SAIL INTO THE CHRIST­MAS SPIRIT

Yule love the magic of a fes­tive cruise

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - LINER NOTES - AN­DREA BLACK

What do you have planned for Christ­mas? Will it be the same as last year, and the year be­fore? Does it in­volve spend­ing too much money pre­par­ing and then host­ing the ex­tended fam­ily, and let’s not for­get the clean­ing up af­ter­wards?

Maybe it’s time to mix it up a bit. Con­sider tak­ing a cruise across Christ­mas and cel­e­brat­ing in a dif­fer­ent way. Tak­ing some time out to hit the high seas and river­ways is sure to bring back the magic of the sea­son.

There are a num­ber of cruises to get you in the Yule­tide spirit and they’re sail­ing in 2019. Per­haps it’s some­thing to pop on this year’s Chrissy present list, a gift-of-a-life­time to your­self. Here’s the pick of some of the best.

EX­PLORE YULE­TIDE EUROPE

APT’s new Im­pe­rial Europe tour in­cludes vis­its through Ger­man ports where you can ex­plore Nam­edy Cas­tle and dine in the ball­room with a pi­ano recital. You’ll also ex­plore Aus­tria, tak­ing in the City Palace for a cock­tail reception and a fes­tive con­cert of Christ­mas favourites.

On board you’ll dine nightly on de­li­cious four-course din­ners, then be en­ter­tained by a pi­anist while sip­ping on mulled wine to cel­e­brate the sea­son.

Add on APT’s Mag­i­cal Christ­mas Mar­kets, a land jour­ney through Ger­many where you can tour the Christ­mas mar­kets of Mu­nich. APTOURING.COM.AU PARIS CEL­E­BRA­TION

FROM CARIBBEAN TO AMA­ZON

Spend Christ­mas Day in the sun in Bar­ba­dos (av­er­age Christ­mas tem­per­a­ture is a per­fect 29C) on Vik­ing Cruises’ new From the Caribbean to the Ama­zon itin­er­ary.

You’ll jour­ney from San Juan also stop­ping in the Îles du Sa­lut of French Guiana. You’ll then cruise the Ama­zon call­ing into ports along the way to spy unique flora and fauna be­fore head­ing out to the Caribbean to visit Tobago, St Lu­cia, An­tigua and St Thomas. The 22-day cruise on Vik­ing Sea de­parts De­cem­ber 21, 2019. VIKINGCRUISES.COM.AU

END THE YEAR WITH A BANG

Do you like the idea of cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas on a cruise ship with all the trim­mings (and no clean­ing up!), and then call­ing into Casablanca for a spot of shop­ping at souks on Boxing Day? We’ve found the cruise for you. Fred Olsen Cruises’ 15-night Ca­naries Christ­mas & Fun­chal Fire­works aboard the Bal­moral takes in the Ca­naries, Morocco and Madeira.

The cruise de­parts Southamp­ton and in­cludes is­land-hop­ping ad­ven­tures vis­it­ing Tener­ife, Gran Ca­naria and La Palma. Then it’s on to Madeira for scenic walk­ing trails, and to wel­come in 2020 with views of a great New Year’s fire­works dis­play at the cap­i­tal of Por­tu­gal’s Madeira ar­chi­pel­ago, Fun­chal. FREDOLSENCRUISES.COM.AU

SEE CITY OF LIGHT AT ITS FINEST

If the thought of Christ­mas and New Year in Paris sounds mag­nifique, con­sider Uni­world’s eight-day Parisian Royal Hol­i­day which be­gins and ends in the City of Light. You’ll see the grand Christ­mas tree at Notre Dame and glo­ri­ously lit trees along the Champs El­y­sees, and then ex­pe­ri­ence four ex­clu­sive châteaux vis­its.

A high­light is Chateau de Ver­sailles, where you’ll be taken on a pri­vate tour of The Hall of Mir­rors, the queen’s and king’s cham­bers and Marie An­toinette’s Petit Tri­anon. You’ll also feast on hol­i­day treats in the city of Rouen at La Couronne, the restau­rant made fa­mous by Ju­lia Child. Then you ring in the new year against the back­drop of Paris’s ro­man­tic sky­line. UNI­WORLD.COM FES­TIVE CARIBBEAN

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK

Cel­e­brate your next Yule­tide with a Christ­mas cruise to Europe; or take a Vik­ing cruise and spend Christ­mas Day re­lax­ing on a Caribbean beach.

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