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The perks of American-style cruising

3rd July 2015

Updated 4th July 2017

 

Happy Independence Day! The fourth of July marks the anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence from Great Britain 239 years ago. Celebrations take place all over the US and beyond – even at sea!

American cruise liners throw various festivities onboard, from BBQs and themed parties to eating contests and family fun. Red, white and blue are the colours of the day.

Some cruise lines get their appeal from their distinctly ‘American’ style of cruising, here are just some of what the larger cruise lines have to offer.

XXL EVERYTHING!

In the US everything is big – from the high rise skyscrapers of New York City to the generous meal portions in an all-American diner. American ships are generally much larger than their British counterparts.

For example, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas carries nearly 6,000 people onboard and has listless entertainment facilities. With its seven neighbourhoods and central Boardwalk, it’s truly a city at sea.

royal caribbean symphony of the seas

State-of-the-art entertainment

With all that space, there is plenty of room for hundreds of activities onboard American-style ships. Bowling alleys, waterslides, sky diving, surfing, roller disco, bumper cars, 3D IMAX; not to mention Disney’s fireworks at sea.

At the forefront of innovation, American ships certainly offer something for everyone – you may even be too busy to sit by the pool!

Royal Caribbean even have Royal iQ, a state-of-the-art app that gives you a personalised calendar to plan your life at sea, connect with friends and family onboard, plan your tours, dining, activities and more.

Hamburgers

Americans take their food seriously and so do the American cruise lines. From gourmet poolside burgers and American Italian pizzas, to first class steak houses. Luxury American line, Oceania Cruises, boast a whole 32oz portion of 28 day dry-aged steak!

Celebrity chefs frequently collaborate with onboard dining. Carnival Cruise Line’s popular burger bar is championed by Guy Fieri and our very own Jamie Oliver’s Italian can be found onboard Royal Caribbean's fleet.

Hollywood at sea

Disney Cruise Line set a trend by bringing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to sea. Themed cruises include Disney’s Frozen cruise, Star Wars at Sea and of course, Disney itself, creators of the most loved animations in the world.

More cruise lines have followed suit including Norwegian Cruise Line with their specialist ‘The Walking Dead’ cruise, and Royal Caribbean offer the Dreamworks experience.

The American cruise lines also put on hot-off-the-press performances straight from Broadway – shows include Cats, We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia! amongst many more.

With an American cruise line you can rest easy knowing you’ll be extremely well fed, have an overwhelming choice of entertainment and activities and no day will ever be the same.

By Chloe


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 & Development Office (FCDO) 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, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) 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


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