Bank holiday getaways normally come at a premium, but this offer from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines bucks the trend. For £239 per person, you get a 3-night mini cruise to France and Guernsey on Balmoral, including all meals, snacks and taxes. That's a saving of £150 on the normal price.
Balmoral sets sail from Southampton on 24 May -- early May bank holiday weekend -- and visits Honfleur (France) and St Peter Port (Guernsey) before returning to Southampton.
Honfleur is a picturesque 17th century port that has been painted by many artists, including Claude Monet. Among its museums is one dedicated to the composer and pianist, Erik Satie, who was born in Honfleur.
Guernsey, the second-largest of the Channel Islands, lies about 30 miles off the west coast of Normandy. Its capital, St Peter Port, is a pretty bustling harbour with museums including Victor Hugo's (author of Les Misérables) exile home and a museum depicting Guernsey's struggle under German occupation in the Second World War. Overlooking the port is the imposing 17th-century Castle Cornet.
The price is based on two sharing an Outside Cabin. Upgrade to a Superior Outside Cabin for £40 more per person or a Balcony Junior Suite for £90 more per person.
Refurbished in 2008, Balmoral has a "European quality, style and character" says the 2012 Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. The ship has four eateries, including the Ballindalloch Restaurant (the main dining room), the Spey Restaurant and the more casual Palms Café. Other onboard facilities include a saltwater swimming pool, a library, a fitness centre and the Neptune Lounge, which hosts cabaret shows and lectures.