Festive Escape to Madeira, Portugal & Spain

6th Dec 2021 11 nights Sails from Southampton Balmoral L2138
Festive cruise
Christmas time in Funchal, Maderia Christmas time in Funchal, Maderia

A pre-Christmas cruise with a twist, this is an opportunity to venture south in search of some of Europe’s finest festive highlights. Instead of sailing to cities in Western and Central Europe that are popular tourist spots at this time of year, you’re in for a yuletide discovery of Portugal, Spain and Madeira. At each destination, feel the buzz of excitement amongst enchanting scenes of Christmas markets, illuminations and decorations; mid-December evenings in Funchal make for a magical experience, while the historic hearts of Vigo and Lisbon come to life as their friendly locals countdown to and get ready for Christmas.[ReadMoreMob]

With an overnight stay in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, there is ample time to discover the gems of Portugal’s gorgeous ‘garden island’ too; perhaps take in views of verdant forested landscapes via the levada walking trails, ride the cable car to a beautiful botanical garden, or head to the Cabo Girao sea cliff for spectacular Atlantic Ocean vistas. A full day in Lisbon is a chance to immerse yourself in the Portuguese capital’s rich maritime heritage and local culture too, while the Spanish cities of Vigo and La Coruña, with their picturesque coasts, historic quarters and abundance of landmarks and monuments, are delights to explore.

Your Itinerary

  • Enjoy a pre-Christmas cruise with a twist
  • Feel a buzz of excitement amongst the Christmas markets
  • Discover Madeira’s lush landscapes and botanical gardens
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Balmoral, carrying up to 1,350 guests is small enough to navigate narrow waterways such as Kiel Canal and bring inspirational sights and experiences closer to you.

Like the rest of the fleet, Balmoral retains a warm, welcoming atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation and lounges, stylish restaurants and plenty of open-deck space.

In recent years, we have seen a new era emerging in cruising.

There is a trend for everything to get bigger and busier, and for a cruise to be seen as an alternative to a large luxury resort, with a limitless flurry of activity. But this is not for us. Find out more 


We are free to do things a different way because we are family-run. Of course some people enjoy the bigger, busier cruises, but it is not for everyone, and it is not for us. We prefer to do things, 'The Olsen Way'.


We have fewer guests, so the atmosphere on board our ships is always warm and civilised. Our smaller ships allow us to visit the more interesting places that the world has to offer.


We pride ourselves on putting our all into the Fred. Olsen cruise experience. Our itineraries are created from scratch every year, our service is genuinely personal and each and every area of our ships is designed by hand.