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10 Questions You Forgot to Ask Your Cruise Consultant

clock 27th March 2019 | comment0 Comments

We are all forgetful at times, especially when going on holiday and excitement starts to take over. As well as forgetting to pack the essentials – which ends up with us spending double or even the triple the price abroad - sometimes we also forget to ask those important questions. If this sounds like you don’t panic, as we’ve put together this handy list of ten questions to remind you of what you should be asking your cruise consultant.

 

What exactly is included in the fare?

With many cruise lines branding themselves as ‘all-inclusive’, it’s important to understand that this may not include certain amenities – so it’s a good idea to ask before boarding as you don’t want a surprising bill at the end of a great holiday. Some cruise lines known for their all-inclusive packages are Royal CaribbeanNorwegian Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises, of course, there are many others but these are a few of the popular ones. There are different types of all-inclusive cruises; it could mean that you have your accommodation, meals, drinks, entertainment, and flights included in the price. However many cruise lines offer separate drinks packages. If you opt for one of these be sure to check for any limitations, such as beverages at meal times only. This can be unhelpful, particularly with family groups who would prefer to have drinks on their own terms.

 

 

What should I book in advance?

Depending on you the cruise you choose, there might be certain things that you aren’t able to book onboard - this can vary from childcare to excursions. With every cruise line having their own rules, it’s better to find out before. Save yourself the hassle of pushing through the crowd to guarantee to seat at a speciality restaurant, or joining a long queue for a spa treatment.  Cruise lines have online methods to book before you board, for example, guests can book certain services using Carnival Cruise Lines’s ‘manage’ tab on their website homepage. Simply create an account to arrange gifts in your cabin, drinks packages, and transfers. This can be done right up to one week before the sail date. 

 

Will I always dine with strangers?

Leave this myth in the olden days! With most cruise lines the choice is yours – more often than not you can eat where you want, with whomever you want, and when you want.  Having said this, there are some cruise lines which still use allocated seating and dining times. If this is the case, remember you can request a change if you’re not happy with your given arrangement.  It truly depends on how you want to cruise, as many guests do still enjoy the traditional seating atmosphere, but of course, casual dining suits many people better.

 

 Will I get fewer opportunities being a single traveller?

Many cruise lines specifically focus on offering packages for single travellers to meet guests’ needs. Norwegian Cruise Line has a special single traveller package which offers a studio cabin, and access to a colourful, elegant lounge for single cruisers to meet and mingle.  Nowadays single travellers don’t need to worry about fewer opportunities, as cruise lines are hosting activities such as dances, workshops, and other chances to socialise.  To get the best out of your solo trip make sure you speak to your cruise consultant for more information about what specific activities will be on your cruise.

 

If something happens to me will I get medical attention?

Every cruise ship has a qualified doctor or nurse onboard, meaning guests don’t need to worry about not being attended to should

they need medical attention at any point during the cruise – day or night. Most ships are fitted with some medical equipment, however, facilities do vary so it’s important to ask your cruise consultant to find out the level of service available if you have any specific concerns.

I'm not used to tipping, do I have to?

Depending on what cruise line you’re travelling with, gratuities are usually prepaid before going on the cruise. Sometimes there are promotions in which gratuities are included in the package, and sometimes they are added on. Guests who don’t want an automatic cruise gratuity might be able to amend this, however it depends on the cruise line. It’s important to mention to your cruise consultant if you don’t want to pay any gratuities to save any financial surprises. When gratuities are not included – for instance with many river cruise lines – often an envelope will be slipped under your cabin door to enable you to tip as you wish, anonymously. When this is the case, the cruise line will usually suggest an amount – for instance (at the time of writing) AmaWaterways suggest €12 per passenger, per day to be divided among the crew. This works out to €84 each for a one week cruise.

 

Can I bring my own food and drink?

When it comes to bringing onboard your own food and drink, each cruise line has its own policy. With some, guests are allowed to bring their own alcohol, however, there are strict lines who don’t even allow simple juice or water. It depends on what cruise line you travel with, so this is another important question to ask your cruise consultant during the booking process.

Will I have internet?

Staying connected is important for a lot of guests, as it’s a great way to share and communicate with friends and family at home. Almost all cruise lines offer internet packages, however, the charges and connection quality will vary depending on which line you travel with. Although internet access is widely available, don’t expect to be lounging around watching your favourite TV programmes online, as only a handful of cruise lines offer packages that allow the use of streaming.

 

Is it always going to be busy?

Right now,  the largest cruise ship in the world is Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas – which has a max capacity of 6,680. You might think that having such a large number of people onboard would cause a busy atmosphere, however, this isn’t the case. Symphony of the Sea has 18 decks, and so – as with many large ships – there is plenty of open space for everyone to enjoy. In fact, many guests describe larger ships as a ‘city on water’, and say you may not even see the same face twice.  This isn’t to say that some of the main attractions onboard don’t get busy, however. If you are one who is keen to try things like the rock-climbing wall and surf simulator, try to time your visit to avoid queues – for instance early in the morning or on cooler days.

 

Can I get an upgrade while onboard?

Before embarkation, some cruise lines such as P&O Cruises might offer a complimentary upgrade if higher-level cabins have not been booked up and are still available. Guests are able to put themselves forward to be considered, however, this must be done at the time of booking.  If an upgrade hasn’t been given before you embark,  guests on the waiting list could still be contacted when onboard.

Any questions we forgot? Check our before you go FAQs to find out about more questions you possibly haven’t come across. Or, if all you have left is to pack, make sure you read our hints and tips about the five worst mistakes you can make. 



What is the Boardwalk on Oasis Class ships?

clock 13th May 2016 | comment0 Comments
Unlike the other class of ships, Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships have seven different neighbourhoods. Let's take a look at the entertainment, restaurants an fun you can have on the Boardwalk. [More]


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

clock 13th April 2016 | comment0 Comments

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.


Innovations

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



Behind the scenes of Royal Princess

clock 19th August 2015 | comment0 Comments

We have just returned from a fantastic four day mini cruise onboard Princess Cruises stunning newest ship, Royal Princess. Cruising the British Isles in impeccable style we got to know our fellow cruise passengers and the friendly crew. We were also able to fully explore the sensational 16 deck Royal Princess including a sneak peek behind the scenes.

Entering service in spring 2013 she has a tonnage of 141000 and cruising speed of 20 kts. With a capacity of 3600, the ship was fully booked during our time onboard but never once felt crowded or cramped.

From our spacious and comfortable balcony stateroom we waved to the locals of Cobh (Cork), Ireland and admired the postcard perfect coastlines. We dined on exquisite Italian cuisine in onboard speciality restaurant Sabatini’s and rose early the next day for a top deck jog around the running track. Melted over the heavenly Chocolate Journey’s cocktail menu and danced the night away to our favourite songs in Club 6.

Royal Princess, christened by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge in 2013, was the perfect home away from home as we sailed the beautiful British Isles. Stopping off at delightful destinations such as Guernsey, Ireland, Liverpool and more.

A major highlight for us was our private guided behind the scenes tour of Royal Princess with cruise director Sam Hawker-Thomas. We had an unbelievable view from the Captains Bridge, walked backstage of the Princess Theatre and through the amazing cast wardrobe. Plus met the busy and hardworking kitchen staff preparing countless delicious desserts for the evening dinner guests.

Read on as we take you behind the scenes, through restricted access areas and give you the ultimate VIP tour of Royal Princess through our personal photo journey below.

Princess Cruises offer guests the opportunity to take the Ultimate Ship Tour on most of their ships, in which you can experience an extensive behind the scenes tour just like us. The tour will last around 3 hours with very limited spaces and prices are from $150 per person.

Browse our Princess Cruises cruise deals | Browse our Royal Princess Cruise Deals



Cruise vs Land: Royal Caribbean Onboard Activity Prices

clock 14th July 2014 | comment2 Comments

Updated July 2018

Royal Caribbean: the cruise line we know to push all industry boundaries and showcase the most innovative facilities at sea. From ice-rinks, rock climbing walls, and Flowriders to Central Parks, carousels, and Broadway Shows, they truly make the impossible, possible. Creating ‘Wow’ moments at every turn, a Royal Caribbean cruise changes every perception of cruising.

 

 

With all of these incredible facilities on offer, the first thing many of us think about is cost. 'How much are all of these activities going to set me back?' The price of any holiday can be daunting, but for first time cruisers the confusion of onboard prices can be a worry.

With food, accommodation, entertainment, and activities included in the price, it is clear the value for money on a cruise is exceptional. Delving into a like for like comparison of land activities v cruise activities, this value becomes even more apparent.

With this in mind we wanted to look further into this price comparison, and find out how some of the activites onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise compare to land prices.

Broadway Show

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Complimentary

Royal Caribbean are knowing for showcasing Broadway musicals. Full productions of Hairspray, Chicago, Cats, and more are performed by world-class singers and dancers in state-of-the-art multi-tired theatres.

Average land price: £80

The price of a ticket for one person to go to a show in London's West End ranges between £30-£130.

Flowrider

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Complimentary

 


The only cruise line in the industry to boast Flowrider surf-simulators on their ships, they have taken the world by storm. First introduced on the Freedom of the Seas, these incredible wave machines pump 30,000 gallons of water per minute as fast as 20mph.

Average land price: £35

There are a few places in the UK to ride the Flowrider. Bodyflight in Bedford offer Flowrider lessons for around £35 per person (peak times), and family surf sessions cost around £100.

iFly

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Complimentary

This is another ground-breaking revolution at sea found on a number of Royal Caribbean ships. Ripcord by iFly is an indoor skydive simulator that will have you feeling like you are soaring 10,000 feet in the air, without having to jump out of a plane!

Average land price: £50 per person

There are a few indoor skydive simulators in the UK, and average prices range between £30 - £75 per person.

Mini Golf

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Complimentary

 


A round of golf at sea? Of course say Royal Caribbean! Many of the line's fleet boast nine-hole mini golf courses that will allow you to work on your swing, perfect your putt or have fun with the family. Clubs and balls are provided onboard.

Average land price: £6 per person

England is home to an array of mini golf courses and enjoyed as a day our for many of us. With prices varying, the average rate for one round of nine holes is £6 per person.

Kids Clubs

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Complimentary

Royal Caribbean's kids clubs have won many awards and are known for offering some of the most state-of-the-art fun at sea. There kids club are home to science labs, children's theatres and craft lessons, all staffed by highly-trained youth staff. Segmented into different age groups, children of all ages as well as teens can take part in the activities for no extra charge.

Average land price: £40 a week

If you were to pay for a children's camp in the UK during the school holidays it would cost an average £40 a week per child. Even some land-based holidays charge extra for children to use the kids club facilities.

Aqua-Show

Royal Caribbean cruise: Complimentary

 


Boasting a spectacular Aqua-theatre, this innovation was first brought to life on Oasis of the Seas. Positioned at the aft of the ship, these open aired aqua theatres feature out of this world shows from championship high divers and synchronised swimmers.

Average land price: £115

We do not have a similar kind of show in the UK, however it would cost between £75 and £160 per person to watch one of the water shows in Las Vegas.

Ice Skating

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Complimentary

Another innovation from Royal Caribbean brings ice to the Mediterranean and beyond. Ice skating rinks feature on every Royal Caribbean ship offering skate hire and skating for all ages. In the evening the ice comes alive with spectacular ice skating shows.

Average land price: £10

There are a few indoor ice skating rinks in the UK with several more cropping up in the winter months. Average price is around £10 plus hire of around £2.

Rock Climbing

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Complimentary

The only cruise line to boast mega rock climbing walls on every one of their ships, these walls are a signature feature of the Royal Caribbean brand. If you are brave enough to rise to the challenge, brace yourself to climb 200 feet over the ocean.

Average land price: £15 per person

There are lots of indoor rock climbing walls around the country, especially within fitness centres and activity gyms. The average price for a one hour session climbing is £15.

 

 

When travelling with children (or children at heart) it is almost certain they will want to experience all of the exciting activities available. The fact there is no extra charge for most of them is a huge bonus and makes a hassle-free holiday with guaranteed fun.

See our Royal Caribbean Deals 



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