If new year, new you didn’t work out quite the way you had planned, how about new year, new cruise? With six shiny new cruise ships launching in 2017 we can’t think of a better time than now to try something totally different for your next cruise holiday. With the impressive selection on offer you can look forward to sleek, state-of-the-art design, ultra-luxurious indulgence and super sun worshipping, all whilst visiting many exciting destinations.
Take your pick from the new cruise ships below and let us know which you’d most like to meet.
Silversea, Silver Muse
Seabourn Encore is the fourth luxury ship to join Seabourn Cruises spectacular six star fleet. A welcome addition to an award winning fleet, Seabourn Encore is here to re-define small ship ultra-luxury cruising and is hailed as the most beautiful and innovative ship for Seabourn thus far. Designed by renowned hospitality designer, Adam Tihany, Seabourn Encore oozes the same elegant charm of sister ship, Seabourn Odyssey, but with an extra emphasis on beautiful details. Guests will be pleasantly surprised from one day to the next during their cruise, with a standout highlight being the incredible culinary offering onboard including the new Sushi venue. What to expect: Winter in Australasia, Summer in the Mediterranean, spectacular culinary experiences, six-star service and sumptuous surrounds.
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Silver Muse is set to sail in April 2017 and as the largest ship for Silversea, brings with her an incredible amount of choice for your luxury experience. Although still classed as a small ship, Silver Muse proudly claims to have the best dining experience at sea with eight different dining options on offer. From Spanish Tapas with live music and dancing in Silver Note to the sensational Japanese cuisine prepared before your eyes in Kabucki, there is something to suit all tastes onboard. Luxury becomes even more lavish for Silversea’s new flagship with a total of seven different suite types to choose from. The largest spanning 1,475 sq ft, that’s twice the size of an average UK house! What to expect: Silversea’s first full sized theatre, an abundance of culinary choices, an elegant and intimate experience, full butler service and a charming summer in the Mediterranean.
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Although relatively new to ocean cruising, debuting its first cruise ship in 2015, Viking Cruises got it so right that it’s sticking to a similar style and trend for the newest additions to its fleet. Viking Cruises ships are sleek, modern and comfortable with a distinct Scandinavian design. Practicality is infused with subtle luxurious touches onboard Viking Sky. The main pool has a retractable roof so that the area can be enjoyed in all weather, whilst the aft infinity pool provides breath-taking sea views. The ship has been specifically engineered in a way that allows direct access to smaller ports, meaning that you can sail straight to the heart of many fascinating destinations. And with destination rich itineraries including the Baltic capitals and ancient gems of the Mediterranean you’ll appreciate easy access to explore. When a day of exploring is done, Viking Sky’s innovative spa provides holistic methods and traditional Nordic treatments. What to expect: Simple yet satisfying Scandinavian style, many alfresco dining options, destination rich itineraries and a comfortable home away from home.
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Sister ship to Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky - Viking Sun joins Viking Cruises modern fleet late in 2017 offering even more choice for a stylish mid-sized cruise ship experience. With an identical design to her sister ships, Viking Sun increases Viking Cruises offering of popular holidays allowing you to explore the world in comfort. What to expect: A thinking person’s cruise with art lectures and informative port talks, a simple and stylish atmosphere with comfortable furnishings and delightful dining options.
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Dubbed as the ship for all seasons, MSC Meraviglia sets sail for MSC Cruises in 2017 with an extraordinary level of entertainment options onboard. The perfect choice for families and groups, MSC Meraviglia has plenty of cabin and suite options available including connecting cabins that can accommodate up to 10 people. Each day onboard can be different with MSC Meraviglia’s unique offering of things to see and do. Check out the indoor promenade, 12 dining venues, Aqua Park with waterslides, Himalayan Bridge (ropes course) or the TV studio broadcasting games, quizzes and interviews to screens ship wide. Kids and teens are well looked after with five kids clubs and dedicated teen hangout spaces. Evening entertainment is just as exciting with exclusive performances from Cirque du Soleil in Cirque du Soleil at Sea. What to expect: a fun filled cruise with lots to see and do onboard. Mediterranean style cruising calling at ports such as Genoa, Barcelona, Malta and more.
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Follow the sun in 2017 with MSC Seaside, the ship that has been specifically designed for you to enjoy the outdoors and be closer to the sea. A unique wraparound promenade provides multiple options for alfresco dining, sea gazing, shopping and sunbathing.Experience life outdoors at sea with MSC Seaside boasting one of the most advanced Aqua Parks at sea spanning two whole decks of fun, plus an extensive Adventure Trail ropes course.
What to expect: Being outdoors most of the time with maiden season in the Caribbean, lots of thoughtful sea gazing and fantastic Mediterranean style cruising.
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We had an extra special Christmas treat this week as we were invited onboard one of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines most popular cruise ships, Black Watch as she docked in Tilbury London. Our visit comes just one month after Black Watch entered dry dock at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg for a multi-million pound refit. The extensive refurbishment saw ship-wide enhancements including upgrades to cabins, suites and public areas. Not only did we get a private tour of the ship, stopping off to see the updated cabins with a talk from Julian – Fred. Olsen’s Deputy Hotel Manager of Operations, but we also got to see the ship decked out in all her Christmas glory. With Christmas trees and gingerbread houses galore! See photos from our day onboard the newly refurbished Black Watch below.
The Neptune Theatre
The Neptune Bar
The Morning Light Pub
The Black Watch Room - A new a la carte dining experience serving up delicious steak and seafood
Fresh new carpets
The Glentanar main restaurant
It's Christmas onboard!
Deck 7 - Tenerife Suite 7024
Balcony Suite 9901
Enjoy the upgrade and sail on the newly refurbished Black Watch with our latest Black Watch cruises.
When it comes to bucket list holiday destinations, North America often ranks quite highly, and with a collection of cities and states offering a wide range of experiences it’s easy to see why. From the east coast to the west or the deep south there is something special and unique about each place with different foods, dialects, traditions and even climate. Find your American dream with a cruise and stay in one of North America’s captivating cities, here’s our top 5 for starters!
Home to world renowned theme parks such as Walt Disney World®, Universal Studios Orlando®, SeaWorld® and more, Orlando is an epicentre of fun. A destination bursting at the seams with activities and things to do, Orlando is ideal for families, couples, singles and just about anyone looking for a good time. Full days and even overnight stays can be enjoyed in the theme parks whilst outside the magical walls there are also opportunities for wildlife encounters, sporting events, thrilling adventures with zip lines and Broadway style musicals.
Miami sits on Florida’s south eastern tip and dazzles in the light of America’s sunshine state. Good vibes and laid back lifestyles are unavoidable here with plenty of beaches and reasons to be outside. Cuban influences add some Caribbean soul and the achingly cool Art Deco district sets an iconic scene for great holiday snaps. South Beach is a real buzz of activity with entertainers, skaters and rollerblades and when the sun sets the neon nightlife wakes up for those inviting Miami nights.
Everything seems grander in New York City and the same can definitely be said for the shopping. Whether it’s the glowing luxury designer boutiques on Fifth Avenue, huge department stores like Macy’s or the thrift shops and flea markets of Brooklyn, you’ll want to set some spending money aside for your time here. Find fashion, art, technology e.t.c and fuel your days with delicious dishes from the famous New York delis.
Las Vegas stays awake for all night party fun and provides a fantasy land for hedonistic escapism. Sin City sits in the Nevada desert calling all night owls for endless entertainment and after dark amusement. The extensive hotels and brightly lit casinos are buzzing day and night with attractions, live shows and things to do. Whilst the nightclubs come in all shapes and sizes from stunning rooftop locations to poolside parties.
A stay in Memphis is a must for any music fans passing through the deep south of North America. Known as the home of blues music and the birthplace for rock’n roll, Memphis holds amazing histories and to this day is still a major music centre. Fans of Elvis will love a trip to Graceland or a visit to Sun Records, the main source of inspiration for the popular West End production - Million Dollar Quartet. Find your American dream with a Carnival cruise and stay holiday.
It’s no wonder Cunard’s Queen Mary is known as being one of the most haunted places in America with her rocky history of love, war and tragedy. The RMS Queen Mary set sail on 27 May 1936 for her maiden voyage. She was originally built as a luxury liner for the upper-classes until entering a world of chaos when World War II struck. Changing her course forevermore. This flagship beauty, also known as ‘The Grey Ghost’, was converted into a troopship, ferrying Allied soldiers throughout the war. She was then refitted for passengers in the mid-1940s. The Queen Mary is now a hotel, permanently docked in California, with some saying that the spirits of the dead still haunt the ship today.
Winston Churchill’s stateroom Some have reported a strong smell of cigar smoke in this room. This is also apparently where he planned the D-Day invasion.
Swimming Pool Ghouls There have been many reports of female apparitions looming in the 1st class pool area. The main ghoul though is a little girl, known as Jackie, who apparently drowned during an army crossing. Giggling and splashing is often heard, whilst a trail of small wet footprints are sometimes witnessed. The Forbidden Cabin Cabin B340 is no longer available for booking. Guests have reported their bed sheets flying across the room, taps turning on for no reason and doors flinging open. HMS Curacao Crew Members On 2nd October 1942 the Queen Mary famously collided with the Curacao ship, killing 200 people. Some visitors have reported hearing eerie noises coming from the ship’s bow. A Ghostly Love Affair Leslie Schirmacher is a barwoman currently working on the ship. A clairvoyant insisted there was a male ghost stood next to her, so she jokingly gave him a peck on the cheek. The ghost (A Scottish man who looks like Kevin Spacey) has been smitten ever since, and shows his affection by nudging a wine glass towards her from time to time. The ship is situated in Los Angeles, just half an hour away from the LA International Airport. By Danny Ingham
With the festive period in full swing, many of you may already have plans for Christmas this year, but what about next?
We are often asked about Christmas cruises and having spent the last five Christmases' and New Year at sea it seems the perfect time to share exactly what it is like to cruise at Christmas.
As this will be my first Christmas on land for a while I am excited to spend it with my family, although I'm sure to miss the amazing atmosphere onboard during this time.
The celebrations start early
Most people considering a Christmas cruise tend to look at the exact week of Christmas, however I would advise you also look at cruises just before Christmas week.
Cruise lines will start the onboard celebrations at the beginning of December so you can have a smililar experience, often at a lower price.
Considering many people like to be home with family on Christmas day, it is a great option to take a cruise just before Christmas. What better way to start festivities than with a pre Christmas cruise?
An enchanted wonderland
Nothing puts you in the joyful mood like Christmas decorations and of course a Christmas tree. Of all the hotels, resorts and places I have been to around the world (OK, maybe apart from New Yorks’ Rockafella) there is nowhere that does Christmas decorations like a cruise ship.
Cruise lines really go to town with the decorations onboard and truly turn them into an enchanted haven of festive delights. From exciting lights, garlands wrapped around grand staircases, festive flower arrangements, decorations throughout and of course, a large Christmas tree – every inch of the ship sparkles.
The grand Christmas tree is the main feature onboard providing perfect photo opportunities and is a focal point to gather around and watch festive entertainment. Often placed in the main atrium, it is a spectacular sight.
Christmas activities on the high seas
A cruise at any time of the year provides a wide range of activities and entertainment for everyone, however this is stepped up during December. Whether you are with family, a partner or by yourself, you will love all the special activities on board. Expect Christmas trivia, festive cookery lessons, craft classes, performances and lots of family friendly activities – the smiles will not stop.
Disneyland and Lapland are often thought of as the ultimate playground for a kids Christmas treat, however I believe a cruise offers them so much more. With so many special activities, I am almost certain it will be the best Christmas they will ever have. Adults be warned - it will make you wish you were a child again!
One of my favourite memories from Christmas at sea is when I was working onboard Oasis of the Seas and the children had to write a letter to Santa and post it in a box situated at the Guest Services desk by midnight Christmas Eve. During Christmas day afternoon, the Hotel Director dressed up as Santa and came sailing alongside the ship on one of the rescue boats and waved to all the children…the looks on their faces was a memory I will never forget...a truly magical moment.
A festive feast
We all love a Christmas dinner and rest assured that wherever in the world your cruise is taking you, the ship will stock up on all of your favourite festive treats.
The food may differ according to where the ship sails but a delicious Christmas feast is sure to be served. Most cruise lines prepare exclusive Christmas menus in the main dining room during the month of December.
Expect gingerbread houses, Christmas puddings and an array of different meats, cheeses and more. I always had a delicious Christmas dinner onboard (although I never told my mum that, so she would make me a second one when I came back to England!)
The celebrations do not stop at Christmas
New Year is another great time to cruise, in fact this was always my favourite time onboard. The ship turns into one big party and a huge celebration is put on. With everyone in joyful spirit, attending great parties, on a stunning ship and travelling to an amazing part of the world – I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the beginning of a New Year.
Even working onboard away from my family during this time of year, I was always in high-spirits due to the heartening atmosphere onboard and the abundance of festive-fun.
With great prices, fantastic dining, exciting entertainment and a playground of festive wonder, you will not experience anything like this on land. Guaranteed to create everlasting memories – what are you waiting for? Take a look at our Christmas & New Year cruise deals
By Sally Grimes
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