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Best cruise lines for gay cruises

22nd June 2020

In recent years the cruise industry has taken huge strides in making cruise holidays more inclusive, with many offering fantastic programmes onboard to celebrate the LGBT community. These gay friendly events and activities are a great way to mingle and make unforgettable memories no matter where you are in the world, though if you're stuck on which line is best for you, read on for the best gay cruise lines! [More]

Looking Back at 2017 in Cruise

22nd December 2017

This year has seen all sorts of surprises and huge events all across the globe, and in the cruise industry specifically, 2017 has certainly been significant in a number of ways. We at Iglu Cruise have had a whirlwind of a year full of some amazing memories, here are our top highlights.

Events

After the success of our Iglu Cruise Holiday Show in recent years, this year once again we hosted two highly successful events. The spring show was held in April at Sandown Park Racecourse, and saw a great number of cruise fans benefit from specialist cruise advice not only from our experts, but invited guests from several suppliers as well. We were also lucky enough to be joined by travel journalist Jonathon Beaumont, and TV personality Nina Myskow. Our autumn show took place in October at the Epsom Downs Racecourse. Here, once again hundreds of cruisers came along to listen to guest speakers and cruise enthusiasts, and enjoyed the stories and experiences of BBC’s Nicholas Owen.

Relaunch of Iglu.com

In an effort to make our website more accessible and user-friendly, we decided upon a few changes, and relaunched Iglu.com in autumn of this year. The developments included the option to search for the site using voice-recognition technology, on your mobile or with a digital home assistant. As well as this, we have made the site more responsive to various mobile devices, meaning it has become easier to browse through our selection of cruises and book online from your phone or tablet.

Tailor-Made Experiences

This year we also made it possible for some of our customers to be a part of exclusive tailor-made experiences, hosted by members of the Iglu Cruise team. In July we arranged an amazing trip to the annual Calgary Stampede rodeo show in Alberta, Canada, during which cruisers enjoyed what has been dubbed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. As well as this, throughout the year we organised some guided tours at the Grand Prix, including those in Barcelona, Monaco, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi.

Team on Tour

Iglu Cruise as a trusted travel company is passionate about having knowledgeable staff who can pass on sound advice to customers. As such a conscious effort is made to send employees away on trips throughout the year, in order to increase their understanding of both destinations and cruise lines. This year was no exception, and members of the team were able to discover more about destinations like Alaska, Florida, and Tuscany, and enhance their knowledge of popular cruise lines such as Viking Ocean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Azamara Cruises.

Big Cruise News

One of the biggest cruise stories in 2017 has been Thomson Cruises’ name change to Marella Cruises. Announced in October, the travel company decided a new name was in order, so that their cruise line could be more distinct from the rest of the business – known as TUI. Another exciting development this year was Carnival Corporation’s reveal that same-sex marriages can now take place on P&O and Cunard ships. The first ceremony has already been scheduled onboard P&O Azura, just next month; warm wishes to the happy couple.

 

More Destination Options

2017 has also seen an increase in potential cruising destinations. Thanks to warmer relations between North America and Cuba, Cuban ports like Havana and Cayo Largo del Sur can now be included on more itineraries. Also, Swiss-owned MSC Cruises can now take guests to their exclusive island off Abu Dhabi’s coast – Sir Bani Yas Island. This is a beautiful haven, offering beaches, an extensive nature reserve for endangered animals, and all sorts of activities ranging from snorkelling to massages on the beach. November 2018 will also see the opening of another private island for MSC - Ocean Cay in the Caribbean will be the largest private island owned by a cruise line, at 95 acres.

New Ships in 2017

This year has seen a number of new ships introduced to the world of cruising, which has given regular cruisers more choice and diversity when it comes to what kind of holiday they are looking for. New vessels include:

  • MSC Meraviglia & MSC Seaside, MSC Cruises
  • Majestic Princess, Princess Cruises
  • Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Silver Muse, Silversea
  • Viking Sky & Viking Sun, Viking Ocean Cruises
  •  

     

    As well as this, cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Cunard, and Silversea have all declared new ships in their future, but what new ships can we expect next year? Here are some of the vessel’s we can’t wait to see:

  • Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruises - April 2018
  • Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean - April 2018
  • Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Cruise Line - April 2018
  • MSC Seaview, MSC Cruises - May 2018
  • Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line - November 2018
  • Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises - December 2018
  •  

    Awards

    We are so excited to be able to say that Iglu Cruise has won no less than ten awards this year! To be recognized for our skills and professionalism as cruise experts is truly gratifying, and very encouraging for the year to come. The awards we have achieved are:

     

  • Online Agent of the Year 2017, Travel2
  • Best Online Cruise Travel Agent 2017, Cruise International Awards
  • Top Agent for Scenic Waterways in the South, Scenic
  • Best Online Travel Agency 2017, Agent Achievement Awards
  • Cruise Specialist of the Year, Royal Caribbean
  • Highly Commended - Best Online Travel Agent 2017, WAVE Awards
  • Highly Commended - Passenger Favourite Cruise Agent 2017, WAVE Awards
  • Travel Business Partner of the Year 2017, Carnival UK
  • Outstanding Contribution Award 2017, Princess Cruises
  • Top Specialist Agent 2017, Celebrity Cruises
  •  

    As well as this we have been nominated for two awards in next year’s WAVE awards, happening in 2018. Please vote for us for Best Cruise Travel Agent and Best Cruise Online Travel Agent.

     

     

    On the whole, 2017 has been a real adventure, full of surprises and some big changes in the industry. With this in mind, we expect 2018 to bring with it all kinds of fun, so all that remains is to cheers to the New Year!

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    Viking Sea Cocktails Onboard

    6th May 2016

    Updated July 2019

     

    It's no secret that many cruisers embark on their exciting itineraries not only excited to see new destinations, but also to explore the ship and - more specifically - the food and drink onboard! Some cruise lines are known to appeal to foodies more than others, and Viking Cruises is certainly one of them. We set a member of our team, Linda, the task of tasting and reviewing a good variety of cocktails available onboard one of Viking Cruises' gorgeous ships, Viking Sea. Read on for her fantastic account of the ship and of course, the drinks onboard.

     

    cocktails onboard

     

    Viking Sea is a beauty! She is small and intimate with toned down Nordic style furnishings in neutral colours, and I was lucky enough to be invited to spend three days onboard during her maiden voyage. 

    My role is in customer services and one of the main questions we always get asked is about drinks. It can be difficult to find out much about the drinks on a cruise prior to travel, so when I have opportunities to get onboard a ship I like to try a nice variety and take notes, in order to share more information with our customers in advance. It is all strictly educational and the research is solely for work purposes, of course.

    In general the prices onboard Viking Sea are reasonable for drinks; cocktails are between $8 and $12 (USD). I would recommend getting the Silver drinks package if you want to have a little more than the standard house wine and a couple of cocktails each day; as it works out better value for money. Water is complimenary though, and you get wine, beer and juices during lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee are also available all day.

    So, with that in mind, I put my taste buds to the test.

    Let’s start with the drink that lent its name to the terrace bar at the back of the ship. Aquavit. Never heard of it? Me neither. It is a caraway or dill spiced Scandinavian spirit. On its own… how shall I put it… it requires an acquired taste. I wouldn’t recommend sipping it. If you want to be polite and drink it, just throw it back in one go. In a cocktail however it can add an interesting edge to the taste. I tried it in a cocktail specifically created by Viking Cruises. I would recommend this drink, it has a slightly herby taste, but the bubbles in the sparkling wine round it off nicely.

     

    cocktail

     

    At the Pool Bar I had a Strawberry Daiquiri. An old favourite on a hot summer’s day, which suited perfectly while we were docked in a very warm and sunny in Lisbon. I must say it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but certainly enjoyable.

    Then I suddenly felt a bit homesick and opted for a Pimm’s. To be honest I just wanted to see how a Philippine bartender in Lisbon on a Norwegian ship would make it. It tasted lovely, but it didn’t come with all the fruits you’d expect and the cucumber was missing.

    The next day after our trip into Porto and a couple of spa treatments, we all had Afternoon Tea around the pool. The tea and cakes were very nice and so was the Champagne! After tea we got ready for dinner and went to explore the ship further. Eventually we got to the Explorer’s Lounge where we befriended one of the barmen who offered us advice on what to have.

    My colleague opted for Caipirinha, which I thought was a solid choice. It wasn’t to her taste, so the barman made her a rum-based cocktail off the menu. That was delicious. I had a Planter’s Punch. It’s one of my favourite cocktails because it reminds me of all-inclusive summer holidays on a sandy beach. I thought it was made very well, one of the best I’ve ever had.

     

    viking cruises cocktail



    We had a bit of time to kill until dinner and a talented guitarist came on, so we just chatted and enjoyed the sea view with fellow guests. The Explorers Lounge is the place to be for that. It is at the aft of the ship where the whole back wall is made of glass, so you have a spectacular view of the sea and your surroundings. Live music, good company, a refreshing cocktail, and watching the water: bliss.

    Before dinner we had time for a few more cocktails, of which there were two I was keen to try. The Viking Cocktail is made with brandy and sparkling wine in a tall Champagne glass. I love drinking out of a Champagne glass; it gives me the feeling of an occasion. I quite enjoyed this drink; it was refreshing and cold, a good choice.

    The next was a Grasshopper which was fantastic, but perhaps I should have had it after dinner. It tastes like After 8, so I could have had that instead of pudding. (Instead… Who am I kidding?)

    Some colleagues tried my old favourite the Bloody Mary, but with a twist. This time the tomato juice got replaced by crab juice. Yes, you read that right. Apparently it’s lighter and obviously has a distinct seafood taste. No thank you.

    Overall I really enjoyed this cruise, not just the cocktails, but the whole experience and I would love to return to the Viking Sea for another trip. 

    See which Viking Sea cruises we have available, and book your own cocktail-filled adventure with this warm and welcoming cruise line.


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