Dame Darcey Bussell, the former Royal Ballet principal, shares her favourite destinations ahead of joining guests on a Scenic river cruise along the Danube.

My family and I went to Mozambique several years ago, and it was one of the best holidays we’ve ever been on. From Pemba we travelled south by car to Ilha de Mozambique, which has beautiful Portuguese architecture and an extraordinary fort. The Portuguese controlled the coastline from here for 300 years and I believe it should be a memorial to the victims of the slave trade. Then in northern Mozambique, we had an amazing week on the Island of Vamizi which has a dive centre dedicated to marine conservation. It’s a stunning, untouched country.

Guests on Scenic’s Dance Down the Danube cruise this April can expect a lot of fun. I will give a talk about my career, conduct a small master class and bring out some hitherto unseen footage from my personal collection. If anyone wants me to critique their dancing, it would be a pleasure. Dancing is all about having a go and enjoying yourself. ​

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Cruising is fantastic for the simplicity, the quiet, the service and not having to move your bags between hotels every few days.

My perfect holiday would involve staying at a quiet house near a beach with a bicycle, some old friends and my family, but with the chance to go to a good market square not too far away. 

We lived in Sydney for four years and the city will always be in my heart. One of my favourite things to do was catch the last ferry from Rose Bay to Circular Quay, sailing past the Sydney Opera House while the sun set under Sydney Harbour Bridge – and all for a total cost of $5.

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My last river cruise was to St Petersburg while my last ocean cruise was to the Caribbean, and I loved them both. St Petersburg really is the most imperial of cities, the Venice of the north as they say. I urge everyone to visit it. In the Caribbean we had the most wonderful time. As soon as we docked at yet another beautiful island, my husband, two daughters and I would grab our boogie boards and head for the surf. Warm water, palm trees, friendly hosts, very few tourists… it was heaven.

I love getting into the relaxed vibe on holiday so enjoy listening to summer jazz and light rock. 

With an immediate declaration of nepotism, I did actually read Global Planet Authority by my husband, Angus Forbes, on my last holiday. I would recommend it, of course! It sums up the present state of the biosphere and argues the case for humanity to enter global governance for the first time in order to protect the planet for the ultra-long term. It’s put in simple terms and only takes several hours to read.

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New York is one of my favourite cities as I have such fond memories of performing there. I would love to grab a snack from Wholefoods on Columbus Circle and head off to the Met or take a walk through Central Park to the Neue Galerie to see Klimt’s wonderful painting The Woman in Gold.

One of the most memorable places I’ve performed is St Petersburg. I was the first Royal Ballet dancer to guest star with the Kirov, which was a real honour. I’ll always remember dancing in the most stunning amphitheatre in Sicily with the Royal Ballet, too, as well as the time in Israel when my pointe shoes melted during Swan Lake as it was so hot. Then of course there’s New York – I almost joined the New York City Ballet I loved Balanchine so much.

Dame Darcey Bussell will host an exclusive private evening concert at the opulent Palais Liechtenstein, an exclusive event for guests sailing on Scenic’s Dance down the Danube
with Dame Darcey Bussell river cruise. P
rices for the eight-day sailing start from £2,845pp, two sharing a Balcony Suite, departing 8 April 2020. For more details visit scenic.co.uk.