When I’m busy hibernating on the couch, I’ll quite often find myself surfing travel sites, dreaming up fantasy getaways, pinpointing my next jaunt and visualising myself on the ultimate in luxury escapes. I’ve always fancied a trip on a luxury cruise liner after seeing Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I like the idea of getting dolled up in all my finery to eat dinner in the middle of the Ocean and the potential chaos that could ensue onboard. With ‘Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend’ ringing in my ears, I thought I’d share a few mini cruise deals I found, ideal for first timers (like myself) to get a taste of life onboard.
1. Pre-Christmas cruise to Belgium
This cruise leaves from Tilbury in the UK, heading to Bruges. A two night jaunt to Bruges, offering the chance to explore the twisting cobbled streets, picturesque ancient buildings, tree-lined canals and gabled facades. (Cruise from Tilbury, 2nights, £149)
2. Bremen & Bruges Christmas Markets
This mini cruise to Bruges and Bremen is packed with festive cheer. The cruise starts with an overnight stop in Bremerhaven. This small but beautiful town is famous for its large harbour, once the biggest in Germany. With a strong maritime past, you can visit the National German Maritime Museum to get a real sense of the history.
Bremen boasts one of the best Christmas markets in Northern Germany. Here you can browse through a vast array of locally produced gifts as well as explore some of the city’s most recognisable landmarks such as the statue of the Bremen Town Musicians, the Roland statue and of course the Ratskeller – Germany’s oldest wine cellar.
From Germany, the cruise moves on to Zeebrugge. From here you can visit the medieval city of Bruges. Bruges also has fabulous Christmas markets to pick up those last minute gifts. (Cruise from Southampton, 5 nights, £245)
3. Pre-Christmas cruise to France
On this cruise you will have the opportunity to spend a full day in the World Heritage listed town of Le Havre, with the chance to visit the Malraux Museum, which claims to have the second largest collection of Impressionist paintings in France, with works by Monet, Reinor and Pissarro, or take a tour of Monet’s House and Gardens in the pretty village of Giverny. (Cruise from Southampton, UK. 2nights, £149)
4. Dublin mini cruise
A mini cruise from Liverpool to Dublin, to experience the sights and sounds of Ireland’s capital city. Dublin has tons of pubs, bars and cafes to indulge in a little festive cheer. You may want to take a quiet stroll along the River Liffey, a fascinating bus tour of the city, or visit the Guinness Factory to see how the famous ‘black stuff’ is made. (Cruise from Liverpool, UK, 2nights, £189)
5. Battle of Waterloo