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Top Tips for Cruising the Caribbean

12th January 2018

Many people deem the islands of the Caribbean to be among the most idyllic and relaxing places on earth. There you’ll find just what many of us want when on holiday; warm weather, white sandy beaches, friendly locals, and great food. Sounds perfect, right? Well, just to make sure you have the absolute best Caribbean holiday possible, we’ve put together this list of tips to consider.

 

 

Choose the right cruise ship

 

You’ve made up your mind and your heart is set on the Caribbean, so next you need to think about which cruise line and ship is right for you. Fortunately, due to the popularity of this destination there are many cruise lines that cruise the Caribbean. If you like traditional British-style cruising P&O Cruises could be your ideal choice, for families Marella Cruises and Royal Caribbean are a great option, or for a little bit of luxury, consider Azamara Cruises. Remember that you will be spending a fair amount of time onboard, especially if you have opted for a no-fly cruise.

 

Choose your islands

 

With over 26 islands to choose from, it can be tricky to narrow down the top spots you want to see on a Caribbean cruise. It’s important to do your research and figure out what you’re interested in – maybe you just want to lie on a beach and relax, or do some snorkelling, or see some history. There are plenty of options when it comes to things to see and do, so depending on what you’re interested in you might prefer one island to another.

Some cruise lines even have their own exclusive island for guests onboard Caribbean sailings, such as Virgin Voyages, Disney Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and more. These stunning locations are designed to offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation, delicious dining and activities for the adventurous. Whether you're a family of four, a laidback couple or going solo, there are plenty of islands to choose from. See our concise guide of some of the best islands to visit.

 

It will be hot!

 

You can rely on the islands to have sunny skies just about all year round, so when it comes to what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, your simple shorts, tees, sun dresses and the like are a safe and easy option. As well as appropriate clothing, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for bright skies and beaming, strong sun. Be sure to remember:

 

• High-factor sun lotion

• After-sun lotion – just in case!

• Cap or sun hat

• UV-Protective sunglasses

 

When is the best time to cruise in the Caribbean?

The ideal time to cruise in this tropical destination is between December and April. If you go in this period you should miss the majority of the rains, and will see warm temperatures averaging 26°C. Also, remember that cruising in these months means you’ll escape some of the cold and wet winter weather in the UK. If you want to find out more, check out our blog on the best time to cruise the Caribbean.

Take your phrasebook

If you intend to explore the islands and perhaps meet some locals, you might need to practice a few choice phrases before stepping into port. While English is likely to be the first or second language most of the time, French, Spanish, and Dutch are also spoken on various islands. Making an effort to learn some basic language – such as please, thank you, and hello – can go a long way toward making friends in new places.

 

 

Other things to pack for a cruise in the Caribbean:

 

• Swimwear

• Sandals or flip flops

• Comfortable shoes, if you plan on doing active excursions

• Thin cardigan or shirt for the evenings

• Formal wear, if your cruise line hosts formal nights

• A small bag for days spent in port

• A camera!

If you're new to the game, or even just want to make sure you're in the new when it comes to getting the most out of your cruise holiday, take a look at our top tips for first time cruisers.


So You Think You Know the Mediterranean

8th January 2018

With the Mediterranean remaining the number one choice of destination for UK cruisers, we thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at some of the preconceptions, and indeed lesser known facts about this popular part of the world.

 

Home to the Original Shopping Mall

Holidaying in the Mediterranean will inevitably involve some souvenir-buying, and most tourists will visit local markets and bazaars for these. But did you know that today’s large, commercial shopping malls actually originated in the Mediterranean? The first complex of this type was constructed in Rome by Emperor Trajan, in the early part of the 2nd century. His emporium is thought to have been filled with all kinds of wares, from spices and foods, to clothing and material.

 

The Same Festivals Celebrated Differently

Festivals like Easter and Christmas are celebrated in most Mediterranean countries. At these times you’ll notice traditions like those in the UK, such as street parades and glittering decorations, but there also some less familiar customs:

• In Valencia, Spain, for instance, you might see flour-throwing on December 28th – The Day of the Innocents

• On Easter Saturday in Corfu you’ll need to keep your wits about you, to avoid injury during the popular pottery-smashing ritual

The Med is Home to some of the UK’s Favourite Foods

Most visitors to the Mediterranean like to explore new foods and try all the best local cuisine, and it may come as a surprise to learn that in fact, many of the most popular foods we eat in the UK have origins here. It’s no secret that favourites like pizza and pasta hail from Italy, but there are also some treats that might not be expected:

• Fruit cake and bacon are thought to have first been introduced by the Romans in Italy

• ‘Fish and Chips’ actually originated in Portugal and Spain

• It’s thought that the creation of pies began with the Ancient Greeks

 

Mediterranean Languages Have Influenced English

Many European languages have borrowed words from one another throughout history, and the English language itself has been shaped by a great number of words from the Mediterranean.

• French - we have France to thank for words like ‘menu’ and ‘restaurant’

• Spanish - Spain has given us the likes of ‘mosquito’, ‘patio’, and ‘vanilla’

• Italian - we use ‘camera’, ‘temperature’, and ‘zero’, from Italy

• Greek - ‘Phobia’, ‘ethos’, and ‘plethora’ all have origins in the Greek language.

Over 20 Countries and States Have Mediterranean Coast

When we think of ‘The Mediterranean’, it’s not uncommon to mention the likes of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, but in fact, more than 20 recognised states enjoy the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea on their shores. Here are a few more to explore on a Mediterranean cruise:

1. Gibraltar

2. Spain

3. France

4. Monaco

5. Italy

6. Malta

7. Slovenia

8. Croatia

9. Montenegro

10. Albania

11. Greece

12. Cyprus

13. Turkey

 

Cruising in the Mediterranean

As a long-standing, popular holiday destination, and with plenty of pretty ports to choose from, it makes sense that a great number of cruise companies offer itineraries in this part of the world. The UK’s favourite cruise line, P&O Cruises, offers a brilliant range of itineraries in and around The Med. This could be a great option for families, not only because of P&O Cruises’ onboard features, but also because Mediterranean countries are just a short flight from the UK. Or, if you’d prefer not to fly however, P&O Cruises also offer no-fly cruises departing from the UK.

Family Cruising in the Mediterranean

What makes P&O Cruises perfect for a family cruise in the Mediterranean?

 

 

5 ships in P&O Cruises' fleet of 8 have been designed with the wants and needs of families in mind, which means that they offer some of the best activities, entertainment, and family-friendly dining options at sea. Children are welcome in all onboard restaurants, each serving a wide variety of foods to cater for guests of all ages. The entertainment on the ships has also been well thought out to appeal to everyone. The stunning Once upon a time show is a particular favourite among families.

If you do fancy spending a special evening together, without the little ones, be sure to take advantage of P&O Cruises’ onboard kids club: The Reef. This is split into four age groups thereby ensuring that each child can access activities and entertainment materials suitable for them. This might be a soft play area, puzzles, books, or video games for example.

Another great aspect of cruising with P&O Cruises in the Mediterranean is the excursions. P&O Cruises offer a fantastic range, from exploring Rome’s infamous colosseum, taking a trolley train ride in Malta, to river rafting in Croatia, there will undoubtedly be something to suit every age group. Discover just how many places you could see, and what adventures you could have with your family on a P&O Cruises' Mediterranean cruise.


P&O Cruises' 2019 Cruise Collection Highlights

4th September 2017

P&O are offering some truly exciting opportunities in their summer 2019 cruise programme, read on for a summary of the best highlights.

 

Weekly – 7 Night – Cruises to the Norwegian Fjords

 

Because of the popularity of this destination, summer 2019 will see P&O Cruises' three big ships – Britannia, Azura, and Ventura – make weekly cruises here between April and September. Arcadia, Aurora, and Oriana will also undertake longer (12 to 18 night) voyages to the Norwegian Fjords, offering plenty of cruise options for everybody.

 

More Discovery Led Itineraries

 

An increase in 14-19 night journeys to more unusual destinations is also planned for summer 2019. These cruises allow guests to discover and explore new and interesting places – including Propriano in Corsica, and Olbia in Italy. There will be both family-friendly and adult-exclusive options to choose from.

 

 

Cruises to Match your Hobbies

 

2019 will see the return of well-loved themed cruises. The stars of Strictly Come Dancing will again make an appearance, so pack your dancing shoes and join in with Salsa, Waltz, and other fun dance lessons. P&O’s association with various British Food Heroes will also be continuing, and guests can make the most of cooking seminars, wine tastings, and Q&A sessions to enhance their foodie knowledge. Another popular option is the Monaco F1 cruise – on which motor sport fans can combine their passion with their holiday.

 

New Ports

 

P&O ships will be adding some new ports to their repertoire: Le Verdon, Bordeaux and Fredericia, Denmark. These exciting locations offer pretty views and classic architecture: in essence, quintessential Europe.

 

Ensure you get the exact cruise you want by securing an early booking on a P&O summer 2019 cruise today.


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.

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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

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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 faces Marco Pierre White and Eric Lanlard. *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 Britannia, delicately designed by Master Patissier Eric Lanlard. Savour the authentic Italian flavours with Princess Cruises Sabatini’s, or enjoy the expertise of Nobu-trained chef’s 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.


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