No-fly cruises avoid the hassle of airport queues and there are many locations to choose from, says DEBORAH STONE
There's never a dull moment during a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary 2, which is why many passengers stay on board and come straight home after a day in New York.
The round trip is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the elegance of a Cunard (0845 678 0013/www.cunard.co.uk) ship.
The QM2's art deco-style Grand Lobby and two-deckhigh Britannia Restaurant are fabulous and you wouldn't be surprised to see Hollywood stars in the Chart Room bar.
Afternoon tea in the Queen's Room ballroom, accompanied by a harpist, simply adds to the decadence. The choice of free activities is mind-boggling. Choose between the stretch class at 9am and bridge at 9.15am, the Golden Lion pub quiz at 10.30am or solo travellers' coffee at 10.45am.
In the afternoon enjoy some ballroom dancing or catch a play, followed by a culinary feast at dinner in the Britannia.
A 14-night transatlantic round trip cruise from £1,619pp (two sharing), full board. Departs Southampton, April 27, 2012.
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If you've got 28 days to spare, Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines (01473 746175/www.fredolsencruises.com) offers a lovely round trip to the Caribbean on its refurbished 800-passenger Boudicca. After a few days at sea, enjoying the newly installed gym or practising your golf swing, you reach Madeira, famous for its botanical gardens.
Boudicca. After a few days at sea, enjoying gym or practising your golf swing, you reach its botanical gardens.
crossing takes seven days during which time you can spot dolphins The transatlantic crossing takes seven days during which time you can spot dolphins or whales from the observatory, get active in the gym then relax in the sauna and steam rooms. There's a choice of formal restaurants in the evening or the informal Secret Garden Cafe, followed by a show in the Neptune Lounge.
In the Caribbean, enjoy duty free shopping in Bridgetown, Barbados.
More decide the than any in the Other ports of call include St George's in Grenada, St John's in Antigua and the British Virgin Islands' scuba diving hub of Tortola.
A 27-night Caribbean Voyage from £2,639pp (two sharing), full board. Departs Portsmouth, November 18, 2012.
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A Baltic Sea cruise is an excellent way of experiencing some of the world's most stunning cities. You'll never forget sailing past Stockholm's tiny islands to Sweden's elegant capital, or the fresh air of Helsinki.
If you've always wanted to see the Norwegian fjords you'll love Oslofjord and the ancient Viking city of Oslo.
Then there's St Petersburg, the jewel in the Baltic crown, with its palaces overflowing with art and treasures. Even better, you can get there on Saga Cruises (0800 096 0079/Saga Cruises (0800 096 0079/ www.saga.co.uk) Saga Sapphire, which launches next March. The Sapphire will take about 700 passengers after a refurbishment this winter.
There will be iPads in The Drawing Room, a cosy lounge with snacks and an outdoor screen for watching films under the stars.
people to cruise Caribbean any other destination world
A 15-night Best of Baltic cruise from £2,210pp (two sharing), full board. Departs Southampton, May 6, 2012 and returns to Dover.
WORLD'S YOUR OYSTER
If you've got the time and the money, a world cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime dream. Next year P&O Cruises (0845 678 0014/www.pocruises.com) will have four ships circling the globe.
The 1,870-passenger Aurora calls at 41 ports in 28 countries during its westward circumnavigation that leaves Southampton in January for the Caribbean's colourful St Lucia before sailing the Panama Canal to Mexico.
Explore Acapulco, the South Pacific, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and New Zealand's stunning coastal resorts. Enjoy Thailand's beaches, the temples in Vietnam and exotic bazaars in India and Dubai before heading for home through the Suez Canal.
There are a variety of lectures and classes during sea days, nightly shows in the Curzon Theatre and new-release films in the Playhouse Cinema.
A 98-night Aurora 2012 World Circumnavigation from £8,799pp (two sharing), full board. Departs Southampton, January 4, 2012. Book before September 30 for £500 on board credit.
You're just four days from the winter sun when you set off on Celebrity Cruises (0844 493 2043 /www.celebritycruises.co.uk) 14-night Canaries and Azores voyage next October, on board the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Eclipse.
As you leave Southampton behind you can relax in the AquaSpa or sign up for a class such as learning the art of food and wine pairing. Once in warmer climes, you can spend time outside on the top deck in the Lawn Club, which has real grass and a country club atmosphere, or just enjoy the views from your stateroom, 85 per cent have balconies.
First stop is S£o Miguel, the largest Azores island, where you can stroll around the historic Ponta Delgada. There are also full days at Tenerife and Gran Canaria, with its soft sandy beaches such as the Playa de las Canteras, not far from the Las Palmas port.
The Eclipse also stops at unspoilt Fuerteventura and neighbouring Lanzarote, where excursions include a wine tour.
A 14-night Canaries and Azores cruise from £1,312pp (two sharing), full board. Departs Southampton, October 13, 2012.