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Iglu Team Meets Oasis Of The Seas

17th October 2014

Updated March 2019

Oasis of the Seas visited Southampton for the first time back in September 2014. This highly-anticipated day meant that we, of course, had to send a few members of staff along to see the ship and learn first-hand just what Royal Caribbean offer onboard.

 

 

Since launching in 2009, people from all over the world have travelled to her home port of Fort Lauderdale to see her. It was never speculated she would come to the UK, so after it was announced that she would complete a two-week dry dock in Rotterdam, and then stop in Southampton before her transatlantic back to America, those of us in the UK cruise world were very excited.

Invitation only...

The day arrived and we (literally) jumped onto the train bound for Southampton. We'd already heard the news that her anticipated arrival into Southampton didn't disappoint, and thousands of speculators had gathered around the port to see her - with the bonus of free bacon butties on offer! Before the train had even stopped at Southampton, we spotted the iconic Crown and Anchor symbol peering over the top of buildings – giving only an inclination of her size.

The biggest WOW... 

Docked in Southampton she looked even larger than we imagined she'd be. As soon as we stepped onboard - feeling more than ready for the day ahead - everyone was in complete awe. There are not enough words to explain how fantastic our day was, from the fun tasks to the exquisite cuisine, everything was absolutely wonderful. We experienced each one of the seven neighbourhoods, indulged in a total of ten different meal courses, and well and truly experienced what it would be like to holiday on this floating masterpiece.

 

 

 

Find out what the team thought about Oasis of the Seas ...

Hayley Henderson, Marketing Executive

My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

The carousel on the Boardwalk

I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

The variety of things for every cruiser, there are many areas to simply relax or a wide range of activities for the more adventurous traveller.

Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

Revolutionary

Elaine Ross, Head of Cruise Trading

My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

The Boardwalk. With the ice cream parlour, open-air restaurants, and the candy shop, I felt like I was walking along a real seaside Boardwalk. The Aqua Theatre at the end was a total surprise, I can only imagine how spectacular it would be to watch a show here.

I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

There is so much to see and do, I could not imagine anyone one being bored onboard.

Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

Awesome

 

 

James Turner, Sales Executive

My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

The steak I ate in the American idol Grill. Infact all of the cuisine was first class!

I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

It genuinely has something for everyone. It takes the concept of cruising to another level – whatever the weather… whatever your age…. whatever your interests, she delivers.

Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

Unconventional

Patrick Hill, Sales Executive

My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

The variety of activities that appeared to be going on around the ship. Everywhere I looked there was something going on, from karaoke and dance lessons to an organised get-together.

I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

She is packed full of great entertainment, fantastic dining options and activities the whole family can enjoy.

Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

Magnificent

 

 

Walter Ferrari, Commercial Executive

My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

As a plant enthusiast, Central Park was my favourite. The array of Blue Rain bromeliads, trees and sounds of birds singing was the last thing I would expect on a cruise ship.

I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

Of the enticing variety of restaurants, fun and adventurous activities, spectacular shows and sensational spa treatments.

Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

Mesmerising

Curious to see the ship for yourself? Take a look at our: Oasis of the Seas Deals

 

 


Christmas Market Cruises

10th October 2014

Updated October 2018

The Christmas Market Experience

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to get away and experience how other countries celebrate this joyous time of year. Although we have Christmas Markets in England, most would argue that they are not as grand as in other European countries. Various cities all over this historic continent, including Prague, Amsterdam, and Bruges, fill their streets with intriguing market stalls, vibrant lights, and spectacular Christmas trees, making the perfect winter wonderland.

Every year sees an increasing amount of people travel to these enchanted cities during winter, and it wasn’t long before cruise lines saw a great opportunity in offering short itineraries to give guests the chance to sail the ultimate Christmas experience.




Top 5 Christmas Market Ports

Zeebrugge, Belgium

A quaint village nestled in the picturesque coastline of Belgium, Zeebrugge has a charming character that boasts some of the most sensational Christmas Markets in the world.

Although a fairly small port, once covered in all of its Christmas glory visitors feel like they are are standing in the middle of a huge city. With attractive canals, historic buildings, and narrow streets, every corner you turn presents a new surprise.

 

belgian chocolates

 

Famous for its divine homemade chocolate, local beers, and unique lacework, it is not only the sights that will make you fall in love with this city. Belgium allows you to immerse yourself into a fascinating storybook.

December is the best time to visit Zeebrugge and from the moment your eyes catch sight of the Christmas decorations you are transformed into a magical wonderland that instantly fills your heart with glee. From the sweet aroma of mulled wine to the sight of locals huddled around their favourite market stall, Christmas is certainly not just one day here.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Although one of the most popular cities for weekend breaks, Amsterdam has managed to retain its charismatic charm and pristine scenery. With its quintessentially Dutch feel, quirky architecture, and picturesque canals, nowhere else in the world compares. This completely unique city will open you up to a whole new world.

From mid-November, Amsterdam looks like a Christmas postcard with perfectly decorated trees, lights hanging from every building and rows of market stalls. The large city squares make it the perfect place to hold Christmas markets with excessive areas of intriguing stalls and fresh food and drink stands. Even away from the main squares, the narrow streets and winding canals are lined with festive treats.

It is not only the Christmas markets that allure you to visit Amsterdam, but the museums, restaurants, and famous canals offer a jam-packed visit of unique exploration. 

Dublin, Ireland

Undergoing a huge transformation in the last decade, Dublin is a city where old meets new. The historic buildings and ancient history sit next to modern shopping malls and vibrant bars. With something for every type of traveller, Dublin welcomes you any time of year but takes Christmas to a whole new level.

Famous for its pubs and bars, there is nowhere else in the world to offer a better place to enjoy cosy time sampling local ales as the chill from outside creeps in every time somebody opens a door. Even for a none drinker, it is hard to not stop in the local whilst exploring the city.

 

dublin in winter

 

Although home to a shoppers paradise, it is the December Christmas markets where you will want to spend your money. From handcrafted gifts, local foods, and unusual creations, the market stalls that come to Dublin in December are among the most appealing.

Tallinn, Estonia

At any time of year Tallin is a fairytale city, and even more so at Christmas time. Every medieval wall, soaring building and narrow street is covered with enchanting lights and festive glory. A glamorous winter wonderland, you can expect to find ice rinks, magical markets, and stalls brewing fresh mulled wine – what more could you want to get you in the festive mood?

Tallin’s atmosphere is typical of an Eastern European city – mysterious and unforgettable. Stroll through enraptured sidewalks, sip coffee in the market square, or explore the medieval history that makes this city so unique. Perfect for the relaxer and adventurer, Tallinn leaves a lasting impact on every visitor.

As the winter season approaches, Tallinn starts to prepare for a busy season, with Christmas being the number one priority. Every street is covered with festive market stalls, every café rivals to have the best Christmas menu, and every building is covered top to bottom in lights. Local choirs will perform Christmas displays and encourage spectators to join in, ensuring the festive spirit is spread from all around.

A trip to Tallinn will turn even the worst kind of Grinch into a joyous bundle of Christmas smiles.

Antwerp, Belgium

Home to the best chocolate in the world, the finest cut diamonds, and many religious buildings, Antwerp is certainly a hidden gem with more than meets the eye. Although fairly small in size, it boasts more than twenty museums, extensive shopping, and delightful parks.

Belgium is the trendsetter for Christmas markets, and Antwerp is no exception with December turning the city into a huge festival. With a backdrop of The Cathedral of our Lady, the Christmas markets here are among the most attractive of all the markets. Radiant Christmas lights can be seen from miles around as the whole city is illuminated with some of the most breathtaking Christmas decorations you will ever see.

 

antwerp christmas market

 

With a large influence on cuisine, the streets of Antwerp ooze with aromas of freshly baked pastries and melting chocolate. Everyone should take a minute out to sit and enjoy a coffee and sweet treat whilst watching the festive fun going on all around.

After visiting Belgium during Christmas time, the memories are sure to return every year.

 

Sailing from convenient UK ports including Tilbury and Southampton, you can experience some of Europe's best Christmas markets without the hassle of flying. With some of the best river cruise lines in the industry - Riviera Travel, AmaWaterways and Saga River Cruises, to name a few - offering countless itineraries, whether you're a family of four, a party of two or going solo, you'll find the perfect Christmas cruisefor you!


5 Best Ships For Adult-Only Cruises

25th September 2014

It appears there is a strong emphasis on family friendly holidays at the moment, especially cruises, so I thought it was time I have a closer look at the adult only side of the industry.

We all know how fantastic cruising is for families and the range of facilities and activities for children on modern day cruise ships beats any land based resort. From award-winning kids clubs, water parks and jam-packed schedules of fun, cruising is the ultimate holiday for children to create life changing memories.

However, for some people, a holiday is a time to switch-off and escape from the children. With every day stress of the school run, activities, dinners, fancy dress costume making, sleepovers, revision, exams, constant fund demands, late night lifts and television arguments, a week or two away from this is a distant dream for many parents. The idea of escaping on an adult-only cruise is the perfect solution.

Due to their being such high-demand for family orientated cruises in today’s market, there are less cruise lines offering an adult-only experience, however some firmly believe in offering this option. With this in mind here are my top 5 ships for an adult-only cruise getaway:

Oriana, P&O Cruises

Exclusive for adults: Yes

Where in the world: Europe, Mediterranean, Caribbean

Exclusively for adults, this mid-sized ship is elegant and refined to offer adults the perfect retreat. Entering service for P&O Cruises in 2003 she has always been an adult-only vessel who boasts sophisticated spaces, adult-themed entertainment and delightful Art Deco.

An intimate atmosphere is felt throughout Oriana and her sleek exterior glides through awe-inspiring destinations to give onlookers a small inclining of her stunning interior.

Specifically designed to suit British tastes, you can expect to enjoy heavenly afternoon teas, support your football team at Lord’s Tavern sports bar and dress up in your favourite formal attire for a traditional P&O Captain’s reception.

With no children around, activities can be played amongst like-minded adults including croquet, cocktail making an informative lectures.

See our Oriana Deals

Marco Polo, Cruise & Maritime





Exclusive for adults: Yes

Where in the world: Europe, Fjords, Northern Europe, Arctic, Amazon

With her traditional exterior and intimate interior, Marco Polo is a small, friendly and charismatic ship that ensures everyone who steps onboard is warmed to her charm. Inviting adults only, she offers a more informal, relaxed experience.

With various lounges to enjoy meeting new friends and sipping your favourite cocktails, you are sure to enjoy the company of like-minded cruisers. With a variety of live music, special speakers and a cabaret show, your evenings will be fairly low-key but enjoyable.

With a large crew to guest ratio onboard, the crew will become family and remember all of your preferences from the first moment they met you.

Although Marco Polo is not a huge ship, she is perfect for those wanting to take a fascinating journey on a floating home away from home. She doesn’t have the 'frill and spills' of some of the mega ships but this makes for a more exclusive, intimate experience.

Operating a 'child free' policy even if you decide to cruise during school holidays you can enjoy the pleasures of cruising in the company of adult only passengers.

See our Marco Polo Deals 

 

Arcadia, P&O Cruises





Exclusive for adults: Yes

Where in the world: Europe, Atlantic, Fjords, Baltic, Caribbean, Middle East

Another one of the three adult-only P&O Cruises ships, Arcadia is the perfect combination of modern and classic. Tailored for those who like to get away and explore fascinating destinations in a relaxed environment, she is a floating paradise that offers you the ultimate getaway.

Her stylish interior spaces and signature features have made Arcadia a favourite to cruisers all over the world. With glass lifts, expansive art collection and classic décor she oozes elegance. With a variety of onboard venues, there is always something going on to enjoy. From live music, a port lecture or a West End style show, you can enjoy your time onboard exactly how you want to.

The perfect ship for foodies, you can enjoy intimate meals at a variety of restaurants including the two-tiered Meridian Restaurant, Neptune Grill and Marco Pierre Whiite’s Ocean Grill restaurant.

See our Arcadia Deals

 

Royal Clipper, Star Clippers


 

Exclusive for adults: No

Where in the world: Mediterranean, Caribbean

Star Clippers are the only tall sail ships operating in this way and offer an experience like no other. With a feeling of sailing on your own private sail yacht, these intimate and friendly vessels will have you hoisting your own mast, sharing stories on a floating hammock and sailing into some the world’s most awe-inspiring sunsets.

With an emphasis on outdoors and adventures, a cruise onboard Royal Clipper is best suited to those who like to make the most of new experiences. Stopping at some the world’s most fascinating locations, her size will allow you to dock right in the heart of remote and enchanted destinations.

The ship’s crew become a huge part of your holiday and you will find yourself spending a lot of time with them, from dining, team activities and learning how to manoeuvre these unique vessels.

Although there is no large production shows or multiple restaurants, there is a large dining room, range of activities and unique outer spaces to enjoy. These port intense cruises are sure to take you on a truly memorable journey, making friends with like-wise adults along the way.

See our Royal Clipper Deals

Nautica, Oceaania

Exclusive for adults: No

Where in the world: Baltic, Mediterranean, Asia, Africa

With her intense warmth and welcoming character, Oceania Nautica is a smaller sized ship that exposes luxury in the finest form. Her unique design is elegant and boasts neutral décor to give a graceful and refined appearance.

Leaving no detail left out, every single detail onboard has been thoroughly thought about and it is the small touches that make Oceania such a special cruise line. From her exquisite cuisine, immaculate cabins and elegant interior venues, you will truly fall in love with Nautica.

With no children’s facilities and being a luxury line, it is rare you will find any little ones onboard and the tranquil atmosphere makes for the ultimate getaway.

See our Nautica Deals


By Sally Grimes


Why Has Asia Become Such A Popular Cruise Destination?

11th September 2014

So many cruise lines have added new Asia destinations to their programmes...we take a look why. [More]

5 Best Ships For Foodies

5th September 2014

Is the food your favourite thing about a cruise? I am sure for many the answer is yes and for those who say no, I have a feeling you might change your mind after reading this blog.

Dining has always been a vital element of a cruise, but even more so now than ever. With cruise lines taking a major focus on its cuisine, some of the best food in the world is now said to be found at sea. With Michelin-star chefs, five star restaurants and unique ingredients from around the world, a cruise truly takes you on a culinary journey like no other. It is not about the quantity of food onboard that makes it so appealing, it is the quality.

Whether you are passionate about food or not, there is no getting away from the fact meal times will be the most memorable part of your cruise holiday.

Although every cruise ship has something for everyone, I have narrowed them down to the five ships I think are the ultimate foodies paradise…

Celebrity Eclipse - Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises focus significantly on their own cuisine, even to the point they have exhibited at the prestigious 'Taste' food festivals for the last couple of years. There award-winning restaurants have been recognised not only by industry officials but food experts around the world.

Celebrity Eclipse built in 2010 was the third ship in the Equinox Class. Built with food in mind, there is a wide choice of culinary suprises to choose from from, even for  the most challenging taste buds.

The main dining room showcases modern décor with a unique twist. Spanned over three levels with blue and white coloures it represents the 'modern luxury' style Celebrity are famous for. Available for breakfast, lunch and dinner it presents exciting dishes unlike any other cruise dining rooms. With a different menu every night, you can expect to find meals such as lobster, roast chicken and unique soups.

Murano is a specialty restaurant like no other at sea, as timeless as it is modern it takes a different approach to French cuisine. Exploiting the intense French passion for food with a unique twist, this menu captivates you in every way.

Qsine is a restaurant that took the industry by storm with its completely offbeat edge and unordinary meals. This experience is far from normal, even from the moment you order your meal on an iPad. Award winning chefs will then muster up an array of heavenly dishes including sushi lollipops, popcorn fish and lobster escargot.

No dining experience would be complete without a good old steak house and Tuscan Grill is definitely up there with the best steak houses at sea. Although a classical steak house it has an Italian twist that brings out exquisite flavors in every dish.

Other dining options include the Oceanview café, Blu (an exclusive restaurant for suite guests) and room service.

View Celebrity Eclipse Deals

Oasis of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International 

With a ship the size of Oasis of the Seas it is no surprise it holds the largest amount of dining options than many other ships. With over 27 different venues to eat, this ship really does take you on a gastronomic journey guaranteed to set all of your senses alight.

The three tiered dining room exposes the traditional fine décor Royal Caribbean are known for, with grand chandeliers, immaculately laid tables and assertive waiters all around. With a different menu presented every night, each meal time betters the last.

Giovanni’s Table is one of the best Italian restaurants I have dinned in, including ones I have experienced in Italy itself. With the option to dine Al Fresco in the serene atmosphere of Central Park, you will experience Italian cuisine at its finest. From tantalizing anti-pasti, fresh pasta and flavor infused breads, this is no place for anyone on a diet.

Chops Grille is Royal Caribbean’s signature steak house that is a meat lover’s dream with succulent steaks, fresh fish and melting lamb.

For an up-scale experience, 150 Central Park is the most premium restaurant onboard that treats guests to a set seven course meal with accompanying wine and condiments. Featuring a celebrity chef who explains every dish, it offers an experience best enjoyed by those who like the finer things in life.

Chefs Table is an exclusive dining experience offering guests the chance to dine intimately with the Chef himself. Set in a private venue, you will not only indulge on the delicious food, but learn about it too.

For those who prefer healthier options, the Solarium Bistro presents an exciting menu with every dish having no more than 500 calories.

For the casual diners there is the Windjammer Buffet, Sorrento’s Pizza and The Seafood Shack and for times when you need a snack there is a Tapas Bar, Café Promenade and Central Park Café (serves the most delicious roast beef rolls!)

View Oasis of the Seas deals or check out Royal Caribbean's newest ship from the Oasis Class, Harmony of the Seas

Oceania Marina - Oceania Cruises

The luxury lines are known for offering the finest cuisine at sea and Oceania are no exception. These small, intimate ships are home to flawless dining venues that gracefully present sumptuous dishes throughout the day.

The Grand Dining Room has been designed with elegance in mind and no details are left out. With neutral décor and striking gold features, the serene atmosphere compliments the menu perfectly. Serving incredible cuisine along with the finest wine, you can expect to try dishes such as steamed Main Lobster, Duck a l’Orange and Fresh Red Snapper.

Renowned Chef Jacques Pepin brought his passion and talent to sea at Jacques where he re-creates impressive dishes and infuses them with crisp flavours.

Red Ginger is an enchanted restaurant with intense red décor and a striking masterpiece that sets the ultimate scene for a meal to remember. With a menu as striking as the décor, you can expect to experience Asian-spiced Lamb, Nutty Braised Beef and Green Tea Banana Cake.

The timeless Polo Grill transforms you into an old fashioned New York Steak House. With signature Ralph Lauren tableware and premium table linen, eating your 28 day dry aged prime beef is a matchless experience.

Step into a classical countryside eatery at Tuscan, as you indulge on authentic Italian favorites and desserts to leave you feeling more than satisfied.

Other dining venues include The Terrace Café, Waves and La Reserve.

View Oceania Marina deals

Seven Seas Voyager - Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas are known for continuously raising the bar in cruise ship dining and Seven Seas Voyager sets the bar once again.

Although being a smaller ship, there are over six different dining venues to choose from. Using only the finest ingredients and local produce, the cuisine onboard Seven seas Voyager can only truly be described in taste.

Prime 7 is a classic steakhouse with a contemporary atmosphere that redefines that which we typically love about steak. A glamourous evening will be had as you indulge on distinct melt-in-your-mouth steaks.

Signatures showcases everything loved about France, from unusual art décor to delightful cuisine. Feel like you are in central Paris as you spoil yourself with exotic wines and dishes so unique you cannot even read them on the menu!

Compass Rose, the flagship restaurant for Regent Seven Seas serves European-inspired dishes in a romantic setting. From steamed lobster tail to Alaskan Halibut, and Roasted Rack of Lamb to Broiled Cornish Hen, choosing what to eat will be the hardest decision of your cruise.

Being at sea offers the ultimate setting to breathe in the fresh sea air as you dine outside so La Veranda and Pool Grill present the perfect venues to enjoy fresh gourmet ingredients such as Gnocchi, Lasagna, Seafood Platters and Grilled Meat Feast.

View Seven Seas Voyager deals

Norwegian Epic - Norwegian Cruise Lines

Famous for their freestyle dining concept, cuisine wasn’t really a key selling point for Norwegian Cruise Line, however Norwegian Epic certainly has an apparent focus on dining choices.

With over twenty different dining options you will have the opportunity to try new tastes, indulge on old favourites and experiment with new ingredients. Whether you want to grab a snack or celebrate a special occasion with a six course feast, Norwegian Epic will take have you making memories every meal time.

La Cucina is a traditional Italian restaurant, Le Bistro reflects all things French and Moderno is an impressive Brazilian steakhouse.

Shanghai’s Chinese Restaurant serves up a cocktail of Asian treats including noodles, wok fried dishes, dim sum and dumplings. All prepared in an open kitchen, the sweet aromas oozing from the open kitchen are only the beginning.

Teppanyaki guarantees to surprise every visitor and offers a dining experience like no other found at sea. Sat around a lively shared table you will watch as a Chef prepares meats, seafood and unique grills in front of your eyes. Tip: Try the Wasabi Cocktail!

Grabbing a sweet treat has never caused such a stir as a visit to Carlo’s Bake Shop. Located in the Atrium and featuring TCL’s Cake Boss, this is where you will find some of the most mouth-quenching treats you have ever laid eyes on.

View Norwegian Epic deals 


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