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So why is cruising so popular these days? Cruising provides great value for money, and includes nearly everything you'll need for a fantastic holiday, all-inclusive accommodation, daytime and evening entertainment and transportation between destinations. On a cruise, you unpack just once and your floating hotel takes you from city to city or from island to island, each morning, you'll wake up in a new place. And if you cannot decide between St. Lucia and Barbados, or Italy or Spain, why choose? Simply choose an itinerary that visits all the countries and cities on your wish list. These days cruise ships are family friendly, from tots to teens and grandparents to grandkids, cruises are fun for all ages. Cruising is also incredibly social, so if you love to meet new people cruising is most definitely for you. Onboard, you'll meet people at your dinner table, at the piano bar and by the pool. Your kids will find playmates their own age, and everyone will get the opportunity to make new friends and share new experiences.
For an unforgettable immediate and immersive holiday river cruising is hard to beat. You don’t just get taken into a country, a river cruise lets you get under the country’s skin, feel its pulse and see its scenery and sights close up. As you sail at a pleasingly easy pace you’re cocooned in comfort, with attentive staff at your service and the convivial company of like-minded fellow passengers. Every day you are travelling in a ‘luxury floating hotel’ with a lounge, bar and restaurant, outdoor space and leisure facilities, and all of it only a short walk from your en-suite bedroom door. You can soak up the passing scenery from your room and balcony (if you have one), or the extensive windows in your ship’s lounge or the sun deck for those 360-degree panoramas.
There is lots of choice for river cruising, European rivers are particularly popular, especially the likes of the Rhine or the Danube, but how about the Douro in Portugal? The Douro Valley is best known for port and you will be constantly reminded of this as you cruise through this UNESCO World Heritage site. Steep, lush-green slopes of terraced vineyards can be seen for miles, especially pretty in the spring when the blossom is on the trees. The 600-mile river of gold is lined with fantastic places to visit and explore, highlights include Lisbon, Porto, Régua, Barca d’Alva and Pinhão in Portugal and Salamanca in Spain. Porto is a particular favourite, compact enough to wander around on foot at your leisure, it is most famous for its port lodges, situated on one side of the river. However, the old town opposite, with its higgledy-piggledy medieval centre is a delight to explore. The railway station is home to dramatic azulejo panels of historic scenes, some 20,000 tiles depicting historic battles and the history of transport, it is truly beautiful. For a breath-taking 360-degree view of Porto, climb the Clerigos Tower. One of the finest port lodges to visit is Grahams, you will need to book, but it is well worth the effort. Still a working cellar, you will be taken on an informative and interesting tour of the history of port making, which concludes with the opportunity to taste the port, whilst enjoying the stunning views across to Porto and the iconic two-tier bridge which connects Oporto with Gaia, where the port lodges are located. A visit to Porto is not complete without experiencing the Majestic Café, dating back to 1921, it was renovated and reopened in 1994, bringing back the glamorous 1920s, the façade is glorious, but it won’t be until you get inside that you will be truly amazed. Porto is a great example of what you will discover in the many towns and cities along the River Douro.
Ocean cruising is a different experience but also a great way to visit many countries on one holiday. It is also a great way to discover further afield, and in particular the Caribbean. The many islands of the Caribbean have a wide and varied history to explore, as well as enjoying the breath-taking scenery of white sandy beaches, azure coves and emerald hills and discovering bustling towns and quaint fishing villages. A West Indies cruise will take you to San Juan in Puerto Rico, rich in Spanish heritage; Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; St. John’s in Antigua with its past of a royal naval outpost; Castrie’s in St. Lucia; Bridgetown in Barbados; Pointe-à-Pitre in French Guadeloupe; St. Kitts; Philipsburg in St. Martin and St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. There is no better way to experience this most beautiful part of the world.
So why are we recommending you cruise with Viking Cruises? They put so much effort into your holiday experience. They enhance international menus with regional specialities so you will enjoy a taste of the destinations you are visiting. You will also get the chance to learn about where you are visiting, an exclusive onboard programme will bring local history to life with lectures on history and art; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; and at the onboard cooking school you will learn how to prepare local specialties. Although guided tours are available in each port, Viking Cruises provide additional charged for excursions, that are well worth doing, created for people who have already done the ‘included’ tours and for those who fancy trying something different. A Viking cruise will really focus on broadening your horizons and delivering to you, genuine value for money, their comprehensive range of interesting itineraries across the globe keep people coming back for more, to enjoy that ‘little bit extra’ and that is why we are recommending them to you, you will not be disappointed.