Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Take a cruise holiday around the globe

Imagine experiencing the wonders of the world without ever setting foot on a plane. When it comes to a complete travel experience, little compares to a circumnavigation of the globe. And sailing the seven seas on an elegant ship brings back all the romance and excitement of the explorers of yesteryear. P&O Cruises makes it possible to do this in supreme style, on board sophisticated Aurora. It’s an incredible journey, beginning in January 2013, which takes in a kaleidoscope of famous cities, beautiful landscapes and man-made wonders.

This 105-night world cruise passes through two of the greatest feats of maritime engineering – the Suez and Panama canals — and calls at 40 ports, including leisurely overnight stops at Hong Kong, Dubai and San Francisco.

After Aurora sails from Southampton, its first stop is Ponta Delgada in the volcanic Azores. The adventure continues with a transatlantic crossing to the sun-soaked Caribbean islands of Barbados, St Lucia and CuraƧao and a gentle introduction to the joys of life at sea.

Aurora is a sophisticated ship with three pools, a gorgeous spa, a bistro created by Marco Pierre White and plenty of lounges in which to while away the evening. You can also make the most of the balmy Caribbean nights by eating at the al fresco grill.

While your days at sea pass in a relaxed haze, the excursions offered at each destination are an exciting cocktail of colourful cultures, iconic architecture, unforgettable scenery and rewarding activities.

Aurora sails through the world-famous Panama Canal to Mexico’s eco-tourism hub Huatulco, before calling at the party town of Acapulco. Then, clam chowder replaces beach cocktails as the ship reaches the west coast of the USA for an overnight stay at San Francisco. After sailing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll be ready to visit Alcatraz and ride the photogenic cable cars.

You only have to unpack once, so it’s easy enough to pull out your beachwear again for Honolulu and Hilo, the two exciting stops in verdant Hawaii.

South Pacific idylls
At the picture-perfect French Polynesian islands of Bora Bora and Tahiti, you could choose to float in a blue lagoon, explore the volcanic atolls or learn more about the fascinating culture of these South Pacific islands.

Just over a month into your adventure, you’ll reach New Zealand in time for its summer. There’s the “City of Sails”, Auckland, the art deco delight of Napier and the cultural hotspot of Wellington to explore — along with some great wine and truly unforgettable scenery.

Next on this epic cruise is Australia. Aurora spends a full day and evening in Sydney, where the marvellous Harbour Bridge and Opera House are must-sees. Vibrant Brisbane and Cairns — a gateway to the stunning Great Barrier Reef — complete the antipodean sector of the cruise before it’s time to head towards Asia, via the exotic nation of Papua New Guinea.

The itinerary takes in some of the most glorious sights across the great continent. Japan is a special place, from the neon streets of Osaka to the serene temples of Kyoto and poignant city of Nagasaki. Then Aurora sails to China, with excursions to the Great Wall, Beijing’s elegant Summer Palace and the immense Tiananmen Square.

A full day and evening in the “Pearl of the Orient” Shanghai follows, checking out the tea gardens and ornate temples, before an overnight stay in the buzzing metropolis of Hong Kong.

There’s plenty of fun in the Far East at the Vietnamese beach destination of Nha Trang. Also on the list are a visit to Thailand’s popular island, Ko Samui; the chance to explore Ho Chi Minh City; the vivid delights of Bangkok and the soaring towers of Singapore – an unmissable glimpse of the Asia of the future.

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