Best cruise holidays: editor’s picks

Once perceived as a holiday for the well-fed and nearly dead, cruises are back in vogue – just ask any of the millions of people around the world who sail the high seas every year. From family cruises to some seriously scenic routes, travel writer and cruises expert Jane Archer says there’s a trip for every taste

Family cruises

Family cruises

Life’s a breeze

Take the kids on Carnival Breeze (pictured above) and the only problem you’ll have is getting them off again! A floating nirvana for youngsters, this ship has everything from awesome waterslides to kid-friendly play areas and a daredevil ropes course. If you can get the kids ashore, the bobsleigh run in Jamaica’s Ocho Rios is one wild ride and is easily accessible from Montego Bay, a Western Caribbean port.

Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Breeze offers a one-week round trip from Galveston in Texas, calling at Montego Bay in Jamaica, and Grand Cayman and Cozumel in Mexico.

Island fling

Aloha from Pride of America, the only child-friendly ship based in Hawaii. It has fun clubs for kids and teens, but who wants to play on computers and arcade games on the ship when the movie set for Jurassic Park waits ashore in Hawaii? There are no dinosaurs roaming the rainforest (or so they tell us); instead, kids can have a close encounter with fiery Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, and zip-wire through the jungle 85 feet above the ground.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Pride of America offers a one-week round trip from Honolulu, calling at the islands of Maui, Hawaii and Kauai.

Adventure cruises

Adventure cruises

N-ice one!

Get your chills up close to Margerie Glacier on Princess Cruises’ summer sailings to Alaska on Star Princess (pictured above). Look out for whales in the summer at the aptly named Glacier Bay, and enjoy more icy adventures as you pass through College Fjord, home to dozens of glaciers that have been named after renowned East Coast seminaries (women’s on the north-west, men on the south east). Not cool enough? A helicopter tour takes you from Juneau to the Mendenhall Glacier to walk on the ice.

Princess Cruises, Star Princess offers a seven-night voyage between Vancouver and Whittier (Anchorage), calling at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.

Action on the high seas

A trip on the mega-ship Anthem of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International is an adventure that never stops giving. On board, there’s skydiving, surfing, ice-skating, rock-climbing and even dodgem cars; ashore you can swim, snorkel and cycle in Bermuda or swing through the treetops in St Maarten, an island split between the Dutch and the French. The action kicks up a gear in Labadee, Royal Caribbean International’s private island in the sun, where waterslides, a rollercoaster and speedy wave runners will satisfy even the itchiest of feet.

Royal Caribbean International, Anthem of the Seas offers a nine-night round trip from Bayonne, New Jersey, calling at Bermuda, St Maarten, San Juan and Labadee.

Luxury cruises

Luxury cruises

Good morning, Vietnam!

Exotic Asia meets upscale cruising on the Celebrity Millennium as she sashays along the coast of Vietnam over winter. A peaceful haven with plenty of places to wine and dine, this sophisticated ship is the ideal antidote to the hustle and bustle of Asia ashore. You’ll also get a taste of the region’s quieter side, including the majestic limestone islands and caves of Ha’long Bay.

Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Millennium offers a 14-night Asia cruise between Hong Kong and Singapore, calling at Ha’long Bay, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and Laem Chabang (the port for Bangkok).

Capitals of cool

Psst… Want to know where the cool crowd goes in summer? Then hop on one of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ voyages around the Baltic (pictured above). The Seven Seas Voyager takes you to some of the world’s coolest capitals – hip Helsinki, Estonia’s medieval Tallinn and magnificent St Petersburg, where you’ll have two days among its towering golden spires and world-class museums. And the good news is tours are included in the price.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seven Seas Voyager offers a seven-night Baltic cruise between Stockholm and Copenhagen, calling at Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Berlin (from the port of Warnemunde).

Scenic cruises

Scenic cruises

Picture this

Treat yourself to a big memory card for your camera before embarking Holland America Line’s South America voyage around Cape Horn, Chile because you’ll be happily snapping endless pictures of the snow-capped mountains, deep valleys and creeping glaciers that mark out the Chilean fjords. But this itinerary delivers so much more, from cute penguins and wild moorland in the Falkland Islands to a ride on the End of the World Train from Ushuaia, Argentina to remote Tierra del Fuego National Park, home of craggy mountains, vast lakes and gushing waterfalls.

Holland America Line offers a 14-day South American cruise between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Valparaiso, Chile, calling at Montevideo, Stanley, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia and Puerto Montt.

Adriatic beauties

You can tour the hotspots along Croatia’s gorgeous 1,100-mile coast by car but a voyage with Azamara Club Cruises is so much easier, as you wake in a new place every day refreshed and ready to be seduced by another Adriatic beauty. Dubrovnik’s old city is the grand dame with her majestic city walls and winding alleyways packed with history, but other exceptional ports en route include trendy Hvar, cultural Korcula and the medieval town of Kotor, nestled at the end of a stunning fjord that leads in from the ocean. Be sure to wake up early to enjoy the views as you sail through.

Azamara Club Cruises offers an eight-day round trip from Venice, calling at Zadar, Hvar, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Korcula and Koper.

The open seas are calling your name. If you can hear it – search your dream cruise now

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