Christmas in India or Cuba, swimming in salt water, Disneyland Paris in spring
Jal Mahal, Jaipur, India. Photograph: Michael Busselle
I want to skip Christmas this year and am thinking either India or Cuba. I would be interested in learning to dance in Cuba, and in India I would be interested in the northern Rajasthan area, extending up to Dharmsala and Nepal and over to Varanasi. Could you recommend operators that do fully escorted tours? I would be travelling alone, leaving December 21st-23rd until after new year? Also would I need travel shots and visas? – PM, Laois
Insight Vacations (01-775 3838, insightvacations.com) has a trip called Imperial Rajasthan, from December 23rd for 13 days into the new year. It is a heritage journey visiting palaces and forts and exploring the history of Udaipur. It will include visits to Delhi, Agra, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, the Taj Mahal and the Amber Fort. The cost is from €3,100, with single supplement plus air fare to Delhi, which costs about €1,000 return. A Classical India and Nepal tour for the same dates costs from €4,900.
Solo Holidays (soloholidays.co.uk) has a trip from Gatwick to Cuba on December 23rd for a week (the two-week programme is sold out). An all-inclusive stay in a four-star hotel with activities and entertainment, it costs about €2,360 with flights. For a classic tour of Cuba staying in good hotels and exploring the island extensively, Explore’s (explore.co.uk) two-week trip departs on December 22nd and will cost about €3,700 with flights from London. There may be an opportunity to take dance classes in Havana or Santiago. Explore also has more reasonably priced trips staying in lesser accommodation. Cuba is popular at Christmas and flight costs may go up.
A tour operator can advise on vaccinations and visas for either destination.
We are a family of five adults (two sets of parents, one grandparent) and four children (aged four to 10), hoping to visit Disneyland Paris next spring. This is not the type of trip we would normally arrange so any advice about the best time to visit, length of time we should allow for attractions, where to stay, would be appreciated. – IS, Cork
Disneyland Paris is a great place for children, and the adults will probably enjoy it too, particularly Disneyland Studios, which is all about making movies.
The combination of costs, special offers and ticket prices can be confusing. Disneyland often has special offers such as free meals for children, and lately I saw it is doing free meals for adults, too, at certain times. There are special discounts for the 20th anniversary. It can be quite cold in France in January and February.
A call to magicvacations.ie, 021-470 0568, a travel agency in Cork that specialises in Disney, could be helpful. For example, two nights and three days, with flights, hotel accommodation and park tickets will cost about €1,199 for two adults and two children.
If you were to book each element separately, you can expect to pay about €120 each for flights; daily park tickets are €59 for adults and €52 for children. Hotels near Disneyland (disneylandparis.kyriad.fr) with a shuttle service to the park, will cost about €100 per night for family rooms. The Magic Circus hotel (vi-hotels.com/en/magic-circus) is about €132 per night.
Factor in the cost of transfer from the airport to Disneyland, about €18 for adults and €15 for children (vea-shuttle.co.uk, disneylandparis.com).
I would love to know where in Ireland has indoor sea-water pools. I know of two – Parnasilla and Inchydoney – but there must be more. – KB, Cork
So far I have found only one other hotel with a salt-water pool, in the midlands. The family-run Longford Arms Hotel (longfordarms.ie, 043-3346296) has an indoor 22m saltwater pool. Two nights’ B&B for two from €149. In Donegal, the Mevagh diving centre (mevaghdiving.com, 074-9154708) has an ocean salt-water indoor pool and B&B accommodation attached. An overnight at Mevagh Cottage costs from €25pps per night. A number of hotels have salt-water vitality pools, such as the Europe in Killarney and Kellys of Rosslare.
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