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Best Winter Destinations for Christmas and New Year

clock 4th December 2017 | comment0 Comments

Updated September 2018

 

Have a Christmas or New Year celebration like no other this year, by visiting a new and exciting destination on a cruise. The world is full of incredible places at every corner, and many of these play host to some wonderful parties and Christmas festivities throughout December and January. Here are our top 5 spots, that we recommend everyone see at this time of year - at least once in their life.

New York

For many people, New York at winter is the epitome of Christmas spirit. This is in no small part thanks to movie classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life, in which New York is the setting for warm Christmas tales. Whether you cruise to New York in the run-up to Christmas or are there for New Year’s Eve, the glittering city that never sleeps will undoubtedly provide you with everything you need to feel like celebrating. From the buzzing atmosphere and lights in Time Square to a frosty, romantic moonlit carriage ride in Central Park, New York offers some truly special experiences.

 

 

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a fantastic destination for those who want a change of scenery, but don’t want to travel too far. Close to the UK, there are a number of options for a no-fly cruise here. In the winter months, the city comes to life with music, lights, and decorations, and the friendly residents will welcome you with open arms. See the stunning Amsterdam Light Festival, at which global artists put together some beautiful displays through the streets and canals. There are of course Christmas markets as well, and some fabulous parties and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

 

 

Paris

The famous City of Lights is, of course, a hub of illumination and bustling activity at this time of year, boasting some stunning views and wonderful options when it comes to festive things to do. Revel in Christmas spirit at the Christmas Market on Avenue des Champs-Elysees, where you can also take a spin on the ice rink. If you have time, a visit to Disneyland is an absolute must. Whether you’re 6 or 66, a bit of Disney magic at Christmas is a great recipe to get you feeling merry and bright. Start planning your trip and ask us about our cruises to Paris.

 

 

Norway

Visit the land of Frozen and get lost in a real Winter Wonderland. A cruise in Norway is a great option for this time of year, particularly because of the chance to see the Northern Lights. December and January often have a high number of clear nights, meaning the vibrant lights are more likely to be visible. The sparkling scenery and welcoming ambience in this part of the world is perfect for celebrating during the festive season, simply gazing at the stars with a hot chocolate, sat on the top deck of your cruise ship is truly the stuff of dreams. Find out more about our great range of Norway cruises.

 

 

Sydney

The New Year’s Eve firework display at Sydney Harbour is a well-known event that causes visitors to flock to the city every year. Sydney is a port of call on many world cruises, and if you are lucky enough to be here at the right time, you can have one of the best views of the show available. The famous Sydney Opera House also holds glamourous New Year’s Eve celebrations, giving you the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a bit of luxury during your holiday. See the New Year in with style on an Australasia cruise.

 

 

Whether you are considering a cruise during the main events, or are merely seeking a few days away before or after, you can rest assured that there are plenty of options out there. Take a look at all our December and January cruises, and book your next adventure today.



What is the Boardwalk on Oasis Class ships?

clock 13th May 2016 | comment0 Comments
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]


River cruising with Avalon Waterways

clock 8th July 2015 | comment0 Comments

Updated February 2017

 

Iglu’s Marketing Manager, Natalie, went on her first river cruise adventure with Avalon Waterways. Here’s what she thought of her first river experience onboard the luxurious Avalon Tapestry II:

I have only been on ocean cruise line's before so I was looking forward to experiencing a River Cruise and was lucky enough to be invited on Avalon’s newest ship to the fleet, Avalon Tapestry II.

On the deck on Avalon Tapestry II

I was meeting the ship halfway through its 7 night Paris to Normandy Landing Beaches itinerary.

 

Day 1

I met the ship in the picturesque town of Rouen after taking the Eurostar to Lille. As I approached the ship I was instantly struck by how luxurious the ship was. It is decked out with luxury sun loungers and tastefully decorated with plants on the top deck. I was greeted with a glass of Champagne into an airy reception area and couldn’t wait to see my cabin. It didn’t disappoint with a modern bathroom and a full supply of L’Occitane bath products. The layout of the bedroom was fantastic with the beds facing the French windows. The layout might not sound exciting but Avalon is the first river cruise line to point the beds towards the window. I could already picture myself waking up in the morning and watching the world go by.

Before I got too comfortable I unpacked and went to explore the rest of the ship. I was just in time for the daily afternoon tea. Delicious finger sandwiches and a choice of two gateaux’s were on offer. It would be rude not to sample so I tried both. As this was an educational trip I thought I better check my emails and there was no excuse not to as the ship has free wi-fi throughout. Fortunately there were not many emails to check so I had some time to relax in the sun on the top deck before the next round of delicious food at dinner.

 

Avalon Waterways Trip

Avalon Waterways Holiday

Heavenly cocktails and delicious food


The dining room is tastefully decorated and I was pleasantly surprised that although the ship is small compared to ocean cruise lines, you do not smell the cooking throughout the ship. I chose the red snapper for my main course tonight and enjoyed the free flowing wine which is included lunch and dinner.

As this was my first night onboard I stayed up to watch the entertainment for a while before getting an early night so I would be ready to get up bright and early for the Van Gogh excursion the following day.

 

Day 2

I woke up feeling revitalised after a good nights sleep in the comfortable bed. I was delighted with the buffet breakfast and enjoyed smoked salmon and eggs. If salmon and eggs is not your cup of tea, they have a fantastic selection of food to choose from including freshly made pastries, cereals and much more.

 

Cruising with Avalon Waterways

A cruise onboard Avalon Waterways

Glorious views of the riverbank through France


I had the choice of two free excursions and decided to go on the tour of the town Van Gogh spent his last few months of his life in the picturesque town of Auvers-sur-Oise. Before you set off on the tour you pick up a complimentary water and a headset so you can listen to the tour guide.

I am not an art expert and it really didn’t matter as the tour guide William was really engaging. He brought the history to life and it was very special to see the places and subjects Van Gogh had painted. I particularly enjoyed walking through the fields Van Gogh painted known as Wheat Field with Crows.

After the tour we were taken back on the coach in time for lunch and were greeted with freshly made iced tea. We had booked the grill lunch which was hosted on the Sky Deck. They host these lunches several times on the cruise itinerary but you must put your name down to reserve a space. Lunch was delicious and I enjoyed fresh salad and steak.

In the afternoon there was an optional excursion to the Palace of Versailles. However, as I only had 3 days on the ship I decided to experience what it was like whilst sailing as we were going to set sail to Paris. I am sure the Palace is beautiful but I was so pleased I stayed onboard. The engine is so quiet, the experience is tranquil and the journey along the Seine was stunning. I was surprised by how unpopulated the river banks were. Every now and then you would spot a stunning Chateau along the banks. I would have happily sailed along the river for days absorbing the view. We picked up the guests who took the afternoon tour and then sailed into Paris. The dinner was served as we sailed towards the Eiffel Tower.

 

My River Cruise with Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways Cruise

Excursions in France and more sublime views from the ship


Tonight was the Captain's farewell dinner as the following night guests were going to Moulin Rouge in Paris so it was a day earlier. Before dinner, we were all given a glass of champagne and the Captain came and said goodbye to everyone. Once again the meal was fantastic and my favourite dish was the lobster. Also having been on several ocean cruise lines I was delighted to see that the famous baked alaska was on the menu ,so it is not just the big ocean lines who have this tradition.

As the ship was staying in Paris I went for a stroll around the city before coming back to a refreshing cocktail on board.

 

Day 3

It was our last night on the ship and I went on the complimentary walking tour in Paris. If you didn’t want to walk there is a bus tour which is also included. After the tour I arrived back and sampled the light lunch which is also on offer every day on the Sky Deck. We had free time in the afternoon as the optional trip was to the Moulin Rouge in the evening. I decided to head back into Paris and hit the shops on the Champ Elysees.

As I was not going to the Moulin Rouge I booked a place in the bistro dining experience. This was hosted in the Sky Lounge and there are 20 places available so you need to book. They offer a 7 course tasting menu and once again I was extremely impressed with the standard of the food.

This evening we were sailing to another port in Paris close to the business district so I sat on the deck and enjoyed a refreshing cocktail as the ship gently sailed past the glittering sights of Paris before heading back to my room where I enjoyed the view for a little bit longer before falling into a relaxing sleep.

 

River Cruising with Avalon Waterways

Crepes and cocktails! A match made in heaven

 

The Verdict 

What I really love about river cruising is the relaxed pace, you can do as much or as little as you want. Even if you participate on all the tours you are looked after so well and come back to such a beautiful ship you don’t feel exhausted. I came back from my cruise feeling refreshed and invigorated. My only complaint is next time I want to go for a bit longer.

 

View Avalon Waterways Cruise Deals | Find out more about River Cruising.



The 8 Best Cocktails On Anthem Of The Seas

clock 29th April 2015 | comment0 Comments

The Iglu Cruise team were lucky enough to spend three nights onboard Royal Caribbean's new ship, Anthem of the Seas before she set sail for her first cruise. Although bursting with innovative features, Linda our Head of Customer Service decided to spend her time testing the delicious cocktails available onboard. Here's how she got on...

1. Bloody Mary

From: Michael's Genuine Pub, North Star and Pool Bar

Bloody Mary lovers will know that it’s easy to get it wrong. I tried three during my time onboard, all from different bars. The one in North Star was too sweet, although the bacon was a nice touch. The Pool Bar was too watery for my liking. Michael’s Genuine Pub got it right. Just the right amount of tabasco and pepper. The little twist is the pickle. It is an interesting take on the classic, but very enjoyable.

2. Lavender Daiquiri

From: Schooner Bar

Elegant, sweet and with a floral fragrance this drink requires distinct taste. It isn’t for everyone, but I very much enjoyed it. It is of a light violet colour and comes in an elegant Y glass.

3. Frozen Mojito

From: North Star Bar

Hands down the best mojito I’ve ever had! The ice gets pureed with the mint and vodka to create a slushy, fluffy effect. Very refreshing on a summer’s day and I can only imagine quenching my taste buds with this tropical treat whilst sailing away from the Caribbean.

4. Passion In The City

From: North Star Bar

Passionfruit, vodka and Chamboard. A great combination, however it does have quite a strong kick to it, be careful! Sweet and fruity with the distinct taste of passionfruit.

5. Tropical Old Fashioned

From: Schooner Bar

What can only be described as a tropical island in a glass, this thirst-quenching cocktail is a real treat for the taste buds. This light drink combines coconut rum with cherry.

6. Strawberry or Mango Daiquiri

From: Pool Bar

The bar staff on Anthem of the Seas are particularly good at making daiquiries. The strawberry was my favourite, but the mango was lovely too. A great choice if you prefer something that doesn't taste too strong, infact they taste more like a smoothie with a slight kick. Virgin daiquiris are also available.

7. Sex In The City

From: North Star

The classic 'holiday cocktail' that goes down a treat every time. This sweet and fruity classic is best enjoyed by the pool deck!

8. Create Your Own Cocktail

From: The Bionic Bar

No other cruise ship can offer this, so a must when onboard Anthem of the Seas. These two robotic bartenders can rustle up any cocktail of your choice. Ordered from an Ipad you can choose from a list of mixers and spirits.

Now let's see the bar in action...




View our Anthem of the Seas cruises



Packing For Different Climate Zones

clock 15th January 2015 | comment0 Comments

Updated September 2018

 

Cruising can be fantastic fun for the whole family whatever the weather. With an ever-expanding list of exciting destinations accessible via cruise ship, plus a constant developing arena in onboard entertainment and conveniences, it is rare you’ll ever hear the phrase “it’s a shame about the weather” on your cruise holiday. Come rain or shine; activities, amusement, and exploration are in abundance on modern cruise holidays and providing you are prepared for the climate zone of your choice, you can eliminate any weather woes from spoiling what’s bound to be your best holiday to date.

 

 

So you’ve chosen your next port of call, booked your holiday and your famous (yet slightly annoying for anyone not going) holiday countdown has begun. But when it comes to packing, what should you take and how can you ensure a good time is had no matter what the forecast has in store? Take some time to learn a little about the weather zone you are entering, and with these handy tips plus some essential pre-planning, you will be well on your way to forecast fortune-telling and smooth cruising in no time.

Equatorial

No prizes for guessing these are the countries hugging the equator. If you are cruising to the Equatorial climate you’ll likely be visiting some truly exotic destinations such as Columbia, Brazil and Ecuador in South America, Central America, Central Africa, India, Indonesia and the northern coast of Australia. When cruising along the equator itself you’ll be at zero degrees latitude, the widest point of the earth and exactly between the northern and southern hemispheres. Most countries within the equatorial climate experience just two seasons, wet (tropical rainfall and higher humidity) and dry (cooler temperatures with less rain). Biodiversity is rich here due to the surge in tropical humidity; this also means some of the world’s greatest rainforests are found within this climate zone. If the air feels dense and heavy be prepared for some short but heavy rainfall, plus if you’re cruising during rainy season, air conditioning and onboard entertainment should be high on your check list.

 

 

Equatorial Essentials: Rain mac, 50+ sun protection, bug spray, long sleeves, sports socks and closed toe walking shoes or boots for jungle excursions, binoculars, book on wildlife spotting.

 

Arid

Are you planning a cruise to the Middle East, Australia or Western America? You might find yourself entering an arid climate. Destinations such as (inland) California, Arizona, Texas, Morocco, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Australia can have extremely dry regions and deserts. Although they are astounding in physical appearance, these deserts and their surrounds can be extremely hot and inhospitable places. On the upside, annual rainfall is low and you can experience some beautiful blue skies as descending air and areas of high pressure eliminates the presence of clouds. An arid climate can also bring much colder temperatures as night falls so bare that in mind for evening attire and sleepwear.

 

 

Arid Essentials: Water bottle, sun hat for shade, cover ups (choose comfortable materials like cotton and linen), sunglasses, sandals, thermal pyjamas, eye drops, Vaseline.

 

Mediterranean

Cruising the Mediterranean is a dream come true for most holiday makers, and the balmy Mediterranean climate makes it easy to see why. This climate zone includes countries and regions roughly up to 40 degrees latitude either side of the equator but can also be present slightly further afield. Countries within this climate zone include Portugal, Spain, (the south of) France, Italy, Greece and Turkey but also (far south) Western Australia can experience similar conditions. Due to a seasonal shift in descending air, summers of the Mediterranean climate zone can be warm, sunny and dry with low rainfall. Pleasant and bearable temperatures are generally experienced throughout summer and some of the world’s best beaches are blessed with this weather, but searing heatwaves can also occur so sun protection is still important. Winter will bring cooler temperatures but still shouldn’t be cold enough to warrant packing a bulky overcoat.

 

 

Mediterranean Essentials: Swimwear, beach towel, snorkel, waterproof camera, shorts, thin layers, lightweight jacket, walking shoes.

 

Snow

You may not always see snow when cruising within the snow climate zone but overall temperatures are definitely colder for the most part and summers are short lived. Destinations within this region include Alaska, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Within this higher northern latitude the winters can be long, harsh and very cold so you’ll want to take some extra thermal layers if you plan on doing some shore exploring outside of the summer months. Frost melting and birds tweeting announce the awakening of spring in some areas and you’ll need good quality hiking boots to explore the magnificent terrains of Alaska, Canada or Sweden. Despite its snow coated stereotype, temperatures can still reach up to 30 degrees in the city of Moscow so consider short sleeves if you’re travelling to Russia’s capital city during summer. Stunning scenery changes drastically from vast thick fir tree forests to baron and empty acres of tundra the further north you explore the snow climate zone.

 

 

Snow Essentials: Hat, gloves & scarf for winter, warm (waterproof) coat, lightweight fleece, synthetic fibres (warm in winter, cool in summer), hiking boots, moisturiser, nature or bird spotting book.

 

Polar

The north and south Polar regions experience different climates but both harbour some of the coldest temperatures in the world. However, those that don’t mind a colder cruise will be rewarded with breath-taking scenery, amazing uninhabited landscapes and some incredible opportune photo moments. Destinations covered by the polar climate zone include (northern) Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, (north and north east) Russia, Antarctica and some areas of western China. The Arctic climate can be more bearable than the south due to moderation from the Atlantic Ocean, meaning that temperatures can reflect those of a mainland European winter. You’ll likely witness frozen ocean and some incredible ice glaciers during a cruise to the arctic north so prepare for the possibility of freezing temperatures. The sky is clear and you’ll want to bring a travel telescope or decent camera for star gazing or chasing the famous northern lights. Wrap up extra warm for a polar cruise to the south because temperatures here have been recorded at -80 Celsius. The air here is drier than most deserts so protect your skin and keep hydrated.

 

 

Polar Essentials: Thermal clothes, hiking or snow boots, coat, hat/scarf/gloves/balaclava, digital SLR camera, waterproofs, pocket tissues, torch, polarized wraparound sunglasses, sea sickness medication, swimwear (for natural thermal springs), travel telescope, book on star gazing.

 

Temperate

Expect a bit of a mixture if you are entering a temperate climate, as this category can include aspects of a Mediterranean, sub-tropical or maritime climate. You could even expect four seasons in one day if you are visiting the UK for example, an island with a typical maritime climate which means conditions are influenced by the ocean. A rain mac, sunglasses and scarf could all be of use during a trip here no matter the time of year. Other destinations experiencing a temperate climate include northern mainland Europe, (western and central) USA, (western) China, (north-west) Argentina.

 

 

Temperate Essentials: Rain mac, sunglasses, hat, comfy walking shoes, sense of humour, layers, sea sickness medication, guide to cloud spotting

*Climate zones depicted from the Koppen climate classification. Weather conditions are always subject to change and it is advised to check official weather forecasts pre-departure for a happy holiday.

Cruise the world and experience different climate zones on a world cruise.



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