Cruise Liner History Cruise Destinations and Advice

It's 1991. Bush Senior is in the White House, teenage girls are dreaming about Chesney Hawkes and shoulder pads are still just about fashionable. There are a couple of pressing problems. That's because the Cold War is ending a fact unnoticed by Saddam Hussein, hence his attempt to invade Kuwait. But that's another story. The story we are concentrating on is about ships. Namely, what to do with all those Soviet icebreakers now that they're not needed as the vanguard of the red menace? Easy turn them into cruise liners. As you might expect, however, these are not your everyday cruise liners. Quark Expeditions have taken such vessels, complete with highly trained Russian crew, to the Arctic and Antarctic. There are other cruisers operating similarly extreme routes. These include Abercrombie and Kent's Explorer and Orient's Marco Polo.

If parkas and penguins are not your cup of tea, the options are still enormously varied. These days there are more cruise liners than ever, in every shape and size, going to just about anywhere you can think of. A far cry from a Soviet icebreaker, ships such as Hapag Lloyd's Europa are the height of luxury. Europa takes up to 450 passengers to places such as the Philippines and South Pacific in great style and comfort (www.hapaglloydcruises Liners like this are a world within themselves, which is probably why their queen, who made her maiden voyage in 2002, is called The World.

It's not just about the cruise lines, of course, it's about where they go. One of the more interesting emerging routes takes passengers through Patagonia around (Argentinian) Tierra del Fuego and then up the coast of Chile, taking in points of interest such as the islands of Chiloe and the mainland town of Valparaiso, formerly home to the poet Pablo Neruda. It's a personal opinion, but this is an excellent region for a cruise. There can't be many more beautiful parts of the world than Patagonia the glaciers are just incredible and Chile is an extremely interesting country to visit. Valparaiso is an experience lovely coastal views and a hilly interior with a special railway that's well worth visiting, as is Neruda's house. Norwegian Coastal Voyages and Princess Cruises and Hapag Lloyd (on the aforementioned Europa) have operated a Chilean cruise, but look at all the options with a specialist cruise agent.