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Top Cruise Lines for Kids

clock 8th October 2019 | comment0 Comments
Finding a holiday that caters for all ages can be tricky, particularly for large families. Cruising is so popular because entertainment can be found to suit all interests all on one ship. With more and more families choosing a cruise every year, cruise lines have gone above and beyond to create programmes that are perfect for kids. [More]


River vs Ocean Cruising

clock 9th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

If you’re new to cruise, or indeed have always stuck to either river or ocean cruising, you might be curious to know more about the differences between the two. The fact is, both kinds of cruising offer some incredible opportunities, but of course there are many aspects which contrast. Find out more with our overview of river vs ocean cruising.

 

 

The Destinations Visited

There aren’t many crossovers when it comes to the destinations travelled to on river and ocean cruising. While an ocean liner can sail across the seven seas transporting you to countries and islands all over the globe, river ships traverse the world’s rivers, from The Rhine in Europe to the exotic Mekong in Southeast Asia. Usually, a river cruise will allow guests the opportunity to be in a new destination every day, with the ship sailing through the night, whereas on an ocean cruise you might find one or more sea days. So depending on whether or not you’re looking to spend time relaxing on the ship, or prefer a port-heavy itinerary, this could sway your decision.

Activities on the Ship

With the above in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that ocean liners will generally offer a lot more in the way of things to do onboard than river ships. You’ll usually find a plunge pool, gym, and possibly spa facilities on a river ship, however on an ocean cruise ship there will this plus a lot more. From F1 simulators with MSC Cruises and ice rinks with Royal Caribbean, to cookery schools and Strictly Come Dancing events with P&O Cruises, there’s no denying that ocean ships offer a lot more onboard activities. This is one aspect specifically worth considering if you’ll be cruising with children.

 

 

Atmosphere Onboard

There is a certain family-friendly, excitable atmosphere on larger, mainstream ocean cruise ships that you won’t find on a river cruise ship. With more guests, – Symphony of the Seas can hold almost 7,000 – more attractions, and larger social areas, these vessels are great for kids and those looking for fun and thrills. Alternatively, if you want to relax and soak up the surroundings and local culture, a river cruise could be the better option. With a much lower passenger-count, and often just one bar and one restaurant, the ambience on a river cruise ship is calmer and arguably more refined. Having said this there are a number of luxury ocean cruise lines which provide a similar experience.

Onboard Food and Drink

Those travelling with little ones, or foodies who enjoy plenty of choice and variation, would probably prefer an ocean cruise where dining is concerned. Some of the bigger lines offer a fantastic array of restaurants, for instance Carnival Cruises boast everything from Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que to the brilliant Dr Seuss themed Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast for kids. On a river cruise on the other hand, you’ll often get just one or maybe two restaurants, serving a small a la carte menu. While the food onboard is delectable, there is limited choice. Those with dietary requirements should mention these at the time of booking, and then again when onboard.

Entertainment on the Ship

Generally speaking, entertainment on a river cruise ship involves some unique experiences which allow the guests to become immersed in local culture. You can expect things like local musicians and dancers, or talks about upcoming destinations. These sorts of opportunities are also seen on ocean liners, however you’ll also often get some extravagant productions. Find the likes of Hairspray and Jersey Boys among other Broadway/West End style performances, and a fantastic aquatic acrobatic show with Royal Caribbean.

 

 

Conclusions

The differences between river cruising and ocean cruising can be seen as pros and cons depending on your likes and dislikes, and what you’re looking to get out of your cruise holiday. Each certainly have their merits, and while cruisers might tend to stick to one or the other, it can be refreshing and usually rewarding to try something new, so be sure to be open minded and consider all options.

On the other hand, some cruise lines offer both ocean and river cruising itineraries, ensuring you never have to choose between your favourites. With the highlights of ocean cruising on a smaller scale, more intimate-sized ship, passengers will love the best of both worlds. One of the most popular cruise lines to cater to both markets is Thomson-Marella who also operate TUI River Cruises. If you’re still unsure of what option to go with, get in touch with our expert team for more advice!



What's the cruising experience like for teenagers onboard Holland America Line?

clock 20th March 2017 | comment0 Comments

Sasha Narraway was only five years old the first time she went on a cruise, remembering only snippets. Speaking of her first cruise as a teenager, Sasha vividly describes her fun-packed experience where she relished everything Holland America Line had to offer for teenagers cruising onboard MS Nieuw Amsterdam.

 


I was really looking forward to cruising, especially the restaurants, shows and fun of the Club HAL teen club! We sailed from Venice on a 12 Nt Mediterranean Empires cruise on Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam. The cruise started with an overnight onboard, so we had a full day to walk around the stunning city of Venice. The weather was amazing and I loved the orchestras in St Mark’s Square. The buildings were picturesque and we took lots of photos. We also bought some beautiful Venetian masks for the masquerade ball on the ship a couple of days later. I stood right at the bow of the ship as we sailed down the Grand Canal with Tom, our “On Location” guide, telling us all about the history of Venice. 

 

 

Some days were spent just swimming and sunbathing, others exploring ancient sites like Ephesus and the Acropolis or cities like Istanbul. My favourite place on the ship was the Cabana Club, where we had our own private cabana. Accommpanied with a butler service, we would be transported to a world of relaxation with refreshing lemonade, chocolate covered strawberries and a whole fruit platter delivered to us by smiling waiters.  I also loved Club HAL, which was the perfect place for younger guests onboard to hang out as well as The Loft. 

 

Left: The Loft, Right: Club HAL


Most days, once I’d had too much sun or if the Cabanas were closing, I’d run to the amazing, almost private, cinema downstairs. There was free popcorn, huge comfortable chairs, plenty of leg room and all the latest films that hadn’t yet come out in England! I also loved the big shows in the main theatre. What more could a budding 13-year-old actress want?

 

 

Most evenings we ate in the main restaurant as we loved the atmosphere and the smiley waiters but on Mummy’s birthday we ate in the Pinnacle Grill and had amazing steaks and a birthday cake. The Asian restaurant (Tamarind) was my favourite; we used chopsticks and I loved the smell of the Thai spices. We also went to Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, one night. I managed to wear all 12 dresses I had taken with me! One day Mica (my brother) and I did a cooking class in the Culinary Arts theatre. We had great fun making pancakes and adding different toppings to them. On our last night we went to the Show Lounge to watch ‘Dancing with the Stars’ which was like Strictly Come Dancing. They even had Len and Bruno on a video screen.

 

Left: Tamarind, Right: Pinnacle Grill

 

If I had to pick a few of my favourite places on the cruise they would be Venice, Santorini and Cephalonia. I didn’t really know what to expect in Istanbul, but the beautiful skyline of mosques and bridges were so pretty that I didn’t know where I was. This holiday had something for all of us and is one I will never forget - I doubt my friends will forget it either because I’ve bored them with it many times. I found all of the crew onboard to be fantastic. They all had lovely smiles on their faces and they always worked so hard, nothing was too much trouble. It was so good not having to make my bed or set the table everyday - I think Mummy thought so too! I can’t wait for my next Holland America Line Cruise!

 

 More about ms Nieuw Amsterdam | More about Holland America Line





More Family Magic with Disney Wonder

clock 8th September 2016 | comment0 Comments

 

Disney Cruise Line provides the perfect family holiday, full of magic, wonder and fun. Your time onboard a Disney cruise will leave you bursting with excitement whether a child or adult, because of the daily fun-packed schudules for children and luxurious relaxation for adults.

Disney Wonder was made more magical for all of the family, as she underwent dry dock enhancements in Autumn 2016 in Cadiz, Spain. With promises of an exclusive restaurant, a stage adaption of everyone's favourite musical Frozen and the excitement of the Marvel Super Hero Academy, Disney Cruise Line have not held back when it comes to enhancing their already fabulous cruising experience.

 

disney cruise line©Disney. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas

 

Tiana's Place Restaurant

Tiana's Place is a brand new restaurant exclusive to Disney Wonder. The reason this is the best place to eat for all the family is the vibrant atmosphere, live entertainment and delicious New Orleans inspired dining. Inspired by "The Princess and the Frog", Tiana's Place is inspired by the southern charms of America, serving up tasty gumbo and jazz music. Watching the live bands in the restaurant, means that the little ones won't get bored over dinner time, making it a much more pleasant dining experience for all the family.

 

Marvel Super Hero Academy

One of the most exciting updates is the introduction of the Marvel Super Hero Acamady to Disney's Oceaneer Club giving the children the chance to be part of a big adventure with Marvel's greatest Super Heroes. This isn't only fun for the children but also teaches them the value of teamwork, bravery and problem solving with the help of their favourite Super Heroes, as Spider-Man and Captain America make appearances and many more on a large digital display.

 

disney cruise line©Disney. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas

 

After Hours Nighttime District

The enhancements on Disney Wonder don't just take into account what the children want onboard, but also are making the cruising experience much more enjoyable for adults. The adult district is getting a new English tavern-style pub. With dark woods, leather furniture and brass accents, complimented by a selection of cocktails, British and speciality beers and brews, this will be the perfect venue for adults to unwind and have some fun in the evening.

However the adult enhancements don't end here, you can also expect an all-new night club and a reimagined model of the popular Cadillac Lounge.


Frozen, A Musical Spectacular

If you haven't seen Frozen, then there is a high chance that you have been living under a rock. The story of the royal sisters Anna and Elsa will be brought to life onboard Disney Wonder in November. The beloved animated hit will be an exclusive stage show for Disney Wonder and will combine traditional theatre techniques, modern technologies and the classic Disney style. Be awe-struck as you watch the beautiful production, and revel in the fact that your children are having the time of their life, singing along to some of their favourite hits with their favourite characters.

disney cruise line©Disney. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas

 

Senses Spa & Salon

Spas and salons provide the perfect relaxation for anyone onboard a cruise ship. Disney Wonder will be enhancing their spa by expanding and modernizing it. And to make this perfect for all of the family, there will also be the introduction of the Chill Teen Spa, perfect for helping the teens onboard to feel just as relaxed with treatments designed specifically for them.

 

disney cruise line©Disney. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas

 

Make sure you check out our best Disney Wonder voyages here.





What to expect on your Cunard cruise

clock 6th October 2015 | comment0 Comments

Updated January 2018

A cruise with Cunard can be an absolutely magnificent affair. With impeccable White Star service, and some of the best luxury ocean cruising at sea, you are guaranteed to savour every moment spent on your Cunard cruise. If you’re considering a Cunard cruise for the first time, of course you're likely to have all kinds of questions about what to expect. To give you a little guidance, we've put together this short guide with more information about just what a Cunard Cruise is like. If there's anything we haven't covered, be sure to ask our sales team any other questions you have before booking your cruise.

 

Embarkation 

You can expect friendly smiles and warm greetings from all staff when you first arrive onboard. This short video reveals just what’s in store from the start:

 

 

It’s also worth noting that there is no limit when it comes to how much luggage you can bring with you, however all suitcases must be under 23kg due to health and safety reasons. In keeping with Cunard’s steadfast attention to luxury holidays, the cruise line offers guests a fabulous white-star service; luggage collection and delivery pre and post cruise. Simply speak to a sales agent to arrange this, to alleviate any stress at the start and end of your cruise.

 

Staterooms and Suites 

 

Cunard offer a wealth of accommodation choices. For those looking for an especially luxurious cruise, there are the Princess and Queens Grill Suites, which boast exclusive facilities such as restaurants and lounges. Otherwise, there is a great variety of staterooms, suiting all guests from single travellers, to families.

 

 

 

Accessibility and Family Cruising 

 

In order to enable their extra special cruising opportunities to be enjoyed by everyone, Cunard have ensured that there is ample space and accessible facilities for all guests. There are wide corridors and spacious staterooms designed for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, and a fantastic array of child-friendly features.

 

 

 

Onboard restaurants offer kids menus, and there is even a designated ‘Children’s Tea’ in The Lido restaurant which gives the perfect opportunity for little ones to make new friends. There are also age-appropriate Kids Clubs onboard Cunard ships, and a night nursery, where babies from 6 to 23 month can sleep between 6-11pm, giving parents a well-earned break.

 

Wining and Dining 

 

Cunard boast some terrific dining choices onboard all of their ships, including some exclusive restaurants for those staying in Princess and Queens Grills suites. Dine in the main restaurant – where you can opt for traditional dining times, or ‘freedom dining’ if preferred. The buffet restaurant offers a wide range of cuisine options as well as tea, coffee, and juices during the day. Speciality restaurants inlcude The Verandah, for an extra special dining experience, The Golden Lion for a homely pub-style ambiance, and Lotus, Coriander, La Piazza, and Smokehouse for global cuisine.

When cruising with Cunard, guests are not only in for a treat where dining is concerned. There are also some beautiful and comfortable lounges where you can enjoy your favourite tipple.

 

 

 

Other Useful Information

 

 

  • Staying in touch with loved ones back home is easy to do on a Cunard cruise. You’ll find internet stations either in The Library or ConneXions centres onboard, or you can access the ship's Wi-Fi by purchasing an internet package. Simply speak to your sales agent at the time of booking, or to a crew member once you're onboard.
  • Cunard have introduced a cash-free environment on their ships, for the convenience of all onboard. At the start of your cruise you’ll be given a cruise card to use for spending (you’ll be asked to leave a credit/debit card or cash deposit when retrieving it). All pricing onboard is in US dollars, and you’ll need to settle up your bill before disembarking – either using a card or cash. It’s also possible to buy local currency on the ship.
  • In order to help maintain the traditional cruising style that Cunard are renowned for, guests will be invited to adhere to specific dress codes. During the day attire should be casual – including shorts and smart jeans – and the evenings can be either formal or informal. This useful video will give you more information about what you’ll be expected to wear and when.

 

 

 

Browse and book a Cunard transatlantic cruise from our newest offers or plan ahead with Cunard 2019 sailings.



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