• Over 1.5 Million Happy Cruise Customers

  • Rated Excellent
  • ATOL Protected

Cruise Blog

5 Things to do on a Sea Day

11th May 2018

Updated August 2022

Nowadays cruise ships are as much a destination as the stunning ports of call they visit. With fine dining, shopping, swimming pools, spa kids clubs and an array of activities from rock climbing to even lazer tag, rollercoasters and go karts, check out our top 5 things to do on a sea day below!


1. Try a New Hobby

There is an abundance of new and exciting activity options onboard cruise ships today. Classes can cover everything from learning Spanish and astrological presentations in a planetarium, to the Japanese art of Origami and culinary knife skills. As well as classes there are all the onboard features to consider. You can go ice-skating, simulated-surfing, play laser tag, and have a go on a zip-line, to name just a few of your choices. Be sure to explore the ship early on to see what you can try.


2. Eat Something Different

Cruise ships offer some of the finest cuisine in the world. With each of them competing, it’s good news for us cruisers who get to enjoy better and better food. There are unusual dishes and innovative restaurants to choose from, so you should never be bored when it comes to dining. Here are some of our favourite cruise line restaurants;

  • Qsine, Celebrity Cruises – this fantastic, creative venue allows guests to choose from an array of unusual dishes from an iPad, all of which are served with the utmost style and attention
  • Aqualina, Azamara Club Cruises – here guests can enjoy contemporary twists on Italy’s favourite dishes. The desserts here are particularly inventive so be sure to save some room!
  • Butcher’s Cut, MSC Cruises – spoil yourself by selecting your own steak from a glass, meat-aging fridge, and then watch on as it’s prepared before you in the open kitchen

3. Enjoy Some ‘Me Time’

Many cruisers consider their sea days to be a blessing, in that it’s as if they’ve been given the gift of time to simply relax. With this in mind, there are all sorts of things you can do onboard to help you chill out and rejuvenate. Your first thought could be to simply lounge by the pool taking in the sun, having a dip every so often to cool off. While this is a great way to relax, you should also consider the other facilities on offer to you – specifically the spa. Whether or not you opt for a treatment like a deep-tissue massage or facial, the spas onboard cruise ships usually offer a variety of calming spaces. As well as saunas and steam rooms look for other options like a Snow Grotto or Thalassotherapy Baths.

4. Meet New People

Whether you consider yourself a social butterfly or not, there are bound to be a fair few people of like mind on your cruise, who could indeed become lifelong friends. One of the best ways to get to know others is striking up a conversation at a class you’re both taking part in, over a game of cards, at the bar or just by the pool. If you’re friendly, approachable, and open to some good conversation, the rewards will surely be rich.


5. Take Care of Yourself

In addition to trying new things and having some fun, and taking some time out to relax, another valuable way to spend time on your sea day is working out. There are some brilliant exercising facilities on cruise ships, with most offering state-of-the-art equipment in onboard gyms, pools large enough to swim lengths, jogging tracks on deck, and even sports centres. The sports deck with Norwegian Cruise Line for example, has facilities for guests to play bowling, football, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and mini golf. Meanwhile, for real fitness freaks who want to "detox and retox", check out Virgin Voyages!

Family Cruising at Christmas

21st December 2017

With so many cruise lines offering a variety of entertainment for all ages, it’s no wonder a cruise is a great gift for the whole family! During the festive season there’s no need for the chaos of preparing an extensive dinner, or battling to put up the decorations. On a Christmas cruise, the details are taken care of for you.

Family on the beach

From the moment you step onboard you’ll find your favourite ship has been enhanced into a festive wonderland. Cunard Queen Mary is a real sight to see especially, with awe-inspiring gingerbread models and Hans Christian Andersen -esque displays. With a huge programme of activities, many of which are Christmas themed, you can be rest assured that the whole family will find entertainment they love this winter. Below are just some of the highlights.

Movies and Shows

Cruise lines are constantly going above and beyond to offer a huge range of shows onboard. From theatrical shows and comedy to the latest movies and live music, you are spoilt for choice across all venues. Our favourites include MSC Cruises’ exclusive Cirque Du Soleil shows, as well as Disney Cruise Line’s magical Tangled: The Musical! Of course at Christmas time, make sure to look out for the festive classics showcased in theatres and outdoor screens.

Pools and Spas

All the family will enjoy the range of pools that can be found onboard the majority of cruise ships. Meanwhile, you will often find adult-only spaces including relaxing spa facilities, pools, and whirlpools, as well as areas designed especially for kids. Carnival Cruises’ Dr Seuss-themed water park has some brilliant features including a tipping bucket and splash zone, while MSC Cruises ships MSC Preziosa and MSC Seaside have some incredible water slides.

Carnival Cruises Waterpark

Dining Options

You’ll be thrilled to find that you won’t be missing out on a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, as well as all your favourite festive sweet treats! With many restaurants serving mince pies, yule log and Christmas cookies, you’ll feel right at home (without all the cleaning up afterwards!). For those looking to break tradition though, opt for a speciality restaurant such as Johnny Rockets with Royal Caribbean, or pile your plate with all your favourites at the informal buffet restaurants.

Action-Packed Fun

As well as the swimming pools, many ships are home to rock-climbing walls, surf-simulators, zip-lines and even go-kart tracks, with much more in the works. Norwegian Cruise Line have excitingly revealed upcoming plans for laser tag venues as well as the largest at-sea racetrack! From meeting their favourite TV and film characters to climbing high above the top deck, kids of all ages will be spoilt for choice during sea days.

As well as all this, don’t forget to check out the programme of activities onboard. Many cruise lines will offer seasonal extras which are great for the whole family. Expect visits from Santa or maybe even a Santa’s grotto, Christmas craft workshops, spell-binding carol singers, and beautiful gingerbread villages.

Kids Clubs

Don’t forget that parents can still enjoy a special evening together too! Thanks to onboard Kids Clubs offered on many larger cruise ships, you and your partner will be able to relax knowing that the little ones are in good hands. These clubs are usually separated into age-appropriate groups with entertainment to cater towards toddlers, children and teenagers. A team of fun and friendly hosts will be on hand while the kids enjoy the latest video games, dance classes and sports.

Couple dining

Treat the family this Christmas

Although there are a few common misconceptions about cruising at Christmas time, it’s easy to see why this is actually one of the best ways to spend the festive season! Not only will the whole family enjoy more traditional celebrations, but you’ll also explore new destinations and try new activities, all without the stress. The weather won’t be bad to depending on where you decide to go! There are a huge range of December cruises available, though if you’re feeling stuck get in touch with our helpful team for more advice here.

We interview Wendy Lahmich, Holland America Line's UK Sales Director

27th March 2017

Updated June 2019

We collated some of our most frequently asked questions about Holland America Line (HAL) and pitched them to Wendy Lahmich, the cruise line's Sales Director for the UK & Ireland. She shared with us some great information for anyone new to the brand, plus some personal memories based on her own experiences with this fantastic cruise line...

What has been your most memorable cruise?

I had always wanted to go to Alaska, and I finally embarked on a Holland America Line Inside Passage cruise 14 years ago. My favourite memories include seeing orca whales in the wake of our ship and viewing the incredible scenery in Glacier Bay.



Do you have any favourite ports and why?

Other than Alaska my favourite ports would have to be Kotor, in Montenegro and Dubrovnik, in Croatia. I just love the Dalmatian Coast for its stunning architecture, scenery and lovely people. Of course, you can see all of these destinations on a Holland America Line cruise, departing from Venice – one of the most iconic cities you can ever sail from!

What are HAL's stand out features?

Holland America Line is known for our “carefully curated” itineraries which really do give our guests authentic destination immersion both before their cruise via our online destination guides and onboard with our experts, along with long days and overnight stays in iconic cities like Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore.

We launched a beautiful new ship in 2016, ms Koningsdam, and with it a whole host of new partnerships (we called it our “Bold New Story”), most of which are now being rolled out fleetwide. Our partnership with BBC Earth brings incredible Frozen Planet concerts to the main show lounge; we now have Music Walk featuring the BB Kings blues, dueling pianos at Billboard Onboard and great classical music from Lincoln Centre Stage. Plus, our already excellent culinary reputation has been enhanced by new restaurants – very French Sel de Mer, “Dine at the Culinary Arts Centre” on Koningsdam and a partnership with America’s Test Kitchen, offering guests regional cookery demonstrations and more. 


My personal favourite? Our unique wine blending facility on ms Koningsdam where a small group of guests learn to blend and create their own red wines, with help from the experts of Chateau St Michelle. Before this experience I knew very little about red wine….and I learnt so much!

Are there any age ranges best suited to HAL?

Holland America Line appeals to discerning travellers of all ages. Obviously longer itineraries will appeal to a slightly older demographic, but our excellent CLUB HAL amenities for children aged 3 upwards also attract many families during school holidays – including my own!

Which hobbies/interests do HAL best cater to?

Enrichment is an important feature of Holland America Line. When on holiday our guests like to learn, so we have a huge choice of activities from cookery and digital workshops to painting and drawing skills at ‘Rijksmuseum at Sea’. One of our popular partnerships is with O, the Oprah Magazine, which helps provide wellness activities, classes, seminars and so much more! Our Explorations Central experts also provide lots of information about the culture, customs, sights and history of the destinations visited during the cruise. And of course there are many places just to relax and watch the world go by such as the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, our extensive deck areas which feature two pools – and our wrap-around Promenade deck.



My absolute favourite place for relaxation onboard ships which have the area is the Retreat, where I always book a Private Cabana for the whole duration of the cruise! It is a must for me as it does exactly what it says on the tin but in total luxury!

What should our customers know before booking a cruise with HAL?

Holland America Line is an international company which means you’ll have the opportunity to interact with amazing people from many different countries. English is the official language onboard, however we are very proud of our Dutch officers and our academy trained Indonesian and Filipino crew who provide intuitive, yet friendly service and are really adept at getting to know guests’ names and preferences very early in the cruise.

How does HAL cater for singles?

We welcome single travellers onboard (me being one of them!) and we arrange get-togethers, socials and dining according to their preferences. While we do feature some new single staterooms on ms Koningsdam, many guests choose to “share” accommodation with another single guest of the same sex (in designated stateroom categories), for instant companionship - and to avoid single supplements.

What is the dress code?

Daytime is always casual and most evenings are informal. We still offer guests the opportunity to dress up on two evenings per week and enjoy a more celebratory evening meal in the restaurant however, those who prefer to stay casual may dine in one of our alternative restaurants at the Lido or even order a freshly-baked pizza in the comfort of their stateroom.



What are the most popular itineraries?

Alaska has always sold really well for us, and Holland America Line celebrated 70 years in Alaska in 2017 – with more ships, glaciers and gala dinners than ever before! As well as cruises from Vancouver, Seattle and Seward, we offer a range of incredible Land + Sea Journeys which, as well as a cruise, include up to 3 nights at our McKinley Chalet hotel in Denali National Park, for nature at its very wildest! Another very popular destination is South America, especially the 14 -16 night “Passage” cruises that sail from Buenos Aires or Santiago, combining cities like Montevideo and Ushuaia with the breathtaking Chilean Fjords and Glacier Alley – plus, a day at Port Stanley in the Falklands, a chance to see penguins visit a real British pub!

What does the future hold for Holland America Line?

We have not long celebrated the launch of ms Nieuw Statendam in Autumn 2018, and we have another “Dam” ship due for delivery in 2021 - showing there is a huge demand for Holland America Line’s mid-size, premium product and incredible destination experience. We constantly continue to enhance the existing fleet for example, ms Westerdam now features upgraded suites, the Music Walk, our Explorations Central concept and “Rijksmuseum at Sea” art instalment.


If you're feeling inspired to cruise with this ever-popular cruise line, take a look at our current Holland America Line cruise offers.

We cruise on Celebrity Reflection

16th November 2016

Updated July 2019


Sharon from our Concierge Team enjoyed an 11 night cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection. If you're thinking of cruising with Celebrity Cruises, be sure to read all about her experience below before you go!




We travelled one day earlier than the cruise departure date and stayed in Civitavecchia - the main cruise port for Rome where many cruises begin or end. We stayed in a local 4* B&B which had a great location, just three minutes’ walk from the train station and 5-10 minutes’ walk to port. We got the train from Rome airport and changed at Trastevere which was all very straight forward. It took us about 90 mins and cost just €11 pp. Having said this, I wouldn’t recommend the train back to the airport if your flight is before 14:00, or you are pushed for time.




Civitavecchia is a quaint little town where a wander down the back streets finds a few little hidden gems. We went to 80 FAME, a highly rated restaurant, and enjoyed an amazing meal with wine for around €25 each. I definitely recommend eating here. When it was time to head to the ship we were quoted €20 for a taxi, but found we could easily walk along the seafront and enjoy the view.

Celebrity Reflection

Check-in was seamless with lots of staff to welcome us; we were on the ship within ten minutes of arriving.

Once onboard my first impression was - WOW this ship is beautiful! Our balcony cabin was nice and spacious - balcony 2B on Deck 6, forward (very forward). I also got to look at 2C with a partially obstructed view on Deck 6, which in my opinion was fine with a good mid-ship position. They are just above life boats but the view to sea looked great.

Drinks Prices and Packages

When we arrived we were offered an upgrade on our free drinks package for just $10 per person, per day, which was actually cheaper than what I was quoted prior to sailing. The Basic Drinks Package is fine, giving you a range of choice of beers, wines, and cocktails, but if like me you like to sample every cocktail at every bar, then you need the upgraded package - as a lot of cocktails are $13 and free drinks include just cocktails up to $6. The World Bar (formerly known as Molecular Bar) and Martini Bar cocktails are $13-15 so the Classic Drinks Package means you can’t drink there, as you’d need to pay the full price of each drink as a supplement, or the difference above $13 if on Premium. If you upgrade to Premium you can have drinks including premium sake and port etc in the restaurants which we did and loved. Definitely worth upgrading especially if you have free spend or onboard credit.

Cruise Passengers

There were lots of friendly Americans and Canadians onboard who were very sociable. In fact I found everyone onboard to be friendly, and the crew were great. We were relatively young at mid-40s, but I’d say the average age for this cruise was about 50. I didn’t see any kids other than a couple of teenagers. There didn’t seem like there would be a lot for them to do, but, if they are like my kids who are real foodies and like to chill, then it’s not a problem to bring them along.

Cuisine and Dining

Our dining package was $149pp, and enabled us to visit the below speciality restaurants, which were worth every cent.

Murano was my favourite speciality restaurant, we paid extra so that we could enjoy it twice! We had Silver Service with table side flambéed chateaubriand, lobster, dover sole, and more. The service was impeccable and the food was to die for. The cheese from the cheese trolley was the best I’ve ever tasted, the best quality on the ship. In my opinion this was the best restaurant I have ever visited and even better than some Michelin Star restaurants. The usual cost to dine here is $55 but 1 visit is included in dining packages at $149pp.

Sushi on 5 has amazing sushi and a relaxed informal atmosphere. Usually you pay per item here but because we were on the dining package they brought us all sorts just because they can! The sake was amazing, we easily finished off a few mini carafes.

Qsine - We had a fantastic experience in Qsine, you can pick from the iPad as many tasting courses as you like. They do everything and it comes out all weird and wonderful with little tubes of sauces. The dessert menu is presented on a Rubix Cube, and they also bring you chocolate covered strawberries in a grass box! Overall it was a bizarre yet fabulous experience and a close 2nd to Murano. Usually there is a supplement to eat here at $35pp.


Lawn Club Grill -  This wasn’t my favourite of the dining venues but I can see how some enjoy the grill master experience. Here you can have starter, flat breads like pizzas, a salad buffet, and a wide selection of meats and fish from the BBQ. To dine here it usually costs $55 pp.

Tuscan Grille - The Tuscan Grille is a great speciality restaurant for anyone looking for traditional Italian/Mediterranean fare. You can enjoy freshly made pizza, pasta, and succulent steaks etc usually for a $45 supplement.

Buffet Restaurant - The food was fantastic especially on Gala Dinner days, with a gourmet buffet all day including lots of seafood. Afternoon tea was a great hit served every day at the buffet and the chocolate fountain was (unsurprisingly) always popular.

El Bachio Café is a lot like a highstreet coffee shop, but with the most delicious cakes selection. These are all free with the coffees which are covered in the premium drinks package.


Outside of the theatre most of the entertainment happens around the atrium where there are parties, DJ’s, and bands etc. The Martini Bar had a fantastic atmosphere with the bar-staff jumping on the bar and dancing to entertain everyone. It made for a great night. The World Class Bar has some unique cocktails for around $13-20 but doesn’t serve any other drinks like wine or beers so my other half had to bring his own from the other bars.

The Sunset Bar at the back of the ship is a great place for a cocktail when sailing away but there are lots of other bars dotted around the ship.



Lasting Impressions

I had a wonderful experience onboard Celebrity Reflection. Overall it was a fantastic cruise and a lovely first experience of Celebrity Cruises. I can’t wait to return for a second cruise and take my two teenage daughters.

Book your cruise on Celebrity Reflection

What is the Boardwalk on Oasis Class ships?

13th May 2016

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]

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. "

(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! "

(February 2019)

Read more feedback