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Top 10 cruising and sailing holidays

Best cruise holidayssailing holidays

By Mark Hodson and David Wickers, Sunday Times Travel writers

Tempted by a sailing holiday but not sure of your sheets from your shrouds, jibs from gybes, stems from sterns? Learn the ropes at a proper sailing school.

Follow in the wake of Odysseus on a traditionally designed wooden wooden gulet along the wild southern shores of Turkey.

Cruising aboard a tall ship is like being cast in a period maritime drama – an adventure but one with all mod cons and comforts.

Cruising is often the best way to experience life ashore. If you are bowled over by scenery, hop along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

Explore the Nile on a cruise, ‘running the gauntlet through eternity’ according to Kipling, stopping off at ancient sites that stand on the river’s banks.

Flotilla sailing enables relatively inexperienced sailors to enjoy skippering their own yacht in the Med, hopping between islands and mainland ports of call, yet under the watchful eye of lead boat.

Watch the French countryside slide by on a luxury barge cruise as you indulge in gourmet cuisine served on deck. The barges are intimate – sleeping between 4 and 20 people – and there is a wide range of destinations including Provence, Gascony, Burgundy and the Canal du Midi. The price includes all meals, fine wines, shore excursions and an open bar.

Set sail on the ultimate sailing adventure around the deserted islands of the Indonesian archipelago on board Tiger Blue, a 34-metre yacht. The crew can arrange diving, picnics on deserted beaches, a visit to see the Komodo dragons and a volcano hike.

See this great collection of boating holidays in the UK – you could cruise up the Thames or explore dramatic canals in the hills of Wales.

Love wine? Take a wine cruise on a small luxury ship such as the square-rigged Sea Cloud which accommodates a maximum of 50 passengers.

If you love nature, head to the Galapagos Islands where Darwin developed his theory of evolution. The best way to visit the islands – enjoying close-up encounters with seals, boobies and turtles – is on a cruise.

If you enjoy messing around in boats, preferably in warm water just in case you take an unscripted dip, look for an all inclusive resort where watersports are on offer for no extra cost.

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