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Top Tips for Cruising the Norwegian Fjords

clock 14th October 2019 | comment0 Comments
With waterfalls tumbling down cliffs, quaint villages home to fascinating history, and countless excursions to immerse you in the outdoors, a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords is a bucketlist-worthy holiday. We’ve put together the ultimate guide on voyaging this fantastic destination, covering the best time to go, where to visit and more. [More]


Cruising a Pirate’s World

clock 27th March 2019 | comment0 Comments

The adventure of sailing around the world often brings to mind images of the pirates of yore, especially since films and TV series have romanticised this historic way of life. There’s something thrilling about docking at ports where in years gone by pirates were swash-buckling, looting, and trading their wares. As well as in the Caribbean islands, pirates were once rife all over the world – from Asia to Ireland. Read on to learn more about cruise destinations which have a pirate history.

 

 

Tortuga (Haiti)

Made famous by the popular Disney films, in actuality, Tortuga acted as a refuge for English, Dutch and French thieves and escaped slaves back in the 17th century. These characters became what was known as the ‘Brethren of the Coast’, and they would attack Spanish ships in the Caribbean for treasure. Today, visitors to the island can see what’s left of Fort de Rocher – a 24-gun stronghold that was used by pirates to protect against Spanish invasion.

 

Nassau (Bahamas)

Nassau became a great pirate hang out in part due to its location in shallow waters. This meant that large warships could not approach the island, but pirate tall ships could. In the mid-18th century, there were around 100 natives compared to 1,000 pirates living on the island, and it was one of the latter – Benjamin Hornigold – who declared the place to be a Pirate’s Republic. Hornigold’s success as a pirate-inspired many other young adventurers, including one Edward Teach – who came to the island to join his posse. Other notorious characters including ‘Calico’ Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Charles Vane were all frequent visitors here. Today there are a number of pirate tours available on the island, on which guests can see various historical attractions.

 

 

Macau (China)

For centuries the South China Sea was a major setting for pirate activity, with Japanese pirates sailing south to raid and loot from the early 16th century. Activity went on for many years, and infamous Chinese pirate couple Zheng Yi and Ching Shih dominated the seas by the late 18th century with a fleet of more than 1,500 ships known as the Red Flag Fleet. After Zheng’s death, Ching continued with new husband Cheung Po Tsai, until they were defeated by the Portuguese Navy at the Battle of the Tiger’s Mouth in 1809. Madame Ching kept her pirate loot, however, and set up a gambling establishment in Macau, where many pirates had settled. Macau is accessible during a cruise to Hong Kong.

 

Port Royal (Jamaica)

Possibly the most well-known pirate haven is Port Royal in Jamaica – once referred to as ‘The Wickedest City on Earth’. Located close to modern-day Kingston, Port Royal was able to become such a place because the Jamaican governors offered it to pirates in return for help protecting against Spanish invaders. This led to the opening of many taverns and brothels, thereby attracting more pirates. Eventually, authorities began to intervene and by the mid-18th century, Port Royal had become a common location for pirate hangings – including those of Charles Vane and ‘Calico’ Jack Rackham. Visitors can see historic pirate and Jamaican Royal Navy paraphernalia at the archaeological museum here today.

 

 

Ile Saint-Marie (Madagascar)

Also known as St Mary’s Island, this small piece of land off the coast of Madagascar was once a popular spot among pirates. It is thought that a kind of utopia called Libertalia was developed among the pirate community here, although there is no real evidence of this. It is known, however, the pirates such as William Kidd and Edward Teach once walked here, and today there still stands an eerie pirate graveyard.

 

Charlotte Amelie (St Thomas)

Famous English pirate Edward Teach – better known as Blackbeard – lends his name to an important site in St Thomas’ capital; Blackbeard’s Castle. Built in the late 17th century by Danish colonists, the castle was originally known as Skytsborg. It is not known when or why the name was changed, but local tales say that Blackbeard regularly used the castle as a lookout point during his years of piracy in the Caribbean.

 

 

These destinations can be explored with a number of different cruise lines, on some fantastic modern cruise ships. Alternatively, if you’d prefer an experience more akin to those of a pirate, consider cruising with one of the more traditional tall ship style lines such as Windstar Cruises and Star Clippers. The beautiful ships in these fleets have been designed in an authentic, traditional way using plush, dark wood furnishings and rich colours.



Disney Cruise Line Announce 2020 Itineraries

clock 28th September 2018 | comment0 Comments

Family-focussed cruise line, Disney Cruise Line, has recently announced what’s in store with them in 2020. There will be some fantastic opportunities on offer, making it even easier to find the perfect cruise holiday for the whole family. Read on to discover more about your options.

 

 

Two Amazing Hawaii Cruises

 

It’s been five years since Disney Cruise Line ventured to Hawaii, and the idyllic North American state is now sorely missed by cruisers and crew alike. So, in 2020 Disney Wonder will be hosting two very exciting cruises to the region – one departing from Vancouver and ending in Honolulu, and the other on the return trip back to Vancouver. The itineraries will offer guests the opportunity to visit Oahu Island and its gorgeous Waikiki beach, see the stunning waterfalls and greenery on Kauai island, and gaze out at the extensive tropical views from the summit of Maui’s Haleakala Crater.

 

More Cruise Departures from Florida

 

The folks at Disney Cruise Line know that the sunshine state is a brilliant holiday destination in itself, and so with this in mind, in 2020 they will be offering more cruises departing from both Miami and Port Canaveral. Itineraries starting here mean that guests can spend a few days at the start of their holiday exploring Florida and all it has to offer, whether this be the theme parks, the beaches, or the shopping! All cruises from Florida will include a stop in Disney’s exclusive Castaway Cay island in the Bahamas, as well as a number of fabulous sunny Caribbean destinations.

 

 

New Homeport of New Orleans

 

Perhaps the most exciting announcement for 2020 is Disney Wonder’s new homeport of New Orleans. This world-famous city of jazz, food, and festivals was the setting of the beautiful Disney film, The Princess and the Frog. So Disney film lovers can start their holiday off right by exploring the colourful streets, listening to soulful music, and eating local treats such as soft beignets and punchy gumbo just like Tiana and Naveen. There will be six different cruises to choose from, each departing from New Orleans in early 2020.

 

 

Have a browse through our latest Disney Cruise Line deals, and start planning your family’s next big adventure.



Discover the Danube with AmaWaterways

clock 23rd August 2018 | comment0 Comments

When Kate from our marketing team got the opportunity to experience an AmaWaterways river cruise on the Danube, she was keen to jump at the chance. The trip was a 7-night adventure onboard AmaSerena, from Vilshofen to Budapest. Countries en route included Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. Having never been to these places before, Kate was excited to see the culture and spirit of each destination. Thankfully, with AmaWaterways excursions are included, so she had plenty of opportunities to get to know every town and village on the way. Here’s what she made of her experience of AmaWaterways’ excursions.

 

 

I found there is plenty of choice when it comes to opportunities and experiences with AmaWaterways. Included tours and excursions were available in each port, or you could also explore at your own leisure, either on foot or with one of the ship’s bikes. The options ranged in fitness level, start time, and activity, from castle hikes and cycle trips to walking tours, and tastings. We opted for the slightly more active excursions including hikes, which also included brief city tours too. The hikes were amazing taking you high above each town for absolutely astounding views, and the local guides were excellent.

 

Germany

Passau

Here we opted for the castle hike, and I’m so glad we did. It was stunning. From the heights of Passau’s castle, you could see out across the Bavarian and Bohemian forests, and you also had an excellent vantage point for seeing where the three rivers – Danube, Ilz, and Inn – converge.

 

Austria

Durnstein

After enjoying the hike in Passau, we decided to go for another one in Durnstein. This hike was just as impressive, though a bit of a higher fitness level is definitely required, on this hike you could actually climb to the castle where Richard the Lionheart was held captive and stand upon the ruins.

Linz

In Linz, we opted for a morning bike ride along the ‘Culture Mile’, which was an informative and fun way of getting to all the hotspots and sights of the city including the Ars Electronica Center, Lentos Kunstmuseum, the mighty cathedral, and both the new and old town squares.

 

 

Lake District

This was by far one of the best excursions! The guide on the coach getting there was great, giving lots of information about the area, and when we finally arrived at the first lake I was truly in awe. After a brief tour we were let loose to wander at leisure, and of course, we had to dip our toes in the beautiful Moon Lake. A few scenic drives and lakes later it was safe to say we were exhausted from such a long and brilliant day. It really is impossible to describe the magnitude of the beauty here.

Vienna

In Vienna, we opted for the ‘active walkers’ city tour, which takes in a few more sights than the gentle group. We had a guided drive on the Ringtrasse where our guide brought history to life with each building! After the tour, we opted to stay in the city and explore for ourselves, from the Cathedral to the Strauss Statue, and plenty of gardens in-between. After some much-deserved strudel, we headed back to the pickup point, where shuttle buses arrived every half an hour to go back to the ship.

The pièce de résistance in Vienna had to be the optional Mozart & Strauss Concert in the evening. This was at an additional cost but was worth every penny. Everyone dressed for the affair and the music was sublime, but it’s not all serious - there were a few comedic moments in the performance too.

 

Slovakia

Bratislava

We enjoyed panoramic views of the Wachau Valley as we sailed to Bratislava, whilst listening to incredible commentary from our brilliant Cruise Manager. Arriving in Bratislava, we opted for the tasting and brewery tour where we got to sample three local beers and delicious, traditional Slovakian snacks.

 

Hungary

Budapest

 

 

When we reached Budapest, we chose to take part in the city tour, to try to cover as much as possible in this beautiful city. In total, we were out for around 4 hours and still didn’t see everything! The Pest side is like a classic cosmopolitan city reminding me of London with a lot of history and character, but a walk over the bridge to Buda is a must as well. This side of the bridge is another world entirely, especially if you head up to the castle. Here you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy-tale, with spires and towers and incredible views.

With at least three excursion options every day, it’s clear that the crew at AmaWaterways think of everything. If you’re feeling inspired to get out and see Europe on a river cruise, why not browse through our range of AmaWaterways Danube cruises and see this gorgeous region for yourself.



P&O Iona in the Norwegian Fjords

clock 10th August 2018 | comment0 Comments

It has recently been revealed that P&O Cruises’ latest ship, Iona, will enjoy her inaugural sailing season in the magnificent destination of the Norwegian Fjords. This stunning part of the world has such a fantastic variety of things to see and do, making it a great choice for a family-friendly line like P&O Cruises. Discover more about what makes a cruise in this region so special (here you can find our Iona cruise deals, with itinerary and prices).

 

 

The Scenery

 

When sailing on a Norwegian Fjords itinerary, guests will be blessed with vision after vision of beautiful surroundings. Whether it’s the view of otherworldly Geirangerfjord from the ship or sweeping sights of Bergen from the funicular that climbs up Mount Fløyen, there is seemingly no end of amazing scenery. Just be sure to pack your charger or plenty of batteries for your camera!

 

The Food

 

Norway is considered by many to be an up and coming foodie haven, with its simplistic but beautifully designed dishes. While cruising here be sure to indulge in a few delicacies, from coffee and skillingsbolle (like a cinnamon bun) to brunost (a sweet-flavoured cheese made with goat’s and cow’s milk). And of course, those who enjoy a tipple will want to sample Scandinavia’s favourite spirit – aquavit – and visit a local brewery for a refreshing beer.

 

 

 

The Adventures

 

Cruisers looking to channel their inner explorer will revel in the vast amount of active excursions on offer in this part of the world. Norway is a natural playground, and offers the perfect environment for some exhilarating activities;

 

  • Zip-lining. With P&O Cruises it’s possible to have a go on the 300-metre zipline between Mount Ulriken and Mount Fløyen, enjoying views from a 643-metre vantage point on the way!
  • Kayaking. The waters in and around the fjords are ideal for kayaking as the lack of wind means you should stay steady and able to paddle around easily and comfortably.
  • Rafting. Rivers such as the Valldøla in Valldalen offer the chance to go rafting on some fast-paced rapids, so jump in and get the blood pumping!
  • Hiking and Climbing. With ample mountainous land waiting to be explored, Norway is a brilliant spot for those who enjoy climbing, hiking, and Nordic walking.
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    The History

     

    When we think of Nordic history, our minds tend to go straight to the Vikings. These fearsome people ruled for around 250 years, conquering lands all over the world along the way. Today you can see remnants of their existence dating back to 872, especially in towns such as Stavanger, also known as the ‘Cradle of the Vikings’.

    As well as exploring this aspect, a visit to Bryggen in Bergen is another must for history-lovers. Here you can explore the wharf that was one integral to the German confederation of merchant communities – the Hanseatic League – from around 1350 to 1750. See fascinating exhibits at the Hanseatic Museum to learn more about this period of history in Norway.

     

    Why sail to the Norwegian Fjords onboard Iona?

     

    Iona is an ideal ship for your visit to the Norwegian Fjords for a few reasons. Like the destination, the ship truly offers something for everyone, with plenty of choices when it comes to dining and activities. In addition, the design of the ship and its focus on the surrounding ocean and natural views is perfect for the fjords. Imagine sipping on your morning coffee in the glass-walled atrium, whilst drinking in the gorgeous views of fjords, glaciers, and waterfalls? Find out more about life onboard P&O Cruises' Iona.

    Cruises onboard P&O’s Iona will go on sale to past passengers on Monday 10th September, and on general sale on Wednesday 12th September. It is possible to pre-register on Monday 3rd September.

    Pre-register your interest with us to be among the first to get more information.



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