Mini cruises and Christmas Markets

If you’ve never cruised before, Mini-cruising is the perfect way to dip your toe in the water and test out cruising. These short trips mean you have a low commitment and aren’t on the ship for a long time, but you are on it long enough to be able to try some of the fantastic things a cruise can offer.

If you’ve always wanted to cruise but have always had something holding you back, then look at a mini cruise as the perfect compromise. With prices starting very low you won’t need to spend a lot for a fantastic time away, and you’ll soon get the cruising bug!

Mini-cruises are aimed at people who just need a few days or a weekend to unwind.A a mini-cruise means you’ll get plenty relaxation, without having to spend a huge amount of time away. Perfect for a last-minute break or squeezing in an extra holiday.

With a weekend break, often a lot of time can be wasted in the travel and the wait around at airports or on trains. Not with a mini-cruise! Even the time spent travelling is a holiday with our onboard amenities and entertainment. This is travelling done right. From the moment you step on board your ship your holiday begins, and you can start to unwind.

The amazing thing about cruises is they are more than one type of holiday, all at once. Before you even arrive at your destination you can relax in a spa, watch a fantastic show, spend some time in the pool, learn something at one of the classes and experience some of the finest dining on the ocean.

Then, when you do arrive at your destination you can choose from shore excursions, going it alone, going with a group from your cruise and much more. A mini-cruise can be whatever kind of holiday you need, all without even having to leave the ship.

Cruise Lines

Cunard, P&O cruises, MSC and Royal Caribbean cruises provide Mini Cruises From Southampton. While Fred Olsen Cruises offer cruises from Dover, Liverpool, Newcastle on Tyne and Rosyth.

Top destinations from UK:

Bruges

Bruges,in northwest Belgium, is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Its port, Zeebrugge, is an important center for fishing and European trade. Markt square features a 13th-century belfry with a 47-bell carillon and 83m tower with panoramic views.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades, legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. Its Museum District houses the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, and modern art at the Stedelijk.

Hamburg

Hamburg, a major port city in northern Germany, is connected to the North Sea by the Elbe River. It’s crossed by hundreds of canals, and also contains large areas of parkland.

Antwerp

Antwerp is a port city on Belgium’s River Scheldt, with history dating to the Middle Ages. In its center, the centuries-old Diamond District houses thousands of diamond traders, cutters and polishers. Antwerp’s Flemish Renaissance architecture is typified by the Grote Markt, a central square in the old town.

St Peter Port

St Peter Port, Guernsey is full of things to do and see, and its cobbled streets, picturesque seafront marina and historic gardens makes it one of Europe’s prettiest harbour towns.

Mini Cruises to christmas markets

The winter months are often overlooked as a great time for holidaying by those seeking sun and sand, but there is one amazing reason to go away this winter. European Christmas markets bring in hundreds of people to enjoy roasted nuts, Gluhwein and bratwurst.

Bruges main square is the focal point of the Christmas Market and is full to the brim with food, drink and craft stalls and an ice rink centre piece all under the beautiful backdrop of the Belfry of Bruges. The narrow streets leading away from Market Square are lined with countless Christmas shops selling everything from decorations to the famous Belgium chocolate.

The heart of Brussels is its main square, the Grand Place. For many, the best thing about the Place are the heavenly treats sold at four venerable shops along its north (uphill) side. Each has a mouth-watering display case of chocolates and sells 100-gram mixes (six or so pieces) for about €5, or individual pieces for about €1. Godiva is at the high end (higher in both altitude and price); the cost goes down slightly as you descend to the other shops.

Godiva is synonymous with fine Belgian chocolate. Now owned by a Turkish company, Godiva still has its management and the original factory (built in 1926) in Belgium. This store, at Grand Place 22, was Godiva’s first (est. 1937).

Mary (pronounced “mah-ree”), at #23, was founded in 1919 by the first woman chocolatier, Mary Delluc. She shot to stardom when the royal family began favoring her chocolates. Today, the store and its treats’ packaging are faithful to her original designs.

Neuhaus, a few doors down at #27, has been encouraging local chocoholics since 1857. Their main store is in the Galeries Royales St. Hubert. Neuhaus publishes a good little pamphlet explaining its products. The “caprice” (toffee with vanilla crème) tastes like Easter. Neuhaus claims to be the inventor of the praline.

Galler, just off the square at Rue au Beurre 44, is homier and less famous because it doesn’t export. Still family-run, it proudly serves the less sugary dark chocolate. Its top-end choice, 85 percent pure chocolate, is called simply “Black 85” — and worth a sample if you like chocolate without the sweetness. Galler’s products are well-described in English.

Leonidas, four doors down at Rue au Beurre 34, is where cost-conscious Bruxellois get their fix, sacrificing 10 percent in quality to nearly triple their take. White chocolate is their specialty. If all the chocolate has made you thirsty, wash it down with 250 Beers, next door.