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Atlantic Northern

Spain's Canary Islands and the Portuguese island of Madeira are traditionally favourite destinations for winter sun seekers. Arriving in the capital of one of the islands, however, gives the visitor the chance to see many places of interest rather than the beach orientated resorts. The Atlantic sees the only transoceanic scheduled passenger service left in the world, operating between New York and Southampton on board Queen Mary 2.The Atlantic islands of Madeira, The Azores and Bermuda often appear on the itinerary of ships which are repositioning between Europe and the Caribbean, or vice versa. Christopher Columbus left from Gran Canaria on three of his voyages of discovery and it is possible to visit the place where he stayed which is now a museum in Las Palmas. The lunar landscape of Lanzarote is unique and many visitors take a trip to the south of the island to the vast Papagayo beach with its splendid views over to Fuerteventura. In the 1830s, William Reid was the pioneer of package holidays to the sun and it is possible to take afternoon tea at Reid's Palace in Funchal.
The canals of Amsterdam
Mini cruises to Northern Europe ports operate at various times throughout the year, offering the chance to enjoy a short summer break or to visit the December Christmas Markets. Fred Olsen Line features short cruises in its programme and passengers have the chance to join the ship at Dover, Leith near Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool or Southampton. The North Sea ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge are within easy reach of some of the Low Countries' finest treasures and seeing the various sights in one long weekend is a bonus for those short of time. Iceland has also become a favourite destination in recent years and many itineraries include a call at the remote port of Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. Occasionally, an operator offers a detour to rarely visited Spitzbergen, which is part of the little known Svalbard Glacier region.


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Ruby Norris
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