7 Of The Best Festivals Around The World You Can Cruise To

April 22, 2016

If you’re like us at www.CRUISE.co.uk you’ll be over the moon to hear that there IS in fact a combination out there of your two favourite things: cruises and festivals!

Not all festivals are about wellies in a muddy field; you can visit different cities around the world for a few day’s of celebrations of various culture, history, dance and music. And this is exactly why we have put together a list for you of seven festivals you can cruise to, so that you can experience the live music, exotic events and sometimes boho vibe whilst feeling fresh, well rested and like you’re still living in luxury.


1 – Edinburgh Tattoo

You may or may not heard of The Tattoo in the festival sense but if you have you’ll know that it is a sellout year after year and an iconic Edinburgh institution. Known as a global gathering that showcases the talents of musicians and performers, it delivers something different every year with a unique message.

2014’s theme was ‘Our Home, Friends and Family’ that focused on the notion of travel; the way it creates joy through reunion and adventure through exploring the unknown (all you frequent cruisers will be more than familiar with this feeling, we’re sure).

Edinburgh Castle

If you fancy heading here one year you’ll be one of the 217,000 that visit or if you prefer to watch from the sofa you’ll be one of the 100 million that do the same! Expect the Massed Pipes and Drums, the Massed Military Bands, fiddlers, Zulu warriors and steel drummers to star in this multinational extravaganza.

Did we mention all of this happens against the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh castle? If this is one you might be considering now (very much like us), you’ll be happy to know that Celebrity Cruises offers a 14-night ‘British Isles Cruise’ that starts in Amsterdam and features two days in Edinburgh for you to enjoy this significant cultural event.

2 – Oktoberfest

Better known as the world’s most famous beer festival! If you fancy drinking with the locals in Munich whilst learning of Bavarian traditions then this is for you, and wait, it gets better. You can celebrate the festival while cruising on a riverboat on the Mississippi River with a fantastic view of the St. Louis skyline.

Choose which October days (the 9th or 16th) you want to spend savouring authentic German food and dancing to live German music (you might feel better about doing this once you’ve really appreciated the beer!)


As you’ll board at 12:30 and return at 3pm you’ll definitely get your monies worth ($40 per adult, $18 per child), especially with the buffet of traditional German food you can indulge in.

We definitely want to be part of this celebration now where you can toast to good friends and fun times on the river- who says it needs to be summer to feel the festival vibe?!

3 – Maarten Heinekin Regatta

Okay, we know that was a mouthful but it’s a real thing, we promise. It celebrated its 36th edition this year as an annual sailing event that offers four days of World Class racing.

The dates have been confirmed for the next five years so get them in your diary and prepare to witness 37 countries be represented with 200 sailboats taking part in the Regatta. This annual Caribbean event invites you to enjoy an ice-cold Heineken at their unique parties where international music artists have featured in the past.


We think this is one we might need to cross off our bucket list’s and if you feel the same then that’s great news, because you can sail here on a 7-night cruise with Windstar Cruises and have deck side view of the races!

The Regatta has been around since 1980 and only eight years ago it reached its largest entry field at 289 boats, so let’s start visiting this festival on the seas and hopefully witness not only an incredible unique atmosphere, but some more breaking records too!

4 – Rio De Janeiro’s Carnival

Fancy 5 days in Rio? Yes, us too! Celebrity Cruises offers you a 14-night ‘South American & Rio Carnival’ cruise on-board Celebrity Infinity. Although beware: it is named the world’s wildest party.

Just before Lent starts every year, street parties break out in Rio like you’ve never known in the form of live Brazillian music, colourful clothing and spectacular parades.

Rio Carnival

If you’re thinking about heading here you’ll want to know about the ‘stadium of samba’, too. It’s basically a permanent parade route that stretches 700 metres!

You can either sit in the spectator stands that’ll hold up to 70,000 people or head to Cinelandia Square where the party begins at 5pm and ends at 3am- orchestras, samba dancers, singers and more all night long (now we understand its party status!)

5 – Amsterdam Light Festival

Possibly the most unique way to discover, or re-discover, Amsterdam! You will get to witness the scenery when it’s spectacularly lit at nighttime on a Water Colours Cruise; the canal boats frequently depart from Holland’s International Canal Cruises pier from 5pm until 11pm, so your view will be even better lit up in the late evening time!

Amsterdam Light Festival

This festival period usually runs through from November to January so you’ll get that wintery feel and the central audio system is there to educate you on the magnificent works of light in front of you.

This isn’t too far for you to go to indulge in a whole new dimension to the historical city and you’ll be on the boat for a whole 75 minutes so it’ll be well worth it!

6 – Dublin Port River Fest

None of us like wasting a bank holiday so why not spend the one in this upcoming June at a unique celebration along the historic quays of Dublin! North Wall Quay hosts Dublin Port River Fest where there’s plenty of entertainment and family fun both at the water and on land.

Dublin Port

There’s some try-it-out kayaking sessions which allow you to have a unique angle of the 3 tall visiting ships, not to mention some fab markets with fresh and exciting food.

You can count on street performers, face painting and other carnival attractions here along with tug boat demonstrations and the Liffey Swim- fancy a dip? Start the countdown now because there’s only two months to go!

7 – Bestival

If you’ve ticked off all the international festivals, why not dig out your wellies and attend this week of wacky, cultural fun that’s practically in your back garden- just a short ferry from Southampton or Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight and you’re there!

We must admit Bestival has done pretty well to mark out its niche in such an intense UK festival market with its famous disco ball meeting point and the ever popular ambient forest (it’s exactly as it sounds: a secluded forest with unique features like an Ampitheatre!)


Not only will you find throwback music appearances that come in the form of golden oldie style bands, but you can also immerse yourselves in anything from the Bollywood field to Temple Island, the church of dance, to activities like yoga or standing in awe at the Wall of Death!


So, what do you think? Which one of these festivals sounds the most exciting? Would you travel to Germany or Edinburgh for a burst of cultural celebration? Let us know in the comments below!