: ©

THE ENTIRE FLEET RESEMBLES A REFINED COUNTRY CLUB CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM


LUXURY CRUISES

UNIWORLD Uniworld won Best Luxury River Cruise Line at the Cruise International Awards 2013. Their ships hold an average of just 130 guests and majestic interiors give a sense of grandeur to the smaller ships. Dine in style and elegance in their Zagat-rated restaurants led by global master chefs. The ‘Six-Star Experience’ is exemplified on SS Antoinette, their leading luxury ship with grand designs to rival the Versailles Palace in France. From 10ft chandeliers to heated swimming pools and an onboard cinema, it’s an exceptional all-inclusive package. An eight-day Bordeaux Vineyards & Châteaux cruise departing in November starts from ÂŁ2,149pp. For more information on this Titan cruise in partnership with Uniworld visit uniworldrivercruises.co.uk or call 0800 988 5867. 


LUXURY CRUISES

SILVERSEA Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Silversea is renowned for its more adventurous routes. Its fleet of seven ships are intimate and glamorous. In 2013 Silversea had a ship in each of the seven continents around the world, proving its reputation for exploration is well deserved. Its most recent expedition ship, Silver Galapagos, is a 100-passenger ship that will be sailing exclusively around the Galapagos Islands. Expect butler service in your suite and an all-inclusive experience you will never want to leave. A 14-day cruise on Silver Discoverer from Koror, Palau to the Solomon Islands departing on 6 October costs from £7,350pp. For more information visit silversea.com or call 0844 251 0837.

COMPAGNIE DU PONANT As chic as most things French, Compagnie du Ponant is a cruise line for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Of their fleet of four beautiful ships, Le Ponant definitely scores points for a unique experience on board its three-masted ship, which caters for an intimate 64-passengers. They even offer sea voyages between two continents for those who love unadulterated time on the water. In-suite butler service and unique itineraries give the cruise line a small ship feel as they sail to destinations across the globe. A 12-night cruise from Chile to Ecuador on Le Boréal departing on 16 March 2014 costs from £2,640pp. For more information visit en.ponant.com or call 0800 980 4027.

Pairing relaxation and luxury, Regent Seven Seas offers all-inclusive packages on board its three ships. Seven Seas Voyager recently underwent a multimillion-dollar refurbishment and now boasts 91 Penthouse Suites and an improved pool deck. Passengers are offered unlimited shore excursions giving them the chance to savour stops with expert guides. The line is expanding its fleet in 2016 with a 738-passenger ship, with six gourmet restaurants, designer furniture and an eclectic art collection. The staff behaves like your personal concierge service, giving you a taste of the Champagne lifestyle and making you feel every inch the VIP. A seven-night Mediterranean cruise from Monte Carlo to Barcelona on the Seven Seas Mariner departing 22 June 2014 costs from £2,599pp including flights. For more information visit rssc.com or call 02380 682280.

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PHOTO: © SILVERSEA/COMPAGNIE DU PONANT/REGENT SEVEN SEAS

REGENT SEVEN SEAS


PROMOTION

Clockwise, from left: Beautiful Budapest; River Beatrice’s carpeted sundeck; Elisabeth von Trapp will sing hits from The Sound of Music

DANUBE

Discover the stunning Danube region this summer and meet one of the von Trapp family, who will sing hits from The Sound of Music on Uniworld’s luxurious River Beatrice

PHOTO: © TITAN UNIWORLD/COREY HENDRICKSON

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f you’d like to cruise along Europe’s finest waterways in style this summer, visiting iconic destinations and enjoying extraordinary experiences, Titan, in exclusive partnership with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, has a delightful itinerary for the Danube river. From Budapest to Passau – with stops at Vienna and the Wachau Valley – guests will enjoy the ultimate luxury on board River Beatrice while sailing along the second longest river in Europe. For fans of The Sound of Music, there’s an added bonus as iconic singer Elisabeth von Trapp will be performing on board. The granddaughter of Maria and Baron von Trapp – the couple whose love story was the inspiration for the hit musical – Elisabeth has continued her family’s legacy and will be entertaining Uniworld guests with both her own songs and those from The Sound of Music throughout the cruise. Another highlight of this memorable river cruise will be the stop off at the historic Austrian city of Salzburg. Here, passengers will be given the opportunity to join Elisabeth in the famous Mirabellgarten, where one of the original scenes was filmed in 1964, for a sing-a-long rendition of ‘Do-Re-Mi’. CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

In addition, Elisabeth von Trapp will be appearing on 35 of Uniworld’s river cruises throughout the summer period from June to September for exclusive The Sounds of von Trapp performances. Teaming immersive experiences with elegant cruising is just one of the reasons Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection won the Best Luxury River Cruise Line award at the Cruise International Awards 2013.

ALL-INCLUSIVE EUROPEAN CRUISES Uniworld offers an all-inclusive service across their European collection of luxurious river cruises (excluding Russia). On board, guests can enjoy top quality spirits, craft beers and fine wines selected by expert sommeliers with their meals and take time out to feel culturally enriched with the Signature Lecture programme, offering expert-led talks on topics such as art, culture and architecture. Local aficionados lead on-shore excursions or, if you prefer to find your own way around a new city, bicycles and Nordic walking sticks are provided to let you explore the port of call at your own pace. Whether you are sampling the finest regional specialities

in the onboard restaurant or enjoying the opportunity to indulge in the Serenity River Spa, it’s all part of your Uniworld experience.

VIP HOME DEPARTURE SERVICE FOR ALL GUESTS To ensure your break begins and ends as elegantly as your time on board, Titan’s award-winning VIP Home Departure Service provides a chauffeur-driven vehicle to collect you from your home and drop you at your door at the end of your cruise. The service includes complimentary porterage and assistance at the airport to make your cruise a truly unforgettable experience.

Go online: For more on Titan/Uniworld visit titantravel.co.uk/uniworld 0808 102 0215

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FACED WITH OCEANIA’S GOURMET GREATNESS, HOLDING BACK WAS NEVER AN OPTION


LUXURY CRUISES

FOOD An Ionian Passage cruise with Oceania is an opportunity to savour gourmet cuisine and exquisite destinations, discovers James Litston

PHOTOS: Š OCEANIA/JAMES LITSTON/ISTOCK

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ood, glorious food. If there’s one thing you can be sure of when embarking on a cruise, it’s knowing that you won’t be going hungry. From bountiful buffets to grand dining rooms via signature restaurants and afternoon tea, the choice of food on board can often seem endless. All of which was good news for a foodie like me. Stepping on board Oceania’s Riviera for a week-long jaunt round the Med, I waved farewell to willpower and prepared to indulge. Now I’m not normally one to condone gluttony, but holding back on an Oceania cruise would really mean missing out. The company prides itself on serving ‘the finest food at sea’, which is rather an audacious claim given the high standards on today’s luxury cruise lines. But customer feedback repeatedly rates Oceania’s food as its strongest asset. Better still, last year saw their restaurant Red Ginger win Cruise International’s prestigious ‘Best Onboard Restaurant’ award. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. That said, I had some reservations.With Oceania positioning itself in the luxury bracket, I’d worried that Riviera might be old school and stuffy. Happily, it turned out to be anything but. Contemporary dĂŠcor made the ship feel modern and stylish throughout, while the ‘country club casual’ dress code fostered a grown-up ambiance that was elegant but relaxed. This vibe was especially evident in the onboard restaurants. As well as the Terrace CafĂŠ (buffet) and aptly-named Grand Dining Room, Riviera and sister ship Marina feature four speciality restaurants – Jacques (French), Toscana (Italian), Polo Grill (steak) and Red Ginger (Asian) – with dĂŠcor as individual as the menus. Spurred by its award-winning reputation, I made a beeline for Red Ginger, bagging a table on the first night of my Ionian Passage cruise. Everything about the experience was exceptional, from the opulent black, gold and ruby-red interior to the wonderful service and,

of course, the food. An exquisite duck and watermelon salad was a real highlight, while my delicately-spiced beef teriyaki was genuinely out of this world. One of the nice things about dining on Riviera was that all the speciality restaurants were included in the price. In fact, other than alcoholic drinks, just about every little treat you’d care to mention – from a morning cappuccino to a gelato by the pool – could be enjoyed without a cover charge. Decadent dining may be Oceania’s trump card, but the company excels in other areas, too. In particular, Riviera’s staterooms and suites are widely regarded as industry leaders. My penthouse suite was certainly spacious and came with dedicated butler service and a balcony with reclining wicker armchairs – perfect for catching the afternoon rays. Inside, sophisticated, dark wood features were complemented by soft furnishings in pale blue, oatmeal and bronze. Real orchids and quality bedding were a bonus, as was the large bathroom featuring granite surfaces, full tub and a separate, walk-in shower. Good design and exceptional artwork characterized the public areas, too. Some spaces took on a classic air, such as Horizons Lounge (home of afternoon tea and late-night cocktails), which called to mind the lobby bar of a grande dame hotel. Also in this bracket was the library: a cosy retreat complete with leather armchairs, faux fireplace and plenty of interesting books. The bars, meanwhile, showcased edgier design with mood lighting and dramatic statement pieces (think buttonbacked banquettes and a double-ended chaise longue) done out in tactile fabrics. Sophistication, great design, flawless food and a dignified air – these are the hallmarks of luxury, and all are in Oceania’s DNA. In today’s busy world, though, privacy, space and quality time are also highly-prized. Riviera embraces these tenets in its mid-sized stature 

Facing page, clockwise from top left: Gourmet cuisine served on Riviera; the Casino Bar; Sicilian lemons; a typical dessert; the portal of a Corfu monastery; James on his balcony; a luxurious stateroom; Taormina

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GETTING THERE A seven night cruise on Oceania Riviera leaving 11 June 2014 from Venice to Rome, calling at Dubrovnik (Croatia); Corfu (Greece); Taormina, Amalfi and Olbia (Italy) costs from £1,689pp. For more information visit oceaniacruises.com or call 0845 505 1920.

Below: Medley of shrimp, scallops, mussels and fresh fish on a bed of vegetables

(both Riviera and Marina carry 1,250 passengers), so at no point did the ship feel crowded. And with 800 staff on board (that’s 1.5 per passenger), service was always prompt, professional and disarmingly personal. What’s more, the absence of children further enhanced the grown-up ambience. (Oceania does welcome kids, but the lack of activities tailored towards them makes the brand less appealing to the family market.) Unsurprisingly, the bars were Riviera’s social hub. The vibe here was decidedly laid-back and I loved the gentle pace. Nightlife was similarly low-key, with most guests following an evening routine of cocktails, dinner, show and bed. There was certainly plenty of evening entertainment, from comedy, concerts and musical performances in the theatre to poolside screenings of movies and shows. But as the witching hour approached, the vast majority called it a night. The early nights left me free to dine, relax and explore ashore. By day, Riviera offered a well-designed pool deck and lots of comfy alcoves, plus a quieter sun deck accessible via the spa. But with so many intriguing options on shore, it was hard to find time to sit back. Being mid-sized, Riviera could stop at interesting ports of call that many larger ships would struggle

to access. Dubrovnik, for example, was heaving with other cruise passengers at the time of our visit. By contrast, in Sorrento, Amalfi and Zakynthos, ours was the only ship in port. This meant time ashore here felt uncrowded, authentic and far more enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed our day in Sicily, where I joined a group tour to the charming hilltop town of Taormina. We toured the Greek-era theatre overlooked by Mount Etna and sought Sicilian souvenirs – painted ceramics and Godfather T-shirts – on shaded, pedestrian streets. The ports along the west Italian coast, meanwhile, were small enough to explore alone: I shopped for local limoncello in Amalfi and took a train from sleepy Sorrento to the ruins of Pompeii. The highlight of my trip, though, was Corfu. True to the foodie theme, Oceania offers culinary-inspired excursions in every destination. For my Culinary Traditions & Greek Cooking tour, we hit the covered market in Corfu Town and jostled with black-clad grandmothers to buy island produce. Then we explored the town’s colonnaded streets, stopped for lunch at a pavement cafe and headed back to Riviera to put our purchases to good use. Reconvening in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center – the only hands-on cookery school at sea – we watched how to make the perfect Greek salad before having a go ourselves at our own cooking stations. As we worked, kitchen porters fussed about and tidied our inevitable mess. Then at the end, we ate what we’d made, savouring the fresh, Mediterranean flavours. If you want to experience a culinary tour, it’s worth noting that many of these were booked up before we’d even set sail. My only other concern was for my waistline. Faced with Oceania’s gourmet greatness, holding back was never an option. Sometimes it’s no bad thing to give into temptation.

PHOTOS: © RICHARD RUDISILL ISTOCK

LUXURY CRUISES


MILLER HARRIS PERFUMER’S LIBRARY

A unique collection of fragrances, exquisitely crafted by Perfumer, Lyn Harris.

Unit 16 The Market, Covent Garden, London, WC2 21 Bruton Street, London, W1J 6QD 14 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9HB


LUXURY CRUISES

Now, Deborah Stone develops a taste for the high life on the refurbished Regent Seven Seas Voyager

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he late afternoon sun is glinting off the ornate roof of Monte Carlo’s casino, and I admire the multimillion-dollar yachts in the harbour as a waiter brings me a glass of chilled white wine. Settling back to enjoy a plate of giant prawns with a dollop of garlicky mayonnaise on the side, I congratulate myself on lunching in one of the best-situated restaurants in Monaco. Our ship, Seven Seas Voyager, is anchored so we overlook the old town, including the Palace, former home of Princess Grace of Monaco. From the outside deck of the buffet-style La Veranda restaurant I can see virtually all of Monaco’s mountain-backed territory, and I’m keen to go ashore to explore. First though there is the small matter of the prawns. They’re really rather good. Fine dining, as Americans call it, is very important on Regent Seven Seas’ three cruise ships, as is the all-inclusive luxury experience that they pride themselves on delivering. When you first step aboard, you’re greeted with a glass of bubbly and the Champagne lifestyle continues until you disembark.

The 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager has balcony suites throughout, and even the lowest grade is a Deluxe Suite. The next grade, Concierge Suites, are given priority booking for excursions, speciality restaurants and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, which has single-sex aromatic steam rooms and Finnish saunas – as well as a huge range of treatments. I’m very impressed with the size of my stateroom: along the corridor is a large bathroom with a separate shower and bath with marble-like tiling on the floor and walls. The double sleeping area leads into a lounge with a sofa, two armchairs and coffee table with French windows out to the balcony. The interactive television gives me free access to around 200 films or documentaries and I can borrow DVDs to play, as well as catch up with the enrichment lectures I have missed. Amazingly, there are seven more grades of suites above mine, which come with just about anything your heart desires – including a personal butler and free wifi. Voyager is fresh from a multimilliondollar refit after a week in dry dock. It has

an improved pool deck with more space for loungers, while so much work has been done on the Constellation Theatre that it is virtually brand new. It has been re-carpeted, re-upholstered and given new high-tech

THE CHAMPAGNE LIFESTYLE CONTINUES UNTIL YOU DISEMBARK facilities such as an LED video screen at the back of the stage to provide ambitious sets. Four new 50-minute shows have been written and produced especially for the ship, and the cast includes aerial artistes and dancers who have worked in places such as the Moulin Rouge and the Lido in Paris. Voyager’s atrium – the focal point of most ships – has a pristine marble floor, stairs and silver sculpture and there is superfast wifi now throughout the ship. There are new carpets, teak decks and 91 refurbished Penthouse Suites. 

Left: The newly refurbished Horizon Lounge is the perfect place for cocktails or to simply sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular sunsets


The Observation Lounge on deck 11 has luxurious cream leather and velvet armchairs, cream leather walls around the bar and the best sea views on the ship, while the nightclub Horizons has a contemporary feel, with new tan leather sofas, exposed ‘brickwork’ behind the bar and a teak deck ‘patio’ with rattan armchairs and textured cushions in cream, ochre and teal. It’s a transformation that is coming to the 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner this spring (April) and the 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator next year. This will leave the tastefully-refreshed fleet ready to welcome the new Seven Seas Explorer in 2016, which will be “the most luxurious cruise ship ever,” according to chairman and chief executive Frank J Del Rio. Back in Monaco, I finish my lunch and join one of the free excursions. There are seven to choose from today, including scenic drives to Nice and Cannes on France’s Côte d’Azur, and the perfume capital Grasse, but I just want to see Monaco’s Exotic Garden. We wind our way up to the garden with its giant money and yucca trees, huge aloes and thousands of flowering cacti. There are also caves with stalactites and stalagmites and a museum of prehistoric finds. The views from the paths down the cliff are stupendous. Back on board I get ready for dinner at the steakhouse, Prime 7. Like all the speciality restaurants, including French restaurant Signatures and the Italian Sette Mari, this is free but has to be booked. All serve gourmet-standard food, as does the main dining room Compass Rose, where the night before I enjoyed Roast Black Angus Beef Striploin. This followed a bizarre but fun Block Party as we set sail from Civitavecchia: it’s a tradition on Regent Seven Seas ships to have a drink with your neighbours 94

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in the corridor outside your cabin at the start of the cruise. During this sociable half hour waitresses bring round drinks and nibbles while key staff drop by to say hello, neatly demonstrating the ship’s friendly and truly relaxed atmosphere. The dress code never gets any more formal than Elegant Casual, which essentially means no jeans, and that includes the Captain’s Cocktail Party where I drop in before meeting friends at Prime 7. This classic American steakhouse has starters that include crab cakes made from the finest lump blue crab meat, then you can move on to whole Maine lobsters dripping in butter or – for those with a good appetite – a 32oz Prime Porterhouse Steak. It’s huge. Thank goodness for the free morning fitness classes: Walk A Mile around the deck 12 jogging track at 7.30am, followed by yoga or Pilates at 8am. We finish the evening at Karaoke Night in the Voyager Lounge opposite the Casino, where I steer clear of the microphone but join the enthusiastic backing group at the bar. This is followed by a Jukebox Disco, where you choose your favourite songs on a jukebox and make everybody dance to them. A great night, but most of us leave at a sensible hour because when we wake up in Livorno, tomorrow, we’re off on the free coach transfer and partial guided tour of Florence, which on other cruise lines would cost about £75 each. Among our other ports of call are Taormina, Sicily, and then Corfu, but I’m especially looking forward to the overnight stop in Venice. Just think, I’ll be able to eat scallops and sip chilled white wine while gazing over the terracotta Venetian roofs. What a magical restaurant view that will be.

GETTING THERE A 10-night cruise from Rome to Venice in July 2014 calling at Monte Carlo; Florence, Sorrento, Sicily (Italy); Argostoli (Greece); Durres (Albania); Split (Croatia); Koper (Slovenia) and Venice starts from £4,579pp. Visit rssc.com or call 02380 682280.

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PHOTOS: © REGENT SEVEN SEAS/MICHEL VERDURE

Clockwise, from top left: dine in style in Voyager’s Signatures restaurant; explore magnificent Monaco; Voyager’s Penthouse Suite; the Horizon Lounge; surf and turf dish; teak pool deck


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THEME PERKS Want to do something a bit different on your next holiday? Nick Dalton looks at the range of enrichment experiences available on both ocean and river cruises


THEMED CRUISES

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ometimes a cruise, for all its wondrous scenery and its luxurious surroundings, isn’t quite enough. You want something more. An opportunity to learn something new on sea days or in the evenings, to find something that educates and entertains while still, of course, enjoying those meals and the almost daily pit stops in the world’s finest destinations. Then look for a theme cruise; one that has a focus on a subject with lectures, demonstrations and perhaps ways to become involved in your chosen subject. It doesn’t mean that the whole cruise is dedicated to one subject, however, merely that there’s a focus to it. There are river cruises that ring a bell with cyclists and ocean voyages that brighten up the lives of those intent on seeing the Northern Lights. Whatever your interests, there is a cruise for you.

BATTLEFIELDS AND OTHER SITES IN NORTHERN FRANCE ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE BY CRUISE SHIP

PHOTOS: Š HEMIS/ALAMY/PAUL WILLIAMS ALAMY//ATOUT FRANCE CDT CALVADOS

LEST WE FORGET To commemorate the centenaries of the start of the First World War and 70 years since D-Day, there are a range of cruises on offer. Battlefields and other sites in northern France are easily accessible by ship. Azamara Club Cruises’ 11-night Memories of World War II fly-cruise on Azamara Journey departs from Lisbon and calls at Cherbourg (for the landing beaches), Honfleur, Boulogne, Dover and Amsterdam on its way to Hamburg. The North of France WWII Experience excursion visits the national cemetery of Notre-Dame de Lorette and nearby museum. On 6 June guests will step back to 1944 at a D-Day liberation party. Departs 3 June, from £2,039pp allinclusive with flights (azamaraclubcruises.co.uk/0844 493 4016). Fred. Olsen’s seven-night D-Day Anniversary cruise visits Zeebrugge (the In Flanders Fields Museum), Dunkirk, Portsmouth (D-Day Museum) and Cherbourg and Le Havre, with a visit to the allied landing areas on the anniversary, 6 June. The trip from Harwich also features the New Squadronaires big band and speaker Tony Harris, official ambassador for Help for Heroes. Departs on 1 June, prices from £647pp (fredolsencruises.com/0845 154 4638). The eight-day Paris & Normandy Seine cruise with boutique river cruise operator Uniworld, through Titan Travel, features an included tour of the Normandy beaches with the D-Day Museum at Arromanches and the landing sites at Omaha. There’s plenty more art and history with Monet’s garden at Giverny, the medieval port of Honfleur and a day and night in Paris. Departs regularly until October, from £2,379pp, all-inclusive with flights and home departure service (titantravel.co.uk/0800 988 5867).  CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

Clockwise, from facing page: Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny; Les Braves sculpture commemorates fallen soldiers on D-Day on Omaha Beach, Saint Laurent-sur-mer, Normandy, France; boats in the old harbour of Honeur, Normandy


THEMED CRUISES

Downwards, from top: See Buddhist temples and encounter Buddhist monks on your journey in Burma, an intensely spiritual country; tango the night away on your cruise – lines like P&O bring you all the glamour of the ballroom with their Strictly themed cruises

LECTURES AT SEA

PHOTOS: Š SZEFEI ISTOCK/GETTY BERNARDO RICCI ARMANI

Many cruises bring on board expert and celebrity speakers. Princess Cruises with its royal connections (the Duchess of Cambridge launched Royal Princess) has voyages where Dai Davies, the former head of royal protection, gives a string of lectures on his past life and the dangers royalty have faced down the years. Historical tours with guest lecturers are also extremely popular. Every cruise from Voyages to Antiquity is themed, mostly with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern backdrops. The 20-day Burma & the Malay Peninsula cruise on 4 January 2015, features Robert Gordon CMG OBE, a retired diplomat who was British Ambassador to Burma from 1995 to 1999. Prices are from ÂŁ3,995pp, two sharing (voyagestoantiquity.com/0845 437 9737). You will also find cruises for golfers and for hikers, for bridge players and for singers, gardeners and lots more as cruise companies find even more ways to tempt us.

GET READY TO RUMBA P&O has announced that its very popular Strictly cruises are going to be bigger and better in 2014, with Craig Revel Horwood, Camilla Dallerup, Robin Windsor and company joined on board by more celebrity guest stars than ever before. Prices for a 14-night Canary Islands cruise on Oriana departing on 20 April 2014, start from ÂŁ1,149pp, two sharing (pocruises.co.uk/0843 374 0111). Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced Zumba classes with a series of the popular Latin dance workouts now available across its cruise ships. All of the lessons are taught by registered Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN) instructors.  98

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Great value no-fly cruising One of the most popular cruise choices for travellers in recent years has been no-fly cruising from UK ports - perfect if you do not enjoy the flying experience or simply prefer the romance of a journey completed at land and sea level. Our no-fly programme is with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Attentive service, comfortable cabins and a range of amenities and activities both illuminating and entertaining are just a few of the ‘standard’ features guests can expect on board. Titan is also the only UK operator to offer door to port transfers from any address in mainland UK, making your no-fly cruising holiday completely worry-free and great value for money. When you arrive at the port, our friendly team of red-coated representatives will meet you and ensure your smooth embarkation. On your return, they will be there with our VIP drivers ready to take you home.

Dutch Masters to the Impressionists Explore the charms and art of Amsterdam, Antwerp and Rouen

9 days from £795 Amsterdam to Rouen on Braemar, sailing from Dover Departing 10 July 2014 Tour Code: JNE

Art History Discovery Cruise

Art and History

with talks from art historian Gerald Deslandes

in Northern Europe

11 days from £895

Antwerp to Rouen on Braemar, sailing from Southampton

Oslo to Antwerp on Balmoral, sailing from Southampton Departing 24 October 2014 Tour Code: JWE

Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service® With Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service®, on every holiday and wherever you live in the UK†, we pick you up at your house in one of our famous VW Caravelle people carriers or a quality private hire vehicle and take you directly to your hotel. If you live in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, we pick you up at home, fly you to London from a convenient local airport and transfer you to your hotel, all on a complimentary basis‡. And you get to enjoy the whole journey again on the way home, right back to your front door.

9 days from £595

Departing 19 October 2014 Tour Code: JFL

The Romance of France

Baltics Explorer

An Iberian Voyage

The Seine and an Autumn Coastal Discovery

Uncover the Treasures of Copenhagen, Tallinn and St Petersburg

Discover the Region’s Gastronomic Highlights

8 days from £695

14 days from £1295

13 days from £995

Cruising the River Seine to La Rochelle on Balmoral, sailing from Southampton

Copenhagen to St Petersburg on Braemar, sailing from Dover

Oporto to Bordeaux on Braemar, sailing from Harwich

Departing 3 October 2014 Tour Code: JBV

Departing 31 August 2014 Tour Code: JBX

Departing 20 May 2014 Tour Code: JGA

Discovering France, Spain and Guernsey with former Red Arrows Squadron Leader guest speaker

8 days from £795 La Rochelle to Guernsey on Balmoral, sailing from Southampton Departing 20 July 2014 Tour Code: JDF

To book call FREE on 0808 102 0214 quoting CI0 7EF or visit titantravel.co.uk/fred T’s & C’s apply. Calls free from BT landlines, mobiles may vary. Prices are per person based on twin share, are subject to availability, may be subject to change and will be confirmed upon enquiry. †Excludes Scottish islands and Sark. ‡ Complimentary regional flights are offered subject to availability in our designated booking class at the time of your holiday reservation. If this is not available, a supplement may apply. Titan airport representatives and porterage assistance are not available at regional airports. The majority of Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service® transfers are not exclusive to one holiday booking and journeys to and from the airport may be undertaken via additional addresses.


THEMED CRUISES

Every cruise is food-themed on Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera. The 24-seat La Reserve restaurant pairs wine and food (seven-course dinners with wine from $95) and at Bon Appétit the chefs teach guests to cook. Chefs also take guests ashore on Culinary Discovery Tours to discover local produce and cuisine. On the 10-night Istanbul to Athens Historic Holy Lands cruise, departing 10 June, there are three tours: Istanbul (spice market, fish market and a restaurant), Rhodes (visiting a Greek family to see how they prepare dishes for their restaurant) and Haifa (for a winery tour, markets and restaurant). From £1,529pp plus flights (oceaniacruises.com/0845 505 1920). There are also wine appreciation cruises in Burgundy with a professional wine guide for tours of vineyards and tastings at leading wine houses, plus top wines served with meals. TV wine guru Oz Clarke shares his knowledge on Celebrity Cruises and is due back on board in September and October, in time for the grape harvest, but dates have yet to be confirmed (see feature, page 108). Crystal even has a 14-night cruise devoted to microbrewery beer, with experts, tastings and cuisine pairing sailing from New York to Miami (via the Caribbean) on 5 November. Prices are from £4,583pp, all-inclusive including flights to ports of departure (crystalcruises.co.uk/020 7399 7601).

CRYSTAL EVEN HAS A CRUISE DEVOTED TO MICROBREWERY BEER WITH EXPERTS, TASTINGS AND CUISINE PAIRING

PHOTOS: © CRYSTAL CRUISES/HENRIKE SCHUNCK

FOODIE CRUISES


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It’s the ultimate voyage for stargazers. Liz Jarvis joins a Hurtigruten cruise along the Norwegian coast in search of the aurora borealis


ADVENTURE CRUISE

I rush to the nearest exit and out on deck: and there they are, those enigmatic, ethereal shapes silhouetted against the night sky. The first few times we see them they are white and the palest lime, although they’ll change colour as our voyage continues. They look a little like enormous clouds, and are brighter than any star in the sky. They are there for around half an hour, and then they disappear just as suddenly as they appeared. But they will be back. This is very much an adventure cruise, and there are people from all over the world on board, from the Netherlands to China. Despite the language barriers, there’s a real sense of community 

PHOTOS: Š GAUTE BRUVIK VISIT NORWAY

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nky blackness surrounds MS Nordkapp as we stand on the top deck in perilously cold winds, nursing cups of hot chocolate and looking up in vain at the unyielding sky. The only lights on view are those coming from the tiny fishing villages lining the Norwegian coast. Disheartened at the lack of aurora borealis, we troop back to our cabins. Less than 15 minutes later – the time it takes to remove all arctic clothing, including boots and thermals – an announcement comes over the ship’s tannoy: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have Northern Lights on the port side of the ship.� Excitedly pulling on my wool snood, gloves, hat and parka,

THERE THEY ARE: ENIGMATIC, ETHEREAL SHAPES SILHOUETTED AGAINST THE NIGHT SKY CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

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THE HUSKIES PULL US ON RICKETY SLEDGES, BARKING ALL THE WAY


ADVENTURE CRUISE

ILLUSTRATION: SCOTT JESSOP PHOTOS: Š JOHAN WILDHAGEN VISIT NORWAY/LIZ JARVIS/IVAN MERVILLIE HURTIGRUTEN

Right to left from facing page: Huskies in Kirkenes; the North Cape, HonningsvĂĽg; ďŹ shing villages along the Norwegian coast; on board MS Nordkapp

because every one of us is there with the same aim: chasing the Northern Lights. My cabin is small but perfectly formed with an abundance of cupboards that could be straight out of a Scandinavian superstore. There’s a picture window, but no TV, mini bar or any of the usual accoutrements. The ship really resembles a ferry but it’s comfortable enough, with a roomy bar and viewing deck at the top and one restaurant. Entertainment on board comprises lectures and a man playing some sort of electronic organ, although I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the wifi connection is among the best I’ve experienced at sea. Still, the main events on this kind of cruise are always going to be what’s happening outside the ship, rather than on it. Our voyage on MS Nordkapp takes us from Tromsø to Kirkenes, close to the Russian border, and back. Along the way we stop at various towns and traditional Norwegian fishing villages. The mountains that line our route are covered in snow and the sunsets extraordinary: crimson, violet and the palest pink, enhancing the natural beauty of the white-clad mountains and reflected in the sea. This is a proper working ship and being able to disembark frequently, always remembering to be back on board in time, is a bonus. In Hammerfest, though, it’s so icy I struggle to walk along the street for longer than five minutes, taking refuge in a cafÊ where I’m only too happy to part with a fiver for a coffee (everything you’ve heard about Norway being expensive is absolutely true). At Honningsvüg we make our way gingerly along the icy paths to board a coach for the North Cape, one of the northernmost points of Europe.The scenery is breathtaking: vast mountains and endless white. At the North Cape, it’s so windy it’s almost like being in a snow storm, and it’s so bitterly cold, not even trees can grow there. The snow is at least 8ft deep, like giant mounds of icing sugar (I make

the mistake of trying to walk on it and nearly end up to my neck. Definitely stick to the paths). And yet there’s nothing bleak about it: the white accentuates the cornflower blue of the sky. My favourite excursion, though, is at Kirkenes, where we’re taken to a glistening snow-covered forest next to an enormous lake of ice surrounded by trees. It’s ridiculously, Christmas card pretty. We don snowsuits, boots and balaclavas and then we’re taken to meet the huskies, who pull us on rickety wooden sledges through the trees to the lake, barking all the way. They wear little boots on their feet – these are dogs who sleep outside but it’s so cold on the ice that even their hardy paws 

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Right to left, from left: Stunning Norwegian sunset; escaping the cold inside a cosy log cabin at Kirkenes; scrumptious grilled salmon on board

need protection. It’s bumpy, exhilarating and at one point I nearly fall off, losing both my gloves and the ones I’ve been lent in the middle of the lake. The dogs certainly seem to enjoy the ride, with the majority only too happy to be petted. Afterwards we’re taken inside a log cabin with a blazing fire and served hot berry juice to warm up, before making our way into the intriguing ice hotel, with its extraordinary carvings and cool vibe.

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Our guide assures us that you’re perfectly warm when you stay there, although I’m not sure I’d ever be brave enough to try it out. All our meals are included in the price of our cruise, and the food on MS Nordkapp is incredibly good, very Scandinavian, fresh and healthy: every conceivable kind of fish, delicious bread, plus smoked salmon, caviar, creamy cheeses served with sour cherries. I reject the reindeer on offer but it’s certainly popular with some of the other guests on the cruise. At night there’s plenty of time for reading, or playing games but none of us have forgotten our goal of finding the Northern Lights. Before we set off, I had plenty of people telling me about their failed attempts to see the aurora borealis; but a friend advised me that the best time to see them is from January to March, when the sky is at its clearest, and he was absolutely right. So it feels almost greedy to admit that during our trip we saw the Northern Lights a total of nine times, each more mesmerising, more vibrant than the last. It’s an incredibly emotional experience, one you share with everyone around you as you all look up at the sky and gasp in wonder. I learned the hard way, though, that a camera phone simply won’t cut it on this kind of trip, because all you’ll end up with is black: take the best camera you can afford, preferably with a tripod, so you can stand back and admire the lights while capturing them to share with friends and family. On the last night, as we head back towards Tromsø, the lights are vivid shades of emerald, lime and jade, the archetypal colours we’ve all been hoping for. Silence falls over the ship as we stare at the sky, spellbound. For so many people this is a bucket list trip, the journey of a lifetime. It’s a voyage I will never forget.

GETTING THERE A return journey from Tromsø to Kirkenes and back in January 2015 costs from £575pp (based on two sharing, on a full board basis). For more info see hurtigruten.co.uk or call 020 3582 6642. Return flights from LHR to Tromsø via Oslo with SAS start at £243 return. Visit flysas.co.uk or call 0871 226 7760.

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PHOTOS: © LIZ JARVIS/MAKING VIEW VISIT NORWAY

IT FEELS ALMOST GREEDY TO ADMIT THAT DURING OUR TRIP WE SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS A TOTAL OF NINE TIMES


NORWAY BY HURTIGRUTEN FEEL IT. TASTE IT. EXPERIENCE IT.

FANTASTIC SAVINGS! 6-DAY CLASSIC VOYAGE SOUTH Kirkenes – Bergen

794

From £ pp!* Including full board

SPECTACULAR WILDLIFE

EXCITING EXCURSIONS

REAL EXPERIENCES

RIB SAFARI

VIKING FEASTS

Also known as ‘The Post Ship’ and ‘The Coastal Express’, a voyage on the historic hurtigruten (‘fast route’ in Norwegian) shows you more of Norway’s iconic coastline than anyone else! You’ll dine on delicious, freshly-sourced coastal cuisine, sail in the company of local people making their way from port to port, learn about the lifestyle and culture through a programme of educational and exciting excursions, and witness the beautiful coastal communities, mountains and islands that put this place so far up on people’s “to do” lists. We look forward to welcoming you on board soon!

Call 020 3393 7179, see your travel agent or visit www.hurtigruten.co.uk *Price based on two people sharing a twin inside cabin on a full board basis travelling in September 2014. Other cabins and voyages available at applicable prices. Offer available on all Classic Voyages from 1 May - 31 Oct 2014. Not included: flights, transfers, optional excursions, travel insurance and porterage. Offer is subject to availability and Hurtigruten’s normal booking conditions.

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Above: You can discover the art of wine and cheese pairing in countries where the grapes are grown


WINE CRUISE

TO GLASS

Love wine but want to know more about what you’re drinking? Join the experts on Celebrity’s Immersive Wine Cruise, says Becky Wiggins

PHOTOS: Š RONNIE KAUFMAN CORBIS/ISTOCK

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’m scribbling fast in my notebook as Oz Clarke revs up into full flow, talking about the McLaren Vale Grenache he is currently sloshing everywhere while making his point. “Take another slurp,� he implores us, closing his eyes in rapture. “Get those big, bold, ripe strawberry flavours.� I abandon my notes and do as I’m told. And yes, I get the strawberry. I am triumphant. My husband Jim and I love our wine: we’re fond of an Aussie Shiraz and a Californian Pinot Noir. And while we’re not serious collectors, we know what we like and spend quite a bit on our favourite bottles. As armchair aficionados, however, we are far from being connoisseurs. So the opportunity to join legendary wine expert Oz Clarke and Tom Forrest, Senior Wine Expert at London’s wine tasting attraction Vinopolis, sailing through Spain and France on board Celebrity Infinity was really too good to miss. Tom and Oz have a marvellous rapport. Oz is expansive, enthusiastic and tends to ramble off on a bit of a wine tangent; Tom, the Wise to Clarke’s Morecambe, expertly steers the talk back on track. They wisecrack constantly and frequently finish each other’s sentences. Their wine master classes were hilarious, informative and, as you can imagine, a bit boozy. With my limited wine knowledge I was worried that I would be out of my league, but there was no snobbery. They spent a lot of time talking to us about wine, both during the master classes and also during increasingly giggly conversations rather late into the night in the Martini Bar. The Immersive Wine Cruise visits several wine producing areas and there are all sorts of different talks, sessions and workshops you can join – all in quite small groups so that we had time to ask questions and have a proper chat with Oz and Tom about the wines. We also had the opportunity to visit vineyards accompanied by the experts, which is an incredibly

interesting experience and not to be missed. Oz has written a book about Bordeaux wines and knows most of the vineyard owners, making the tours even more tailor-made and personal. You can pick and choose which sessions you participate in, as they’re all bookable for a fee (ranging from ÂŁ69 for the six course wine tasting dinner to ÂŁ169 per person for the vineyard tour). On the day we docked in Bilbao, for example, we spent the morning tasting Spanish wines, which really enhanced our on-shore experience, encouraging us to seek out a restaurant with a good wine list so we could show off our new-found knowledge. One of the highlights for us was the cheese and wine pairing session. We started with a Wild Rock ‘The Infamous Goose’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and with trademark expansive wine sloshing and arm waving, Oz coached us on how the green notes in the wine mirrored the acidity in the fresh-tasting cheese: “Green apple. Gooseberry. Get your nose right in the glass.â€? Carrying on through different wine and cheese matches, with the expert help of Oz and Tom, we began to feel that we were really understanding why certain cheeses went well with different wines – a ripe, oaky Chardonnay with a creamy sheep’s cheese and the sweet, bold Grenache with a savoury, nutty cheddar. It all started to make sense. They even managed to persuade me that Roquefort is actually quite pleasant when paired with the honeyed taste of their chosen Klein Constantia Muscat ‘Vin de Constance 2005’ from South Africa. 


Celebrity Infinity is a beautiful ship and I was surprised to hear that we were at full capacity. There seemed to be lots of space, and although we were asked if we’d like to share tables in the main dining restaurant, Trellis, there was always a table for two available (we’re not that sociable). The food served in all the onboard restaurants was of a very high standard. In Trellis, notable dishes included a deliciously tender slow-roasted dish of short ribs, delicate sea bass, and a surf and turf dish with a steak so huge it beat even my dedicated carnivore husband. Highlights included lunch at Bistro on Five ($5 cover charge) and dinner at speciality restaurant Qsine ($45 cover charge). We also spent a lot of time at the Martini Bar (I blame Oz and Tom for this) where the bar is topped with ice and the bar staff make amazing cocktails and entertain with all sorts of theatrical shenanigans, including pouring several Martinis at once. Celebrity is well known for their incredible wine list – onboard restaurants have over 400 wines

available, including a large selection of fine wines and champagnes – plus having two wine experts choosing the wine to match your food choices (dinner with wine chosen by Oz and Tom is also part of the Immersive Wine Cruise experience) made it extra special. I’ll confess to a little frisson of excitement hearing Oz say “I think Becky will really like this one,” – a testament to the fact that you get to spend lots of time chatting with the experts. People come back year after year for the Immersive Wine Cruise and we met some fascinating characters on board. It was great to share experiences with the group as they were from really diverse backgrounds and varied from seasoned cruisers (Caroline and Dave, resplendent in his white dinner jacket) to cruise ‘virgins’ like my husband (doesn’t own a dinner jacket – it honestly doesn’t matter). We all had a love of wine in common and it was a real treat to sample incredible wines, visit vineyards and enjoy food-matching dinners together. Lots of people on these cruises strike up friendships and return to meet up again next time. I CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

BECKY BLOGS AT ENGLISHMUM.COM PHOTOS: © BECKY WIGGINS/ ALAMY/ CELEBRITY CRUISES

Clockwise from bottom left: Becky sniffs out a good red; the Guggenheim; wine on board; Le Havre; our writer with Oz Clarke (left) and Tom Forrest; Lava Crab in Qsine


WINE CRUISE

WE BOTH LEARNED SO MUCH ON THE IMMERSIVE WINE CRUISE AND WOULD DEFINITELY GO ON ANOTHER ONE managed to call one lady Sharon the entire trip, only to find out that her name was, in fact, nothing of the sort. She still seemed to like me. Of course our cruise wasn’t all about wine, and we enjoyed a wonderful, sunny day in Bilbao, including a visit to the Guggenheim Museum, and a slightly chillier wander around Le Havre. On board, away from the food and drink, there is a beautiful pool deck. And to detox after all that wine, there’s the luxurious AquaSpa where I had my favourite Elemis Tri-Enzyme facial. My husband chose to pound the treadmill in the gym a few times, but I preferred a gentle walk around the deck or a coffee and a slice of cake with new friends in Café Al Bacio. Each to their own, I suppose. So what was the verdict from my new to cruise husband? He loved the ship and found the whole ‘waking up in a different country every day’ aspect really appealing. We both learned so much on the Immersive Wine Cruise and would definitely go on another one to keep expanding our wine knowledge CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

and grasp the opportunity to taste even more fabulous wines. I think it’s particularly gratifying to learn something that you can keep using when you get home. Having experts on hand definitely enhances the whole experience, and we made some wonderful friends too. The only downside is that we now spend considerably more on wine. Bottoms up.

GETTING THERE A 12-night Immersive Wine Cruise on Celebrity Infinity, departing from Harwich on 19 September 2014, starts at £729pp, based on two people sharing an interior stateroom. Ports of call include Le Havre (Paris overnight); La Rochelle for Bordeaux (France); Bilbao, (Spain); Vigo (Spain); and Porto (Portugal). For more information or to book see celebritycruises.co.uk or call 0845 456 0523. A PR IL /M AY 2014 |

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a European cruise with P&O Cruises You and a guest could be sailing to beautiful Bruges on P&O Cruises’ Aurora

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COMPETITION

C

ruise International has teamed up with P&O Cruises to offer one reader and their guest the chance to win a fabulous three-night minicruise on board Aurora this October. If you’re new to cruising or just want to revisit one of your favourite destinations, a cruise break on Aurora to the beautiful European city of Bruges is for you. Departing from Southampton, you’ll experience life on board the family-friendly ship Aurora, which has everything you may need to keep you entertained during your escape. Aurora is a classic cruise vessel. You can spend your days in one of its three swimming pools, have a go on the golf simulator during the day or visit the Oasis Spa for the ultimate relaxation experience. Evenings can be spent at Marco Pierre White’s Café Bordeaux or in the Crow’s Nest bar, which offers the best views on board – perfect for viewing spectacular sunsets across the North Sea. After a day at sea exploring the ship, you will arrive in the Flemish city of Bruges, Belgium, affectionately known as the ‘Venice of the North’. A fairy-tale medieval town, Bruges is the perfect destination for a cruise mini-break. Its cobbled lanes, market squares and entwining canals are so beautiful that the centre has gained prestigious World Heritage status. Two of the city’s most loved monuments are The Church of Our Lady and the Belfry tower – as seen in the 2008 film In Bruges – both of which you will have the chance to visit during your stay. You’ll also enjoy local markets and eateries selling delicious Flemish pies, mussels and hazelnut milk chocolate; or sample one of the many excellent varieties of beer from taverns which grace the city’s squares. Awarded the European Capital of Culture in 2002, Bruges has benefited from a renovation which marries its unique historic charm with 21st-century creativity. Cutting-edge art installations and buildings now pepper the city, including the world-class Concertgebouw auditorium, which hosts orchestras, choirs and operas. One lucky winner and their guest will receive this fantastic three-night cruise for two to Bruges. To find out more about Aurora visit pocruises.com or call 0843 374 0111.

WIN A EUROPEAN CRUISE Competition entry form How to enter: For your chance to win a fabulous holiday with P&O Cruises, simply answer the following question, then complete and send this form to the address below. All entries must be received by 11.59pm on 30 April 2014. Marco Pierre White’s bistro on board P&O Cruises’ Aurora is called...? A: Café Bordeaux B: Café Paris C: Café Marseille

Your three-night P&O cruise on board Aurora could look like this: 11 October Southampton > 12 October At Sea >13 October Bruges > 14 October Disembark Southampton.

Name: Address

TERMS AND CONDITIONS 1. Entries close at 11.59pm on 30 April 2014. Prize is a three-night European cruise on board Aurora. Departure 11 October 2014. 2. Once a winner is selected Cruise International will pass their contact details to P&O Cruises who will contact the winner with details of how to claim their prize. 3. The prize is for two adults aged 18 or over, sharing a balcony cabin (GA or GC grade subject to availability). Full board basis, including onboard main meals (excluding speciality restaurants where a cover charge will apply), entertainment and most facilities. 4. The prize does not include travel to or from Southampton. 5. The prize does not include travel insurance, drinks, shore excursions, personal expenses or gratuities. 6. Travel insurance is a condition of travel. 7. The cruise is non transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash. 8. No complimentary or paid-for upgrades will be given. 9. The winner is bound by P&O Cruises booking conditions: for details see the P&O Cruises Second Edition March 2013/2014 brochure. 10. P&O Cruises reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.

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Telephone:

Email:

Send your coupon to: P&O Cruises Competition, Cruise International, The Chelsea Magazine Company, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ, UK By entering the competition, you agree and acknowledge that The Chelsea Magazine Company and P&O Cruises are permitted to receive your registration data. Please tick if you subscribe to CRUISE INTERNATIONAL magazine Please tick if you do NOT wish to receive information about products and services from The Chelsea Magazine Company or P&O Cruises by phone, post or email Terms & Conditions apply (see box left).

Or enter online at: cruise-international.com/win-a-Bruges-cruise



PHOTOS: © JAN D’HONDT BELGIAN TOURIST BOARD/P&O CRUISES

YOUR ITINERARY

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W H AT ’ S H O T

RIVER CRUISE

News

SHIPS EVENTS DESTINATIONS O

O

GODMOTHER TWIGGY British legend Twiggy has been revealed as the godmother of Emerald Sky and Emerald Star, the first ships from the new river cruise line Emerald Waterways. She will attend the ships’ christenings on 9 April before joining Emerald Sky on its inaugural eight-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel on the Rhine(emeraldwaterways.co.uk).

NEW SHIP LAUNCHES 18 MARCH Viking Longships

27 MARCH Uniworld: SS Catherine

VISIT LISBON

Avalon Poetry II

28 MARCH CrosiEurope: MS Lafayette

9 April Emerald Sky and Emerald Star

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If you’re inspired by our Cruise and Stay feature (page 29), Viking’s Portugal’s River of Gold itinerary gives you the chance to explore Lisbon, Portugal, for two days before sailing on to the Douro river. Visit the Unesco World Heritage Jerónimos Monastery and the beautiful old town with the line’s expert guides. Book for a June departure and tie in your trip with the Festas de Lisboa, the annual celebration of street entertainment across the capital. The 10-day cruise is from £1,595pp, March to December (vikingrivercruises.co.uk).

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PHOTOS: © EMERALD WATERWAYS/ BRIAN ARIS/ VIKING RIVER CRUISES

23 MARCH

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EXPLORE YOUR WORLD WITH THE WORLD’S LEADING RIVER CRUISE LINE

As the destination experts, Viking takes you beyond the sights to explore each fascinating place, its people, culture, cuisine and language. Across Europe, Russia and Asia you’ll enjoy privileged access and behind-the-scenes experiences that set us apart from all other travel companies.

Enjoy it all, it’s all included 3 Return scheduled flights from the UK

3 Fly from London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester at no extra cost 3 Deluxe en-suite stateroom with river-view

Look forward to travelling in style and comfort on award-winning ships that you’ll be delighted to call home. And enjoy fantastic value for money, with so much included in the price.

3 All delicious on board meals

Change the way you experience the world, with Viking.

3 Daily guided excursions including visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites

2015 river cruises now on sale from only £895pp

3 Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board

3 24-hour complimentary tea and coffee

Call 020 8780 7900 Visit www.vikingrivercruises.co.uk Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter

3 Culture Curriculum


W H AT ’ S H O T

MORE SHIPS FOR AVALON Avalon is to welcome two new Suite Ships to its fleet in spring 2015. Avalon Tapestry II and Avalon Tranquility II will be the first ‘Suite Ships’ on the French rivers from the 10-strong Avalon fleet. The new ships will offer two full decks of the Panorama Suites, which feature wall-to-wall windows to give passengers the most beautiful view as they pass along the French waterways. The new ships are in addition to Avalon Poetry II, which launches this March 2014, and will double Avalon’s capacity on French rivers the Rhone, Saône and Seine (avaloncruises.co.uk).

READY FOR THE RHINE MS Lafayette is joining the CroisiEurope fleet on 28 March. The 84-passenger ship will sail between Amsterdam and Basel on the Rhine calling at some of the prettiest destinations across Europe. The ship cruises from April to October (croisieurope.co.uk).

PHOTOS: © AVALON CRUISES/ CROISIEUROPE/ CITY CYCLING EUROPE BY ANDREW EDWARDS AND MAX LEONARD THAMES & HUDSON/RAPHA

Explore more If you’re planning to cycle on your next river cruise (see feature, page 118), City Cycling Europe guides by Andrew Edwards and Max Leonard (£25, thamesandhudson.com) will help you discover the cycle routes in Amsterdam and other iconic cities. 116

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ON YOUR

Bike

River cruise itineraries that let you cycle around Europe’s most stunning locations are today’s must-tries, says Sue Bryant


L

ike wine and cheese, cycling and river cruises are a natural pairing. Many of Europe’s rivers have cycle trails running along the banks and there’s nothing more pleasant than taking a bike and pedalling a few miles without any traffic, soaking up the scenery. As well as the obvious benefit of working off some cruise calories, a bicycle ride gives you a feeling of living like a local and seeing the landscape from a different perspective. If you stay on the riverside path, there are no hills and with the river as a reference point, it’s almost impossible to get lost. Many lines also offer guided excursions, hiring in bikes from local suppliers if they don’t have their own. Excursions let you be even more adventurous: explore bike-friendly Amsterdam, or do the 15-mile route from Cologne to Bonn.

Avalon Avalon arranges bicycle tours on most of its European cruises, each one accompanied by a local guide. The Netherlands is a good place to start as it is almost completely flat. An easy tour from Amsterdam on the day the ship is moored takes you through the busy city and out to the Waterland nature reserve, passing old wooden houses, windmills and narrow waterways along the Ijsselmeer. The whole area is criss-crossed with cycle trails and refreshments in a traditional Dutch pub are included. Avalon Waterways (0800 688 1803/avaloncruises.co.uk) offers a seven-night Tulip Time cruise from ÂŁ1,329pp, including flights, departing 2 April 2015.

Emerald Waterways The Moselle is a tributary of the larger Rhine, flowing into it at Koblenz. Several cruise lines offer Moselle cruises, normally as part of a longer cruise that includes ports along the Rhine. Like the Rhine, the Moselle has a cycle trail running alongside, as the river winds its way in magnificent loops, with picture book villages strung out along its banks and medieval castles towering above the towns and vineyards. Some of the best Moselle ports from which to cycle include Bernkastel, in the heart of the winegrowing area, and Cochem, a medieval town of cobbled streets and half-timbered houses overlooked by a dramatic castle. Emerald Waterways, sister brand to Scenic Tours, carries a fleet of bikes on board for guests to use. Emerald Waterways (emeraldwaterways.co.uk/ 0808 102 0160) offers an 11-night Magical Rhine & Moselle cruise between Basel and Amsterdam from ÂŁ1,945 including flights, departing 15 April 2014.

PHOTO: Š SVARIOPHOTO GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK

A PT APT carries bikes on all its European ships for independent and group use. Two-week cruises on the Rhine, Moselle and Danube include a tour through Cochem; a ride from Regensburg to the Walhalla monument; and a ride through beautiful Baroque Wßrzburg. On the Danube, one of the most spectacular guided tours is Dßrnstein to Melk, with a backdrop of steep hills, Dßrnstein Castle – where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192 – and the Wachau valley vineyards. APT (0845 603 6738/aptouring.co.uk) has a 14-night Magnificent Europe cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest, leaving 11 October, from £4,595 with flights. 


CYCLE CRUISES

Viking While Viking doesn’t carry bikes on board, its ships call at plenty of ports where bicycle hire is both cheap and easy. In Vienna, for example, the ‘Boris Bike’ rental scheme is called Citybike (citybikewien.at) and it only costs €1 per hour after the first free hour (€2 for the third hour). There are bike stations all over the city, around the Ringstrasse, where all the main Baroque monuments are located, and at the entrance to the Prater park, for a more leisurely ride. Cycling is easy and safe; there are bike-only lanes almost everywhere and the terrain is flat. Just watch out for the trams and if it all gets too much, take a detour into the Burggarten or the beautiful Stadtpark for an iced coffee. Viking River Cruises (0800 319 66 60/ vikingrivercruises.co.uk) offers a Danube Waltz cruise from Passau to Budapest, including a day and a night in Vienna, from £2,295 including flights, departing throughout July and August 2014.

Uniworld Uniworld caters for cyclists better than most, with a fleet of bikes on board for guests to borrow and the added bonus of optional guided cycle tours as part of each itinerary. On the Bordeaux, Vineyards & Châteaux cruise, two optional cycle tours are included, one from the pretty town of Pauillac, through the vineyards, and a second one from Bordeaux itself, an elegant city spread out along the riverbanks of the Garonne. Even a short ride along the riverfront is worthwhile here; river cruisers tie up right in the centre and the whole waterfront is buzzing with locals walking, cycling and jogging against a backdrop of graceful, 18th century buildings, many of which fall within the city’s protected Unesco World Heritage Site. Uniworld (0800 988 5867/uniworldrivercruises. co.uk) offers a seven-night Bordeaux cruise from £2,679, including flights, departing 3 August.

PHOTO: © ISTOCK/VIENNA TOURIST BOARD CHRISTIAN STEMPER

Scenic Tours Scenic offers complimentary e-bikes to its guests – bicycles with optional electronic assistance, which means greater distances and less effort. With the bikes come Scenic Tailormade devices, GPS touring gadgets, complete with an interactive map and commentary so guests can take individual guided tours. The devices are attached to the electric bikes, allowing you to listen to the running commentary as you cycle. One of the best places to aim for a longer ride is along the Rhine Gorge, overlooked by sheer-sided hills and vineyards guarded by ruined castles and riverside villages with geranium-filled balconies in summer. Cycling here is easy, despite the steep cliffs of the gorge; the Rhine Cycle Path, officially known as Eurovelo 15, extends the entire navigable length of the river, from Schaffhausen in Switzerland to Rotterdam, although one of the prettiest stretches is from Mainz to Cologne. The car-free riverside trail is perfect for cyclists of all abilities. Try a bike ride from Rüdesheim, leaving the pretty town behind and venturing out along the river into the countryside. Scenic Tours (0808 102 0092/ scenictours.co.uk) offers a seven-night Highlights of the Rhine cruise from Amsterdam to Zurich, departing 13 October and including a day in Rudesheim, including flights, from £1,695.


2014 River Cruising

Fully-inclusive from door to door From delectable dining to tipping for land and cruise staff, an APT luxury river cruise really does include everything you need for the perfect holiday. And with included home-to-airport transfers by private car#, your adventure begins the moment you leave your front door. Enriching sightseeing Whether it’s discovering iconic treasures, enjoying private performances or sampling regional delights, a wide range of guided tours and sightseeing excursions await – all at no extra cost.

Luxurious accommodation

Onboard drinks

Enjoy a fantastic onboard experience, with impeccable service, stylish surroundings, world-class amenities, and a choice of elegant, spacious balcony suites.

Wine, beer and soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner on every luxury cruise – and on Royal Collection and Mekong cruises, you’ll enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages† on board.

Delectable dining

All the fine details

Door to door travel

All delicious meals onboard your cruise are included. Enjoy fine dining from menus created by our master chefs that reflect regional flavours and use the finest fresh local ingredients.

All tipping, taxes, port charges, luggage porterage and overseas transfers are included, saving you as much as £1,157 per couple over a 15 day cruise.

Enjoy a smooth journey from start to finish with included private home-to-airport transfers# and return flights aboard quality airlines. Or if you prefer, travel by rail on a selection of Europe cruises‡.

EUROPE

VIETNAM & CAMBODIA

CHINA

Savour the spectacular scenery and iconic attractions of Europe’s heartland on a comprehensive range of luxury cruises along the spectacular Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, the Rhone in France, and the Douro in Portugal.

Experience the delights of Vietnam and Cambodia in unparalleled luxury. Centred around a captivating cruise along the Mekong, you'll explore bustling cities, floating markets and visit remote villages accessible only by water.

Combining a luxurious Yangtze River cruise with the finest guided touring, you’ll discover the ancient cities, distinctive culture and stunning scenery of one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating civilisations in unprecedented style.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO BOOK CALL ABTA No.V9080

0845 602 1137

visit www.aptouring.co.uk/cruising or see your travel agent

GUIDED TOURS & RIVER CRUISES

Reservations Hours: Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 5.30 pm, Saturday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

#Complimentary home-to-airport transfers are included on Luxury river cruises. Available within a 75 driven mile radius of selected UK departure airports and must be requested at the time of booking. No cash alternative available. †Unlimited complimentary beverages available on board all Royal Collection cruises in Europe, and on board the RV AmaLotus in Vietnam & Cambodia. Excludes French Champagne, premium spirits and selected premium wines. ‡Rail Supplement may apply. UK0107


African

queen

Want to see elephants, giraffes, zebra and hippos in their natural habitat? Take a river cruise on the wild side, says Sue Bryant

This page: Elephants are a major attraction on an African river cruise


SAFARI CRUISE

S

PHOTOS: Š DANITA DELIMONT CREATIVE / ALAMY

inging echoed across the water as we puttered over the Chobe River in the shimmering afternoon sun. A beautiful African melody, becoming clearer as we neared our new home, the Zambezi Queen riverboat. The Namibian crew members were lined up to greet us with beaming smiles, swaying and clapping. Crocodiles basked lazily on nearby sandbanks. Huge dragonflies in iridescent colours buzzed the boat. On the opposite bank were hundreds of elephants, heading down to the river to bathe. Later we’d sit, drink in hand, and watch them, under a blazing sunset that left streaks of burnt orange across the sky until the first stars appeared. Since Africa isn’t normally associated with river cruising, the 30-passenger Zambezi Queen experience feels more like a stay on a houseboat than an actual cruise. To confuse matters, it doesn’t even sail on the Zambezi. The boat plies a 25km stretch of the Chobe River, a sometimes mile-wide waterway forming part of the border between Namibia and Botswana. It potters slowly between the same mid-river moorings and there are no ports of call and no river traffic; there aren’t even any towns here apart from the nearby community of Kasane. Once you’re out on the river, it’s just expanses of open space, which is part of the charm.

The vessel is stunning, done up in tasteful neutrals with African artwork, zebra rugs and faux-(of course) leopard-skin cushions. It is managed by Wayne and Vicky Nel, a charismatic South African couple. We quickly got the measure of Captain Wayne at his informal safety briefing: “In the event of an emergency, do not jump into the water. We run an eco-friendly operation here and the lifejackets play havoc with the crocs’ digestive systems.� The pair do everything from sailing the vessel to arranging the game viewing, catering and overseeing the Namibian crew, all of whom come from local villages and return to their accommodation on the riverbank after dinner. “We support 47 Namibian families,� said Wayne proudly. Rightly so, as this is an area of extreme poverty. Our stay was only short, but the days quickly settled into a pattern of early breakfast in the bright, airy dining room on the top deck, open to the river breezes, followed by game viewing ashore in the Chobe National Park. We spotted dazzling birds, zebras, giraffes, antelopes and elephants; with 70,000 of them in the park, estimated to be the greatest concentration anywhere in Africa, you can’t miss them. One frustrating aspect of this cruise is the endless 

With 70,000 elephants in the Chobe National Park,you’re not likely to miss them


Clockwise, from above: MagniďŹ cent zebras; giraffes; stunning views from Zambezi Queen’s cabins; lions; boats to Botswana


SAFARI CRUISE

border crossings, but you just have to treat them as part of the adventure. The boat sails in the Namibian channel of the Chobe but all the game viewing, both in the park and from speciallyadapted boats on the water, is done in the Botswana channel. So to go ashore, we’d have to take a tender to the river bank, exit Namibia, cross the river and enter Botswana, repeating the process to get back on board. It wasn’t a hassle – a man in a hut simply stamps your passport – but it takes time. After lunch on board, it was siesta time. Each cabin has sliding doors that open an entire wall to the river breezes (screens prevent unwelcome insects) and we’d lie listening to the hippos grunting in the afternoon stillness.

For me, evening game viewing from the small tender boat was the best. We got so close to the riverbanks, where hundreds of elephants emerged from the bush in the late afternoon and frolicked in the water, oblivious to our little boat. Some had babies; our guides estimated one infant to be a week old, standing shyly under its mother’s belly. Sunsets this far south in Africa are breathtaking and once dark had fallen, we’d feast on Vicky’s amazing African-fusion dishes, not least the best lemon meringue pie I’ve ever tasted, washed down with chilled South African wines. Dinner conversation was always lively; our companions included a honeymoon couple and a senior member of the African National Congress,

on holiday with his family. Bedtime was at 10pm; the main generator is switched off and, after some stargazing on deck, most people retire, dozing off to the sounds of the African night. I asked Wayne if working in such a remote spot and on such a small boat ever got boring. “There’s no time to get bored,” he said. “Over and above being skipper, I’m chaplain, medic, first aider and life counsellor. There are challenges all the time. But these Namibian people have no idea how much they’ve taught me.”

PHOTOS: © ZAMBEZI QUEEN

Everybody gasped as two leopards made their way stealthily down the muddy bank By the final morning, I was sad that we still hadn’t seen any big cats. Suddenly, one of the guides grabbed a pair of binoculars, focusing on the riverbank, and everybody gasped as two leopards made their way stealthily down the muddy bank to drink from the river. We scrambled into the tender boat and quietly positioned it close to the bank, where we sat gazing in wonder at their sleek beauty. Boarding the tenders that would take us back to the border, the crew lined up, singing a haunting Namibian goodbye song. There wasn’t a dry eye among us. How difficult it was to be leaving Zambezi Queen.

GETTING THERE A two-night cruise on Zambezi Queen, all-incusive, costs £600pp, 01483 425465, zambeziqueen.com. Combine this with a stay at the Stanley and Livingstone Private Game reserve: stanleyandlivingstone.com, +27 (0) 21 715 2412.

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ASK THE EXPERTS

ASK THE

Experts

Got a question about cruise holidays? Get in touch with our experts at info@cruise-international.com

Our regular column from Andy Harmer, Director of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland

Q

My husband and I are keen to try a river cruise but we can only take a week off work. Can you suggest an itinerary? A. You’re in luck: most river cruise lines offer week-long itineraries (sometimes confusingly called ‘eight-day trips’). Choose a weekend departure and you’ll be back before Monday. If you’ve never been on a river cruise, you could start on the Danube or Rhine. Avalon Waterways’ Romantic Rhine holiday includes stops at Amsterdam and Cologne while Scenic Tours’ Danube Discovery has weekend departures calling at medieval towns such as Dürnstein. One of the newest routes is to French wine regions: Viking River Cruises offers cruises from Bordeaux while Uniworld offers all-inclusive luxury eight-day Paris and Normandy cruises with excursions to the D-Day beaches and Monet’s Giverny Gardens. Deborah Stone

This issue’s experts

PHOTOS: © ISTOCK/DUBROVNIK TOURIST BOARD

Julie Peasgood is a TV presenter, travel expert and Contributing Editor for Cruise International

Deborah Stone is an award-winning writer and Contributing Editor for Cruise International

CRU ISE-I N T ER NAT IONA L .COM

THE INSIDER

Q

I love the idea of a traditional cruise where you can dress up and go dancing. Which cruise lines would you recommend? A. The best cruise lines for a traditional ‘at sea’ experience are Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America and Fred. Olsen. As a general rule of thumb, on most 10-14 night cruises there are likely to be two to three formal nights. Crystal offers high-end luxury, and remains faithful to cornerstone cruise traditions. There are assigned dining times with mandatory dress codes (their formal nights are the best for showing off your sequins) and afternoon tea is accompanied by a classical string quartet. Cunard has a 180-year history of cruising where you can bring out your bling at their dazzling balls. Holland America’s luxurious ships attract a loyal following with a wide variety of entertainment options. Fred. Olsen has a diverse line-up of onboard entertainment too with cabaret acts, stand-up comedians and themed evenings where you can don your finery to match the occasion. Julie Peasgood

At this time of year our thoughts are definitely turning to holidays and one really important part of the overall decision surrounding choice of cruise is where to go. One of the areas with which we Brits continue to have a love affair is the Mediterranean (see our feature, page 51). It’s a great cruise region for many reasons: there’s the choice of sailing from a UK port, ideal for those wishing to relax and become acquainted with the ship before reaching the first port of call. Alternatively, there’s also a great choice of airports from which to fly to join either an eastern or western Mediterranean cruise. The Med is also a good place to start for those who are trying their first ever cruise holiday. It can offer familiarity with such things as currency, languages and the countries being visited. For those trying a cruise for the first time and not sure whether it is right for them, it is easy to find a shorter cruise. The region also boats numerous ‘hero’ ports such as Barcelona, Venice, Istanbul, and Dubrovnik, each offering a unique experience. A further benefit of a Med cruise is that itineraries tend to offer a high number of port visits, great for those who wish to explore many different, exciting places in one holiday while only unpacking once.

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Support your tummy while abroad! When travelling abroad, the local food, drink and climate can all have an effect on the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Bimuno® TRAVELAID is a unique and convenient formulation that has been specially developed for business and holiday travellers, to be taken in preparation for and during your time abroad. Published scientific studies* have shown that some prebiotic Galacto-oligosaccharides, such as provided by Bimuno TRAVELAID, can help encourage and sustain a healthy level of your ‘good’ gut bacteria.

Next time you’re going away try Bimuno TRAVELAID soft chewy pastilles to experience the benefits for yourself.

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Rhooddyes in er h et g to ed k oc d s Sister ship n Cruises. Dean Mo with Thomso

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bean’s in bson b d ri a te C ot l sp a oy ra R ro u on A ’’ n u es F is P&O Cru Zealand. James Do Porthole o f’ Seas. Maria Knoll ew Auckland, N Liberty of the C R U I S E S FROM THE UK

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C E L E B R I T Y T R AV E L S

Bilbao is a splendid city. You can’t get away from what made it famous – industry, shipbuilding and the docks. I usually go down to the fish market and look in absolute amazement at the quantities. You realize that the sea does have an awful lot of fish still in it. I’d indulge in fish stews: the shellfish there is fantastic and you’ve got local cider and wine.

Oz

I love beaches and the one at Willunga, just south of Adelaide, is a wonderful westfacing beach with shallow water. You can take a glass of local white wine or home-brewed beer and head off to watch the sunset. It’s just fantastic.

I’ve just got back from Australia and discovered excellent wines from the Nebbiolo grape. It isn’t to everyone’s taste and I never thought I’d come to love it. There aren’t many wines made from it outside Italy but I’ve found seven or eight which I’d make the detour to find out about again.

As a child, all of our holidays were at the seaside – every single one. There was just this absolute obsession with the sea. We lived in Kent about five miles from Canterbury and the seaside was my playground, whether it was Whitstable or Herne Bay or one of the other shingle beaches. READER OFFER Get Oz’s latest book: Oz Clarke Pocket Wine Book 2014 (Pavilion) by calling 0844 576 8122 and quoting CH1812. The handy guide is full of tips, facts and vintage charts.

“As a child, all of our holidays were at the seaside” 130

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WORDS: JOSEPHINE PRICE PHOTOS: © ISTOCK/ ADAM BRUZZONE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN TOURISM COMMISSION

Wine expert Oz Clarke tells us about his must-see places, and his new favourite grape


NORWEGIANS HAVE MORE CHOICE. NORWEGIANS CRUISE LIKE NO OTHER PEOPLE ON EARTH. WITH MORE CHOICE OF WHAT TO SEE AND DO, NORWEGIANS DO IT THEIR WAY. WE CALL IT FREESTYLE CRUISING®. YOU MIGHT JUST CALL IT YOUR BEST HOLIDAY EVER.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HIGHLIGHTS: • Brand new Norwegian Getaway sailing the Caribbean year round • Up to 29 dining choices • Up to 22 bars and lounges • World-class entertainment • Accommodation to suit all tastes • Luxurious spas & oceanview gyms • Youth & teen programmes • Exclusive family entertainment with NickelodeonTM*

THOUSANDS OF CHOICES, ALL OF

THEM RIGHT.

MEDITERRANEAN • BALTIC • CARIBBEAN & BAHAMAS • HAWAI’I • ALASKA • PANAMA CANAL EXPLORE: www.ncl.co.uk CALL: 0845 201 8900

NCL_UK

*NickelodeonTM entertainment features on selected ships only. ©2014 NCL Corporation LTD Ship’s Registry: Bahamas and United States of America. 4939.01.14

Norwegian Cruise Line UK

Cruise international may 2014 uk  
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