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The best cruise holidays for 2023

When one destination isn't enough, try several! Now throw in luxury accommodation, spa, gym, restaurants and activities for the whole gang, and raise a cocktail to your new travel BFF - the cruise.

Best for families: Disney Cruise Line

©Disney

If you’re juggling the holiday dilemma of where to go, how to get there and how to keep the kids happy, here’s your answer – Disney Dream sails from Southampton on its inaugural European jaunt next summer. It’s super flexible with 4 or 7-11 night holidays including taking in Amsterdam, the Norwegian fjords and Iceland, or sailing out of Barcelona or Rome to explore the Med, stopping in Spain, Portugal, Italy, the French Riviera or a spot of Greek Island hopping.

Bookings opened just last week, and with onboard activities and entertainment like Disney musicals, fireworks shows, latest film releases, live encounters with Disney’s most beloved characters, and an innovative dinner show at Animator’s Palate. Are you keeping up? Because there’s also a Jedi training camp, AquaDuck (a ‘water coaster’ that extends over the side of the ship) and kids clubs divided into four age groups (praise be!). In short, it’s a family holiday win-win. There’s adults down-time too – bring on the spa and salon, nightclubs and cabaret, Skyline cocktail bar and multiple restaurants including the luxe French affair, Remy.

Best for adventure: Seabourn Pursuit

OK, so this is adventure with suites, a spa, cocktail bar and a lecture theatre, so less backpack more flash-pack. But with two submarines, 24 Zodiacs, kayaks, and a 26-person expert expedition team onboard Seabourn Pursuit this is a cruise for wannabe explorers. The inaugural trip is March in Scotland and onto northern Europe, then in August 2023, she’ll leave the more familiar territory of the Norwegian fjords for the Northwest Passage journey from Greenland to Alaska. It’s adventuring, with fluffy bathrobes…

Best for solo travellers: Resilient Lady

The latest ship from Virgin Voyages will be breaking new ground – or rather waves – for the cruise line by venturing Down Under. Resilient Lady (I think we can all relate) will spend summer 2023 in Greece then embark on a 44-day journey via Dubai, Singapore, and Bali in three separate trips before reaching Sydney (or if you’re not a keen flyer, stay onboard for the whole lot!). There will then be a series of 2-14 day cruises in Australia and New Zealand. The ship is geared up for solo travellers with dedicated cabins, less formal dining in sushi, Mexican and American diner style restaurants among others, and opportunities to socialise at the fitness area, cabanas, live gigs and indie-style coffee shop.

Best for your parents: Seven Seas Grandeur

This luxe cruise line is allll about travelling in style so it’s perfect for older travellers who need their creature comforts, from the onboard designer boutiques to the fancy interiors and the Constellation Theatre with its Broadway stars. Cocktail lounge, infinity pool, cookery school… they’ll forget they’re on a ship – and to boot all of the rooms are suites. Bag a trip on the Seven Seas Grandeur and you’ll be among the first to sample the new ship. The 2023 voyages are already on sale and include a cross Atlantic trip between Barcelona and Miami and a later one through the Panama Canal. If it’s a summer cruise, try sister ship Seven Seas Mariner on her Istanbul-Venice extravaganza – talk about one for the history buffs!

Best for river cruising: Viking

At the mention of river cruising, it’s usually the Rhine, Danube, or perhaps the Nile that comes to mind, which are all on offer with Viking River Cruises, but how about the Mississippi? Catch the party vibe in New Orleans, explore Civil War sites and eat good old Southern cooking along the way with its eight-day trip in 2023. The ship bears the river’s name and was launched this year, with 193 staterooms, all with outside views, bar, cafe, restaurant, terrace for alfresco dining and plunge pool. Just missing Mark Twain on the fore deck.

Best for romantics: Explora Journeys

The new cruise line Explora is all about luxe, from the suites to the food and drink, and a slower pace of travel with a view to spending more time in each port of call – perfect for canoodling couples. The Med itineraries for 2023 are sublime – Southern Spain & Portugal, or Santorini, Mykonos and Ibiza perhaps? Or go for the full Med odyssey – a 25-nighter including Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy and France. Onboard, all rooms have ocean views, plus there’s four pools, including one with a retractable roof (so you don’t have to get your hair wet if it rains?), and lots of cabanas for daybed lounging, plus nine restaurants and more intimate live productions in favour of big flashy shows. Cosy but snazzy.

Best for choice: Europa 2

Hardly the most evocatively-named ship, but this award-winner is from the German travel giant, Hapag-LLoyd, which has invested heavily in designing a ship with a vibe of pared down, Scandi chic (plus spa, cookery school, gym and golf simulator). Every suite on Europa 2 has a balcony, bath and butler service(!) and the live entertainment venues, bars and restaurants number 14 (for a ship with 516 passengers!). She sails all over the world, with a massive range of itineraries, including enticing Asian trips such as Indonesia to Vietnam and Hong Kong, which takes in ancient temples, tropical beaches and buzzing cities. It’s stick-a-pin-in-the-map time.

Best for long trips: Oceania

Going from LA to Tokyo by sea involves a voyage up the lesser-travelled parts of western Canada before a hop across the northern Pacific then down from northern-most Japan to Tokyo. It’s a 24-day adventure aboard Oceania’s Regatta ship, a classically elegant ship that’s all about the goose-down pillows and teak decks, alongside the grand dining room, spa, library and putting green. If that sounds too tame, check out the big one – Oceania Insignia’s six-month, 33-country circumnavigation from San Francisco. Time for that sabbatical?

Best for winter sun: Celebrity Cruises

December in the Caribbean anyone? Where do I sign? Celebrity Cruises has a plethora of tempting itineraries but I rather like the look of the Dec 2023 maiden voyage on Celebrity Ascent. Firstly, it’s brand spanking new and secondly, the white sandy beaches, snorkelling spots, beachside bistros and street markets of St Maarten and St Thomas? Yes please. Features of the ship include Magic Carpet – a bar that’s cantilevered to ‘float’ 13 stories above sea level, and two-storey villa rooms.

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