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Best All Inclusive Cruises

30th January 2020

No matter whether you're cruising on the ocean or the rivers, are looking for great value for money or would like to go all out on something more luxurious, there's an all-inclusive cruise line perfect for you. [More]

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

13th April 2016

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


We cruise with Club Med

16th February 2016

Iglu Cruise expert Richard recently sailed the sunny Mediterranean onboard Club Med 2. Read on for his first-hand experience of cruising with Club Med.

Hotel Stay – Opio en Provence

club med 2 hotel opio

We started the trip with a 2 night pre-cruise hotel stay in Opio. Upon arrival we were escorted to our rooms by the waiting G.O’s (Club med reps are referred to as G.O’s). The rooms were well decorated and very clean with all facilities you would expect along with a mini bar.

I had a half balcony shared with the next room but the room was empty so it wasn’t an issue. You can request and book a balcony room, if you don’t you will have a half balcony like I did.

The facilities of the hotel are brilliant; there is so much to do. There are 3 pools in total, one of them in the kids club and an adult only infinity pool along with the main pool. There is also an 18 hole golf course with driving range and putting green. A full spa with treatments available, plus activities such as archery, tennis, table tennis and even a flying trapeze for you to try. Apart from the spa treatments all the activities are included in the price.

The food is really good, dinner is buffet style however it’s not your typical buffet. With live cooking stations there is plenty of choice and the food is of good quality. All meals in the main restaurant are buffet style; however the golf restaurant offers a slightly more refined experience. Again all included in the price just make a reservation if you want to eat in the golf restaurant.

Opio has numerous bars that offer a wide selection of drinks (again all inclusive). The nightclub stays open until the last man drops.

The team of G.Os are really what makes Opio special they put on all sorts of shows along with what they call “Crazy Signs” set dance routines they put on at random times. The G.O’s are encouraged to interact with guests as much as possible. They sit with you at dinner and even come to the bar/night club with you. They are always around if you need them but they are not in your face, their main job is to make sure guests enjoy themselves.

Club Med 2 cruise

club med 2 cabin

Cabins and Restaurants
All cabins are spacious with big porthole windows offering spectacular ocean views. Cabins are cleaned about 3 times a day. I found the corridors to be a bit dark but the cabins were bright with light décor.

Club Med 2 has two restaurants; we ate at the main restaurant every night due to the size of our group. The muster drill was delayed and due to this it put the kitchen behind so service was a bit slow on the first night. The second night was back on track and much better. The food was very good with always a fish option, meat option and plenty of other choices too. The desserts were fantastic.

Activities and Entertainment

club med 2 entertainment


Water sports are a big attraction for this cruise, the ship has a self-contained water sports marina that comes down whenever the ship tenders. Due to this, the ship tenders wherever possible.

The sports on offer are water skiing, wake boarding, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and sailing. There is plenty of equipment so you are never waiting too long to have a go and all the tuition is free.

The evening entertainment is what makes the ship in my opinion. There is a small theatre that offers a few shows which are ok but the real evening entertainment happens at the bars at the back of the ship. Club med lay on various themed evenings and these are the events that people look forward to the most. The main event is White Night; they decorate the open deck and have the five sails out. With plenty of drinks, music and once again “crazy signs”. Even the officers of the ship come to these events and party with all the guests. The bars should close at 2am however this is not enforced and the barmen go with the vibe of the guests. The inclusive drinks are premium brands and after 6pm even the Champagne is all inclusive.

The real plus for Club Med throughout the cruise and stay was the G.O team. They are always on hand and really go above and beyond to make sure guests have a great time. They create an atmosphere where everyone is relaxed and enjoying their holiday.

Got a question about Richard’s experience? Ask us in the comments below


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