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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.


7 Ways to keep fit on your cruise

8th January 2016

Updated January 2018

 

Maintaining fitness can be hard with a busy lifestyle, let alone on a cruise where you are constantly faced with tempting food and hours relaxing around a pool. With the pressures of making time for fitness in our daily lives, going on a cruise can bring daunting thoughts of putting on weight and no exercise. In fact, the reality can be quite different; staying fit on a cruise can be both easy and enjoyable.

It is said that one of the most important factors considered when people are choosing a cruise, is the quality and quantity of food onboard. From the moment you wake up to the minute your head hits the pillow at the end of the day, there is certainly no shortage of exquisite dishes at hand.

 

 

Although you may think this makes it hard to maintain your health and fitness levels on a cruise, there are actually a number of ways to stay fit onboard. Modern day cruise ships are not just about eating and lounging, they are kitted out with high-tech fitness facilities and provide a fantastic array of activities to stay help you stay healthy onboard.

Having that balance of indulgence (you have to on holiday!) with keeping fit, will ensure you return home happy, healthy and rejuvinated while knowing that you made the most of your time away.

 

Here are our top 6 ways to stay fit onboard:

 

Onboard Gym

Cruise ships are home to some of the most innovative and spacious gyms in the world, and certainly boast some of the best views. Imagine running on a treadmill peering over the ocean, cycling towards an incredible view of a European city, or lifting weights as you watch the sunset.

Onboard fitness centres are increasing in size, and cruise lines know the potential of having a state-of-the-art gym onboard. Included in the price, there is no excuse to not take a trip to the gym during your stay. No need to spend your entire holiday there, but a couple of visits will make you feel less guilty about the extra calories you'll no doubt want to consume! From the latest cardio equipment, an extensive range of weights, and flat screen televisions, you'll wish your gym at home was as good as your gym at sea.

Most onboard gyms come with a running track, sauna, and other fitness facilities. The running track is a great way for you to maintain your fitness during your time away, especially if the gym is not your thing. Most have multiple lanes so you can walk, jog, or run.

Cruise Fitness Fact – The running track on Oasis of the Seas is 0.43 miles long, and features motivational signs reminding you why you're there; 'Tonight’s dessert can be guilt free'.

 

 

Exercise Classes

Whether you're a regular attendant at gym classes, or you want to try one for the first time, a cruise is the perfect place to do this. With choices like yoga, pilates, body balance, and box fit, cruises have an extensive range for you to enjoy.

There is normally an extra charge for classes (usually about $10), but compared to what you would pay for them at home they are reasonably priced and offer great value for money. If you do want to take part in a class, make sure you sign up early as they do fill up quickly. There is limited space, and with high numbers of guests onboard you don't want to be disappointed.

One of the great things about fitness classes during a cruise are the locations. Yoga on a private beach, pilates on the top deck, or boot camp on the outside rock-climbing walls are fitness experiences you will not get anywhere else in the world.

Cruise Fitness Fact - Disney Cruise Line offer yoga classes on their private island, Castaway Cay.

 

 

The Midnight Buffet Is A Treat

One toughie will undoubtedly be 'how to avoid the midnight buffet', when you are confronted with the most exquisite array of food you've ever seen. Don't avoid it completely, but perhaps don’t go every night after you've already eaten a three course meal!

Most cruise lines will have a midnight buffet on various nights of a cruise, and it is a fun event that you shouldn't miss. Usually taking place on the outer decks, accompanied by live music and dancing under the stars, the midnight buffet is the ultimate cruise party.

Unlike buffets you have seen before, there will be a wide selection of hot and cold foods including exciting sea foods, tasty meats, and delicious salads. This is the opportunity for you to go on a culinary journey and try foods you've never tasted…just remember you don't need to go every night.

Cruise Fitness Fact: Cucumber has such few calories, you can eat as much as you like. Dipped in some humous makes a great choice for the buffet.

 

 

Eat Smart

Food glorious food, one of the reasons we love cruising. Some of the most divine menus and famous Michelin chefs are found at sea, and you'll have some of the most delicious culinary experiences in the world during your cruise. 

Even though many of us are guilty of taking advantage of being on holiday, and allow ourselves to indulge on everything and anything that's available, remember to dine in moderation. Yes there is food available to you 24 hours a day but that doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

Most cruise lines now offera  low fat menu, and often the dishes are so tasty you'd never know that they are anything but regular meals. Many of the options are less than 500 calories, but still fill you up with a tiny bit of space for dessert.

Cruise Fitness Fact: The average cheeseburger has 1100 calories, meaning you would have to do two hours of running at 5mph to burn it off.

 

 

Active Excursions

Whether you go away to relax or explore, staying fit can still be achieved even when you're not thinking about it. Taking part in an active excursion is a great way to do a full day of exercising without really realising it.

Simply wandering around is often the best way to truly experience a city, so if you're up to it, try a walking tour rather than a coach or bus tour. If you spend a day exploring on your feet, you'll not need to go to the gym or worry about what’s for dinner later.

If walking isn’t your idea of active fun you can try zip-lining, water-rafting, rock-climbing, or other active explorations in many fascinating cruise destinations.

Cruise Fitness Fact: You burn around 310 calories on a 10 mile city walk, walking at an average speed.

 

 

Take The Stairs

Many cruise ships are considerably big, and sometimes the easiest way to get around is via the central staircase. With no more than eighteen decks, cruise ship facilities are spread out, so you're likely to be walking between different floors a lot of the time. There are both stairs and elevators on either end of a ship so you have the choice.

When going from one venue to another taking the stairs is a great way to be active, and in fact is often quicker than having to wait for an elevator.

Cruise Fitness Fact: One flight of stairs is said to burn 15 calories and taking an elevator will burn 0.

 


Try Something New

Modern day cruise ship design has taken the experience of cruising to a whole new level, and you can now spend a sea day learning adventurous new skills if you fancy it.

Royal Caribbean made waves when they introduced their hugely popular FlowRider surf simulator. Keen surfers can learn tips and tricks from the highly skilled surf instructors monitoring the attraction. Other adventures available onboard with Royal Caribbean include the climbing wall and Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator – the very first at sea!

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Escape is packed with fun thrill factors for anyone who wants to get their adrenaline pumping. Check out their extensive ropes course, zip line plank (over the open water), and fun water slides and Aqua Park.

Cruise Fitness Fact – Testing your limits (within reason) can cause an adrenaline rush, this increases your heartbeat and can maximise your workout.

 


By Sally Grimes 


Why we love solo cruise travel

11th June 2015

As no single supplement offers are a cruising staple now, we thought it a good idea to recap why solo cruise travel is an all-round amazing idea.

Opting for a solo cruise means that you can see what you want, when you want and not have to wait for anyone else to decide. There is something empowering about going it alone and you’ll learn something new about yourself each time.

Grab a great value single offer whilst it’s hot and start to get excited for all the forthcoming fun you are about to have on your cruise. From joining inspiring land tours and shore excursions, to participating in endless onboard activities; you might want to clear your calendar for the coming months to make space for all the new friends you’re about to make.

 

For when you’re feeling social


Joining a cruise as a single doesn’t mean you have to remain single; there are plenty of opportunities to get social and make new friends within the cruising community.


Organised social events

 
Some cruise lines host organised meet ups for social solo travellers to get to know each other. Holland America Line throw a singles cocktail party and P&O Cruises host coffee mornings for solo travellers.


Bar chat

 
Grab a stool at the bar and secure your spot in the social hub for the evening. You’ll get a great view of goings on and can get chatting to the bar crew and mixologists or other cruisers. Try a range of wines by the glass at P&O Cruises' The Glass House or visit Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar for a totally unique experience.


Poolside

 
When the sun is shining everybody heads to the pool, there are often planned pool activities and cruise lines like Carnival throw some great pool and deck parties.


Shore excursions

 
Joining onshore excursions is a fantastic way to meet and mingle with other cruisers. You’ll get to explore exciting new places and likely have the chance to participate in organised activities with new friends.


friends toasting

 

Dining

 
Most cruise lines cater for sociable solo travellers by seating them together if requested. With some ships including dining tables seating up to 8 people, there are plenty of opportunities for social dining.


Classes

 
Onboard activities can range from cooking classes to dance or computer classes and much more. Use this time to learn a new skill and bond with your fellow students.


Communal areas

 
Luxury lounges, viewing spots and chill out zones are easy to find on a cruise and also a great place to meet others. Norwegian Cruise Line also provide their single guests with a dedicated singles bar and lounge.



For when you want some space

 

Room Service

 
An increase in single staterooms are popping up across cruise lines. If you’d like some quiet time to catch a movie in your cabin, take advantage of room service and enjoy a peaceful dinner.
 


Spa


Find total tranquillity in an onboard spa, indulge in a treatment or find a calm corner to relax. Princess Cruises offer an adult only Sanctuary and Celebrity Cruises an adult only pool area, Serenity.


hammock

 

Gym + new adventures

 
There is no better way to get in the zone than in the gym. Work on your fitness and create a new personal best whilst on your cruise holiday. For something a little more adventurous, Royal Caribbean boast rock climbing walls and surf simulators for adrenaline junkies.


Deck stroll

 
Enjoy awe-inspiring views on your cruise and breathe in the fresh sea air on a lengthy stroll above deck. You can walk at your own pace and for as long or as little as you like. Many cruise ships have marked out walking tracks; just make sure you’re not on the running one unless you plan to pick up the pace.


Lectures

 
Onboard lectures are available across a wide range of cruise ships and you can learn from academics, historians, explorers and more in superb lecture theatres. Cunard provide a great selection of events in their Cunard Insights programme.


Cinema screenings

 
Princess Cruises have an epic outdoor cinema for you to enjoy movies under the stars. Whilst Carnival Vista brings the world’s first Imax theatre to the seas.


 

Thinking about a solo cruise? Browse our best single deals or try something totally unique from our Handcrafted Holidays collection.

 

If you have any special requirements during your cruise or would like to know more information about specific solo cruise activites for your chosen voyage - speak to your cruise agent at the time of your enquiry.


My Regent Seven Seas Voyager Experience

9th September 2013

Updated August 2019

 

We sent Sarah from our sales team out to go and find out more about the highly-esteemed Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship, Voyager. Find out just what she thought of the ship in her detailed review below.

 

seven seas voyager

 

Looking beautiful…

As I arrived at the port of Southampton, the beautiful Seven Seas Voyager stood before me, gleaming in the bright sunshine. The ship looked striking from the outside, boasting stunning balconies and a clean, pristine exterior.

The boarding process was easy and there were no queues or frustrated passengers in the terminal, which has a small café and comfortable waiting chairs where you could watch the passengers waiting eagerly to board the ship. It was lovely to see people looking so happy and ready for their holiday.

Entering the ship was a different experience to what I've seen before.  With many ships, you enter into a large Atrium area, whereas on Voyager there was a much smaller, more elegant looking Atrium.  This set the scene of a stylish, sophisticated and graceful ship and I could not wait to see more.

Sophisticated interior…

From the entrance I took the elevator up to the top so that I could work my way from top to bottom. The pool deck was beautiful. I was blown away with how clean and pristine everything looked - the onboard crew must work extremely hard to ensure every single inch of the ship looks immaculate.

 

seven seas voyager pool

 

A large pool and two Jacuzzis glistened beneath the sun rays. It was 28 degrees at the time, so you can imagine how much I wanted to just take a dip! Sun loungers lined with pure white Regent towels stood perfectly around the pool. There was also an outside café that had a selection of foods and a BBQ. I could imagine enjoying this beautiful deck while cruising around an exotic destination - my idea of a dream holiday. I could have stayed by the pool all day, but I needed to go and explore the interior, so from here I headed to go and see the restaurants.

La Veranda offers a more casual style dining venue compared to the other restaurants onboard. A variety of dishes presented in a buffet style showcased a diverse range of food including grilled lamb chops and sea bass. I didn't want to stare at people eating, but I couldn't help notice everybody appearing to greatly enjoy their food.

 

cruise ship buffet

 

I then took myself to Signatures which is Regent’s famous French restaurant. The décor within this venue was breathtaking. Deep blues and gold's created a luxurious French cosmopolitan restaurant feel. The menu sounded divine with dishes including Quiche au Camembert and Melted Potato Garnishes.

The second speciality restaurant onboard, Prime 7, was my next stop. Upon entering the restaurant, I had to remind myself I was on a ship! Its glamorous, luxurious. and immaculate décor made me feel like I was in a high-end American steak house. The deep brown colours accompanying burnished wood tables and large leather seats create the ultimate setting, before even looking at the menu. The menu had my taste buds going wild; oysters, jumbo lump crab cakes, and 28 day aged prime beef just to name a few.

Looking at all of this made me hungry but I wanted to explore more of the ship before I went to lunch.

So much to see for a 'small' ship…

The Observation Lounge is a quiet, relaxing venue with spectacular views. With panoramic windows covering three sides of the lounge, it is the perfect place to catch the best views of the spectacular destinations that Voyager sails to. The Voyager Lounge and Horizon Lounge are perfect venues to hang out with friends, grab a cocktail and enjoy a variety of entertainment. Again, decorated in luxurious, neutral décor and boasting immaculate, stylish furniture. The Connoisseur Club is a stylish and inviting space, perfectly adorned in dark woods, leather furnishings and deep colours. Here smokers can enjoy a fine cigar and a cognac.

 

seven seas voyager smoking

 

The Constellation Theater appeared smaller than theaters I had seen on other ships, however presented an intimate and comfortable venue to watch a variety of shows. The library, art gallery and internet café were all a reasonable size and provided up-to-date facilities. The casino was small but created a fun, intimate area that I can imagine hosts many fun-filled evenings. The spa was beautiful and definitely somewhere I would want to spend my time. Decorated in warm, neutral colours it created the ultimate relaxation for people going for a treatment. The private treatment rooms were warm and tranquil and would easily allow people to switch off from the stresses of everyday life.

 

Rooms fit for Kings and Queens…

I was lucky enough to go and see the various categories of rooms, and couldn't wait to get back and share with everyone how amazing they are. From all the ships I have been on, these were some of my favourite rooms. All categories boasted spacious, beautiful rooms with the best range of amenities.

The Grand Suite is my favourite of all the rooms, maybe due to the fact it has an area with a private hot tub. The bedroom area is huge - with a large bed that was made so nicely I was scared to touch it. The marble bathroom is stunning, boasting luxurious bathroom amenities and amazingly soft towels. The large living area is perfectly arranged, and it's easy to imagine spending an evening in here, snuggled up watching a film in comfort.

 

regent seven seas penthouse

 

I was also lucky enough to see the ultimate room - the Penthouse Suite. This is huge, boasting a very large living area, private bar, eight-person dining table, and two large bedrooms. Definitely a room for those who are looking for the best in luxury cruise accommodation.

Food as amazing as the ship…

After my full morning of exploring it was now time for me to see if the food was as amazing as the ship. 

The dining room is beautiful, I could certainly tell I was on a luxury liner. With its warm coloured décor, perfectly laid tables and intimate lighting it offered an impeccable atmosphere for the ultimate in cruise dining. The friendly staff assisted me to my table and explained the menu, as well as offering me a choice of wine and water.

The five course meal was one of the best I have ever had on a cruise ship, I could not fault one thing about it and everything was cooked to perfection. The first course was a lobster timbale with melon and guava dressing, followed by a pumpkin soup with lemon grass and ginger. Both dishes tasting out of this world. For my main course it was a choice of halibut with roasted fennel, plum tomatoes and spinach or roast tenderloin with porcini jus. I opted for the tenderloin and was more than satisfied. It actually melted in my mouth and had the most delicious, unique taste.

 

regent seven seas dining

 

I could not resist the Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake for dessert which again, was unbelievable. The warmth of the cake with its melting centre accompanied with vanilla ice-cream was a dining experience hard to put into words. Finally, friandises and coffee completed our meal perfectly.

My Regent Summary…

My day onboard Regent Seven Seas Voyager could not have gone any better. I was truly blown away with all it has to offer. The pristine and elegant open spaces give you a feeling of warmth and remind you exactly what luxury is within the cruise world. The rooms are perfect and some of the best I have ever seen on a cruise ship and the food was truly divine. Regent Seven Seas are an all-inclusive luxury cruise line who will offer you the best in luxury cruising. Flights, transfers, excursions, food and drink are all included within your price so it allows you to have a stress-free time with no hidden charges or large onboard spend bills. I can now see why people choose to sail with Regent again and again and they certainly offer a truly outstanding product. I cannot express enough how much I know you will have the cruise of a lifetime if you choose to go with Regent Seven Seas and I certainly hope I will be back on Voyager one day.


Take a look at our cruises onboard Regent Seven Seas.

More information on Regent Seven Seas.




Meet The Most Famous Cruise Director At Sea

5th September 2013

Updated May 2019

 

With more than 200,000 followers on Facebook, 19 million views on his blog page and one of the most popular faces in the cruise industry, John Heald is one in-demand man! He is the Senior Cruise Director for Carnival Cruises, and a Brand Ambassador for them. He began working for Carnival Cruises in 1989, and has grown significantly within the company to become one of the most famous names within the cruise industry.

John has become extremely popular for his blogging. From writing his first blog in March, 2007 he has gone on to blog just about every day, and his page has received more than 19 million hits. Many of his blog posts receive over 50 comments a day. He writes about passengers, events, and personal experiences that occur at sea. John's energetic, funny and occasionally inappropriate character has made the cruise public fall in love with him.

So, when we found out he was going to be onboard Carnival Legend at the same time as some of our lucky staff, we decided we couldn't let this opportunity slide. Despite bing in such huge demand, he was gracious enough to arrange an interview with us. Straight away you could see that he's a fun and energetic character who was born to be on stage! Find out just what we found out about this well-loved cruise director;

 

 

John is originally from Essex, he has a great sense of humour and you could tell people bounce off his personality instantly. As well as the funny side, it was clear he took his job very seriously and has a very strong passion for what he does.

We thoroughly enjoyed our chat with John, and found him an inspirational character that we werey lucky to meet. His fun-loving and happy personality comes across within his work and it is clear why he is so popular and well regarded within the cruise industry. If anyone has the pleasure of being on a cruise with him, be prepared for the best entertainment at sea!


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