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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.



The Best of the Autumn 2017 Iglu Cruise Show

clock 12th October 2017 | comment0 Comments

Due to ever-increasing demand for our Iglu Cruise Holiday Show, we recently held our second and final show of the year at the beautiful Epsom Downs Racecourse.

Guests were greeted with spectacular views over the venue, where the sun was shining and our staff were smiling. With faultless transport links, complimentary parking, and welcome drinks on hand throughout the day, the atmosphere was relaxed and cheerful. Hundreds of cruise fans turned out to be a part of the event, to discuss their future cruising needs, and gain valuable advice from our experts.

An impressive array of cruise line representatives, travel agents, and other specialists were on hand to offer information and guidance, and to inspire cruisers with all possible cruising options. With six live talks taking place throughout the day, guests could find answers to all their holiday questions with ease.

A real highlight of the day was BBC presenter Nicholas Owen’s talk about his life experiences, and love for cruising with Cunard. With Cunard in attendance, guests were privy to an authentic and thorough insight into life onboard their ships. Other talks included ‘Why River Cruising Could be for You’, which explained the exciting versatility of cruising the world’s rivers, and ‘Handcrafted Cruise Holidays’, during which our very own experts detailed the possibilities of a tailor made cruise.

As well as making the most of the opportunity to learn more about all things cruise, guests also had the chance of winning a Luxury Hamper, courtesy of Holland America Line. We would like to thank all entrees, and are delighted to congratulate our winner - Jerry from Bognor Regis!

We at Iglu Cruise thoroughly enjoyed our day with all of those who attended, and can’t wait to see you at our 2018 shows, which are set to be even better!



Discover Queensland

clock 11th October 2017 | comment0 Comments

Australasia cruises generally include a number of fantastic Australian cities among their ports of call, and when deciding which cruise is right for you it can be a little confusing to determine exactly where and what you want to see. To try to help put things into focus, we’ve made this short, handy guide about what can be found in one of the country's most popular regions – discover Queensland on a cruise to Australia.



Port Douglas for The Great Barrier Reef 

 

Encompassing the majority of the country’s northeast corner, the state has almost 7000km of coastline. It will come as no surprise then, to learn that Queensland is home to the infamous Great Barrier Reef. More than two million visitors are drawn to this incredible underwater spectacle every year, where adventurers can see over 1,500 species of fish, 134 species of sharks and sting rays, and more than 500 types of coral.





Abel Point Marina for The Whitsundays

 

While the Great Barrier Reef obviously steals the focus in this region – for good reason – Queensland does have many other fantastic places that should not be missed. The Whitsundays, for example, are a truly beautiful attraction. This archipelago of 74 islands is perfect for sailing, due to the calm and clear waters. With luck, you might see dolphins, sea turtles, and even whales.

 

Yorkey's Knob Port for Cairns



Cairns is another area of Queensland that you should try to find time for. Here you can get your cultural fix in the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, embrace the local lifestyle in world-class bars and restaurants, and get back to nature in the Daintree National Park – thought to be the oldest rainforest on earth.





The Port of Brisbane

 

Not forgetting the state capital – Brisbane. Peppered with beautiful parks, historical buildings, and more stunning beaches, this is another place you’ll need more than a few hours to explore! Highlights include Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo – only an hour drive away – which is home to all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures. Or visit the fascinating Sciencentre, various museums, and fantastic Brisbane Botanical Gardens.

Our guide merely skims the surface of everything this brilliant corner of Australia has to offer, and if you do decide to visit the state, it is highly likely that you will end up planning a return trip.

 

Look at our Australasia cruises, and start planning your next adventure straight away.



Spotlight on Malaysia

clock 26th September 2017 | comment0 Comments

Malaysia is an interesting and exciting country, with a mainland uniquely separated by the South China Sea.

The destination offers a beautiful blend of cultures, with European, Chinese, Indian, and Malay influences impacting on the architecture, food, and general atmosphere of the place. Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to how and where to spend their time, and it is likely that a return trip (or indeed trips!) will be necessary to see everything.

 



Kuala Lumpur

 

The capital of Malaysia is undeniably enchanting and invigorating. Here you will find some fantastic shopping opportunities, fascinating museums, impressive modern architecture, and not forgetting the delicious food. Both upscale restaurants and tasty street food can be found peppered throughout the city.

 

Sarawak

 

Located on the Island of Borneo, this Malaysian state is home to some incredible wildlife. Go on safari to see orangutans, crocodiles, all kinds of species of birds, and other beautiful creatures. If you have time, visit Gunung Mulu National Park where you can see more wildlife, including an immense colony of bats.

 

Cameron Highlands

 

This stunning area of Malaysia will bring a breath of fresh air – literally. Located at between 1,100 and 1,600 metres above sea level, the Cameron Highlands boast simply remarkable vistas, with bright green rolling hills stretching as far as the eye can see. The land was developed when the British were in Malaysia, to enable an escape from the heat of the lowlands.

 



George Town

 

On the island of Penang, George Town demonstrates the influx of cultures that have been present in Malaysia. There are colonial buildings, mosques, and Chinese style buildings all within this small town. Take in all the sights, visit the museums, and spend time in cafes and restaurants serving everything from otak otak (steamed fish curry), to cakes and ice cream.

These are just four of the top spots to visit in Malaysia, and it is entirely possible that you will want to spend all your time exploring only one of them considering how much they have to offer. The country truly has something for everyone; you just need to think about the kind of holiday you’re after before deciding where to spend your time.

Could Malaysia be the next adventure for you? Find out more about our Asia cruises and start planning your holiday today, and be sure to sign up for our new Asia brochure.



A guide for your first cruise

clock 2nd February 2016 | comment0 Comments

Updated October 2017

 

Cruising is the travel success story of the 21st century, and it's not surprising that more people are converting to cruises every year. It's estimated that one in three new cruisers say they will never take a land holiday again.

So if you've never taken a cruise, and are wondering what all the hype is about, here is our guide for first-time cruisers.

 

Guide to first time cruising

 

First time cruise FAQ's

 

Is cruising for me?

The simple answer is yes! With more ships being built every year, the options are endless - and there is a cruise to suit absolutely everyone.

 

What's so great about cruising?

With almost everything included in the price, cruising makes fantastic value for money. If you choose a cruise and compare it with the price of a land holiday (taking into account flights, transfers, food, accommodation, activities etc) it's almost guaranteed that a cruise will win hands down when it comes to value for money.

Travelling to multiple destinations and unpacking once is a huge advantage of cruising. No other holiday can offer you this, and with no luggage allowance you can take as much as you want. Could you imagine falling asleep in Australia and waking up in Fiji? Or visiting seven different countries in as many days?

One of the biggest attractions to cruising is having everything right on your doorstep as you travel the world. This includes superb entertainment from Broadway and acrobatic shows, to jazz bars and karaoke. Numerous restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world, often concocted by celebrity chefs. Bars such as chic champagne lounges, ice bars, and olde English pubs. Activities from surf simulators to TV game shows. Leisure facilities like world class spas, beauty therapies, and pools and hot tubs.

 

Is cruising suitable for young people? Cruise lines cater for everyone, and have rapidly grown to become one of the most popular holiday choices for families and young couples. However, choosing the right cruise line for you is important as some lines do tend to attract certain age groups. It has been revealed that the average age of people cruising is 50 years old, and the average age of a first time cruiser is 37 years old.

 


Will I be bored? It is highly unlikely that you will find yourself bored on a cruise ship. Whether you go away to relax, explore, or try new activities, a cruise ship has something for everyone.  With rock climbing walls, ice-skating, game shows, parades and much more, the schedule of activities onboard a cruise is endless - we did 100 activities in one day onboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.

 

First time cruise FAQ

 


Will I get sea sick?
 The chance that you will get sea sick on a cruise ship is low, because they are large vessels that have been built with stabilisers to reduce movement. If by any chance you do happen to feel sea sick, the onboard medical facility can usually offer you complimentary medication to help.  To avoid any chance of becoming sea sick, choose a cabin in the middle of the ship as these have maximum stability. 


Will I get time in port?
 One of the main attractions of a cruise is the fascinating places you travel to. Cruise lines will factor in time spent in port, ensuring there is enough for you to see a fair amount of each location.  Ships travel during the night so they usually arrive for a full day in port.  To fully explore the first or last destination, you can add a pre or post hotel stay to your cruise allowing you maximum time in your favourite departure port. Certain cruise lines are now starting to offering cruise and stay holidays in many destinations too. 


Is it claustrophobic?
It's unlikely that anyone will feel claustrophobic on a cruise ship. The ships are so large, and have so many different venues onboard, that it never feels crowded. With so much going on at the same time, it is unlikely that you will continuously bump into the same people. If you are concerned about this however, consider cruising on one of the larger ships.

Do I have to dress formally every night?  Depending on what cruise line you choose, the dress code may differ - some cruises are more formal than others. In general, most cruises will have a couple of formal nights during the holiday and the rest will be casual.


Will I just eat all day long?
 This myth is heard time and time again, and is completely false. Yes, food is an important part of a cruise, and there is a wide range of cuisine available to you most of the time, however it doesn’t mean it is shoved in your face! You can eat when you want and as much as you want.

 

 

Choosing the right type of cruise

 

There are so many different types of cruises, you can easily feel overwhelmed trying to work out which one would be best for you. Here are a few different types, plus some highlights to help you narrow down your search.

 

Mini cruise and taster cruises - Mini cruises or taster cruises are ideal for first time cruisers. Mini cruises usually last a couple of nights and make the perfect weekend getaway. Sail from the UK on a mini cruise and you’ll likely get a great introduction to Northern Europe as well as a great introduction to cruising.



Cruises from the UK - Many cruise lines offer a great range of cruises that sail straight from the UK from ports like Southampton, Harwich, Tilbury, Liverpool, and more. When you choose a cruise sailing from the UK you can start your holiday straight away, and enjoy the hassle-free process of arriving straight to your port for embarkation. Check out our top tips for embarkation when you cruise from the UK.

 

Fly-Cruises - A fly cruise involves catching a flight to meet your chosen cruise ship in your desired destination. This gives you the chance to travel far and wide, cruising to destinations you may never have thought possible. A fly-cruise is a great way to do one section of a world cruise, where you can meet your ship to sample just a section of the itinerary.

 

River cruises - These types of cruises are fantastic for cultural immersion. You cruise directly into the heart of cities, and most land excursions are included as standard. There tend to be more ports of call since less area needs to be covered, meaning you can spend more time enjoying the destinations. They are a great starting point for anyone who may be worried about getting sea sick.

 

first time river cruise

 

Cruise & Stay - These are a great way to see more of your desired destination. Spend a night or two on land in addition to your cruise, and get the best of both worlds. Ideal for those who would like a bit more time to explore certain cities.

 

Luxury cruise - If you prefer a more attentive service, larger staterooms, and an overall more inclusive experience, then luxury cruises are best suited to you. See our guide to choosing your luxury cruise line.

 

Six star cruise - The most luxurious way to travel, six star cruises offer the most inclusive experience at sea. The quality of services offered as standard are exceptional, and the whole experience is very personalised. See our guide to six star cruises.

 

World Cruise - A world cruise does exactly what it says on the tin. Choose a world cruise and you can sail to many exciting destinations worldwide. World cruises can last from anything between 30 days to 6 months. Choose a world cruise if you are not short of time, and want to experience a good variety of destinations. 

 

Themed cruises - These can include arts and literature, Disney film theme, cruises that take you to the Grand Prix, Calgary Stampede and Rocky Mountaineer and more! Themed cruises are all the rage, and perfect for anyone with a real passion or hobby that can be enjoyed while on a great holiday.

 

formula 1 cruise

 

Transatlantic Cruises - Transatlantic cruises have long been a popular choice for cruise holidays. You can sail transatlantic and experience a traditional British style cruise with Cunard. Your entire cruise will be spent at sea, and generally these sailings arrive in New York where you can explore and enjoy the Big Apple.

 

Single cruises - More cruise lines are now catering for the solo traveller than ever before. As well as offering low, or even no single supplements and dedicated cabins, they can make arrangements for solo travellers to meet and dine with each other if they wish. Several cruise lines are now even offering dance partners for solo travellers. View our top cruise line and ship recommendations for solo travellers.

 

Yacht cruises - Perfect for anyone who loves the water, there is no other cruise holiday that offers so much opportunity for water sports - with most equipment included as standard. These cruises also appeal to anyone who wants a real adventure, and wants to experience destinations that larger ships are unable to dock in. It is also a very romantic way to cruise, and offers high staff-to-guest ratios.

 

First time cruise tips

 

Choosing the right ship


One of the most important factors to consider when booking your first cruise, is choosing the ship and cruise line that is right for you. With over 40 different cruise lines and hundreds of ships, it can be hard to understand the differences. The first thing you need to ask yourself is; what do you want from your cruise holiday? Do you like to go away to relax? Explore new destinations? Try new activities? Meet friends? Get a tan? Take the family away? All these factors need to be considered when choosing a cruise ship.

There are larger ships that promote themselves as the main destination, smaller ships that are more port-focused, and luxury ships that offer much more of an intimate atmosphere. A common trend within the cruising industry is that the smaller ships will go to more unique destinations, and the larger ships tend to go to fewer stops and visit larger ports. You therefore need to weigh up the importance of onboard activity and destinations on your holiday.

 

Here are some recommendations based on the 2017 UK Cruisers' Choice Awards.

 

Best ships for first time cruisers: Freedom of the Seas, Norwegian Jade, Celebrity Constellation, Aurora, TUI Discovery

Best large ships overall: Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Jade

Best mid-sized ships overall: Riviera, Thomson Spirit, Queen Victoria, TUI Discovery, Thomson Celebration

Best small ships overall: Viking Star, Viking Sea, Saga Sapphire, Boudicca, Seven Seas Explorer

Best for families: Harmony of the Seas, Thomson Dream, Norwegian Epic, Celebrity Eclipse, Britannia 

 

Tips for first time cruise

 

 

A few final top tips:

 

 It can be hard to find all of the information you need before booking your first cruise, and you may have some questions. To try to help, here is our list of top tips:

 

Booking

• Before booking your cruise, take a look through our website for more information on different cruise lines and ships, or simply call our sales team who can offer expert advice and assistance to help you find a suitable cruise.

Sign up to our newsletters. With so much competiton in the cruise industry nowadays, you can find some incredible prices which are snapped up quickly. Be among the first to know about the hottest deals with our email alerts.

• Book a cabin that suits you. If you think you'll spend most of your time away from your room, go for an interior cabin. Or if you want the true experience of being at sea everyday, a balcony room is ideal for you.

 


Before you cruise

• Plan what you would like to do in the ports of call before you get onboard. Research the destination, and try to get a list of excursions the cruise line offers.

• Pack appropriately, there is no luggage limit on a cruise so you take as much as you like. There is likely to be a formal night, so remember to pack an evening dress/suit for this. Read our top tips on packing for a fly cruise with a luggage allowance.

• Ensure you take the correct documentation; passports, visas, confirmation and onboard account form.

• Depending where your cruise is departing from, it is often a good idea to spend the night before in a hotel. This should help to ensure you don't miss the ship due to flight delays or travel problems. Just like a flight - the ship will not wait for you!

 

packing tips for first time cruise


On your cruise

• Ensure your onboard account is set up. When you board, you're given a card that will be your room key, entry to the ship, and used for all onboard charges. You can link this to your credit card, pay in cash at the end, or make cash payments throughout your cruise if you wish.

• Ensure you know your way around the ship. Try to know your way from your cabin to the dining room, theatre, and any other favourite places onboard.

• If you don't know already, find out how the tipping onboard works. Some cruise lines include gratuities in the price of your cruise, some automatically charge them to your onboard account, and some leave it up to you.

• Every day you will receive a schedule of what is going on around the ship. Have a look at this every morning so you can work out what you want to see, and ensure you don't miss anything. It might be a good idea to pack a highlighter!

• Make the most of the ports. It's likely you'll chose your cruise because of the destinations, so ensure you wake up early and get off the ship as soon as you can to start exploring.

 


After your cruise

• Reminisce over all of your amazing photographs, let us know your thoughts, and start looking for your next cruise adventure! Share your favourite cruise moments with us on twitter @iglucruise

 

 

By now you're probably eager to book your first cruise! Your cruise journey begins from the moment you look for a cruise, and it should be an enjoyable and exciting experience from the start. 

Soon after, you'll no doubt be joining the many first-time cruises who profess "If I had known how great this was going to be, I would have done it a lot sooner."

 

Happy cruising!



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What our customers say

"I can safely say Iglu has been the best holiday agency I have ever used. Your customer care both pre and post cruise has been second to none. I will definitely use you again and recommend to family and friends. Thank you once again"

Anna
(October 2017)

"I booked my first ever cruise on Tuesday 5th September 2017. After lengthy searching and much deliberation we booked through Iglu. So far, I am incredibly happy I booked with Iglu. This being our first cruise Debi proved very helpful. I was [also] very impressed with the level of assistance offered by Connie. She answered my questions and put my mind at rest. I am very impressed with all aspects of dealing with Iglu and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support. "

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