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.
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
Celebrity Cruises are famed for their award winning cuisine and extraordinary dining venues. So we were more than pleased to be invited to their grand stand at the Taste of London Food Festival for a tasting menu with wine pairings this week.
Bringing their modern luxury lawn club to London, the Celebrity Cruises stand beckoned us with their bright white furnishings, fresh green picnic lawn and sweet soulful sounds from an acoustic duo. Already excited at the prospect of tasting Celebrity Cruises award winning menu, we then discovered that Celebrity Reflection Head Chef Tato Garcia had been flown out especially to spearhead the event. We sat down to take our seats and took a mouth-watering glimpse at the specially prepared tasting menu.
Representing classic dishes from Celebrity Cruises acclaimed restaurants, the menu presented us with a taster of what can be expected onboard.Our first course came from Suite Class restaurant Luminae and gave us an insight into the exceptional suite life of Celebrity Cruises. The delicious celeriac veloute with black truffle was poured in front of us from a porcelain teapot and complimented with toasted sunflower seeds. This course was perfectly paired with a glass of Viognier, Jean-Luc Colombo, “La Violette”, Languedoc with explanations on the pairing from guest sommelier Kiki Evans.
Second course was representative of the cuisine available onboard Celebrity Xpedition, Celebrity Cruises 100 guest mega yacht sailing the Galapagos. Corvina sea bass with sage brown butter and cavolo nero with asparagus tantalised taste buds around the table as Chef Garcia recalled real life experiences of the fascinating Galapagos Islands. This dish was perfectly paired with a fruity Sauvignon Blanc, Clifford Bay, Marlborough.
Next came signature pistachio crusted lamb loin with juniper jam from Aqua Class Restaurant – Blu. Aqua Class guests can enjoy serene spa-inspired staterooms and exclusive access to specialty restaurant Blu, serving the finest of clean cuisine. Our lamb loin was complimented by a smooth and velvety Chilean Carmenere.
Just when we thought the tasting was finished, a silver platter of mini lemon meringue bites were served, packing a zesty punch that stayed with us for the rest of the afternoon.
Celebrity Cruises offer tasting sessions during the Taste of London festival for £15 pp. We can’t think of a better way to experience a snippet of life onboard a Celebrity Cruises sailing than a gourmet luxury tasting at their stunning pop up lawn club. Catch them before Sunday to try before you buy!
Kathleen from our dedicated river cruise commercial team enjoyed a river cruise in France onboard Avalon Tapestry 2 with Avalon Waterways, read about her experience and first impressions below.
The ship was lovely, the food was lovely, the crew were just extremely welcoming and friendly and I met some amazing people. Occasionally with river cruises there are complications that arise which cause changes to the itinerary, and I got to witness one of these complications first hand. as there was going to be strikes in the locks and docks, the cruise director had to make the decision for the itinerary to be sped up, meaning that we had to meet the ship in Mantes La Jolie as it picked up passengers who went on the excursion to Rouen, then we cruised on to Conflans-Saite-Honorine through lunch where the ship docked for the night. Our Cabin The cabin as I had expected was really luxurious, with supplied bathrobes, slippers and L'Occitane toiletries. What I especially liked about the cabin was where the beds were facing the window instead of facing away from it, you could just lie on your bed and watch the ever changing scenery along the river bank as you sail to the next port of call, you could even have the floor to ceiling window open to let in some fresh air – or if you’d rather there was a seating area right in-front of the window where you could sit and read a book whilst enjoy the nice breeze from the window as you cruise along the river.
There were many other things the cabin had to offer such as a safe, a fair size wardrobe a mini fridge (which was stocked with drinks, and weren’t badly priced) and a hairdryer. Food The food was also very nice. Lunch and breakfast were both buffets with quite a variety of options of food to pick from, and the options changed every day - there was also if you preferred a menu in which you could order from. Dinner was always a three course meal with a starter, a main and a pudding. Once again there was a set menu that stayed the same every day, but there was also an option that changed daily.
Excursions Every evening just before dinner and usually just after or before happy hour (an hour when cocktails were half price) the cruise director would talk over the excursions for the next day and what’s going to happen. Also, every evening a leaflet would be put on the beds in every cabin to outline everything that was happening the next day. This was very helpful as it meant that you could carry it around with you throughout the day and refer to it. Each day there was the choice between included excursion, and on some days there was even an extra excursion with an added cost. Some of the included excursions we went on where a tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and a tour of the Château de Malmaison. Overall the cruise was definitely an experience that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I personally went on the cruise not really sure on what to expect, but also not expecting much. It was a lot better than I had anticipated and it was certainly nice to get away and just sit back and chill and do stuff like relax on the sky deck, maybe even play one of the board games available in the back lounge, or even read a book whilst sipping on a cup of tea whilst eating a doughnut. After this experience, I definitely would go on a river cruise again, and I would highly recommend Avalon Waterways.
Have you sailed with Avalon Waterways? Tell us about your experience in the comments below
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