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Simone Clark's MSC Ocean Cay Experience

9th January 2020

After spending a week on MSC Seaside to celebrate the new year, I enjoyed a day on MSC Cruises' newly opened private island, Ocean Cay. Transformed into a flourishing, biodiverse nature reserve with fabulous sandy beaches, this sustainable private paradise is ideal for a day of total relaxation on the beach. [More]

Simone Clark's Medallion-Class Experience

7th November 2019

While onboard Sky Princess, one of the many MedallionClass ships, Simone took the innovative Ocean Medallion for a spin - read on to find out her highlights of the Ocean Medallion! [More]

Live in Luxury with AMAWaterways

25th May 2018

We sent some of our lovely ladies out to experience the wonderful luxury onboard AMAWaterway's AmaKristina, watch the video and read the review to find out just what they thought.


 

First impressions of the Ship

 

Having only ever been on large ocean ships, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from the moment we arrived at the port it was clear that AMAWaterways was on another level. Having only been built in 2017, AmaKristina stuck out against the other river ships with her modern and elegant exterior. Once onboard and checked in, we headed to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting for us, along with a welcome package. This included the ‘Daily Cruiser’ newsletter which features the weather forecast and itinerary, a ‘Meet the team’ leaflet featuring key staff members, and a multi-national charger adapter (which we very much appreciated!). We had a Category AB Twin Balcony stateroom and were delighted by the space (235 sq. ft), not to mention the amazing views. Having struggled with seasickness before, I was worried I would feel too closed in, but the floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of light and opened up the cabin space. The bathroom also had switchable glass, letting more natural light into the bathroom if desired. I would recommend this stateroom category to anyone thinking of travelling with AmaWaterways, as the size felt noticeably larger and more open than the fixed-window cabins on the Piano Deck, which would be perfect for single occupancy. The suites on the Violin Deck did have again, noticeably more space, with a sofa, double sink, and Champagne on arrival; if you were looking for a more exclusive and luxurious experience, a suite would be the choice for you – but with only four on the ship, be sure to book early!

We were also delighted to find every cabin had an iMac, providing you with TV programmes and a selection of recent films, the internet, and a music system. It was already clear that AMAWaterways is all about the small details, catering for all people and leaving you to want for nothing.

 

 

Food and Things to Do

 

During the first day we were left to do self-guided tours of the ship followed by a light lunch, including a range of bagels, soups, and dessert. I was impressed with the whole ship, from the restaurants to the spa and gym facilities, which I would definitely have made use of (along with the deck chairs and heated pool on the sun deck) had we had a longer period of time onboard. The fleet of bicycles were also a nice touch; however we weren’t fortunate with the weather so I was unable to give one of their tours a spin.

In the afternoon we had some free time to explore Amsterdam central, which was easily accessible with just a short 6 minute walk from the ship.

Upon returning to the ship, we had our welcome and safety speeches, accompanied by free-flowing Champagne, and pre-dinner canapes.

As members of the prestigious La Chaine des Rotisseurs, the dining throughout the trip was amazing and continued to demonstrate the attention to detail with incredible, colourful presentation. Each nightly menu features a ‘chef recommendation’, as well as a several-course menu with multiple options for starters, mains, and desserts. Each menu also highlights a healthy choice and a local choice, based on the itinerary of the cruise. They will also do their upmost to accommodate any dietary requirements, but I would recommend this be noted when you book. I would also recommend any of their soups; my top dish would have to be the Crayfish Bisque with puff pastry sticks.

 

 

The wine was also delicious with an extensive list and choices made to complement the daily menu.

Although the second night was a formal night, the food excelled on both evenings, and celebrations carried on post-dinner in the main lounge and bar with music entertainment.

 

Overall Experience

 

The genuinely caring and friendly service is what stood out to me, along with the attention to detail, providing facilities beyond expectations. This service extends to post-cruise, where a few weeks later I received a hand-written thank you post card from the Cruise manager, Nick. This is on top of the thank you letter posted into cabins on the day of departure. I would recommend to anyone looking for a hassle-free and luxurious trip, with top class facilities and service. As a river ship, the smaller size does call for those more social-minded or solo travellers looking to mingle with just the one indoor lounge; however, if someone was really seeking solitude, the in-cabin entertainment and twin balcony space would more than meet requirements, in addition to the sun deck space in the warmer months.

 

by Imogen Henderson

 

Find out more about AMAWaterways, or take a look at the range of cruises you could take with AmaKristina.


5 Things to do in Seattle

30th April 2018

Seattle is famous for many things, from Starbucks, to Frasier, and Microsoft, and it unsurprisingly offers a huge range of things to do and see. If your North America cruise includes a stop here, it can seem daunting to decide what to choose – particularly if you only have a day or so. For a little help and guidance, find out what our Marketing Manager Nicole recommends are the 5 top things to do in Seattle.

 

 

Seattle is so much more than Starbucks coffee and music. During my 4 days there I experienced a variety of activities and adventures giving me a good overview of the city. Here are my top recommendations.

1. See the Chihuly Garden and Glass

This is a must when visiting the city of Seattle. It showcases the artwork of Dale Chihuly - an internationally acclaimed artist. His collection contains 8 exhibition galleries and 3 Drawing Walls. Be prepared to be gobsmacked by the creations of blown-glass in various colours and shapes hanging from the roof, suspended in mid-air and growing out of the ground.

2. Dine at the Edgewater Hotel

Please, please order their King Crab platter, truly suited for a king. The restaurant is situated on the water and overlooking the marine, so diners can enjoy beautiful sunsets while indulging their palette. This is the same hotel The Beatles were infamously photographed fishing from their hotel window!

 

 

3. A Ride the Ducks Tour

This is a great one-of-a-kind experience, giving tourists an hour or two of great laughs and sightseeing through the city. After a land tour the bus-come-boat then heads for the water on which you’ll be treated to a gentle cruise, before riding back out on to dry land.

4. A Whale-Watching Tour

One of the most memorable experiences was the Puget Sound Express whale watching tour. We were fortunate enough to see an Orca, humpback whale, minke and sperm whale. The crew onboard is very quick to respond, and they do their utmost to get you as close to the whales as possible. It’s an experience I will truly never forget.

 

 

5. The Savour Seattle Food Tour

This tour introduced us to the history of Pike Place Market; a spot where people come from all over the world to experience the ambience and taste of fresh produce. Pike Place market is also home to the first Starbucks Coffee - where they still use the original logo. On an average day people queue for up to four hours to buy a cup of coffee and their souvenir mug from the first ever Starbucks coffee shop.

Many cruise lines include a stop in Seattle on itineraries in the northwest corner of North America. Discover more about cruising in Alaska and Canada, and combining your cruise with the fantastic Rocky Mountaineer train ride. This exhilarating experience links Canada to the United States – from Seattle to Vancouver – a journey which Nicole was lucky enough to take. Discover her helpful hints and tips for things to do in Vancouver next.


Black Watch Refurbished

23rd December 2016

We had an extra special Christmas treat this week as we were invited onboard one of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines most popular cruise ships, Black Watch as she docked in Tilbury London. Our visit comes just one month after Black Watch entered dry dock at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg for a multi-million pound refit. The extensive refurbishment saw ship-wide enhancements including upgrades to cabins, suites and public areas.

Not only did we get a private tour of the ship, stopping off to see the updated cabins with a talk from Julian – Fred. Olsen’s Deputy Hotel Manager of Operations, but we also got to see the ship decked out in all her Christmas glory. With Christmas trees and gingerbread houses galore!

See photos from our day onboard the newly refurbished Black Watch below.

The Neptune Theatre

The Neptune Theatre

The Neptune Bar

The Morning Light Pub

The Black Watch Room - A new a la carte dining experience serving up delicious steak and seafood

Fresh new carpets

The Glentanar main restaurant

It's Christmas onboard!

Deck 7 - Tenerife Suite 7024

Balcony Suite 9901

Enjoy the upgrade and sail on the newly refurbished Black Watch with our latest Black Watch cruises.


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