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8 of the best Europe cruise lines for families

Sail away on a European family adventure with one of these luxurious lines.

European cruises are old-worldly, charming and completely unique. They can range from a summer bask in the Mediterranean to a wintry exploration through the Arctic and often feature multiple countries throughout each journey.

Traversing the waters, you’ll be blessed with skylines of spires that break from historical town centres, crumbling castles and forts that stand mightily above cliff faces, epic monuments that hide behind medieval walls and colourful port towns that welcome you with open arms.

Yup, a European cruise is like no other, and if you’ve got your heart set on a coastal cruise through this entrancing continent with the family in tow, we know a few liners that can take you there.

Featured Europe cruises for families deal:

Mediterranean cruises from $849

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Valid on select cruises departing Venice, Italy. Destinations include Italy, Croatia, Greece and Montenegro.

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Searching for river cruises? Check out the top European river cruise companies here.


MSCCruises.BestEuropeCruiseLines

1. MSC Cruises

Make it a grand trip with MSC Cruises and its signature range of MSC Grand Voyages which take you and your brood from one corner of the world to the other.

  • European departure points: Various departure points including Spain, France, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Morocco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Malta and Monaco.
  • On board experience: This Italian liner specialises in Mediterranean cruises and captures the essence of this destination with sleek European-style rooms and freshly prepared cuisine. Yes, this includes pizza, done to perfection.
  • For kids: MSC offers a range of entertainment for children of all ages including an Aqua Park, swimming pools, virtual world, 4D cinema and kids' clubs. Children aged 12 years and under travel free when sharing the cabin with fare-paying parents.

Check the price of MSC's European cruises via CruiseAway


Costa.BestEuropeCruiseLines

2. Costa

Whether you want to sail through the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean or the Norwegian Fjords, Costa is Europe’s largest cruise line and sails through them all.

  • European departure points: Multiple ports in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and the Greek Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Morocco, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Scotland, Spitsbergen, France, England, Sweden and Belgium.
  • Onboard experience: Costa is a British/American-owned cruise line based in Italy, and this cultural heritage shows in its European-style furnishings and cuisine. Perfect for those who want a European experience both on and off board.
  • For kids: Costa offers a variety of activities for kids of all ages including activity spaces, kids' clubs and a special baby pool and meet-and-greet with Peppa Pig for little ones.

Check the price of Costa's European cruises via Flight Centre


CelebrityCruises.BestEuropeCruiseLines

3. Celebrity Cruises

One of the world’s premium cruise lines, Celebrity Cruises offers over 100 fun-filled cruises throughout Europe for families.

  • European departure points: Southampton, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Athens and Stockholm.
  • Onboard experience: Celebrity Cruises is based in Greece and features a truly Grecian feel from its sleek blue and white detailing to bevy of Greek island port of calls.
  • For kids: Celebrity is one of the most kid-friendly cruise lines out there. Each ship offers kids' clubs, kid-friendly sports and entertainment. Discounts are available for 3rd and 4th passengers sharing the same room as two full-fare paying adults.

Check the price of Celebrity's European cruises


PrincessCruises.BestEuropeCruiseLines

4. Princess Cruises

Carrying you across the continent, Princess Cruises offers memorable journeys for families through the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and British Isles.

  • European departure points: Rome, Southampton, Athens, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dover, Berlin, St Petersburg and Venice. As Princess is an American liner, it also offers departures from Fort Lauderdale and New York.
  • Onboard experience: Princess features a modern fit-out with an international atmosphere. European trips often include destination-specific experiences and cuisine.
  • For kids: Princess offers activities the whole family can enjoy. This includes cultural festivals and activities, pools, ship tours, sports and video game rooms. Family suites are available on some ships.

Check the price of Princess' European cruises


FredOlsenCruiseLines.BestEuropeCruiseLines

5. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

British cruise company Fred. Olsen offers a traditional cruise experience to classic destinations around Europe including the Mediterranean, British Isles, and the Baltic and Adriatic seas.

  • European departure points: Belfast, Dover, Edinburgh, Falmouth, Glasgow, Harwich, Liverpool, London Tilbury and Southampton. The cruise line also offers fly-cruises for non-UK departures.
  • Onboard experience: A classic cruise atmosphere featuring a modern fit-out, and entertainment options such as shows, bingo, dance classes and shuffleboard.
  • For kids: On peak holiday cruises Fred. Olsen offers a kids' club with daytime and evening activities for kids under 12.

Check the price of Fred. Olsen's European cruises


NorwegianCruiseLine.BestEuropeCruiseLines

6. Norwegian Cruise Line

Offering over 190 sailings to 65 European ports of call, it’s little wonder this luxury liner has been voted Europe’s Leading Cruise Liner at the World Travel Awards eight years in a row.

  • European departure points: Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Rome, Southampton, Rotterdam, Marseilles and Venice.
  • Onboard experience: Norwegian offers freestyle cruising options which allow you to eat, play and sleep whenever it suits you. Its American-based fleet comprises modern ships with international cuisine and popular American-style entertainment.
  • For kids: Norwegian provides some of the best entertainment options for young and old. This includes musicals, circus and magician shows and rock climbing walls for kids, in addition to the onboard kids' clubs. Connecting and family staterooms are available.

Check the price of Norwegian's European cruises via Flight Centre


RoyalCaribbeanInternational.BestEuropeCruiseLines

7. Royal Caribbean International

Sailing much more than just the Caribbean, this Top Cruise Line for Families winner has eight dedicated cruise ships that sail through Europe following both classic and more adventurous routes.

  • European departure points: Dubai, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Southampton, Stockholm, Barcelona and Malaga.
  • Onboard experience: This American-based liner prides itself in providing a fun and innovative onboard experience the whole family can enjoy. It offers an international atmosphere with a variety of cultural cuisine options.
  • For kids: Generous family cabins are available on most Royal Caribbean cruises as well as a variety of on-board activities including roller skating, bumper cars, mini-golf and DreamWorks shows and parades.

Check the price of Royal Caribbean's European cruises via Flight Centre


DisneyCruiseLine.BestEuropeCruiseLines

8. Disney Cruise Line

For an extra injection of magic that will put a smile on their faces, sail into the enchanting world of fjords and castles onboard a family-friendly Disney cruise ship.

  • European departure points: Barcelona, Copenhagen and Dover. As Disney Cruise Line is a US-based line, cruises also depart from various North American ports including Miami and New York.
  • Onboard experience: Signature Disney stylings run throughout the ships, making them feel like gigantic playgrounds for kids young and old. Some rooms are themed, and restaurants drip with Disney flair.
  • For kids: Each Disney cruise ship comes equipped with family staterooms, Walt Disney theatre, music and dance deck parties and family-friendly port activities and kids' pools.

Check the price of Disney's European cruises


Where to Europe cruises go?

With dozens of countries to see and endless cities, towns and villages to visit, you can explore Europe for years and barely see it all. European cruises are great for giving a taste of what the continent has to offer. Some of the most common itineraries for European cruises include:

  • Western Mediterranean: Spain, Portugal, France and Italy
  • Eastern Mediterranean: Italy, Greece, Malta
  • Adriatic: Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania
  • Aegean: Greece, Turkey, Cyprus
  • Baltics and Northern Europe: Norway's fjords, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark
  • British Isles: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

When should you cruise in Europe?

Mediterranean cruises run year-round, while cruises in cooler European areas, like the Baltic, only sail during the warmer months.

If you're looking for the best time to go, peak season for Mediterranean cruises would be during the middle of European summer in July and August. This is also generally the most expensive time to go. If you're looking for a mix of favourable weather and prices, look into a cruise in the shoulder seasons - May and June or September and October - you should still find warm days where temperatures hit the low to mid 20s, especially for cruises going to Italy and Greece.


Best Europe cruise deals

Vivid Sydney cruises from $29

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Valid on select dates from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018. Sample price is for a 90-minute, small-group BYO cruise. T&Cs apply.

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$500 off European river cruises

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Valid for travel from July 2018 - December 2019. Includes all river cruises on the Rhine, Main & Danube River (excludes Russia). T&Cs apply.

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Up to 60% off Vivid Sydney cruises

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Valid from 25 May - 16 June 2018. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 60% off second passenger with Royal Caribbean

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Valid for cruise on select sailings to the South Pacific (Vanuatu and New Caledonia) and New Zealand.

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Vivid Sydney cruises from just $15

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Valid on select sailings during Vivid from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018. $15 cruise includes a 1.5-2 hours sailing and dinner/drink included on select sailings.

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Up to 30% off riverboat adventures

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Valid for travel from 6 May - 30 September 2018. Destinations are Vietnam, Peru, Paris and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 60% off 2nd guest + $100 onboard credit with Royal Caribbean

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Valid for travel on select sailing with Royal Caribbean. Enjoy 60% off on 2nd guest plus 3rd and 4th guests also receive up to 30% off. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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AnyBoat AnyBoat
Vivid Sydney BYO cruises with food from $39

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Valid on select sailings during Vivid Sydney, from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018. Sample price is for a 1.5 hours cruise aboard Nevaeh.

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$2,500 off tours and cruises

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Valid on all 2018 and 2019 departures $15,000 or more including river cruises, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Asia.

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$1,500 off tours and cruises

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Valid on all 2018 and 2019 departures $10,000 or more including river cruises, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Asia.

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$1,000 off tours and cruises

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Valid on all 2018 and 2019 departures $8,000 or more including river cruises, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Asia.

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$700 off tours and cruises

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Valid on all 2018 and 2019 departures $4,000 or more including river cruises, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Asia.

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$200 off tours and cruises

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Valid on all 2018 and 2019 departures $2,000 or more including river cruises, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Asia.

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Up to $1,100 off European river cruises

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Valid on select dates from March 2019 - November 2019. Destinations include Budapest, Munich, Prague, Berlin, Krakow and more. Note: Deposit must be paid by 7 November to receive discount.

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Up to 20% off sailing adventures

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Valid on select tours from 9 June - August 2018. Destinations include Croatia, Bali, Norway, Greece and more. T&Cs apply.

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Free Europe flights with 2019 river cruise bookings

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Valid on select March 2019 - July 2019 Uniworld luxury river cruises. Book an eligible cruise and get free flights to Europe. Cruise destinations include France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Austria and more.

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Mediterranean cruises from $849

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Valid on select cruises departing Venice, Italy. Destinations include Italy, Croatia, Greece and Montenegro.

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3 cruises for the price of 2

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Book one cruise departing on October-December 2018 along with any other two cruises from Fred. Olsen’s full Ocean & River programmes and the lowest-priced sailing is free. T&Cs apply.

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Experience Oz Experience Oz
$20 off Vivid cruise with dinner

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Valid during Vivid Sydney from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018 for a 1.5-hour cruise with cocktail-style dinner, plus tea, coffee and chocolates. Cash bar on board.

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7-night Caribbean cruises from US$509 + up to US$1,000 onboard credit

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Enjoy 7-night Caribbean cruises from just US$509 with MSC. Includes up to US$1,000 to onboard credit to spend and 10% off shore excursions. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Caribbean cruises from just US$629 + up to US$1,000 onboard credit

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Enjoy 10-night Caribbean cruises from just US$629 with MSC Cruises. Includes up to US$1,000 to onboard credit to spend and 10% off shore excursions. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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3-night Bahamas cruise from US$708 + up to US$500 onboard credit

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Enjoy 3-night Bahamas cruises from just US$708 with Disney Cruises. Includes up to US$500 to onboard credit to spend and 10% off shore excursions. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Up to $500 off + $99 deposits on Carnival Cruises

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Valid for cruise on select 2018 departures. Port of departure is Sydney, destinations include Noumea, Isle of Pines and more. T&Cs apply.

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2nd guest sail free + up to $2,200 onboard credit

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Valid on select 2018-19 sailings with CMV. Pay 1 guest and second guest sails free plus get up to $2,200 onboard credit to spend. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Luxury fly-cruise-stay packages from just $2,199

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Enjoy full board luxury sailings when you book with CruiseAway. Sample fare is for Bustling Cities via the Great Barrier Reef, includes flights, meals, accommodation and private transfers. T&Cs apply.

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Up to $3,000 OBC with Azamara

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Valid for cruise on select dates from November 2018 - October 2019. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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11-day European Christmas market cruise from $2,298

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Valid for cruise on 10 December 2019. Includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and more. T&Cs apply.

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Room upgrade from just $100 with Princess + up to $200 onboard credit

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Valid for cruises to the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, Alaska and the Americas. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Worldwide singles cruises from $2,075

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Valid on select sailings in Alaska, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Asia and Europe. Cruise lines include Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, and Avalon Waterways. Sample price is an Alaska cruise.

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Up to 45% off Croatia sailings

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Valid for sailings until September 2018. Sail to Dubrovnik and enjoy peace at Mljet National Park with discounted fares at Travel Talk. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 10% off Cuba sailing

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Valid for travel from 29 June - 6 August 2018. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 15% off Maldives Dhoni cruising

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Valid for cruise from 11-25 August 2018. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 50% off 3rd and 4th guests with Princess

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Valid for cruise on select Princess sailings. Includes Balcony upgrade and up to $200 onboard credit to spend. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Free gratuities + up to $300 OBC with Holland America

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Valid for cruise from November 2018 - April 2019. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Let's Ferry Let's Ferry
20% off Super economy tickets

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Valid on routes to Mykonos, Greece. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 33% off Royal Caribbean cruises

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Valid on select dates until 18 April 2019. Sample itineraries include trans-Pacific to Honolulu, Tasmania, and Singapore-to-Sydney along Australia's southern coast.

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Up to 15% off Antarctica and Artcic expedition cruises

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Valid on select cruises until 30 May 2019. Destinatoins include the Arctic (from Norway) and the Antarctic (from Argentina).

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Three cruises for the price of two

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Valid on all cruises on select dates from October 2018 - March 2020. Destinations include Southampton, Liverpool, Newcastle and more. T&Cs apply.

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Free door-to-door travel

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Valid for use on select 2018 - 2020 sailings. Minimum of 9-nights or more from UK departures to redeem offer. T&Cs apply.

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Free drinks + tips covered

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Valid for use on select dates from 2018 - 2020 on the new Fly-cruises and Brabant River cruises. T&Cs apply.

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Indian Ocean Christmas and New Year cruise from £3,549

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Valid for cruise on December 2018. Destinations include Seychelles, Zanzibar, Mauritius and more. T&Cs apply.

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Vivid Sydney cruises + welcome drink from $19

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Valid on select Vivid Sydney cruises during the festival from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018. Sample price is for a 2-hour cruise with Afloat Cruises and a welcome drink.

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Free extras with P&O + Up to $300 onboard credit

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Valid on select Tasmania, Queensland, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Vanuatu cruises. Get up to $100 GoCatch credit, New Zealand Natural ice cream and onboard credit.

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Up to £300 off river cruises + free drinks

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Valid on select cruises until September 2018, during European summer. Destinations include Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France.

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Monaco Grand Prix cruise from just £1,999 Valid for cruise on 18 May 2019 and sails for 16-nights, returns on 1 June 2019. Destinations include Portugal, Spain, France and more. Enjoy exclusive perks when you book with Fred. Olsen. T&Cs apply.

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10% off Croatia sailing tours

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Valid on select 2018 Croatia sailing trips with Busabout.

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Let's Ferry Let's Ferry
Greece: €20 passenger tickets with Blue Star Ferries

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Valid on select dates of sailings. Destinations include Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, Karpathos, Leros, Samos, Lesvos, Kea and more. T&C's apply.

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Up to US$1,000 onboard credit with Princess Cruises

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Up to US$1000 onboard credit with Princess Cruises. Valid on select dates and sailings with Princess Cruises. Includes up to US$1,000 to spend onboard. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. See site for details. T&Cs apply.

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Up to $3,000 off select sailings + up to $1,000 off airfares Valid for travel on select dates and sailings. Offer is valid on stateroom bookings only. Destinations include Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia and more. T&C's apply.

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Fjords cruises from £679 + up to £100 tour credit Valid for travel on select 2018-19 sailings. Choose from a complimentary all-inclusive drinks upgrade or up to £100 pp shore tour credit. T&C's apply.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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