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Best Winter Destinations for Christmas and New Year

clock 4th December 2017 | comment0 Comments

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.



Discover Queensland

clock 11th October 2017 | comment0 Comments

Australasia cruises generally include a number of fantastic Australian cities among their ports of call, and when deciding which cruise is right for you it can be a little confusing to determine exactly where and what you want to see. To try to help put things into focus, we’ve made this short, handy guide about what can be found in one of the country's most popular regions – discover Queensland on a cruise to Australia.



Port Douglas for The Great Barrier Reef 

 

Encompassing the majority of the country’s northeast corner, the state has almost 7000km of coastline. It will come as no surprise then, to learn that Queensland is home to the infamous Great Barrier Reef. More than two million visitors are drawn to this incredible underwater spectacle every year, where adventurers can see over 1,500 species of fish, 134 species of sharks and sting rays, and more than 500 types of coral.





Abel Point Marina for The Whitsundays

 

While the Great Barrier Reef obviously steals the focus in this region – for good reason – Queensland does have many other fantastic places that should not be missed. The Whitsundays, for example, are a truly beautiful attraction. This archipelago of 74 islands is perfect for sailing, due to the calm and clear waters. With luck, you might see dolphins, sea turtles, and even whales.

 

Yorkey's Knob Port for Cairns



Cairns is another area of Queensland that you should try to find time for. Here you can get your cultural fix in the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, embrace the local lifestyle in world-class bars and restaurants, and get back to nature in the Daintree National Park – thought to be the oldest rainforest on earth.





The Port of Brisbane

 

Not forgetting the state capital – Brisbane. Peppered with beautiful parks, historical buildings, and more stunning beaches, this is another place you’ll need more than a few hours to explore! Highlights include Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo – only an hour drive away – which is home to all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures. Or visit the fascinating Sciencentre, various museums, and fantastic Brisbane Botanical Gardens.

Our guide merely skims the surface of everything this brilliant corner of Australia has to offer, and if you do decide to visit the state, it is highly likely that you will end up planning a return trip.

 

Look at our Australasia cruises, and start planning your next adventure straight away.



Top 6 places for whale watching

clock 28th August 2015 | comment0 Comments

Updated March 2017



Wildlife encounters are often some of the most treasured memories from our holidays and the first photos to be shared with loved ones; there is nothing like witnessing local wildlife in its own habitat when visiting and exploring new destinations. One of the best and most meaningful wildlife encounters you can have is to observe whales in the wild and feel the magnitude of the surrounding ocean. Graceful and hypnotic to watch, whether they are simply steering their newborn calves or breaching in an impressive acrobatic manner, these ocean rulers create a sight to behold and an event you won’t want to miss.

Find your next best wildlife encounter with these top 6 destinations for whale watching.

Alaska

whale watching in alaska


Wildlife spotting is a huge pull for Alaska with whale watching ranking very highly on the list of must do Alaskan activities. Whale watching tours are in abundance from May to September and it won’t take long for you to spot a mighty humpback whale making their presence known. Head to Beluga Point to see a lively pod in the spring or the infamous killer whales at The Inside Passage in the summer.

Hear it from our experts “I highly recommend a whale watching tour in Alaska. We went out on a small boat for about five hours and within twenty minutes we were surrounded by twenty Orcas swimming right up to the boat. Further into the trip we saw another twenty Humpback Whales. You never get bored of something like that.” – Kerri Mccaulay, Senior Sales Consultant




Iceland

whale watching in iceland


Recognised as one of Europe’s best whale watching destinations where you can spot several extraordinary species including Humpback, Blue Whale, Sperm, Orca and many more, Iceland is a pretty cool hotspot for wildlife fans. The best time for whale watching off the coast of Iceland is during the summer months from April to September. During this time ships will leave daily from the famous Old Harbour in Reykjavik on the lookout for spectacular marine life. The blend of cold Arctic sea with the warmer North Atlantic Ocean attracts up to 23 different species of whale to the waters surrounding Iceland. Shallow depths and long daylight hours in the summer (extra bonus of visiting at this time) make ideal feeding conditions meaning you should see a few tail flukes as the whales dive deep to feed. Breathtaking Icelandic coastlines add to this unbeatable experience.

 

Mexico

whale watching in mexico


Soak up some serious sunshine and sip a tequila cocktail whilst whale watching in Mexico. Every year the Baja California Sur region off the Pacific Coast of Mexico welcomes thousands of California Gray whales to its warm waters. You can witness these magnificent creatures migrating south from the cold seas of Alaska as they seek the warmth and protection of Mexican lagoons for breeding and calving. This means that if you head to well-known whale watching spots such as Laguna Ojo de Liebre (aka Scammon’s Lagoon) or Bahía Magdalena from mid December to March, you should be lucky enough to witness mother and calf pairings. Gray whales are Baleen which means they possess comb-like plates in place of teeth; other features include having two blowholes and lacking a dorsal fin.

 

Azores, Portugal

whale watching in the azores

Whale Watching at Mount Pico


The best time of year to witness whales from the Azores islands is fortunately all year round. Due to a great location on a well-known whale migration pass in the North Atlantic Ocean plus some resident species staying close by, the Azores islands experience whale sightings round the clock. Once a hotspot for the whaling industry but thankfully now just for wildlife fans, more than 20 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are sighted here frequently. Peak times which also experience a high volume in tourists are around late July and August and the best spots for whale watching can be from Sao Miguel, Terceira, Faial, and Pico. Witness the majestic Blue Whale in the warm waters between Sao Miguel and Santa Maria during the spring.

 

Australia

whale watching in australia


Australia is an attractive destination for whale watching as several species can be seen from numerous lookout points countrywide. Head to the east coast of Australia between the months of April to November to witness the magnificent Humpback whales making their annual migration north from the cold Antarctic waters. Prime lookout points include Hervey Bay, Byron Bay and the coastal town of Eden in New South Wales. The grand Southern Right whale, easily identified by a head that measures one third of its entire length, can be spotted from Adventure Bay and Great Oyster Bay in Tasmania during migrating season and also Encounter Coast in South Australia May to September. Western Australia sees its fair share of whales and wildlife fans can lookout for breeding and calving Humpbacks from August to September in Cape Leveque but also migrating whales in the southern waters of Perth. Dolphin spotting and beautiful beaches make Australia an ideal holiday destination whilst on the lookout for whales.

 

South Africa

whale watching in south africa

Whale Watching in Hermanus, South Africa


South Africa is famously known for its animated and diverse marine life, from feeding Great White Sharks to lively pods of dolphins and seals, quirky penguins and of course several grand species of whale. The southern coastal town of Hermanus in the Western Cape is notoriously known as a great whale watching spot. From June to November, Southern Right whales are sighted here seeking perfect breeding grounds, sightings can be made from land as this is known as the best land based whale watching location in the world. Other notable species visible from this spot include Humpback, Orca, Minke and Bryde. Algoa Bay and Plettenberg Bay along the southern coast should also be key stop off points for any whale enthusiasts when visiting South Africa.





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