Out of the ordinary

MSC in the Red Sea, Seabourn in the Arctic Circle, Princess Cruises in Iceland and Celebrity Cruises in Ukraine: new itineraries and tours are being designed to entice us off the beaten track and satisfy our constant demand for ‘something different’.

If you’re looking for something new, Crystal Cruises’ 100 new boutique Crystal Adventures in Northern Europe might just take your fancy. The tours will have you hiking, driving, surfing, riding, climbing, flying or rowing, or indulging in Northern Europe’s more arts-based offerings.

New outdoor tour highlights include river rafting Iceland’s glacial Hvitá River (outside Reyjkavik), driving a vintage WWII battle tank for two miles near Portland and a helicopter flight over Paris and Versailles. Arty tours include glassblowing at a local studio in Saint-Malo or a painting master class at Russia’s largest private modern art gallery.

MSC Cruises’ 2012-2013 winter season will introduce the Red Sea as the cruise line’s new destination. MSC Armonia will sail 21 seven-night cruises from Sharm El Sheikh, with stops in Safaga, Egypt; Elat, Israel; Aqaba, Jordan; and Sokhna Port, Egypt, so passengers can soak up the ancient history of the place where civilisation began.

Seabourn’s new 2013 Europe itineraries include more than 100 departures aboard the line’s six all-suite ships, with voyages ranging from seven to 21-days. Cruise Passenger’s pick is a 21-day North Cape cruise visiting the Arctic Ocean and calling on Longyearbyen and Ny Aalesund in the Norwegian Spitsbergen islands.

Princess Cruises’ recently released 2013 Europe and Alaska program is chock-full of offerings (seven ships, 60 itineraries, 124 departures and 135 destinations in Europe alone). The new Royal Princess will debut in the Mediterranean on the popular Grand Mediterranean route and Grand Princess will have her first-ever Alaska season. However, if you’re looking for something a little different, check out the new Ocean Princess 14-day Iceland and Norway itinerary, visiting remote ports in Iceland and with a maiden call in the Faroe Islands.

And Celebrity Cruises’ 2013 Europe summer season features six Celebrity ships, 25 countries and 88 destinations – six of which will be Celebrity firsts. They include Liverpool, England; Waterford, Ireland; Torshavn, Faroe Islands; Varna, Bulgaria; Kristiansand, Norway and Sevastopol, Ukraine. But Celebrity Constellation caught our attention with seven Scandinavia and Russia cruises, an Arctic Circle voyage and a Norwegian fjords sailing, all round-trip, from May through to August 2013.

Take us away!