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What’s your idea of the perfect summer holiday? Whatever destinations you’re dreaming of, our summer 2023 collection has the perfect escape for you
We all have different ideas of what makes a summer holiday great. For some, it’s a leisurely latte in an Italian courtyard; for others, it’s listening to the waves lap the sandy shore of a Canarian beach. No matter how you like to travel, we’ve got a holiday for you.
Near-guaranteed sunshine and beautiful beaches? These qualities alone make Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands a fabulous destination for families. But add to that dynamic cities, world-class food and off-the-beaten-track adventures and you’ve got a holiday with endless options to keep everyone happy. Family-friendly Ventura spends much of her summers in this part of the world, embarking on cruises of seven to 14 nights.
Lisbon stars on many of the itineraries, and selected cruises make overnight calls in this sensational Portuguese city. By day, see the sights by tuk-tuk and be sure to indulge in a pastel de nata (or three) from Pastéis de Belém, where the flaky, custardy pastry originated. By night, listen to traditional fado music at the elegant Senhor Vinho, or see some sea life at the Oceanário, the largest salt-water aquarium in Europe, which is open until 8pm.
Tenerife is another highlight, and selected cruises feature a full day and evening in port – plenty of time to enjoy the splendours of Teide National Park. Marvel at the 15km-wide natural amphitheatre, and gaze up in awe at El Pico de Teide, the highest mountain in Spain.
And in Seville (from Cádiz), young ones can burn off some steam in the Parque de María Luisa, slightly older ones can see the sights on a coastal kayak expedition, and grown-ups can sample the region’s famous sherry at the monumental Tio Pepe winery in Jerez.
Of course, the family fun doesn’t stop on shore: there’s so much to do on board our family-friendly ships, too. If you can tear your young ones away from our free children’s clubs, you could splash around in the outdoor swimming pools, catch a film in the cinema or spend some time with Wallace & Gromit, for starters. Discover more here and start planning your next family holiday.
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If your idea of summer bliss is fresh air, awe-inspiring scenery and crystal-clear waters, the Norwegian Fjords will be your slice of heaven. And, while we may be a tad biased, to traverse them by cruise ship – standing on deck, gazing up at the towering cliff faces as the ship glides effortlessly through the fjordic waters – is a unique and life-affirming experience. Sea days in this region are like no other, as you sail past the spectacular scenery such as Innvikfjorden and Nordfjord.
Iona’s summer itineraries take in this spectacular region, and with her glass SkyDome and three-deck-high Grand Atrium that let the outdoors in, she’s the perfect ship for the job.
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is perhaps Stavanger’s most famous sight – the towering 604m cliff was even featured in the movie Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Gaze up from below on a cruise along the scenic Lysefjord, or hike to the summit of the rock itself for views of the craggy mountains, crashing waterfalls and the glassy waters of the fjord.
Olden is Norway’s finest examples of nature, all rolled into one. There’s the striking Oldevatnet Lake, with its tranquil emerald-green waters, and the otherworldly beauty of the Nordfjord, which you can take to by kayak. But for a truly unique experience, seeing a glacier up close is unbeatable. Visit the mighty Briksdal glacier, a western arm of the Jostedal Glacier, which is the biggest glacier on mainland Europe.
At the heart of Sognefjord, the world’s longest and deepest fjord, lies the tiny village of Flåm. As you sail in you’re surrounded by snow-capped peaks and cascading waterfalls, making for a most memorable cruise experience. The village of Flåm has its own treasures to enjoy, from tasty pastries at Flåm Bakery to local beers at Ægir brew pub.
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Sometimes, a quick escape is all you need to stir up your summer. If time is of the essence, our Short Breaks are just the ticket. In summer, Ventura, Arcadia and Aurora all visit destinations that, while close to home, offer an entirely unique experience. Your holiday begins the moment you step on board in Southampton. Plus, without the luggage restrictions of flights, you can bring as much as you like – and leave plenty of space for souvenirs.
Amsterdam can be anything you want it to be: a pretty patchwork of gabled houses and criss-crossing canals, or a modern city with coolness and culture around every corner. For a little of the latter, venture just off the tourist trail to Foodhallen, where vendors serve up sensational street food. Selected cruises also stay overnight, giving you the chance to explore one of Europe’s most exciting cities after dark. For casual drinks with a view, grab a picnic table outside at Hannekes Boom on the waterfront and watch the boats float by while the sun sets.
Life in Guernsey revolves around the water, and how you dive in is up to you. Feeling adventurous? Rent a surfboard from Guernsey Surf School and hit the waves. Rather watch them lap the shore? The island is home to a number beautiful coves and beaches, such as Shell Beach, named for the millions of tiny shell fragments washed in from the Gulf Stream, or Petit Port, where you’ll have to walk down nearly 300 steps to the beach but where – if you’re lucky – you’ll find a peaceful, near-empty retreat.
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Sometimes, you want a bit of everything. And when variety is on the menu, the Mediterranean delivers with its enchanting mix of world-class beaches, diverse cultures, breathtaking scenery and fascinating history. Arvia and Britannia both sail under the Mediterranean summer sun, taking you to places where memories are made.
Marseille is France’s second-largest city and has all the incredible culture, cuisine and colour you’d expect. The city is famous for its street art – explore it on your own (start in Cours Julien, where virtually every surface is covered in vibrant graffiti) or sign up to a guided tour. For a more bucolic way to immerse yourself in colour, venture into picturesque Provence for a day of lavender and rosé – sipping a glass of Whispering Angel from a shaded terrace in a Provençal town is the epitome of summer bliss.
La Spezia on the Italian Riviera is the gateway to la dolce vita. It’s embodied in Cinque Terre, that postcard-perfect collection of five villages perched on the coastline. They’re best seen by boat – they were once only accessible by sea and even today there are no proper roads linking the villages. From La Spezia you can also travel to Florence, and while the options are endless in this romantic city, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Uffizi gallery (where you can see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus) followed by a gelato from Vivoli, one of the city’s oldest gelaterias.
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