Whether you're a seasoned cruiser or thinking about embarking on your first ever sailing, one way to make your trip extra special is by joining one of the best themed cruises with celebrity guests.
Later this year and in 2022, a whole host of high-profile stars are joining travellers at sea for unforgettable getaways that allow you to visit some of the world's most beautiful destinations while meeting your favourite stars.
Strictly Come Dancing holidays are one of the top ways to escape with your favourite TV stars and we’ve got Dame Darcey Bussell, as well as the brilliant Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag joining us on the best river cruises in Europe for 2021 and 2022.
Here's our pick of the best themed cruises with celebrity guests and top Strictly stars…
Take to the Norwegian fjords with the Hairy Bikers
For a Nordic foodie adventure, this themed cruise around the Norwegian coast and its spectacular fjords is the perfect way to start your summer. Si King and Dave Myers - aka the Hairy Bikers - will be bringing their signature flair to exclusive events on-board, including a lively cooking demo and cocktail party that are guaranteed to be hilarious.
On the way you’ll see Eidfjord, Hardangerfjord and the spectacular 2,600-feet-high cliffs and waterfalls of Geirangerfjord, as well as visiting the historic ports of Bergen and Alesund.
You’ll be sailing in style on the brand new Rotterdam, with live music at BB King’s Blues Club, a fitness centre, greenhouse spa and salon, and a two-tiered lido deck featuring an outdoor cinema screen.
When? June 2022
Taste the treasures of the Rhone with Raymond Blanc
Gourmands might also be tempted by a journey through France’s gastronomic capitals in the company of celebrity chef and hotelier Raymond Blanc.
Raymond will join you for cocktails and hold a Q&A session, as well as host a lively cooking demo and tasting on board your ship. Plus, you’ll have the chance to savour regional delicacies as you dine on a menu specially chosen by him.
You’ll stop off at historic Avignon, Viviers, Vienne and the Beaujolais region – where you’ll meet a local truffle farmer to learn about the tips and tricks of their trade. Alongside these fascinating excursions you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy food and wine in the ship's fantastic restaurants, and relax in its vitality pool and wellness centre.
When? July 2022
Chase the magical Northern Lights in Norway with Carol Kirkwood
Looking for a themed cruise you'll never forget? Take to magical Norway as you travel from the UNESCO World Heritage port of Bergen up through the city of Tromso to the remote and stunning Lofoten Islands and the North Cape on a cruise with weather presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing star Carol Kirkwood.
You'll search for the Northern Lights each night and hear all about Carol's career. She'll also explain what causes the natural phenomenon alongside some onboard experts.
Norway is such an incredible place to see the Northern Lights that this trip comes with a guarantee, which means if you don't spot the magical green lights, you'll go on another cruise free of charge.
When? December 2021
Experience the foodie highlights of Venice with Prue Leith
There aren’t many European cities more romantic, beautifully designed and historically fascinating than Venice. This autumn, you can learn all about Venice and taste wonderful Italian cooking with The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, who will browse the iconic Rialto market with you and give you cooking tips during a live demo.
The TV star will also join you as you cruise around the Venice Lagoon, visiting the colourful island towns of Mazzorbo, famous for its golden wines, and Burano.
You’ll also have time to explore Venice’s iconic sights yourself, enjoy wonderful meals on-board your ship, and join excursions to Chioggia’s bustling food markets and take a private pasta-making class in Bologna.
When? October 2021
Discover the gardens of Holland with Adam Frost
Amsterdam’s Keukenhof Gardens are legendary. Known as the ‘Garden of Europe’, they come to life in a riot of colour, with daffodils, hyacinths and some seven million tulips bursting into bloom. And who better to visit them with than Gardeners’ World presenter Adam Frost?
On a five-day full-board river cruise, you’ll explore the gardens with the green-fingered celeb, as well as stopping at Den Helder, Harlingen and Hoorn - where you can visit the quaint Medemblik Bakery and learn how Dutch specialities are made.
Adam will give a talk, sharing tips for your own outdoor space, and answer all your burning questions during a Q&A. Plus, you’ll have the chance to explore the canals, windmills and streets of beautiful Amsterdam.
When? April 2022
Waltz along the Danube with Darcey Bussell
If you’re a Strictly fan with a love of all things classical, then how about a cruise along the mighty Danube? On the way, world-famous ballerina and former judge Darcey Bussell will chat about her career in a talk and Q&A, as well as host a cocktail party on the ship’s sundeck.
She will also compere classical ballet performances during a private concert at Vienna’s glorious Palais Liechtenstein.
Your voyage will begin in Budapest and include stops at Vienna, Salzburg and Regensburg, before arriving in Munich. Along the way, you'll want to visit Melk's magnificent Benedictine abbey or take a gourmet tour of the UNESCO-listed valley Wachau. It’s a classy cruise through Europe’s classical capitals!
When? October 2021
Dance your way through Europe with Anton du Beke and Erin Boag
Take to the dancefloor with Strictly Come Dancing stars Anton du Beke and Erin Boag on a wonderful river cruise along the Danube, where the professional dancers will show you their best moves. The pair will help you perfect your waltz and finesse your foxtrot during a special dance class, and perform for you at the inspiring Vienna Arsenal.
They'll also host a Q&A session for you to ask the questions you've been dying to know about Strictly. Aside from meeting some two of our favourite celebs from the show on this themed cruise, you'll visit Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and Passau.
There'll be plenty of culture as you tour historical and architectural marvels and beautiful local landscapes on excursions, as well as the stylish surroundings and luxurious facilities on the ship to enjoy – including a gorgeous pool and sundeck.
When? April 2022
Discover the delicious delights of Bordeaux with James Martin
Join much-loved TV chef James Martin as you embark on a foodie river cruise in France, tasting your way from Bordeaux through the Médoc and Saint Emilion. James will share his passion for French food with you, giving you an onboard cooking demo and hosting an oyster tasting.
There will also be the chance to ask him any questions you have about perfecting your kitchen skills and uncover his cooking secrets.
You’ll also be joined by Saturday Kitchen’s wine expert Susy Atkins, who will guide you through tastings at incredible wineries in Saint-Emilion and Libourne. Plus, you’ll enjoy a special gala dinner with paired wines cooked by James, and be sailing on Uniworld’s SS Bon Voyage, a floating five-star hotel, with Savoir beds, plunge pool, spa and choice of restaurants. It's set to be one of the best food-themed cruises of the year!
When? October 2021
Chase the Northern Lights with Ranulph Fiennes
Go on a true adventure this winter as you sail north into the Arctic Circle with one of the world’s most legendary explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. During his extraordinary life, Sir Ranulph has completed record-breaking missions to both Poles and Mount Everest, and conquered the north face of the Eiger.
He’ll give two talks and answer your questions during your 12-day voyage, as well as accompanying you on an excursion to Europe’s most northerly point, the North Cape.
The focus of your expedition will be sightings of the otherworldly Northern Lights, but you’ll also have the chance to savour delicious Norwegian delicacies on board your ship, relax in a swimming pool, sauna and outdoor hot tubs, and learn about the spectacular landscapes you see during fascinating talks.
When? November 2021
Hear Russell Watson sing at a private concert in Venice
World-famous tenor Russell Watson brought classical music back in vogue with his chart-topping debut album The Voice, and has collaborated with singers as varied as Lionel Richie, Paul McCartney, Lulu and Pavarotti during his time, as well as performing for the Queen, the Pope and Emperor of Japan.
Now he’ll be singing for Good Housekeeping readers in a private concert set to take place in Venice next spring, and also giving a talk and signing a complimentary CD for you.
Alongside these special events, you’ll enjoy some truly unique experiences in the legendary floating city - a private visit to the world-renowned Doge's Palace and an after-hours lighting ceremony in St. Marks Basilica, without the crowds. Plus, you’ll sail around Venice's northern lagoon to visit the enchanting islands of Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello.
When? April 2022
Take in the glitz and glamour of the Danube with Ruth and Eamonn
This Morning presenters Ruth and Eamonn are some of Britain’s best loved and most famous faces, keeping the country entertained over their breakfast with celebrity interviews, gossip, cooking tips and lively debates on the topic of the day.
Now you can meet them in the flesh and watch a special interactive show onboard a luxurious river cruise ship, as you sail along the Danube through some of Europe’s oldest and most mesmerising cities.
Stopping at Melk, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, you’ll enjoy a drinks party and delicious dinners, as well as tours of cultural hotspots and beautiful scenery. Plus, if you book by 8th September 2021 you can bag an amazing £600 per person discount!
When? April 2022
Experience Europe’s greatest flower show with Charlie Dimmock
The Floriade Expo, held once every 10 years in the Netherlands, brings together dazzling garden displays and fascinating exhibits on technology, science and food across a vast site. In 2022, the theme will be ‘Growing Green Cities’.
Garden-lovers won’t want to miss out on this exciting event, and with Good Housekeeping you can make your visit even more special when you get to meet Ground Force and Garden Rescue presenter Charlie Dimmock – who will give you tips and tricks on how to make your outdoor space stand out from the crowd.
Plus, you’ll enjoy a six-night full-board cruise on the elegant MS Arena, where every cabin features outward-facing floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows with French balconies. You’ll also be able to join excursions to the likes of the De Kruidhof Botanical Garden, the largest botanical garden in the Netherlands.
When? May 2022
See Good Housekeeping UK’s unique range of cruises, plus exclusive tours and reviews of our favourite UK hotels at Good Housekeeping Holidays.
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