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Live From Britannia

20th February 2015

The tense countdown is almost over and the world is ready to say hello to the ship everyone has been waiting for, Britannia.

Announcements, predictions and intriguing speculations have kept us wanting more but P&O Cruises have remained fairly tight-lipped. Various announcements have been made over the last year including the news of her union-jack hull, the first cookery school at sea and the revealing of numerous celebrity chefs and food personalities onboard.

Iglu Cruise were invited to an exclusive Britannia visit on Sunday and were the first to see her completed design and watch her prestigious hand-over ceremony where the shipyard officially handed over Britannia to P&O Cruises.

We were one of the first to step onboard and take a tour of Britannia, meet Captain Paul Brown, taste the new menus, meet the crew and watch the emotional changing of the flags and handover.

Here are the first exclusive pictures from our day onboard...

Meeting the Captain

The Atrium

Horizon Grill 

Brodie's Bar

Crystal Room

Limelight Club

Pool Deck 

Crows Nest

The Glass House

Spa


Even More Modern Luxury For Celebrity Eclipse

16th February 2015

Updated July 2019

Celebrity Cruises comissioned an extensive refurb to their ship Celebrity Eclipse back in 2015, before sailing it back to Southampton for all to see. A few members of our team were lucky enough to get onboard and explore the range of luxurious new amenities and features. Renowned for its stylish décor, contemporary design and 'Laidback luxury' on every level, expectations for what's onboard were set to be high! 

 

 

New ways to Revitalise Onboard

After undergoing a multimillion-pound refit, the luxury ship boasts one of the most impressive craft beer collections afloat. The vibrant Gastrobar serves more than 40 handcraft beers, delightful wines, classy cocktails and delectable food. Gastrobar is quintessentially British, with a modern timeless feel. The venue boasts the use of iPads to order food and drink, accompanied by excellent entertainment and music, completing the sophisticated lounge atmosphere.

 

 

Goodbye Pool Kiosk, Hello Slush Bar. The poolside refreshment area has been transformed. Slush, the stylish frozen drink bar, serves an array of delicious ice-blended creations. As you relax by the pool and cool off from the sunshine you can enjoy a selection of fresh, flavour-rich alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails to keep you cool and hydrated!

Relax in Style

Indulge and unwind at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club. Celebrity Eclipse has teamed up with one of the world’s leading spas to create the largest and most comprehensive Spa Club at sea. Designed to bring balance and equilibrium to each and every individual, the tranquil ambiance and indulgent treatments will transport you into a healing world of calm. Whether you’re looking to achieve optimum levels of fitness or simply relax with head-to-toe pampering, there’s nowhere better on the ocean to experience this.

 

 

Luxurious Living

The beautiful suites onboard will provide guests with a selection of exclusive features. After a day full of discovery, guests can unwind in one of the magnificent suites, dine at any specialty restaurant and relax in the VIP lounge. In addition, guests will be able to enjoy a range of exciting complimentary benefits, from personal butler services, premium beverages, unlimited internet access, and much more.

 

 

Luminae, the suite class restuarant, boasts modern cuisine along with impeccable service. James Beard featured chefs will present a range of unique dishes using regional ingredients from worldwide destinations. Paired with divine tasting wines, every meal is sure to set your taste buds alight - ideal for foodies who love to cruise!

Fabulous Features

Savour your unforgettable memories onboard Celebrity Eclipse at 'The Studio'. Create unique and wonderful mementos of your experience at the brand new, unique 'Modern Luxury' venue that will take the portraiture experience to a whole new level. Good news, The Studio replaces the Glass Exhibit, but the spectacular Hot Glass Class will remain onboard for all to enjoy.

Feeling lucky? Ttry your hand at the exciting British-styled Casino. Whether you’re an experienced high roller or looking for an exciting night out, the revamped, world-class casino now has an elegant British charm to it. It's transformation includes a reconfigured layout, British styled slot-machines, a new seating area, larger TV’s and an upgraded bar to quench your thirst.

 

 

"The refurbishment of Celebrity Eclipse offers guests the opportunity to experience an enhanced luxury offering onboard. The stylish, contemporary design and installation of new dining and entertainment options, coupled with the Suite Class and Canyon Ranch Spa offers also available will I am sure encourage guests to book time and again." Reveals, Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, Director of Sales, Celebrity Cruises UK and Ireland.

There’s a long list of reasons why cruise enthusiasts choose to sail with Celebrity Cruises, and with all these exciting upgrades it might be time for you to join in and experience the signature charm of Celebrity Eclipse for yourself. If you're feeling inspired, take a look at our Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Deals.


Best Places To Celebrate Chinese New Year

13th February 2015

Also known as Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year celebrates the start of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. This year, it falls at the beginning of February, with vibrant festivals, fairs and parades taking place worldwide. Here, we take a look at the biggest and best Chinese New Year celebrations across the globe!

 

Beijing, China


Must visit:

  • Spring Festival Temple Fairs - A great opportunity to try traditional food, drink and gifts
  • Longtan Fair - For fantastic sporting events with audience participation

Chinese New Year in Beijing

Traditionally, residents of Beijing will begin by enjoying a family dinner at home. For this reason, many restaurants and shops are closed to allow staff the time to visit relatives but after this quieter time, the vibrantly-decorated streets of China come alive with the arrival of numerous firework displays. These displays are thought to chase away evil spirits and last the whole week. Beijing’s temples and parks are buzzing with fairs, carnivals and parades. Circus-style acrobats fill the streets alongside lion and dragon dancers as well as families celebrating alongside.

 

Singapore


Must visit:

  • Chingay Parade – A once-in-a-lifetime experience of Asia’s biggest celebration
  • River Hongbao Celebration – A perfect alternative to the above for those travelling with children

Chinese New Year in Singapore is an event everyone should have on their bucket list. The annual Chingay Parade, Asia’s largest street procession, is a spectacle of music, dancers, lights, acrobats and more, and is a mass celebration of good health, prosperity and luck for the coming year. The River Hongbao celebration is also considered one of the main festivities of Chinese New Year, as well as an ideal family event, with culture and entertainment for all ages. Huge lanterns illuminate the route and depict ancient myths and legends of China, while there are plenty of carnival games and amusement rides to enjoy.

 

Hong Kong


Must visit:

  • Chinese New Year Cup Horserace – An exhilarating experience for keen fans of racing
  • Victoria Harbour fireworks and lights show – This fascinatingly choreographed display is a must-see for all ages

Hong Kong Light Show

With one of the loudest and most lively celebrations of all, Hong Kong brings in lively crowds from all over the world to experince its Chinese New Year celebrations. Combining tradition with modern twists, this region brings exciting parades, spectacular firework and light displays, and hugely popular horse racing. The first three days of Chinese New Year are the primetime to visit Hong Kong to make the most of the celebrations. Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy authentic, delicious street food at the Temple Street night market before watching countless floats, acrobats and dragons dance well into midnight.

 

Penang, Malaysia


Must visit:

  • Kek Lok Si Temple – A stunning illumination of the temple and surrounding area
  • Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta – An incredible sight to behold as many hot air balloons take to the skies over Penang

For traditional Chinese performing arts, Penang, Malaysia is the place to visit. Temples, which are otherwise closed to the public, open their doors to visitors for lion dances and performances. Kek Lok Si Temple in Georgetown lights up with over 200,000 lights around the beginning of Chinese New Year, illuminating the area throughout the night. During the fifteenth night of Lantern Festival, single women and girls throw oranges into the sea in the belief that this will help them find good husbands. They write their contact details on the fruit, and the men scour the water for the oranges in the hope of finding ‘the one’.

 

London, Chinatown


Must visit:

  • Shaftsbury Avenue – For expertly-crafted martial arts, taekwondo and music demonstrations.
  • Leicester Square – The perfect destination for families and kids, with workshops and performances that all ages will enjoy

Lanterns in Chinatown

It’s not always possible to get to the other side of the globe for Chinese New Year. Fortunately, London is renowned for hosting fun, vibrant events for all ages in the city centre, saving you the journey! Boasting one of the biggest and best Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, you can expect inspiring performances, arts and crafts stools and hundreds of bars and restaurants with open doors. Events take place across the West End with Trafalgar Square providing the main stage performances, including a thanksgiving ceremony, dragon and lion dances, Chinese rock hits and so much more.

 

Our top tips:

  • Wherever you choose to celebrate Chinese New Year, remember – it will be very busy! To make your time as stress-free as possible and ensure you get to the events and restaurants you want to visit, try and book ahead.
  • Many restaurants close for the holidays, giving staff time to see their families. In the busiest areas, some may remain open but it’s always a good idea to contact them beforehand and book a table where possible.
  • Not all festivities will require tickets, but arriving to events early will ensure the best vantage point and optimal viewing opportunities.
  • It’s good to keep in mind that fireworks last all week. For very young children, bringing ear-guards allows them to enjoy the stunning displays without the concern of too much noise.
  • If you’re staying with friends or hosts throughout the festivities, bringing a small, modest gift is a great idea! Red, yellow and gold are all symbols of good luck, health and prosperity, while tea, fruit, health foods and healthcare products are widely-enjoyed as gifts for the new year.

Chinese New Year is a celebration of new beginnings, with fun for all the family. Whether you choose to join the festivities in China, Malaysia or at home in the UK, it promises to be an experience to remember for years to come. Combine a stop in Beijing with the gems of Japan, Australia or South Korea, and cross off multiple items on your bucket list – the possibilities are endless! Check out our Asia cruises, or contact one our friendly experts.


10 Unmissable Natural Wonders

6th February 2015

The changing faces of the world’s landscapes continue to astonish and amaze as they combat impossible obstacles such as erosion, evolution, and climate change. With around 200 natural sites now on the UNESCO World Heritage List and 10% of those already in danger, there is no time like the present to explore and enjoy some of the world’s astounding natural wonders and marvel at their magnificence.

Tour contrasting terrain, sail and swim water flooded wonders, hike high and witness the effects of fire and ice, or gaze skyward for some absolutely awesome solar activity. Make a significant dent on your exploration bucket list with these 10 unmissable natural wonders listed below.

 

Land


Yosemite National Park – California, USA

Yosemite National Park sits centrally in the impressive Sierra Nevada mountain range in the state of sunny California, just three and a half hours from San Francisco. Yosemite, spanning 3,079 km sq encompasses a wealth of natural beauty from colossal cliffs to running waterfalls (including five of the world’s highest), fresh water streams and giant sequoia woods. Changing over time, effects of the ice-age are evident leaving deeper and wider valleys. The breath-taking backdrop of Yosemite Valley is a favourite spot for most visitors and the park is also home to several species of wildlife including coyotes, wolverines and black bears.

 

 

Santa Elena Cloud Forest – Costa Rica (closest port - Puntarenas)

Cloud forests carry an element of enchantment and mystique about them, almost always smothered by vast low hanging cloud cover they are misty in appearance and provide perfect conditions for biodiversity to thrive. The Santa Elena cloud forest in Costa Rica homes a stunning and diverse collection of flora and fauna including over 600 species of Orchids. Now a protected reserve, admission fees collected from tourists contribute to the management and care of the forest. Roughly a two hour drive from port Puntarenas, Santa Elena and neighbouring Monteverde make for a fantastic day trip, just don’t forget your rain mac as rainfall is common in a cloud forest.

 

 

Jurassic Coast – Dorset/ Devon, South Coast of England

The Jurassic Coast stretches an astounding 95 miles along the south coast of England from Devon to Dorset, showing evidence of 185 million years of history. The landscape has built up in an unusual way meaning that rocks dating way back to the Triassic period can be seen even now. A history buffs dream, this intriguing natural wonder of the British Isles can be enjoyed by car, on foot or by sea. The stunning cliff faces, bays and coastline make for a breath-taking backdrop when exploring the south coast. Watch the sunset through the arch at Durdle Door and swim at Dancing Ledge.

 

 

Fire

 

Haukadalur – Iceland, visit from Reykjavik

Haukadalur is the name given to three valleys found in the south of Iceland which exhibit some truly awesome geothermal activity. Witness the physical effects of the lands volcanic internal heat as you wait patiently for geyser’s to intermittently spout water at impressive heights. Hot springs and bubbling pools of mud are a frequent reminder of Iceland’s volcanic vitality. The Golden Circle tour is a popular route for visitors as it stops by the geysers along with the magnificent Gulfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. Golden Circle Tours depart frequently from Reykjavik.

 

 

Piton de la FournaiseReunion Island, Indian Ocean

As one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Reunion Island’s Piton de la Fournaise has a spitting fiery pit of red hot lava that spouts consistently day and night. The last eruption on record to date is as recent as June 2014. Categorised as a shield volcano, Piton de la Fournaise is large and broad with far travelling fluid lava flows. Accustomed to life below the domineering volcano, the locals have embraced their situation by leading hikes and tours up to the crater rim. Those brave enough can camp overnight or take a scenic helicopter tour overhead for brilliant birds-eye views. Small in size and often overlooked, Reunion Island is great in natural attractions and brimming with adventure for those daring enough.

 

 

Galapagos Islands – Ecuador, South America

The Galapagos Islands are a fascinating archipelago 906km from the pacific coast of Ecuador. The islands were formed as a result of repeated volcanic activity and developed over millions of years. Now totalling in twenty unique islands, only four are inhabited by humans but almost all are home to a rare selection of intriguing flora and fauna only found in the Galapagos. Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection was massively influenced by his time on the islands and there is now a visitor friendly research centre in his name located on Isla Santa Cruz. The best way to explore the Galapagos Islands is by cruise as you can easily visit multiple islands. Jump right in to snorkel with the welcoming seals, dive with sharks and spot countless bird species. The islands are within a protected park and may not always be accessible to tourism, so time is of the essence.

 

 

Ice

 

Antarctic Peninsula Antarctica

Few sites are able to match the overwhelming natural beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula, which is why many travel far and wide to witness its hundreds of unique icy islands first hand. Magnificent glaciers are formed due to the consistent presence of snow falling over several years and condensing to form individual islands of ice. Sailing amongst them can be a remarkable experience and you can also take pleasure in spotting the local wildlife from penguins to seals and seabirds. A magnificent mountainous backdrop links the Andes mountain range of South America through submerged peaks deep below sea level. Climate change affects the Antarctic Peninsula greatly so see it now while you still can.

 

 

 

Water

 

The Blue HoleBelize, Central America

With worldwide recognition and known simply as “The Blue Hole” you can expect to be in for something special when sailing to this undeniably eye-popping natural wonder in Belize. With a diameter of 300m this great submarine sinkhole displays a dramatic pupil like appearance from above. Those visiting from sea level with a keen interest in diving can be rewarded with excellent deep sea exploration and potential sightings of hammerheads, nurse sharks and giant groupers amongst others. The Blue Hole reaches 124m deep and is a truly fascinating example of natural water wonders on earth.

 

 

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia, Europe

Why make a journey to visit one waterfall when you can see several in one stunning destination. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the oldest in south eastern Europe and can be found halfway between Zagreb and Zadar, not far from the coast of Croatia. Known affectionately as “the land of the falling lakes” Plitvice boasts 8km of sixteen picturesque lakes connected by countless gushing waterfalls. Flowing for thousands of years over limestone and chalk, the water has naturally created dams and subsequently the pretty lakes that can be seen today. The National Park stretches 300km and contains rich green woodland plus a plethora of local wildlife including bears and wolves.

 

 

Air

 

Star Gazing - Mauna Kea, Hawaii

There are many places on earth that claim to be ideal for star gazing but when one of them is also the home of several official observatories you know you’re on to something good. The dormant volcano, Mauna Kea, marks Hawaii’s highest peak and is a crucial destination for star gazers and scientists. At 4205m above sea level and with clear air from low light pollution, this is one of the best sites in the world to observe the dazzling star spangled night sky. You may feel a twinge of altitude sickness as you ascend but the view is incomparable and definitely worth the journey.

 

 

See more of the world's wonders on a world cruise. More information on world cruises


Packing For Different Climate Zones

15th January 2015

Updated September 2018

 

Cruising can be fantastic fun for the whole family whatever the weather. With an ever-expanding list of exciting destinations accessible via cruise ship, plus a constant developing arena in onboard entertainment and conveniences, it is rare you’ll ever hear the phrase “it’s a shame about the weather” on your cruise holiday. Come rain or shine; activities, amusement, and exploration are in abundance on modern cruise holidays and providing you are prepared for the climate zone of your choice, you can eliminate any weather woes from spoiling what’s bound to be your best holiday to date.

 

 

So you’ve chosen your next port of call, booked your holiday and your famous (yet slightly annoying for anyone not going) holiday countdown has begun. But when it comes to packing, what should you take and how can you ensure a good time is had no matter what the forecast has in store? Take some time to learn a little about the weather zone you are entering, and with these handy tips plus some essential pre-planning, you will be well on your way to forecast fortune-telling and smooth cruising in no time.

Equatorial

No prizes for guessing these are the countries hugging the equator. If you are cruising to the Equatorial climate you’ll likely be visiting some truly exotic destinations such as Columbia, Brazil and Ecuador in South America, Central America, Central Africa, India, Indonesia and the northern coast of Australia. When cruising along the equator itself you’ll be at zero degrees latitude, the widest point of the earth and exactly between the northern and southern hemispheres. Most countries within the equatorial climate experience just two seasons, wet (tropical rainfall and higher humidity) and dry (cooler temperatures with less rain). Biodiversity is rich here due to the surge in tropical humidity; this also means some of the world’s greatest rainforests are found within this climate zone. If the air feels dense and heavy be prepared for some short but heavy rainfall, plus if you’re cruising during rainy season, air conditioning and onboard entertainment should be high on your check list.

 

 

Equatorial Essentials: Rain mac, 50+ sun protection, bug spray, long sleeves, sports socks and closed toe walking shoes or boots for jungle excursions, binoculars, book on wildlife spotting.

 

Arid

Are you planning a cruise to the Middle East, Australia or Western America? You might find yourself entering an arid climate. Destinations such as (inland) California, Arizona, Texas, Morocco, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Australia can have extremely dry regions and deserts. Although they are astounding in physical appearance, these deserts and their surrounds can be extremely hot and inhospitable places. On the upside, annual rainfall is low and you can experience some beautiful blue skies as descending air and areas of high pressure eliminates the presence of clouds. An arid climate can also bring much colder temperatures as night falls so bare that in mind for evening attire and sleepwear.

 

 

Arid Essentials: Water bottle, sun hat for shade, cover ups (choose comfortable materials like cotton and linen), sunglasses, sandals, thermal pyjamas, eye drops, Vaseline.

 

Mediterranean

Cruising the Mediterranean is a dream come true for most holiday makers, and the balmy Mediterranean climate makes it easy to see why. This climate zone includes countries and regions roughly up to 40 degrees latitude either side of the equator but can also be present slightly further afield. Countries within this climate zone include Portugal, Spain, (the south of) France, Italy, Greece and Turkey but also (far south) Western Australia can experience similar conditions. Due to a seasonal shift in descending air, summers of the Mediterranean climate zone can be warm, sunny and dry with low rainfall. Pleasant and bearable temperatures are generally experienced throughout summer and some of the world’s best beaches are blessed with this weather, but searing heatwaves can also occur so sun protection is still important. Winter will bring cooler temperatures but still shouldn’t be cold enough to warrant packing a bulky overcoat.

 

 

Mediterranean Essentials: Swimwear, beach towel, snorkel, waterproof camera, shorts, thin layers, lightweight jacket, walking shoes.

 

Snow

You may not always see snow when cruising within the snow climate zone but overall temperatures are definitely colder for the most part and summers are short lived. Destinations within this region include Alaska, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Within this higher northern latitude the winters can be long, harsh and very cold so you’ll want to take some extra thermal layers if you plan on doing some shore exploring outside of the summer months. Frost melting and birds tweeting announce the awakening of spring in some areas and you’ll need good quality hiking boots to explore the magnificent terrains of Alaska, Canada or Sweden. Despite its snow coated stereotype, temperatures can still reach up to 30 degrees in the city of Moscow so consider short sleeves if you’re travelling to Russia’s capital city during summer. Stunning scenery changes drastically from vast thick fir tree forests to baron and empty acres of tundra the further north you explore the snow climate zone.

 

 

Snow Essentials: Hat, gloves & scarf for winter, warm (waterproof) coat, lightweight fleece, synthetic fibres (warm in winter, cool in summer), hiking boots, moisturiser, nature or bird spotting book.

 

Polar

The north and south Polar regions experience different climates but both harbour some of the coldest temperatures in the world. However, those that don’t mind a colder cruise will be rewarded with breath-taking scenery, amazing uninhabited landscapes and some incredible opportune photo moments. Destinations covered by the polar climate zone include (northern) Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, (north and north east) Russia, Antarctica and some areas of western China. The Arctic climate can be more bearable than the south due to moderation from the Atlantic Ocean, meaning that temperatures can reflect those of a mainland European winter. You’ll likely witness frozen ocean and some incredible ice glaciers during a cruise to the arctic north so prepare for the possibility of freezing temperatures. The sky is clear and you’ll want to bring a travel telescope or decent camera for star gazing or chasing the famous northern lights. Wrap up extra warm for a polar cruise to the south because temperatures here have been recorded at -80 Celsius. The air here is drier than most deserts so protect your skin and keep hydrated.

 

 

Polar Essentials: Thermal clothes, hiking or snow boots, coat, hat/scarf/gloves/balaclava, digital SLR camera, waterproofs, pocket tissues, torch, polarized wraparound sunglasses, sea sickness medication, swimwear (for natural thermal springs), travel telescope, book on star gazing.

 

Temperate

Expect a bit of a mixture if you are entering a temperate climate, as this category can include aspects of a Mediterranean, sub-tropical or maritime climate. You could even expect four seasons in one day if you are visiting the UK for example, an island with a typical maritime climate which means conditions are influenced by the ocean. A rain mac, sunglasses and scarf could all be of use during a trip here no matter the time of year. Other destinations experiencing a temperate climate include northern mainland Europe, (western and central) USA, (western) China, (north-west) Argentina.

 

 

Temperate Essentials: Rain mac, sunglasses, hat, comfy walking shoes, sense of humour, layers, sea sickness medication, guide to cloud spotting

*Climate zones depicted from the Koppen climate classification. Weather conditions are always subject to change and it is advised to check official weather forecasts pre-departure for a happy holiday.

Cruise the world and experience different climate zones on a world cruise.


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