We have just passed the winter solstice. It was yesterday [Dec 21].
As glass-half-full type people we are delighted to say that means we are officially half-way through winter. But, lovely fellow mature women, that also means that there is still half of winter to go…
Christmas will, of course, make us feel merry, and a few sensational sale bargains should cheer us up. But a dose of winter sun would definitely give us something to look forward to in the New Year, as well as giving our health a boost (all that Vitamin D and fresh-air, to say nothing of the endorphin-boosting power of visiting beautiful places and being ensconced in luxurious surroundings). So, a cruising holiday could be the perfect way to start 2017: a relaxing holiday visiting lots of gorgeous new places without having to pack and unpack when going from one to another.
Obviously there are lots of distant destinations to visit for almost guaranteed sun and high temperatures during a British winter, such as the Caribbean and Australia. But if we want blue skies and spectacular scenery a little closer to home, the Mediterranean, the Canaries and Madeira are the places to go. With this in mind, we have been looking at P&O’s programme for early 2017 to find the most alluring cruises, calling at stunning ports along the Med and the Iberian Peninsula, and around Madeira and the Canary Islands.
For instance, this 7 night cruise aboard the super luxurious Britannia, explores Spain and France in spring. A 7-night round-trip from Southampton (meaning no flights), this cruise calls at La Coruna, Bilbao – home of The Guggenheim art museum, La Rochelle and Cherbourg, before sailing back to Southampton.
Or if you feel like a longer break – to fully luxuriate in all the fabulous amenities of a P&O cruise ship – we love the look of this 14 night exploration of Iberia aboard the Ventura. Once again a round-trip from Southampton, your first ports-of-call will be Lisbon, capital city of Portugal, and Cadiz – the gateway to Seville and Spain’s Flamenco city! From Cadiz the Ventura sails on to Gibraltar, Cartagena, historic Malaga, Casablanca and, finally, Madeira, where you’ll experience stunning views and vibrant culture, before idling away three days at sea (all that spa time!) as you sail back to Southampton.
We also loved the look of this 16-night cruise from Southampton aboard Ventura which calls at 8 stunning ports. Again departing from and returning to Southampton, this cruise takes in Madeira and four Canary Island ports with destinations including Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote, Agadir and Cadiz.
And who could resist the Mediterranean in spring? A 12-night cruise aboard the Ventura takes in a series of Mediterranean ports and cities that we can’t wait to visit or revisit, including Palma, Marseille, La Spezia (for Pisa or Florence), Ajaccio and Gibraltar.
We don’t need to remind you of the pleasure of sailing from Southampton. Not only is it relaxing to not have to take a flight anywhere, but just think of the extra clothes you can pack…
You can read about all the more practical advantages to sailing from Southampton here.
Do you love cruising? We’d love to know which is your preferred destination…
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