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5 Worst Mistakes to Make When Packing for a Cruise

clock 18th March 2019 | comment0 Comments

Packing for a cruise can cause anxiety in some guests – whether they’ve cruised before or not. Questions like ‘what am I expected to wear on a formal night’, and ‘are towels provided for the pool’ might be swimming around your head. While answers to these questions will differ among cruise lines, there are some cruise essentials that you would do well to remember, just as there are a number of faux pas that can be avoided when packing for a cruise. Read on for the five worst mistakes you can make when packing for your cruise holiday.

 

 

1. Not researching airline rules

One mistake which can really put a damper on the start of your holiday is to forget to check the luggage weight limit for your airline. Some cruisers can become preoccupied with abiding by cruise line rules and then don’t check those of the airline. This can be a huge mistake considering most cruise lines are very generous – with luxury lines such as Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas offering no limit at all. Common weight limits for larger airlines are around 20-23kg, however, many of the smaller ones are just 15kg. Be sure to double check this to avoid a nasty bill when you check in (the information will be available on airline websites).

 

2. Assuming every day will be hot

Although understandable, another error is to think that every day on your Caribbean cruise will bring sunshine and temperatures upwards of 25°C. While this part of the world is known for its warmer climes, the truth is there could be grey days, windy weather, and even rain during your time there. Same goes for destinations in the Mediterranean and Asia. Be prepared for all eventualities by packing a light cardigan and a foldaway raincoat/poncho even if the forecast tells only of sunny skies. Neither of these items takes up much room in your suitcase, and you’ll be grateful for them if the weather does turn.

 

 

3. Forgetting a plug adaptor

Many of us are guilty of this one - especially when cruising from Southampton or another UK port. Most cruise lines take pride in catering for an international clientele – including British passengers – so it’s easy to forget that many are actually European or US-based companies, meaning they have European or US style plug sockets onboard. In fact, it’s only Cunard and P&O Cruises that have the standard 3-pin British plugs. Be sure to find out what plug sockets will be in your stateroom, and pack at least one adaptor so that you can charge your phone/tablet, straighten your hair, or use any other electrical item you need to bring with you. 

 

4. Wasting suitcase space

It’s easy to overpack when cruising, especially if it’s a no-fly venture with next to no luggage limit. Instead of wasting your suitcase space on things you don’t need, consider saving the room for bringing back more souvenirs.

 

 

There are a number of things that you might not realise you don’t really need, for example;

  • Multiple books – there is usually a library with a good selection onboard
  • Large toiletries – often supplied in cabin bathrooms, or can be purchased onboard
  • Hair dryer – usually supplied in the cabin’s vanity unit
  • Towels – most lines supply enough towels for use in the cabin and pools
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    5. Not bringing spare clothes in your carry-on bag

    On embarkation day, you will be asked to leave your luggage with attendants who will see that it is delivered to your cabin. Considering how many people will be boarding, this process could take anything from an hour to most of the day. In anticipation of this, it’s a good idea to pack some clothes to change into when you get onboard. Whether you’ve made a long car journey to reach the port, or you’ve had to fly in, a fresh outfit will put you in the holiday mood ready to explore your new home away from home.

     

     

    For more advice about what you should be packing for your cruise holiday, see our blog about packing for different climate zones.



    Is River Cruising for You?

    clock 23rd August 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Over the years river cruising has become an increasingly popular way to see the world, in a relaxed setting. This is evident in the fact that more than 150 river cruise itineraries have been launched in the last 5 years alone. But what is it all about? Read on to find out if river cruising is for you.

     

     

    A Quick Overview of River Cruising

     

    River cruise ships are much smaller than ocean cruise ships, which is often what attracts people to travel onboard. In many cases the smaller size means guests are more personally catered for, and truly receive that flawless service that you might not get on a ship of over 3,000 passengers. River cruise ships general accommodate between 100-200 people; creating a perfect, intimate experience.

    The size of the vessel also creates a completely different kind of cruise holiday where destinations are concerned. The ships traverse the world’s rivers, which often pass through integral inland cities, such as Paris, Budapest, and Cairo. On a river cruise you will usually visit a new port each day, and possibly more than one a day sometimes. This means you might visit an incredible four or five countries in just one week, which is very uncommon on ocean cruises.

     

     

    What’s Life Onboard Like on a River Cruise?

     

    With fewer people onboard, river cruise ships are generally comfortable and intimate, but with plenty of space for everyone. Usually, you’ll find a restaurant, one or two lounges, and a deck on top with loungers, a bar, and sometimes a pool.

    Generally all meals onboard are included, complete with complimentary drinks such as wine, beer, and soft drinks at dinner times. Along with those drinks, you’ll often have unlimited coffee, tea, and bottled water. During meal times there is open seating, so you are able to sit where you like each night. Tables are usually arranged to sit between six and ten guests, so you’ll be able to mingle with and get to know fellow cruisers more easily.

     

     

    The dress code onboard is laid back, with no formal requirement. However, it is suggested that you bring at least one smart outfit, to wear at events like the Captain’s reception and gala dinners. You should also bring comfortable shoes and clothing due to the extensive menu of excursions, which range from castle hikes and bike rides to walking tours and wine tastings.

    Entertainment on river cruises varies depending on the vessel and destination. Most river cruise lines prioritise the destination rather than onboard entertainment, as the itineraries are so port-intensive. This doesn’t mean there is nothing happening onboard however. You’ll often find a pianist playing during cocktail hour and after dinner, and many lines invite local entertainers onboard to provide a culture show of some sort.

     

    What Are Excursions Like with River Cruising?

     

    Excursions are a huge part of river cruising, so much so that generally all of them are included in the overall cost of the cruise. This is great because often excursions can tally up to a significant sum on an ocean cruise. This is one of the main attractions of this type of holiday to many frequent river cruisers.

     

     

    The excursions themselves are designed to highlight the local culture and history of the port you’re stopping in. So if you are someone who enjoys getting out and about and discovering new things, know that river cruising creates captivating, unforgettable memories with truly insightful opportunities. You could visit a local orphanage in Southeast Asia, go to a cookery demonstration in Africa, or see some important World War II sites on a European river cruise, to name just a few.

     

    Why should Ocean Cruisers try a River Cruise?

     

    Many fans of ocean cruising will find themselves thinking about a river cruise at one time or another, so here’s why we think you should take the plunge and give river cruising a try.

     

  • The inclusions in your fare. All your food, free-flowing wine and beer at dinner, and all your excursions are completely taken care of.
  • The size of the ship. Whilst some ocean cruisers love the city-like feel of a liner that can take over 5,000 passengers, we promise you will enjoy the personal service and intimate surroundings of a river ship.
  • There are almost no days without a port stop. You’ll never find yourself bored on the ship with nothing to do, as river cruise ships do most of their travelling at night.
  • The number of destinations. Just about every day you can get out and about and discover somewhere new. With some excursions starting as early as 7am, no time at all is wasted.
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    Would a river cruise float your boat? There are countless top-class river cruise lines sailing Europe, Asia and beyond, including Emerald Waterways, Saga River Cruises, AmaWaterways, and more,so you'll find countless itineraries to choose from. For sailings tailored around a specific country, try Discover Egypt and Pandaw River Cruises, both offering excellent knowledge and guidance throughout their journeys.

    For those who have previously cruised on ocean-ships, many cruise lines have brought their fantastic service to the river, such as Thomson-Marella. With TUI River Cruises sailing the waterways of Europe, you will enjoy your favourite cruise line on a smaller, more intimate scale.

    If you're still undecided you can also find out more about first-hand river cruise experiences, with this customer review onboard Emerald Waterways, or get in touch with our expert team for more advice!



    Watching the World Cup on a Cruise

    clock 6th June 2018 | comment0 Comments

    World Cup season is right around the corner once again, and football fans that are due to be cruising during the month-long season have probably begun wondering how possible it will be for them to watch the games. If you’ll be on a cruise during the world cup, rest assured that most of the mainstream lines will be screening the matches onboard.

     

    P&O Cruises

     

    The nation’s favourite cruise line will be showing world cup games onboard on their sports channel – Sports 24. Not only this, but they are actually offering an exciting Baltics cruise which includes a stop in St Petersburg while games are held there.

     

     

    Cunard

    This traditional cruise line will also be screening world cup matches onboard, in cabins and in some public spaces on their sports TV channel.

     

    Azamara Cruises

    With two itineraries including up to three days in St Petersburg, Azamara Cruises are offering guests plenty of opportunities to get absorbed in the hype of the games. Enjoy the beauty and originality of the city as well as taking in a live game or two.

     

    Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises

    These three popular cruise lines will also have ships positioned in St Petersburg during the world cup games, during some fantastic Baltics itineraries.

     

     

    Pullmantur

    As a Spanish cruise line, it possibly won’t be a surprise to learn that Pullmantur are going above and beyond with celebrating the world cup and all things football in 2018. Two ships, Sovereign and Horizon, will offer screenings of the games in public spaces as well as in cabins, and Spanish games will be shown on the big screen in the theatre. As well as this, there will be a number of football themed activities on offer. These will include a mini world cup for guests to show off their skills, a football quiz, and face-painting for the kids. There will also be special arts and crafts workshops at which children can design their very own football kits.



    What Not to do on the First Day of Your Cruise

    clock 29th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

    If you’re fortunate enough to have a cruise booked and coming up shortly, you’re probably getting more excited every day, and might even be thinking about packing and preparing to get going. If this is the case, take a look at our hints to help improve your holiday from day one. Even seasoned cruisers make faux pas on embarkation day, so we thought it would be helpful to put together a handy guide to explain what not to do on the first day of your cruise.

    1. Don’t ignore the crew

    The staff onboard the ship are there to help make your cruise holiday the best it can be, so take time to introduce yourself, and remember a friendly smile can go a long way. Embarkation day can be hard work for the crew, so try to be patient and remember you are not the only guest they are looking after.

     

     

    2. Don’t rush to the buffet

    Many cruisers consider the buffet to be their quickest and easiest option for the first day, and because of this, buffet restaurants tend to get very busy very fast. Keep this in mind, and consider trying a different restaurant in which you can enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere and great service.

    3. Don’t miss the Muster Drill

    Those who have been on a number of cruisers might feel that the muster drill – a safety talk – is not necessary for them. Remember however, that layouts and safety procedures are likely to be different on every ship, and attendance at the muster drill is mandatory.

    4. Try not to use the lifts

    If you can help it, try to use the stairs instead of the lifts on embarkation day. They can get very busy with cruisers getting to know the ship and of course transporting luggage to cabins, so avoid the wait and use the stairs - and in so doing you’ll free up the lift for those less able.

     

     

    5. Don’t stay in the sun all day

    When cruising in a sunny destination it can be all too tempting to bask in the sun all day soaking up the rays. This is a mistake however as too much time in the sun is likely to cause sunburn, headaches, and even sun stroke – putting a damper on the first few days of your holiday.

    6. Don’t drink too much alcohol

    If you’re on an all-inclusive cruise, or have opted for a drinks package, it can be easy to get a bit carried away on your first day onboard. Avoid a hangover so early on and try to limit yourself; a good tip is to drink one soft drink (preferably water) between every alcoholic one.

    7. Don’t stay in the outfit you travelled in

    Get in the holiday spirit straight away by changing your outfit as soon as possible. Getting out of your travel clothes will help you feel fresh and ready to get started with your cruise, whether this is by relaxing, swimming, or simply exploring the ship.

     

     

    8. Don’t forget to mention dietary requirements

    Even if you informed your cruise agent of allergies and dietary requirements at the time of booking, it’s a good idea to ensure this information has been logged by mentioning to the maître d of any restaurants you’ll be dining in.

    9. Don’t automatically dine in the main restaurant

    As with the buffet, many cruisers will look no further than the main restaurant for dinner on their first day. This means speciality restaurants usually have plenty of availability – so make the most of this and see what you’d like to sample onboard.

    10. Don’t forget to book activities

    Whether this be the children’s club for your little ones, a lesson on the surf simulator, or a space in the Pilates class, if there’s an onboard activity that you’re desperate to do, make sure you get it booked as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

    See our advice for first time cruisers for more useful information.



    5 Things to do on a Sea Day

    clock 11th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

    People might choose a cruise holiday for all sorts of different reasons, from the destinations you’ll visit and experiences you could have, to the food and features on the cruise ship. Whether you love them or hate them, if you’ve chosen an itinerary with widespread ports – or even a transatlantic crossing – sea days are inevitable. Instead of wishing these days away, make the most of what’s onboard with our 5 things to do on a sea day.

     

     

    1. Try a New Hobby

    There is an abundance of new and exciting activity options onboard cruise ships today. Classes can cover everything from learning Spanish and astrological presentations in a planetarium, to the Japanese art of Origami and culinary knife skills. As well as classes there are all the onboard features to consider. You can go ice-skating, simulated-surfing, play laser tag, and have a go on a zip-line, to name just a few of your choices. Be sure to explore the ship early on to see what you can try.

    2. Eat Something Different

    Cruise ships offer some of the finest cuisine in the world. With each of them competing, it’s good news for us cruisers who get to enjoy better and better food. There are unusual dishes and innovative restaurants to choose from, so you should never be bored when it comes to dining. Here are some of our favourite cruise line restaurants;

    - Qsine, Celebrity Cruises – this fantastic, creative venue allows guests to choose from an array of unusual dishes from an iPad, all of which are served with the utmost style and attention.

     

     

    - Aqualina, Azamara Club Cruises – here guests can enjoy contemporary twists on Italy’s favourite dishes. The desserts here are particularly inventive so be sure to save some room!

    - Butcher’s Cut, MSC Cruises – spoil yourself by selecting your own steak from a glass, meat-aging fridge, and then watch on as it’s prepared before you in the open kitchen.

    3. Enjoy Some ‘Me Time’

    Many cruisers consider their sea days to be a blessing, in that it’s as if they’ve been given the gift of time to simply relax. With this in mind, there are all sorts of things you can do onboard to help you chill out and rejuvenate. Your first thought could be to simply lounge by the pool taking in the sun, having a dip every so often to cool off. While this is a great way to relax, you should also consider the other facilities on offer to you – specifically the spa. Whether or not you opt for a treatment like a deep-tissue massage or facial, the spas onboard cruise ships usually offer a variety of calming spaces. As well as saunas and steam rooms look for other options like the Snow Grotto on Viking Cruises ships, and the Thalassotherapy Baths with Costa Cruises.

     

     

    4. Meet New People

    Whether you consider yourself a social butterfly or not, there are bound to be a fair few people of like mind on your cruise, who could indeed become lifelong friends. One of the best ways to get to know others is striking up a conversation at a class you’re both taking part in, or in the queue for the rock-climbing wall you’re both about to face. If you’re friendly, approachable, and open to some good conversation, the rewards will surely be rich.

     

     

    5. Take Care of Yourself

    In addition to trying new things and having some fun, and taking some time out to relax, another valuable way to spend time on your sea day is working out. There are some brilliant exercising facilities on cruise ships, with most offering state-of-the-art equipment in onboard gyms, pools large enough to swim lengths, jogging tracks on deck, and even sports centres. The sports deck with Norwegian Cruise Line for example, has facilities for guests to play bowling, football, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and mini golf.

    For more inspiration about what to do on your cruise ship, take a look at our 10 best complimentary things to do onboard.



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