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Best Sea Sickness Remedies

15th July 2020

Whether you're prone to seasickness or just want to be prepared, read on to find out more about the best seasickness tablets and remedies. [More]

What to Do in Singapore

14th September 2017

 

Singapore’s colourful history means a fusion of cultures have influenced the country, and made it the unique destination that it is today. Its ever-changing nature has caused it to appear something of a mystery to many people, and we think the best way to begin to uncover and understand it is to explore both the popular and the lesser known spots.

As a popular port of call on many cruise itineraries, Singapore is probably more reachable than many people realise. Whether stopping here during an Asia cruise for a few hours or a few days, when it comes to planning your stay, our list of top things to do is a great place to start.

1. Try a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel is a truly majestic hotel that dates back to 1887. It has hosted a plethora of historical figures including Charlie Chaplin and Rudyard Kipling, and is said to be the origin of gin-based cocktail, the Singapore Sling. The drink is thought to have been created in 1915, by a bar tender named Ngiam Tong Boon in the hotel’s Long Bar.

2. See some incredible animals

The Singapore Zoo is home to almost 3000 creatures, with everything from elephants, white tigers, and monkeys, to naked mole rats. Arguably one of the most ethical zoos in the world, the animals each have ample space, and the ability to roam free in some cases. For a more unusual experience, Singapore also boasts a Night Safari. This is a separate attraction to the zoo, and allows guests to see animals during the night while riding trams through the centre.

3. Eat local!

As a Southeast Asian country, Singapore can certainly compete with its neighbours when it comes to cuisine. There are so many choices ranging the whole culinary scale, from high end Michelin star restaurants to tiny carts selling street food – or hawker food as it’s known locally. You can even find the best of both worlds in Chinatown, with ‘Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle’ – a Michelin-starred street food vendor.

Our Commercial Manager Callum Buchanan feels that Singaporean food is really something special:

“Whenever I’m telling people about my time in Singapore the very first subject I talk about is the food. You’ll be blown away by the vast array of dining choices; I especially recommend ‘Mod Sin’ cuisine, simply meaning Modern Singaporean.”

4. See the Singapore Grand Prix

Combine your holiday with the Formula 1 racing schedule, and be a part of the brilliant experience that is the Singapore Grand Prix. With most activity taking place during the night, the atmosphere in the streets of Marina Bay is undoubtedly infectious and exciting. Find out more about the Singapore F1 Grand Prix and other F1 cruise holidays.

5. Stroll through stunning and tranquil gardens

Singapore Botanic Gardens has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, and is home to hundreds of different species. Visitors will find a spectacular rainforest quarter, the National Orchid Garden, pretty sparkling lakes, and more. Or, Gardens by the Bay offers an altogether more futuristic space, boasting extraordinary features such an aerial walkway, modern sculptures, and technological tree-shaped gardens among others.

Callum rates Singapore very highly as a holiday destination:

“Singapore is such an amazing city full of culture and energy, and I guarantee you’ll leave Singapore richer in life and you’ll be planning your next visit before you have even left!”

Might this be the next destination for you? Find out more about Singapore cruises, and be sure to sign up for our new Asia brochure.


6 Must haves for any River Cruise

1st September 2016

Updated September 2017

When it comes to any type of holiday, aside from the obvious essentials like clothes and toiletries there can also be some not so obvious items that you'll find you need. There are things that you may not deem completely necessary, but will come in handy in the right situation – so read on and get prepared for your river cruise.

A Destination Travel Guide

A travel guide is a must have for any river cruise, as not only do these offer you a little background information about the areas you might visit, but they also usually include a street map which can help you figure out where you are and what is around you. They are also filled with recommendations of good tourist attractions, nice restaurants, bars, and so on.

Throughout your river cruise you’ll sail through many different countries, so it might be best to get a general guide of Europe which will enable you to look at all the countries you'll sail though. Or, you could get a guide to the country you’ll be seeing the most of - sometimes the cruise line you’re sailing with may even have guides to offer you.

couple with map in the city

 

Power Adaptors

Having at least one of these is definitely a must if you would like to charge up any electrical devices that you bring with you. This is because the plugs on any river vessel usually depend on where the vessel is sailing. For example, taking a river cruise onboard MS Emily Bronte in Europe will require a European adaptor. 

Check when booking your river cruise to find out which adaptor you'll need to bring. It’s worth noting that some cruise lines either sell or lend these out to customers, if you do forget to bring your own.

Backpack & re-useable water bottle

A backpack is certainly essential for all the excursions you’ll potentially go on – having one will allow you to comfortably take everything that you need; your camera, a water bottle, and maybe a snack. They also help when it comes to carrying around any souvenirs that might catch your eye!

If you see fit, you could take a re-usable water bottle, but depending on the cruise line you’re sailing with this isn’t necessarily needed as some supply you with a bottle of water for every excursion you go on.

 

Medication/first aid kit

This isn’t something you necessarily need, but it can certainly come in handy while you're not on the ship. You may be doing a lot of walking, so perhaps treat your feet with some gel inserts for your shoes, or bring along any medication that you know you might need for time away.

couple with camera in venice

 

Camera and/or binoculars

For many cruisers, taking a camera is a necessity as this allows you to capture every moment and memory that you might want to look back on. It’s possible that your mobile phone has a good quality built-in camera; if this is the case you could research some popular photography apps before your holiday to add an extra special touch to your holiday snaps.

On sunny days there is nothing better than enjoying the top deck of your ship and watching the world go by. Sailing picturesque rivers like the Mekong or the Rhine on Scenic River Cruises cruise can be perfectly accompanied by a pair of binoculars to help you get the most out of your surroundings.

Batteries and chargers

If taking a camera with you, you’ll need to make sure that you not only take your charger but also some spare batteries. You may find it difficult to get new ones whilst on holiday in a different country if your current ones become exhausted. Portable power packs are also a great way to keep charged whilst on the go.

Feeling inspired to go on a river cruise? Check out our latest river cruise deals or find out what's included with each river cruise line.


Which currency card is right for you?

7th August 2015

Arranging your money is one of the most important tasks to do before heading off on holiday.

There is nothing worse than getting to a stage where you are stuck for cash in a foreign country. In the past holidaymakers have taken out travellers' checks alongside their loose cash, which always provided a back-up if they needed more money when on holiday. Nowadays, it is even easier than that thanks to the introduction of prepaid currency cards.

Simple to use and accepted in a similar manner as credit and debit cards across the globe, this form of carrying money is really useful. Before heading off on holiday load up the card with however much you feel you will need and you're ready to go. Have an idea of what you will be using the card for, be it for shopping or paying for meals, so you load it up appropriately. Each currency card will have different terms, so let's take a look at which cards are currently available for travelling abroad.

 

Caxton FX Currency

The Caxton FX Currency Card is one of the leaders on the market and includes a free card with no overseas ATM withdrawal fee. It comes with a transaction fee of 2.49 per cent and will charge £1.50 for use at a UK ATM.

You can choose and switch between 15 currencies on one card but beware of a £5 charge should the card be stolen, get lost or require a replacement.

Travelex Cash Passport Globe

Travelex's Cash Passport Globe comes with a flat 2.49 percent fee for usage and is free from a monthly tariff. However, be aware of a £9.99 upfront fee for the card. It also charges 2.49 percent when using an ATM both overseas and in the UK.

Cashplus (Mastercard)

Mastercard's Cashplus prepaid card does not carry a transaction fee but the plastic has a monthly charge of £3.95. It is free to use at UK ATMs but costs £3 per transaction when using cash machines abroad.

It has the option of a £250 overdraft and £1,000 Direct Debt cover available, subject to approval. Users can manage the account through a handy mobile app or online banking.

ICE Travellers Cashcard

Like Mastercard's Cashplus card, the ICE Travellers Cashcard is free from a transaction fee. The card itself is free and there is no monthly charge to worry about. It has the option of 1.5 percent cashback on all purchases of £50 or more and even has a free back-up card for emergency use.

However, there is a 2.85 percent fee every time you load the card and has a minimum load of £50 on ICE Sterling. While ATM use is free, there is a maximum daily withdrawal of £500.

AA Travel Prepaid Card Sterling

The AA's Travel Prepaid Card Sterling does carry a transaction fee or require monthly payment or for the card itself. It charges £1.50 for usage at UK and international ATMs but refunds £9.95 every time customers load over £100.

You can load the card for free via bank transfer and debit card and there are no fees for overseas transactions. However, there is a £4.99 charge for a lost or stolen card as well as a £1 dormancy fee per month following 12 months of Sterling card inactivity.

Read more about managing your holiday money


Know before you go - staying safe abroad

25th June 2015

Updated March 2018

Ensure smooth sailing on your next annual holiday with some simple and easy safety tips.

 

 

Research your destination of choice
If you are visiting a place for the first time, it's always worthwhile reading up a little bit about what to expect when you arrive. From cultural differences and local customs, to current affairs, avoid awkward surprises by being well informed. The official British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website offers up-to-date global travel advice.

Inform family or close friends of your trip
Whether you're heading off alone, as a couple, or a family, it's a good idea to let loved ones know of your travel plans. This will make it easier to locate or contact you if necessary.

Consult a medical professional
You might need vaccinations before you travel, or to carry prescribed medication on your trip. Consult your doctor before you depart if you have any questions or concerns regarding your health whilst abroad.

 

Stepping off the ship for a day or two?

Use official and registered taxis
Your cruise line should be able to advise you on safe local taxis to transport you to and from the ship. Avoid unwanted situations by only using official and registered taxis during your stay.

Learn some basic local language
Knowing a few basic words or sentences in the local language can work wonders on your trip. Useful ones include hello, thank you, no thank you, excuse me, and help!

Avoid unknown and remote areas at night
The atmosphere can completely change when the sun goes down, sometimes for the better but unfortunately sometimes not. Get a sense of your surroundings and avoid dark alleys, beaches, or unknown areas at night. Walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas is also not advised.

Don't show off your flashy gadgets
Use a camera strap to keep a good grip on your camera. Try not to openly advertise flashy gadgets if you're visiting a crowded place, and and beware of pick-pockets.

 

 

Keep your bag zip at the front
Making sure your bag zip is at the front where you can see it means it’s less likely for pickpockets to unzip and access your valuables. If you have a backpack and are walking through a market or crowded area, wear it the other way around and on your front so that you can see it at all times.

Take only what you need
Work out how much money you will need for the day, and if you're travelling with others divide it between you. This means that if your money is lost or stolen, you will still have enough for your trip stored safely onboard.

Be wary of “friendly strangers”
Unfortunately not everyone who acts friendly wants to be your friend. Pick-pockets often work in teams and use distraction techniques. Try to suss the person out, and if you feel uneasy, politely decline their conversation but make sure you know where your valuables are whilst doing so. Placing your hand in your pocket or on your bag will reassure you that you’re still holding what you should be.

Try to avoid accepting gifts or leaflets from strangers; this is a known distraction technique.

 

 

Know where your passport is?

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) reported that in 2016 more than 21,000 British passports had been reported lost or stolen. Avoid falling victim to passport theft with some excellent tips from stealth crime expert James Freedman outlined below.

  • Be aware of your surroundings, and strangers who take an unusual amount of interest in you
  • A damaged passport cannot be used for travel, so value it and keep it safe
  • Lock your passport in a safe
  • Make two photocopies of your passport – leave one with friends or family and take the second with you.
  • Check the entry requirements of your destination before you go
  • Ensure you fill in the emergency details before you go



    While it is important to consider the safety aspects of any travelling experience, you should not let these distract you from having a fantastic time. The chances are that you won't experience any trouble during your cruise, so relax and enjoy the new experiences that are sure to fill each and every day.

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