Best cruise deals for summer holidays 2022

10 of the best cruises for summer 2022

By Katie McGonagle | 16 Jun 2022

Corfu boat ride

Boat trip in Corfu. Picture: NCL/Jim Hughes Photography

If you’re wondering where to go on holiday this summer, we check out the hottest destinations and the best cruise deals so you can bag a bargain on a last-minute summer break

Dust off your passport and get packing – summer holidays are back on! And if you’re looking for a good deal, there’s never been a better time to try a cruise holiday.

There are some incredible savings to be found on summer holidays for 2022, whether you fancy sunning yourself in the Med, flitting through the sparkling Aegean Sea on a Greek isles cruise, or seeing the scenic Norwegian fjords at their brightest and best.

If you’re tempted to a river or ocean cruise this summer, we asked travel agents and cruise lines for their best deals and discounts, so you can set sail knowing you’re saving some cash on a last-minute summer holiday.

Corfu, summer cruises

Cruising in Corfu. Picture: NCL/Jim Hughes Photography

Best cruise deals in Greece

The Greek isles have always been a perennial favourite for British holidaymakers, both on land and on water, but why choose just one resort when you could wake up to a new view of the Aegean Sea glinting in the sun every single day?

“We’re witnessing an upswing in demand for cruises to the Greek islands this summer,” says Bolsover Cruise Club’s Emma Furze. “Customers are keen to return to some of their favourite destinations and explore those that are easily accessible as fly-cruises from the UK.”

Whether you want to swoon over sunsets in Santorini, walk the whitewashed, bougainvillea-draped streets of Mykonos or seek out smaller spots like Milos – a favourite for Greek specialist Celestyal Cruises – where Kleftiko Beach was voted one of the best in Europe by TripAdvisor, Greece has got you covered.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s nine-day Greek Isles: Santorini, Mykonos & Croatia from Venice starts at £1,578 for an Oceanview cabin departing July 15 (not including flights). Fly-cruise discounts are available along with a Free at Sea upgrade that covers open bar, excursion credit, speciality dining and Wi-Fi. Find out more from on NCL’s website.

 

Saint Benezet bridge in Avignon, France

Saint Benezet bridge in Avignon, France. Picture: Shutterstock/proslgn

River cruises in France for 2022

It could be the array of flight-free cruises, the easy pace of life along the rivers, or simply the allure of all that fine French cuisine and Provencal rosé, but France is sailing ahead of other destinations this summer.

Bordeaux, Burgundy and Provence are the breakout stars, with one cruise company after another – Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, AmaWaterways and Amadeus to name but a few – seeing huge spikes in bookings for scenic summer journeys. But even though it’s in high demand, there are still great-value holidays to be found, according to James Cole, founder and managing director of Panache Cruises.

He says: “There are some absolutely amazing deals available for summer – mainly due to American and Australian travellers being slow to restart cruising in Europe, as well as the pandemic – so a lot of cruise lines have leaned on the UK market to provide additional passengers on some voyages.”

One of Panache Cruises’ fastest-selling cruises this summer is a seven-night Burgundy & Provence holiday on Avalon Poetry II, from just £999 per person cruise-only (reduced from £3,035) in an Avalon Deluxe stateroom, including shore excursions, select drinks and tips. Flights and transfers can be added. Find out more from Panache Cruises.

Geirgangerfjord, Norway.

Geirgangerfjord, Norway. Picture: Unsplash/Marius Tandberg

Norwegian Fjords cruises

There is no bad time to be in the Norwegian fjords, but go in the height of summer – when the sun lights the steep-sided inlets in a lush carpet of green and the water seems to sparkle in varying shades of cyan – and you can experience the coast at its dazzling best. And you won’t only get great views from the ship.

Stop at Molde where the hike up to the Varden Viewpoint reveals a panorama of snow-topped mountains, take the famous Flam Railway – the world’s steepest train journey – to see verdant hillsides and sweeping valleys unfold, or book a trip from Stavanger to the precariously placed Pulpit Rock for a god-like perspective on the Lysefjord below.

Celebrity Cruises has six ships based in Europe this summer including Celebrity Apex, which launched last year. It sails out of Amsterdam on a seven-night Norwegian Fjords cruise on August 13, with prices from £1,967 per person for an Ocean View stateroom including Wi-Fi, drinks and tips. Find out more about Celebrity Cruises.

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Old Town, Gamla Stan, Stockholm

Old Town, Gamla Stan, Stockholm. Picture: Shutterstock/Mark Oleksiy

Summer in the Baltic

“An ideal summer destination, the Baltic has always been hugely popular for cruising,” says Alex Loizou, sales and marketing director at luxury travel agency Mundy Cruising.

“With a convenient flight from the UK, you can visit captivating northern capitals such as Stockholm, Copenhagen, Tallinn and Helsinki, each of which has a different atmosphere and appeal. You can choose between cultural treasures in museums and galleries or venturing out into the countryside. This summer, the removal of St Petersburg from itineraries means there’s availability and bargains to be had.”

Among those are Silversea’s northern Europe cruises on Silver Moon, which launched last summer. It marked the debut of the Sea and Land Taste (Salt) programme, which brings to life the flavours of the region through a dedicated onboard restaurant and bar showcasing traditional dishes and drinks, onboard cooking classes and specially designed shore excursions where you can immerse yourself in local life.

Try a cycling tour of Tallinn, including hipster district Telliskivi, a food-focused visit to the ‘Garden of Sweden’ in Blekinge or a half-day kayaking trip from Helsinki to get up close to the islands of the Finnish archipelago and the birdlife and other species that can be seen here.

Mundy Cruising offers a seven-night all-inclusive sailing on ultra-luxury ship Silver Moon departing on August 8, 15 or 22, from £2,700 per person including business-class flights from the UK, private transfers, butler service and all food and beverages.

Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/DieterMeyrl

Cruises to Iceland in summer 2022

The land of fire and ice has long been a hit for its lively volcanoes, spewing geysers and other-worldly landscapes, not to mention its fabulous folklore and compact, likeable capital. Yet the best cruises are those that go well beyond Reykjavik to take in the tiny fishing villages in the north or spend time exploring the less-visited landmarks around this island nation.

Graham Sadler, senior vice-president and managing director EMEA for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, says: “For those who have waited such a long time before finally taking a holiday, their next trip has to be something extra special. Iceland is an extraordinary destination with majestic scenery, incredible culture and wonderful wildlife, offering guests enough opportunities for memory building to make up for the past two years.”

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has a 17-night Magic in Iceland sailing departing on June 21 on Seven Seas Splendor, starting from £10,679 per person based on two sharing a Veranda Suite, including flights, transfers, unlimited shore excursions, all dining, fine wines and spirits, pre-paid tips, speciality restaurants and Wi-Fi. Splendor will also have more cruises that visit Iceland in August 2022 and summer 2023. Find out more from Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Viking Longship Odin near Budapest on the Danube River

Viking Longship Odin near Budapest on the Danube River

What to see on a Danube cruise

The Danube delights at any time of year, linking many of Europe’s great capitals – Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade – with some of the finest sights you can see by river.

Chief among those is the Unesco-listed Wachau Valley between Melk and Krems, where vineyards ripple along the riverbanks interrupted only by the occasional spire of a centuries-old village church. Even if you’ve sailed it before, such scenery never fails to show something new, and there’s an extra reason to visit this summer that has prompted a “surge in interest” according to Viking UK managing director Wendy Atkin-Smith.

She says: “Until early October this year, guests will have the chance to journey to the charming hamlet of Oberammergau to witness a performance of the passion play. This depiction of the trial, suffering and death of Christ is performed once every 10 years, keeping the terms of a promise the townspeople made to God after they were spared from the plague in 1633. Today, many of the residents still take part in this dramatic performance, featuring beautiful music and choral accompaniment. It is a special event to experience.”

Viking’s Oberammergau, The Passion Play cruise along the Danube starts from £4,695 for an 11-day journey in a Standard stateroom with departures from June to September, including flights from the UK, nine guided tours, all meals on board with wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi and tips. Read more on the Viking River Cruises website.

Cableway on Teide volcano, Tenerife

Teide National Park, Tenerife, Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Betelgejze

Cruises to the Canary Islands in 2022

It’s easy to pigeon-hole the Canaries as a winter sun spot given that their location just off the west coast of Africa – boasting deserts and dunes more akin to the sands of the Sahara than the landscapes of mainland Spain – guarantees glorious weather year-round.

Yet they are just as enticing come summer, too, and a cruise means you don’t have to spend hours deciding between Gran Canaria or Tenerife, when you can see both in one trip.

Better yet, many sailings depart from the UK and include a stop at Funchal in Madeira along the way, so you can compare life in the Canaries to other Atlantic islands without ever having to get on a plane.

The Canaries are not just about beaches, either – in Gran Canaria, skip Playa del Ingles to sample local cheeses at Mercado del Puerto in Las Palmas, or hike the trails around the impressive Caldera de Bandama followed by lunch in the pretty town of Teror (much more charming than its name might sound). And in Tenerife, you mustn’t miss the cable car journey up to Mount Teide, the third-highest volcanic structure in the world, offering up unbeatable views across the island.

ROL Cruise has a 10-night all-inclusive No-Fly Canary Islands Discovery cruise on Enchanted Princess – one of four Princess ships based in Southampton this summer – departing from the UK port on August 16 and visiting Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Madeira and Vigo in Spain. Balcony cabins from £1,449 per person, including premium drinks, tips and Wi-Fi.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. Picture: Unsplash/Jorge Fernandez Salas

Cheap holidays to Spain in 2022

Cruising from Southampton along the west coast of France to northern Spain and back again is a classic short-haul sailing, offering a hassle-free week in the sun and a great taster for anyone who’s never tried cruise before.

Specialist agency Iglu Cruise says last-minute bookings on the likes of MSC Cruises’ ex-Southampton sailings have been among its bestsellers for the summer, with reduced prices, free balcony upgrades and included drinks on select sailings adding up to even better value.

In Bilbao, visit the Guggenheim Museum, a marvel of curving steel. And if art is your thing, head to the Museum of Fine Arts, which showcases everything from medieval to modern paintings, sculptures, engravings and more, or check out the grand gold altarpiece at the Basilica de Begona.

Farther west, La Coruña has the world’s oldest working lighthouse, the Tower of Hercules. Climb to the top, then stroll back along the waterfront to see the ‘galerías’ – glass-fronted balconies sheltered from the wind so they can be used year-round. Cruises also visit La Rochelle and Le Havre, the gateway to Paris.

Iglu Cruise offers a seven-night no-fly France & Spain cruise on MSC Virtuosa from £629 per person for a balcony cabin with meals, premium drinks, free cabin upgrade and tips, departing June 25. There are also 14-night sailings in July that include Portugal, from £1,127 per person.

Golden Horn beach, Bol, Croatia

Golden Horn beach, Bol, Croatia. Picture: Shutterstock/biletskiyevgeniy

Cruises to Croatia

It would be easy for beach lovers to overlook Croatia. Despite miles of glorious Adriatic coastline fringed by clear turquoise seas, its beaches are more often pebble or shingle than golden sand, prompting many to steer south towards the Greek isles instead.

But they miss out on beauties like Zlatni Rat, aka the Golden Horn, a long spit of smooth-pebbled beach that shifts its shape with the wind and tide. It’s a highlight of any island-hopping cruise along the Croatian coast, and smaller yacht-style vessels often anchor offshore so guests can swim across.

It’s set on the island of Brac (pronounced Bratch), and from the beach it’s a pleasant half-hour stroll along the waterfront to the town of Bol, where you can rub shoulders with the yachting crowd, visit Dragon’s Cave, or just sit in the sun, dine out on sheep’s cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, while sipping local wine – bliss…

APT’s Adriatic Coast and Dalmatian Islands cruise from Zagreb to Dubrovnik starts from £1,595 per person for eight days, including flights and accommodation on board the new-build yachts Princess Eleganza or Lady Eleganza. Find out more about APT.

Little Champlain District, Quebec City

Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Canada. Picture: Getty Images/iStockPhoto/Anthony Dezenzio

Canada cruises to Quebec City

The fact that Quebec is the only walled city north of Mexico might not seem very impressive on paper, interesting only insofar as it could come in handy for a pub quiz one day. But see it for yourself – all quaint cobbled streets and heavy-set stone ramparts topped with turrets that would be more at home in a medieval French castle than a modern Canadian metropolis – and it’s clear this is a city worth adding to your must-see list.

Good news, then, that it just became a lot easier to get to following the launch of the UK’s first direct flight to Quebec City with Air Transat, flying from Gatwick on Thursdays and returning on Wednesdays until the end of September.

Spend a few days exploring the French-speaking city, touring the grand Fairmont Le Château Frontenac or enjoying a bite in the bistros of Petit-Champlain at the start or end of a cruise.

You could also use it as a gateway to scenic driving routes along the St Lawrence River to spot milky-white belugas and thundering blue whales en route to the beautiful Gaspé Peninsula. Bon voyage!

Princess Cruises offers a 10-day Classic Canada & New England voyage departing from Quebec City to New York City on Caribbean Princess, with prices starting from £1,499 departing August 5, 2022, for an interior stateroom. Find out more about Princess Cruises.

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