As we’re already extremely busy working on making 2017 the best year yet for Iglu Cruise customers, we can’t help but smile thinking about the fantastic moments we’ve shared and things we’ve achieved in 2016. What a great year for cruise!
2016 saw the launch of the new and improved Handcrafted Holidays, which are unique discoveries handpicked by us, so that many itineraries can include hotel stays & cultural immersion tours. These can be personally tailored to your own preferences so your holiday is completely about you, and the best part is that all of the organising is done by us!
We designed several handcrafted holiday brochures this year, including our first Asia & Alaska brochures.
View Asia brochure.
View Canada & Alaska brochure.
We saw amazing success with our new Escorted F1 Grand Prix Cruises, where customer feedback told us they enjoyed the more personal touch to a holiday, having been guided personally by Iglu Cruise.
If combining your cruise holiday with a F1 Grand Prix sounds gold to you, check out our F1 Grand Prix Cruises brochure.
Read about Iglu Cruise’s time at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.
Single cruisers, we couldn't forget about you! We've expanded our blog content this year and have introduced solo cruising emails, full of handy hints and tips. Our most popular blogs include: single cruising recommendations and you're a solo traveller but you love to dance. We will continue to secure fantastic offers with no or low single supplements next year.
2016 was our year for river! We achieved our first ever set of river awards, and we’re absolutely delighted to have been awarded River Cruise Line Agent of the Year! A big thanks to our River Cruise Product Manager, Margaret Mccorriston, voted River Cruise Ambassador of the Year for her amazing work this year, and we can look forward to Margaret bringing you more exciting, fantastic value river experiences in the New Year.
Also an exciting year for river cruising trips, as we sent Kathleen, from the River Team on a Paris to Normandy itinerary onboard Avalon Tapestry 2.
Dave, from our Commercial Team, was very lucky to have been invited onboard the newly launched, most luxury ship at sea, and has written a blog to let us know what is so special about about a Regent Seven Seas Cruise.
We are thrilled to have had another multi award-winning year which saw us win 15 titles, including three awards in one week! Some of our accolades include Online Travel Agent of the Year at the CLIA Cruise Awards, which we have achieved now for 5 years in a row and we have continued to solidify our presence as Number 1 Cruise Agency for multiple cruise lines, including MSC Cruises and Carnival Corporation. We would like to thank our committed cruise partners for their continued support throughout the year & our loyal customers who have voted for us!
View all Iglu Cruise awards.
In 2016 we saw 100’s of cruise enthusiasts walk through the doors at our cruise shows. The Iglu Cruise Shows were held at the amazing Kempton and Sandown Park Racecourses in April and October of this year. We were so pleased to be joined by the likes of TV presenter and actress, Julie Peasgood in April and journalist Sara Macefield in October. They both provided our guests with their extensive knowledge and experience within the Talk Theatre forums and the one-to-ones throughout the day.
Other events we carried out in 2016 include afternoon teas with Regent and Oceania and Daily Mail & Conde Nast trade shows.
The Iglu Team were lucky to be invited to several iconic events of 2016, including the christening of Oceania’s Sirena, plus many of us were let loose onboard the largest ship at sea, Harmony of the Seas.
Other notable events include the Taste of London Food Festival with Celebrity Cruises.
For any big events we attend, we make sure to post live updates on social media for our customers to join in on all of the action. Make sure to follow us on social media so you don’t miss out!
The Iglu Cruise Team sailed far and wide this year so that we can continue to provide our customers with insider knowledge.
For anyone who ever wondered what it is like to cruise on Hurtigruten, Rob, from our sales team tells all in his diary about his cruise to Norway onboard MS Kong Harald, while you can find out what it’s like onboard MSC Preziosa from Rob’s colleague, Michael.
Other great trips include Sharon, from our Commercial Team’s 11 night cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection and our Marketing Manager Natalie’s incredible weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
With new ships launching, new refurbishments and the introduction of new itineraries bringing you more destinations than ever before, we’re looking forward to raising the anchor and setting sail on an exciting journey with you in 2017!
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from Iglu Cruise!
We all know the proverb “the early bird catches the worm” and it rings true for so many common occasions in our lives. Whether it’s putting your name down for the prize turkey at Christmas, clicking refresh on your web browser for event tickets or even getting a seat on the train during rush-hour. There’s no denying that planning ahead or turning up early gives you more choice and more chance of getting exactly what you want. The same can be said for booking your next trip away, with many cruise packages now including popular events and themes it’s a good idea to book in advance to ensure you can be part of the action. From world famous sporting events to music cruises, seasonal themes and more; there are a whole host of unique cruise packages to choose from. Explore just some of the opportunities with our latest 10 cruises to book in advance.
1. Monaco Grand Prix with Azamara Club Cruises (May 2016). Secure your spot at one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. Experience the glamour and luxury lifestyle first hand, explore Monte Carlo and enjoy the incomparable buzz of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.
2. Baltic Sea Golf Cruise with Azamara Club Cruises (June 2016). Cruise the captivating Baltic Sea with Azamara Club Cruises and play at some of the most magnificent golf courses in Europe with an add on golf package from PerryGolf. Play The International in the Netherlands, The Scandinavian in Denmark and more on this unique golfing tour.
3. Chelsea Flower Show with Swan Hellenic (May 2016). Cruise in the spring to some perfectly picturesque destinations on this exciting voyage, designed in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society. A number of garden-themed excursions are available plus your cruise culminates in a visit to the hugely popular Chelsea Flower Show.
4. Country Music Cruise with Holland America Line (January 2016). The most exciting country music celebration is happening at sea as music fans rejoice alongside some of their favourite famous musicians. Country music cruisers can enjoy live performances, line dancing, real southern cooking and much more on this one of a kind music themed cruise.
5. Christmas Markets Cruise (Dec 2016) with Fred. Olsen Cruises. Wake up in a Christmas fairy-tale as you explore the enchanting Irish Christmas markets as part of this unique and memorable winter cruise. Pick up some truly unique Christmas gifts for loved ones and sample the tasty local delicacies on display.
6. New Year Northern Lights Cruise (Dec 2015) with Hurtigruten. Not only is this the optimal time of year for northern lights sightings but also the most magical. Cruise north of the Arctic Circle to see stunning snow coated landscapes and spend a Christmas and New Year at sea that you’ll never forget. (Departs 2015)
7. Soul Train Cruise (Jan 2016) with Celebrity Cruises. Sail to the sweet melodic sounds of soul on this hugely popular Soul Train cruise. Enjoy live performances from an incredible line-up of renowned musicians, celebrity hosted activities and hotel stays in Memphis, Chicago and more. Don’t hesitate on this greatly unrivalled cruising experience.
8. Star Wars at Sea (Jan 2016) with Disney Cruise Line. Sci-fi sets sail with a Star Wars Day at Sea from Disney Cruise Line. Star Wars super fans can immerse themselves in the famous saga as they are joined onboard by a whole host of iconic characters. Jedi training, film screenings, themed events and celebrations are just a few of the highlights.
9. Carnival Vista Maiden Voyage (1st May 2016) with Carnival Cruises. Known as the world’s most popular cruise line, Carnival Cruises really know how to switch on the fun and have a good time. Savvy sailors are eagerly anticipating the launch of Carnival Vista, Carnival’s largest ever and most innovative fun ship. Book early to be a part of the maiden voyage and experience Carnival’s colourful and upbeat class of cruising.
10. Calgary Stampede (2nd July 2016) with Celebrity Cruises. Welcome to the wildness of the west at the Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth. This exciting two day event hosts the rodeo world’s finest and offers a gripping schedule of entertainment. This once in a lifetime cruise also features an Alaska voyage and Rocky Mountaineer train journey – sign me up!
The 17th March brings us the festival of St Patrick’s Day, a celebration of everything Irish; anything green and gold goes along with shamrocks, luck, Guinness, trad music and Irish food. The whole world celebrates with parades, song and dance.
Welcome, to the only day of the year when you won’t look out of place in a giant leprechaun hat.
Why do we celebrate?
Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is best known for driving all the snakes away from the island; and it is true that you will find no snakes there, but there probably never has been since it was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age.
Saint Patrick is also supposed to have brought Christianity to the island of Ireland and had used the shamrock, which has now become the national emblem, to explain the holy trinity.
National monuments across the world go green in celebration. In Chicago, the city lights up green along with the Chicago River which is dyed a fluorescent green for the occasion.
Other monuments that go green include the London Eye, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls, the Burj al Arab in Dubai, South Africa’s Table Mountain and the Sydney Opera House.
Celebrating on a cruise
If you are on a cruise during the St Paddy’s festivities, you’re in luck; cruise line celebrations vary but most give a nod to the patron saint of Ireland. Here are our top picks of some of the best St Patrick’s Day parties at sea:
Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian will be throwing a St Patrick’s Day Party across the fleet where guests are able to celebrate with Irish themed music, entertainment, decorations, food and drink…including green beer!
Royal Caribbean: The Royal Caribbean fleets will see parties and onboard parades along with Irish themed music, karaoke and more.
Wherever you are in the world, you can guarantee St Patrick’s Day celebrations will follow you.
With Chinese New Year fast approaching on the 28th January 2017, we thought we’d take a look at some of the biggest and brightest celebrations the world has to offer during this colourful celebration.
Beijing’s temples and parks are buzzing with fairs, carnivals and parades. Circus-style acrobats fill the streets alongside lion and dragon dances and families celebrating hand in hand.
Singapore celebrates in style with its annual Chingay Parade, Asia’s largest street procession. Beautiful decorations and fireworks light up the city. It’s a raucous sight to behold.
With one of the loudest and most lively celebrations of all, Hong Kong brings in lively crowds from all over the world to spectate its Chinese New Year celebrations. Boasting a breath-taking fireworks display over Victoria Harbour, festive celebrations, food and shopping.
As well as a Chingay parade, Penang is home to a very unique Chinese New Year celebration. During the fifteenth night of Lantern Festival, single women and girls throw oranges into the sea in the belief that this will help them find good husbands. They write their contact details on the fruit, and the men scour the water for the oranges in the hope of finding ‘the one’.
Can’t get away this time of year? Don’t fear. London boasts one of the biggest and best Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia, host to spectacular celebrations from Chinatown to Trafalgar Square. You can expect inspiring performances, arts and crafts stools and 100s of bars and restaurants with open doors.
2017 is the Year of the Rooster (1933, 1945, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005); people born in these years are believed to be trustworthy, responsible at work and have a strong sense of timekeeping.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Browse some of our favourite Chinese New Year itineraries:
18 Nt Chinese New Year, Vietnam & Philippines from Singapore with Celebrity Cruises 19 Nt Chinese New Year Tour & Southeast Asia from Singapore with Royal Caribbean 16 Nt Chinese New Year, Vietnam & Philippines from Singapore with Celebrity Cruises
A cruise alongside Norway’s dramatic fjords is the trip of a lifetime; with their raw, astonishing beauty, they push away thoughts of the modern world and reconnect you with what our world is capable of creating. Norway, ancestral home of the vikings, is the perfect place to bask in this feeling, and its most popular festivals will take you back in time, then home to the present to enjoy some of the best music in the world. From Karmøy’s time-travelling Viking Festival to the world-class music and food festivals which can be found across Norway during the summer months, cruising visitors will be hard-pressed to choose where to go and what to see here.
Viking Festival, Karmøy
The coastal municipality of Karmøy, found in the northwestern region of Norway, had a reputation as a sailing community even in the time of vikings, despite the stormy and dangerous seas off its coast. It was even said that Thor, the god of thunder, waded the straits at Karmsund each day on his way to Yggdrasil. This heritage is echoed by the viking remnants and ruins to be found here, and at the beginning of June Karmøy celebrates its long and storied past by recreating the lives of the vikings.
The festival, which takes place at Karmøy’s reconstructed viking settlement, is a treat for history buffs of any age. There’s no feeling in the world like standing in a place of history and watching that history unfold around you - everyone thinks they know about vikings, but the reality is stunning and fascinating. Wander through the vast “Viking Market” at the center of the festival, watch actors recreate living history, and take in the reconstructions: massive viking boats, a blacksmith exhibit, storytelling of Norse myths and history, horse shows, archery, weapons demonstrations, and much more. When you’re ready to dig your hands in yourself, you can take part in a wide range of activities designed to pull you deeper into viking life. Once you’ve learned the ins-and-outs of plant dyeing, learned how to start a fire, tasted the herbs used a millenia ago, and competed in viking games, you’ll start to understand Norway better than you ever could before.
To finish your time at the festival, you can either purchase food or grill up your own barbeque on communal barbeque pits - either way, you’ll want to sit back, relax, and listen to traditional Norwegian music while you eat. As the sun stays high in the sky long into evening, you’ll watch the jugglers pass by and thank Thor that you’re in Norway.
Summer Music Festivals
Of course, Norway is also a modern country, and its famous music scene has produced many exciting music festivals. No matter your taste in music, you’ll find something here to keep you dancing: classical music, jazz, acoustic, folk, blues, rock, and indie are all represented at different festivals throughout the summer. Of these, the Molde International Jazz Festival and Øya Festival are two of the most popular.
Held each July and founded in 1961, the Molde International Jazz Festival is the longest-running in Europe. Drawing both Norwegian talent and top performers from across the world, this festival is a must-see for jazz fans, and a great way to spend a day for everyone else. Over the course of five days, over 100 concerts - many of them free - are held across Molde, giving visitors the chance to see jazz greats in person. Herbie Hancock and Jamie Cullum have both performed here, and the 2013 list included Bryan Ferry & The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, John Legend, Jason Moran, and many more. No matter what you think of jazz now, this festival will re-ignite your passion or introduce you to the complexity and brilliance of modern jazz.
Image: fulya atalay / Shutterstock.com
Øya Festival, Oslo’s largest outdoor music festival, is held at the beginning of August each year. Even among rock and indie festivals, Øya is unique; despite hosting some of the biggest names in the game, Øya retains its green roots (with environmentally ethical standards and 100% organic food) and provides a chance to see top acts without the crush of people found at most major festivals. 2014’s roster includes Queens of the Stone Age and Robyn, while previous years have featured luminaries such as Kanye West, Iggy Pop, the Arctic Monkeys, and Lily Allen. If you’re cruising through Norway this summer, there’s no question that Øya is the place to be.
Gladmat Festival, Stavanger
When you think of Norway’s jewels, you might not think of delicious food, but Gladmat Festival aims to change that line of thinking. Drawing 250,000 people to Stavanger (found on the northwestern coast) every year in July, the Gladmat Festival is Scandinavia’s largest food festival, and gladly welcomes in everyone from top chefs to the curious visitors in search of a nibble or two. Local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients are featured, but classes are held on cuisines from across the globe, and tastings are available for everything from chocolate to beer.
Eat your fill of local shellfish, listen to talks by famous and established chefs (Gordon Ramsay was the guest of honor in 2010), and wander through the vendors in search of something delicious to eat there or to take home to your friends and family. Whether or not you consider yourself an ace in the kitchen, it’s well worth taking the time to attend some of the classes - taught by some of Norway’s best chefs, these deal with everything from how to cook seafood to how to brew your own beer, and watching these masters at work is a pleasure in and of itself. This is a festival which rewards day-long visitors as much as it does those who stay for the entire celebration, making it the perfect day trip off your cruise. Not only does it give you a literal taste of what Norway has to offer, but it will provide you with plenty of delicious memories to take home with you.
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