Paris is synonymous with the Eiffel Tower. Credit: Shutterstock

MSC Cruises offers magical winter programme to Northern Europe, visiting Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels

Author: Lucy Abbott

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MSC Cruises makes the most of the magical winter season with the ultimate winter getaway in Northern Europe, visiting a special selection of some of the most historically and culturally rich destinations.

MSC Cruises offers you the exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and history in five of Europe’s most stunning cities, also known as the Northern Pearls, all in one winter cruise journey.

Wander through Hamburg, London, Paris, Bruges, Brussels and Amsterdam for a magical winter holiday and explore the local history, cuisine as well as shops, the perfect opportunity to pick up unique Christmas presents for all your family and friends.

What’s more, you can tour these historic cities onboard the stylish MSC Magnifica, where high-quality service epitomises the ship. Featuring four restaurants and 11 bars alongside a range of entertainment and leisure activities, your time on board MSC Magnifica will be full of as much adventure as it is off-board.

In addition, weekly calls at Southampton’s Horizon Cruise terminal mean there are countless opportunities to embark on the ultimate European city escape.

Discover what there is to see in the Northern Pearls this winter.

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MSC Cruises: Explore Hamburg's buildings and parks. Credit: Shutterstock

Hamburg, Germany

A cosmopolitan hub, Hamburg is full to the brim with stately buildings, impressive promenades and beautiful open green parks.

Get into the Christmas spirit by visiting one of the city’s 30 Christmas markets while enjoying a steaming mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Take the city at your own pace and admire the sparkling Christmas lights, absorbing the sights of the peaceful harbour and numerous canals.

- READ MORE: Where to enjoy Europe's best Christmas markets -

Make sure you visit Lübeck, a characterful old city on the river Trave and a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting stunning Gothic architecture. Gaze up in wonderment at 15th and 16th-century churches and monuments that remain unaltered, taking you back hundreds of years.

MSC Cruises: Discover the historic capital of Normandy. Credit: Shutterstock

Southampton (London), UK

Everywhere you turn in southern England a top tourist attraction is waiting to be discovered. From the historic cities of Winchester and Salisbury, which both feature world-famous cathedrals, to the iconic stone circle of Stonehenge, one of the most ancient sites in the UK, you will never be stuck for things to do.

Alternatively, spend the day in London where you can get stuck into the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street shopping, explore the vast green space of Hyde Park or check out the hidden gems that Covent Garden market has to offer. Moreover, immerse yourself in the culture with one of the countless museums or art galleries the city had to offer and finish up your day relaxing in a classic English pub with a pint of ale.

- READ MORE: MSC Cruises announce two ships to sail World Cruise in 2023 -

Le Havre (Paris), France

Learn what France is truly about with multiple destinations to explore in Le Havre, you are spoiled for choice! Visit Rouen, the historical capital of Normandy featuring beautiful architecture in abundance which boasts multiple art galleries and museums, you are guaranteed to find something to your liking.

Alternatively, wander through Honfleur, a tiny town featuring a picturesque harbour and perfectly preserved old buildings, portraying the town’s long history. Spot the places where famous artists such as Claude Monet and Johan Jongkind sourced inspiration for their works.

The romantic capital is not one to be missed, Paris offers iconic monuments around every corner such as the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower. Absorb the culture by sitting in a cafe with a Parisian coffee and watching the world go by.

MSC Cruises: Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Credit: Shutterstock

Zeebrugge (Bruges and Brussels), Belgium

Zeebrugge is the perfect base to explore the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bruges. Look in wonderment at the quaint cobbled streets and peaceful canals, with a classic Belgian waffle in hand, and truly be able to appreciate one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities.

Ensure you try Bruges’ world-famous beers and fries before taking a stroll to shop for mesmerising local lace and tapestries to bring a piece of this special city home with you.

Or spend the day exploring Brussels, Belgian’s capital city. The modernised city features skyscrapers in amongst ornate squares, such as the Grand Place.

You can visit Amsterdam's beautiful traditional 16th-century architecture. Credit: Shutterstock

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Made up of scenic canals and bridges alongside beautiful 16th-century architecture, Amsterdam is a popular destination for a good reason. Must-see sights include Anne Frank’s house and the Van Gogh Museum.

Moreover, food lovers can visit the famous town of Gouda, renowned for its creamy cheese as well as stroopwafels.

To escape the city, you can visit the windmill village of Zaanse Schans, which features wooden houses with pretty green painted façades, synonymous with the Zaan area.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is an experienced cruise journalist, who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy reports on what it’s like to be a young cruiser and is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.