Escape and explore

Take some well-earned time out and discover exciting destinations on a Taster Cruise holiday

Whether you’re recharging your batteries after a gruelling deadline or simply escaping the grey skies, a long weekend or a few days away is ideal if you need to take some time out and indulge a little. But it’s also a great opportunity to try something new.

For first-timers, our collection of three to five-night Taster Cruises provides a perfect introduction to cruise life, while those who have sailed before can try out a different ship for a few days before committing to a longer cruise holiday.

Of course, on board you can expect the same fabulous food, sparkling entertainment and indulgent R&R that you’ll find on all cruise holidays, blended with the opportunity to explore some fantastic doorstop destinations…

St Peter Port, Guernsey

Aside from stunning scenery, superb seafood and duty-free shopping, highlights in this pretty town include Victor Hugo’s former home, Hauteville House, and Castle Cornet, which houses five museums and four period gardens. Or you can head off into the Ruette Tranquilles, quiet country lanes dedicated to walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Bruges, Belgium (tours from Zeebrugge)

Zeebrugge, which literally means Bruges-on-Sea, is just 10 miles from the fairy-tale centre with its cobbled lanes, twinkling Christmas markets and criss-crossing canals offering romantic boat rides. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bruges is an outstanding example of a medieval settlement, and many of its shops, restaurants, bars and hotels are found behind beautiful historic facades. In these, you can sample the velvety chocolate and local beers that the city is famous for.

Cherbourg, France

This port town boasts a rich seafaring history, which can be explored in two outstanding museums: Cité de la Mer (City of the Sea) and Musée de la Libération (Liberation Museum). It’s also a great place to sample some of the tastes of Normandy, a region famous for its seafood, rich butter and cheeses, and apples, from which delicious cider, Calvados brandy and the aperitif Pommeau are made.

Le Havre, France

Pretty much obliterated during the Second World War, the city was rebuilt by the Belgian modernist architect Auguste Perret. Highlights include the stunning views over the harbour from Les Jardins Suspendus (The Hanging Gardens), an extensive collection of impressionist paintings in the Musée d'art moderne André Malraux (MuMa) and Perret’s soaring St Joseph’s Church (Église St-Joseph), which was built from bare concrete and some 13,000 panels of coloured glass. You won’t be bored as there’s also a beach, shopping centres and attractive docksides to explore.

Hamburg, Germany

Nicknamed the ‘gateway to the world’, this scenic city on the banks of the Elbe River is infused with maritime spirit thanks to its two giant lakes and hundreds of canals – you’re never too far from water here. Explore the city’s striking architecture and indulge in cosmopolitan shopping, dining and nightlife. Or simply sit back and relax with coffee and a Kopenhagener (pastry), filled with jam or marzipan.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

This city’s winding streets, cosy cafés and bustling boutiques are best explored by foot or bike – or even by boat, along its 60 miles of historic canals. The Rijksmuseum (Museum of the Netherlands), Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House museum and Heineken brewery are all also worth a visit.