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Choose to Cruise in 2023 - Australia and Southern Pacific- Europe- North America- South America

With untold levels of luxury and enticing itineraries pushing the boundaries across oceans, along rivers and to the ends of the earth, welcome to a new onboard era.
Words by Rebecca Barnes

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or are yet to experience an adventure on the water, 2023 is the year of the cruise. With new vessels launching at a rate of knots, it’s now a breeze to set sail on your dream cruise, be it a 1:1.21 crew-to-guest ratio on Ritz-Carlton’s ritzcarltonyachtcollection.com new yacht Evrima, a luxpedition adventure in Antarctica with Silversea silversea.com or Greek island-hopping under sail on one of Variety Cruises’ varietycruises.com boutique boats, there’s a voyage to suit you, including a new wine cruise.

Think it might not offer the authenticity of a land holiday? It’s time to think again. Many lines enrich time on board with lectures, talks, culinary experiences and classes relevant to the destinations, courtesy of specialists and historians. ‘What we’re seeing is a move towards integrating the destination on board – for example, bringing local artists on to the ship or using locally sourced ingredients to create menus,’ explains Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel.

If travelling sustainably is on your agenda, you’ll be interested to know that the industry is making great strides. Cruise lines are at the forefront of shipping innovation, and are moving towards cleaner fossil fuels, shore power to reduce emissions, technology to preserve the fragile seabed, and increasing onboard waste and water management efficiency. At the same time, many are enabling you to reduce your own carbon footprint by departing from UK ports. From Southampton, for example, you can undertake a transatlantic crossing to New York on Cunard’s cunard.com Queen Victoria, or explore the British Isles on Seabourn Ovation seabourn. com – and in 2024, Celebrity Cruises’ celebritycruises.com ship Celebrity Apex will homeport in Southampton for its entire season.

For inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite itineraries and experiences across ocean, river and adventure cruising.

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The latest objet d’art to grace the high seas is a cracker – Fabergé has collaborated with luxury line Regent Seven Seas rssc.com to create an ocean-inspired ‘egg objet’ to live on board new
ship Seven Seas Grandeur, setting sail in November 2023 with itineraries covering the Mediterranean, Canada and the Caribbean. The first Fabergé Egg to reside permanently at sea, the hand-crafted Journey in Jewels will capture the natural wonders of the sea, adding to the sense of luxury on board.

Boasting some of the most spacious suites at sea, plus unlimited excursions, art lovers can embark on one of two voyages that provide access to experiences and experts: the first will set sail from Southampton on the 732-guest Seven Seas Splendor in June 2023. Guests will explore Fabergé’s connection to Great Britain, before cruising to Scandinavia to discover the origins of the jewellery house’s craftspeople and collections.

Known as the leading culinary and destination-focused cruise line, when Oceania Cruises’ oceaniacruises.com ship Oceania Vista debuts in May 2023, guests will be able to sample artisan cocktails alongside the line’s innovative dining concept. As the first of Oceania’s new Allura Class ships, Vista is set to make waves on the gastronomy front, with four new concepts exclusive to the vessel. The Aquamar Kitchen is to be health-focused and will feature non-alcoholic options, while Ember will be the new signature addition, blending American-style cooking with the classics you would expect – braised short ribs on polenta, grilled swordfish and asparagus and a cobb salad with smoked chicken.

For those budding mixologists out there, cocktail-crafting trends and techniques include flavoured smoke bubbles, a selection of low- and no-sugar wines and zero-proof concoctions, negronis aged in wooden barrels, and beverage carts. And if bubbles are more your thing, the Moët & Chandon Champagne Experience will also make its debut on Vista. This three-course pairing extravaganza features rare vintages including the mature 2013 Grand Vintage Brut and Imperial Rosé Champagne.

Meanwhile, wellness is an emerging trend in cruise, backed up by neuroscience, which has shown how the ocean calms the mind, revitalises the body and may even boost immunity. When luxury cruise line Explora Journeys explorajourneys.com launches in 2023, its first ship EXPLORA I will offer guests the chance to switch off their devices, elevate their wellbeing and achieve an ‘ocean state of mind’ with a series of restorative Ocean Wellness experiences and retreat programmes. An incredible 1,000sq m of space on the 461-suite ship will be dedicated to wellbeing, including a palatial spa, fitness facilities, an outdoor sports court and running track – to complement the programme, guests can also retox with a cocktail using gin made with seaweed algae.

Those seeking long trips need look no further than Saga Ocean Cruises’ saga.co.uk new 2023 itinerary that sees keen sailors spend 78 nights at sea. Lifting anchor in Portsmouth, the South American Explorer cruise aboard Saga’s Spirit of Adventure ship has a mammoth list of calling points, including Devil’s Island in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Colombia, the Chilean Fjords, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Panama Canal. On the same wave length, Seabourn will embark on a single 32-day voyage in October 2023. From Los Angeles it sets sail across the South Pacific via Hawaii, Bora Bora and Rarotonga, before ending in New Zealand.

OC A Vista Pool Deck Rendering 1 2022 11 22 11 44 29

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Seabourn’s latest luxury expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, has been designed and built for diverse environments – on board, there’s a 26-person expedition team for insights into the ecology and culture of the destinations visited, and toys include custom- built submarines and Zodiacs that would turn James Bond green with envy. In March and April 2023, the ship will travel to Brazil and the Amazon; and between June and August 2023, Venture will explore the Arctic with a series of 14- and 15-day voyages to Greenland and Iceland, before setting off on a 23-day journey across the infamous Northwest Passage.

Continuing the five-star theme, Silversea’s 200-guest Silver Endeavour, hailed as the world’s most luxurious expedition ship, features the highest space-to-guest ratio in expedition cruising. The new ship features all-balcony suites, butler service as standard, a generous spa and reimagined culinary experiences across four restaurants, plus the Arts Café – an upscale take on a classic coffee shop – and 24-hour in-suite dining. Silver Endeavour will sail to 116 remote, cold-weather destinations between May 2023 and March 2024, with highlights including nine voyages to the Arctic and Greenland, 14 voyages to Antarctica and two voyages to the British Isles and Iceland.

More cool tech, including a custom-built submarine ideal for viewing the underwater world, can be found on Scenic Eclipse II, which joins the fleet of Scenic Discovery Yachts in early 2023. Undoubtedly, the journey of a lifetime has to be the 24-day Antarctica and Chilean Fjords itinerary, departing in November 2023 and designed for those keen to explore the region for longer. You’ll journey from Buenos Aires to Santiago, cruising the east coast of South America and into the Antarctic Peninsula, before sailing around Cape Horn and the west coast. Along the way you’re likely to encounter penguin rookeries, seal colonies and feeding whales. scenic.co.uk

From high-tech features to wildlife sightings, Hebridean’s hebridean.co.uk intimate 38-guest only, all-inclusive ship Lord of the Highlands offers you the chance to cruise Scotland in true style and elegance. The native fauna is abundant, and from the boutique ship you’ll spot a wide range of mammals and birds on the seven-night Highland and Island Wildlife itinerary, sailing from Inverness to Kyle of Lochash in June 2023, including the Caledonian Canal. Around the islands, you’ll discover hidden sea lochs, while an onboard specialist will be by your side as you search for a diverse range of wildlife: sightings along the rugged coastline could include whale, dolphin, seal, white- tailed eagle and a variety of seabirds.

Whether seeking endemic marine iguana or giant tortoise, the best way to cruise the must-see destination Galapagos Islands, with their wealth of unique flora and fauna, is on Celebrity Cruises’ 100 passenger mega yacht Celebrity Flora, built with the latest environmental tech to ensure the destination remains the centre of attention. Seven-night, all-inclusive Outer Loop and Inner Loop itineraries have been curated to ensure guests experience all that the extraordinary archipelago offers, and include locally sourced food on menus crafted by a Michelin-starred chef, and certified naturalists from the Galapagos National Park are your guides.

‘Cool tech, including a custom-built submarine ideal for viewing the underwater world, can be found on Scenic Eclipse II, which joins the fleet of Scenic Discovery Yachts. Undoubtedly, the journey of a lifetime has to be the 24-day Antarctica and Chilean Fjords itinerary, designed for those keen to explore the region for longer.'

Scenic Eclipse Image Credit Roger Pimenta 5

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Luxury river cruise line Uniworld uniworld.com is sailing into bucket-list territory in 2023 with its first Cruise & Rail journey in India. Teaming up with Maharajas’ Express for a 16-day immersive adventure, the trip combines seven nights’ sailing aboard the Ganges Voyager II from Kolkata – via the authentic artisan village of Matiari, architectural monuments of Murshidabad and Baranagar and the striking temples of Mayapur – with a luxury private train journey through the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan to Mumbai. Unmissable points of interest such as the Taj Mahal and Ranthambore National Park, home to the Bengal Tiger, are included alongside local encounters.

Closer to home, river cruise lovers can sail from Amsterdam to Basel on Emerald Cruises’ emeraldcruises.co.uk eight-day Tulips and the Rhine river cruise in March 2024, for all things quintessentially Dutch. Aboard the luxury Star-Ship Emerald Sky, guests will glide along Amsterdam’s canals and visit Keukenhof Gardens for a burst of spring colour, before docking in Cologne for a guided tour of the old town. The cruise continues through Germany and France, including a tale of two cities divided by the Rhine – Breisach (Germany) and Neuf-Brisach (France) – before concluding in Basel, Switzerland.

The beauty of river cruising is being able to take in the vistas at a leisurely pace, and on Avalon Waterways’ avalonwaterways. co.uk fleet of Suite Ships, the Open-Air Balcony - it boasts cruising’s only bed with a view, with more space and access to open-air sailing. In 2024, the line makes its debut on Portugal’s Douro river with a new itinerary and ship, Avalon Alegria. Hillside vineyards and historic villages await guests on the eight-day cruise beginning and ending in vibrant Porto. Expect culinary highlights at every port including an olive oil and wine tasting tour of one of the oldest farms in Douro Valley.

From cultural experiences to the longest river cruise in history, AmaWaterways amawaterways.co.uk are broadening horizons. New for 2023, the Seven River Journey cruise, departing in April, offers a chance to sail on – you guessed it – seven of the world’s best-known rivers through Europe, with the opportunity for pit stops at 17 Unesco-listed sites too. Guests can choose either spring/summer or autumn itineraries that will span across 14 countries for over 40 nights. Also hitting the high notes, AmaWaterways are introducing A Soulful Epicurean Experience in August, which will put the spotlight on jazz, food and wine and Black heritage across France. It sails through Provence, along the Rhône River to Lyon and eventually Paris, where the cruise combines a three-night land tour of the City of Light. If you prefer classical notes to jazz, AmaWaterways’ seven-night Celebration of Classical Music: the Danube could be the one for you – it features live performances in Austria’s Melk Abbey and in Vienna, plus a tour of Mozart’s house in Salzburg.

Emerald Cruises Europe River Cruising5

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