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Cruise Line Loyalty Schemes - Does It Pay To Be Loyal?

clock 16th April 2014 | comment0 Comments
Do you love that important feeling when handing over your gold loyalty card? Or are they just something else to clutter your purse? Loyalty schemes have become a huge investment for companies and an increasing addiction to the public. I have recently had to buy a bigger purse due to the increasing amounts of plastic mounding at the bottom of my handbag and I don’t mean credit cards. Every supermarket, online store and shop I visit I am invited to join their loyalty programme and yes, some are worth it but some rarely leave the depths of my messy purse. From years of flying I have built up a strong loyalty credit with many airlines, the pinnacle of loyalty schemes, and yes I can vouch for them being very useful. Cruise lines soon realised the potential in having a loyalty scheme and now all have their own programme. A cruise line loyalty programme has the potential to turn a first time cruiser into a line ambassador. Are they worth it… Before I even delve into the loyalty programmes thoroughly, the answer is yes. Once you have found your favourite cruise line you can enrol to their complimentary programme and start earning points after just one cruise. From free gifts, savings, upgrades and exclusive sailings, cruise line loyalty programmes appear to be some of the best around and provide incredible benefits to members. Naturally the more you cruise with that line, the better your benefits will be. Finding your favourite cruise line... With all cruise lines boasting their own loyalty programmes, there is fierce competition to offer the most rewarding benefits scheme. They continue to review their programmes and make them more appealing in order to retain their loyal guests. So let's take a look at the ins and outs of some of the most popular cruise line programmes to see just how it pays to be loyal... P&O Cruises – Peninsular Club Automatic sign up – Automatically signed up after you have 150 points Number of tiers – 6 Point system – 10 points for every night spent onboard P&O Cruises’ Peninsular Club has built a strong reputation with cruisers who love their British infused sailings. The tiers are named after oceans and seas of the world that are visited by the P&O fleet and arranged in order of size. The different tier levels are based on the number of nights spent onboard and then converted to points. Benefits of the Peninsular club include special member cruises, discounts on cruises, an annual P&O gift, priority airline seating, invitations to inaugural events, hosted cocktail parties onboard, lapel pin and complimentary drinks. Find out more about the Peninsular Club levels and benefits.   Royal Caribbean – The Crown & Anchor Society Automatic sign up – No, an enrolment form will need to be completed either online or onboard Number of tiers – 6 Point system – 1 point for every night spent onboard (double if staying in junior suite or above category) The Crown and Anchor Society is said to be one of the most beneficial cruise line loyalty schemes and 9 in 10 first-time guests say they will cruise again with Royal Caribbean. The programme recently changed from its original point per cruise system to a point per night. As soon as you enrol in the programme you can start taking advantage of the membership after your first completed cruise. Membership benefits include onboard booklet including free internet vouchers, money off photographs and complimentary laundry, dinner with the Captain, priority boarding, future cruise discounts, lapel pins, upgraded toiletries and dedicated areas of the ship. Find out more about the Crown and Anchor levels and benefits   Cunard Line – Cunard World Club Automatic sign up – Yes, automatically signed up after first completed voyage Number of tiers – 4 Point system – Point per voyage Cunard Line pride themselves on high numbers of repeat guests and sign everyone up to their Cunard World Club programme after their first cruise. Within the four levels members can take advantage of a membership pin, complimentary internet, disembarkation lounge, complimentary wine tasting and invitation to an onboard Senior Officer’s Party. Find out more about The Cunard Club levels and benefits   Princess Cruises – Captains Circle Automatic sign up – Yes, automatically signed up after first completed cruise Number of tiers – 3 Point system – Point per voyage (double points when staying in a suite) Princess Cruises launched their Captain’s Circle Club over 15 years ago and have continued to improve the programme and add more benefits to the various levels. One of my favourite things about this loyalty programme is the Princess Passport that gives members a unique way to record their memories. Every time you sail you will get a stamp depicting the destination you have travelled. The stamps are signed by the Captain and displayed in your passport. Other benefits of the membership include preferential pricing offers, members only onboard events, membership pin, complimentary internet time and stateroom amenities. Find out more about Captain's Circle levels and benefits   Celebrity Cruises – Captain’s Club Automatic sign up – No, an enrolment form will need to be completed online or onboard Number of tiers – 5 Point system – Point per night depending on category of stateroom Celebrity Cruise Lines' Captain’s Club has become a renowned loyalty programme within the industry and has recently gained new enhancements including two new levels of recognition, new benefits and a new points system. With five exquisite levels of membership the benefits of Captain’s Club are extremely appealing and reward their loyal guests very well. Including Captain’s Club newsletters, access to exclusive onboard events, discount on internet, complimentary laundry, Captain’s Club cocktail hour and drink discounts. Find out more about Captain's Club levels and benefits   MSC Cruises – MSC Club Automatic sign up – No, an online enrolment form will need to be submitted after your first cruise Number of tiers – 4 Point system – 1 point per cruise The MSC Club has recently undergone an upgrade with more benefits added. The new advantages went live on MSC Poesia during her March 23rd sailing. Their loyalty programme is full of impressive benefits and offers some unique perks. Membership benefits include cruise discounts, cabin upgrades, spa discounts, shop discounts, complimentary thermal suite session, mini bar discounts, fresh fruit basket in cabin, bathrobes and slippers, priority disembarkation and points earned for every 200 euros spent onboard. Find out more about The MSC Club levels and benefits I have only outlined a few of the popular cruise line but every line from luxury lines, budget lines and family cruise lines now have their own loyalty programmes so it is definitely worth checking them out before you sail. Loyalty rewarded… From looking at the different cruise loyalty programmes it is clear to see they are worthwhile. If you tend to sail with the same line or have become fond of a certain cruise line, I cannot stress enough what a great opportunity you have by joining these clubs. With the strong industry competitiveness it has meant cruise lines are continuously improving their loyalty programmes and adding more benefits which is great news for us. With cruising becoming the number one holiday choice there has been a huge increase in repeat custom and cruise lines thrive on attracting their guests back. It clearly works as many cruisers like to express their love for a certain line. It is not even about having a gold card to show off, signing up to a cruise line loyalty programme will generally give you some incredible benefits before, during and after your cruise. By Sally Grimes

My First British Cruising Experience

clock 9th April 2014 | comment0 Comments
P&O Cruises are the pinnacle of British cruising and they pride themselves on offering a world-class, authentic British experience. One of the most popular lines in the UK, they cruise all over the world and 2014 sees popular ship Ventura embark on her maiden Fly-Med season. Sailing from Venice and Genoa she will showcase attractive European itineraries. I was lucky enough to experience her re-positioning sailing before her first Fly-med cruise… From chirping birds to splashing waves… As the clocks went back and England started to glow with sprouting daffodils, spring temperatures and the sound of chirping birds waking us, I retired my coat to the rail and packed my bag for a European adventure. Even at 4am, check-in was easy and the short flight from London was hassle-free. My nose pressed firmly against the plane window as striking views of ancient architecture swiftly passed me as I landed into Barcelona. You cannot fault the Spanish way of life with its quintessentially Latin flare and laid-back lifestyle of indulging on tapas in vibrant restaurants, however I did not have time for this today as I had someone waiting for me…Ventura. Arriving at the port, she loomed before me with her sleek exterior eagerly waiting to welcome me onboard. A warm welcome… Boarding a ship can be daunting, especially for first time cruisers but after a friendly welcome from some of the ship’s crew and a convenient ship map in hand, the boarding process was extremely smooth. Miraculously my suitcase arrived at my cabin before me and my new home for the week was very inviting with a tempting king size bed, extensive wardrobe space and an impressive balcony that cantilevered from the aft of the ship. On the first morning I reluctantly staggered out of what can only be described as the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. As I rubbed my lethargic eyes and opening my balcony doors I was hit with the fresh sea air against my face and an awe-inspiring view of the vast ocean swaying calmly around me. With a feeling of looking out at the whole world, it was the perfect way to awaken all of my senses and prepare for the day ahead. It was the first and only sea day of my cruise. I am guilty of often complaining there are not enough hours in the day, but this clearly does not occur on a cruise. From sun-bathing (and gaining the famous 'British' red-tan!), cheering on Arsenal in the pub and having a manicure in the spa to taking part in fruit carving, having a galley tour and failing miserable at 'name that tune' – my day was packed with adventures. Not to mention the incredible food I indulged on, from the full English breakfast to the fresh pizza cooked at the poolside grill. English Kings and Queens… Formal night - a time that allows P&O to represent the traditional but modern style they are famous for. With everyone dressed in their formal attire, sipping champagne and having photographs with the Captain, it was a special evening that has left me with a joyous memory. The constant flow of smiles on everyone’s face was extremely infectious and there was a jubilant atmosphere all around. P&O Cruises have one or two formal nights during a one week cruise and optional so those who do not want to dress up can dine in the buffet restaurant if desired. However for me, formal night is a great opportunity to dress up in an elegant cocktail dress, that rarely comes out of my wardrobe, and feel like a princess for a night. After a formal dinner involving New England split lobster, Prosecco poached strawberries, fine wine and plenty of laughter, I experienced one of the line’s production shows. The main theatre spans over two decks and boasts gold décor, HD screens, innovative lighting and a large stage perfect for showcasing the talented singers and dancers. Europe awaits… Our first port was Toulon, I took the complimentary water taxi to the city centre where I enjoyed strolling around the quant shops that lined the charming yacht harbours. As we sailed away it was incredible to see how the clear blue sky allowed the sun to illuminate this picturesque city. Arriving in Monte Carlo the next morning was an experience hard to put into words. The intense colours of the beaming sunset peered through souring mountains that dwarfed the unique architecture and beautiful yacht harbours. Upon leaving the ship I explored the Grand Prix track before boarding the tour bus. After a scenic drive unveiling famous landmarks and celebrity homes I reached Nice. Moseying around the fresh fruit markets, stopping for a fresh macaroon and admiring the history-enriched buildings were my highlights here. It was then onto Cannes, a place that defines wealth and luxury, it was like being placed in the middle of a fairy-tale. Lavish boutiques, fresh pastry shops and water-front cafes lined the sun-drenched beaches and harbours bursting with extravagant yachts. It was great to see the extensive range of excursions P&O had on offer. With  adventurous, educational and relaxed options there is something for everyone at every port. The excursion staff were very helpful and had extensive knowledge of every city. Fly-Med Success… After canapés and cocktails in the Metropolis Bar, for my last meal onboard I went to The White Room, Marco Pierre White’s signature restaurant. Easily one of the best meals I have experienced on a ship, each dish set my taste buds alight and accompanied the chosen wines perfectly. After four truly exquisite dishes, I still couldn’t resist the Tiramisu and melt-in-your-mouth truffles. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Ventura and everything about the trip gave me insights into the fantastic opportunities guests will have on Ventura's Fly-Med season. Reaching exciting cities without having to spend two days at sea is a bonus and having the opportunity to spend a night (or 2) before or after your cruise is fantastic. Although there were lots of things that stood out, these are the ones I want to point out: • The price of drinks onboard were the lowest I have ever seen on a cruise with no added tax or gratuity charge. • It was easy and convenient to fly and the transfer to the ship was very quick and efficient. • The selection of afternoon teas and cakes (including shortbread, fruit cake and Victoria sponge) laid out every day were a delightful  'British' touch. • Tea and coffee making facilities in my stateroom were very useful. • The Great British Sail away on the top deck as we sailed away from Monte Carlo was very patriotic and fun. • A Ventura chocolate placed on my pillow every night when I returned to my cabin was a special little touch that made me smile. As my trip sadly came to an end and I sat in Genoa airport waiting to fly home, it gave me time to reflect on my Ventura experience. From the exceptional service, delicious cuisine and outstanding entertainment to the array of onboard activities, comfortable cabins and fascinating ports, it is clear to see why this iconic cruise line continue to be a number one choice for both first time and experienced cruisers. By Sally Grimes

How to save over £1500 on the Monaco Grand Prix

clock 8th April 2014 | comment0 Comments
The Monaco Grand Prix - one of the most anticipated races of the F1 calendar, it represents the pinnacle of motor car racing at one of the most lavish addresses in the world. Monte Carlo is a city that defines luxury with its water-front mansions, fancy boutiques and prime restaurants that line its iconic yacht harbors. Home to millionaires and A-list celebrities, it showcases the most glamorous lifestyles. Behind its flashy appearance lies fresh pastry shops, sun-drenched beaches and fascinating architecture, making it a must-see destination with lots to explore. Most people, including myself, succumb to the fact we will only experience the Monaco Grand Prix on the TV or by winning the lottery, so I wanted to find out exactly how much it would cost in comparison to Azamara's Grand Prix cruise. Following on from my previous blog where I found out how great it was to combine a cruise with major sporting events, I wanted to delve into this further and find out if it is really is as good value for money as advertised...     Independent Package Holiday Azamara Quest Cruise Flights British Airways Outbound 22/05/14 Economy: £164Return 27/05/14Economy: £436 Flights total for 2 people: £1200 IncludedReturn flights and all transfers Hotel Columbus Monte Carlo 3* Standard room: £198.59 per night Hotel total for 2 people, 5 nights: £992.95 Included5* Luxury stateroom accommodation Grand Prix Tickets Sunday main race: £422.92 per person Total for 2 people: £845.84 Sunday main race: £422.92 per person Total for 2 people: £845.84 Food Average meal: £30 per personTotal for 2 people, 5 nights: £600 IncludedAll meals, snacks, bottled water,teas, coffees & spirits Transport Aiport to hotel: £74.00Average other taxi rides: £50Total: £198 IncludedComplimentary shuttle bus in Port Total Price £3836.79 £2009.92   In addition to the above a cruise onboard Azamara Quest will include complimentary entertainment, fitness centre, enriching lectures, laundry service and gratuities. With a saving of over £1500, even I was shocked by the phenomenal value for money you get from cruising to the Grand Prix...I am not relying on that lottery win anymore! By Sally Grimes

10 Best European Cities To Visit By Cruise This Year

clock 4th April 2014 | comment0 Comments
With a cruise rapidly becoming the most desired holiday option for British holiday makers, cruise lines are expanding their horizons and sending their ships to new destinations. Europe continues to be an extremely popular cruise choice and showcases history-enriched cultures, breath-taking landscapes and exciting culinary experiences. These intriguing oceans are lined with fascinating cities and the most alluring coastlines in the world. With more ships than ever based in Europe this year, there has never been a better time to delve into this captivating part of the world. There are so many cities to explore, it is hard to choose a favourite but here are my top 10 European cities you should visit this year: Barcelona It is hard to fault the Spanish way of life, sipping sangrias on sun-drenched beaches or eating fresh tapas on the terrace of an architectural marvel. Set on the east coast, Barcelona dominates this intriguing country. A city bursting with unusual buildings, exotic restaurants and an energetic nightlife combined with a cosmopolitan lifestyle and quintessentially Spanish flare. A visit here on a cruise allows you to explore all of what this enticing city has to offer. Delve into the mysterious history behind the Sagrada Familia, spend an afternoon in awe of the iconic Montserrat, catch some rays on the beautiful beaches or spend the day simply exploring this city by foot. Described in one word: Cosmopolitan My top thing to do: Try and catch a football game at the iconic Barcelona Football Stadium Favourite food to try: Tapas Florence Small enough to explore on foot, Florence is an intriguing city that is sure to captivate every visitor. With its history-enriched architecture combined with modern art galleries and state-of-the-art restaurants, it harmonises old with new. Known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, it is a true representative of Italian culture. With art and architecture in abundance, you are never short of breath-taking views. The centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lined with famous cathedrals and the world’s most famous churches. A visit here gives you the chance to experience Italy at its finest - gorge on renaissance art work, listen to a traditional opera performance or indulge on some fresh pizza and locally produced wine. Described in one word: Intriguing My top thing to do: Visit the Palazzo Vecchio Favourite food to try: Fresh bread with olive oil   Istanbul Imagine bustling street markets with friendly locals serving a variety of delicious Turkish cuisine with a backdrop of incredible landscapes and soaring mosques - that's the scene of Istanbul. This cultural city is an un-told story of mysterious tales and captivating scenery. With so much to do and see, there is no end of exiting explorations to be had. This unique city shows off its dated history through century-old architecture and traditional ways of living. The desirable warm weather that Turkey boasts allows the sun to illuminate this incredible city. Visit the Blue Mosque in all its glory, take yourself underground and walk the intriguing 6th century water-storage system, indulge in a traditional Turkish bath or simply wander the local markets. Described in one word: Vibrant My top thing to do: See a birds-eye view of Istanbul from the Galata Tower Favourite food to try: Adana Kebab Rome Oh Rome, glorious Rome - a city like nowhere else in the world, it certainly left a memorable impact on me. One of the most photographed cities in the world, there is no shortage of enraptured sights and enchanting landmarks. Like one big open aired museum, Rome will seduce you with its architectural masterpieces, famous artwork and endearing shopping. Although bursting with history, Rome also boasts modern piazzas bursting with attractive restaurants, ice-cream parlours and quant cafes. The perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon to marvel on what is around you. Visit the awe-inspiring Colosseum, see Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel or toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain. Described in one word: Historic My top thing to do: Catch a glimpse of Napoleon Favourite food to try: Gelatae St Petersburg The dazzling city of St Petersburg holds more history than you can imagine and this is apparent at your every turn. With its winding canals, breath-taking cathedrals and ancient bridges, it is known as the Venice of the North. As you walk around you are faced with cathedrals that belong in fairy tales and attractive buildings, all bisected by romantic canals. There are so many sights to take in, you will never want to put your camera down. Be taken back in history on a visit to the fascinating battle cruiser The Aurora, climb the 300 steps up St Isaac’s Cathedral to take in a panoramic view of the city or dance under The Peterhof Fountains. Described in one word: Inspirational My top thing to do: Visit The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Favourite food to try: Stolle Pie Dubrovnik Looming out of the clear Mediterranean waters, the enchanting city of Dubrovnik holds history as intriguing as its sights. Known as 'The Pearl of Adriatic' there are few places that are as captivating as this city. Named as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Old Town boasts tranquil harbours lined with ancient buildings and stony roads. Every walkway leads to another incredible view and you are sure to be taken in by everything your eyes cross. Don your walking shoes and stroll around the ancient city to learn all about the city, take a ride on the Dubrovnik Cable Car or visit the magnificent Sponza Palace. After taking in all of the magnificent sights, tucked in the narrow streets are quaint cafes and restaurants for you to sit and reflect on this magical part of the world. Described in one word: Stunning My top thing to do: Visit the Church of St Blaise Favourite food to try: Oysters Venice Even the word Venice creates an instant sense of serenity. A city where roads are canals, cafes outnumber shops and taking a gondola ride is classed as taking a taxi. Home to over 500 historic bridges and a maze of cobbled streets all set in-between pleasant canals, it is a city of intense uniqueness. Whether you are on the water or walking the streets there is no shortage of unimaginable views. St Mark's Square will delight with its ancient buildings, al-fresco restaurants and edges lined with boutiques and cafes. From here you can branch off to the small walkways that are home to museums, galleries and market stalls. Described in one word: Alluring My top thing to do: Take a gondola ride Favourite food to try: Pizza Rhodes A trip to Rhodes will take you back in time to a land of ancient wonders. The oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, it is home to history-enriched architecture and aged ruins. This picturesque island takes you on a journey of discovery as you stroll around the cobbled streets and marvel at everything it has to offer. The major sights dominate the land including the pink domed 16th century Mosque of Suleyman and the Byzantime Museum. Whether you want to explore the sights, search the local markets or indulge on some local cuisine, Rhodes is a destination of great exploration. Described in one word: Mysterious My top thing to do: Soak up some sun in St Pauls Bay Favourite food to try: Greek salad Monte Carlo A place radiating wealth and luxury, Monte Carlo is a haven of lavish yacht harbours, upscale restaurants and enticing beaches. One of the most glamorous addresses in the world, this pristine land allows dreams to come true as you experience the extravagant lifestyle that is common here. After a day spent soaking up the sun on one of the lavish beaches or shopping in the chic shopping malls, you can experience the incredible nightlife on offer including exciting casinos to the sleek water-side bars. If you want to delve further than the glitzy town of Monte Carlo, Nice and Cannes are a taxi ride away and allow you to experience this impressive part of the world even further. Described in one word: Luxurious My top thing to do: Tour the Grand Prix track Favourite food to try: Macaroons  Amsterdam A city that brings pictures come to life, Amsterdam is vibrant from morning to night. Streets lined with quaint cafes, shops and bars combined with the charming canals overshadowed by grand bridges, it is the hidden gem of Europe. Although not a huge city, there is lots to see and do. From museums, galleries and biking tours you will be able to experience all the fantastic sights that Amsterdam has to offer. The only remaining floating market is here and you can haggle for fresh flowers, local food and unique artwork. Even with the extensive amount of things to do, Amsterdam is a relaxing city that creates a serene atmosphere and portrays a relaxed way of life. Described in one word: Cultural My top thing to do: Visit the house of Anne Frank Favourite food to try: Cheese By Sally Grimes

Is a cruise your golden ticket to the best sporting events?

clock 26th March 2014 | comment0 Comments
Sporting memories from a none-sporting fan... When I think about my time at sea, the best memories are not always of the amazing destinations I visited. They are of the people I met from all over the world and the experiences we shared together. One of my favourite memories is the 2010 World Cup. At the time I was working onboard Oasis of the Seas and every game created an electric atmosphere among the crew and guests, that will forever remain in my memory. I come from a very sporting family but I have never been into sport myself. However when I was surrounded with crew members from 97 different countries all supporting their countries, I too became passionate. During a cruise to Bermuda I went for a bike ride and noticed crowds of people outside one of the island's golf courses. I went to see what everyone was looking at and saw it was the US Open Championships. The likes of Colin Montgomery were just a fence away from me. I remember thinking how special it would be to take this cruise and couple it with a major event like this. Cruise lines continue to jump on the idea of combining a cruise with a major sporting event. I can definitely see why these cruises have become so popular and they offer guests an exclusive experience for a non-exclusive price. From The Grand Prix to The British Open... From the Monaco Grand Prix to The Ashes, the cruise lines have it covered. Two fantastic experiences in one, you can enjoy an incredible cruise as-well as the sporting event you have always dreamed of going to. People are often put off going to an event in another country because of flights, accommodation and the overall cost, which is why combining it with a cruise creates a hassle-free, valuable experience. Here are my top picks: Monaco F1 Grand Prix, Monaco A place that defines luxury, Monaco is an extravagant playground of prime restaurants, glamorous yachts and celebrity hot-spots. An indulging cruise combined with this anticipated event is a match made in heaven. Enjoy the thrill of screaming fans and racing tyres joined with elegant wine bars, charming harbours and a lavish nightlife. Luxury line Azamara Club Cruises are offering an 8 night Grand Prix Voyage that includes two full days and an overnight in Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix. Other stops include Portofino, Saint-Tropez and Cannes. After four years, Star Clippers are returning to the F1 scene with a 7 night sailing from Cannes calling at Corsica, Lerici and Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix. 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil The event that not only football fanatics are waiting for, but the whole world is anticipating. The 2014 FIFA World Cup is set to be the most memorable sporting event of 2014. Held in the vibrant city of Rio De Janeiro it is expected to attract sporting fans from all over the world. Lasting a total of 30 days the World Cup sees football teams from around the world compete to take the title of world’s best team. Attracting lots of competitiveness, excitement and a buzzing atmosphere, Rio is the perfect place for it to be held. There is no where else in the world like Rio De Janeiro with a backdrop of souring mountains combined with towering buildings that line the dramatic beaches. Home to colourful carnivals, exotic cuisine and breathtaking explorations, this city should definitely be one you tick off your wish list. MSC Cruises are offering two sailings on MSC Divina to and from the World Cup this year. The first an 18 night cruise from Miami and the second a 19 night sailing from Rio De Janeiro. For those unable to venture across the pond to experience the excitement first hand then P&O Cruises and Cunard have ensured you you won't miss a kick, goal or save as they promise to broadcast live coverage onboard their ships. The British Open, United Kingdom The pinnacle of summer tournaments, The British Open sees the world’s best golfers come together to compete on our renowned golf courses. Known as UK’s most spectated event, the iconic St Andrews golf course comes alive with famous golfers, celebrities and enthusiastic spectators. Azamara Club Cruises have an amazing cruise in July that includes the British Open. Sail during the peak of summer around the iconic British Isles and have the opportunity to play golf at seven renowned courses as-well as watch part of the British Open. Departing Southampton on July 4th 2015 you will sail to the most captivating destinations Britain has to offer including Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Guernsey and Isle Of Skye. Melbourne Cup, Melbourne Named 'the race that stops a nation' this thoroughbred horse race held early November is one of Australia’s most significant sporting events. Attracting people from all over the world these famous races take place over three days and offer a phenomenal social experience. From the sophisticated women dressed in spectacular dresses to the groups of tourists enjoying placing bets, the atmosphere is sensational. Melbourne is an urban jungle of culture, art, fashion and fun Australian locals. An energetic city that invites you to explore its souring architecture, water-side restaurants and vibrant theaters - combining a visit here with the Melbourne Cup is a fantastic opportunity. This year sees the 45th anniversary of this event and more cruise lines are starting to delve into this part of the world. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises are just a few of the lines that sail to Australia. P&O Cruises Australia are sending Pacific Jewel on two Melbourne Cup cruises that will include a behind the scene tour of Flemington Race Track. Pleasing Her + Pleasing Him = Perfect Couple... Picture yourself sipping an exotic cocktail on the top deck of a state of the art cruise ship before you dock next to one of the most anticipated events of the year…it is a match made in heaven. With more people realising that cruising gives you the golden ticket to the best sporting events in the world and the exceptional benefits of combining the two, these cruises rapidly sell out. There has never been a better time to combine your two favourite things, she is happy with the cruise and he is happy watching his favourite sport all around! By Sally Grimes

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