WELCOME to today’s travel special, where we bring you inspiration for your holidays at home and abroad.
This week we’re setting our sights on the soft white sands, warm turquoise waters and lush islands of the Caribbean – and what better way to see them than on a cruise?
CIRCLE OF THE CARIBBEAN: Are you hoping to banish the winter blues next year? This voyage offers everything you would expect from a Caribbean cruise – and more.
Spend two weeks aboard the Emerald Princess, sailing between palm-fringed bays.
Departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, spend a day at sea before reaching the island of St. Kitts with its rainforest mountains and colorful buildings.
The next morning, wake up in Guadeloupe before heading to St. Lucia, followed by St. Vincent, Trinidad and Grenada.
On another day at sea, guests can take advantage of the ship’s freshwater pools.
The 14-day cruise then heads to the islands of Curacao and Aruba before returning to Florida.
It costs from £1,099 per person based on two people sharing an inside cabin and departs 21 February 2024. Flights not included.
See rolcruise.co.uk or call 0808 2391 262 (Travel Code: E405).
CARIBBEAN-TRANSATLANTIC: Sail between the sun-kissed islands of Tortola, St. Kitts, Martinique and Barbados on a 14-day voyage, enjoying plenty of time to relax in an infinity pool on the upper deck.
You are on Arvia, the newest ship in the P&O Cruises fleet, whose 710 Club was co-designed by singer Gary Barlow.
There’s even a Take That theater show on board.
Arvia sails from Southampton and calls at Gran Canaria before spending five days at sea en route to the Caribbean.
With a submarine-style escape room, high-wire experiences and restaurants ranging from authentic Indian cuisine to fine dining at Epicurean, you’ll never be bored.
Costs from £899 per person, including return flights from Barbados. See pocruises.com.
AMBASSADOR CRUISE LINE
GEMS OF THE CARIBBEAN: If you don’t have children or want to work full-time, this five-and-a-half-week flightless cruise is for you.
Kick off the New Year with a bang aboard MS Ambience, sailing from London and calling at Madeira, Bermuda, St Maarten, Tortola, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and the Azores in Portugal , before returning home.
An advantage of a longer cruise is that you can stay longer in some places like Mexico and the Dominican Republic to fully enjoy what they have to offer.
On this flightless cruise, you’ll have plenty of days at sea to relax at the wellness spa, catch a cabaret show, or hit the Purple Turtle pub.
The 39-night voyage from £2,599 per person departs Tilbury on 5th January 2024.ambassadorcruiseline.com).
SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN: Tick off a variety of tropical islands that are on your bucket list on this seven-day island-hopping extravaganza.
From £465 per person, escape the autumn drizzle and visit San Juan in Puerto Rico, St Croix, St Maarten, Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados, all with gorgeous beaches and some of the best rum distilleries in the world.
When you’re not exploring the islands, you can enjoy world-class entertainment aboard Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody Of The Seas.
The fun ranges from crazy pool parties and dance classes to family-friendly game shows and a climbing wall.
Dining options include a sushi restaurant, an American steakhouse, Italian dishes and more.
The seven-night, full-board cruises are priced from £465 per person, based on two people sharing an inside cabin, and depart from San Juan on 6 October 2024.
Flights not included. See rolcruise.co.uk or call 0808 2391 262 (Travel Code: RH07D388).
TUI MARBELLA CRUISES
PARADISE ISLANDS: If you enjoy the sound as you sip cocktails on a sandy beach under a coconut palm, you’re in heaven.
The round trip from Bridgetown, Barbados takes you to the ancient rainforests and botanical gardens of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, then on to St. Maarten and St. Kitts, famous for their sugar plantations.
Later, sail to Antigua and Dominica, where you can lounge on perfect beaches or hike through a tropical forest.
There’s plenty to do aboard Marella Cruises’ newest ship: a cinema, a craft center and a traditional pub.
The seven-day cruise costs from £1,300 per person. Includes return flights to Barbados. Departure on December 10th. Please refer tui.co.uk/cruise.
One of the joys of a cruise is enjoying multiple destinations — but that can make deciding what to pack daunting.
We asked some of our favorite cruise lines for tips. . .
TOM MAHONEY, Cunard: Pack a small carry-on bag with items such as travel documents, swimwear, and comfortable shoes.
This allows you to make the most of your first day on board while the crew takes care of your main luggage.
BERNARD CARTER, Oceania Cruises: For peace of mind, pack the most important medical supplies in your hand luggage.
HAYLEY MOORE, Princess Cruises: Check if there are any formal nights out as you might want to dress up and feel special for a night out.
KATJA HILDEBRANDT, Riviera Travel: Few river cruise ships have laundry or ironing facilities. So bring clothes that don’t crease easily.
LYNNE SMITH, Marella Cruises: A multi-country adapter is always useful as sockets vary by cruise ship.
KAREN FARNDELL, Holland America Line: Bring binoculars to observe all the activities at sea and on arrival at your various destinations.
LUCIA ROWE, A-ROSA river cruises: Plan the time of year you’re traveling and pack comfortable walking shoes for exploring on land.