0203 848 3600

Over 1.5 Million Happy Cruise Customers

{0} out of 10 Rated Excellent
ATOL Protected
02038483600

Cruise Blog

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. 



Thomson Cruises' Latest Ships

clock 1st September 2017 | comment0 Comments

Updated July 2019

Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson) remains a very popular cruise line with British holidaymakers, and as such it should be no surprise to learn that their fleet is ever expanding in order to meet the needs of their customers. The last few years have seen multiple additions to the fleet; so we thought we should dive in a little deeper and take a closer look at Marella Cruises' latest ships. 

 

marella lifestyle

 

Of their fleet of six, the most recent four are the largest, providing more accomodation choices, dining options, and onboard activities. Another valuable aspect of cruising on these ships is that they are all All-Inclusive as standard. This means that all passengers can make the most of the included food, drinks, and facilities – including a range of cocktails, prosecco, and speciality restaurants.

Read on to find out more about each of these impressive ships.

Marella Discovery

Once part of the Royal Caribbean fleet, Marella Discovery was bought and refurbished by Marella Cruises in 2016. It can host 1,830 passengers, and consists of 11 decks and 915 cabins. Its considerable size also allows the cruise line to provide some fantastic facilities to their guests, our favourites being the brilliant outdoor movie screen, exhilarating climbing wall, and extensive array of dining choices.

 

marella discovery

 

Take a look at our range of upcoming cruises on Marella Discovery

Marella Discovery II

Also an ex-Royal Caribbean ship, Marella Discovery II is of a similar size to its namesake. The popularity of the first ship led to the demand of an additional one – which comprises most of the same features and amenities. These also have a range of 15 different cabin options, including the stunning Royal and Executive suites which offer new heights of luxury.

 

marella discovery 2

 

Browse through our cruises on Marella Discovery II.

Marella Explorer

There was much excitement among loyal Marella customers, surrounding this ship. It was previously owned by German cruise line TUI Cruises, under the name of Mein Schiff 1, and is now one of Marella Cruises’ largest vessels. With room for over 1,900 passengers, 13 decks, and 962 cabins, Marella Explorer also boasts 11 different dining options, a great selection of bars, and a fantastic range of different activities. In particular there are ample opportunities when it comes to sports – with table tennis and mini golf facilities, and even an entire deck devoted to outdoor sports such as basketball and football. There is also a jogging track on this deck.

 

marella explorer

 

See our available cruises onboard Marella Explorer.

Marella Explorer II

After Marella Explorer proved so popular, the cruise line decided to replicate the ship in the form of Marella Explorer II. However, there is one big difference; this one is reserved for adults only! This means that couples and singles looking for a relaxing holiday sans kids can enjoy the many attractive features and amenities in peace. This ship is ideal for those who want to socialise thanks to the many inviting venues and entertainment options, but likewise, the stunning Champney's Spa facilities mean it's possible to unwind and relish in some valuable 'me-time' too.

 

marella explorer 2

 

Have a look through the range of cruises onboard Marella Explorer II.

 

Each of these ships truly have some wonderful features that will be loved by all their guests. Not only the number of activity choices, but also the pools and spa which offer a chance to relax at the end of a day of excursions. Childcare options include kids clubs suitable for 3-11 year olds, and can be helpful should parents wish to have some time to themselves to enjoy the ship.

If you're still undecided about which ship is for you, see our entire range of itineraries with Marella Cruises instead.



8 Incredible Technologies Onboard Cruise Ships

clock 15th January 2015 | comment0 Comments

Whether you are a tech lover or not, there is a part of everyone that gets excited when a new gadget takes the world by storm. Whether it’s a new app on your phone, a robotic hoover that claims to clean your house without you moving or an exciting new wireless device that you all of a sudden 'need' in your life, we can’t help but evolve into the ever changing technical world.

Technology is everywhere and plays a major part in all of lives, and this doesn’t stop when we go on holiday. The cruise industry has taken a lead on the technology front and these floating hotels are now home to some of the most exciting technologies in the world.

Here are eight incredible cruise ship technologies:

Movies Under the Stars

It is possible to catch the latest flick almost anywhere now, whether on an aeroplane, train, or pretty much anywhere with your smartphone or tablet.

Although all cruise lines have televisions in staterooms and throughout the ship, it was Princess Cruises that took this one step higher with the 'Movies Under the Stars' concept. A gigantic 300 square foot, 69000 watt movie screen was added to the top deck of select ships. Offering guests the unique opportunity to enjoy blockbuster movies with a real backdrop of sea and sky, this concept has been a huge hit.

Available on: Royal Princess, Regal Princess

Robotic Bartenders

The leaders in cruise ship technology, Royal Caribbean did not disappoint with their latest creation on new ships Quantum and Anthem of the Seas. The Bionic Bar consists of two robotic bartenders that serve up a host of exotic cocktails.

Guests order their cocktail of choice via tablet and then watch in amazement as the robotic bartender mixes their desired drink. Each robot can produce one drink per minute and up to 1000 drinks a day.

Available on: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas

Interactive Restaurant

A dining experience like no other, Disney wanted to create an experience for guests to bring their imagination to life and successfully accomplished this with 'Animators Palate'.

As guests sit down at their dining table, they will find a black sheet and markers where they can draw characters of their choice within the lines given.

During dinner the restaurant changes colour and design through a shift of lighting and digital walls. As dessert time approaches, the entire restaurant comes alive. The interactive screens throughout will display movie clips featuring your very own drawn character.

Available on: Disney Magic, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy

Digital Wayfinders

With cruise ships increasing in size, it made sense to cater for those with a fear of getting lost or missing a show due to not finding their way.

When the world’s largest ship, Oasis of Seas launched in 2009 she came equipped with a new LCD wayfinder system. Located throughout the ship these screens offer a way for guests to find their way around using a touch screen display. These screens also show whats on, the way to your stateroom and a map of how to get to the location of your choice.

These Wayfinders won three awards for technological excellence from the Digital Screenmedia Association and Hospitality Technology Magazine.

Available on: Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Vision of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Legend of the seas

Cruise Apps

There is an app for almost everything nowadays. From fitness, cooking, and checking your finance to making your shopping list, booking a taxi and even planning your next holiday. With the significant increase of smartphone users, apps are vital.

Many cruise lines now have their own apps to enable guests to pre-book entertainment, view their itinerary and find out what’s happening onboard.

Some cruise lines raised the bar even higher, among our favourites are Norwegian Cruise Lines who realised an app where guests can keep all their holiday pictures in one place, navigate around the ship and get up-to-date event information.

Available on: Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises 

Virtual Balconies

Everyone likes to see the outside view when cruising so Royal Caribbean wanted to ensure even those staying in an inside stateroom could experience the incredible views the ship is passing. Early in 2014 it was announced virtual balconies would be added to select ships, starting with Navigator of the Seas.

These 80 inch LED screens are attached to the inside wall and project a real-time view of the outside. They work both in port and at sea so guests can experience exactly what it is like to have an outside stateroom.

Available on: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas 

Salt Room at Sea

Norwegian Cruise Line made a breakthrough in the spa category with the first ever Salt Room at sea onboard Norwegian Breakaway.

This special treatment room releases dry aerosol micro particles of salt into the room in a session with is proven to improve the immune and respiratory systems, leaving guests feeling healthier and refreshed.

Available on: Norwegian Breakaway

Sky Diving Simulator

Known for pushing all industry boundaries, Royal Caribbean wowed once again with their latest innovation on Quantum of the Seas. iFly is an indoor sky diving simulator that stands at the back of the ship to offer flying views like no other.

This 23-foot tall glass cylinder blows wind up to a speed of 160 mph for guests to feel like they are taking part in a real life sky dive.

Available on: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas


By Sally Grimes



Explore Venice Before It Is Too Late

clock 15th January 2014 | comment0 Comments

Following the news that Italian officials have ordered a ban on all larger cruise ships visiting Venice, now is the time to take advantage of visiting this iconic part of the world.

Bon Voyage Venice…

From November 2014 larger cruise ships will no longer be able to stop in Venice following a meeting between Italy Premier Enrico Letta, his ministers, Venice municipal officials and regional authorities.

The decision was made after environmentalists and locals stated their views that large ships cause irreparable damage to the Venetian lagoon’s ecosystem and the city’s history-enriched landmarks. They became concerned that the increasing size of modern cruise ships were ruining the unique features quintessentially ‘Venice’.

The ban will begin this month and the number of cruise ships 40,000 tons or more sailing in Venetian waters must be reduced by 20% of the current volume. Then, in November no cruise ships over 96,000 will be permitted to sail in the lagoon.

Cruise lines are hoping not to eliminate Venice completely from their itineraries and are looking for alternatives to still offer guests a chance to visit this popular city.

A must see…

The Eastern Mediterranean continues to be a popular itinerary choice due to the array of fascinating European cities visited. Venice always features in top 10 lists of destinations to visit in the world, and there are so many reasons why.

Often described by travellers as their favourite part of the world, Venice is an abundance of history-enriched culture, divine cuisine, spectacular sights and a cosmopolitan embellished atmosphere. From taking a gondola ride through the fascinating narrow streets to indulging in a fresh pizza in San Marco Square, Venice is a story-book that awaits to be read.

My favourite Venice explorations…

Here are my top five things to do in Venice:

Take a Gondola ride – The Gondola is a symbol of Venice and provides the best way to see the city. Taking you through narrow passage ways and under stunning bridges, it will make you fall in love with this city even more.

Visit Basilica di San Marco – One of the most iconic buildings in the world, this grand church boasts five large domes adorned with incredible mosaics. Inside is home to special treasures including statues, carvings and the Paka d’oro - made completely of gold.

Eat a pizza (or get a coffee) in San Marco Square – One of the most striking piazzas in the world, San Marco Square is lined with famous architecture, quant cafes and world-class restaurants. The square is the lowest area of Venice and access can be prevented by the high tide sometimes – a remarkable experience to see. The fresh pizzas you experience in Italy can only be described when you have tasted them for yourself.

Visit Ponte de Rialto – This famous bridge represents Italy for its architectural excellence and impressive features. Often highlighted in pictures of Venice, this bridge was built in the 16th century as a result of a competition held to replace the older version on the Canal Grande. The bridge is now home to various shops including jewellery stores and glass showrooms.

Shopping – The variety of shops in Venice truly captivate the famous cosmopolitan European flavour. With everything from quant boutiques, expensive fashion brands and fun tourist shops, it is every shopper’s heaven.

Get there while you can…

With only a short time left for you to experience a cruise here, I have picked out a selection of the best deals for you:

Western Med from Venice with Royal Caribbean 

Greece and Turkey from Venice With Norwegian Cruise Lines

Greek Isles from Venice with Celebrity Cruises

Italy and Croatia with P&O Cruises

Italy, Croatia and Greece from Venice with MSC Cruises

See you in Venice…

With less than nine months to visit this unique part of the world on a cruise and itineraries selling out fast, I suggest Venice being a top prioritie for your 2014 cruising list!

Ci vediamo la (See you there!)


By Sally Grimes



Star Clippers Christmas in the Caribbean

clock 14th January 2014 | comment0 Comments

At the end of last year Marketing Manager, Laura Forward spent a week in the Caribbean with Star Clippers Cruises, here's what she had to say about this unique cruise experience

December in the UK. A time when we succumb to the gradual onset of winter. When soft grey mornings descend into stony afternoons and the joyful colours of autumn are buried under tightly drawn coats and frozen earth. With hunched shoulders and the instinctive resolve to carry on, we trudge into the isolation of winter, deaf to the rumbling heat that beckons across the Atlantic - for while we slumber in winters grasp, the radiant heat of the Caribbean endures.

Answering the call, with a mere 8.5 hour flight from London, seven pale, overdressed, excited travel agents stepped, blinking into the golden sunshine of Barbados, shrugging off the icy drizzle for flip flops, shorts and shades. We were here to join the largest sailing ship in the world, Star Clipper’s, Royal Clipper but we also took the opportunity to make the most of the beautiful island of Barbados with 2 nights pre cruise stay at Tamarind. The Tamarind Hotel is located on the sparkling West Coast of Barbados, locally known as ‘The Gold Coast’ for its premium properties and celebrity guests.

We were welcomed with rum cocktails and friendly staff just as the sun slipped into ocean on the horizon. Local fishing boats and drooping palm trees were silhouetted against a streaked crimson sky as we sat down to a spectacular a la carte meal on the beach. The meal was as exquisite as the setting and was a sign of things to come. Elegant Hotels, of which Tamarind is a part of, also boast Colony Club, Crystal Cove and The House, all situated on this illustrious coast line. Tamarind and Colony Club are perfect for couples and families’ alike, balancing friendly public spaces with idyllic hideaways for private relaxation. The rooms are all recently renovated to a very high standard with water sports and available across all the resorts. Crystal Cove and Turtle beach (located on the south coast) also offers all inclusive packages which are great for families and groups. For the ultimate romantic getaway there is, The House, an adult-only sanctuary of exceptional elegance with the acclaimed ‘Daphne’s restaurant just next door.  All luxury properties are highly recommended and the perfect way to start a holiday.

 

You could easily enjoy a week here hopping from sun chair, to bar stool, kayak to dance floor but a must for any stay in Barbados is a day on a catamaran.  Sailing up the West Coast of Barbados, rum cocktail in hand, we lay across the open sea hammocks, waved to cruise ships in port and I crossed another thing off my bucket list, snorkelling through the turquoise waters with seas turtles. The bleak grind of London seemed but a distant memory, in this paradise there was only crystal calm waters, smiling locals, the best rum in the world and the remarkable Royal Clipper who greeted us in spectacular fashion.


Launched in 2000 she is the largest ‘true sailing ship’ in the world with 5202 square metres of sails, carrying just 227 guests. Offering a completely unique opportunity you would be mistaken to compare the Star Clipper experience with any other cruise although full modern facilities are featured onboard. Celebrating our relationship with the sea and wind, there is a resounding feeling onboard that we are to be a part of something very special and there is a fantastic sense of camaraderie between guests and crew. Guests vary from young couples and families trying their first voyage to retired friends and family on their 5th sailing with Star Clippers. The tropical bar, headed up by the flamboyant Manalita, offers the perfect location to make new friends with a spread of canapés laid out each afternoon before the day climaxes with a dramatic sail away ceremony. Gathered on deck with a flute of champagne, under a sea of stars (or against crimson sunsets) the sails are lowered to the haunting soundtrack of Vangelis’ Conquest of Paradise each evening – the ultimate tribute to the power and majesty of this vessel. Once sailing the ship confidently powers through the ocean with stability and speed allowing guests to wander freely around the spacious ship with ease. The main atrium hosts an elegant tiered dining room where buffet lunches and a la carte dinners are served. The food is exquisite as it is varied with new menus every day and hospitable, familiar crew attending to every need.

On the second day, sailing from St Lucia we were treated to a spectacular experience as we met sister ship, Star Clipper off the coast of Dominica. This rare opportunity saw both ships pulling out all the stops for a race across the Caribbean Sea. Sails full and keen, Royal Clipper tore through the ocean, her sister proudly shadowing at our side. With everyone on deck, staff waved and cheered to their friends on the sister ship as ‘We will rock you’ blared across the speakers, egging on the friendly competition. With Royal Clipper charging forward Star Clipper made a last ditch campaign, nimbly falling back and tacking into the sunshine portside, but the sheer size of the Royal Clipper was in the end no match for the smaller vessel. As the coast of Dominica approached and Star Clipper faded husky into the horizon, we returned to enjoying the sunshine onboard with warm conditions inviting us to stretch out in the sea hammocks, take a dip in the deck pools or even test our nerves climbing to the crow’s nest.

With just 227 people onboard it can feel like your own private ship. From sunrise breakfasts on deck to evenings drifting off, under the stars to the gentle lap of the ocean, there are unique moments of bliss to be captured throughout the journey.  Smaller than standard cruise ships, the ports visited are local and authentic with unique shore excursions and complimentary water sports offered at each idyllic location. If it were not for the tinsel laden cocktail huts and twinkling fairy lights you would think we were in the height of summer.

There really is no excuse for begrudgingly hibernating all winter when the Caribbean awaits all year round. So while the wind and rain whips around the UK, seek solace in the sun and climb aboard a Star Clipper ship for an escape like no other.  With Royal Clipper gracing the Caribbean waters year round and her smaller sister, Star Flyer, heading to Cuba there has never been a better time to enjoy a traditional luxury sailing experience. Short sampler cruises can also be book on Star Clipper as she sails in the Mediterranean this summer/autumn. I cannot recommend this enough and am eagerly anticipating my next voyage with Star Clippers.



Book with Confidence

We are ATOL Holders and members of ABTA for your financial protection.


Price Match Guarantee
Search Cruises
Your Shortlist

You do not currently have any cruises in your shortlist.


What our customers say


"I booked a Fred Olsen cruise with IGLU last month and was so impressed by the service I received. The staff member I spoke to was Kimberley and she was exemplary. Capable, kind, professional, patient, friendly and knowledgeable. She went through every step of the way calmly and thoroughly. IGLU were recommended to me by friends and I have no hesitation in passing the recommendation along. Well done IGLU and thank you. "

Christina
(March 2019)

"So easy to deal with, I studied the Cruise I wanted, did my research with different company's and returned to Iglu. I had three quotes matching Iglu’s cost, but with one phone call they beat the price themselves by £40 without me even asking, how easy was that! "

Gary
(February 2019)


Read more feedback