Relax on a sunshine break or a long, slow ride into autumn: The best cruise holidays to book in 2023 revealed
What nicer way to celebrate spring than by booking a cruise? Whether you fancy a mini-break soon, a summer river cruise or a long voyage for autumn to look forward to, check out my pick of the best, here.
Slip a last-minute cities break into your holiday year with a mini-cruise sailing from Southampton on April 15.
The four-night trip aboard big ship Sky Princess, goes to Zeebrugge the port for medieval Bruges that has a chocolate shop every corner and Rotterdam with its striking, modern architecture, museums and Market Hall filled with Dutch cheeses to take home. Fares are from £392pp with Planet Cruise (planetcruise.com).
A new Cruise & Explore holiday for this year combines a river voyage with a hotel stay on the shores of Lake Lugano in Italy and a spectacular train journey on the Bernini Express over the Alps to the Swiss city of Chur, before joining A-Rosa Aqua riverboat in Basel.
Your one-week Rhine cruise includes stops in Cologne, Ghent and Antwerp, ending in Amsterdam. Departures are weekly from April to September for the 10-night tour, with prices starting at £2,999pp including flights (rivercruising.co.uk/arosa-cruises).
Saga’s no-fly ‘Autumnal Colours of New England’ cruise aboard boutique ship Spirit of Discovery (above) is now almost £900pp off
And, another one for river cruise fans – CroisiEurope is celebrating 30 years on the Danube with up to 20 per cent off and no single supplements on two exciting itineraries.
The first saving is on Beautiful Blue Danube cruises round-trip from Vienna with departures April to July. In a week you will call at the Slovakian capital Bratislava and Budapest and sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley. Fly-cruise fares are now from £1,422pp (saving £276pp).
Or, explore the remote lower Danube, sailing for nine days between Budapest and Bucharest through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Prices for departures on May 28 and July 25 are from £1,422pp (saving £276pp) including flights (croisieurope.co.uk).
The fiery tints of the North American fall are legendary. And the delight is doubled seeing the reflections from your balcony on an Autumnal Colours of New England cruise.
Set off on CroisiEurope’s cruise down the Danube and you’ll call at the Slovakian capital Bratislava (above)
What’s more, an all-inclusive, 28-night, no-fly cruise aboard boutique ship Spirit of Discovery is now almost £900pp off. Sailing round-trip from Portsmouth on September 26, the itinerary includes Portland and Bar Harbour in Maine, Halifax in Nova Scotia, St John on the Bay of Fundy, Boston and New York. And on days at sea you can join experts from cetaceans conservation charity ORCA on deck looking out for whales.
The cost, from £7,554pp (down from £8,443pp) covers home to ship chauffeur, drinks, tips, wi-fi, travel insurance and five excursions (saga.co.uk/cruises).
If you have ever wondered on canal-side walks, what it is like to putter along at 4mph, there’s a brilliant opportunity to find out coming up on April 23, when Drifters Waterway Holidays has an open day at 16 boatyards in England and Wales.
Between 11am and 4pm you can try a taster session on a skippered narrowboat and look round different sorts of boats for hire. Find out more and download a voucher for a free boat trip at drifters.co.uk/openday.