Cruising is back and busier than ever before with popular cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises both recording their largest ever booking days in the last few weeks.
The entire cruise industry is looking extremely buoyant for 2023 with travel agents reporting bumper sales – up 35 percent on 2019 – so we’re not wasting any time and have asked Santa for a cruise for Christmas, wrapped up in a bow and placed under our tree, please.
From affordable to hyper luxurious, designed for an ever younger demographic – more than half of all cruisers between 2018 – 2020 were under 40 – and with so many cruises and destinations to choose from, a voyage is the only way we want to travel in 2023.
So we’ve scanned and scoured the myriad cruises on offer and whittled our festive choices down to two. Now we just have to hope all our Christmas wishes come true.
All I Want For Christmas Is… A Transatlantic Crossing
I can imagine sipping Champagne as I sail past the Statue of Liberty on Queen Mary 2
By Karen Pasquali Jones
With white-gloved waiters serving afternoon tea – including cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, of course – to the melodic backdrop of a harpist performing, and black-tie gala dinners, where everyone puts on their Tuxedo or taffeta, Cunard is the quintessentially British way to cruise.
Epitomising the ‘true romance’ of ocean travel, nothing could be finer than a transatlantic crossing on board flagship Queen Mary 2 where ‘one’ could be sipping a coupe of Champagne while sailing past the Statue of Liberty into New York.
Cunard has been sailing between the UK and New York regularly since establishing the first route in 1847. Refined Brits have always loved the Bellhops in their red livery and the famous White Star Service
But this is one cruise where the journey is possibly more important than the final destination. Seven days luxuriating on board such an elegant liner is the stuff of bucket lists, but I want to do it now, while I’m still young enough to savour every moment of this iconic sailing.
Cunard has been sailing between the UK and New York regularly since establishing the first route in 1847. Refined Brits (or those, like me, who want to make believe for a week or so) have always loved the Bellhops in their red liveries, and world-famous White Star Service where guests’ every whim is catered for.
Walkies! Pampered pets are welcome on board Cunard during a transatlantic crossing to New York
As well as 24 kennels for pampered pooches to travel transatlantic in style, there’s even a lamppost taken from the Cunard Building in Liverpool so they’re not homesick and, ahem, ‘find familiarity’ as Cunard politely puts it, when they go for their walkies.
Even better, the cruise begins in Southampton so there’s no busy airport to navigate, or flight to catch, and you can take as many tulle and taffeta gowns as you can pack! Simply make the most of every hour on board in one of the five-star restaurants, bars, theatre, or having a facial or massage in the Mareel Wellness & Beauty spa, or reading a book while being rocked by the Atlantic in your luxurious stateroom.
You can even combine your love of classical ballet with a Cunard cruise on a special sailing, Dance The Atlantic With English National Ballet in August 2023. Now if that’s not en pointe what is?
A seven night Dance The Atlantic With English National Ballet Eastbound crossing departing Southampton on 11 August, 2023 on Queen Mary 2 and arriving in New York on 18 August, starts from £799 per person for a Britannia Insider or £1099 for a Brittania Balcony. Accommodation in New York and flight or cruise home is not included. cunard.com
All I Want For Christmas Is… A Trip To Tahiti
I’m yearning for Tahiti where I can sip coconut water from a shell and swim in crystal clear water
By Rebecca Barnes
2022 has been a vintage year for cruise adventures, but with the exception of a short visit to Doha in November for the christening of MSC World Europa, I didn’t really venture much further afield than Europe.
I sailed on APT’s sleek boutique yacht Princess Eleganza in Croatia, boarded a newly stretched Star Pride in Lisbon, slow cruised the Rhine on A-Rosa Sena, and shopped for lemon sherbets in Sorrento courtesy of Oceania Cruises.
Now I’m yearning for faraway climes where the beaches are bleach white and the palm trees bow down to you. I want to sip coconut water from a shell and swim with tropical fish in crystal clear water
But now I’m yearning for faraway climes, where the beaches are bleach white and the palm trees bow down to you. I want to sip coconut water from a shell and swim with tropical fish in crystal clear water. So when I heard about Variety Cruises’ new Tahiti itineraries, I couldn’t contain my excitement.
Polynesia has always been on my bucket list, and with prices starting at just 1890 euros per person for an eight-day sailing programme, my dream may actually become a reality.
A warm welcome awaits in the Islands of Tahiti
There are many sides to The Islands of Tahiti: Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea – islands sculpted by sky-piercing, moss-green peaks and lined with vivid turquoise lagoons. Island hopping allows travellers to see every landscape, from geometric ridges strung with waterfalls to flat, desert-like atolls where lagoons far outsize the landmass.
All I want for Christmas is a cruise on these crystal clear waters
Tahiti & The Pearls of Polynesia
This eight-day round sailing trip from Papeete Port, Tahiti, with stops at the world-famous Society islands, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea is a new cruise.
Prices start from 1890 euros per person to include accommodation on full board basis (buffet breakfast, lunch & dinner), coffee, tea, mineral water, fresh fruit, snorkelling equipment, and sea kayak (subject to availability), welcome cocktail, Captain’s dinner, BBQ (weather permitting), and English speaking tour director.
Departures from 3 Feb 2023. varietycruises.com