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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.


We Review Cruise & Maritime's Marco Polo

13th June 2014

Updated August 2019

 

We sent Sarah from our marketing team out to get to know more on what Cruise and Maritime Voyages are all about. Read on to find out just what she thought.

 

cruise and maritime marco polo

 

Having minimal exposure to small cruise ships, I was keen to get onboard Marco Polo, which has a maximum capacity of just 850 guests. The difference in service and attention to detail was evident straight away; as soon as we stepped onboard the ship, a friendly staff member took our bags and guided us to our cabins. This was a great personal touch to give a positive first impression; something that would be hard to offer on a larger cruise ship with a higher guest capacity.

The Cabin

Upon entering my cabin my initial surprise was how large it was. For a ship of this size I expected it to be much smaller. It was immaculately cleaned with a perfectly made bed, large vanity area, flat screen TV and huge triple wardrobe. But, as inviting as it was, the sun was calling.

 

cruise and maritime cabin

 

The Bar

As a welcomed surprise the warm sun was beaming down on London, so it was easy to imagine cruising the Mediterranean or some other glorious sunny destination onboard Marco Polo. This meant only one thing, it was time for a cocktail on deck. We found a perfect spot right at the top of the ship to base ourselves for the day, before making our way to the bar to see what kinds of tropical cocktails we could choose from to quench our thirst.

The bar menu offered an array of different cocktails including a Marco Polo Special - although I must confess I did not try this. I went for a frozen Mango Daiquiri that came complete in a large exotic glass with fruit and an umbrella. The drinks prices were the cheapest I had ever seen on any cruise, with the cocktails only costing around £5 each.

The Deck

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the comfortable loungers, laughing, drinking cocktails, and taking an occasional dip in the hot tub. We enjoyed a peaceful sail away from Tilbury watching the surrounding scenic countryside views. It gave a quintessentially British feel that showcased views we would not necessarily see unless sailing on this stretch of water.

 

cruise and maritime deck

 

As the sun started to set over the aft of the ship, it was time to see if the evening offered the delightful experience we had enjoyed all day. While Cruise and Maritime are known not to put on huge production shows, we did not know what to expect on this quaint ship when evening sets in.

The Lounge

After a refreshing shower and change  of clothes we met for pre-dinner drinks in Scott’s Bar. There are no formal evenings onboard and most people were in smart/casual wear. We sat by the window and shared a bottle of house wine which was delicious. We were, however, the only ones in the lounge which gave the impression that most guests opt for the earlier dining time.

 

cruise and maritime lounge

 

The Restaurant

The Waldoff dining room is large and filled with immaculately laid tables and smiling wait staff. The menu was varied, making it hard to decide what to order. I'd have to say that the cuisine was what impressed me most about the cruise; it was what you could expect on a luxury line. My six courses were:

1. Onion Baji

2. Pumpin Soup

3. Salad

4. Filet Minion Steak

5. Baked Alaska

6. Cheese Plate

 

cruise and maritime dining

 

The Entertainment

After dining we head for the Marco Polo Lounge to see the evening entertainment; The 'Bon Voyage' show. It's a small-scale cabaret that showcases singers, dancers and a live band. This time gave us the opportunity to see the 'type' of guests onboard - mostly couples with an average age of 60 – 80. Everyone appeared to enjoy the show and smiles were seen all around.

Evenings are my favourite time onboard cruise ships and I love to experience the array of different bars and nightclubs. Although Marco Polo does not offer such an extensive range of different evening venues, Scott’s Bar was heaving with smiles and people enjoying themselves. The first part of the evening saw three male jazz singers entertain, this was then followed by disco music. Like an intimate family party, it was obvious this atmosphere is one of the reasons why people love this line.

 

cruise and maritime show

 

The Breakfast

After a comfortable night’s sleep, we head down to the main restaurant for a delicious breakfast. This consisted of a full English followed by fresh pastries and coffee before it was time to say goodbye to Marco Polo.

The Conclusion

The Cruise and Maritime experience was very different to many other cruise lines, and I must say it opened my eyes to how different people’s cruise expectations are. Do you need rock climbing walls, lots of restaurants and multiple activities? With the impressive 90% return customer rate that Cruise and Maritime has, clearly many people don’t. They do not sell themselves on having the most innovative ships at sea, but pride themselves on offering an intimate, family-like cruising experience to take you to some of the world’s most intriguing places.

Many have said that people have forgotten the true meaning of cruising is to explore the world in style, but this is certainly still a core value of Cruise and Maritime. Overall it was a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone who simply wants to visit intriguing destinations on a friendly ship.

 

If this sounds like the cruise line you are looking for, browse our range of Cruise and Maritime cruise deals for some inspiration.


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