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So You Think You Know the Caribbean?

1st February 2018

A well-known, highly popular cruising destination, many visitors to the Caribbean simply go to enjoy the pristine beaches and sunny weather. While relaxing in the Caribbean is of course a fantastic way to holiday, there is so much more to this part of the world just waiting to be discovered. Here are ten facts you might not know about the Caribbean.

1. The sunny island of Barbados is reportedly the only foreign land that former US president George Washington ever visited. This was in 1751, when he was just 19, when he visited with his half-brother Lawrence, in order to try to ease Lawrence’s tuberculosis.

2. The Caribbean is home to some of the world’s hottest chilli peppers. The famed Moruga Scorpion chilli is native to Trinidad; measuring more than 2 million on the Scoville scale, this is the world’s second hottest chilli – falling behind the California Reaper.

 

 

3. The Caribbean Sea is one of the deepest seas in the world (discounting oceans). At 7,686 metres (25,220 feet) deep, it’s over 2,000 metres deeper than the Mediterranean Sea which measures in at 5,267 metres.

4. Princess Juliana Airport in St Maarten is renowned for its close proximity to Maho Beach. The beach has become a popular tourist attraction not only for its white sands and warm waters, but because tourists can sit and watch planes fly between just 100 and 200 feet or so overhead!

 

 

5. While only around 26 of the Caribbean islands are widely recognised tourist destinations, there are actually over 7,000 islands in the archipelago! The largest is Cuba, and the smallest inhabited island is thought to be Saba, which is just 13km2.

6. Beautiful St Lucia boasts many stunning things to see and do, but one of the most unique is the drive-in volcano. Known as Sulpher Springs, or Soufriere Volcano, it’s possible to drive right up to the crater and see the exhilarating volcanic action for yourself.

 

 

7. Although the English, French, Dutch, and Spanish have all had Caribbean colonies over the years, it was originally just the Spanish who settled there - after Christopher Columbus discovered the land in 1492. Other nations took control after the collapse of the Spanish Empire in the 17th century.

8. The warm climes of the Caribbean make for a great environment for various produce to grow. The main exports from this part of the world are bananas, sugar, coffee, and coconuts. Fuel, tobacco, and rum are also exported all over the world from the Caribbean islands.

 

 

9. Those interested in modern aviation are in for a treat in Barbados. One of British Airway’s retired Concorde jets remains in their Grantley Adams International Airport, and it’s possible for tourists to go and see this majestic plane.

10. The Caribbean is well-known for the prominence of pirates throughout history. It’s likely that most islands would have seen some activity, but the three main hives were Tortuga Island (close to Haiti), Port Royal in Jamaica, and Nassau in the Bahamas.

 

 

On a cruise to the Caribbean, be sure to get chatting with locals and no doubt you’ll discover plenty more interesting facts and secrets about the islands. Stay in touch on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you find out!

Cruising in the Caribbean with Carnival Cruises

 

There is a wealth of choice when it comes to who to cruise with for a holiday in the Caribbean, but if you’re travelling with family, Carnival Cruises could be a great option for you.

 

With more than twenty ships to choose from, and a fantastic array of Caribbean itineraries, you can be sure that you’ll find the perfect cruise for all of you. From fun and exhilarating kids activities, to fine dining, and spectacular entertainment, there will be never a dull moment onboard.

 

 

 

Our highlights of a Caribbean Cruise with Carnival Cruises include the Waterworks Park, which boasts some thrilling waterslides for children and big kids, the delicious New England style Seafood Shack restaurant and the hilarious Lip-Sync Battle contests!

With so many of their ships sailing in the Caribbean, Carnival Cruises have become experts in this part of the world. As such, they know just which areas to take cruisers for them to see all the best places. There is a fantastic range of Caribbean excursions that can be done with Carnival, from active options like horse riding on the beaches of Antigua or a jeep adventure in Curacao, to relaxing in the hot springs of Dominica.


See the Real Havana

30th January 2018

Thanks to improved US - Cuba relations brought about with the Obama administration, the incredible city of Havana is appearing on more and more cruise itineraries.

A number of US-owned cruise lines have jumped at the chance to include this beautiful country on Caribbean cruises, much to the delight of passengers. Cuba – or Havana in particular – is indeed a logical stop for cruise lines departing from Florida, and is a city that was once often entirely by-passed on routes down to the Caribbean islands. So now that it’s on the agenda, the question remains – what are the top things to do in Havana?

Have a Cocktail in El Floridita

Thanks to Ernest Hemingway, this small Havana bar has made it on most ‘must-see’ lists for those visiting Cuba. The renowned author frequented El Floridita when he lived just outside the capital city – from 1940 until 1960. Whether you prefer a classic Cuban mojito, or a flavoured daiquiri, or indeed something else entirely – rest assured the friendly staff at El Floridita have you covered.

Admire the architecture

As soon as you enter the city you will come face to face with some stunning architecture. Unsurprisingly, many of the buildings were built by colonial Spaniards after Christopher Columbus’ arrival in 1492. The city was then shaped to emulate the great European cities, and so many buildings were designed in Baroque-style architecture. Some of our favourite spots include El Capitolio (the National Capitol Building), Museo de la Revolucion (Museum of the Revolution), and Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (Palace of the Captains General).

Enjoy the sounds of street music

Havana is one city in which you can’t escape the intoxicating ambiance of music, dance, and laughter. On street corners, parks, and plazas you’re likely to find men and women playing all kinds of instruments, from the Cuban Tres guitar, to harmonicas, and bongo drums. With music of course comes dancing. You’ll see salsa, mambo, merengue, and much, much more all over the city. If you’re feeling brave join in, or you can of course sit back and watch while enjoying the warm breeze.

Watch a game of dominoes

Dominoes is played on just about every calle (street) in the country. You can find men, women, and children of all ages playing together, and you’ll be amazed at just how long the games can go on for. A riveting dominoes game to Cubans can be as Wimbledon is to us Brits; you can find hundreds of locals gathered around just one game, even placing bets on who will win. If you come across a game, just find a spot in the shade and study the moves for yourself.

Take a taxi

Classic cars have become synonymous with Cuba, and it should be said that all the pretty images out there are no exaggeration of the truth. From bright pink Cadillacs, to beefy-looking Chevvys and classic Ford Sedans, even those who thought they didn’t have an interest in automobiles will be impressed. And the beauty of the matter is that these cars are so common, they are widely used as taxis – and are generally reasonably priced. It's the perfect chance to take a ride in your dream car.

Browse through our range of Caribbean cruises to Cuba.


Best Caribbean Islands To Visit

3rd January 2018

The islands of the Caribbean have remained high on the list of top cruising destinations for many years, and it’s easy to see why. With stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, great weather, and friendly locals, cruising in the Caribbean is something that everyone should treat themselves to at least once. With so many to choose from, we've put together a guide to the best Caribbean islands to visit to make things a little easier.

 

 

The Caribbean is stock-full of exciting excursion options and places to eat, drink, and relax. If you’re thinking about cruising in this spectacular destination, or even if you’re already booked and ready to go, our useful guide to some of the islands should give you the information you need to have the time of your life.

 

Choosing which of the best Caribbean Islands to visit

 

Because of the nature of the layout of the islands, cruises in the Caribbean tend to involve stops in a number of them. There are in fact over 7000 islands, 26 of which are recognised countries. It can be tricky to know which islands to visit, with each one offering a unique and interesting culture, and varying food, drinks, festivities, and traditions. Many cruise lines even own private islands with exclusive access to their own guests. Each island boasts sandy beaches, delicious cuisines and a range of fun-filled activities, such as snorkelling, parasailing and other water sports. Others are more catered towards adults only, such as Virgin Voyages, who offer private, relaxing cabana's, luxurious bars and wild pool parties after dark. See below for some inspiration about some of the popular stops.

What to do in Curacao

 

The Dutch island of Curacao has a distinctly European feel to it, with pretty, pastel coloured, Dutch style buildings lining the streets of the capital, Willemstad. There are fascinating museums and historical relics to see, or, if preferred, the island boasts 35 picturesque beaches where you can enjoy the clear waters and bask in the Caribbean sun. Otherwise, there are also some national parks where you can see various wildlife and incredible vistas.

Curacao was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

What to do in St Maarten

 

St Maarten offers a unique blend of Dutch, French, and Caribbean culture which captivates all visitors to the island. The port town of Philipsburg is home to some pretty colonial buildings, and is close to the ruins of 17th century Fort Amsterdam. As well as getting your history fix, here you can take part in exhilarating activities like kayaking, snorkelling, biking, and even sailing lessons. Alternatively, you could spend time on the beach, or wandering round the hundreds of duty free shops.

St Maarten is recovering from damage caused by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

What to do in Barbados

 

One of the most popular ports on a Caribbean cruise, Barbados leaves visitors with a genuine longing to stay for ‘just another few nights’ every time! Along with a wonderful array of beaches, a stop here means some mouth-watering cuisine, rum punch at every corner, and the sound of singing, dancing, and laughter almost following you. See the fascinating shipwrecks around the coast while scuba-diving or snorkelling, try all the local delicacies at Oistins fishing village stalls, or see various sites leftover from colonial times.

Barbados was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

What to do in Nassau, Bahamas

 

Well-known for being an important pirate hub in the 17th and 18th centuries, Nassau boasts a great number of interesting things to see and do. As well as the wax-work museum, today you can visit several forts that played an important part in the history of pirates. Other popular things to do on the island include swimming with pigs, snorkelling, trying out the best local bars and restaurants, and whiling away the hours in the absorbing art galleries.

Nassau was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

What to do in Cozumel

 

Off the southeast coast of Mexico lies Cozumel, a beautiful sun-kissed island that offers the perfect mix of adventure and opportunities to relax. With clear surrounding waters, and an abundance of marine life, Cozumel is a great place for scuba diving and snorkelling. Otherwise explore the island on a jeep safari tour, take a speedboat ride, or simply enjoy the perfect beaches with a book and a cocktail.

Cozumel was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

What to do in Falmouth, Jamaica

 

Found in the north of Jamaica, Falmouth is believed to hold the largest quantity of British colonial architecture in the Caribbean. In its historical district visitors can explore the streets and see Vermont House – which is now the post office – the court house, and The Albert George Market. Other things to do include chilling out on the beaches, enjoying local rum cocktails and foods, or, about a one hour drive away are the beautiful Dunns River Falls.

Falmouth was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

What to do in St Thomas

 

One of the US Virgin Islands, St Thomas is a pretty and bustling island, full of life and lively Caribbean culture. Here you will find the chance to shop ‘til you drop, try all sorts of fantastic cuisines – both local and international in style – and dance the night away in one of the many bars or clubs. Of course here too there are beaches aplenty, or for a more original view of the island, consider taking a ride on the cable car, paddle boarding, or a yacht trip around the coast.

St Thomas is recovering from damage caused by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

 

Who to cruise with to the best Caribbean islands

 

Many holidaymakers who seek a cruise to the Caribbean often opt to do so with the eponymous Royal Caribbean. With a fleet of 26 ships, there are generally several different itineraries you can choose from at any one time. The cruise line are very family-friendly, offering an array of different dining, entertainment, and activity options onboard their ships. Some of their most popular features include the well-known FlowRider – an invigorating surf simulator that can be enojoyed by guests of all ages – the rock-climbing wall, and some amazing, fun-filled shows including Grease and Hairspray.

Take a look at Caribbean cruises with Royal Caribbean to find out which islands you can discover with them.

Now you've read our guide to the best Caribbean Islands to visit, all that's left to do is browse our fantastic Caribbean cruise deals. Alternatively, if you want to find out more about what to do in the Caribbean, be sure to read our pick of the best Caribbean shore excursions.


Looking Back at 2017 in Cruise

22nd December 2017

This year has seen all sorts of surprises and huge events all across the globe, and in the cruise industry specifically, 2017 has certainly been significant in a number of ways. We at Iglu Cruise have had a whirlwind of a year full of some amazing memories, here are our top highlights.

Events

After the success of our Iglu Cruise Holiday Show in recent years, this year once again we hosted two highly successful events. The spring show was held in April at Sandown Park Racecourse, and saw a great number of cruise fans benefit from specialist cruise advice not only from our experts, but invited guests from several suppliers as well. We were also lucky enough to be joined by travel journalist Jonathon Beaumont, and TV personality Nina Myskow. Our autumn show took place in October at the Epsom Downs Racecourse. Here, once again hundreds of cruisers came along to listen to guest speakers and cruise enthusiasts, and enjoyed the stories and experiences of BBC’s Nicholas Owen.

Relaunch of Iglu.com

In an effort to make our website more accessible and user-friendly, we decided upon a few changes, and relaunched Iglu.com in autumn of this year. The developments included the option to search for the site using voice-recognition technology, on your mobile or with a digital home assistant. As well as this, we have made the site more responsive to various mobile devices, meaning it has become easier to browse through our selection of cruises and book online from your phone or tablet.

Tailor-Made Experiences

This year we also made it possible for some of our customers to be a part of exclusive tailor-made experiences, hosted by members of the Iglu Cruise team. In July we arranged an amazing trip to the annual Calgary Stampede rodeo show in Alberta, Canada, during which cruisers enjoyed what has been dubbed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. As well as this, throughout the year we organised some guided tours at the Grand Prix, including those in Barcelona, Monaco, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi.

Team on Tour

Iglu Cruise as a trusted travel company is passionate about having knowledgeable staff who can pass on sound advice to customers. As such a conscious effort is made to send employees away on trips throughout the year, in order to increase their understanding of both destinations and cruise lines. This year was no exception, and members of the team were able to discover more about destinations like Alaska, Florida, and Tuscany, and enhance their knowledge of popular cruise lines such as Viking Ocean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Azamara Cruises.

Big Cruise News

One of the biggest cruise stories in 2017 has been Thomson Cruises’ name change to Marella Cruises. Announced in October, the travel company decided a new name was in order, so that their cruise line could be more distinct from the rest of the business – known as TUI. Another exciting development this year was Carnival Corporation’s reveal that same-sex marriages can now take place on P&O and Cunard ships. The first ceremony has already been scheduled onboard P&O Azura, just next month; warm wishes to the happy couple.

 

More Destination Options

2017 has also seen an increase in potential cruising destinations. Thanks to warmer relations between North America and Cuba, Cuban ports like Havana and Cayo Largo del Sur can now be included on more itineraries. Also, Swiss-owned MSC Cruises can now take guests to their exclusive island off Abu Dhabi’s coast – Sir Bani Yas Island. This is a beautiful haven, offering beaches, an extensive nature reserve for endangered animals, and all sorts of activities ranging from snorkelling to massages on the beach. November 2018 will also see the opening of another private island for MSC - Ocean Cay in the Caribbean will be the largest private island owned by a cruise line, at 95 acres.

New Ships in 2017

This year has seen a number of new ships introduced to the world of cruising, which has given regular cruisers more choice and diversity when it comes to what kind of holiday they are looking for. New vessels include:

  • MSC Meraviglia & MSC Seaside, MSC Cruises
  • Majestic Princess, Princess Cruises
  • Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Silver Muse, Silversea
  • Viking Sky & Viking Sun, Viking Ocean Cruises
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    As well as this, cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Cunard, and Silversea have all declared new ships in their future, but what new ships can we expect next year? Here are some of the vessel’s we can’t wait to see:

  • Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruises - April 2018
  • Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean - April 2018
  • Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Cruise Line - April 2018
  • MSC Seaview, MSC Cruises - May 2018
  • Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line - November 2018
  • Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises - December 2018
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    Awards

    We are so excited to be able to say that Iglu Cruise has won no less than ten awards this year! To be recognized for our skills and professionalism as cruise experts is truly gratifying, and very encouraging for the year to come. The awards we have achieved are:

     

  • Online Agent of the Year 2017, Travel2
  • Best Online Cruise Travel Agent 2017, Cruise International Awards
  • Top Agent for Scenic Waterways in the South, Scenic
  • Best Online Travel Agency 2017, Agent Achievement Awards
  • Cruise Specialist of the Year, Royal Caribbean
  • Highly Commended - Best Online Travel Agent 2017, WAVE Awards
  • Highly Commended - Passenger Favourite Cruise Agent 2017, WAVE Awards
  • Travel Business Partner of the Year 2017, Carnival UK
  • Outstanding Contribution Award 2017, Princess Cruises
  • Top Specialist Agent 2017, Celebrity Cruises
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    As well as this we have been nominated for two awards in next year’s WAVE awards, happening in 2018. Please vote for us for Best Cruise Travel Agent and Best Cruise Online Travel Agent.

     

     

    On the whole, 2017 has been a real adventure, full of surprises and some big changes in the industry. With this in mind, we expect 2018 to bring with it all kinds of fun, so all that remains is to cheers to the New Year!

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    Azamara Cruises Internet Options

    15th December 2017

    Updated July 2019

    Azamara Club Cruises make it easy to stay in touch with your friends and family at home, by providing a range of internet packages to choose from. This means that whether you just use the internet every so often to send a quick message or check Facebook, or if you need to log on for extended periods for any reason, there will be an option to suit you.

     

    Why Do I Need an Internet Package?

     

  • To get information about your next port of call
  • Visiting a new destination on a cruise is always exciting, but it can be helpful to get to know it slightly before arrival, to ensure you are prepared for what’s in store. Things like currency converters, language translation, local weather, and maps can be very useful throughout your trip, especially if you are visiting a number of ports in different countries.

  • Contact with your favourite people at home
  • Obviously you can’t take everyone on holiday with you, so it’s likely that the friends and family that you’ve had to leave behind will want regular updates! By logging on to the internet you can keep in touch via messages and emails to let others know what you’re up to, what the weather’s like, and most importantly, where in the world you are on that day!

     

     

  • Stay in the know with current affairs
  • If you like to stay up to date with the news at all times, a Wi-Fi package during your cruise can help you stay in the know.. When connected to the internet you can check your favourite news site or app, and even set alerts to make sure you stay informed about the topics that matter to you.

    How can I buy an internet package?

    Guests can buy an internet package at the time of booking, or while onboard during the cruise. Speak to our sales team for more information. Because the needs of each passenger are different, Azamara offer a range of options when it comes to buying internet. It’s possible to purchase 30 minutes of use for around $19.95, or for one day the price is typically $29.95. For those who would prefer to use the internet on a daily basis, the rate will drop to roughly $19.95 per day. This latter package can be bought at anytime during your cruise, but must be purchased for the duration.

    After I have bought a package, how do I get online?

    Azamara’s ships are equipped with an ‘In Touch’ area, in which there are workstations where you can use the internet 24 hours a day. Alternatively, it’s possible to connect to the Wi-Fi onboard from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, from anywhere on the ship, why not head to the cosy Mosiac Cafe and settle in whith a coffee? Please note that if bringing a laptop onboard you will need a wireless network card to access the internet, and if using an Apple device, Safari will need to be version 3.0 or above.

     

     

    While Wi-Fi on Azamara ships is usually reliable, it is important to remember the nature of your holiday. Being on a cruise, various obstacles might interrupt your signal – whether this be weather, large buildings in a port, or glaciers. It should also be noted that as the internet is shared, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to stream any movies or series onboard.

    See our Azamara Cruises.

     


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