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CRUISING – so many options to explore

Planning a holiday is exciting - from deciding when and where to go, to what to pack and which hotel to stay in; one thing's clear, there are a series of crucial decisions to be made. And when it comes to cruises, you’re more spoilt than ever, with so many different types of high-seas getaways to choose from. 2015 should see more and more people looking to experience an exciting ocean escape, but for first-time cruisers this can seem a daunting decision as you try and pick the type of trip that’s right for you. Below we have set out a guide to the different types of cruise holiday on offer, so you can understand the jargon and book your perfect break.

If you are short on time and want to maximise your cruising experience; the Fly & Cruise option allows you to travel by air to your departure port, before setting sail in sunny climes and turquoise waters - a classic example of the Fly & Cruise is the Caribbean cruise, which flies you to a destinations such as Miami or Barbados before commencing your tour of the Caribbean’s stunning islands, with their inviting warm seas and white sandy beaches reached in just a day or so. Flights are now available from many regional airports, which will mean you have greater flexibility choosing this option for any Fly & Cruise.

This is the perfect option if you fancy an element of travelling further afield but also want to settle in one place for a while. Add a week or a few days at the beginning or end of your cruise to make your next cruise one to remember. The cruise and stay option allows passengers to spend a few days at sea, calling in at different ports, before arriving at their final stop, where they can fly home, refreshed and reinvigorated.  The top three ports of call have been revealed as Barcelona, Venice and New York, with the combination of Barcelona, with the lure of the glittering Mediterranean coastline, proving the most popular.  Or alternatively spend a few days in Miami before joining a Caribbean cruise.

Mini cruises are the perfect choice if you’re keen to try out a cruise, but aren’t sure if you’ll like it. Lasting anywhere between two and five days, mini cruises can take you to such breathtaking locations as the Norwegian Fjords, or the more varied and often warmer temperatures of the Mediterranean. Your few days at sea will be enough for you to decide whether the cruise holiday is for you – but be warned, cruising is addictive and many who try it find that they never go back to the traditional holiday format!

Discover the delights along the world's great waterways aboard a luxury river ship. Unpack only once and enjoy your floating boutique hotel, where the next great destination appears at your doorstep. Ever thought about cruising the Mekong River from Cambodia to Vietnam and discovering the astounding beauty, ancient history and fascinating cultures?  Or about travelling the Lower Ganges in absolute style as you experience a remote and otherwise inaccessible corner of India in comfort? Cruise along the Mississippi and discover Americas Deep South between New Orleans and Memphis. How about experiencing China along the Yangtze River or alternatively, closer to home, cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest along the Danube and Rhine River, or cruise the picturesque Rhône and Seine River.

Perfect if you have a lot of time on your hands – perhaps if you’re recently retired – an around the world cruise lasts for approximately six weeks, and does exactly what it says on the tin. An adventure of a lifetime, you’ll be transported around the continents of the world without having to move from the comfort of your own cabin. For anyone hoping to experience the magic of a cruise without taking six weeks out of their calendar it’s worth considering a World Cruise Sector. Increasingly popular in the cruise sector, these trips vary in length, offering you the chance to have an incredible cruise experience that fits in to your busy lives.

One of the most common myths about cruises is that they are more expensive than normal holidays. Not only is this untrue (you’ll most likely pay more for the equivalent standard of accommodation on dry land), but also offer you one of the very best ways to travel on a budget. With all of your food, alcohol, entertainment, and even some excursions included in the price of your holiday, it’s hard to see a better value way to getaway.

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