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Cruising for Wine Lovers

7th February 2018

Cruising and wine are two interests that make a perfect pairing. Not only can most cruise lines transport you to notable wine districts all over the world, but many also bring wine tastings, presentations, and experiences onboard as well. If you consider yourself something of a connoisseur, or even just enjoy a simple glass every now and then but would like to learn more, there are a number of destinations and types of cruises that could be right for you.

European Cruises

When it comes to European wines there are an incredible number of places worth exploring. Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and Portugal are generally the most popular, but just about every country produces their own blend – not forgetting the UK. Try a punchy local Rioja in southern Spain on a Mediterranean cruise, or a classic Riesling on the Rhine on a German river cruise; wine lovers will not be disappointed in Europe– especially with most cruise lines offering various wine-themed excursions.

 

 

Celebrity Cruises

This popular cruise line has partnered up with Channel 5’s The Wine Show, to bring guests some extra special wine-related experiences. Presenters Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer have put together a series of recommended excursions – including vineyard tours and tastings across Europe. They will also often appear onboard to host talks and tastings on the ship. Celebrity Cruises also boast an enviable collection of rare wines at sea, and an expert team of sommeliers.

 

Australasia Cruises

Although Australian wine came pretty late into the game considering the history of wine in other regions, its popularity has seen a dramatic rise in recent years. In fact it is now the fourth biggest exporter of wine in the world. There are wine regions all over the vast country, including around Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne. In the Adelaide Hills alone there are around 50 different wineries, and you’ll find cruise excursions taking you to tastings in several of these, with a delicious gourmet lunch included too.

 

 

Cunard: Queen Mary 2

Cunard offer a unique cruising opportunity onboard QM2, in that guests can earn themselves a Level 1 or 2 Award in Wines; a recognised qualification in the wine industry. These are gained by spending time learning about oenology with the help of sommeliers, and renowned global winemakers who are brought onboard. You can expect tutored wine tastings, production workshops, fine wine seminars, and more. Port lovers will be especially delighted with the impressive array of 46 vintage ports in the Carinthia Lounge.

California Cruises

Around 90% of North American wine is produced in the sunny state of California – another popular cruise destination. A number of round-the-world, America, and even Caribbean cruises include stops in California, and ports like San Francisco are a great place to spend a few extra days on a cruise and stay holiday. Visit the glorious wine regions of Sonoma and Napa Valley for some brilliant wine experiences, either on an excursion or individually. Horse-riding here is a very special and memorable way to explore the vineyards.

 

 

APT River Cruises

For those who seek a cruise spent truly immersed in oenology, APT River Cruises’ Wine Series is a fabulous option. The line has collaborated with the winemakers of Australia’s First Families of Wine, in order to provide some wonderful wine-themed experiences on their selection of Wine Series cruises. Wine ambassadors will be onboard to host each river cruise, on which they will give talks about traditional wine-making in Europe, and of course wine tastings and meals with paired wines. These cruises take place in the wine regions of Europe, and include visits to various vineyards.

South Africa Cruises

A cruise in Africa is a fantastic and exhilarating opportunity to experience some of the most wonderful and unique aspects of our world. As well as new scenery, food, and of course culture, if your cruise includes a stop in South Africa, you’re in for a treat where wine is concerned as well. With 17th century European settlers came wine-making, and so viticulture here is in fact older than you might expect. Many cruise lines offer some brilliant wine-themed excursions, including tastings, tours of famous wine estates, and of course the chance to buy some exquisite bottles.

 

 

Please remember to drink responsibily when enjoying wine or other alcoholic beverages.


Cruising with Jane McDonald Series Six

2nd February 2018

Updated December 2020

Cruising with Jane McDonald is back for Season 6!

Cruising with Jane McDonald on Channel 5 follows everyone’s favourite songstress onboard cruises across the world’s oceans and rivers. After voyaging to the Greek islands with Celestyal Cruises, Portugal's Douro river with Emerald Waterways, and exploring India's Golden Triangle and the Ganges with Uniworld, what else will Jane discover this time? Make sure to tune in and find out on Cruising with Jane McDonald!

Check out more info per episode below-

For past episodes, catch up with Cruising with Jane McDonald on Channel 5's My5.

Jane McDonald

 

Jane McDonald

Hailing from Wakefield, Jane McDonald is as famous for her appearances on legendary daytime TV show Loose Women as she is for her singing career. Starting out as a cruise singer in the 1990s and finding fame on the hit BBC1 docusoap The Cruise, Jane’s history of cruising makes her perfectly qualified to go on trips all over the world in order to selflessly show the British public what cruising options are out there for us. With her cheeky northern charm, down to earth airs and genuine joy for all things cruise, there’s surely no one better than Jane to present cruising holidays to the nation.

 

The Show

Jane’s series of Cruising with Jane McDonald has been unbelievably popular so far. At almost two million, nearly as many Brits tuned in for the Christmas Special as went cruising in 2017! So far, Jane’s been everywhere from the Hebrides to the Southeast Asia, often on packages and ships available to book with Iglu Cruise.

 

Jane McDonald Christmas Cruising

Episode 1: Friday 18th December 2020, 9pm Channel 5

In this festive episode, Jane McDonald takes a voyage down the Rhine river with Uniworld, in search of the world's best Christmas markets. Indulging in authentic cuisine and trying her hand at traditional European customs, there's endless inspiration for your next Christmas cruise.


Series 6

Episode 1

This time Jane’s off to the Great Lakes of the USA and Canada for a little less well-known river cruise than the grand waterways of Europe. Here she takes in Cleveland and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame showcases many of her musical idols before heading down to the intimating Niagara Falls. Here, not only does Jane get wet under the thunderous falls, she even takes a thrilling zip line over the water as well as riding a jet boat on the Montreal rapids.

Episode 2

Sailing with Oceania Cruises, Jane begins her trip in Rome where she takes a vintage car ride around the ancient city before boarding the ship to check out Florence, Pisa and Monte Carlo. Here she gets a taste of life in one of the most affluent areas of the world with private yachts and exclusive hotels before finishing in Barcelona and trying some traditional tapas in the old food market.

Episode 3

In this Christmas special with APTouring River Cruises Jane emplores the delights of the stunning Danube River. First she boards a vintage steamtrain once used by the royal family of the Hungarian Empire before stopping off along the waterway at Bratislava and Belgrade and on to the famous Iron Gates. Finally, after seeing folk performances and local treats, she heads to Romania to check out the iconic Bran Castle of Dracula fame.

Episode 4

Embarking on an Adriatic adventure with Silversea Cruises, Jane joins Silver Shadow on a journey to numerous hidden gems, indulging in delicious cuisine and soaking up the stunning scenery. The voyage begins in the breathtaking and historic city of Dubrovnik before continuing to Venice, Croatia and finally, the Bay of Kotor.

 

Series 5

The hit series came back with a bang for series 5, as Jane cruised with the fantastic Princess Cruises around the west coast of Australia. We discovered more about one of their ships, the Sun Princess, as she dined in the luxurious Chef’s Table restaurant, and enjoyed a wide array of entertainment – including an onboard wedding!

During her trip down under, Jane saw thrilling destinations such as Geraldton, where she took in the stunning Pink Lake, and then Fremantle, a gorgeous port city with plenty of maritime history. Finally, Jane visited Albany and Broome, both boasting impressive coastlines and exciting marine life.

In episode two of series 5, Jane explored some gorgeous Greek islands on a seven-night cruise with Celesytal Cruises. Here Jane discovered more about this popular holiday destination, such as Santorini and Mykonos, including all the fun things to see and do in this part of the world - from taking in astounding history to trying your hand at making cheese.

We them sail away from the oceans into the wonderful world of river cruising, first down the famous Ganges river in India in a 2-part special before heading along the Douro in Portugal and Spain for a European river cruise with Emerald Waterways, stopping off at a range of Iberian gems. At a number of ports along the way to Spain, the songstress discovers the history of the stunning Douro through tile painting, a tour of Casa De Mateus in Vila Real, and a visit to a Portuguese custard tart factory in Lisbon. Secrets of the Douro is a magnificent way to explore the river across eight days of unrivalled cruising. Starting and ending in Porto, you'll visit villages, vineyards, and the city of Salamanca. You can find more fantastic Douro river cruises.

 

 

Series 4: June 2018

The fourth series sees Jane travel down under in a two-parter for episodes one and two. In the first episode, we follow as she begins her voyage of Australia and New Zealand on Holland America Line’s ms Noordam. We start with a bus tour of Sydney cruising past all the iconic landmarks, and a visit to the Sydney Opera House. Then, she’s on the ship for a trip to Tasmania to see the unique wildlife before heading up to New Zealand. In the second episode, we go to the North Island to see Wellington before getting stuck into some quad-biking with backdrops as thrilling as the ride. This leg’s finale is a meeting with a Maori tribe before jumping in a helicopter to see Auckland.

 

 

Meanwhile, in the third episode, Jane jets off to South America for a cruise in a super-luxury Silversea cruise ship. On the way, she sees some Banksy street art and heads to Chile to see glaciers and enjoy a whiskey cooled with cubes direct from the ice-sheet. As if that isn’t breathtakingly cool enough, we then stop by Patagonia before heading to the iconic Falkland Islands.

 

Series 3: February - March 2018

In the first episode of series 3, Jane went off up the California coast with Princess Cruise’s Ruby Princess. She saw a range of fantastic places including Hollywood’s walk of fame, the Golden Gate Bridge, and famous cable cars of San Francisco. Discover more about Princess Cruises in Los Angeles and more of North America. In the second episode, Jane went off to Iceland, truly a land of unrivalled natural beauty and phenomena. Here she took in a spot of whale-watching, had a dip in the famous hot thermal geysers, and saw the awe-inspiring Northern Lights.

 

 

In the third episode, Jane head east for a river cruise along the exotic Mekong River. We followed Jane through both Vietnam and Cambodia aboard the Amadara, seeing some wonderful locations such as Angkor Wat, one of the oldest religious monuments in the world. In the fourth and final episode, Jane steamed up the legendary Mississippi River. Starting her trip in New Orleans, Jane took in the jazz scene and raucous atmosphere of the city before hopping aboard the American Steamboat Company’s American Queen - the world’s largest paddle-steam boat. To cap it off with her usual musical finale, Jane made a pilgrimage to Graceland, once the home of, but now shrine to, the one and only Elvis Presley.

 

Series 2: September - December 2017

After the success of series one, four more episodes and even a Christmas special were commissioned for series two. In episode one, Jane embarked on a brilliant Baltics cruise aboard the stunning Viking Sky – a truly luxurious vessel. Cities included St Petersburg and Stockholm, for some culture and a lot of fun. In the next episode, we followed Jane around the Mediterranean as she stood in awe at world famous sites including the magnificent Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and then through France along the Rhone in episode three, with a few glasses of wine along the way!

 

 

The fourth episode was located in a country that sits on many a bucket list – Cuba. Here Jane was welcomed with open arms by locals and enjoyed a little salsa, some incredible food, historic buildings, and of course the iconic cars. All this and a brilliant Cuban house party too.

 

Series 1: February - March 2017

In the first episode of the first series, Jane embarked on a fantastic Caribbean cruise with MSC Cruises, onboard MSC Divina. Here she was lucky enough to swim with the sharks on the island of St Maarten, and explore the oldest Baptist church in the Bahamas. Then came a Hebridean adventure with just six other cruisers, before Jane’s first river cruise on the Danube which included stops in the beautiful cities of Vienna and Budapest.

 

 

The fourth and final episode of series one had Jane enjoying a truly incredible cruise, which many would consider a once in a lifetime holiday; in Canada and Alaska. As well as seeing the amazing wildlife and gorgeous scenery, Jane was even able to have a go at dog-sledding on an ice field!


Tips for River Cruising in the Festive Season

18th December 2017

The infamous European Christmas markets are right on our doorstep, and yet so many Brits are yet to see them. With cities like Cologne, Vienna, Strasbourg, and Copenhagen all offering some of the best options around, it can be difficult to decide just where to visit when you do finally make the decision to go! One way to remedy this, however, is to opt for a river cruise in December. This way it’s possible to see multiple destinations on one trip.

 

Which Christmas markets can I see?

Europe is not short of waterways by any means, and as such there are a number of strategically-positioned, important cities that can be accessed on a river cruise. In December, The Rhine, The Danube, The Rhone, and The Seine are just some of the most popular rivers that can transport you to some incredible winter wonderlands. The Rudesheim market, in The Rhine valley boasts over 100 stalls with gifts and treats from all over the world, Budapest on The Danube offers a traditional Hungarian feel, and of course in Paris on The Seine visitors will find delicious crepes, tartiflette, and all manner of keepsakes. These are just a handful of the top Christmas markets you could see.

Can I bring my children?

While most river cruise lines are designed for adults, in general children are also welcome onboard. Amawaterways have taken steps to make their ships more family-friendly, by introducing adjoining staterooms on both AmaViola and AmaStella. Tauck River Cruises and Uniworld River Cruises are also slightly more geared towards children than some other river cruise lines, offering excursions like scavenger hunts and family bike rides. Selected Uniworld ships also offer a games room for kids and activities like craft workshops and cookery lessons which can be especially fun at Christmas. It is worth keeping in mind however, that some Christmas market locations can get very busy, and can involve a considerable amount of walking, so it’s important to consider this if bringing children.

 

What’s it like for solo travellers?

River cruising can be a fantastic option for solo travellers, owing to the extremely relaxed and sociable atmosphere onboard. Generally, river cruise ships have multiple public lounges where entertainment such as live music and quizzes will take place. This makes it all the more easy to meet fellow cruisers and converse with new friends. Excursions on these cruises are also perfect for solo travellers. Take part in an organised group tour of a new city and, of course, its Christmas markets. River cruise lines like Scenic River Cruises and Avalon Waterways often do great deals for solo travellers too.

Are there other Christmassy things to do?

While river cruises in December do have a real focus on European Christmas markets, there are other festive things to do and see in these beautiful cities. When you’ve had your fill of gluwhein and pretty trinket stalls, take a look around and you will find all sorts of other activities. Why not show off your skills on the ice rink on the Champs-Elysees, sip on a hot chocolate while becoming enchanted by the twinkling lights and decorations in Vienna, or admire the magnificence of German Christmas trees – or Tannenbaum – in Cologne.

 

 

River cruises in December can be anything from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your preference and time limitations. Considering this, and the wide selection of destinations, dates, and types of cruise, it is usually possible to find a European Christmas market cruise to suit everyone.


River Cruising at Christmas

13th December 2017

The infamous European Christmas markets are right on our doorstep, and yet so many Brits are yet to see them. With cities like Cologne, Vienna, Strasbourg, and Copenhagen all offering some of the best options around, it can be difficult to decide just where to visit when you do finally make the decision to go! One way to remedy this, however, is to opt for a river cruise in December. This way it’s possible to see multiple destinations on one trip.

 

Which Christmas markets can I see?

Europe is not short of waterways by any means, and as such there are a number of strategically-positioned, important cities that can be accessed on a river cruise. In December, The Rhine, The Danube, The Rhone, and The Seine are just some of the most popular rivers that can transport you to some incredible winter wonderlands. The Rudesheim market, in The Rhine valley boasts over 100 stalls with gifts and treats from all over the world, Budapest on The Danube offers a traditional Hungarian feel, and of course in Paris on The Seine visitors will find delicious crepes, tartiflette, and all manner of keepsakes. These are just a handful of the top Christmas markets you could see.

Can I bring my children?

While most river cruise lines are designed for adults, in general children are also welcome onboard. Amawaterways have taken steps to make their ships more family-friendly, by introducing adjoining staterooms on both AmaViola and AmaStella. Tauck River Cruises and Uniworld River Cruises are also slightly more geared towards children than some other river cruise lines, offering excursions like scavenger hunts and family bike rides. Selected Uniworld ships also offer a games room for kids and activities like craft workshops and cookery lessons which can be especially fun at Christmas. It is worth keeping in mind however, that some Christmas market locations can get very busy, and can involve a considerable amount of walking, so it’s important to consider this if bringing children.

 

What’s it like for solo travellers?

River cruising can be a fantastic option for solo travellers, owing to the extremely relaxed and sociable atmosphere onboard. Generally, river cruise ships have multiple public lounges where entertainment such as live music and quizzes will take place. This makes it all the more easy to meet fellow cruisers and converse with new friends. Excursions on these cruises are also perfect for solo travellers. Take part in an organised group tour of a new city and, of course, its Christmas markets. River cruise lines like Scenic River Cruises and Avalon Waterways often do great deals for solo travellers too.

Are there other Christmassy things to do?

While river cruises in December do have a real focus on European Christmas markets, there are other festive things to do and see in these beautiful cities. When you’ve had your fill of gluwhein and pretty trinket stalls, take a look around and you will find all sorts of other activities. Why not show off your skills on the ice rink on the Champs-Elysees, sip on a hot chocolate while becoming enchanted by the twinkling lights and decorations in Vienna, or admire the magnificence of German Christmas trees – or Tannenbaum – in Cologne.

 

 

River cruises in December can be anything from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your preference and time limitations. Considering this, and the wide selection of destinations, dates, and types of cruise, it is usually possible to find a European Christmas market cruise to suit everyone.


Best Winter Destinations for Christmas and New Year

4th December 2017

Updated September 2018

 

Have a Christmas or New Year celebration like no other this year, by visiting a new and exciting destination on a cruise. The world is full of incredible places at every corner, and many of these play host to some wonderful parties and Christmas festivities throughout December and January. Here are our top 5 spots, that we recommend everyone see at this time of year - at least once in their life.

New York

For many people, New York at winter is the epitome of Christmas spirit. This is in no small part thanks to movie classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life, in which New York is the setting for warm Christmas tales. Whether you cruise to New York in the run-up to Christmas or are there for New Year’s Eve, the glittering city that never sleeps will undoubtedly provide you with everything you need to feel like celebrating. From the buzzing atmosphere and lights in Time Square to a frosty, romantic moonlit carriage ride in Central Park, New York offers some truly special experiences.

 

 

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a fantastic destination for those who want a change of scenery, but don’t want to travel too far. Close to the UK, there are a number of options for a no-fly cruise here. In the winter months, the city comes to life with music, lights, and decorations, and the friendly residents will welcome you with open arms. See the stunning Amsterdam Light Festival, at which global artists put together some beautiful displays through the streets and canals. There are of course Christmas markets as well, and some fabulous parties and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

 

 

Paris

The famous City of Lights is, of course, a hub of illumination and bustling activity at this time of year, boasting some stunning views and wonderful options when it comes to festive things to do. Revel in Christmas spirit at the Christmas Market on Avenue des Champs-Elysees, where you can also take a spin on the ice rink. If you have time, a visit to Disneyland is an absolute must. Whether you’re 6 or 66, a bit of Disney magic at Christmas is a great recipe to get you feeling merry and bright. Start planning your trip and ask us about our cruises to Paris.

 

 

Norway

Visit the land of Frozen and get lost in a real Winter Wonderland. A cruise in Norway is a great option for this time of year, particularly because of the chance to see the Northern Lights. December and January often have a high number of clear nights, meaning the vibrant lights are more likely to be visible. The sparkling scenery and welcoming ambience in this part of the world is perfect for celebrating during the festive season, simply gazing at the stars with a hot chocolate, sat on the top deck of your cruise ship is truly the stuff of dreams. Find out more about our great range of Norway cruises.

 

 

Sydney

The New Year’s Eve firework display at Sydney Harbour is a well-known event that causes visitors to flock to the city every year. Sydney is a port of call on many world cruises, and if you are lucky enough to be here at the right time, you can have one of the best views of the show available. The famous Sydney Opera House also holds glamourous New Year’s Eve celebrations, giving you the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a bit of luxury during your holiday. See the New Year in with style on an Australasia cruise.

 

 

Whether you are considering a cruise during the main events, or are merely seeking a few days away before or after, you can rest assured that there are plenty of options out there. Take a look at all our December and January cruises, and book your next adventure today.


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