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8 Top tips for packing for your fly-cruise!

28th May 2014

It’s estimated that 40% of holiday-makers will not take a fly-cruise due to the airline weight limits, but we’re here to help you make the most of your baggage allowance and make packing stress-free [More]

Cruise Ship Crew...A Family Away From Home

15th May 2014

You can choose your friends, but not your family…a saying most of us can relate to. Unfortunately for me, after spending almost six years of my life at sea it appears most of my closest friends are either still in the middle of the ocean or retired on the other side of the world. However, luckily a long distance friendship can now survive solely on modern day technology. 

I love reading the customer reviews we receive here at Iglu and one thing that comes up in almost every one of them is how great the crew were on their recent cruise and how they have made lasting friendships. 

It is not easy working on a cruise ship, although all of the positives make it the experience of a lifetime. Making friends with guests and ensuring they have the holiday of a lifetime is one of the most rewarding feelings and a way of establishing repeat custom. Of all the thousands of crew working around the clock to ensure everything is as you expected, I wanted to highlight those likely to become a member of your cruise family:

The Captain

The one in charge, everyone wants to meet the Captain. The most powerful person onboard, the ship is his pride, life and soul.

With insane amounts of responsibility on his shoulders, and I don’t just mean the gold stripes, he has spent his whole life training to be placed in the Captain’s seat. From the safety, security, quality and maintenance of the ship, he is the ultimate decision maker.

When not on the bridge, you may be lucky enough to catch him strolling passenger areas socialising with guests, particularly on formal night.

Aka: The man with the stripes, Commodore, Ship’s Manager, One in charge

Where you will find him: On the bridge

Uniform: White jacket and lots of stripes on his shoulder

Guest Services Officer

The guys with the strongest back bone, they keep a smile on their face through anything. Spending each day making sure every guest is having the time of their life, they are the ones to go to if something is not of satisfaction.

Immaculately dressed and carrying an infectious smile they have an amazing talent to be able to turn any issue into a positive situation. They are also the ones with all the knowledge, like a human ship guide they can answer any question.

Upon having any encounter with a Guest Services Officer they will instantly become a friendly face you will want to connect with again.

Aka: Front Desk Staff, Reception, Customer Service Staff

Where you will find them: At the front desk

Uniform: Formal uniform, normally a shirt and blazer.

Cabin Attendant

Oh this guy! The invisible one that makes your cabin look immaculate every single time you enter your room.

Often one of the most complimented crew members of a cruise they can truly make a remarkable impact on your cruise experience. This is the one person that will become your best friend for the week and the one you are likely to always remember.

Appearing to have little rest they are there around the clock, fresh and friendly faced. Asking about your day, telling you about their life, leaving small treats in your room and ensuring you have all the correct things sent to your room makes them more than 'just the guy that cleans your room'.

Aka: Room Attendant, Housekeeper, Steward

Where you will find them: In the hallway around your cabin

Uniform: Differs with cruise line but typically a casual-style shirt during the day and a more formal uniform in the evenings.

Your Waiter

From the very first meal you have in the dining room, your incredible wait staff will miraculously remember your every requirement and request. Even after all the cruises I have been on, this still amazes me.

Having to take care of multiple tables at one time would make you think there would a loss in a personalised service, but this could not be further from the truth, they make every meal time a memorable one.

If you are unsure of an option on the menu, they will thoroughly explain it as well as give you tips on what condiments to accompany certain dishes. It also doesn’t take much for them to bring out a second serving of your favourite food!

Aka: Wait Staff, Waitress, Dining Staff, Food Crew

Where you will find them: In the dining room

Uniform: Waistcoats with notepad and pencil constantly in hand

The Cruise Director

The one who loves to be centre of attention, although that is part of his job! The Cruise Director is the rock behind the ship’s entertainment.

With a wit quicker than a F1 car, he is a perfect combination of joker and professional showman. He is in this position due to their passion for entertaining and understanding the audience. Often working in show business for years, a cruise ship is where he truly finds himself.

In charge of all onboard entertainment and activities, when they are not hosting on stage they are designing schedules and preparing new activities. They also love to meet guests and are often found wandering the ship interacting with holiday-makers.

Aka: Showman, Entertainment Manager, Presenter

Where you will find him: On stage

Uniform: Casual in the day and suit at night

Bar Staff

Another crew member with an unbelievable memory, from one encounter your name and favourite drink will be remembered…amazing.

Whether you like a certain spirit, a favourite cocktail or want to try something new the bar staff on a cruise know everything there is to know about drink. With an extensive range of juices, spirits, wines and mixers onboard it is the perfect time to try something new.

The bar staff in a certain venue can enhance the experience and you will often find yourself going back to the same bar every night of the cruise to be served by your favourite barman.

Aka: Barman, Cocktail Maker

Where you will find them: Behind the bar

Uniform: Typically a Caribbean shirt in the day and smart uniform in the evening

Activity Staff and Sports Staff

Whether you want to join in all activities, attempt just one or simply watch people make a fool of themselves, the activity staff ensure you have fun no matter what.

The guys you always see running around, making jokes with guests and dressed in casual uniform are the ones who will keep you entertained throughout your cruise. They have the power to make absolutely anyone smile.

From trivia, game shows, crafts and sports, they are in charge of making sure there is always something for you to do. Making friends with a member of the activity staff is sure to happen as you will find yourself bumping into them time and time again.

Aka: Cruise staff, Entertainment Crew, Blue Shirts

Where you will find them: All around the ship

Uniform: Casual dress during the day, normally a t-shirt and shorts. Formal attire in the evening.


The Suite Life - More Than Just A Bigger Room

2nd May 2014

Updated November 2017

Do you cruise on a budget or believe 'only the best' will do?

Booking a suite is no longer just about booking a larger room, nowadays they offer so much more. Butler service, daily delivery of fresh flowers, a personal concierge, and exclusive access to shows are just some of the five star opportunities that can come with a cruise suite.

 

 

Booking a suite completely changes the cruise experience. Like a business class flight or a suite in a hotel, the price will of course be higher, but the question is – is it worth it?

With cruise lines now largely focusing on their suite enhancements, they push to offer the most exclusive of amenities to compete with other lines, and ensure they truly look after guests who have invested in a suite.

 

So is it worth it?

As well as the best room onboard, suite guests get the ultimate VIP treatment. As expected, the price is higher than a standard room, but when you look at the extras included it's hard to argue that it's not worth it.

All class of cruise lines - from big to small and two star to five star - offer suite categories. This enables you to broaden your search for that luxury experience, to almost any cruise line.

Staff onboard are highly trained, and are implicitly told to look after guests staying in suites to ensure they have the best cruise possible. This shows how much time and effort cruise lines put into ensuring that their suite guests are especially well-treated, and catered for.

 

Best of the best

After thoroughly looking into all suite enhancement programmes, there are certainly some that stand out above the rest and offer the most exclusive cruise experiences.

Here are our top 5...

 

Celebrity Cruises

Defining modern luxury, Celebrity Cruises boast some of the most deluxe amenities at sea. There are a range of suites to choose from, from their iconic Royal Suites, to the Reflection and Penthouse Suites. 

Having undergone a refresh, their suite programme is now seen as one of the best in the industry offering the most luxurious experience with a seemingly never ending list of included features.

One of their stand-out extras is the European style butler that comes with every suite. He or she will help you unpack, pack, bring you any meals you request, and book all the activities or services you want.

 

 

Types of suites – Reflection Suite, Royal Suite, Penthouse Suite, Signature Suite, Celebrity Suite, and Sky Suite.

Location of suites - Mid ship and Aft.

Suite enhancement amenities – Complimentary dinner in one of the specialty restaurants, complimentary drinks before dinner, upgraded bedding, fresh flowers in-suite, a daily fresh fruit platter, daily in-suite espresso and cappuccino, personalised stationary, pillow menu, custom luxury toiletries, oversized plush towels, bath robe and slippers.





 

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean were one of the first cruise lines to enhance their suite amenities, and are well known for giving these guests the ultimate five-star treatment.

Already boasting an attractive loyalty scheme, Royal Caribbean resovled that they wanted to offer an even more exclusive service to higher paying guests, who desire a fine service. With a gold cruise card, access to private areas on the ship, and fresh fruit delivered daily, all guests staying in a Grand Suite and above can take advantage of an array of privileged amenities.

A favourite among their suite enhancements is the access to reserved areas on the ship. This includes seating in the theatre, the private sun deck, and a personal area in the buffet restaurant.  These can be particularly convenient on the larger ships such as Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Types of suites – Royal Suite, Royal Family Suite, Presidential Family Suite, Owner's Suite, Grand Suite, Royal Loft Suite, Sky Loft Suite, AquaTheater Suite and Crown Loft Suite

Location of suites - Mid ship.

Suite enhancement amenities – Gold seapass card, priority check-in, concierge service, reserved seating in shows, priority tender tickets, VIP pool deck seating, reserved dining spaces for breakfast lunch and dinner, board game menu for in-room entertainment, complimentary luggage valet service, luxury bath robes, complimentary ironing service on formal nights, and priority departure with exclusive waiting lounge.

 

 

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line have enhanced their suite programme, with a real focus on the wants and needs of guests who are likely to stay in them. With spacious rooms, a private butler, and an array of complimentary amenities, those who select this kind of accomodation are in for a truly luxurious and memorable cruise.

Home to the freestyle dining experience, suite guests can also take advantage of a host of other tasty treats including a complimentary mini-bar, room service, and special treats delivered every day.

The decor of these suites is very different to others. Instead of the neutral and gold colour theme that is showcased on most lines, they boast bright decoration, bold furniture, and quirky artwork. 

Types of suites – 3-bedroom Garden Villas (this can accomodate up to eight guests), Deluxe Owners Suite, Owners Suite, Deluxe Penthouse, Penthouse, and Family Suites.

Location on ship - Front and Aft.

Suite enhancement amenities – Complimentary arrival bottle of champagne, butler and concierge service, distinctive keycard, deluxe bedding, feather duvet and pillow menu, plush bathrobes, slippers, luxury robes, complimentary drinks in-suite, complimentary mini-bar, special suite dining menus, tasty treats delivered to suite every night, priority tender boarding, and complimentary limousine service from pier to airport.

 

 

Cunard Cruise Line

Cunard Cruise Line are already known for their luxurious style of cruising, so staying in a suite brings an even finer experience onboard these prestigious ships.

Cunard’s suites are some of the most lavish at sea. With neutral décor, large living areas, and spacious balconies, they offer a once in a lifetime stay.

Offering a unique concept to their suite programme, they focus a lot of their added benefits on dining. The suite you stay in will determine the restaurant in which you can dine, but needless to say each of these are of an exceptional standard. The Queens Grill and Princess Grill restaurants serve exquisite a la carte menus that are exclusive to suite guests.

 

 

Types of suites – Queens Grill Suite, Princess Grill Suites.

Location of suites - Forward and Aft.

Suite enhancement amenities – Dine in the exclusive Queens Grill and Princess Grill, fresh cut flowers delivered to suite, private lounges onboard.






Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises have added a range of special touches to their suite programme, which boast some of the most spacious suites at sea. Ranging up to 932 sq ft they include upgraded furniture, luxury bedding, and separate dining areas.

As well as these plush rooms, guests booked in a suite can take advantage of a whole range of exclusive amenities including priority shore excursion reservations, a complimentary meal in a specialty restaurant, afternoon tea service, and an exclusive private breakfast every morning.

Types of suites – Grand Suite, Suite with Balcony, Family Suite.

Location of suites - Forward and Aft.

Suite enhancement amenities – Priority embarkation, complimentary laundry, priority shore excursion reservations, private portrait seating with onboard photographers, priority dining reservations, exclusive suite breakfast served every morning, nightly delivery of deluxe canapes, afternoon tea service, Chef's welcome goodies on embarkation day, complimentary flower corsage for first formal night, upgraded bathroom amenities, and complimentary DVD library.

 

 

Is the suite life for you?

Even if you don't normally like this lavish style of living, to experience it once in your life is a must. Not only will you enjoy some pampering, but opting for a suite is also a way of getting the most premium experience from your cruise. Everyone likes to feel special when they go on holiday, so why not invest in the best possible treatment?

Of course, the cost is an important factor for many people. When you look at everything a suite experience comes with though, its undeniably great value for money, and is truly worth it especially if you save up and look forward to that one cruise all year.

After working hard all year round, isn’t it time you treated yourself? 

 

Ask one of our cruise experts what the costs and benefits are for upgrading on your next cruise. Already booked? Our Concierge team can further assist you.


Cruise Line Loyalty Schemes - Does It Pay To Be Loyal?

16th April 2014

Updated July 2018

 

Are you loyal to one cruise line? Make sure your loyalty is rewarded by checking out which cruise loyalty programmes are available.  Many cruise lines now offer great rewards and benefits for frequent cruisers.

Are cruise loyalty schemes worth it?

Before we delve into the loyalty programmes thoroughly, the answer is yes. Once you've found your favourite cruise line, you can enrol in its complementary programme and start earning points after just one cruise.

 

 

With perks like free gifts, savings, upgrades, and exclusive sailings, cruise line loyalty programmes can provide incredible benefits to members. Naturally the more you cruise with that line, the better your benefits will be.

Find your favourite cruise line

With almost all cruise lines boasting their own loyalty programmes, there is fierce competition to offer the most rewarding benefits scheme. They each continue to review their programmes and make them more appealing in order to retain loyal guests.

So let's take a look at the ins and outs of some of the most popular cruise line programmes, to see just how much it pays to be loyal.

 

P&O Cruises – Peninsular Club

Automatic sign up – Automatically signed up after you have 150 points

Number of tiers – 6

Point system – 10 points for every night spent onboard

 

 

P&O Cruises’ Peninsular Club has built a strong reputation with cruisers who love their British infused sailings.

The tiers are named after oceans and seas of the world that are visited by the P&O fleet and arranged in order of size. The different tier levels are based on the number of nights spent onboard and then converted into points.

Benefits of the Peninsular Club include special member cruises, discounts on cruises, an annual P&O gift, priority airline seating, invitations to inaugural events, hosted cocktail parties onboard, lapel pin and complimentary drinks.

Find out more about the Peninsular Club levels and benefits.

 

Royal Caribbean – The Crown & Anchor Society

Automatic sign up – No, an enrolment form will need to be completed either online or onboard

Number of tiers – 6

Point system – 1 point for every night spent onboard (double if staying in a junior suite or above category)

 

 

The Crown and Anchor Society is said to be one of the most beneficial cruise line loyalty schemes and 9 in 10 first-time guests say they will cruise again with Royal Caribbean.

As soon as you enrol in the programme you can start taking advantage of your membership after your first completed cruise.

Membership benefits include onboard booklet including free internet vouchers, money off photographs and complimentary laundry, dinner with the Captain, priority boarding, future cruise discounts, lapel pins, upgraded toiletries and dedicated areas of the ship.

Find out more about the Crown and Anchor levels and benefits

 

Cunard Line – Cunard World Club

Automatic sign up – Yes, automatically signed up after first completed voyage

Number of tiers – 4

Point system – Point per voyage

 

 

Cunard Line pride themselves on high numbers of repeat guests and sign everyone up to the Cunard World Club programme after their first cruise.

Within the four levels, members can take advantage of a membership pin, complimentary internet, disembarkation lounge, complimentary wine tasting, and an invitation to an onboard Senior Officer’s Party.

Find out more about The Cunard Club levels and benefits

 

Princess Cruises – Captains Circle

Automatic sign up – Yes, automatically signed up after first completed cruise

Number of tiers – 4

Point system – Point per voyage (double points when staying in a suite)

 

 

Princess Cruises launched the Captain’s Circle Club over 15 years ago and have continued to improve the programme and add more benefits to the various levels.

The Princess Passport gives members a unique way to record their memories. Every time you sail you will get a stamp of the destination you have travelled. The stamps are signed by the Captain.

Other benefits of the membership include preferential pricing offers, members-only onboard events, membership pin, complimentary internet time and stateroom amenities.

Find out more about Captain's Circle levels and benefits

 

Celebrity Cruises – Captain’s Club

Automatic sign up – No, an enrolment form will need to be completed online or onboard

Number of tiers – 5

Point system – Point per night depending on the category of stateroom

 

 

Celebrity Cruise Lines' Captain’s Club has become a renowned loyalty programme within the industry and has recently gained new enhancements including two new levels of recognition, new benefits and a new points system.

With five exquisite levels of membership, the benefits of Captain’s Club are extremely appealing and reward their loyal guests very well.

Including Captain’s Club newsletters, access to exclusive onboard events, discount on the internet, complimentary laundry, Captain’s Club cocktail hour and drink discounts.

Find out more about Captain's Club levels and benefits

 

MSC Cruises – MSC Voyagers Club

Automatic sign up – No, an online enrolment form will need to be submitted after your first cruise

Number of tiers – 5

Point system – 1 point per cruise

 

 

This loyalty programme is full of impressive benefits and offers some unique perks.

Membership benefits include cruise discounts, cabin upgrades, spa discounts, shop discounts, complimentary thermal suite session, mini bar discounts, fresh fruit basket in cabin, bathrobes and slippers, priority disembarkation and points earned for every 200 euros spent onboard.

Find out more about The MSC Club levels and benefits and the MSC Status Match programme which could help you join at a higher tier.

 

 

Your loyalty rewarded

After looking at different cruise loyalty programmes, it's clear to see they are worthwhile. If you tend to sail with the same line, or have become fond of a particular cruise line, it can be well worthwhile to join these clubs.

Strong industry competitiveness means that cruise lines are continuously improving their loyalty programmes and adding more benefits - which is great news for us.

With cruising becoming the number one holiday choice, there has been a huge increase in repeat custom - and cruise lines thrive on attracting their guests back. It's become clear that these schemes are effective, as many cruisers like to express their love for a certain line.

Signing up for a cruise line loyalty programme will genuinely give you some incredible benefits before, during, and after your cruise.

 

See more information on cruise line loyalty and reward schemes

 

By Sally Grimes


Is a cruise your golden ticket to the best sporting events?

26th March 2014

Sporting memories from a none-sporting fan...

When I think about my time at sea, the best memories are not always of the amazing destinations I visited. They are of the people I met from all over the world and the experiences we shared together.

One of my favourite memories is the 2010 World Cup. At the time I was working onboard Oasis of the Seas and every game created an electric atmosphere among the crew and guests, that will forever remain in my memory. I come from a very sporting family but I have never been into sport myself. However when I was surrounded with crew members from 97 different countries all supporting their countries, I too became passionate.

During a cruise to Bermuda I went for a bike ride and noticed crowds of people outside one of the island's golf courses. I went to see what everyone was looking at and saw it was the US Open Championships. The likes of Colin Montgomery were just a fence away from me. I remember thinking how special it would be to take this cruise and couple it with a major event like this.

Cruise lines continue to jump on the idea of combining a cruise with a major sporting event. I can definitely see why these cruises have become so popular and they offer guests an exclusive experience for a non-exclusive price.

From The Grand Prix to The British Open...

From the Monaco Grand Prix to The Ashes, the cruise lines have it covered. Two fantastic experiences in one, you can enjoy an incredible cruise as-well as the sporting event you have always dreamed of going to. People are often put off going to an event in another country because of flights, accommodation and the overall cost, which is why combining it with a cruise creates a hassle-free, valuable experience.

Here are my top picks:

Monaco F1 Grand Prix, Monaco

A place that defines luxury, Monaco is an extravagant playground of prime restaurants, glamorous yachts and celebrity hot-spots.

An indulging cruise combined with this anticipated event is a match made in heaven. Enjoy the thrill of screaming fans and racing tyres joined with elegant wine bars, charming harbours and a lavish nightlife.

Luxury line Azamara Club Cruises are offering an 8 night Grand Prix Voyage that includes two full days and an overnight in Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix. Other stops include Portofino, Saint-Tropez and Cannes.

After four years, Star Clippers are returning to the F1 scene with a 7 night sailing from Cannes calling at Corsica, Lerici and Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix.

2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil

The event that not only football fanatics are waiting for, but the whole world is anticipating. The 2014 FIFA World Cup is set to be the most memorable sporting event of 2014. Held in the vibrant city of Rio De Janeiro it is expected to attract sporting fans from all over the world.

Lasting a total of 30 days the World Cup sees football teams from around the world compete to take the title of world’s best team. Attracting lots of competitiveness, excitement and a buzzing atmosphere, Rio is the perfect place for it to be held.

There is no where else in the world like Rio De Janeiro with a backdrop of souring mountains combined with towering buildings that line the dramatic beaches. Home to colourful carnivals, exotic cuisine and breathtaking explorations, this city should definitely be one you tick off your wish list.

MSC Cruises are offering two sailings on MSC Divina to and from the World Cup this year. The first an 18 night cruise from Miami and the second a 19 night sailing from Rio De Janeiro.

For those unable to venture across the pond to experience the excitement first hand then P&O Cruises and Cunard have ensured you you won't miss a kick, goal or save as they promise to broadcast live coverage onboard their ships.

The British Open, United Kingdom

The pinnacle of summer tournaments, The British Open sees the world’s best golfers come together to compete on our renowned golf courses. Known as UK’s most spectated event, the iconic St Andrews golf course comes alive with famous golfers, celebrities and enthusiastic spectators.

Azamara Club Cruises have an amazing cruise in July that includes the British Open. Sail during the peak of summer around the iconic British Isles and have the opportunity to play golf at seven renowned courses as-well as watch part of the British Open. Departing Southampton on July 4th 2015 you will sail to the most captivating destinations Britain has to offer including Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Guernsey and Isle Of Skye.

Melbourne Cup, Melbourne

Named 'the race that stops a nation' this thoroughbred horse race held early November is one of Australia’s most significant sporting events. Attracting people from all over the world these famous races take place over three days and offer a phenomenal social experience. From the sophisticated women dressed in spectacular dresses to the groups of tourists enjoying placing bets, the atmosphere is sensational.

Melbourne is an urban jungle of culture, art, fashion and fun Australian locals. An energetic city that invites you to explore its souring architecture, water-side restaurants and vibrant theaters - combining a visit here with the Melbourne Cup is a fantastic opportunity.

This year sees the 45th anniversary of this event and more cruise lines are starting to delve into this part of the world. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises are just a few of the lines that sail to Australia. P&O Cruises Australia are sending Pacific Jewel on two Melbourne Cup cruises that will include a behind the scene tour of Flemington Race Track.

Pleasing Her + Pleasing Him = Perfect Couple...

Picture yourself sipping an exotic cocktail on the top deck of a state of the art cruise ship before you dock next to one of the most anticipated events of the year…it is a match made in heaven.

With more people realising that cruising gives you the golden ticket to the best sporting events in the world and the exceptional benefits of combining the two, these cruises rapidly sell out. There has never been a better time to combine your two favourite things, she is happy with the cruise and he is happy watching his favourite sport live..winners all around!


By Sally Grimes


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