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Hot vs Cold Cruising

clock 2nd May 2018 | comment0 Comments

With more and more choices of cruising styles and destinations becoming available, it can seem overwhelming when it comes to making a decision about where and when to go. Well, one of the first things that should be considered is what kind of holiday you’re looking for – a hot and sunny one with plenty of opportunities to swim and sunbathe, or a cold one with chances to explore new surroundings. Read on for our helpful overview of hot versus cold cruising.

Cruising in a Hot Destination

 

Where to go

There are plenty of sunny spots to choose from for your next cruise holiday. From popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, to more unusual places in South America, Africa, or Asia, there are places to suit everyone. When deciding, consider who you’re travelling with and what you’re looking for in a holiday. The Mediterranean can be great for families who only want short flights - or even no flights at all - whereas the Caribbean is wonderful for couples looking to relax and recharge. On the other hand, if you’re after a bit of adventure you could opt for an enriching itinerary in Peru which includes Macchu Picchu, or an exciting experience on the Mekong River taking in Cambodia and Vietnam.

 

What to pack

No matter where you decide to go on your hot weather cruise holiday, there are some must-pack items that it’s important not to forget;

  • Sun cream
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun hat
  • Water bottle – ideally foldable
  • Scarf/shawl – for covering up from the sun and at attractions if required
  • Flip Flops or slider shoes for by the pool
  •  

    Cruising in a Cold Destination

     

    Where to go

    While hot destinations are often the more popular choice, cruise lines are now travelling to an abundance of cooler places all over the world. Adventurous cruisers have the chance to take on the elements on an expedition cruise in the Arctic and Antarctic, or those wanting to stay a little closer to home could enjoy a European river cruise wandering through the magical Christmas markets. Scandinavia also offers some wonderful cruising opportunities in the winter, for instance traversing the Norwegian fjords is on many a bucket list. Canada and Alaska cruises are also becoming more popular as more cruise ships are being designed to tackle the environment.

     

    What to pack

    When travelling in cold destinations it’s important to be prepared. When it comes to exploring the various ports or taking part in excursions – or even if you’ll be spending time on the deck – you’ll need the proper clothing. Consider packing the following;

     

  • Thermal layers – vests and leggings are helpful and take up little room in your suitcase
  • Winter boots – well-insulated boots are a must
  • Winter coat – ideally to the knee in length, and with a hood
  • Extra socks – both thin and thick; layering is key
  •  

    Armed with this information, the next step is to take a look at your own cruising wish list and determine exactly what you’re looking for. Both hot and cold cruises can deliver a fantastic range of experiences, so if you’re still none the wiser why not call our team for some great advice and to discuss your options. It might even be possible to create your own tailor-made cruise holiday, which offers both hot and cold destinations.



    Family Cruising at Christmas

    clock 21st December 2017 | comment0 Comments

    With so many cruise lines offering a variety of entertainment for all ages, it’s no wonder a cruise is a great gift for the whole family! During the festive season there’s no need for the chaos of preparing an extensive dinner, or battling to put up the decorations. On a Christmas cruise, the details are taken care of for you.

    Family on the beach

    From the moment you step onboard you’ll find your favourite ship has been enhanced into a festive wonderland. Cunard Queen Mary is a real sight to see especially, with awe-inspiring gingerbread models and Hans Christian Andersen -esque displays. With a huge programme of activities, many of which are Christmas themed, you can be rest assured that the whole family will find entertainment they love this winter. Below are just some of the highlights.


    Movies and Shows

    Cruise lines are constantly going above and beyond to offer a huge range of shows onboard. From theatrical shows and comedy to the latest movies and live music, you are spoilt for choice across all venues. Our favourites include MSC Cruises’ exclusive Cirque Du Soleil shows, as well as Disney Cruise Line’s magical Tangled: The Musical! Of course at Christmas time, make sure to look out for the festive classics showcased in theatres and outdoor screens.


    Pools and Spas

    All the family will enjoy the range of pools that can be found onboard the majority of cruise ships. Meanwhile, you will often find adult-only spaces including relaxing spa facilities, pools, and whirlpools, as well as areas designed especially for kids. Carnival Cruises’ Dr Seuss-themed water park has some brilliant features including a tipping bucket and splash zone, while MSC Cruises ships MSC Preziosa and MSC Seaside have some incredible water slides.

    Carnival Cruises Waterpark


    Dining Options

    You’ll be thrilled to find that you won’t be missing out on a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, as well as all your favourite festive sweet treats! With many restaurants serving mince pies, yule log and Christmas cookies, you’ll feel right at home (without all the cleaning up afterwards!). For those looking to break tradition though, opt for a speciality restaurant such as Johnny Rockets with Royal Caribbean, or pile your plate with all your favourites at the informal buffet restaurants.


    Action-Packed Fun

    As well as the swimming pools, many ships are home to rock-climbing walls, surf-simulators, zip-lines and even go-kart tracks, with much more in the works. Norwegian Cruise Line have excitingly revealed upcoming plans for laser tag venues as well as the largest at-sea racetrack! From meeting their favourite TV and film characters to climbing high above the top deck, kids of all ages will be spoilt for choice during sea days.

    As well as all this, don’t forget to check out the programme of activities onboard. Many cruise lines will offer seasonal extras which are great for the whole family. Expect visits from Santa or maybe even a Santa’s grotto, Christmas craft workshops, spell-binding carol singers, and beautiful gingerbread villages.


    Kids Clubs

    Don’t forget that parents can still enjoy a special evening together too! Thanks to onboard Kids Clubs offered on many larger cruise ships, you and your partner will be able to relax knowing that the little ones are in good hands. These clubs are usually separated into age-appropriate groups with entertainment to cater towards toddlers, children and teenagers. A team of fun and friendly hosts will be on hand while the kids enjoy the latest video games, dance classes and sports.


    Couple dining


    Treat the family this Christmas

    Although there are a few common misconceptions about cruising at Christmas time, it’s easy to see why this is actually one of the best ways to spend the festive season! Not only will the whole family enjoy more traditional celebrations, but you’ll also explore new destinations and try new activities, all without the stress. The weather won’t be bad to depending on where you decide to go! There are a huge range of December cruises available, though if you’re feeling stuck get in touch with our helpful team for more advice here.



    Tips for River Cruising in the Festive Season

    clock 18th December 2017 | comment0 Comments

    The infamous European Christmas markets are right on our doorstep, and yet so many Brits are yet to see them. With cities like Cologne, Vienna, Strasbourg, and Copenhagen all offering some of the best options around, it can be difficult to decide just where to visit when you do finally make the decision to go! One way to remedy this, however, is to opt for a river cruise in December. This way it’s possible to see multiple destinations on one trip.

     

    Which Christmas markets can I see?

    Europe is not short of waterways by any means, and as such there are a number of strategically-positioned, important cities that can be accessed on a river cruise. In December, The Rhine, The Danube, The Rhone, and The Seine are just some of the most popular rivers that can transport you to some incredible winter wonderlands. The Rudesheim market, in The Rhine valley boasts over 100 stalls with gifts and treats from all over the world, Budapest on The Danube offers a traditional Hungarian feel, and of course in Paris on The Seine visitors will find delicious crepes, tartiflette, and all manner of keepsakes. These are just a handful of the top Christmas markets you could see.

    Can I bring my children?

    While most river cruise lines are designed for adults, in general children are also welcome onboard. Amawaterways have taken steps to make their ships more family-friendly, by introducing adjoining staterooms on both AmaViola and AmaStella. Tauck River Cruises and Uniworld River Cruises are also slightly more geared towards children than some other river cruise lines, offering excursions like scavenger hunts and family bike rides. Selected Uniworld ships also offer a games room for kids and activities like craft workshops and cookery lessons which can be especially fun at Christmas. It is worth keeping in mind however, that some Christmas market locations can get very busy, and can involve a considerable amount of walking, so it’s important to consider this if bringing children.

     

    What’s it like for solo travellers?

    River cruising can be a fantastic option for solo travellers, owing to the extremely relaxed and sociable atmosphere onboard. Generally, river cruise ships have multiple public lounges where entertainment such as live music and quizzes will take place. This makes it all the more easy to meet fellow cruisers and converse with new friends. Excursions on these cruises are also perfect for solo travellers. Take part in an organised group tour of a new city and, of course, its Christmas markets. River cruise lines like Scenic River Cruises and Avalon Waterways often do great deals for solo travellers too.

    Are there other Christmassy things to do?

    While river cruises in December do have a real focus on European Christmas markets, there are other festive things to do and see in these beautiful cities. When you’ve had your fill of gluwhein and pretty trinket stalls, take a look around and you will find all sorts of other activities. Why not show off your skills on the ice rink on the Champs-Elysees, sip on a hot chocolate while becoming enchanted by the twinkling lights and decorations in Vienna, or admire the magnificence of German Christmas trees – or Tannenbaum – in Cologne.

     

     

    River cruises in December can be anything from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your preference and time limitations. Considering this, and the wide selection of destinations, dates, and types of cruise, it is usually possible to find a European Christmas market cruise to suit everyone.



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