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Know before you go - staying safe abroad

25th June 2015

Updated March 2018

Ensure smooth sailing on your next annual holiday with some simple and easy safety tips.

 

 

Research your destination of choice
If you are visiting a place for the first time, it's always worthwhile reading up a little bit about what to expect when you arrive. From cultural differences and local customs, to current affairs, avoid awkward surprises by being well informed. The official British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website offers up-to-date global travel advice.

Inform family or close friends of your trip
Whether you're heading off alone, as a couple, or a family, it's a good idea to let loved ones know of your travel plans. This will make it easier to locate or contact you if necessary.

Consult a medical professional
You might need vaccinations before you travel, or to carry prescribed medication on your trip. Consult your doctor before you depart if you have any questions or concerns regarding your health whilst abroad.

 

Stepping off the ship for a day or two?

Use official and registered taxis
Your cruise line should be able to advise you on safe local taxis to transport you to and from the ship. Avoid unwanted situations by only using official and registered taxis during your stay.

Learn some basic local language
Knowing a few basic words or sentences in the local language can work wonders on your trip. Useful ones include hello, thank you, no thank you, excuse me, and help!

Avoid unknown and remote areas at night
The atmosphere can completely change when the sun goes down, sometimes for the better but unfortunately sometimes not. Get a sense of your surroundings and avoid dark alleys, beaches, or unknown areas at night. Walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas is also not advised.

Don't show off your flashy gadgets
Use a camera strap to keep a good grip on your camera. Try not to openly advertise flashy gadgets if you're visiting a crowded place, and and beware of pick-pockets.

 

 

Keep your bag zip at the front
Making sure your bag zip is at the front where you can see it means it’s less likely for pickpockets to unzip and access your valuables. If you have a backpack and are walking through a market or crowded area, wear it the other way around and on your front so that you can see it at all times.

Take only what you need
Work out how much money you will need for the day, and if you're travelling with others divide it between you. This means that if your money is lost or stolen, you will still have enough for your trip stored safely onboard.

Be wary of “friendly strangers”
Unfortunately not everyone who acts friendly wants to be your friend. Pick-pockets often work in teams and use distraction techniques. Try to suss the person out, and if you feel uneasy, politely decline their conversation but make sure you know where your valuables are whilst doing so. Placing your hand in your pocket or on your bag will reassure you that you’re still holding what you should be.

Try to avoid accepting gifts or leaflets from strangers; this is a known distraction technique.

 

 

Know where your passport is?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reported that in 2016 more than 21,000 British passports had been reported lost or stolen. Avoid falling victim to passport theft with some excellent tips from stealth crime expert James Freedman outlined below.

  • Be aware of your surroundings, and strangers who take an unusual amount of interest in you
  • A damaged passport cannot be used for travel, so value it and keep it safe
  • Lock your passport in a safe
  • Make two photocopies of your passport – leave one with friends or family and take the second with you.
  • Check the entry requirements of your destination before you go
  • Ensure you fill in the emergency details before you go



    While it is important to consider the safety aspects of any travelling experience, you should not let these distract you from having a fantastic time. The chances are that you won't experience any trouble during your cruise, so relax and enjoy the new experiences that are sure to fill each and every day.

  • Why we love solo cruise travel

    11th June 2015

    As no single supplement offers are a cruising staple now, we thought it a good idea to recap why solo cruise travel is an all-round amazing idea.

    Opting for a solo cruise means that you can see what you want, when you want and not have to wait for anyone else to decide. There is something empowering about going it alone and you’ll learn something new about yourself each time.

    Grab a great value single offer whilst it’s hot and start to get excited for all the forthcoming fun you are about to have on your cruise. From joining inspiring land tours and shore excursions, to participating in endless onboard activities; you might want to clear your calendar for the coming months to make space for all the new friends you’re about to make.

     

    For when you’re feeling social


    Joining a cruise as a single doesn’t mean you have to remain single; there are plenty of opportunities to get social and make new friends within the cruising community.


    Organised social events

     
    Some cruise lines host organised meet ups for social solo travellers to get to know each other. Holland America Line throw a singles cocktail party and P&O Cruises host coffee mornings for solo travellers.


    Bar chat

     
    Grab a stool at the bar and secure your spot in the social hub for the evening. You’ll get a great view of goings on and can get chatting to the bar crew and mixologists or other cruisers. Try a range of wines by the glass at P&O Cruises' The Glass House or visit Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar for a totally unique experience.


    Poolside

     
    When the sun is shining everybody heads to the pool, there are often planned pool activities and cruise lines like Carnival throw some great pool and deck parties.


    Shore excursions

     
    Joining onshore excursions is a fantastic way to meet and mingle with other cruisers. You’ll get to explore exciting new places and likely have the chance to participate in organised activities with new friends.


    friends toasting

     

    Dining

     
    Most cruise lines cater for sociable solo travellers by seating them together if requested. With some ships including dining tables seating up to 8 people, there are plenty of opportunities for social dining.


    Classes

     
    Onboard activities can range from cooking classes to dance or computer classes and much more. Use this time to learn a new skill and bond with your fellow students.


    Communal areas

     
    Luxury lounges, viewing spots and chill out zones are easy to find on a cruise and also a great place to meet others. Norwegian Cruise Line also provide their single guests with a dedicated singles bar and lounge.



    For when you want some space

     

    Room Service

     
    An increase in single staterooms are popping up across cruise lines. If you’d like some quiet time to catch a movie in your cabin, take advantage of room service and enjoy a peaceful dinner.
     


    Spa


    Find total tranquillity in an onboard spa, indulge in a treatment or find a calm corner to relax. Princess Cruises offer an adult only Sanctuary and Celebrity Cruises an adult only pool area, Serenity.


    hammock

     

    Gym + new adventures

     
    There is no better way to get in the zone than in the gym. Work on your fitness and create a new personal best whilst on your cruise holiday. For something a little more adventurous, Royal Caribbean boast rock climbing walls and surf simulators for adrenaline junkies.


    Deck stroll

     
    Enjoy awe-inspiring views on your cruise and breathe in the fresh sea air on a lengthy stroll above deck. You can walk at your own pace and for as long or as little as you like. Many cruise ships have marked out walking tracks; just make sure you’re not on the running one unless you plan to pick up the pace.


    Lectures

     
    Onboard lectures are available across a wide range of cruise ships and you can learn from academics, historians, explorers and more in superb lecture theatres. Cunard provide a great selection of events in their Cunard Insights programme.


    Cinema screenings

     
    Princess Cruises have an epic outdoor cinema for you to enjoy movies under the stars. Whilst Carnival Vista brings the world’s first Imax theatre to the seas.


     

    Thinking about a solo cruise? Browse our best single deals or try something totally unique from our Handcrafted Holidays collection.

     

    If you have any special requirements during your cruise or would like to know more information about specific solo cruise activites for your chosen voyage - speak to your cruise agent at the time of your enquiry.


    7 Essential Tips for Easy Embarkation

    19th May 2015

    The excitement surrounding the lead up to a holiday is almost as good as the actual thing, but in order to make the embarkation process as smooth as possible there are some key tips to keep in mind. There are a number of easy things you can do to prepare for the big day – read on to find out more! [More]

    5 Things To Be Excited About In 2015

    22nd December 2014

    As the year comes to a close, it is not only a good time to look back on the events of the past 12 months, but also look at what’s to come in the new year. With 2014 being such a huge year for cruise, can 2015 match it?

    Already shaping up to be another exciting one, cruise lines have started to make us feel like next year is going to be a phenomenal year for the cruise industry. 

    Here are my top 5 cruise events to look forward to in 2015…

    1. The launch of Britannia

    It feels like we have been waiting for Britannia for ages and the excitement began back at the beginning of 2014 when P&O Cruises held a launch event to give us a sneak peek of the amenities we can expect on Britannia.

    The largest ship ever built for the UK, she is set to be 'inspired by the past, but designed for the future'. Showcasing everything we love about P&O Cruises with a host of new twists, there is no doubt she will take the world by storm.

    A foodies heaven, she will be home to five celebrity chefs working alongside each other including James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Eric Lanyard, Olly Smith and Atul Kochhar. There will also be the first cookery school at sea and a host of exquisite restaurants.

    Her elegant staterooms, fascinating atrium and giant spa have been designed to amaze guests at every moment.

    Launching in March, she will sail a range of Mediterranean and Fjord itineraries. See our Britannia Cruise Deals.

    2. The arrival of Anthem of the Seas into Southampton

    With the launch of Quantum of the Seas being one of the most significant cruise events in 2014, will her sister ship cause a similar stir? The second SMARTship to launch, she will have everything we loved about Quantum and more.

    Ever since it was announced Anthem of the Seas will call Southampton home for the summer months, bookings for her maiden sailings have rocketed and the suspense for her arrival has been at high levels. Once again everyone is ready to see a ship that "changes everything".

    With a skydiving simulator, bumper cars, robotic bar tenders and an elevating pod, Royal Caribbean once again push every industry boundary and stand ready to give guests a completely different view of cruising.

    A strong emphasis on entertainment will be portrayed again with world-class Broadway musicals, the technology of 270 and a Music Hall where an array of show-stopping bands will perform.

    Arriving into Southampton in April, her maiden voyages will include sailings to Paris and Bruges. See our Anthem of the Seas Cruise Deals.

    3. World cruises

    2015 will see an array of new destinations added to cruise itineraries and as the industry expands, so do the ports. You can cruise to almost every corner of the earth now and new ports for 2015 are starting to be announced.

    As more people want to explore the world on a cruise, it made perfect sense for cruise lines to start introducing world cruises to their schedules.

    New ship, Quantum of the Seas will sail a 53 night world voyage from New Jersey, USA to Hong Kong.

    P&O Cruises will have ships sailing around the globe in 2015, from Asia, Australia and Dubai. Cunard will continue their unique cruises such as Hong Kong to Sydney, Cape Town to Southampton and Dubai to Sri Lanka.

    2015 will see Fred Olsen Cruises explore exquisite locations such as Arctic and Antarctica.

    4. Sailing from Southampton

    There has been a huge rise in people wanting to cruise without flying and 2015 will see the largest choice of ships sailing from Southampton.

    Two new ships Britannia and Anthem of the Seas will go head to head with summer sailings from Southampton. Making it a huge year for the port of Southampton, having two brand new ships here will see a significant increase in guests sailings from the UK next year.

    Replacing the popular Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean is sending Explorer of the Seas to the UK for the first time. The voyager-class ship will complete a major refurbishment before arriving to Southampton and include new virtual balcony staterooms, a flowrider and revamped entertainment.

    Voted best ship from Southampton in 2014, Celebrity Eclipse will return for the 2015 summer season and sail to Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland and the Fjords.

    Cunard will continue to have a strong presence in Southampton and offer guests the opportunity to sail to long-haul destinations such as New York, Canada and New England without flying.

    Princess Cruises, Fred Olsen and Azamara will also sail a range of new itineraries from the popular UK port.

    5. Princess Cruises 50th Anniversary

    Princess Cruises have an incredible story to tell as they have grown from one ship sailing to Mexico to becoming one of the best known names in cruising and have a fleet of 18 ships sailing all over the world. 2015 sees an extremely special year for them as they prepare to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

    Every ship in the fleet will host celebratory parties and events throughout the year and all guests are invited to join in these celebrations. There will also be commemorative merchandise and gifts onboard.

    As well as the celebratory events, the line has launched their 'Golden Deals' campaign for guests to receive special discounts and onboard credit offers for sailings from December 26th 2014 – February 28th 2015.


    By Sally Grimes


    What happened to the cruise industry in 2014?

    16th December 2014

    As the end of 2014 approaches and we frantically panic prepare for next week, let's take a moment to reminisce on all of the things that made this year one of the most memorable for cruise.

    With the cruise industry rapidly growing, it is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry. 21.3 million people cruised in 2013 and this number is expected to significantly increase for the end of 2014.

    It wasn’t only the growth that made this year so phenomenal, 2014 saw us enjoy new ships, new destinations, incredible refurbishments and a host of breaking cruise news.

    So, was 2014 the year for cruise? Let’s take a look…

    January

    'Kicking off the year in style'

    As everyone packed away their decorations and set their New Year’s resolutions, the cruise industry wasted no time in starting the new year.

    In time for the New Year festivities, P&O’s Arcadia revealed her multi-million pound refurbishment. Showcasing a host of new amenities, newly designed staterooms and the addition of a new 'East' restaurant, the adult-only ship was ready to excite guests once again.

    In other news MSC Cruises announced they will sail to Asia and Australia for the first time in 2015, P&O Cruises revealed they will be adding a large union jack to the hull of all their ships and Carnival Cruise Lines released details on their new 'Concerts At Sea' programme.

    My January highlight: Oceania’s first world cruise sold out in eight hours.

    February

    'Britannia starts to unveil'

    The resolutions were already broken and everyone started to think about their 2014 summer holiday. As cruises were booking out fast and it was looking to be another busy year for the industry, the cruise lines kept whetting our appetites with more news.

    It was announced the world’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas will be coming to Europe in 2015, P&O Cruises opened their upcoming Strictly Come Dancing cruises and Fred Olsen released details that Julian Lloyd Webber will perform onboard Braemar.

    The most exciting announcements were those made by P&O Cruises as they finally revealed details about new ship, Britannia. Unveiling the 'Food Heroes' concept and the five celebrity chefs would be working together onboard.

    My February highlight: The first plate of steel was cut for Carnival Vista.

    March

    'A race to be the best'

    As temperatures started to rise and Spring was in sight, it appeared the cruise lines wanted to heat things up early and a host of cruise news came flooding in.

    Although we were still in the first quarter of 2014, many of the lines started to release their big plans for 2015. It was announced 2015 will see Norwegian Cruise Lines largest ship, Norwegian Epic based year-round in Europe, Cunard will celebrate their 175th anniversary with their entire fleet docking in Liverpool together, Fred Olsen will explore the Arctic and Disney Cruise Line will sail from the UK.

    It was also the month for Royal Caribbean to start revealing plans about their new Quantum-class ships, announcing they will have no main dining room and Jamie Oliver will have his first restaurant at sea.

    An exciting milestone for Norwegian Cruise Line was met as the first piece of steel for Norwegian Escape was cut.

    My March highlight: Sir Richard Branson confirmed he will enter the cruise industry with the launch of 'Virgin Cruises'.

    April

    'Five years since Oasis'

    Spring arrived and it was the busiest month for booking as families, couples and singles put their deposits down on their yearly cruise. The Mediterranean was again a popular choice for families, however Asia and Australia bookings were also proving more popular.

    Royal Caribbean announced new ship Quantum of the Seas will be based in China, as well as the news CATS will replace Hairspray on Oasis of the Seas.

    My April highlight: Carnival Cruise Lines launched their new children’s programme.

    May

    'Confirmed rumours of new ships'

    As the flowers were starting to bloom and we were in touching distance of summer, the cruise lines made some announcements to remind us once again why this industry is a constant excitement.

    Royal Caribbean announced they will build a fourth Oasis-Class ship and MSC Cruises confirmed plans to build two revolutionary new ships.

    After celebrating the Royal Rendezvous, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth began her multi-million pound refit. After her 16 day refurbishment in Hamburg, she returned with new single cabins, new restaurants, a newly designed casino and new sun awnings on the top deck.

    My May highlight: Princess Cruises announced they will feature in a new documentary on ITV called 'The Cruise Ship' portraying what life is like onboard.

    June

    'Quantum details revealed'

    Summer was in full swing and as thousands of us departed on our summer cruises, Royal Caribbean ensured the only think we were talking about was Quantum of the Seas. Throughout the month they released details of what can be expected onboard.

    It was announced that there would be a revolutionary new entertainment venue called 'Two70' that will feature floor to ceiling windows that change from day to night. The Broadway show will be Mama Mia and a twenties Gatsby’s themed venue will also feature.

    My June highlight: P&O Cruises revealed more about the dining features onboard Britannia, including cheese expert Charlie Turnball will join the five other celebrity chefs onboard.

    July

    '..and more new ships'

    Soaring temperatures hit England, however this did not stop people setting sail for their ultimate summer getaway. Southampton saw thousands of cruisers boarding their ships for Mediterranean adventures and airports were busy with people flying to the likes of Florida and New York to join their ship.

    Royal Caribbean continued to create intrigue around Quantum and Anthem of the Seas as they revealed more news about phenomenal technology onboard. Releasing videos about the new WOWbands, interactive screens and virtual balconies, they branded everything "this changes everything".

    Cruise & Maritime announced they will introduce new ship Azores to the fleet in 2015. Norwegian Cruise Lines also revealed plans for two new ships and Princess Cruises revealed their plans for a third Royal-class ship.

    My July highlight: Fred Olsen launched a Poison, Murder & Mystery cruise where guests can fully immerse themselves in a murder mystery at sea.

    August

    'The return of The Love Boat'

    The month that sees the most sunlight, August had everyone is good spirits. While thousands of us were sipping cocktails on the pooldeck, the rest of us were enjoying days in beer gardens and family BBQ’s.

    Princess Cruises revealed new ship Regal Princess will be named by the original cast of hit US television show, The Love Boat. After completing her summer season in the Mediterranean she will return to Fort Lauderdale for her naming celebrations.

    P&O Cruises and Cunard launched world cruises. For the first time three Cunard ships and three P&O ships will set off on world voyages in 2016.

    My August highlight: P&O Cruises announced Aurora will undergo a £26 million refit.

    September

    'Hello to the Northern Lights promise'

    As we slowly started to wave goodbye to summer, we were not the only ones with chilly temperatures on our minds. Hurtigruten announced their 'Northern Lights Promise'. Never before offered, they launched a promise no other tour operator has ever offered. If guests do not see the Northern Lights, they will be given a free cruise.

    Norwegian Cruise Line agreed a multi-million deal to acquire Prestige Cruises, parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

    My September highlight: Cunard revealed their latest line-up of guest speakers to include Ann Widdecombe and Michael Howard.

    October

    'LEGO, Hollywood Rocks and Elvis'

    The heating was on and summer appeared a distant memory, luckily the cruise lines had a whole host of announcements to stop us feeling anxious about the winter.

    Fred Olsen launched an Elvis Presley 80th birthday cruise, MSC Cruises partnered with LEGO and Cunard were commended for their incredible feedback on Queen Victoria’s performance of Hollywood Rocks.

    Princess Cruises launched their new honeymoon registry system as well as announcing details for their 50th anniversary celebrations in November.

    My October highlight: Princess revealed plans to bring their 50th anniversary celebrations to the whole fleet and will host celebratory parties on all ships.

    November

    'This changes everything'

    As the mild winter continued and everywhere started to set up for Christmas, the cruise industry prepared for one of the most memorable moments of the year – the arrival of Quantum of the Seas.

    After months of speculation and anticipation she arrived into Southampton ready for us to finally put pictures to life. She did not disappoint and living up up to her motto "this changes everything". With robotic bartenders, an indoor skydive, bumper cars and revolutionary dining – she received a thumbs up from all.

    Shortly after Regal Princess was named in Miami following her successful season in Europe, Cruise and Maritime announced the addition of new ship Magellan and Fred Olsen revealed plans to refurbish three of their ships.

    My November highlight: Norwegian Cruise Lines announced Norwegian Epic will debut new entertainment aimed at the European market as well as a Beatles Cavern Club.

    December

    'It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas'

    As we put up the tree, search for gifts and indulge on the first mince pie, at the blink of an eye Christmas has arrived once again.

    The month started with more new ship announcements. Luxury line Seabourn confirmed the order of another new ship set for delivery in 2018 and Celebrity Cruises revealed plans to build two new ships under the project name 'Edge' set to debut in 2018 and 2020.

    Sir Richard Branson launched 'Virgin Cruises' and said he will "shake up the cruise industry" with two new purpose built ships.

    My December highlight: P&O Cruises released 'The Great British Beer & Ale Menu' to feature on Britannia. It will be the largest selection of British beers at sea.


    By Sally Grimes


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