BOOK BLOOM­ING EARLY

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE -

Opin­ion varies among ex­pert cruis­ers about how to get the best deals and cab­ins. Much de­pends on what sort of cruise you want to book. The best cab­ins on those with very lim­ited avail­abil­ity or at peak times can sell out well in ad­vance, es­pe­cially in places such as Antarc­tica and the Gala­pa­gos. Prices be­low are per per­son, based on two shar­ing, in­clud­ing break­fast, flights and trans­fers un­less oth­er­wise stated. All meals are in­cluded on-board cruises. For about eight weeks from midMarch to mid-May, the Keuken­hof gar­dens in Lisse, west­ern Hol­land, put on Eu­rope’s most daz­zling flower show. More than six mil­lion tulip, daf­fodil and hy­acinth bulbs all bloom at once, and the world’s am­a­teur gar­den­ers and flower-lovers all want a piece of it. Tours are al­ready book­ing up, es­pe­cially itin­er­ar­ies that in­clude time in Am­s­ter­dam and An­twerp. Bright­wa­ter of­fers lim­ited cab­ins on the river cruiser MS Gérard Sch­mit­ter with a bulb-field ex­cur­sion.

From £1,295 for a four-night Dutch Bulb­field Cruise de­part­ing April 14 in a twin-berth cabin (bright­wa­ter­hol­i­days.com). cruises. Cu­nard’s Queen Mary 2 makes this jour­ney year round. If you’re not fussy about the de­par­ture date, di­rec­tion of cruise or ac­com­mo­da­tion, you can al­ways find a space – but this is not the case if you want a higher, ocean-fac­ing cabin on the west­bound leg. Th­ese are al­ready dis­ap­pear­ing fast for 2019 dates.

From £1,179 for a West­bound Transat­lantic Cross­ing de­part­ing Southamp­ton on April 28, in an Ocean­view state­room (cu­nard.co.uk). sol­diers dis­em­barked on the Nor­mandy beaches. Tight se­cu­rity and lim­ited ho­tel space means vis­it­ing by land will be dif­fi­cult in June, but there’s still avail­abil­ity on MS Marco Polo’s com­mem­o­ra­tive itin­er­ary, tak­ing in the beaches, plus An­twerp, Hon­fleur and Rouen, ac­com­pa­nied by a Sec­ond World War his­to­rian.

From £839 for an in­side cabin on a six-night 75th D-Day An­niver­sary Cruise de­part­ing Portsmouth on June 2 (cruise­and­mar­itime.com).

CRUIS­ING FOR DEALSSouth Plaza Is­land in the Gala­pa­gos, main; tulips and wind­mills in Hol­land, above; the an­cient tem­ples of Angkor, Cam­bo­dia, right

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