It’s not too late to organise a Christmas party at sea, snap up some last-minute shopping, and pick up duty-free gin or vodka for less than £10 a litre.
Cruise ship Marco Polo leaves the London Cruise Terminal at Tilbury on December 8 for a three-night voyage to Amsterdam and Antwerp with fares – which include all meals and entertainment on board – starting at £179 per person (two sharing) for an inner cabin and £249 for a sea view. On December 11 the ship takes a two-night cruise to Antwerp. Fares from £119 and £169. 0845 833 9798
Elsewhere the cruise lines are determined to distract us from planning for Christmas by offering some tempting New Year deals.
Instead of queuing for a taxi in the rain you could be dancing at a black tie ball on board P&O’s Ventura at the start of a 14-night Caribbean cruise. Fly to Barbados on December 31 and you’ll be on the ship in plenty of time for the Hogmanay hi-jinks. Spend the next two weeks visiting Curacao, Aruba, Grand Turk, Tortola, St Maarten, St Kitts, St Lucia and Grenada. Fares from £1,725 (£115 per night). 0845 3 554 444
Or you could start 2012 with a shopping trip to New York followed by a seven-night crossing back to the UK on board the newly-refurbished Cunard liner Queen Mary 2. Fares from £849 for the January 2 departure include outbound flight with Virgin Atlantic and a night in a Manhattan hotel, then accommodation in a balcony cabin on the ship. 0844 573 4398
Further ahead, a 14-night round-trip from Southampton to the Mediterranean aboard Grand Princess is now on offer at £999. Departing May 19, the cruise visits Malaga, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome, Naples, Ajaccio (Corsica), and Gibraltar. 0208 544 6409