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Exciting New Cruise Ships

clock 21st March 2018 | comment0 Comments

Many exciting new ships are on the horizon in the cruising world, and we can’t wait to get onboard each and every one. Find out more about some of the upcoming vessels that will be seen on shores all over the world within the next few years. 

P&O Cruises: P&O Iona

 


The Nation’s favourite cruise line has released details of their upcoming vessel that is scheduled to grace the seas in 2020. The design has a brilliant focus on the sea, with plenty of opportunities to view the surrounding, gorgeous ocean scenery. Some of the best features onboard will be:

The Dome – an adaptable space that doubles up as a pool and a dining and entertainment venue, thanks to the retractable stage.

The Atrium – a spectacular area with an elegant, grand staircase, and extensive art gallery. This will be a centre of entertainment and socialising for all to enjoy.

The Lanai Deck – at half a mile long, guests can spend time here sunbathing, socialising, dining, and soaking up those beautiful views.

Sign up here to register for more information about P&O Iona.

MSC Cruises: MSC Seaview

 

 

June 2018 will see MSC Seaview make her inaugural cruise in the Mediterranean, where she will spend the season before across the Atlantic to South America. The design of the ship seeks to place the sea at the centre of the guests’ attention, with ample chance to admire the view. There are panoramic glass elevators, glass-floored walkways, and the brilliant Bridge of Sighs – a glass-bottomed bridge located at the aft of the ship, at 40 metres above the sea.

Other features onboard include MSC’s well-loved F1 simulators, a full-sized bowling alley, arcade games, a zip line, and 7 original West End style shows. As well as entertainment opportunities, there are a number of great places to dine. Butcher’s Cut for superb steak, Teppanyaki for a range of Asian cuisine, and Ocean Cay for creative seafood dishes are just a few of your choices.

Carnival Cruises: Carnival Panorama

 


This new Vista-class ship will be a sister to Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon, and will boast a lot of the same fabulous onboard features;

  • The SkyRide – an elevated pedal-bike that enables riders to see a panoramic ocean view
  • WaterWorks Aqua Park – a family friendly water park with a range of slides and pools
  • Havana Cabana – a Cuban themed bar and pool area glowing with holiday atmosphere
  • Family Harbor – an enclosed area with family suites and a lounge
  • The ship will be able to accommodate up to 3,960 guests, and is due to grace shores in 2019. Carnival Panorama’s home port will be Long Beach, California, from where she will embark on sailings along the beautiful Mexican Riviera.

    Marella Cruises: Marella Explorer 2

     

     

    Marella Cruises’ latest addition has been superbly designed for its purpose as an adult-only ship. The prime social spot on Marella ships – The Veranda – is twice the size as on other ships, and will be the place for sunbathing, meeting fellow cruisers, and sipping on cocktails. Marella Explorer 2 will also boast the brilliant Champneys Spa onboard – a perfect venue for cruisers to relax and treat themselves to a little pampering.

    Cruisers can choose from destinations like Venice, Rome, Dubrovnik, Livorno, and Croatia among others; all fabulous places where it’s possible to indulge in delicious local food, learn about history and culture, or simply relax in a café by the water.

    Marella Explorer 2 will accommodate up to 1,814 guests, and 40% of its cabins will have balconies. This all-inclusive ship will surely provide many adults with the ideal holiday to escape and recharge.

    MSC Cruises: MSC Grandiosa

     

     

    MSC Grandiosa will debut in November of 2019, with a maiden season in the Mediterranean. Destinations including Valletta, Genoa, Barcelona, Rome, Palermo, and Marseille will all be featured on itineraries.

    Built to accommodate almost 6,300 passengers, it should come as no surprise to learn that MSC Grandiosa will be stock full of exciting and exhilarating things to do onboard. Some of our favourite features include:

  • 2 Exclusive Cirque du Soleil shows
  • A large, Mediterranean style promenade
  • L’Atelier – a new bar/lounge venue complete with dance floor and stage
  • 2 F1 Simulator cars
  • Guests will experience never a dull day on a cruise on this fantastic new ship, with these facilities paired with such memorable destinations.

    Sign up to our mailing list to ensure you stay up to date with all the latest cruise news.



    Welcome Onboard Symphony of the Seas

    clock 6th March 2018 | comment0 Comments

    With the debut cruise of Royal Caribbean’s latest ship just around the corner, we decided to take a closer look at some of the wowing features and facilities onboard the largest cruise ship in the world; Symphony of the Seas.

     

     

    At 362 metres long, and designed to carry a total of 7,865 passengers and crew, it’s almost inevitable that Symphony of the Seas is stock full of all sorts of fun things to do, exciting things to watch, and a range of places to eat.

     

     

    Brand New Royal Caribbean Features

     

    Symphony of the Seas boasts some fantastic firsts for Royal Caribbean, here are some or our favourite innovations:

    The Accommodation

    Not only does this vibrant and fresh cruise ship boast some brilliant entertainment, activities, and cuisine options, but plenty of thought has also gone into the accommodation. The Ultimate Family Suite has all your family could need, from comfy bean bags and funky décor, to the foosball table and big screen TV.

    Laser Tag

    This activity is so much fun for friends and family, and indeed is a fantastic way to meet fellow cruisers. Unite as one or go head to head in a battle between robots and aliens, in which only one team can win. Laser tag is suitable for both adults and young cruisers.

     

     

    Playmaker’s Sports Bar & Arcade

    Spanning the entire length of the boardwalk, this new sports bar is the perfect getaway for any sports fans. It boasts 30 TV screens showcasing a range of popular sports, a bar serving a great selection of beers and favourite snacks like wings and burgers, and classic arcade games including Ms Pac-Man.

     

    Returning Features

     

    Returning on Symphony of the Seas are some of our favourite Royal Caribbean features, as seen on Quantam and Oasis class ships.

    The Bionic Bar

    This extraordinary venue will keep all guests amused and captivated, as they watch robots create their perfect cocktail. Order your own creation, or a classic cocktail, from a state-of-the-art computer tablet and prepare to be amazed.

     

    The Aquatheatre

    Professional performers will leave all members of the audience astonished by their skills in synchronised swimming and high-diving. The whole family can enjoy the production of Hiro in which acrobats showcase some incredible choreography combining lights, water, music, and of course their incredible physical abilities.

    Izumi

    Any lover of Asian food will certainly want to dine at this Japanese restaurant at least once during their cruise. With sleek and stunning Japanese décor, and a menu full of beautiful sushi, sashimi, and more, an evening meal at Izumi will be one to remember – not least because of the hot rock cooking right next to your table.

    Splashaway Bay

    Adults are bound to envy this adventurous, kids-only waterpark, which is also seen on Harmony of the Seas. Parents can enjoy some chill-time while safe in the knowledge that their little ones are meeting new friends and having great fun playing with the climbing frame, drench bucket, and several water cannons.

     

     

    Take a look at our selection of Symphony of the Seas sailings and discover this exciting new Royal Caribbean ship for yourselves.



    So You Think You Know the Canary Islands?

    clock 29th January 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Cruising in the Canaries is hugely popular among holidaymakers for a number of reasons. The islands offer some stunning scenery, delicious food, relaxing beaches, and a whole world of interesting anecdotes, traditions, and snippets from history! While many Brits have been to at least one of the islands, there are so many things that remain unknown to its visitors. You may think yourself an expert on the Canary Islands, but did you know these ten interesting facts?

     

     

    1. The word ‘Canaries’ has derived from the Latin word, ‘Canaria’, meaning dog. It’s thought that the name was attributed because early European settlers found wild dogs on the island, or Roman explorers chose it because of the nearby seals - which they called sea dogs.

    2. The most popular sport in this part of the world is known as Lucha Canaria – a form of traditional wresting. Dating back to the 15th century, Canarian wrestling can still be seen in full swing in many venues across the islands.

    3. While the small, yellow Canary birds are native to the islands, many people don’t realise that it is they who are named after the land, rather than the other way around.

     

     

    4. The total population of all the Canary Islands is just over 2 million, but this popular holiday destination generally sees more than 12 million tourists every year!

    5. Admiral Lord Nelson is most famous for his military action against the French, but it was actually in the Canaries that he lost his right arm – at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797.

    6. At the time of writing, La Palma is home to the world’s largest working telescope. It’s situated at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, and has a mirror of just over 34 feet (10.4 metres) in diameter.

     

     

    7. Various parts of Spain – including Tenerife, La Palma, and Gran Canaria – maintain the ‘Burial of the Sardine’, or ‘Entierro de la sardina’, tradition to end carnival events. This ceremony dates back many centuries, and involves a symbolic portrayal of burning or burying a fish.

    8. The aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands are known as Guanches, who hailed from the North African Berber people. It’s thought that they migrated to the islands in around the year 1000 BC.

    9. The Canary Islands were a common stop on journeys between the Americas and Europe. This means that there are culinary influences here from all over the world, and produce such as potatoes, beans, and avocados were all introduced from South America.

     

     

    10. The ancient whistling language of La Gomera – known as Silbo Gomera – is still used and even taught in schools here today. It was originally created to help communicate across the hilly terrain.

    There is much more to the Canary Islands than first meets the eye, but take the time to explore it, and get to know some of the locals, and you will find a land of intrigue and rich history. Take a look at our range of cruises to the Canary Islands and discover more on your next holiday.



    So You Think You Know the Mediterranean

    clock 8th January 2018 | comment0 Comments

    With the Mediterranean remaining the number one choice of destination for UK cruisers, we thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at some of the preconceptions, and indeed lesser known facts about this popular part of the world.

     

    Home to the Original Shopping Mall

    Holidaying in the Mediterranean will inevitably involve some souvenir-buying, and most tourists will visit local markets and bazaars for these. But did you know that today’s large, commercial shopping malls actually originated in the Mediterranean? The first complex of this type was constructed in Rome by Emperor Trajan, in the early part of the 2nd century. His emporium is thought to have been filled with all kinds of wares, from spices and foods, to clothing and material.

     

    The Same Festivals Celebrated Differently

    Festivals like Easter and Christmas are celebrated in most Mediterranean countries. At these times you’ll notice traditions like those in the UK, such as street parades and glittering decorations, but there also some less familiar customs:

    • In Valencia, Spain, for instance, you might see flour-throwing on December 28th – The Day of the Innocents

    • On Easter Saturday in Corfu you’ll need to keep your wits about you, to avoid injury during the popular pottery-smashing ritual

    The Med is Home to some of the UK’s Favourite Foods

    Most visitors to the Mediterranean like to explore new foods and try all the best local cuisine, and it may come as a surprise to learn that in fact, many of the most popular foods we eat in the UK have origins here. It’s no secret that favourites like pizza and pasta hail from Italy, but there are also some treats that might not be expected:

    • Fruit cake and bacon are thought to have first been introduced by the Romans in Italy

    • ‘Fish and Chips’ actually originated in Portugal and Spain

    • It’s thought that the creation of pies began with the Ancient Greeks

     

    Mediterranean Languages Have Influenced English

    Many European languages have borrowed words from one another throughout history, and the English language itself has been shaped by a great number of words from the Mediterranean.

    • French - we have France to thank for words like ‘menu’ and ‘restaurant’

    • Spanish - Spain has given us the likes of ‘mosquito’, ‘patio’, and ‘vanilla’

    • Italian - we use ‘camera’, ‘temperature’, and ‘zero’, from Italy

    • Greek - ‘Phobia’, ‘ethos’, and ‘plethora’ all have origins in the Greek language.

    Over 20 Countries and States Have Mediterranean Coast

    When we think of ‘The Mediterranean’, it’s not uncommon to mention the likes of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, but in fact, more than 20 recognised states enjoy the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea on their shores. Here are a few more to explore on a Mediterranean cruise:

    1. Gibraltar

    2. Spain

    3. France

    4. Monaco

    5. Italy

    6. Malta

    7. Slovenia

    8. Croatia

    9. Montenegro

    10. Albania

    11. Greece

    12. Cyprus

    13. Turkey

     

    Cruising in the Mediterranean

    As a long-standing, popular holiday destination, and with plenty of pretty ports to choose from, it makes sense that a great number of cruise companies offer itineraries in this part of the world. The UK’s favourite cruise line, P&O Cruises, offers a brilliant range of itineraries in and around The Med. This could be a great option for families, not only because of P&O Cruises’ onboard features, but also because Mediterranean countries are just a short flight from the UK. Or, if you’d prefer not to fly however, P&O Cruises also offer no-fly cruises departing from the UK.

    Family Cruising in the Mediterranean

    What makes P&O Cruises perfect for a family cruise in the Mediterranean?

     

     

    5 ships in P&O Cruises' fleet of 8 have been designed with the wants and needs of families in mind, which means that they offer some of the best activities, entertainment, and family-friendly dining options at sea. Children are welcome in all onboard restaurants, each serving a wide variety of foods to cater for guests of all ages. The entertainment on the ships has also been well thought out to appeal to everyone. The stunning Once upon a time show is a particular favourite among families.

    If you do fancy spending a special evening together, without the little ones, be sure to take advantage of P&O Cruises’ onboard kids club: The Reef. This is split into four age groups thereby ensuring that each child can access activities and entertainment materials suitable for them. This might be a soft play area, puzzles, books, or video games for example.

    Another great aspect of cruising with P&O Cruises in the Mediterranean is the excursions. P&O Cruises offer a fantastic range, from exploring Rome’s infamous colosseum, taking a trolley train ride in Malta, to river rafting in Croatia, there will undoubtedly be something to suit every age group. Discover just how many places you could see, and what adventures you could have with your family on a P&O Cruises' Mediterranean cruise.



    Caribbean Cruises and the Best Islands to Visit

    clock 3rd January 2018 | comment0 Comments

    The islands of the Caribbean have remained high on the list of top cruising destinations for many years, and it’s easy to see why. With stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, great weather, and friendly locals, cruising in the Caribbean is something that everyone should treat themselves to at least once.

     

     

    The Caribbean is stock-full of exciting excursion options and places to eat, drink, and relax. If you’re thinking about cruising in this spectacular destination, or even if you’re already booked and ready to go, our useful guide to some of the islands should give you the information you need to have the time of your life.

     

    Choosing which islands to see

     

    Because of the nature of the layout of the islands, cruises in the Caribbean tend to involve stops in a number of them. There are in fact over 7000 islands, 26 of which are recognised countries. It can be tricky to know which islands to visit, with each one offering a unique and interesting culture, and varying food, drinks, festivities, and traditions. Many cruise lines even own private islands with exclusive access to their own guests. Each island boasts sandy beaches, delicious cuisines and a range of fun-filled activities, such as snorkelling, parasailing and other water sports. Others are more catered towards adults only, such as Virgin Voyages, who offer private, relaxing cabana's, luxurious bars and wild pool parties after dark. See below for some inspiration about some of the popular stops.

    What to do in Curacao

     

    The Dutch island of Curacao has a distinctly European feel to it, with pretty, pastel coloured, Dutch style buildings lining the streets of the capital, Willemstad. There are fascinating museums and historical relics to see, or, if preferred, the island boasts 35 picturesque beaches where you can enjoy the clear waters and bask in the Caribbean sun. Otherwise, there are also some national parks where you can see various wildlife and incredible vistas.

    Curacao was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

    What to do in St Maarten

     

    St Maarten offers a unique blend of Dutch, French, and Caribbean culture which captivates all visitors to the island. The port town of Philipsburg is home to some pretty colonial buildings, and is close to the ruins of 17th century Fort Amsterdam. As well as getting your history fix, here you can take part in exhilarating activities like kayaking, snorkelling, biking, and even sailing lessons. Alternatively, you could spend time on the beach, or wandering round the hundreds of duty free shops.

    St Maarten is recovering from damage caused by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

    What to do in Barbados

     

    One of the most popular ports on a Caribbean cruise, Barbados leaves visitors with a genuine longing to stay for ‘just another few nights’ every time! Along with a wonderful array of beaches, a stop here means some mouth-watering cuisine, rum punch at every corner, and the sound of singing, dancing, and laughter almost following you. See the fascinating shipwrecks around the coast while scuba-diving or snorkelling, try all the local delicacies at Oistins fishing village stalls, or see various sites leftover from colonial times.

    Barbados was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

    What to do in Nassau, Bahamas

     

    Well-known for being an important pirate hub in the 17th and 18th centuries, Nassau boasts a great number of interesting things to see and do. As well as the wax-work museum, today you can visit several forts that played an important part in the history of pirates. Other popular things to do on the island include swimming with pigs, snorkelling, trying out the best local bars and restaurants, and whiling away the hours in the absorbing art galleries.

    Nassau was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

    What to do in Cozumel

     

    Off the southeast coast of Mexico lies Cozumel, a beautiful sun-kissed island that offers the perfect mix of adventure and opportunities to relax. With clear surrounding waters, and an abundance of marine life, Cozumel is a great place for scuba diving and snorkelling. Otherwise explore the island on a jeep safari tour, take a speedboat ride, or simply enjoy the perfect beaches with a book and a cocktail.

    Cozumel was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

    What to do in Falmouth, Jamaica

     

    Found in the north of Jamaica, Falmouth is believed to hold the largest quantity of British colonial architecture in the Caribbean. In its historical district visitors can explore the streets and see Vermont House – which is now the post office – the court house, and The Albert George Market. Other things to do include chilling out on the beaches, enjoying local rum cocktails and foods, or, about a one hour drive away are the beautiful Dunns River Falls.

    Falmouth was not affected by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

    What to do in St Thomas

     

    One of the US Virgin Islands, St Thomas is a pretty and bustling island, full of life and lively Caribbean culture. Here you will find the chance to shop ‘til you drop, try all sorts of fantastic cuisines – both local and international in style – and dance the night away in one of the many bars or clubs. Of course here too there are beaches aplenty, or for a more original view of the island, consider taking a ride on the cable car, paddle boarding, or a yacht trip around the coast.

    St Thomas is recovering from damage caused by the 2017 hurricanes, and is open for tourism.

     

    Who to cruise with?

     

    Many holidaymakers who seek a cruise to the Caribbean often opt to do so with the eponymous Royal Caribbean. With a fleet of 26 ships, there are generally several different itineraries you can choose from at any one time. The cruise line are very family-friendly, offering an array of different dining, entertainment, and activity options onboard their ships. Some of their most popular features include the well-known FlowRider – an invigorating surf simulator that can be enojoyed by guests of all ages – the rock-climbing wall, and some amazing, fun-filled shows including Grease and Hairspray.

    Take a look at Caribbean cruises with Royal Caribbean to find out which islands you can discover with them.



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