People are beginning to think of holidays in a different way these days and, in particular, cruise holidays. The same destination year in year out no longer appeals to most, with many Irish realising that the world is much bigger than a 2-week holiday in Spain. Many of us are now seeking the ultimate combination of relaxation and exploration and this is where cruises come in to play!
With so much of the world to see, a cruise holiday makes life so easy for you. Whether you are a family or single, whether you are 30+ or 60+, whether you like historical sites or jet skiing along a coastline, a cruise holiday really does have it all.
Europe is so diverse from an historical, cultural, food and climate point of view and the choice of destinations in this region is endless. Being Irish myself, I always tend to head towards the Mediterranean, as the chance of blue skies and warm waters is higher here compared to Northern Europe.
When you are planning a cruise holiday, don’t let the price scare you off as they really are amazing value for money! Most cruises now include your food, entertainment, often including “west end” shows. onboard tips and facilities and with all of this as part of the overall price you really do get great value for money!
You can start your cruise out of many ports in Europe however my two favourites are Barcelona and Venice. With direct flights from Ireland to both cities with Aer Lingus, your journey is off to an easy start with a reliable, comfortable and short flight. Both airports are in close proximity to their cruise ports and city centres so they are the perfect starting point for your stress free cruise holiday.
Venice is one of the ‘must see’ places in Europe and is steeped in art, history and culture. A gondola trip is definitely worthwhile, as well as a plate of ‘true Italian’ food, and of course some shopping! Venice is renowned for its glass and you can pick up some wonderful pieces of coloured glass whilst you are there.
Barcelona is an equally buzzing Med city! Why not take in Gaudi’s inspiring architecture or feast on delicious tapas in a shaded pavement café. Exploring the city’s many churches and cathedrals and hitting the shops for a spot of Catalan style is definitely worth considering!
Mediterranean cruises can range from 2 to 14 days but my favourite cruise length is 7 days. In a seven day cruise, you can fit so much in yet get all the relaxation you need too! Two of my favourite itineraries include the Western Mediterranean route and the Greek Isles/Turkey route.
On the 7 night Western Mediterranean route you can take in ports such as Barcelona, Spain; Palma De Mallorca, Spain; Provence (Marseilles), France; La Spezia (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Naples (Capri), Italy.
On a Western Mediterranean cruise you’ll take home more incredible memories than you can imagine. See magnificent Michelangelos in Florence and the superb landscapes of Provence. Rome has something for everyone’s taste. Explore the stunning architecture and get lost in its history, or simply stroll the beautiful streets, and enjoy some delicious Italian food and wine.
The 7 nights Greek Isles and Turkey cruise starts off in Venice, Italy; then on to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Katakolon, Greece; and back to Venice. Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s many highlights. The centre is enclosed within the city walls, giving the whole city a feeling of enchantment. Santorini is one of the many islands of Greece and is famed for its creation from volcanic activity and mythological involvement with the ancient time of Atlantis. Enjoy the black sand beaches with crystal clear waters, wine tasting, hot springs and volcano hiking, if you are brave enough!
Turkey charms everyone who visits with its eclectic mix of rich cultures and style. Head to Bodrum, for the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Ephesus for its unrivalled history, or Istanbul to stock up on authentic Turkish delights and local olive oils.
A cruise is not just about the places you visit and the cultures you experience, it is much much more. It is about the numerous restaurants on board each ship with their excellent food and outstanding service; it is about the entertainment on offer from morning to night; it is about the yoga classes and the gym; the casino and the pool; the kiddies club and the discos.
Going on an amazing cruise holiday really should be high on everyone’s to do list! Once you cruise you will find it hard to do any other type of holiday!
We have amazing exclusive cruise deals for 2015 with sailings from both Barcelona and Venice. Fly Cruise deals are from only €759pp for travel April 25th. This price includes flights with Aer Lingus and 7 nights on board MSC Lirica full board. Reference: 484155.