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5 Things to do in Vancouver

clock 26th April 2018 | comment0 Comments

The northwest corner of the North American continent boasts a fabulous array of things to see and do in each city, so much so that visitors might feel a little overwhelmed with their choices. If your cruise includes a stop in Vancouver, why not get some inspiration from someone who has been there to explore? Our Marketing Manager Nicole is here to tell you her top 5 things to do in Vancouver.

1. Capilano Supsension Park Bridge

This was one of my absolute favourite sites. Suspended 70 meters above the ground and 137 meters across the Capilano River, it’s one of the oldest attractions in Vancouver. Once you get across the bridge there is a network of platforms enabling you to walk about amongst the tree tops, with some of the trees being over 100 years old. Or you can opt for a cliff side walk and see the river in all its glory.

 

 

2. The FlyOver Canada Simulator

I would recommend this to every tourist in the city, as it gives you a clear impression of everything the country has to offer. Once strapped into your rollercoaster-like seat, you are elevated towards a 180 degree screen, before a unique film begins. All your senses are awakened by smells, wind, and mist as you soar over Canada’s incredible landscapes.

3. The Vancouver Foodie Tour

As a self-proclaimed foodie, I also thoroughly enjoyed this experience. It was held in the Granville Island Public Market, where we had the opportunity to taste artisan breads, cured meats, Canadian Maple syrup, and the freshest doughnuts I’ve ever had! And this is only to mention but a few of the amazing palette-tantalising wares. This tour is rated TripAdvisor’s number 1 tour to do in Vancouver.

 

 

4. Dine at the Four Seasons

After a long day touring and exploring Vancouver, we were hosted for dinner at the Luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver for an extravagant meal at their seafood restaurant, YEW, which is said to serve the freshest flavour in the city.

5. Take a Vancouver Brewery Tour

Craft beer is a big deal in Vancouver – and rightly so. With some incredible varieties all over the city, one of the best ways to sample a few is on a brewery tour. The guides are extremely helpful and informative, taking the time to answer all the questions asked as thoroughly as possible.

 

 

Vancouver is a popular segue port for Seattle, in fact both are often included on a number of Alaska and Canada cruises. As well as this, they are conveniently linked by the mighty Rocky Mountaineer – an historic train which transports passengers through some incredible scenery in this part of the world. In fact this is just what Nicole was able to do. Discover her advice for things to do in Seattle, and find out more about combining a cruise with the Rocky Mountaineer experience.



5 Great Things about Cruising in South America

clock 6th April 2018 | comment0 Comments

While many of us may have the curiosity and temptation to visit South America, it can seem like a somewhat daunting idea to travel there independently. Thankfully though, many cruise lines offer fantastic itineraries in this destination which include stops in all the most exciting places. So if there’s anything left stopping you, get the inspiration you need with these 5 great things about cruising in South America.

 

Peruvian Food

 

 

Peru certainly has a lot to offer its visitors. With Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines, and the Ballestas Islands among the top attractions, it’s easy to forget the more matter-of-fact aspects that the country has in store – one of which is the food. Peruvian food is among the best in South America, and capital Lima boasts some of the world’s top restaurants. Here are some must-try dishes:

  • Ceviche – probably Peru’s most famous dish, ceviche is made with raw fish, lime juice, and chilli
  • Lomo Saltado – similar to a beef stir-fry, this hearty, flavoursome dish will certainly satisfy your appetite
  • Papa a la Huancaína – boiled potatoes served with an egg, in a creamy yet spicy yellow sauce
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    Rio’s Atmosphere

     

     

    The world famous Rio carnival has given this capital a reputation it certainly deserves. While the event goes on for only around 10 days, the fun, party atmosphere is evident year-round. You’ll find that both residents and visitors like to spend their days sipping on cocktails and sunbathing on a beach like Copacabana or Ipanema, before heading to the vibrant streets of the city for food, drink, and dancing in the evenings. The friendly attitude of the locals is infectious, as are the sounds of musicians, whose tunes will stay in your head for days.

     

    Amazonian Wildlife

     

     

    On many South American cruises guests will get the opportunity to experience part of the beautiful Amazon rainforest. Stretching around 5.5million km over 9 countries, this incredible part of the world is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which can be seen along its river banks. Sit back as you glide along one of the many rivers, and watch as the wildlife begins to reveal itself. Spot howler monkeys and sloths in amongst the trees, caimans on the edge of the water, and swooping macaws overhead. A cruise in the Amazon is among the best options for a wildlife cruise.

     

    Chilean Views

     

     

    At 2,500 miles from North to South, Chile is the longest country in the world – and as such all kinds of climate can be found across the country. Find extremes like the driest desert on earth - Atacama – in the North, to the impressive ice fields in the south. On a cruise to Chile, passengers will see scenery like never before, including some incredible fjords in the labyrinth of land that makes up the southern tip of the country, and the majestic glaciers in the Patagonian ice fields. Watch in awe as you sail past some of the most stunning views you will ever encounter.

     

    Cultural History

     

     

    South America has a vast and interesting cultural history, having been home to a number of different ethnic groups throughout the years. Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, Quechuas, and Muiscas – to name just a few of the more well-known civilisations – have all had a huge influence on today’s South America, and there is plenty of evidence of this all over. From famous sites like Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza, to the continued use of the ancient Quechuan language, and the traditional recipes still seen in rural areas, it’s clear to see that the significance of these cultures lives on.

    See our range of cruises to South America and find out more about your next adventure.



    Top 10 Things to do in Japan

    clock 26th March 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Japan is an incredibly beautiful destination that evokes thoughts of mystery, elegance, and tradition. Steeped in history and a rich culture, the country offers all sorts of wonderful places to see, and unique experiences waiting to be had. If you’ll be visiting on an exciting Far East cruise, take a little inspiration from our top 10 things to do in Japan.

    1. Eat

    Japanese food is enjoyed all over the world, and is known to have influenced the cuisine of many other countries. Anyone who is a fan of this kind of food will surely want to relish in trying the unarguably authentic dishes. Try, sushi, udon, ramen, teppanyaki, sashimi, and if you get the opportunity, delicious Kobe beef.

     

     

    2. See Mount Fuji

    Just over two hours southwest of Tokyo, the amazingly symmetrical Mount Fuji dominates the skyline. While cloud can often interfere with the view, on a clear day the mountain can actually be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama. For those who might not be satisfied with the view alone, Mount Fuji is open for climbing in July and August. There are four different routes, and the ascent is reported to take around 6 hours.

    3. Take part in a Tea Ceremony

    A Japanese Tea Ceremony is a sacred event, which perfectly showcases the thoughtful and intricate nature of Japanese culture. A ceremony can vary in length, and there are usually around five guests taking tea. Those who partake will be talked through the various steps of the ceremony, and the significance of every detail.

     

     

    4. See Sumo Wrestling

    Japan’s national sport is thought to have been invented more than 2,000 years ago, and in true celebration of history and heritage, it lives on with great fervour today. There are six sumo tournaments every year, in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka, each one lasting 15 days. Seeing one of these exhilarating events will give guests a real insight into another aspect of Japanese culture.

    5. Explore Ueno Park, Tokyo

    This pretty, extensive park is a favourite among locals for its perfect range of things to see and do. It boasts museums, temples, exhibitions, and family-friendly boating, as well as plenty of space for walking, picnicking, and group activities like dance. It’s a wonderful place to see the famous cherry blossom trees in bloom in spring as well.

     

     

    6. Buy something from a vending machine

    This will sound like a peculiar suggestion, however in Tokyo especially, vending machines are an attraction in themselves. Selling everything from clothing and flowers to origami pieces, just wandering through a line of these machines will prove fascinating.

    7. Watch a Geisha Dance

    Geishas have played an important role in Japanese culture for many years, and their distinct appearance could be recognised all over the world. They are highly trained in the art of music, dance, and hosting – skills which when combined with their elaborate make up and costumes, make watching a geisha performance a quintessentially Japanese experience.

     

     

    8. Visit Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

    This vibrant shrine is situated in southern Kyoto, and pays homage to the Shinto god of rice – Inari. It is comprised of more than a thousand torii gates – arch-like structures which signify moving from the everyday to the sacred. These magnificent, bright orange gates are lined up over a number of nature trails behind the main buildings, which lead to the forest of the sacred Mount Inari.

    9. Spend time in an Onsen

    A Japanese Onsen is a natural spring bath resort – of which there are over 3,000 scattered all over the country thanks to plenty of volcanic activity. The experience of spending time in the soothing warm water will leave visitors feeling tranquil and refreshed, and invigorated at having taken part in another traditional Japanese practice.

     

     

    10. See Todai-ji Temple

    Built in 752 AD, Nara’s Todai-ji was designed to be the most important Buddhist temple in Japan. It became so significant that in the year 784 the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka, in an attempt to limit Todai-ji’s influence over political affairs. The main hall is the largest wooden building in the world, and houses a 15 metre tall bronze Buddha statue which is certainly a sight to behold.

    This is merely ten of our favourite things to do in Japan, and depending how much time visitors have in this country there is plenty more to choose from. Browse through our range of Far East cruises to find out more about cruising to this stunning destination.



    Welcome Onboard Symphony of the Seas

    clock 6th March 2018 | comment0 Comments

    With the debut cruise of Royal Caribbean’s latest ship just around the corner, we decided to take a closer look at some of the wowing features and facilities onboard the largest cruise ship in the world; Symphony of the Seas.

     

     

    At 362 metres long, and designed to carry a total of 7,865 passengers and crew, it’s almost inevitable that Symphony of the Seas is stock full of all sorts of fun things to do, exciting things to watch, and a range of places to eat.

     

     

    Brand New Royal Caribbean Features

     

    Symphony of the Seas boasts some fantastic firsts for Royal Caribbean, here are some or our favourite innovations:

    The Accommodation

    Not only does this vibrant and fresh cruise ship boast some brilliant entertainment, activities, and cuisine options, but plenty of thought has also gone into the accommodation. The Ultimate Family Suite has all your family could need, from comfy bean bags and funky décor, to the foosball table and big screen TV.

    Laser Tag

    This activity is so much fun for friends and family, and indeed is a fantastic way to meet fellow cruisers. Unite as one or go head to head in a battle between robots and aliens, in which only one team can win. Laser tag is suitable for both adults and young cruisers.

     

     

    Playmaker’s Sports Bar & Arcade

    Spanning the entire length of the boardwalk, this new sports bar is the perfect getaway for any sports fans. It boasts 30 TV screens showcasing a range of popular sports, a bar serving a great selection of beers and favourite snacks like wings and burgers, and classic arcade games including Ms Pac-Man.

     

    Returning Features

     

    Returning on Symphony of the Seas are some of our favourite Royal Caribbean features, as seen on Quantam and Oasis class ships.

    The Bionic Bar

    This extraordinary venue will keep all guests amused and captivated, as they watch robots create their perfect cocktail. Order your own creation, or a classic cocktail, from a state-of-the-art computer tablet and prepare to be amazed.

     

    The Aquatheatre

    Professional performers will leave all members of the audience astonished by their skills in synchronised swimming and high-diving. The whole family can enjoy the production of Hiro in which acrobats showcase some incredible choreography combining lights, water, music, and of course their incredible physical abilities.

    Izumi

    Any lover of Asian food will certainly want to dine at this Japanese restaurant at least once during their cruise. With sleek and stunning Japanese décor, and a menu full of beautiful sushi, sashimi, and more, an evening meal at Izumi will be one to remember – not least because of the hot rock cooking right next to your table.

    Splashaway Bay

    Adults are bound to envy this adventurous, kids-only waterpark, which is also seen on Harmony of the Seas. Parents can enjoy some chill-time while safe in the knowledge that their little ones are meeting new friends and having great fun playing with the climbing frame, drench bucket, and several water cannons.

     

     

    Take a look at our selection of Symphony of the Seas sailings and discover this exciting new Royal Caribbean ship for yourselves.



    Cruising for Wine Lovers

    clock 7th February 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Cruising and wine are two interests that make a perfect pairing. Not only can most cruise lines transport you to notable wine districts all over the world, but many also bring wine tastings, presentations, and experiences onboard as well. If you consider yourself something of a connoisseur, or even just enjoy a simple glass every now and then but would like to learn more, there are a number of destinations and types of cruises that could be right for you.

    European Cruises

    When it comes to European wines there are an incredible number of places worth exploring. Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and Portugal are generally the most popular, but just about every country produces their own blend – not forgetting the UK. Try a punchy local Rioja in southern Spain on a Mediterranean cruise, or a classic Riesling on the Rhine on a German river cruise; wine lovers will not be disappointed in Europe– especially with most cruise lines offering various wine-themed excursions.

     

     

    Celebrity Cruises

    This popular cruise line has partnered up with Channel 5’s The Wine Show, to bring guests some extra special wine-related experiences. Presenters Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer have put together a series of recommended excursions – including vineyard tours and tastings across Europe. They will also often appear onboard to host talks and tastings on the ship. Celebrity Cruises also boast an enviable collection of rare wines at sea, and an expert team of sommeliers.

     

    Australasia Cruises

    Although Australian wine came pretty late into the game considering the history of wine in other regions, its popularity has seen a dramatic rise in recent years. In fact it is now the fourth biggest exporter of wine in the world. There are wine regions all over the vast country, including around Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne. In the Adelaide Hills alone there are around 50 different wineries, and you’ll find cruise excursions taking you to tastings in several of these, with a delicious gourmet lunch included too.

     

     

    Cunard: Queen Mary 2

    Cunard offer a unique cruising opportunity onboard QM2, in that guests can earn themselves a Level 1 or 2 Award in Wines; a recognised qualification in the wine industry. These are gained by spending time learning about oenology with the help of sommeliers, and renowned global winemakers who are brought onboard. You can expect tutored wine tastings, production workshops, fine wine seminars, and more. Port lovers will be especially delighted with the impressive array of 46 vintage ports in the Carinthia Lounge.

    California Cruises

    Around 90% of North American wine is produced in the sunny state of California – another popular cruise destination. A number of round-the-world, America, and even Caribbean cruises include stops in California, and ports like San Francisco are a great place to spend a few extra days on a cruise and stay holiday. Visit the glorious wine regions of Sonoma and Napa Valley for some brilliant wine experiences, either on an excursion or individually. Horse-riding here is a very special and memorable way to explore the vineyards.

     

     

    APT River Cruises

    For those who seek a cruise spent truly immersed in oenology, APT River Cruises’ Wine Series is a fabulous option. The line has collaborated with the winemakers of Australia’s First Families of Wine, in order to provide some wonderful wine-themed experiences on their selection of Wine Series cruises. Wine ambassadors will be onboard to host each river cruise, on which they will give talks about traditional wine-making in Europe, and of course wine tastings and meals with paired wines. These cruises take place in the wine regions of Europe, and include visits to various vineyards.

    South Africa Cruises

    A cruise in Africa is a fantastic and exhilarating opportunity to experience some of the most wonderful and unique aspects of our world. As well as new scenery, food, and of course culture, if your cruise includes a stop in South Africa, you’re in for a treat where wine is concerned as well. With 17th century European settlers came wine-making, and so viticulture here is in fact older than you might expect. Many cruise lines offer some brilliant wine-themed excursions, including tastings, tours of famous wine estates, and of course the chance to buy some exquisite bottles.

     

     

    Please remember to drink responsibily when enjoying wine or other alcoholic beverages.



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