Cruises needn’t cost a fortune. Go for the right cruise line and you’ll find it’s a cost effective holiday, especially if you go All Inclusive which means all your meals and drinks are included in the upfront price. If you want to save even more money, then go for a last minute deal. Most cruise companies don’t like to sail with lots of empty cabins, so keep your eyes peeled close to departure dates and you’ll often be able to snap up some incredible bargains, like these ones on CruiseDeals. Here are some of the best late-minute cruise destinations.
The Balearic island of Majorca is a feature of many a Med cruise, and if you’re lucky your last-minute deal will take you to its appealing shores. Ships dock in the bustling capital Palma, where a host of sightseeing opportunities await alongside tasty tapas restaurants and trendy nightclubs. Its impressive Gothic cathedral is a highlight with the impressive 14th-century Bellver Castle a close second. There are also a number of museums showcasing work by Spanish big hitters and international artists. Palma has its own beach where locals and visitors flock to sunbathe. And if time allows, take a trip on the Soller Train; this vintage railway will take you on a journey through some of the island’s most appealing scenery.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Those longing for last-minute sunshine should take a punt on a Canary Island cruise. These popular islands offer sea, sun and sunshine pretty much all year round, so a tan, swimming and water sports are always on the menu. Las Palmas on Gran Canaria is a highlight; this modern resort town has an appealing cobbled old quarter, a handful of shady squares and tasty tapas bars to enjoy. A camel ride across the Maspalomas sand dunes is a popular pastime for visitors. For tranquillity and culture, head to Las Palmas Cathedral, one of the finest pieces of architecture on the Canary Islands.
A last-minute cruise to the Caribbean offers a host of tropical delights; think swaying palms, impossibly beautiful sunsets and reggae rhythms drifting on the breeze. Each island has its own distinct charm, and a stopover in Barbados is always welcome. Ships dock in Bridgetown which is often referred to as ‘Little England’ with its mix of colonial traditional and Caribbean charm. Excursions from Bridgetown are varied. Those in search of natural wonder must see the impressive formations of Harrison’s Caves while run lovers may prefer to check out the Mount Gay Rum Distillery to find out more about the secrets to its award-winning rum production and try a drop or two of the local spirit.
When it comes to iconic holidays, cruises to Sorrento are brimming with old-school Italian glamour. Live la dolce vita in this charming resort town on the Amalfi Coast and you’ll be able to laze on the beach or people watch from a harbourside café. There are also a variety of historic sights for those in search of cultural fulfilment. History buffs can’t leave Sorrento without booking an excursion to Pompeii; a glimpse of the Roman city, forever frozen in time after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD is definitely one for your bucket list. The less-well-known Herculaneum, small but perfectly formed, is another preserved town worthy of your time.
If you’re lucky to be able to snap up a last-minute deal to the fjords of Norway and Sweden, you’re in for a visual feast. Pine-clad hills, icy lakes, snow-capped peaks and frothing falls make any cruise to this part of the work a joyful, immersive experience. Bergen in Norway is one stop-off that features on most fjords’ itineraries, and with its coloured houses, buzzing café culture and hiking opportunities in Mount Fløyen, it’s easy to understand why. The old part of town has distinctive white wooden houses as well as an open-air museum giving a glimpse into times gone by. If you fancy a quick bite to eat, head to the Bergen Fish Market to enjoy freshly cooked seafood.
Asia cruises offer a taste of the exotic, with the chance to explore diverse destination and experience dramatically different cultures. Mumbai, known as the Gateway to India, is always a memorable port of call. When it comes to last-minute cruises, Mumbai is an enticing one with the opportunity to experience lively markets and a marvel at a mix of architectural wonders. Where else in the world can you see Hindu temples, Anglican churches and mosques so close together? If you’re after some retail therapy, head to Chor Bazaar where you can sip a traditional tea and haggle for a bargain or two to take back home.
Zakynthos Town, Zante
If you prefer something a little closer to home, go for a Mamma Mia moment on a last-minute cruise to the Greek islands. Zakynthos is a highlight, and with sapphire seas and soft sands temping you to relax, it’s an appealing port of call. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, you’ll find impressive sights such as the old Venetian Fort and 14th-century Church of St Mavra. No trip to the island is complete without a tour of Smugglers’ Cove to check out the shipwreck, the remnants of a smuggler ship that washed up there in the early 1980s.
The trick to finding a great last-minute cruise deal is to be flexible with dates, open to destinations and happy to consider all cabin types. If you can get on board with this then you could snap up a once-in-a-lifetime trip at a competitive price.