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5 Worst Mistakes to Make When Packing for a Cruise

clock 18th March 2019 | comment0 Comments

Packing for a cruise can cause anxiety in some guests – whether they’ve cruised before or not. Questions like ‘what am I expected to wear on a formal night’, and ‘are towels provided for the pool’ might be swimming around your head. While answers to these questions will differ among cruise lines, there are some cruise essentials that you would do well to remember, just as there are a number of faux pas that can be avoided when packing for a cruise. Read on for the five worst mistakes you can make when packing for your cruise holiday.

 

 

1. Not researching airline rules

One mistake which can really put a damper on the start of your holiday is to forget to check the luggage weight limit for your airline. Some cruisers can become preoccupied with abiding by cruise line rules and then don’t check those of the airline. This can be a huge mistake considering most cruise lines are very generous – with luxury lines such as Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas offering no limit at all. Common weight limits for larger airlines are around 20-23kg, however, many of the smaller ones are just 15kg. Be sure to double check this to avoid a nasty bill when you check in (the information will be available on airline websites).

 

2. Assuming every day will be hot

Although understandable, another error is to think that every day on your Caribbean cruise will bring sunshine and temperatures upwards of 25°C. While this part of the world is known for its warmer climes, the truth is there could be grey days, windy weather, and even rain during your time there. Same goes for destinations in the Mediterranean and Asia. Be prepared for all eventualities by packing a light cardigan and a foldaway raincoat/poncho even if the forecast tells only of sunny skies. Neither of these items takes up much room in your suitcase, and you’ll be grateful for them if the weather does turn.

 

 

3. Forgetting a plug adaptor

Many of us are guilty of this one - especially when cruising from Southampton or another UK port. Most cruise lines take pride in catering for an international clientele – including British passengers – so it’s easy to forget that many are actually European or US-based companies, meaning they have European or US style plug sockets onboard. In fact, it’s only Cunard and P&O Cruises that have the standard 3-pin British plugs. Be sure to find out what plug sockets will be in your stateroom, and pack at least one adaptor so that you can charge your phone/tablet, straighten your hair, or use any other electrical item you need to bring with you. 

 

4. Wasting suitcase space

It’s easy to overpack when cruising, especially if it’s a no-fly venture with next to no luggage limit. Instead of wasting your suitcase space on things you don’t need, consider saving the room for bringing back more souvenirs.

 

 

There are a number of things that you might not realise you don’t really need, for example;

  • Multiple books – there is usually a library with a good selection onboard
  • Large toiletries – often supplied in cabin bathrooms, or can be purchased onboard
  • Hair dryer – usually supplied in the cabin’s vanity unit
  • Towels – most lines supply enough towels for use in the cabin and pools
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    5. Not bringing spare clothes in your carry-on bag

    On embarkation day, you will be asked to leave your luggage with attendants who will see that it is delivered to your cabin. Considering how many people will be boarding, this process could take anything from an hour to most of the day. In anticipation of this, it’s a good idea to pack some clothes to change into when you get onboard. Whether you’ve made a long car journey to reach the port, or you’ve had to fly in, a fresh outfit will put you in the holiday mood ready to explore your new home away from home.

     

     

    For more advice about what you should be packing for your cruise holiday, see our blog about packing for different climate zones.



    CLIA's 2018 Cruise Takeover

    clock 29th August 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Over this August bank holiday weekend CLIA celebrated cruising with the world by having a major cruise take-over day! Thousands of people joined in celebrating cruise by posting images of some of their favourite cruises, using the hashtag (#) ‘cruisetakeover’ over social media platforms. The whole idea was to share an experience that was exciting, or that truly made your experience onboard or even at cruise event - so basically anything cruise! Don’t worry if you missed out on the day, as we will be taking you through some of the wonderful images shared. If you are interested in seeing more, simply search the hashtag ‘cruisetakeover’ or ‘cruisetakeoverday’ on social media, and you will find plenty more.

    Adam on Facebook shared over 19 images showing us his experience onboard Royal Caribbean’s ship ‘Symphony of the Seas’, known as the world’s most instagrammable ship! I’m sure Adam would agree with an image posing in the ship’s Instagram photo frame. Adam wrote ‘If you have thought about booking a cruise just look at these photos, need I say anymore’. Definitely, no more needed to say with those images making us jealous!

     

     

    Craig David onboard a recent Marella Cruises ship has certainly created a head-turning experience for many people abroad the Marella Explorer this year, with Telegraph Cruise posting a tweet on Twitter saying ‘Rewinding to what could be the highlight of the cruising year!’ then posting a tweet of Craig David’s performance.

    Kory Williams posted an image on Instagram describing his experience on Carnival Cruises' ship Carnival Glory with his family. The great thing about cruising is the number of places you can go in such a short time; in this post Kory says how he cruised to ‘Turks, Puerto Rico, St Thomas, and Dominican Republic’ and how he met people from all over which shows that cruising is a great way to meet others!

     

     

    Enjoy some more screenshots taken from cruise takeover day, with many cruisers showing all the exotic places they’ve been which might inspire you for your next cruise holiday. Never been on a cruise and have now been inspired? Read all about how to choose your first cruise.

     

     

     

     

     

     



    A Cruise Expert's Review of Symphony of the Seas

    clock 31st July 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Updated March 2019

    We love sending our staff out on various cruises and ship visits so that they can continue to hone their expertise and pass on knowledge to our customers. This being said, we felt it absolutely necessary to send a few of our guys out on what is now (at the time of writing!) the world’s largest cruise ship; Symphony of the Seas. Find out what cruise specialist Chelsea thought of this incredible ship.

     

     

    There are many, many awe-struck moments that you will feel onboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. But then, this is what they do best.

    When you arrive you are hit instantly by her sheer size. She dwarfs all other ships in port and dominates the view. Many people are a little worried about the 5,518 passenger capacity onboard, but they really don’t need to be. Most of the time, you don’t even realise you are sailing, never mind on a cruise ship!

    The ship is so vast that you don’t feel swamped by other passengers at all, and instead, you simply feel relaxed. The only time you might see the majority of the other passengers is in the theatre, which spans over two decks towards the front of the ship. I was lucky enough to watch Hairspray here, and was taken aback by the staging, the lights, and the whole performance. It really does rival the West End!

    Inside the ship, you feel as though you are in a huge shopping centre. It’s filled with entertainment, restaurants, shops, and bars. Each ‘neighbourhood’ is truly amazing in a different way;

     

  • Central Park with its trees and plants really makes you feel like you’re having a coffee in a park
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  • The Boardwalk boasts the Aqua Theatre and sports bars
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  • The Royal Promenade is the heart of the ship, and where you will find the majority of shops and bars
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    Not to mention all the other amenities onboard the ship; waterslides, the Abyss, the Pools, FlowRider, the zip-line, rock-climbing walls, laser tag - is it possible there’s too much to do?

    The cabin we had was a Balcony cabin overlooking the Boardwalk. It was perfect for two people and had a sofa area by the balcony. We had a great view of the Aqua Theatre, but this did also mean we could hear the Aqua Theatre Show when our door was open. If the door is shut, you hear next to no noise at all which is great for the evenings.

    As great as our accommodation was, I would, in fact, recommend an Oceanview Balcony cabin on this ship. Aside from these cabins, you can only see the ocean beyond the Aqua Theatre and from the windows in the main restaurant - it isn’t visible elsewhere on the ship. By staying in an Oceanview Balcony, you would know you were holidaying on a cruise ship after all!

     

     

    A cruise isn’t a cruise if you don’t mention the food. The Main Restaurant on Symphony of the Seas is beautiful, and the standard of the food you just cannot fault. The Windjammer is everything you expect and caters for every fancy. The speciality restaurants that you see on other Royal Caribbean ships are also present; Jamie’s Italian, Izumi, and Chop’s Grille for example. As with some of the other large ships in the fleet, 150 Central Park and Wonderland are also both onboard. My only regret is not being able to try Wonderland’s ‘Imaginative dining’ - I would advise anyone to book a table here in advance through your Cruise Personaliser, so as not to miss out.

    As for the staff, we couldn’t fault any of them. They always - always - went above and beyond as usual.

    Take a closer look at life onboard Symphony of the Seas, or if you’re already sold, browse through our range of Symphony of the Seas cruises.



    5 Things to do on a Sea Day

    clock 11th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

    People might choose a cruise holiday for all sorts of different reasons, from the destinations you’ll visit and experiences you could have, to the food and features on the cruise ship. Whether you love them or hate them, if you’ve chosen an itinerary with widespread ports – or even a transatlantic crossing – sea days are inevitable. Instead of wishing these days away, make the most of what’s onboard with our 5 things to do on a sea day.

     

     

    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 the Snow Grotto on Viking Cruises ships, and the Thalassotherapy Baths with Costa Cruises.

     

     

    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, or in the queue for the rock-climbing wall you’re both about to face. 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.

    For more inspiration about what to do on your cruise ship, take a look at our 10 best complimentary things to do onboard.



    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!



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