Luxury Cruise Advice and Travel Inspiration

Are you planning a luxury cruise or in need of some travel inspiration to get you started? Let our expert advice and destination guides indulge your sense of wanderlust.

Whether you are a seasoned cruiser or curious about booking your first voyage, SixStarCruises.co.uk Advice has everything you could need to fully immerse yourself in the cruise experience. From local delicacies and natural wonders you would be mad to miss, to practical advice and behind the scenes glimpses into on-board life, our travel and lifestyle experts cover it all.


Barbados is your archetypal Caribbean retreat that has long been a winter escape for sun-starved Brits looking for winter sunshine, so it is no surprise that it has become a popular cruise spot.

While this island, nicknamed Little England, may be famous for its beaches, there is more to it than that. The pretty countryside is dotted with old plantation houses and traditional English-style churches that hark back to the colonial era when it came under British rule.

An island tour will take you past the glitzy celebrity hotels of the so-called Platinum Coast before cutting inland through the hilly Scotland district to Cherry Tree Hill, one of the highest points on the island and boasting a fabulous vantage point of the untamed east coast where Atlantic rollers crash onto the shore.

The boulders of Bathsheba in Barbados on a gloomy day

Look out for the distinctive, huge boulders of Bathsheba and shallow inshore pools that offer a respite from the strong currents and riptides which make this coast a no-go area for swimmers.

Steps of a beach hut leading to pristine sand in Barbados

Barbados’s most popular attraction is Harrison’s Cave, a huge crystallised limestone cavern full of stalactites and stalagmites that visitors ride through on a tram. It is well worth doing, but also soak up the islands tropical surroundings on a walk through tranquil Welchman Hall Gully where the famous Barbados Green Monkeys scamper around looking for snacks.

The ruins of Farley Hill, one of Barbados’s greatest plantation houses until it was destroyed by fire in 1965, is another colonial remnant along with the restored Grenade Hall Forest and Signal Station, which has spectacular views across the island.

The capital Bridgetown is a lively, cosmopolitan hub with some of the best shopping in the Caribbean (though we aren’t talking Oxford Street here!) and ships moor up at the cruise terminal, a mile away – a short taxi ride, or if you are feeling energetic, a 20-minute walk.

Top Tip

The closest beaches to the cruise terminal are Brandon and Brighton beach, half a mile away, while the more expansive Carlisle Bay Beach is three miles away.

In the film Sabrina, Audrey Hepburn uttered a line that has been enshrined in cinematic and cultural history: “Paris is always a good idea.” The City of Lights has also been referenced in films including Casablanca, with Humphrey Bogart whispering to Ingrid Bergman, “We’ll always have Paris.”

The truth is, Paris is always a good idea, and the city’s allure is no less dazzling in real life. Here are five reasons why you never need an excuse to visit this magical European capital.

1. L’amour

Two pigeons grooming each other in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world; all twinkling lights, intimate cafes and picturesque gardens. You can feel l’amour in the very air, making it the perfect stop during luxury cruise holidays for couples who want to add overnight stays to their voyage.

Whether you are celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary, or you are simply enjoying quality time together, there are plenty of opportunities to create unforgettable memories. Look out over the pretty city from the top of the Eiffel Tower, take a boat tour of the Seine and snuggle up in a cosy café enshrined in literary legend thanks to patrons such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

2. Culture

The pyramid of the Louvre illuminated at night under hundreds of stars

Café de Flore, the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou – the list goes on! From literature to the arts, Paris’s cultural history can be felt around every corner.

The Louvre holds some of the most famous works of art in the world, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, as well as countless Egyptian treasures. Café de Flore – one of the oldest cafes in Paris – still buzzes with memories of the intellectuals and artists who frequented its tables (Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso, to name a couple).

This is just the tip of the cultural iceberg. You can also explore Père-Lachaise cemetery (the resting place of Oscar Wilde), Musée d’Orsay and hidden gems such as Deyrolle; a historic taxidermy shop that is more like a natural history museum.

3. Food

A white box of colourful macarons from a shop in Paris

Paris is a hub for gourmet cuisine and Michelin-starred dining. It goes without saying that you should try iconic specialities such as escargot and duck confit, as well as favourites like croissants, pain au chocolat and macarons (they really do taste better in Paris).

When it comes to restaurants, don’t miss Le Jules Verne, the stunning restaurant poised at the top of the Eiffel Tower; Laurent, located on the achingly stylish Champs-Elysées; and Le Chateaubriand. Skip dessert though, and indulge in a delicious Nutella crepe from a street vendor.

4. Landmarks

The Eiffel Tower seen from behind a rose bush, rising above the treetops

The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe: Paris is full to bursting with some of the most iconic landmarks on the planet. Queues to step inside some attractions can be long, so try to visit earlier or later in the day.

It may not be as high up your list, but the Sacré-Cœur is a wonderful building nestled high above the streets of Montmartre. The view over Paris is stunning; the perfect place to settle down with a bite to eat. And the sights below ground are no less impressive, though a little more chilling…

The Catacombs are underground ossuaries containing the bones of more than six million people, used to bury the dead when the city’s cemeteries became overpopulated. Get there before the Catacombs open to avoid the queues, and invest in the audio guide to learn all about the fascinating history of these tunnels.

5. Shopping

Chanel handbag, sunglasses and lipstick after a shopping trip in Paris

Champs-Élysées is the archetypal Parisian shopping mecca, but don’t discount the city’s other shopping districts and grand arcades.

Le Marais is a melting pot of quirky fashion and vintage shops, with brands like Charlotte Bialas lining the streets. Boulevard Saint Germain is, arguably, even more of a shopping destination than Champs-Élysées, playing host to designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Dior alongside boutique fragrance shops like Diptyque. The oldest department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché, belies its ‘good bargain’ translation, instead housing designer labels and stunning food shops that are much less frequented by the tourist crowd. The possibilities are endless!

When to cruise to Paris

A gargoyle on top of the Notre Dame looking out over Paris at night

Paris is a favourite destination of both luxury cruise passengers and those taking the plane, so it can get a little busy. The exception is August, when the French flee the city for beach holidays and peaceful breaks in the countryside. The comparative quiet is lovely, and if you can time your trip to coincide with this time of year, the queues for the sights on your checklist will be much smaller.

What are your favourite things to do in Paris? Do you prefer reading a book in a historic café or seeing as many iconic landmarks as possible? Let us know in the comments, below.

There are few subjects in the cruising world more emotive than smoking. Whether you love it or loathe it, lighting up on-board a cruise ship is a highly contentious issue. I am going to declare my position right at the start of this blog – I am a smoker and I cruise a great deal.

How times have changed

An orange-tinged stream of cigarette smoke against a black background

In recent years, the options to enjoy a leisurely ciggie in the company of friends in a cocktail bar, at the blackjack table or on my balcony have become increasingly limited. Less than a decade ago I could have a fag in the Queen’s Grill on-board Cunard’s QE2 – but by 2008 she was sold to a Dubai consortium and sailed off in a puff of smoke.

Obviously safety concerns are paramount and fire at sea is a doomsday scenario. Smoking on cruise ships has been a crucial issue since the 2006 fire on-board Star Princess which was started after a passenger flicked a lit cigarette over his balcony railing. It landed on the balcony below, setting light to the veranda furniture. Eventually, the fire spread and destroyed 238 cabins. A man lost his life and the ship suffered huge losses.

The recent trend has been for tighter restrictions on cruise ships, just like we have seen in pubs and restaurants on land.  In an effort not to displease smokers and to appease non-smokers, cruise lines had to rewrite their rules and most of them have now banned smoking on cruise ship balconies.

Where to smoke on your cruise ship

People smoking cigars in Connoisseur's Corner on-board Silver Muse

Cruise passengers can still find designated smoking areas on deck; usually located on ships’ starboard side. This is fine and dandy if the weather is warm, but I recall a Hogmanay cruise on-board P&O Cruises Ventura in the North Sea when gaggles of us were puffing away on-deck, clad in blankets.

Many ships have a ‘Connoisseur’s Lounge’ where smokers are free to light up. On a recent cruise on-board Silver Muse – the latest ship in the suave armada of luxury line, Silversea Cruises – this facility proved to be a social hub. However, I also recall being ejected by a uniformed security official on-board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 for having the temerity to smoke a cigarette in Churchill’s cigar lounge. Obviously the jobsworth had nothing better to do that night.

On-board Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ships smoking is banned inside but is permitted on designated open deck areas and on cabin balconies. While I naturally applaud this leniency, it is a touchy subject. I am sufficiently magnanimous to admit that smoke drifting into neighbouring balconies is pretty antisocial.

There are still many ships – especially those targeted at Americans – where smoking is permitted in the casino. I will never forget a cruise, brimful of revellers from the land of Uncle Sam, when the casino manager decided to adopt a no-smoking policy one night with no reason. I have it on good authority that the takings took a dive.

There are plenty of resources on the internet where you can do your homework and either enjoy a smoke-free sojourn at sea or consume a pack-a-day from the moment you sail away.

The newest addition to Seabourn’s fleet, the sumptuous, 600-passenger Seabourn Encore is also the luxury line’s biggest, although still petite in cruising terms, at 40,340 tons. The all-inclusive ship has the feel of a luxurious private yacht, all curves, rich blues, gleaming mahogany and polished stainless steel. She is stylish and contemporary, effortlessly classy but not remotely stuffy, with masses of deck space and public areas flooded with light.

Where to sleep

Luxurious veranda suite on-board Seabourn Encore

Every cabin is designated as a ‘suite’, so even the most basic (if there were such a thing on Seabourn) is plush accommodation with a decent sized balcony, a marble-lined bathroom and a walk-in dressing room. The décor is both soothing and tasteful: cream carpets and textured neutrals with splashes of jewel-like colour from bright throws and cushions.

The bulk of suites are Veranda grades, which are essentially the same but are priced differently according to location (those on Deck Five, the cheapest, have a metal panel on the balcony, so you can’t see out if you’re sitting down). I loved the Penthouse Spa suites, five hideaways located immediately above the spa. The bed in these is enclosed behind glass screens and huge balconies overlook the ship’s wake. Occupants of these suites get free access to the spa’s thermal suite as well as perks like L’Occitane room fragrances, extra bathroom goodies and  a ‘spa concierge’ to make bookings.

If you really want to splash out on your luxury cruise, the Wintergarden Suites have top bragging rights thanks to a bath with a view in a glass-enclosed conservatory that forms part of the balcony.

Where to eat

Michelin-starred chef, Thomas Keller, on-board Seabourn Encore

Michelin-starred chef, Thomas Keller

Interior of Seabourn Encore's restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller

The Grill by Thomas Keller

Seabourn makes much of its association with megastar chef Thomas Keller, the only American with three Michelin stars. Keller’s dishes, using ingredients sourced by the chef himself, appear in The Grill By Thomas Keller; in The Restaurant (Encore’s main dining room); and every couple of nights in The Colonnade, the ship’s buffet restaurant, for more informal fare.

The Restaurant is gorgeous, all creamy white with blue, gold and mauve chandeliers. We always got a table for two in there and you can turn up whenever you want, and throw any dining request you like at them; I found an excellent choice of vegetarian dishes, for example. The Colonnade has masses of choice, with a superb salad bar at lunch as well as anything from local specialities to a daily roast. Dinner here, by candlelight, follows themes including Mediterranean, Chinese and Indian, the latter a favourite with the Brits on board.

Seabourn Encore's 'The Patio' illuminated at night

The Patio

Sea-view interior of the Sushi restaurant on-board Seabourn Encore

Sushi

Most lunchtimes, I ate at The Patio, by the pool, which does a fine line in salads, fajitas, burgers and grilled sea bass. You can eat here in the evenings, too, with a more refined menu.

You have to book for Thomas Keller’s swanky Grill (though there is no cover charge), which is like an upmarket New York steakhouse serving mouth-watering dishes like crab cake on top of a rich aioli, New England clam chowder, ribeye steaks and Dover sole. Save space for pudding; the lemon meringue pie is sublime.

For those following a lighter diet there is a bright and airy Japanese restaurant, Sushi, offering bento boxes for lunch with a choice of teriyaki chicken, miso salmon or tamari-glazed mushrooms, and sushi and sashimi in the evenings.

What to do

Guest receiving a massage on a private deck on-board Seabourn Encore

There is a generously sized pool and plenty of deck space all around the ship for sunbathing, though shade was hard to come by. The Spa offers a mindfulness theme, with a healthy living programme designed by wellness guru Dr Andrew Weil, so you will find yoga and guided meditation here rather than boot camp and botox.

Seabourn cruises always have decent guest speakers on-board relevant to the destination, and covering anything from food to geology and politics. In the evenings, though, Encore is more about leisurely dinner and late night chatting over cocktails than full-on entertainment. I did go to a couple of the shows and was very impressed by An Evening With Tim Rice, in which the ship’s singers perform the great songwriter’s most famous numbers with a filmed narrative by Sir Tim himself.

What I loved

Interior of the stunning The Colonnade restaurant on-board Seabourn Encore

The Colonnade

Al fresco dining at The Colonnade on a balmy night. It’s a wonderfully romantic setting with a different theme every night. Pre-dinner drinks at the bar by The Grill by Thomas Keller, a social hotspot with a great vibe, a pianist and a fine line in martinis. The fact that they make a decent coffee at the café in Seabourn Square; a rare find on a cruise ship. I loved quieter evenings in the Observation Lounge, too, with a jazz duo and wonderful ocean views. And yes, I admit it, we splurged on a day in The Retreat, a VIP area on the top deck with cabanas, a big Jacuzzi, Bolly on tap, hand-crafted cocktails and delicious lunch, served in your cabana. At $249 per cabana on a port day and $349 on a sea day, it’s indulgent, but a lot of fun.

Most of all, I loved Encore’s crew, who are exceptionally friendly, charming, intuitive and thoughtful. They really make you feel like family.

What I didn’t

There is little to complain about on this beautiful ship but a word about the bath towels: they are too small! Seabourn regulars were moaning about the lack of a jogging track or a sports deck. And by the time I realised the exercise classes weren’t listed in the daily programme and went to the gym to sign up for Pilates, everything was full. If you want to work out during your cruise, sign up as soon as you board.

Would you like to find out more about life on-board Seabourn Encore, and the stunning destinations this luxury cruise ship visits? Call our expert Cruise Concierge on 0207 980 2848.

Whether you are searching for honeymoon cruises, anniversary voyages or simple romantic getaways, certain itineraries offer guaranteed l’amour. And we aren’t just talking about the Caribbean: places like Arabia, the Mediterranean and Alaska cast their own kind of magic.

Struggling to find your perfect couples’ cruise? Take inspiration for these five romantic cruises.

Santorini, Mediterranean Havens and Barcelona

Houses and apartments on a sun-soaked cliffside in Santorini cruise port

What could be more idyllic than 14 nights on-board Oceania Riviera? This stunning ship will sail you to the jewels of the Mediterranean, taking in the likes of Sorrento, Monte Carlo and Marseilles. An exciting mix of relaxation and exploration, you will combine luxury hotel stays with fascinating tours and, of course, your Mediterranean cruise.

Visit volcanoes in Santorini and ancient ruins in Athens, admire art and architecture in Florence and glittering seas in Monte Carlo. Then, for the final flourish, a helicopter ride over Barcelona before flying back to the UK.

Lake Garda, Venice and the Adriatic

A gondola making its way down a canal in Venice at sunset

Silversea cruises are renowned for spoiling guests with ultra-luxury; just what you need on honeymoon cruises or anniversary trips. Some of the best places to experience this indulgence for yourself are Lake Garda, Venice and the Adriatic.

Drive through stunning scenery to start your journey by Lake Garda, home to some of the most picturesque backdrops in Italy. From there, take a dip in the thermal waters of Sirmione and arrive in Venice for your cruise on-board the award-winning Silver Whisper. From here, the Adriatic is your oyster: Zadar, Dubrovnik, Montenegro and more.

Arabia and the Maldives

Aerial shot of Dubai's many man-made islands

If you are craving sunshine and unique culture, start your romantic cruise in Dubai. The Arabia and Maldives cruise itinerary is all about luxury, including high tea in the Burj Al Arab hotel and champagne breakfasts in Maldivian lagoons.

You will sail on-board Azamara Quest, a luxury cruise ship designed to surround you with complete indulgence. During 16 nights accompanied by swaying palm trees and dazzling white sand, you will enjoy gourmet dining, sophisticated entertainment and service that will make you want for nothing.

Banff, Rocky Mountaineer, Vancouver and Alaska

Piercing blue mountain lake in a Canada cruise destination

This ultimate Alaskan and Canadian escape might not be the most conventional couple’s destination, but it is one of the most romantic cruises on the seas.

Prepare for adventure and unforgettable natural sights as you travel from Jasper to Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer train. Travelling in GoldLeaf, you will soak up Canada’s soul-stirring landscape from a bi-level, glass-dome luxury coach while dining on gourmet meals created by Executive Chefs. And the natural wonders continue in Alaska, where there will be even more opportunity to spot brown bears, moose and majestic bald eagles on your cruise.

Antigua, Turks and Thanksgiving Tropical Treasures

A small island covered in palm trees in the middle of the sea near Panama

Craving an island escape? Join Crystal Cruises for a romantic, 24-night odyssey to Antigua, Turks and Caicos and more tropical treasures.

The West Indies is the perfect place to fall even deeper in love with one another, surrounded by colourful villages, paradise beaches and luxurious hotel accommodation. From here, you will take in the glamour of Miami and board the breath-taking Crystal Serenity cruise ship, bound for Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and more exotic lands crying out for exploration.

Is one of these romantic cruises filling you with wanderlust? Speak to our Cruise Concierge on 0207 980 2848 to craft a couple’s holiday you will remember forever.

Seabourn is the most upscale brand coming under the umbrella of the vast Carnival Corporation, operating four (soon to be five) sleek, yacht-like ships.

Three of them – Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest – carry 458 passengers each in unfettered luxury, while in 2017, the slightly larger Seabourn Encore (carrying 600) joined the fleet, building on the success of her smaller sisters and adding even more features. Her twin, Seabourn Ovation, arrives in 2018.

The pool deck on a Seabourn cruise ship at sunset

Seabourn’s trademarks include sumptuous, all-inclusive accommodation with some of the finest dining at sea and an open bar. On a Seabourn ship, the pool attendants come round to polish your sunglasses, while your cabin steward will stock your minibar with your favourite tipple and the bartender will remember your name from your last voyage. The service on-board is second to none: friendly, unobtrusive and intuitive.

Staircase in the stunning atrium on-board a Seabourn cruise ship

Several other features distinguish Seabourn from other luxury lines, not least the layout of each ship. Seabourn Square forms the heart of each vessel, doing away with the formality of a reception area and replacing it with a buzzing coffee shop, library, internet centre and concierge lounge, a feature I love. Each ship has a water sports platform at the stern and a hidden stash of water toys, from stand-up paddle boards to kayaks. There is an excellent guest speaker programme, Seabourn Conversations, bringing on board luminaries from the worlds of politics, science and the arts, while a new initiative, Ventures by Seabourn, combines talks from a dedicated expedition team with wildlife watching and adventurous excursions in the ships’ Zodiac inflatables, or by kayak.

So who will you meet on board? Seabourn regulars, for sure; there are high numbers of repeat guests. Mainly couples (including gay couples – Seabourn is a very gay-friendly line), some singles and in summer, a few families. Passengers tend to be over 40 (and generally well-heeled, as this is far from a budget product), cultured and well-travelled. There is quite a glamorous vibe, too. While the nightlife isn’t wild, there is dancing every night in The Club and on most cruises, a fantastic deck party.

Seabourn’s ships sail all over the world, including Antarctica on Seabourn Quest, which has an ice-strengthened hull, and otherwise offering anything from seven-night Mediterranean and Caribbean voyages to extended explorations, some of more than 150 days – the last word in indulgence.

Have you found yourself with spare time you need to fill? Are you in desperate need of a restorative holiday? Then last minute cruises could be the perfect antidote.

Departing within the next 60 days or so, last minute luxury cruises come with a host of benefits guaranteed to make your voyage feel even more indulgent.

Incredible deals

When there are cabins left on ships as departure approaches, cruise lines are prone to dropping their prices in a bid to fill the gaps. This can result in some fantastic deals, meaning you can save your cash for excursions or on-board spending money. There are just a couple of things to bear in mind.

Discounted cabins are usually day-to-day inside or outside staterooms rather than balcony cabins and suites. You may also need to be flexible about your itinerary and cruise ship, as you can’t guarantee there will be last minute deals on your dream cruise.

Untold adventure

You may not always be able to sail to your bucket list holiday destination on a last minute cruise, but compromising on your itinerary can help you discover somewhere you may never have visited.

Choosing an itinerary based on its price rather than your own expectations injects an amazing sense of adventure into a trip. You don’t have to visit far-flung exotic shores to indulge your inner explorer: who knows what kind of new experiences and memories you could discover closer to home?

Church and cliffside buildings on Santorini cruises

An escape when you need it most

When home and work commitments are getting on top of you, booking a much-needed holiday is the boost you need to feel human again. We all hit a point where we crave nothing more than simple rest, relaxation and a clear head, so why not indulge your desire for wellness?

Imagine resting up on a pristine beach: a book in-hand and the sun gently warming your skin as your friends complain about the gloomy weather back home.

Something to look forward to

Do you have a chunk of holidays to use up at work or some free time to fill with something exciting? Last minute cruises pop up throughout the year, so you are bound to find an itinerary that gives you something to look forward to. Sometimes, the thought of an indulgent holiday is just the thing to keep you going.

There is no better excuse to hop onto your first luxury cruise or get away from it all for less, especially when you have our Cruise Concierge on hand to help match you to your perfect voyage.

What are you waiting for? Call our team on 0207 980 2848 to book. The world awaits!

Travel is changing. Holidays are no longer about pure relaxation and whole days spent lounging on the beach: they are about the experience.

More travellers now want to balance their time spent sunbathing or enjoying luxurious spa treatments with immersive exploration. They are seeking real insights into their cruise destinations, and excursions that bring them closer to local life.

Cruise lines are responding in kind: changing the way they help their guests to experience the world. From Azamara to Regent Seven Seas, luxury cruise itineraries are increasingly more adventurous.

Alaskan exploration

Brown bear fishing in Alaskan river

Earth’s Last Frontier is a haven for would-be explorers looking to immerse themselves in nature. The list of cruise lines sailing to Alaska grows ever longer, with Azamara launching a brand new Alaska programme for 2018/2019.

Famous for its excursions and Cruise Global, Connect LocalSM ethos, Azamara is seeking to help guests embrace in-depth adventures in the wilds of Alaska. Cruising 11 ports along the state’s rugged coastline, you will witness snow-capped peaks, misty fjords and a wealth of wildlife. The ancestral home of five major indigenous groups, you will also taste local food, encounter rich culture and heritage, and fall head over heels in love with Alaska’s pristine beauty.

Offering more time in-port, Azamara’s Alaskan voyage promises authentic travel moments that bring you closer to this stunning landscape than ever before.

Exotic escapes

Panoramic view of Cape Town harbour and mountains

Oceania launched this cruising year with a very exciting announcement. Owing to the lifting of the USA’s embargo on Cuba, the luxury cruise line became the first North American brand to travel to this effervescent city. But Cuba isn’t the only new addition to Oceania’s itineraries.

The Tropics & Exotics Collection will call on iconic cities and remote villages in some of the most alluring regions of the world. From the cultural melting pot that is Cape Town to the ancient beauty of Japan, the itineraries will encapsulate a bucket list of boutique ports, exhilarating cities and destinations off the beaten track.

The only way to experience such captivating ports is with specially-designed itineraries based around cultural immersion. Offering extended port stays and in-depth exploration of each destinations cuisine, culture and history, Tropics & Exotics will treat Oceania guests to unforgettable adventures.

The Land of the Rising Sun

Geisha girls strolling down a street in Japan

Half a world away sits an intoxicating landscape alive with natural wonders, dynamic cities and fantastical legends. We are, of course, talking about Japan: land of temples, Samurai and dragons.

The Land of the Rising Sun is home to mysterious fairy-tale landscapes taking pride of place on many cruisers’ bucket lists. It was only a matter of time before Regent Seven Seas launched an itinerary that takes in some of the country’s most spectacular sights.

The luxury cruise line’s Tokyo round-trip will transport passengers from the futuristic capital to South Korea and back again, exploring picturesque beauty spots and tranquil villages along the way. Tokyo’s neon-soaked streets and mind-blowing restaurants sit against the iconic backdrop of Mount Fuji: your first taste of how Japan’s metropolitan and natural landscapes manage to work in perfect harmony.

The cruise continues to the likes of Kyoto, Kochi, Hososhima and Kagoshima, before heading to Jeju Island and Seoul. It is an itinerary that gets right to the heart of each destination, offering authentic insights into a famously vibrant and enchanting country. Passengers will even have the chance to visit Hiroshima: a humbling port that will stay with you forever.

Cruises are changing, and personally, we can’t wait to discover what lies beyond the horizon. Exploration and authenticity are top of the agenda, offering cruise experiences that will stay with you forever.

Interesting and immersive, excursions are the perfect way to find out more about luxury cruise destinations. From a visit to Rome’s stunning Vatican to a day-long tour of Berlin, there are countless cruise excursions on offer during every itinerary.

Here are few things to know before making a booking.

You could make a saving

Want to know a secret? If you book excursions with us rather than directly through the cruise line you are sailing with, you could save up to 60 per cent on the price. We use the same local guides, so you aren’t losing out.

You don’t have to pay right away

If you are trying to space out your cruise payments, you will be pleased to know that you don’t have to pay the final cost of your excursions straight away. Secure a place on your dream port trips and we’ll give you a due date for your final payment.

You will learn from the locals

All guides who lead excursions on our luxury cruises are English-speaking locals. Their knowledge of each area is unmatched by any guide book; full of fascinating facts, quirky local history and hidden treasures. It won’t be long until their stories have you completely immersed in each port.

Peniscola, a popular port for luxury cruises to Valencia

You will receive special service

Did you know we have a dedicated number for passengers wanting to discuss excursions and manage excursion bookings? Simply call our Ancillary Sales team on 0800 316 2469.

This number will put you straight through to our separate team of excursion experts, meaning you  can speak to a knowledgeable team member whose day is devoted to helping you get the most from each port.

Joining an excursion couldn’t be easier

When it is time to hop off your luxury cruise ship and embark on your excursion, you needn’t take lots of paperwork on-shore. Once you have booked an excursion we will send you an excursion ticket, and if you book a few at once, we will send all of your tickets in one bundle. We want to make it as easy as possible to stay on top of the particulars of your luxury cruise, which means sending your documents in as few batches as possible.

It couldn’t be simpler to get more out of each port on your itinerary. Offering the opportunity to explore iconic sights, live like a local for the day and take part in once-in-a-lifetime experiences, excursions afford memories you will treasure forever.

Cruising can take you to some of the most spectacular places on the planet. The photogenic plains of Africa, oceans of Australia and fjords of Norway have never been more accessible, but these breath-taking destinations are just the tip of the iceberg.

Expedition-class ships by Seabourn and Silversea now sail to the farthest reaches of the world. The Galapagos Islands and ice shelves of Antarctica are within your grasp, and with them, spectacular animals.

What to photograph in the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are truly unique, most notably because of their wild inhabitants. The species here have evolved in almost complete isolation, making them distinct from every other creature on Earth.

Stroll across the beach, by the cone of a volcano or through the trees and you can expect to find anything from a tiny finch to an oversized tortoise. But you won’t always have to be quick off the shutter.

The beauty of the Galapagos Islands are their remote location. Few visitors and a harmonious ecosystem have left Galapagos animals with little to no fear of man: affording unrivalled (yet respectful) photo opportunities.

Marine iguana

Marine iguanas seen during a Galapagos cruise

The animal made famous by Planet Earth II’s iconic racer snake chase is no less endearing in real life. Built like Godzilla, a born free-diver and prone to shooting spouts of salt water from their nostrils, these amazing reptiles deserve a place in your Galapagos photo album. Not that you could miss them – so many iguanas bask on some Galapagos shores that, from a distance, the very rocks seem to shift and change.

Galapagos sea lion

Galapagos sea lion basking on the beach during a cruise

As soon as your cruise ship reaches the shore you will spot groups of Galapagos sea lions soaking up the sunshine. They are the most abundant marine mammals in the archipelago, sleeping on Galapagos’ beaches and swimming close to shore. Photo opportunities will be rife, especially during pupping season, but remember to keep a respectful distance. These seals are unique in that they can ‘gallop’ across land, exceeding the speed of a human running across rocky ground.

Blue-footed booby bird

Blue-footed boob birds standing on rocks in front of the sea

The vibrant feet of blue-footed booby birds make them the easiest Galapagos creatures to identify, and some of the most photographed. But these impressive tootsies aren’t a happy mistake – they have evolved for use in the bird’s courtship dance. Males brandish them at the females, with the lucky lady choosing the bird she thinks has the most vibrant feet. It’s a clumsy display belied by the booby bird’s aerial acrobatics.

Once a bird takes to the air and a fish is spotted, it makes a spectacular dive, folding back its wings until it resembles an arrow searing through the water at speeds up to 60mph, seizing fish with its serrated beak.

Galapagos giant tortoise

A pair of Galapagos giant tortoises seen during a cruise

A Galapagos cruise wouldn’t be complete without a photograph of the Galapagos giant tortoise lumbering across the landscape. These archetypal animals are very special indeed – one of the last two remaining groups of giant tortoises anywhere on the planet.

When you catch your first glimpse of a Galapagos giant tortoise depends on when you embark on your expedition. During the cool season, tortoises are more active around midday, while in the hot season, they prefer foraging early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

What to photograph in Antarctica

Earth’s southernmost continent represents the peak of exploration: a land of extremes where wildlife faces a constant struggle for survival.

Looming icebergs and breath-taking glaciers present constant photo opportunities, while the breath-taking wildlife adds even more raw beauty to this region. The sea is home to gentle giants and the skies play host to swooping sea birds, while on land, seals and polar bears dominate the beaches and ice flows.

There is no shortage of photo opportunities during Antarctica cruises, so here are some of the wildlife highlights.

Emperor penguin

Man taking a picture of an Emperor penguin during an Antarctic cruise

The largest of all living penguins is synonymous with Antarctica. Standing at more than a metre tall, there is no mistaking the Emperors chubby frame and beautiful yellow collar. Enduring the very worst the Antarctic can throw at them, they will huddle together come blizzard or shine and devote themselves completely to their chicks.

Our favourite Emperor penguin photo opportunity is their delicate courtship ritual. When two lifelong partners meet again during the breeding season, they mirror one another’s posture before bowing to each other. It is understated and completely lovely.

Southern elephant seal

Close-up of a male elephant seal

Anita Ritenour / Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

The southern elephant seal is a formidable creature: often the subject of fight scenes in wildlife documentaries! The males battle it out to lay claim to beaches and a harem of females during the breeding season, drawing more than a little blood.

While getting close to these animals is out of the question, photographing them from afar gives an exciting glimpse into their extreme lifestyle.

Adelie penguin

Young Adelie penguin hopping across the ice during an Antarctica cruise

Did you spot these little thieves on David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet? Male Adelies build raised nests made of stones in preparation for the return of the females. The problem is, the best nests attract the ladies, and stones are at a premium. Rather than plump for second best, the penguins turn to a life of crime, stealing prime real estate from their neighbours and placing it proudly into their own nests.

Adelie penguins are the most numerous penguin species in Anarctica, so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to snap pictures of these charming birds.

Orca

Orca surfacing and showing it's dorsal fin in Antarctica

The orca is another Frozen Planet celebrity. Working as a team, these beautiful mammals line up and swim under floating patches of ice, in sync, creating a wave that washes unsuspecting seals from this icy perch. It is a sight to behold, and while you aren’t guaranteed to snap this unique behaviour during an expedition, your first glimpse of a towering dorsal fin will take your breath away.

These bucket list destinations have never been more accessible. Whether you explore them on-board Seabourn Quest, Silver Galapagos, Silver Explorer or Silver Cloud (Expedition), you will return home with new eyes.