WHETHER YOU CHOOSE a sleek river ship or a full-on ocean liner, cruises mix all the excitement of visiting multiple destinations and experiencing great activities on shore and afloat, with the luxury of having to unpack your suitcase just once. While you enjoy gourmet meals, relax over drinks with friends, watch fabulous onboard entertainment or snuggle into your welcoming stateroom, the captain and crew will take care of getting you from port to port. It’s multi-destination travel minus the hassles of car rentals, hotel reservations and suitcase schlepping. We asked our resident cruise expert, Liz Fleming, to give us her top picks for what to book now.
RIVER CRUISE: AMAWATERWAYS
THE SHIP: AmaVerde
THE DATE: March 18, 2024
THE VOYAGE: Gems of Southeast Europe
THE ITINERARY: Sail on the Danube from Budapest, Hungary, to Giurgiu, Romania, with port visits in Mohács/Pécs, Hungary; Vukovar, Croatia; Belgrade, Serbia; and Vidin and Rousse, Bulgaria.
THE ULTRA-LUXE OPTION: Extend your journey with a two-night land package in Vienna before you embark as well as a four- night Romanian land package with two nights in Brasov and two nights in Bucharest after you disembark.
MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE: Cruise through the majestic Iron Gates, one of Europe’s most incredible natural wonders. A breathtaking gorge between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains, the Iron Gates form a natural border between Serbia and Romania. Take in the sculpture of ancient King Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, whose face is carved into the mountainside in a timeless work of art. amawaterways.com, 1.855.296.0109
OCEAN CRUISE: SCENIC
THE SHIP: Scenic Eclipse
THE DATE: February 21, 2024
THE VOYAGE: Antarctica & the Chilean Fjords
THE ITINERARY: Sail from Buenos Aires to Santiago on a life-changing 22-day expedition to Antarctica, Patagonia and Chile, featuring fascinating islands and fjords, and the southernmost continent.
THE ULTRA-LUXE OPTION: Bundle up to brave the coldest winds in an expedition-quality parka, a gift to you from your Scenic hosts.
MUST-HAVE EXPERIENCE: Dive under clear Antarctic waters in the Scenic Neptune submarine or fly high above the barren landscape in a custom designed helicopter. scenic.ca, 1.855.816.5621
LUXURY YACHT: EMERALD
THE SHIP: Emerald Azzurra and/or Emerald Sakara
THE DATE: April 17, 2024
THE VOYAGE: Ionian Sea Adventure
THE ITINERARY: Start your adventure in Civitavecchia then sail to Capri, Sorrento and Amalfi before transiting the Corinth Canal to arrive in the centre of the Ancient Greek world, mighty Athens.
THE ULTRA-LUXE OPTION: A luxury yacht is a floating boutique hotel, with every amenity you can imagine, so indulge yourself by choosing the Owner’s Suite where you can enjoy a private breakfast on your spacious balcony – just you, your special someone, the ocean breeze and the sunshine.
MUST-HAVE EXPERIENCE: When the captain finds a secluded cove, swim from the Marina Platform at the aft of the vessel. If you’re feeling adventurous, try some of the marina toys such as the standup paddle boards and kayaks – the day is yours to enjoy. emeraldcruises.ca, 1.833.808.1892
LUXURY YACHT: EMERALD
THE SHIP: Emerald Sakara
THE DATE: March 30, 2024
THE VOYAGE: West Indies Island Hopping with Chef Michael Bonacini
THE ITINERARY: Experience an extraordinary voyage through the Caribbean, immersing yourself in its exquisite flavours, stunning landscapes, and unparalleled entertainment, where you’ll have the exclusive opportunity to meet up close and personal, Canadian icon Celebrity Chef Michael Bonacini. Start in Puerto Rico and then explore the Virgin Islands with a stop off in Virgin Gorda, before Marigot Bay in Saint Martin and Gustavia on St. Barths and promise a certain French je ne sais quoi. Spend your remaining day back in the British Virgin Islands, immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of Jost Van Dyke, the beaches of which are renowned as some of the most serene.
EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Included Economy airfare (or air credit $1,000 per person in lieu) plus a free platinum drink package which includes all wine, beer, soft drinks, and spirits included on the cruise and your mini bar restocked daily depending on suite booked. Offer is subject to pay in full within 30 days of booking. emeraldcruises.ca, 1.833.808.1892
EXPEDITION CRUISE: QUARK EXPEDITIONS
THE SHIP: Ocean Adventurer
THE DATE: Jan 25, 2024
THE VOYAGE: Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle
THE ITINERARY: Fly over the Drake Passage and experience the most direct and comfortable way to Antarctica before boarding the Ocean Adventurer to view penguins, seals and whales on the Antarctic Peninsula, including crossing the Antarctic Circle.
THE ULTRA-LUXE OPTION: Spend an evening under the stars, soaking in the on-deck hot tub.
MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE: Clamber aboard a Zodiac for a ride to the icy shore where hundreds of toddling penguins are waiting to greet you. quarkexpeditions.com, 1.866.239.8245