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The Spectacular Ovation of the Seas - Royal Caribbean's newest ship

13th April 2016

As Royal Caribbean WOW us with the latest addition to their fleet, we look at what makes Ovation of the Seas the world’s most technologically advanced cruise ship.


The first time we saw a Quantum class ship, we were introduced to many ‘firsts at sea’ including VOOM! - the fastest internet at sea, dynamic dining - a new concept to replace the traditional main dining room, robot screens - never before seen on land let alone at sea, bionic bartenders, skydiving at sea, bumper cars and roller discos.

The addition of the North Star, which allows guests a 10 minute ride elevates 300ft above sea level giving 360° panoramic views, for a unique birds eye view of ports of call around the world. A venue over two decks high with 270° views of the aft of the ship through a floor to ceiling glass wall, which turns into a projection screen at night. And of course, not forgetting a giant magenta bear on the top deck of the ship named Felicia.

The Most Amazing Ship Ever Built

So when Captain Henrik Loy stood at the helm of his new ship in Southampton on Sunday, what justified his declaration that “this is probably the most amazing ship ever built” what makes Ovation of the Seas stand out from the rest?

Helping the Environment

In January this year, Royal Caribbean entered into a five year global partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF, the largest conservation group on earth) to show their commitment, and the importance they place on saving our oceans.

In 2015 Royal Caribbean carried nearly 5.5 million passengers worldwide. With such a wide audience of travellers, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas is certain to lead the cruise industry as a whole into positive environmental changes.

A New Level of Luxury at Sea

Royal Caribbean has introduced a brand new Suite Class with three categories, Sea, Sky and Star Class, which will be on Quantum and Oasis Class ships.

Sea Class is for all guests in the various types of Junior Suites. Benefits include access to the Coastal Kitchen Restaurant and premium bathroom products by Hermès, Ferragamo and L’OCCITANE

Sky Class is for guests staying in an Aquatheatre Suite, Crown Loft Suite, Owner’s Suite, Royal Family Suite and Superior Grand Suite. As well as the benefits included in Sea Class, guests also receive full in-suite dining, bottled water, complimentary VOOM, exclusive access to signature activities like NorthStar and Ripcord by iFLY, Suites Beach on private islands, and a luxury pillowtop mattress.

Star Class is for the Loft Suites, the two bedroomed AquaTheatre suites and a four bedroom Family Suite. They get their very own ‘Royal Genie” to cater to their every whim, complimentary ultimate beverage package and speciality restaurant dining, complimentary mini bar, a Nespresso machine, Duxiana mattresses, Frette linens, towels and bathrobes and more.

Dining Onboard

Another commitment is for Royal Caribbean to make their food supply chain more sustainable by responsibly sourcing 90% of wild-caught seafood and 75% of farmed seafood (North America/Europe)

One of the most obvious changes for Royal Caribbean on dining for this ship is Kung Fu Panda’s Noodle Bar, which replaces the iconic Johnny Rockets American Diner.

Another is Coastal Kitchen, a dedicated restaurant for Suite guests and Pinnacle members. The restaurant focuses on “Farm to Ship fresh dining, fusing Mediterranean Flavours with California Cool”.

Ovation of the Seas Godmother

The Godmother of Ovation of the Seas has held the number one spot on the Forbes China ‘Celebrity 100’ list for three consecutive years. Mutli award winning Fan Bingbing will be recognised by many of us as playing the character of ‘Blink’ in X-Men: Days of Future Past.


Royal Caribbean President and CEO, Michael Bayley said “She is innovative, smart, ambitious, trendy and elegant, and that makes Bingbing the perfect person to be selected as the Godmother of our newest ship.”

Spectacular Art Collection

The 11,000 piece art collection worth $4.5 million is sure to be thought provoking, fun and inspiring. The collection includes an adorable pair of giant Pandas, with Mama bear reaching down from the roof of the Seaplex to her little cub, who is holding his paw up to her from the deck below. The Pandas also reinforce Royal Caribbean’s commitment to change in their partnership with WWF.

Air Pollution Control

One of the goals made as a result of the collaboration is the commitment for Royal Caribbean to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35%. How has this been reflected in the design of Ovation of the Seas? According to shipbuilders, Meyer Werft, “The third ship of the Quantum class sets new standards in terms of eco-friendliness”.

It features highly energy-efficient systems, optimised hydrodynamics, heat recovery, an effective underwater paint coating, a state-of-the-art exhaust gas treatment plant (hybrid scrubber) as well as energy-saving LED lighting systems.

Future Plans

Royal Caribbean have plans with Meyer Werft to build a fourth Quantum-class ship for delivery in spring 2019 and a fifth for delivery in spring 2020.

Don’t miss your chance to sail on this ship from Southampton, or to take part in her maiden season in Asia and Australasia with our great Ovation of the Seas offers


By Flavia Gray

Britannia's first year in cruise

7th March 2016

As famous P&O Cruises flagship and baby of the fleet Britannia reaches her first birthday, we take a reminiscent look back at her first year in cruise.



Fast Facts

• Entered service 14/03/2015 • Passenger capacity 3647 • Length 1082 ft • Tonnage 143000 • Cruising speed 24 kts


A Royal Christening

Britannia was years in the making, from her iconic British hull design to the classic interiors and exceptional onboard facilities, every inch was carefully planned and considered before contstruction at the Italian Fincantieri shipyard. Excitement and speculation over who would be naming Britannia garnered for months before launch and news that HRH Queen Elizabeth II was to be godmother was very well received. Read more on the queen’s maritime history.

"We are honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name Britannia almost 20 years after she named the P&O Cruises ship Oriana. Britannia, a ship for the nation, will be the embodiment of contemporary Britain, and with her Union Jack livery she will fly the flag for Britain across the Globe." Said Carnival UK Chairman David Dingle at the time of launch in 2015

The Iglu Cruise team were thrilled to be at the official naming ceremony in March.

p o cruises britannia





A Mediterranean Maiden Voyage

After a successful naming ceremony and launch in Southampton, Britannia set out on her Mediterranean maiden voyage visiting popular ports of call such as Barcelona and Rome. Guests onboard were dazzled by the spectacular ‘starburst’ centre piece in the atrium, tempted by the incredible selection of dining venues and overjoyed to sail alongside celebrity chef James Martin. Britannia also sailed the sunny Caribbean during her first year at sea, taking guests all over the world.

Celebrity support comes in the form of popular Welsh comedian Rob Brydon seen onboard Britannia in P&O Cruises television adverts.


Food Heroes and foodie heaven at sea

Britannia took foodie heaven on tour with P&O Cruises very own team of Food Heroes. The incredible culinary line-up features famous celebrity faces from queen of baking – Mary Berry to wine expert – Olly Smith and Saturday Kitchen resident, James Martin. Guests enjoyed and took part in expert cooking lessons, Q&A sessions and exclusive chef’s table dinners during Britannia’s maiden season.

p o cruises food heros britannia


Strictly Come dancing and Saturday Night Takeaway

Britannia plays host to one of the nation’s favourite TV shows and brings to life the glitz and glamour of Strictly Come Dancing. Featuring stars from the show such as Craig Revel Horwood and Anton Du Beke, the costumes, music and all round razzmatazz make for a buzzing atmosphere onboard.

In the coming weeks and sailing into her second year with a phenomenal agenda, Britannia will provide a floating studio for a live episode of award winning TV show Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at sea. With comedy sketches, celebrity guests and more, the show is set to be a superb Saturday extravaganza.

From bringing your TV to life with Strictly cruises to putting you on TV with Ant & Dec, Britannia truly breaks the mould of British style cruising and has consistently wowed throughout her first year at sea. So, what’s next?

What’s next for Britannia?

After enjoying the first two months of the year in the sunlit Caribbean, Britannia will sail to popular European mini-break destination Bruges in Spring. She will then head to the breath-taking Norwegian Fjords before heading towards the spring sunshine of the Canaries and Iberia. She will spend the bulk of her summer in the balmy Mediterranean, before culminating her year of sailing with winter in the Caribbean for a truly unforgettable Christmas season.

Have you sailed onboard Britannia? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Mother's Day Gift Guide

3rd March 2016

Updated March 2018


Give your mum the best she deserves with an extra special gift this year, one she can treasure not just for Mother’s Day but for years to come. Whether it’s the gift of an upcoming holiday or you’re both already onboard and need a little inspiration, we have the gift guide you need.



Something to look forward to


Cruise with celebrity chefs

For the love of food! Popular British cruise line P&O Cruises have their very own team of Food Hero’s onboard, ready and willing to welcome you to foodie heaven. Featuring the famous faces of Britain’s incredible culinary scene, P&O Cruises Food Hero cruises invite guests to join cookery masterclasses, exclusive chef’s tables, and expert Q&A sessions onboard. Treat mum to a Mediterranean cruise on the beautiful Britannia alongside famous face Marco Pierre White for example. *Food Hero activities may need to be booked in advance.


Sail with Strictly Come Dancing

Tell mum to grab her dancing shoes for a dazzling Strictly Come Dancing cruise. The music, the costumes, and the dances all come to life and light up the atmosphere onboard this spectacular and unique cruise. Fans of the show will love the live experience, with special guests such as Craig Revel Horwood and celebrity dancers Kevin Clifton, Aljaz Skorjanec, and Janette Manrara. Those who fancy it can even enter onboard dance competitions.


Wine tasting with Celebrity Wine Experts

Celebrity Cruises have one of the largest and rarest wine collections at sea. Their new partnership with ITV's international hit, The Wine Show - which will see Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer onboar -elevates the guest experience even further. Joe Fattorini uses his 25 years of experience providing captivating expert talks at conferences, writing for leading magazines, and hosting unforgettable wine dinners. Amelia Singer has her own business in the wine market and has worked with well known importers, retailers, and fine wine merchants. She hosts interactive wine tastings, dinners, and events.

If your Mother has a taste for wine, see our advice on the best cruises for wine lovers.


A taster cruise or a mini break

From weekend breaks to Dublin to short Christmas market cruises, there are plenty of mini breaks that any mum would love. We think mini breaks are a fantastic option for anyone who is new to cruise, or simply can't always commit to longer length holidays.

If your mother or even you are in need of a spa break, AquaClass Balcony staterooms with Celebrity Cruises have complimentary access to the Persian Gardens Spa. These staterooms are also available on taster cruises. 


Onboard and Ashore


A spa fit for a princess

Spa treatments have long been well received gifts for Mother’s Day, giving mum the opportunity to relax completely, put her feet up and enjoy some quality ‘me’ time. If you know that a spa treatment or even an indulgent day-trip to the spa is guaranteed to make her smile, make sure she gets her gift even if away on holiday. Most cruise lines feature excellent spa facilities; Princess Cruises boast one of the best spas at sea with an attractive range of treatments on offer and Celebrity Cruises host the award winning Canyon Ranch SpaClub. If you already have a cruise to look forward to, our Concierge Team can help you pre-book and save money.


Wine and dine with speciality venues

Make Mother’s Day dinner extra-special and reserve a table in one of many speciality restaurants at sea. Cruise and cuisine go hand in hand with many cruise lines collaborating with culinary experts, celebrity chefs, and leading restaurateurs. Treat your mum to an afternoon tea like no other onboard P&O Bitannia, savour authentic Italian flavours with Princess Cruises' Sabatini’s, or enjoy the expertise of Nobu-trained chefs in Crystal Cruises' Silk Road and The Sushi Bar.

Something completely different

Destination rich itineraries give cruisers the opportunity to experience new cultures and local life in an array of exciting ports of call. Cruise lines are answering the demand for shore excursions with programmes for Destination ImmersionR (Azamara) and exclusive experiences (Celebrity ExclusivesSM). Make mum’s cruise even more memorable by booking a unique shore excursion like Celebrity Cruises Slovenian Truffle Hunt, or a Caribbean rail and sail trip.

How green is cruising?

25th February 2016

The cruise industry is working hard to reduce waste and carbon emissions and become more eco-friendly. From solar panels to powering private islands with waste materials cruise companies have been making great strides in becoming greener.


how green is cruising


Ship Design

Modern ships are now being designed with the environment in mind, which can only be a good thing.

One of the biggest changes is to the hull on cruise ships. By painting the hull with a silicon based paint, the ships glide through water more efficiently, therefore saving fuel. Royal Caribbean Cruises have taken this a step further by designing aerodynamic hulls, increasing the benefit of this fuel saving tactic.


Air conditioning is one of the biggest drains on a cruise ship’s resources. Constant cooling and recycling of the air around cabins and public spaces requires a lot of energy.

Holland America Line has coated the windows of their ships in a dark film, which protects the cabins and rooms from the heat of the sun, therefore reducing the work for the air con systems.

Royal Caribbean have another approach to this, during winter months they turn off one of the ship’s engines. This isn't to cut down the amount of air conditioning, but is due to the reduced demand. The fact that they do this by turning off an entire engine demonstrates the vast amount of power required to keep the ship cool.


Disney Cruise Line use water generated from their air conditioning to run the onboard laundry services. Rather than storing water or treating water as others do they are using the waste product very productively.

Ships generate thousands of gallons of black and grey water which requires treatment, but following thousands, sometimes millions of pounds of investment (Royal Caribbean have spent $100 million) on redeveloping onboard water treatment facilities ships are now able to turn their waste water into a product often cleaner than the water that comes out of your tap at home. Although this water is still dumped into the sea, as it is technically clean enough to drink and therefore doesn’t result in any pollution.


Fuel is a key economic and environmental issue for cruise lines. Keeping the incredible ships afloat and operating at 100% takes a huge amount of energy. Many modern ships carry up to 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew which is the equivalent of a small town.

There have been some inventive energy saving ideas in relation to reducing fuel requirements. Celebrity Cruises have installed solar panels onboard their Solstice class ships to power the lighting, this coupled with a 50% reduction in energy consumption of modern lights is a great way to save the use of fossil fuel onboard.

Royal Caribbean have made a couple of changes to help reduce their use of diesel onboard. The first is the use of biodiesel, they purchase in the region of 18 million gallons per year, and the second is their use of electric gas and steam turbine engines onboard their Radiance class ships — reducing emissions by up to 98%.

A couple of cruise lines recycle their waste cooking oil. Disney Cruise Line keep the oil, store it and take it to their private island, Castaway Cay, where they use it to power machinery — saving around 8,000 gallons of fuel per year. Norwegian Cruise Lines donate their used cooking oil to farmers in port cities as part of their ‘Free fuel for farmers’ campaign — which is a great way of helping communities and recycling.

celebrity cruises lawn club

Regional Environmental Regulations

The state of Alaska has put in place some strict regulations to protect their coastline.

All ships have to have a permit to cruise along the stunning coastline. The permit ensures that each ship meets regulations in regards to air and water pollution, the dumping of treated water and biodegradable food waste and other environmental impacts.

Ships engines must have vastly reduced carbon emissions to be permitted in Alaskan waters, hence Royal Caribbean’s gas turbines on the Radiance class ships, and they must also turn their engines off while in port. The ports offer power hook-ups, which are like those found in a caravan park but on a much larger scale.

The US National Park has also taken measures to reduce the environmental impact of cruising in Alaska and there are strict regulations for the passage through Glacier Bay. Only one ship at a time is permitted to enter the bay and the number of total visits per season is also restricted.

Alaska is leading the way in protecting their coastline and it would be great for other endangered coastlines to enforce similar regulations.

Cruising is becoming more popular as a means of exploring our stunning planet so these measures and more are required to ensure that we preserve it’s natural beauty.

 Royal Caribbean talk about their efforts to recycle onboard

Royal Caribbean

  • ISO14001 & ISO9001 certifications for their onboard environmental management plans.
  • Biodegradable water bottles used as opposed to plastic.
  • $100 million invested to convert waste water treatment systems to an advanced purification systems.
  • 18 million gallons of biodiesel used each year.
  • Explorer of the Seas hosts labs for both the University of Miami's Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 Celebrity Cruises discuss future proofing and minimising their environmental footprint

Celebrity Cruises

  • Solar powered LED lights and lifts onboard Solstice class ships.
  • Heat transfer windows that allow more light and reduce cooling needs in cabins.

Disney Cruise Line

  • Recycled water from the air conditioning used in the laundry, saving gallons of water per day.
  • Excess heat is used to power evaporators which turn gallons of seawater into potable water each day.
  • Used cooking oil stored and recycled as fuel for machinery on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island.
  • Widely recycle materials onboard and recycle non-traditional materials through partnership with Keep America Beautiful.
  • Guests and crew can take part in a variety of environmental and education programs.

Holland America Line

  • ISO14001 certified for their onboard environmental management plan.
  • Bilge water treated twice before being discharged.
  • Shorter routes take into account tide schedules to maximize fuel.
  • Silicone paint added to ships' hull to reduce drag.
  • Plug-in at port power to reduce emission while ashore.

Norwegian Cruise Lines

  • Eco-ballast system ensures water leaving the ship doesn't send out toxins or invasive species.
  • Donate cooking oil to farmers in port cities to be used as fuel.

Top First Time Cruise Tips

2nd February 2016

Top first time cruise tips

With one in three new cruisers vowing that they'll never take a land holiday again, it's easy to see why cruise holidays have flourished. You don't have to be a seasoned sailor to enjoy a cruise, and with a huge variety of ships and cruise lines, there's a voyage out there for everyone - all that's left to do is pick your dream destination.

You may be wondering how to ensure you make the most out of your cruise. As the leading experts, Iglu Cruise have collected the top cruise tips for you to enjoy on your very first cruise holiday - read on to find out more!

Top first time cruise tips

Before you cruise

1. Do your cabin research

Some cruisers spend no time at all in their cabins, while others like a private suite for plenty of luxury. If you plan to be soaking up the sea, sights and sounds of your first cruise as much as you can, opt for an inside cabin which is often the cheapest option. Alternatively, if a quiet coffee on the balcony is more your style, choose a balcony stateroom. If you just aren't sure which cabin is right for you, your expert agent will be able to help you choose the best cabin at the best value.

2. Plan what you would like to do in the ports of call before you get onboard

Before your cruise departs, you'll have a good idea of the destinations you'll visit during the voyage. Make the most of your cruise by researching any particular excursions you may want to try in port - better yet, book your excursions pre-cruise to enjoy discounts and secure your place on the most popular activities.

3. Pack appropriately

There is no luggage limit on a cruise so you take as much as you like, but there are still some top cruise tips to keep in mind. On just about every cruise, there will be a formal night where guests can get dressed up in their finery. Remember to pack a cocktail dress or a suit for this, as some cruise lines can be strict about dress code.

It's also a good idea to pack some layers even if you're embarking on a voyage in the sun, such as to the Caribbean. The sea breeze can be chilly, so be sure to pack long sleeve t-shirts, a cardigan, and a raincoat. Here you can check out more information on what to pack for a fly cruise.

4. Choose a Cruise and Stay package

Depending where your cruise is departing from, it is often a good idea to spend the night before in a hotel. A Cruise and Stay package is tailor made to your needs, allowing you to relax in a luxury hotel and usually enjoy the best sights of the city before you embark on your cruise holiday.

On your cruise

1.Book reservations on embarkation day

While most guests will head to the buffet as soon as they embark, if not already as part of your booking, take advantage of the special offers at guest services and book your specialty dining, entertainment and even spa treatments on embarkation day. By being ahead of the game, you'll be able to secure the dining times and front row seats you've been dreaming of - there may even be some fantastic deals on offer!

2. Head to the pool, restaurants and activities on embarkation day while everyone is settling into their cabins

Alternatively, if you aren't fussed about making reservations on embarkation day, take advantage of the quiet pool deck and grab a sun lounger to start relaxing. Our top cruise tip is to pack your swimming gear, a spare change of clothes and a towel in a carry on bag to ensure you're all set for a peaceful dip in the pool. As well as fewer people here, you may find no queues for the exhilarating onboard activities, as well as quiet restaurants that are ready to treat you to a delicious meal with impeccable waiter service.

3. Check the daily cruise schedule

Every day you will receive a schedule of what is going on around the ship, including special entertainment and activities, as well as timings for port days. Have a look at this every morning so you can work out what you want to see, and ensure you don't miss anything. Perhaps best of all, you'll also be able to find out the daily offers of the day - cruise lines will usually offer a 'drink of the day', a special offer on dining, or a discounted price on selected spa treatments.
Top first time cruise tips

4. Head to the main dining room for breakfast and lunch

Many assume that breakfast and lunch onboard is served at the buffet, while the main dining room is only for evening meals - this isn't true! If you like your meal times to feel a little more upmarket, you can head to the main dining room for breakfast and lunch for top class waiter service to see you through the day.

5. Enjoy activities during days in port to avoid queues and enjoy off-peak prices

Port days will leave the ship much quieter than normal while everyone is onshore and enjoying the sights. If you're not fussed about certain ports of call, then take advantage of the empty ship to enjoy the most popular activities onboard. With less queues and off-peak prices, staying onboard during port days will prove to be some of the most action-packed yet!

6. Take advantage of the kid's clubs so adults can enjoy days and evenings to themselves

While cruises are a fantastic way to enjoy a holiday with the whole family, a romantic evening with your partner or a fun night with your friends is just what you need. Be sure to make the most of the kid's clubs onboard where expert hosts will entertain and look after the little ones. With fun and safe games in age-appropriate groups, the kids will make friends and memories to last a lifetime while the grown ups enjoy the late night entertainment.

7. Switch your phone's data roaming off, and make use of Internet cafes or Wi-Fi packages

Whether you like to be disconnected from the outside world or record every highlight of your holiday on social media, there's no doubt that data roaming charges can often bring unwelcome surprises when you return home. Avoid the charges by switching off data roaming on your mobile. If you'd like to get online, enjoy the Internet Cafes onboard, or opt for a Wi-Fi package.

8. Make use of the laundry services

While there are no limits to how much luggage you'd like to bring on your cruise holiday, overpacking can lead to feeling overwhelmed in your stateroom. Save space and reduce clutter by packing a small tupperware of laundry detergent. Whether you'd like to make use of the self-service washing machines or simply wash your clothes in your cabin's bathroom, you'll be able to re-wear your favourite pieces throughout your cruise holiday.

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