Want to know which destinations are going to be hot (and cool) next year? Nick Dalton has the answers
China is the hip new spot for faraway cruises. Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas debuts in Southampton but will then depart for Tianjin in the country’s north, where temples rub shoulders with skyscrapers, while still offering the chance to visit Beijing (100 miles away) and the Great Wall. Four other ships, including Quantum of the Seas, are based in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Xiamen – the fleet being most of any cruise company to be based in the country. A 12-night Tianjin to Singapore cruise on Ovation of the Seas, departing 16 November 2016, starts at £1,319pp, not including flights.
Holland America Line for 2016 has two ships sailing from Singapore with stops such as Thailand and Hong Kong. Vietnam, most generally a destination for river cruises on the Mekong Delta, is now firmly on the ocean cruise map. Not only Holland America but also Princess Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, with its small ultra-luxury ships, have started visiting Ha Long Bay, dotted with limestone stacks, as well as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Azamara has a 10-night Thailand and Vietnam fly-cruise, departing Singapore, departing 30 November 2016, from £2,841pp.
Pandaw, known for its Mekong cruises in Vietnam and Cambodia, in September 2016 heads farther upriver with the first cruises into China. The 14-night itinerary on traditional, shallow-bottom boats links Vientiane in Laos and Jinghong in Yunnan Province, taking in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand. Prices start from £3,400pp, cruise only. The company is also launching the 14-night Rio, Iguazu Falls & the Amazon tour with nine-night cruise starting in January 2016 from £3,200pp, cruise-only.
AmaWaterways offers art themed Paris & Normandy cruises that allow guests the opportunity to paint Monet’s famous gardens in Giverny. A seven-night art cruise departs Paris on 8 April 2016 and is priced from £1,869pp (amawaterways.co.uk/0808 223 5009).
Norwegian Cruise Line offers its first visits to the Persian Gulf and India along with its first cruises in Asia and Australia since 2001-02. Starting in December 2016, there are departures from Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland. The 11-night Singapore to Hong Kong cruise, departing on 11 December 2016, starts at just £829pp cruise only (ncl.co.uk; 0845 201 8900).
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