02038483600
Good evening, we have expert advice,
best prices & exclusive cruise deals
on the widest selection of cruises
online... about Iglu.
Enter Cruise ID
Expert Advice and Booking
0203 848 3600
We're Closed

Cruise Blog

So You Think You Know the Mediterranean

clock 8th January 2018 | comment0 Comments

With the Mediterranean remaining the number one choice of destination for UK cruisers, we thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at some of the preconceptions, and indeed lesser known facts about this popular part of the world.

 

Home to the Original Shopping Mall

Holidaying in the Mediterranean will inevitably involve some souvenir-buying, and most tourists will visit local markets and bazaars for these. But did you know that today’s large, commercial shopping malls actually originated in the Mediterranean? The first complex of this type was constructed in Rome by Emperor Trajan, in the early part of the 2nd century. His emporium is thought to have been filled with all kinds of wares, from spices and foods, to clothing and material.

 

The Same Festivals Celebrated Differently

Festivals like Easter and Christmas are celebrated in most Mediterranean countries. At these times you’ll notice traditions like those in the UK, such as street parades and glittering decorations, but there also some less familiar customs:

• In Valencia, Spain, for instance, you might see flour-throwing on December 28th – The Day of the Innocents

• On Easter Saturday in Corfu you’ll need to keep your wits about you, to avoid injury during the popular pottery-smashing ritual

The Med is Home to some of the UK’s Favourite Foods

Most visitors to the Mediterranean like to explore new foods and try all the best local cuisine, and it may come as a surprise to learn that in fact, many of the most popular foods we eat in the UK have origins here. It’s no secret that favourites like pizza and pasta hail from Italy, but there are also some treats that might not be expected:

• Fruit cake and bacon are thought to have first been introduced by the Romans in Italy

• ‘Fish and Chips’ actually originated in Portugal and Spain

• It’s thought that the creation of pies began with the Ancient Greeks

 

Mediterranean Languages Have Influenced English

Many European languages have borrowed words from one another throughout history, and the English language itself has been shaped by a great number of words from the Mediterranean.

• French - we have France to thank for words like ‘menu’ and ‘restaurant’

• Spanish - Spain has given us the likes of ‘mosquito’, ‘patio’, and ‘vanilla’

• Italian - we use ‘camera’, ‘temperature’, and ‘zero’, from Italy

• Greek - ‘Phobia’, ‘ethos’, and ‘plethora’ all have origins in the Greek language.

Over 20 Countries and States Have Mediterranean Coast

When we think of ‘The Mediterranean’, it’s not uncommon to mention the likes of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, but in fact, more than 20 recognised states enjoy the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea on their shores. Here are a few more to explore on a Mediterranean cruise:

1. Gibraltar

2. Spain

3. France

4. Monaco

5. Italy

6. Malta

7. Slovenia

8. Croatia

9. Montenegro

10. Albania

11. Greece

12. Cyprus

13. Turkey

 

Cruising in the Mediterranean

As a long-standing, popular holiday destination, and with plenty of pretty ports to choose from, it makes sense that a great number of cruise companies offer itineraries in this part of the world. The UK’s favourite cruise line, P&O Cruises, offers a brilliant range of itineraries in and around The Med. This could be a great option for families, not only because of P&O Cruises’ onboard features, but also because Mediterranean countries are just a short flight from the UK. Or, if you’d prefer not to fly however, P&O Cruises also offer no-fly cruises departing from the UK.

Family Cruising in the Mediterranean

What makes P&O Cruises perfect for a family cruise in the Mediterranean?

 

 

5 ships in P&O Cruises' fleet of 8 have been designed with the wants and needs of families in mind, which means that they offer some of the best activities, entertainment, and family-friendly dining options at sea. Children are welcome in all onboard restaurants, each serving a wide variety of foods to cater for guests of all ages. The entertainment on the ships has also been well thought out to appeal to everyone. The stunning Once upon a time show is a particular favourite among families.

If you do fancy spending a special evening together, without the little ones, be sure to take advantage of P&O Cruises’ onboard kids club: The Reef. This is split into four age groups thereby ensuring that each child can access activities and entertainment materials suitable for them. This might be a soft play area, puzzles, books, or video games for example.

Another great aspect of cruising with P&O Cruises in the Mediterranean is the excursions. P&O Cruises offer a fantastic range, from exploring Rome’s infamous colosseum, taking a trolley train ride in Malta, to river rafting in Croatia, there will undoubtedly be something to suit every age group. Discover just how many places you could see, and what adventures you could have with your family on a P&O Cruises' Mediterranean cruise.



Looking Back at 2017 in Cruise

clock 22nd December 2017 | comment0 Comments

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
  •  

     

    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
  •  

    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
  •  

    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!

    For all the latest cruise news delivered straight to your email, subscribe to our mailing list.



    Azamara Cruises Internet Options

    clock 15th December 2017 | comment0 Comments

    Azamara 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.

     

    Can I get free Wi-Fi on my cruise?

    Azamara are currently running a fantastic offer until 28th February 2018, in which passengers can enjoy free Wi-Fi onboard when they book an Oceanview cabin or above.

    Book your next Azamara cruise now to enjoy this excellent onboard benefit.

    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. 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.



    Exploring Hurtigruten's Norway

    clock 6th December 2017 | comment0 Comments

    Iglu’s Marketing Manager, Natalie, went on a Norwegian adventure with Hurtigruten. Here’s what she thought of her first experience onboard Ms Midnatsol.

    I am lucky enough to have been on large cruise ships and river ships, but I have never experienced an explorer ship like Ms Midnatsol. I was invited to the two night annual Global Conference, and joined the ship in Bergen.

    Day 1

    After a short flight to Bergen, my first day was exciting and full-on. I was whisked up to the top of Mount Ulriken by cable car, to enjoy the beautiful view of the city. The mountain didn’t just offer guests a superb view of Bergen, it also offered visitors the chance to zipline across the mountain. So within two hours of landing at Bergen airport I was strapped up in zip-lining gear, and whizzing across a mountain! After this whistle-stop view of the city, we were taken to our basecamp for the next two nights, Ms Midnatsol.

    After settling into my lovely mini-suite I joined the group for dinner. Having had a busy day I was excited to sample the ships cuisine, and tonight we had booked the Pampas Antarctica dining venue. The South American inspired restaurant did not disappoint, the food was incredible and the sharing meat platter for two was truly delicious. I have to admit I was defeated by the portion size, and still regret not being able to eat it all.

    Day 2

    I woke up to a beautiful view of the Hardangerfjorden fjord, feeling revitalised after a good night’s sleep in the comfortable cabin. After a quick shower using the Nordic Cloudberry shower gel provided, I was ready to enjoy some new experiences. However, before the next adventure I refueled with a delicious breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs. I would have indulged more as the buffet had an excellent selection of food, including freshly made pastries, cereals, and much more, but I was still full from the feast the night before.

    After breakfast I attended several, very interesting, lectures onboard. I was fortunate enough to listen to a lecture by Thor Heyerdahl Jr - the explorer and son of world famous adventurer who led the Kon-Tiki expedition. The presentations were inspiring, and brought out the inner explorer in me that I didn’t realise was lying dormant. By the end of the session I was ready to kayak with whales in Antarctica! But before I got too carried away I had the spectacular Hardangerfjorden fjord to explore. I had a quick snack for lunch, and then I was taken by tender boat through the fjords. The experience was exhilarating and the views were absolutely breathtaking. I was immersed with views of unspoiled snowcapped mountains, beautiful Nordic houses, and lush valleys. Words really can’t describe how beautiful the Norwegian coastline is.

    Tonight we were sailing back to Bergen, so after another delicious meal I went outside to simply enjoy the scenery. The water glistened as we sailed under the glittering bridges and as we approached Bergen we passed another Hurtigruten ship - Ms Trollfjord. This is a great experience, as most of the guests from each ship come out on deck and cheer as the ships pass each other. Once we arrived back in Bergen I partook in a nightcap in the bar.

    Day 3

    Luckily my flight wasn’t until the evening, so I had all day to explore the picturesque city. First stop was the fish market. Even if you’re not a fan of fish it’s worth going, as there is an array of colourful culinary fish delights. I then jumped on the Bergen ‘toy train’ for a quick tour, and afterwards explored the quaint shops along the waterfront. If you’re looking for a fun souvenir you must visit the moose-themed shop located near the colorful buildings in Bryggen, where you can buy everything from moose bottle openers to slippers.

    The Verdict

    Hurtigruten offer a fantastic way of exploring Norway; most of the staff onboard grew up here, so they really are experts of this destination. Another plus is that the cruise line doesn’t have to use a pilot boat in this area, because the captain knows it so well, and the ship is small enough to get to places that larger cruise lines can’t. After a day out exploring, it’s lovely to come back to a comfortable ship with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The only negative is that I wish I could have stayed for longer, as I had so much fun. Although the trip was active, I felt rejuvenated from being onboard a relaxing ship, and being immersed in such a tranquil destination.



    What can be seen on an Alaska Cruise?

    clock 18th October 2017 | comment0 Comments

    For many people Alaska remains a far-off land full of mystery and intrigue, and as such it can be found on many a bucket list. Thankfully, more and more cruise lines are introducing Alaska itineraries, bringing this fascinating destination closer than you might think.

    If you have booked, or are thinking of booking an Alaska cruise, you might be wondering just what this northernmost American state has to offer. It is well known that the scenery here is spectacular, but what exactly are you likely to see?

    Stunning Wildlife

    Alaska is home to some beautiful creatures, both on land and in the surrounding waters. When cruising in Alaska, ships will stay close to the shore, allowing you the optimum chance to see all kinds of wildlife.

    As soon as you begin to approach Alaska, keep your eyes peeled for fantastic animals such as humpback and killer whales, dolphins, porpoises, puffins, and bald eagles. Then, when you get closer to the shore and on any days spent exploring on land, you might see mountain goats, grizzly, brown, and black bears, wolves, moose, porcupines, and salmon among others.

    To see Alaskan wildlife in its natural habitat is a truly wonderful experience. Sightings will help you to appreciate the complexities of the different interactions within the Alaskan environment.

    Beautiful Landscapes

    Supporting all these creatures is a majestic land which boasts some incredible vistas. Aside from the crystal clear waters that border the region, visitors will come across some very pretty lakes, rivers, and streams – many of which have waterfalls.

    In Alaska, your average view – whether in town or in the countryside - will generally contain commanding mountains, pine tree-filled forests, or extensive green plains, if not all of them. Even when in the centre of a busier area, such as capital city Juneau, the pretty and colourful buildings only serve to compliment the wider scene.

    True Wonders of Nature

    Visitors to Alaska are often blessed with the sight of some real natural spectacles. There are over 600 official glaciers found all over the state, but in fact there are an estimated 100,000 altogether. These are breath-taking to see, and it is sometimes even possible to see great portions of ice cascading away. You might also see floating icebergs in the seas around Alaska, which are remarkable to watch.

    Some lucky tourists are fortunate enough to see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. It is thought that the best time for this is between September and April, and of course they can be seen on land or from your cruise ship.

    Considering everything that can be discovered in this enriching part of the world, it is no wonder that so many people feel the need to explore it. If you are among these, have a look at our Alaska cruises today, or for more information, sign up to receive our new Alaska brochure.



    Book with Confidence

    We are ATOL Holders and members of ABTA for your financial protection.


    Iglu Cruise 10 years
    Search Cruises
    Your Shortlist

    You do not currently have any cruises in your shortlist.


    What our customers say

    "I just want to thank you for making the changes to our upcoming cruise. You have enabled us to achieve exactly what we wanted."

    Michael
    (January 2018)


    "Please pass my thanks to everybody at Iglu, we have booked cruises at many other Companies but the service provided by Iglu was a level above the rest, so we shall be back to book another Cruise towards the end of next year."

    Brian P
    (December 2017)


    Read more feedback