Sail in style on the Nile
NOW the evenings are drawing in, thoughts inevitably turn to lazy days under the sun. And to help us through the dark months, cruise companies are offering all sorts of enticements to book now. Whether you fancy a bargain jaunt to the Med, a bucket-list trip to Egypt or South East Asia or a voyage to the Caribbean, there are great deals available on an exciting variety of new ocean ships and river boats. If you don’t think you’ll make it through to springtime without some proper sun, Saga is offering up to 35 per cent off a 35-night Caribbean cruise aboard new Spirit of Adventure – a round trip sailing from Southampton on February 22. Spring is whale-watching season in the Caribbean, and members of the whale protection charity Orca will be on board conducting research and alerting passengers when pods come into view. Sun-drenched islands on the itinerary include Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Bermuda and Turks & Caicos – especially good for spotting humpback whales. Fares, including insurance, start at £8,554pp (down from £10,693pp) in a balcony cabin (saga.co.uk/cruise). Ultra-luxury river cruiser SS Sphinx has just set sail on the Nile, making the most comfortable base imaginable for exploring the sites of ancient Egypt. This 12-day trip, called Splendors Of Egypt And The Nile, visits the temples and tombs between Luxor and Aswan, but also starts and ends with two nights in Cairo so you can see the astonishing treasures of Tutankhamun, the Sphinx and the Pyramids. If booked before November 30, the trip departing on May 21 costs from £5,349pp (down from £6,099pp) including flights (uniworld.com). A week’s river cruise on luxurious Mekong Serenity, launching in July, will make a delightful change of pace on APT’s Vietnam And Cambodia Highlights tour, which includes the breathtaking sunrise at the Angkor Wat temple. With airy balcony suites for all passengers, a swimming pool and spa, you’ll feel rested and refreshed for each day’s sightseeing. A launch offer for bookings made before the end of the year sees fares for the 15-day all-inclusive tour departing on August 12 start at £4,145pp (down from £5,295pp), including flights (aptouring.co.uk). There will be so many bars, restaurants, shows and activities on P&O’s new resort ship, Arvia, you’ll barely find time to spend in your cabin. And now is the perfect opportunity to round up a couple of friends to snap up a bargain cruise around the Mediterranean for 2023 – with the third and fourth passengers sharing a cabin going free, four of you can sail for a fortnight on full-board for less than £500pp. Arvia, with room for 5,200 passengers, will sail from Southampton for a 14-night round trip on April 30, 2023, with calls in Marseilles, Barcelona and Cadiz, and the opportunity to visit Florence from La Spezia. Or, if you fancy the Canary Islands, North America or Norway, the same four-for-the-price-of-two deal applies to several more offpeak season cruises in 2023 across the P&O fleet (pocruises.com).