Cruise special

Sail­ing into the sun­set on a mega-ship or drift­ing along a river on a bou­tique boat, there’s some­thing ad­dic­tive about cruis­ing. SUE BRYANT, Cruise Ed­i­tor of The Sun­day Times, gives her guide to what’s new on board

Woman & Home - - Editor's Letter -

your com­plete guide to what’s new on board

Cruis­ing has taken me to places i’d never have dreamed of. i’ve swum with wild sea lions in Mex­ico’s Sea of Cortez. i’ve watched the north­ern Lights dance across a norwegian sky. i’ve had tea with an as­tro­naut on the Queen Mary 2, med­i­tated on top of a Burmese tem­ple and sat on deck in Alaska with my chil­dren, watch­ing hump­back whales breach­ing along­side the ship. what’s not to love about a hol­i­day afloat? 1.9 mil­lion Brits went on an ocean cruise last year, an in­crease of more than 50% on the to­tal a decade ago. Some 16 new ocean-go­ing ships are be­ing launched in 2018, and 20 more the year after. Cruis­ing is def­i­nitely hav­ing a mo­ment.

think about a cruise as you might a stay in a ho­tel – do you want cool, laid-back and bou­tique? Hip­ster or tra­di­tional? Serene and grown-up, or a fam­ily re­sort, packed with ac­tiv­ity?

Cruise lines can of­fer all th­ese op­tions and more. Cu­nard Line

(0344 338 8648, cu­nard.co.uk), has just staged its sec­ond sell-out transat­lantic Fash­ion week on Queen Mary 2, a pre­lude to new York Fash­ion week, with runway shows, de­sign­ers and mod­els on board, fash­ion shoots and talks.

when it comes to en­ter­tain­ment, MSC Cruises (0203 426 3010, msc­cruises.co.uk) has built a high-tech theatre on its new ship, Mer­av­iglia, as a seago­ing home for the Cirque du Soleil, while norwegian Cruise Line (0333 241 2319, ncl.co.uk) and royal Caribbean (0844 493 4005, roy­al­caribbean.co.uk) stage elab­o­rate shows like Mamma Mia! and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

in terms of lux­ury, Celebrity Cruises (0845 163 9463, celebri­ty­cruises.co.uk) is launch­ing a new ship in 2018, Celebrity edge, with a rooftop gar­den and split-level apart­ments with pri­vate plunge pools. And next sum­mer, you’ll be able to cruise like an oli­garch on Scenic’s (0808 115 1904, scenic.co.uk) new 228-pas­sen­ger mega yacht, eclipse, which comes com­plete with a sub­ma­rine and two he­li­copters.

But it’s not all about big bud­get hol­i­days. Cruis­ing is gen­uinely af­ford­able, which is why it’s so pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies; once you’re on board, food and en­ter­tain­ment are in­cluded, and a lot of cruise lines throw in drinks too. On most river cruises, even the sight­see­ing tours come as part of the pack­age.

Value aside, what i love most about cruis­ing, at any level, is the free­dom it brings. You can be healthy, ac­tive, ad­ven­tur­ous, deca­dent, or as lazy as you like – and you’ll dis­cover some fab­u­lous new places too.

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