10 Cunard Cruises You Need to Take in 2016
Cunard’s Queens are terribly British. They have special appeal for traditional voyagers who love big ships and don’t mind formal dress when required. There are three categories of accommodation: Queens Grill, Princess Grill and Britannia class. These categories determine which restaurants you will dine at, and yes, it is the old class system and is reflected in the fare you pay. Cunard has just celebrated its 175th birthday, and flagship Queen Mary 2 is the largest ocean liner ever built, carrying 2600 passengers. Best suited to couples or singles who love a classy, cosmopolitan vibe.
For many, top of the bucket list is a world voyage on one of Cunard’s magnificent Queens. Flagship Queen Mary 2, and sisters Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, all set sail from Southampton January 10, 2016 on world voyages. For those with120 days to spare, what better way to go? QM2 crosses westbound to New York and Canada, then embarks on her circumnavigation via South America. Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth charts a course between Africa, Australia, the Far and Middle East, while Queen Victoria completes a full eastbound circumnavigation that passes through the Panama Canal. Can’t take the time? Consider a sector or two, or choose from these enviable European cruises.
June 23- July 5, 2016
Southampton, Edinburgh, Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Outer Hebrides, Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, St Peter Port, Southampton
This one offers the Best of British for all tastes. Whether it’s strolling Edinburgh’s Georgian architectural precincts, the castle we know from The Tattoo, Holyrood House or Royal Yacht Britannia, all charm. Sailing north to Inverness, then the Orkneys and Outer Hebrides, reveals the wild beauty of these outlying islands. Glasgow surprises many with its sophistication as well as shipbuilding past. Cross to Belfast, then Liverpool and follow the Beatles’ trail. Pretty St Peter Port beckons, then Southampton and home.
BARCELONA, CANNES, ROME
June 9-23, 2016
Southampton, Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Florence or Pisa (Livorno), Cartagena, Gibraltar, Southampton
The Barcelona beat goes on whether it’s ambling the Ramblas for shopping, people-watching or tapas tasting after pondering Gaudí’s stupendous, still unfinished Sagrada Família cathedral or his equally lovely but eccentric Casa Batlló. In Cannes, saunter like a star along the Croisette, the French Riviera’s most famous boulevard. Lined with fabulous hotels which host film festival events every year, follow footsteps of the famous and drool over merchandise in smart boutiques, jewellery shops and galleries. Greet Gibraltar’s famous Barbary Apes from a safe distance. Fancy fish’n’chips and a pint? Definitely possible here in this British outpost.
ISTANBUL AND GREEK ISLES
July 16-23, 2016; August 27-Sept 3, 2016
Athens, Istanbul, Rhodes, Mykonos, Athens
This itinerary is a perfect taster of Greek islands and mighty cities. In Athens, tour the Acropolis and Plaka district, dance and dine Zorba-style, or take a trip to ancient Corinth. Cruise the Dardanelles en route to stupendous Istanbul – the city that straddles two continents. See its magnificent mosques, mosaics, palaces and brilliant bazaars. In Rhodes, take a trolley train through the old city, or visit beautiful Lindos. In Mykonos, amble cobbled streets lined with colourful boutiques and cafes – sip an ouzo, view the windmills and head back to the ship.
August 2-16, 2016
Southampton, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Kiel,
Endearing Copenhagen enchants all comers. Here, magic happens – Australian girl marries her prince and you can see the Little Mermaid for yourself. Stockholm is a gorgeous city as is tiny Tallinn in Estonia. But the Baltic’s blockbuster port is undeniably St Petersburg with its repository of riches, glittering palaces and the world’s finest art collections at the Hermitage.
HAMBURG AND THE FJORDS
Queen Mary 2
August 16-September 1, 2016
Southampton, Hamburg, Oslo, Olden, Andalsnes, Trondheim, Flaam, Bergen, Stavanger, Hamburg, Southampton
Satisfy yearnings to see the mirrored beauty of Norway’s glorious fjords, glaciers, quaint wooden houses and pretty gardens. In Oslo, discover your inner Viking by visiting its amazing museums. In Bergen – gateway to the fjords – take a funicular ride for spectacular views. Train lovers will adore Flamm’s scenic railway, while in Andalsnes you will be awestruck by the immense, perpendicular grassy cliffs – highest in Europe. With two calls to Hamburg, seize one to visit lovely medieval towns Lubeck or Luneburg.
VENICE, ROME, BARCELONA
September 24-October 15, 2016
Rome, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Zadar, Zakinthos, Sicily, Naples, Livorno (for Florence or Pisa), Monte Carlo, Marseille, Barcelona, Rome
This sampler is book-ended by Rome’s magnificence. In green and gorgeous Corfu watch locals play cricket. Medieval Kotor’s setting on Europe’s southernmost fjord is breathtaking, as is a stroll around the walled city of Dubrovnik. La Serenissima (Venice) seduces with Casanova charm, and a gondola ride seals the romance. From Naples you can visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, hedonist Capri, drive the Amalfi Coast or bask in sunny Sorrento.
VENICE AND ROME
October 1-8, 2016
Venice, Zadar, Zakinthos, Sicily, Naples, Rome
Napoleon called Piazza San Marco “the drawing room of Europe”. Take a coffee in Venice’s famous Cafés Florian or Quadri, listen to the orchestras play, contemplate the Byzantine beauty of the Basilica, the bronze horses and the pink and white marble of the Doge’s Palace and you understand why. A day tour from Zadar unlocks Dalmatia’s beauty spots, whereas the turquoise waters of the Aegean will see many take the plunge at Zakinthos.
VENICE, GREEK ISLANDS & ISTANBUL
July 2-23, August 13-September 3, 2016
Rome, Corfu, Kotor, Trieste, Venice, Dubrovnik, Crete, Ephesus (from Kusadasi), Santorini, Athens, Istanbul, Rhodes, Mykonos, Athens
This appealing mix offers envied ports alongside those less-visited. Trieste delights with restrained grandeur, Venice’s Byzantine mosaics sparkle and Ephesus is an archaeological must-see where you can observe restoration experts at work. For many, Santorini is the quintessential Greek island. Enjoy a cocktail overlooking its stunning caldera with views of your ship from above.
MONTE CARLO, ROME, BARCELONA
October 22-November 5, 2016
Rome, Florence or Pisa (Livorno), Monte Carlo, Valencia, Barcelona, Marseille, Corsica, Sardinia, Naples, Rome
Renaissance Florence is crammed with masterpiece art, architecture, fine food and fashion. See Botticelli’s paintings in the Uffizi, marvel at the Duomo, say hello to Michelangelo’s David in Piazza della Signoria, then ogle the gold on the Ponte Vecchio. Ajaccio – Corsican birthplace of Napoleon, tempts with Parisian-style patisseries and boulangeries, whereas Sardinia was believed by Plato to be the site of ancient Atlantis. Buy a divine piece of coral jewellery as a memento.