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Travel trend: cruising gets stylish

Hey, I'm talking about the holiday kind of cruising, cheeky. And, yes, it's getting more hip and happening...

Take your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about holidays. Hey, I saw you roll your eyes and do that whole ‘Pah! I don’t do cruises thing’. But have you heard about the new kind of cruise – boutique river cruises, like this one (pictured) from L.A-based travel agents Uniworld? This is their Bordeaux, Vineyards and Châteaux cruise option, that takes you round South of France’s Bordeaux region, where you’re onboard a small, luxe riverboat (no big ocean faring vessels here) for a week of wine tasting and five-star food. Bit more appealing, eh? Take a look onboard…

I mean it’s definitely not for you if you’re the master of understatement or prefer a kind of laid-back rustic style. It’s luxe French Baroque chic all the way babycakes. Each ship has a different style and the trip is very much tailored to being a luxury experience, starting from the door-to-door airport pick up service to the 5-star onboard cheffing.

And after all that indulgence you’ll need to take advantage of the onboard sauna, spa and fitness centre. Everything is included in the price – from the optional excursions, meals and drinks, even the tipping is already covered.

We all know cruising is the Marmite of the travel world, loved by most who have tried it, dismissed by many who haven’t. It’s picked on, sneered at, stereotyped… Yet one in every eight foreign package holidays is now a cruise, making it the fastest-growing sector of the holiday trade and the average age of cruisers has dropped significantly. And I can definitely see how a wine tasting tour of the vineyards of Bordeaux might attract a hipper, younger crowd, especially if the scenery looks this good.

My cousin tried a riverboat cruise recently with her photographer husband and they were the ones who convinced me to open my mind to the suggestion that not all cruises are equal. Her holiday was with a company called Hurtigruten, which offers a coastal cruise service around the Norwegian coast, with its spectacular fjords and Northern Lights – she assured me there were even *students* onboard (how hip).

From classic European destinations like France and Portugal Uniworld also offer river cruises further afield like Vietnam and Cambodia. Uniworld cruises are offered by Titan Travel – and luckily enough for us your local Baldwins Travel agent (you’ll find them on many a highstreet in Kent & Sussex) specialises in these holidays – so drop in and ask for more details. But how much, I hear you cry? Well the holiday is £2, 229 pp for 8 days (not as much as I thought it might be when you consider this is for absolutely everything and even includes your own personal porter). Ahhh, yes I could get used to that.

So, yes, I might yet be persuaded that, when it comes to cruises, there’s no rule that says your hair has to be the same hue as the sea.

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