Choosing a water-based holiday is not as easy as it used to be. Today, there is so much choice – from narrowboating on the Norfolk Broads to cruising the Mediterranean on a 5* ocean liner. Whether you like to be close to nature or enjoy a bit of luxury, there is a water holiday that will be just right for you.
The quiet life
If you want to get away from it all and get close to nature, consider a tranquil canal holiday in a narrowboat or private barge. Cruise and explore canals around historic Bath, Oxford or Chester. Narrowboats were originally used as cargo vessels to deliver goods before the railways were constructed. Now, narrowboats are luxurious floating homes that have modern kitchens, heating and showers and can sleep up to 12 people.
Carry on cruising
If you love to see lots of places with minimum effort, try a cruising holiday. From family-friendly cruises to “push-the-boat-out” luxury trips, there’s something to suit every budget and need. Huge ocean liners like the Queen Mary 2 sail from Southampton to New York, taking 6 days to cross the Atlantic.
Other cruise liners like Royal Caribbean cater for families, providing special activity programmes and extensive entertainment for youngsters from rock climbing to ice skating, as well as cinemas and even a water park. These ships sail to the Caribbean, Canary Islands, and other destinations in the Med.
About2cruise explain why cruising is a great family choice water holiday: “More and more cruise lines realise the importance of a family traveling together, whilst also understanding that all involved have their own needs. Many cruise lines make it easy for the adults to dine alone away from the children. Yes, couples can still have dinner for two in a specialty restaurant, indulge in the spa and head to a casino or view the sunset. Meanwhile…children can enjoy their own activities to the fullest in a supervised and safe environment.”
If you would like to cruise but on a smaller scale, river boat cruises might be the answer. These are sleek ships which have most of the amenities you would expect to find on cruise liners. There are restaurants, bars, sun decks and shops. Viking River Cruise are the most established operator on the waterways of Europe. They have 25 ships in their fleet, and also offer select holidays in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, and Ukraine.
A charter crewed yacht experience is great for thrill seekers. Even if you have no sailing experience, there are skippered yachts that will sail you around destinations such as the Caribbean, Mediterranean and South Pacific to name but a few.
If you’re the sporty type, try a sports inspired water holiday. Activities such as water rafting, wind surfing, kayaking, and jet skiing are all available to guests. Wildwind Adventures are based in Vasiliki Greece and are one of the best watersports holiday companies in Europe, providing adrenalin junkies with adventure and thrills. And it’s child friendly, too!
For kids there are waterpark holidays, such as Siam Park in Tenerife, which has been voted best waterpark in the world by TripAdvisor. There is everything here to keep kids and adults occupied. From Seal Island, water rapids, slides to the manmade beach, there’s something for all. Jet2holidays provide flights, holiday accommodation along with tickets to Siam Park as part of a package deal.
If you enjoy the tranquillity of water – but like to keep your feet firmly on the ground – a waterfront property might be right for you. You could choose a cottage overlooking the waterways and lakes of Norfolk for example. If you want to go further afield, head to the Indian Ocean. Here you can stay in one of the famous water villas; these are the bungalows built on stilts, and most often seen standing in the turquoise waters of Mauritius and the Maldives. Here you can enjoy a tropical 5* paradise on water, all without getting your feet wet!