0203 848 3600

Over 1.5 Million Happy Cruise Customers

{0} out of 10 Rated Excellent
ATOL Protected
02038483600

Cruise Blog

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.



5 Worst Mistakes to Make When Packing for a Cruise

clock 18th March 2019 | comment0 Comments
While there will be some exceptions, there are cruise essentials that you will need no matter which cruise line you sail with. Read on for the five worst mistakes you can make when packing for your cruise, and avoid a packing faux pas! [More]


Carnival’s XL class ship is named: Mardi Gras and here's everything we know about it!

clock 12th December 2018 | comment0 Comments

Carnival Cruise Line announced the name of their first XL class ship on their highly popular game show ‘Wheel of Fortune’. The name could come at a shock to some, due to Carnival’s first ever ship also called Mardi Gras. However, it was exactly this reason why Carnival decided the name, due to the history behind the name.

The original Mardi Gras was the Carnival first ship and sailed in 1972 the ship was seen as a historic ship due to the fun element that Carnival introduced to cruising. The original ship was 27,000 ton and a converted trans-Atlantic ocean liner. Mardi Gras will be six times bigger than its namesake at 180,000 tons with a capacity of 5,200 on its lower berth passengers and a maximum total capacity 6,500.

Excitingly Carnival is the first cruise line to introduce the world’s first ever rollercoaster onboard a cruise! The rollercoaster is called BOLT, a thrilling experience being at 800 feet, you’ll view some amazing ocean views. An electric rollercoaster which allows friends and family to race each other and control their speed. Mardi Gras creates history for cruising with the first rollercoaster, an exciting opportunity to explore something new. 

 

 

Mardi Gras is the first ship in North America to be powered by liquefied natural gas. Currently, in construction in Meyer Turku Finland, Mardi Gras will be on sale for passengers to in January 2019 and ready to sail in 2020. Keeping Carnival’s fun traditions, the ship is to introduce new technological innovations and features never before seen on a cruise ship. The new ship will be based in Port Canaveral Florida, featuring a new terminal. Carnival is a cruise line which provides for a range of people due to their countless activities for singles, couples, families, and seniors. The cruise line carried over 4.7 million in 2016, showing their popularity being the only individual cruise brand to do so. Carnival is starting construction in 2020 and welcoming a second XL class ship in 2022, the second class ship will mark the anniversary of the line’s founding.



Are Cruise Lines Becoming Greener?

clock 3rd September 2018 | comment0 Comments

Fans of cruising can often find themselves wondering, ‘what are cruise lines doing to help and contribute towards protecting the environment?’ There are in fact a number of initiatives to reduce waste and carbon emissions, including the use of solar panels as well as powering private islands with waste materials. Cruise companies have been making great strides in increasing sustainability and protecting the environment, and this will only increase in the future .

 

 

How Are Cruise Lines Protecting the Environment?

 

Many cruise lines have backed plans to protect the various environments on their itineraries in several ways. For example, there's now an alliance between Carnival Cruise Lines and the International SeaKeepers Society, which monitors water quality in locations visited by Carnival Triumph and Carnival Spirit. Equipment is has been built into these ships to gather data wherever they are. This is then relayed via satellite to scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami, where they can keep on top of the water quality levels.

However, this is merely one example of many systems in place for monitoring the environment's health. There are groups all around the world dedicated to tracking this kind of data, including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System.

 

What Changes Are Being Made to help the Environment?

 

One of the biggest and most common changes we’ve seen is to the hull on cruise ships. By painting the hull with silicon-based paint, the ships glide through water more efficiently, therefore saving fuel. Royal Caribbean Cruises have taken this a step further by designing aerodynamic hulls, increasing the benefit of this fuel-saving tactic.

Fuel is a key economic and environmental issue for cruise lines. Keeping the incredible ships afloat and operating at 100% takes a huge amount of energy. Today’s cruise ships can carry more 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew members - which is the equivalent of a small town - but measures can be made to increase the efficiency of the fuel used.

 

 

Here are some examples of other positive changes:

  • The US National Park Service has taken measures to reduce the environmental impact of cruising in Alaska, and there are strict regulations for the passage through Glacier Bay. Only one ship at a time is permitted to enter the bay and the number of total visits per season is also restricted.
  •  

  • Holland America Line has partnered with the US National Park Service and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protect whales in the oceans. Together their programmes educate mariners about recognising when whales are in close proximity and how to avoid them.
  •  

  • Royal Caribbean has invested $100 million into converting wastewater treatment systems into advanced purification systems, and also uses over 18 million gallons of biodiesel used each year, a much more sustainable, renewable alternative to diesel.
  •  

  • Disney Cruise Line recycle the condensation from air conditioning units and use it for things such as laundry or cleaning decks, which saves gallons of water per day. They also recycle a mix of materials onboard; some of which is processed by their partners, Keep America Beautiful - an organization which is all about preserving the environment.
  •  

  • Celebrity Cruises, have heat transfer windows that allow more light, which then reduces the cooling needed in the cabin.
  •  

  • Norwegian Cruise Line have adopted a number of different strategies to protect the environment and increase sustainability. The cruise line uses eco-ballast technology which is a water treatment system ensuring the ship doesn’t send toxins into the water, and donates cooking oil to farmers in port cities to be re-used as fuel. Steps have also been taken to remove the use of plastic straws across the entire fleet and Norwegian Cruise Line’s two private islands. Excitingly, a partnership with Ocean Conservancy means that the cruise line is the first to join the Trash Free Seas Alliance, which is a huge step forward in the cruising industry. Finally, Norwegian Cruise Line’s campaign, Hope Starts Here, aims to rebuild schools and structures damaged by hurricanes in the Caribbean islands. In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line have funded the opening of a nature trail with Alaska Raptor Center, a dedicated avian hospital that rehabilitates injured birds of prey in Sitka, Alaska.
  •  

     

    Overall, it’s clear that a number of popular cruise lines are investing in the environment in one way or another, and as science develops, this will surely only improve. If this information has struck a chord with you, find out more about how you can do your bit for the world and the communities in it, with our five holidays that make a difference.



    Virgin Voyages Announce Name of New Ship

    clock 20th July 2018 | comment0 Comments

    A lot of excitement is building around all-new cruise line Virgin Voyages, and even more highly-anticipated news has just come in hot off the press - the name of their first ship will be…

    Drum roll, please…

    Scarlet Lady!

     

     

    What else do we know about Virgin Voyage’s Scarlet Lady?

     

    Scarlet Lady’s home port will be Miami, from where she will set sail as early as 2020. Designed with a futuristic, sleek design and plenty of outdoor space, Scarlet Lady aims to be as pioneering to the world of cruise as all other Virgin brands that have gone before. You can see this in her emblem on her hull of a mermaid adorning the Virgin logo - in contrast to the Flying Lady adorning Virgin Atlantic’s aeroplanes. This emblem, colour scheme, and name all pay homage to Sir Richard Branson’s first foray into the travel industry, Scarlet Lady being one of the first planes to fly for Virgin Atlantic.

    As well as celebrating Virgin’s past, Scarlet Lady looks to the future. This includes a commitment to achieving sustainable cruise holidays by converting clean energy onboard the ship and pledging to be single-use plastic free. A second philosophy pledged by Virgin is a focus on getting women into jobs higher up the chain of command onboard.

     

    What can we expect onboard Virgin Voyage’s Scarlet Lady?

     

    Scarlet Lady will be an adult-only ship catering to up to nine-hundred ‘sailors’, aged 18-years-old and above. This means there is a focus on wining, dining, and relaxing while onboard. There are some fantastic onboard venues to enjoy and socialise in while cruising with Virgin Voyages, including Richards’ Rooftop, a huge open deck terrace on the top of the ship. There is also an experimental lab-styled restaurant called ‘The Test Kitchen’ which comes complete with periodic table, test tube décor, and experimental dishes to sample.

    One major feature on Scarlet Lady, and the two future ships following, is the focus on the concept Virgin are calling ‘Vitamin Sea’. This is a focus on their ‘sailors’ getting the right balance of ‘detox and retox’. This entails the process of having a great time and then recovering again afterwards. Vitamin Sea includes yoga meditation, fitness classes, sports activities, a juice bar, the largest day-bed afloat, and Runway jogging track. For sure, a Virgin cruise will be a zen-like balance of good times and rejuvenation!

    Stay up to date with all the latest cruise news by signing up to our mailing list.



    Book with Confidence

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


    Price Match Guarantee
    Search Cruises
    Your Shortlist

    You do not currently have any cruises in your shortlist.


    What our customers say


    "I booked a Fred Olsen cruise with IGLU last month and was so impressed by the service I received. The staff member I spoke to was Kimberley and she was exemplary. Capable, kind, professional, patient, friendly and knowledgeable. She went through every step of the way calmly and thoroughly. IGLU were recommended to me by friends and I have no hesitation in passing the recommendation along. Well done IGLU and thank you. "

    Christina
    (March 2019)

    "So easy to deal with, I studied the Cruise I wanted, did my research with different company's and returned to Iglu. I had three quotes matching Iglu’s cost, but with one phone call they beat the price themselves by £40 without me even asking, how easy was that! "

    Gary
    (February 2019)


    Read more feedback