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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.



Have a Halloween with Disney Cruise Line

clock 11th October 2018 | comment0 Comments

If you’ve seen Disneyland® Paris or Walt Disney World Resort in Florida at Halloween, you’ll have a pretty good idea about what you can expect onboard a Disney Cruise at this time of year. Those of you who haven’t, however, are in for a real treat. Little kids and big kids alike will adore the festivities onboard, from the Disney characters in costume to the scary story time, not forgetting the adults’ costume party. Read on for a window into Halloween with Disney Cruise Line.

 

What's Onboard?

 

At every turn, you’ll be well aware that it’s Halloween season, with the ship being fully decorated complete with plenty of pumpkins, and a bare, eerie tree in the atrium.

 

 

Get engrossed in a scary story all about an old sunken ship, told by an authentic captain out on the top deck. Listen to the tales of this wise old captain as the sea air around you helps you to transport you to another world.

Most guests tend to get involved in the fun by bringing along their own Halloween costumes or accessories to wear, whether this be a glamourous Disney princess dress, or an all-out zombie outfit!

 

Disney Characters Onboard

 

As with any Disney Cruise Line holiday, plenty of your favourite movie Characters will be making an appearance, but this time with a difference! Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Disney characters will also be donning their Halloween costumes, ready for the Mickey's Mouse-querade Party. You can expect to see the likes of Mickey and Minnie, Chip and Dale, and Donald Duck out and about meeting cruisers and posing for photos. The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Sally and Jack will also be there to say hello to guests, after telling their tale at Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream interactive event.

 

 

Halloween for Adults

 

Whilst the daytime and kids activities are fun for all the family, of course, adults are likely to want a bit of time to play themselves. Well aware of this, Disney Cruise Line host a Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids adults-only party, where you can dance, drink a cocktail or two, and show off your own elaborate costume – or not if you prefer! Find out more about Disney Cruise Line fun for adults.

If Halloween with Disney Cruise Line sounds like the perfect holiday fun for you and yours, take a look at our range of October cruise itineraries with Disney.



A Cruise Expert's Review of Symphony of the Seas

clock 31st July 2018 | comment0 Comments

Updated March 2019

We love sending our staff out on various cruises and ship visits so that they can continue to hone their expertise and pass on knowledge to our customers. This being said, we felt it absolutely necessary to send a few of our guys out on what is now (at the time of writing!) the world’s largest cruise ship; Symphony of the Seas. Find out what cruise specialist Chelsea thought of this incredible ship.

 

 

There are many, many awe-struck moments that you will feel onboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. But then, this is what they do best.

When you arrive you are hit instantly by her sheer size. She dwarfs all other ships in port and dominates the view. Many people are a little worried about the 5,518 passenger capacity onboard, but they really don’t need to be. Most of the time, you don’t even realise you are sailing, never mind on a cruise ship!

The ship is so vast that you don’t feel swamped by other passengers at all, and instead, you simply feel relaxed. The only time you might see the majority of the other passengers is in the theatre, which spans over two decks towards the front of the ship. I was lucky enough to watch Hairspray here, and was taken aback by the staging, the lights, and the whole performance. It really does rival the West End!

Inside the ship, you feel as though you are in a huge shopping centre. It’s filled with entertainment, restaurants, shops, and bars. Each ‘neighbourhood’ is truly amazing in a different way;

 

  • Central Park with its trees and plants really makes you feel like you’re having a coffee in a park
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  • The Boardwalk boasts the Aqua Theatre and sports bars
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  • The Royal Promenade is the heart of the ship, and where you will find the majority of shops and bars
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    Not to mention all the other amenities onboard the ship; waterslides, the Abyss, the Pools, FlowRider, the zip-line, rock-climbing walls, laser tag - is it possible there’s too much to do?

    The cabin we had was a Balcony cabin overlooking the Boardwalk. It was perfect for two people and had a sofa area by the balcony. We had a great view of the Aqua Theatre, but this did also mean we could hear the Aqua Theatre Show when our door was open. If the door is shut, you hear next to no noise at all which is great for the evenings.

    As great as our accommodation was, I would, in fact, recommend an Oceanview Balcony cabin on this ship. Aside from these cabins, you can only see the ocean beyond the Aqua Theatre and from the windows in the main restaurant - it isn’t visible elsewhere on the ship. By staying in an Oceanview Balcony, you would know you were holidaying on a cruise ship after all!

     

     

    A cruise isn’t a cruise if you don’t mention the food. The Main Restaurant on Symphony of the Seas is beautiful, and the standard of the food you just cannot fault. The Windjammer is everything you expect and caters for every fancy. The speciality restaurants that you see on other Royal Caribbean ships are also present; Jamie’s Italian, Izumi, and Chop’s Grille for example. As with some of the other large ships in the fleet, 150 Central Park and Wonderland are also both onboard. My only regret is not being able to try Wonderland’s ‘Imaginative dining’ - I would advise anyone to book a table here in advance through your Cruise Personaliser, so as not to miss out.

    As for the staff, we couldn’t fault any of them. They always - always - went above and beyond as usual.

    Take a closer look at life onboard Symphony of the Seas, or if you’re already sold, browse through our range of Symphony of the Seas cruises.



    Discover Marella By U

    clock 11th July 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Marella Cruises take great pride in being able to offer all kinds of different cruisers a wide variety of things to do, both onboard and when in port. Whether you prefer relaxing with a book, getting to know different cultures, dining on new cuisines, or having an active holiday, this popular cruise line have you covered with Marella By U.

     

     

    Marella Cruises recently invited ex-S Club Juniors singer Frankie and her ex-football player husband Wayne Bridge onboard, for them to create their very own cruise itinerary. The pair were taken on a Norwegian Fjord cruise, exploring stunning parts of the country like Bergen and Geiranger. With a real love of fitness and well-being, it will be no surprise to learn about the kind of activities Frankie and Wayne chose.


     

    Making the most of the local scenery, the pair chose an active excursion of kayaking in the beautiful waters of Geirangerfjord, where they could bask in the incredible views all around. While onboard their cruise ship Frankie and Wayne spent time doing an upbeat couples work out, as well as taking on the onboard rock-climbing wall together. With a little playful competition the two of them were able to work on their well-being and had some fun doing so.

     

     

    After well and truly working up a sizeable appetite, Frankie and Wayne explored the dining opportunities onboard. The enjoyed a special evening together at the Surf & Turf steak house where they relaxed and re-energized for the next day’s adventure!

    Take a look at our wonderful range of holidays with Marella Cruises, and begin planning your own Marella By U cruise.



    Head to CocoCay for the Perfect Day

    clock 11th June 2018 | comment0 Comments

    We are thrilled to bring you the news that Royal Caribbean have opened another fabulous island resort in the Caribbean; CocoCay.

     

     

    The destination offers the whole package for singles, couples, and families, boasting exhilarating activities like North America’s tallest waterslide, and great spaces for relaxing in the form of over-water cabins. As soon as you step off your cruise ship and on to the island you’ll be met with a little piece of heaven, with a boardwalk across the clear sea guiding you toward idyllic palm trees peppered across white sands, the sound of birds soaring overhead, and the sight of huts, sun loungers, pools, slides, and more. Some of our favourite features of CocoCay are;

     

  • The wave pool – the largest in the Caribbean, the island’s wave pool is sure to provide fun and laughter for all ages
  • 400ft balloon – guests can climb aboard and take in the gorgeous views in this stationary balloon; the highest vantage point in the Bahamas
  • Beach side cabanas – these provide a peaceful haven for those looking to relax, but also boast an attached slide for quick and easy access to the sea!
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    Spend the day doing all the things you love, whether that’s dining on some freshly barbecued food, soaking up the rays while lounging with a book, testing your limits on some daredevil waterslides, or meeting new people in a great game of beach volleyball. Other CocoCay features to make the most of include;

     

  • Swim-up bar
  • Biggest freshwater pool in the Bahamas
  • Zip line
  • Renting beach equipment such as snorkelling kit, paddle boards, and even jet skis
  • A range of bars and restaurants
  • Take a look at our Royal Caribbean cruises in the Caribbean and start thinking about your own perfect day.



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