Why rail and sail is the ultimate way to cruise in 2018

Rocky Mountaineer

Train-cruise holidays are all the rage right now and allow you to bring something extra special to a luxury voyage. With cruisers looking to spend more time on land and add once-in-a-lifetime experiences to their trips, a train journey is the perfect way to cruise in style in 2018. Travel companies are now pulling out all the stops to ensure that those who like the best of both worlds can enjoy a dream holiday combining rail and sea adventures.

SEE ALSO: Ten of the best new cruise trends

SEE ALSO: Amazing new cruise experiences

Whether you fancy a glamorous ride aboard the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London to Venice before sailing to gorgeous Greek islands, or an African river cruise aboard the Zambezi Queen in Botswana before a great train journey on the Rovos Rail and stopping off for a Big Five safari in Zimbabwe, here's our pick of three of the most captivating rail and cruise holidays to take in 2018.

Orient Express train

Ride the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and sail to Greece with Seabourn

Sovereign has added cruises to its tailor-made offering and partnered with the likes of Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea to add extra-special land experiences to five-star sailings. Its holiday with Seabourn invites you to take an overnight trip on the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London to Venice, followed by a two-night city break to relax at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, before setting sail from on Seabourn's seven-night Adriatic and Greek Glories cruise to Sibenik in Croatia, Kotor in Montenegro and Corfu, Lefkada, Gythion and Nafplion in Greece. The nine-night holiday costs from £6,130 per person and departs on 7 June 2018.

Rocky Mountaineer

Take a Rocky Mountaineer tour through Canada and explore Alaska with Holland America Line

For a North American trip of a lifetime, look no further than Travelbag's adventure rail and cruise holiday from Canada to Alaska. The holiday starts with two nights in Banff, Alberta before you board the Rocky Mountaineer for a scenic train ride towards Vancouver, taking you through sky-high scenery between the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, along rocky lakeshores and across ranchlands. After hopping off at Vancouver, you'll spend two nights exploring the laid-back city and then take your holiday to sea with Holland America Line, sailing the Inside Passage to discover dozens of glaciers, hard-to-reach communities and wildlife along the way. The 13-night holiday costs from £2,359 per person and departs on 7 May 2018.

Zambezi Queen

Journey across Africa's rivers and railways on the Zambezi Queen and Rovos Rail

Wexas Travel has launched an exciting selection of rail and cruise holidays for 2018 which includes a 15-day journey through South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Beginning in Cape Town to explore winelands, history and the Atlantic Coast, you'll then fly north to Botswana for a four-day river cruise aboard the Zambezi Queen to spot hippos, lions and herds of elephants in Chobe National Park. The trip then takes you across the border to Zimbabwe to feel the full force of nature at Victoria Falls, before an opulent journey aboard the Rovos Rail, the pride of African train travel, which stops for a safari at Hwange National Park. The holiday costs from £10,710 per person and departs between May and September 2018.

Planning a cruise holiday for 2018? Discover the best sailings for the year ahead...

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The best cruise holidays for 2018
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The best cruise holidays for 2018
2018 is set to be a bumper year for cruising, with innovative new ships launching, hard-to-reach destinations being introduced and more experiences on land creating holidays of a lifetime.

SEE ALSO: Amazing new cruise experiences

From electric car racing and laser tag at sea, to a celebratory trip to the Galapagos Islands, here's our pick of the most epic cruise holidays to take in 2018...

Part of Silversea’s new Couture Collection, which allows travellers to discover amazing, isolated places on Earth with five to 11-day land programmes, the Tibet: Standing on the Rooftop of the World itinerary includes the chance to observe morning prayers in a Buddhist nunnery, visit the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism, unwind with a meditation class led by a monk and picnic at the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake. The extraordinary programme can be added to the 16-day Tokyo to Hong Kong cruise (from £7,100) departing on 28 September 2018 or the 15-day Hong Kong to Tokyo cruise (£6,600) departing on 14 October 2018. The five-day land programme is priced from £12,499 per person.

Launching in spring 2018, the Carnival Cruise Line's 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon will offer a wide range of onboard innovations, including a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and a delicious array of dining choices. The ship will be the first to feature a colourful Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks Park and the wide range of accommodations will include spa cabins, tropical-inspired Havana staterooms add extra-roomy staterooms for families. Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage on 2 April 2018 with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port before heading to the States. The fly-cruise costs from £1,399 per person and stops in Livorno, Rome, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Messina, Valletta and Cagliari.

2018 is a year of anniversaries for the Galapagos Islands, with it being the 50th anniversary of it being managed as a national park and the 40th anniversary of the archipelago as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Celebrate the stunning islands by snorkelling with sea lions, walking across lava fields and marvelling at uniquely fearless wildlife on a seven-night luxury cruise. Pura Aventura's comprehensive Galapagos by Sea cruise allows you to spend two days exploring the Ecuadorian capital of Quito with a local guide, before flying out to the Galapagos and boarding a first-class yacht for the cruise. Expect to see giant tortoises, flamingos, rare Galapagos penguins and marine iguanas. The holiday costs from £4,825 per person and departs throughout 2018.

According to ABTA, of people who have never been on a cruise, 25 to 34-year-olds are the most interested in taking one, followed by 18 to 24-year-olds. With millennials in mind, Uniworld's new cruise brand U by Uniworld for 21 to 45-year-olds launches in April 2018, offering terrific experiences, such as sampling Budapest's abandoned buildings that have been transformed into trendy bars and clubs, chef’s table cooking classes inspired by your cruise destination aboard the ship and painting classes while sipping local wine. Try the eight-day Rolling On The Rhine (from £1,499 per person), which travels from Amsterdam to Frankfurt.

TUI has rebranded from Thomson and announced Marella Cruises as the new name for Thomson Cruises. Marella means 'shining sea' in Celtic and the cruise line is set to receive a new ship for 2018: the Marella Explorer. Based in Majorca from May, the ship will offer two new cabin types, a wider range of dining and top-notch entertainment. Marella is also launching exciting new itineraries across Asia for winter 2018. The 14 adults-only cruises aboard Marella Discovery will take in fascinating locations including Mumbai, Cambodia and Singapore. Try the Adventure to India cruise which costs from £1,488 per person and takes in Oman, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Mangalore and Kerala over 14 nights, departing on 29 November 2018.

2018 will see the arrival of the largest and most adventure-packed ship in the world, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas. Launching in April, the ship will feature the two-level Ultimate Family Suite as the world's most cutting-edge family stateroom (it includes a cinema room, in-room slide, and LEGO wall!), along with an AquaTheatre, the world's tallest waterslide at sea, a Bionic Bar and exciting places to dine. A seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise costs from £845 per person and departs on 21 April 2018 from Barcelona, stopping in Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, La Spezia, Rome and Naples.

Holidaymakers of all ages will revel in the chance to try out the newest features on Norwegian Bliss, launching in spring 2018. With a two-level electric car race track, an open-air laser tag course and two multi-storey waterslides, there has never been a better time to rally the whole family for a summer cruise. As well as daytime fun for the whole family, Norwegian Bliss boasts fine dining restaurants, an a la carte dessert venue and beautiful bars. Try the seven-day winter sun Eastern Caribbean cruise departing each Saturday from November and calling at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. A premium all-inclusive cruise costs from £1,119 per person, based on the 17 November departure. Visit cruiseexperts.org for more information about cruising.
Viking Cruises is set to offer its first river and ocean combination cruises in 2018. The river and ocean cruises provide travellers with the unique opportunity to explore legendary rivers and mighty seas in one trip. On the Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords cruise, sailing on a Viking Longship and Viking Sun, you'll experience highlights of the Rhine River and discover Nordic wonders by sea over 15 days. You'll take in six countries and 15 ports, immersing yourself in rich cities including Basel and Cologne along the way. In Amsterdam, you'll board small ship Viking Sun and head for the North Sea to Skagen, Denmark, before sailing through Norway’s dramatic fjords and disembarking in Bergen. The cruise starts from £4,495 per person and departs on 30 June 2018.
In 2018, Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars Day at Sea will transport families to a galaxy far, far away. During this special day long celebration, Jedis, Wookies, Droids and Stormtroopers will join guest onboard and give little ones the chance to take part in Jedi training and put their new-found skills to the test in a final face-off with Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister. Other activities during the day include Star Wars-themed arts and crafts for the whole family and the Summon the Force deck celebration, where guests can unleash the Force with games, music and a galactic dance party. Star Wars Day at Sea is available on 15 Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean sailings. A seven-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise calling at British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Disney Castaway Cay with a Star Wars Day at Sea costs from £1,269 per person, based on a 24 February 2018 departure from Florida. Visit cruiseexperts.org for more information about cruising.
Sovereign has added cruises to its tailor-made offering and partnered with the likes of Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea to add extra-special land experiences to five-star sailings. Its holiday with Seabourn invites you to take an overnight trip on the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London to Venice, followed by a two-night city break to relax at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, before setting sail from on Seabourn's seven-night Adriatic and Greek Glories cruise to Sibenik in Croatia, Kotor in Montenegro and Corfu, Lefkada, Gythion and Nafplion in Greece. The nine-night holiday costs from £6,130 per person and departs on 7 June 2018.
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