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Cruise Blog

Whats in port: visiting cruise ports

30th January 2020

Discovering what's in port is one of the most exciting parts of a cruise, and with countless fascinating ports of call to explore, you're probably wondering how to get the most out of each one. Read on for our top tips on disembarkation, packing your bag and enjoying the range of excursions you'll find onshore. [More]

5 Things to do on a Sea Day

11th May 2018

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.


Things to do in Fort Lauderdale

28th March 2018

Fort Lauderdale is a common starting point for many Caribbean cruises, and while many guests tend to arrive just in time to embark, the city itself certainly warrants several days of exploring. So instead of simply using Fort Lauderdale as a start or end point, consider spending a bit of extra time here. To help with a little inspiration, here are our favourite things to do in Fort Lauderdale.

 

 

Relax on the beach

With over 23 miles of beaches with promenades, there’s plenty of room for everyone to make the most of Fort Lauderdale’s balmy temperatures, which average at 25°C. Whether you prefer sunbathing with a book and a cocktail, or walking along the beach occasionally dipping your toes in the sea, spending time relaxing at one of the many beaches will leave you feeling soothed and refreshed.

Look around the art district

Many visitors are unaware of Fort Lauderdale’s dynamic art scene. Made up of four city blocks, the art district – known as F.A.T Village – is a fantastic hub for all things creative. With impressive colourful murals, galleries and shops showcasing local creations, and charming cafes and coffee shops, an afternoon spent here can be interesting and culturally enriching.

 

 

Discover the Everglades

The Everglades National Park is around an hour from Fort Lauderdale, and offers the perfect chance to get closer to nature and explore some unspoiled landscape. Try an exhilarating air boat ride where you glide swiftly across the wetlands, taking in some gorgeous scenery, birdlife, and with any luck the famed Floridian ‘gators will also make an appearance.

 

 

Explore Venetian-style canals

When exploring Fort Lauderdale, be sure to make the most of the city’s extensive canal network. Nicknamed the 'Venice of America', the waterways are not only pretty, but they can be convenient for traversing the city via boat or water taxi. Opting for this mode of transport will also enable you to see some of the gorgeous mansions found in Fort Lauderdale, which are owned by various celebrities and millionaires.

 

 

Savour delicious food

Known as the Sunshine State, Florida is unsurprisingly home to some great quality produce. From perfectly crisp orange juice, to bright red and juicy tomatoes, the state has the very best ingredients to create some incredible culinary treats. Thanks to the heavy Caribbean influence here, an incredible cuisine known as Floribbean has been born - try all kinds of unique, world class food including seafood and even alligator if you’re feeling adventurous. 

Discover the beautiful and lively city of Fort Lauderdale on an exciting Caribbean cruise.


Cruises for Foodies

12th January 2018

Whether you’ve decided to go on a cruise to relax and get away for a few weeks, see some exotic new places, or simply enjoy the traditional cruise ship environment, there's one thing that just about all of us value on holiday: good food. There are some people who decide upon their cruise ship and destination on the strength of the culinary possibilities, and whether this is you or not, if you have an interest in food it can be helpful to know what’s out there. See our guide for some great foodie inspiration for your next cruise.

 

 

Cruise Ships with Top Chef Restaurants

Many cruise lines have affiliations with famous and world renowned chefs, some of whom might make special appearances onboard, and some of whom have collaborated with the line to create superb menus. Our favourites include:

Royal Caribbean – you’ll find Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian onboard

Oceania Cruises – offer the culinary stylings of Jacques Pepin

Crystal Cruises – the incredible Sushi Bar from famous Japanese chef Nobu

Costa Cruises – boast chef Ettore Bocchia-approved Italian cuisine

 

 

Meet and Greets with Celebrity Chefs

P&O Cruises are true pioneers when it comes to celebrating and promoting what us Brits love, and that includes food and wine. With this in mind, they have partnered up with some of our best-loved gastronomic stars:

• Eric Lanlard – French Patissier famed for his incredible desserts

• Marco Pierre White – Leeds-born chef, considered the ‘original celebrity chef’

• Ollie Smith – TV wine connoisseur famed for his enthusiasm!

 

Cookery Classes and Gastronomic Experience

Considering all these amazing onboard features, it will come as no surprise to learn that many cruise lines offer some fantastic interactive opportunities in which guests can learn from the greats.

Viking Ocean CruisesKitchen Table. Join fellow passengers in an exclusive venue, where you will see world-class chefs prepare your meal made with ingredients purchased locally.

Holland America Line’s America’s Test Kitchen. Watch 45 minute cookery demonstrations onboard, which will be aired on popular US cookery show, America’s Test Kitchen.

Pullmantur Cruises' Gastrolab. Experience the delectable cuisine created by a team of professional chefs, led by three Michelin-starred chef Jordi Cruz.

 

 

Not only can you make the most of all these fantastic opportunities while on your ship, but you’ll also have the chance to explore the local cuisine at your cruise destinations. While just about every port town will have a certain dish they’re proud of, or cocktail to show off, depending on your own taste you might prefer one to another. If you’re struggling to decide just where to try next, here are some of our own top foodie spots you can cruise to;

 

 

The Mediterranean – From succulent paella and freshly made pizza, to mouth-watering churros and baklava, the countries of the Mediterranean have such a diverse and incredible selection of food that all visitors will struggle not to over-indulge!

Japan – Fans of Asian rice and noodle-based dishes will find that Japan offers simple yet stunning food that’s undeniably moreish. Beyond sushi and sashimi, be sure to try a local katsu curry, nikuman (steamed buns), and ramen (noodle broth).

North America – many people are guilty of dismissing American food as simply large and easy. In fact, the USA is home to some amazing dishes such as barbecue, gourmet burgers, pancakes, steaks, deep-dish pizzas, clam chowder, the list goes on and on . . .

Scandinavia – The cuisine of North Europe is often forgotten, but with such unexpected ingredients and interesting concoctions, it will leave you thinking about what creations you could devise in your own kitchen! The pies and pastries here are especially delicious.

 

 

These are just some of the food-focussed cruising opportunities out there. Research has shown that more and more cruisers believe food to be of the utmost importance on their holiday, and cruise lines are listening to this and constantly upping their game. Because of this you’re likely to find some fantastic speciality restaurants and buffets onboard the majority of ships, and more attention on the culinary aspects of destinations. Take a look at these amazing worldwide food markets for more inspiration about where to see next.


Your Essential Guide to Singapore

3rd January 2018

 

Cruising in Singapore is a fantastic introduction to Asia, as the country is thought of as a microcosm of the continent. With the population being made up of predominantly Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian immigrants, it’s no surprise that so much of the food, music, and other cultural traditions are an eclectic mix of these influences – as well as European due to historic events. To give you something of an idea about what to expect, we’ve put together this handy top tips guide.

 

The Language

The most commonly used language in Singapore is actually English, but in fact most of the population are bilingual – speaking one of the other three main languages too. These are Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. If you do want to mix in with locals and use a few popular phrases, try:

   -   'Lah’, at the end of a sentence, to emphasise what you’re saying – for instance, ‘That food was delicious, lah!’

   -   ‘Ni hao’, meaning ‘hello’ in Mandarin

   -   ‘Terima kasih’, meaning ‘thank you’ in Malay

   -   ‘Wah lau’, is used to express shock – for instance, ‘Wah lau! That’s expensive!’

The Currency

The currency used in Singapore is the Singapore Dollar. At the time of writing $1 equates to £0.55. Wining and dining in Singapore can be just about as cheap or expensive as you like, owing to the fact that there is a fantastic range of bars and restaurants. To give you a rough idea, a meal in a hawker centre will cost around $6 (£3.33), and a trip to a museum, for instance, won’t cost you more than about $20 (£11.10).

 

Local Transport

Singapore is largely thought of as one of the easiest places in Asia to navigate as a tourist. Probably the simplest way to get around is by using the MRT trains and buses. If you’re doing a cruise and stay holiday with a few extra nights in Singapore, it’s worth considering buying an EZ-link card. These can be topped up and used to access both of the aforementioned modes of transport. Alternatively, taxis are relatively easy to come by, and are good value during off-peak hours.

The Weather

One great thing about Singapore is that the weather remains pretty consistent throughout the year. The temperature range is generally 24 – 30°C, and you’re likely to find rain and haze quite regularly. The country actually has two monsoon seasons – a southwest season is usually June to September, and northeast is December to March. The quantity of rainfall at these times can be quite astounding to new visitors, and is a truly exciting sight, but generally it will last for just a few hours. This means that the rain will far from hinder your plans when it comes to things to see and do.

 

Other Useful Things to Know

   -   Medical expenses can be high in Singapore, so make sure you arrange adequate travel insurance before you leave, just in case.

   -   Eating and drinking on public transport is not allowed.

   -   Singapore is very wheelchair-friendly. Thanks to a government initiative, there are wide footpaths, ramps, and lifts found in most public spaces.

   -   It’s illegal to bring mainstream chewing gum into Singapore.

   -   Plug sockets in Singapore are the same as those in the UK.

 

Cruise to Singapore with Costa Cruises

costa cruises logo

Renowned for fantastic Italian hospitality and onboard comforts, Costa Cruises is a great option for your cruise to Singapore. Let their ship become your home away from home whilst exploring this exciting and exotic destination.

In Singapore, Costa Cruises host some brilliant excursion opportunities to help cruisers get to know this one of a kind destination. For example, there’s the cultural heritage tour, which takes you to Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street, or the gastronomic experience, on which you’ll visit Lau Pa Sat Market before heading to the Corner House Restaurant to dine. You can well and truly discover the delights of Singapore on one of these amazing shore adventures.

 

costa cruises lounge

 

Time spent onboard your Costa Cruises ship at the end of a long day out exploring will leave you feeling fresh and ready for the next day. If you haven’t dined whilst out and about, you can find a range of culinary options onboard, from a traditional evening in the main dining room, or casual buffet options, to speciality venues for something a little different. Local food is not for everyone, so rest assured if you fancy a hearty steak dinner you will find it onboard.

As well as the food, Costa Cruises know how to treat their guests when it comes to onboard activities and entertainment. There are plenty of bars and lounges to choose from if you’re looking to simply socialise and enjoy a few drinks, or there are full-blown production shows, casino games, and nightclubs if you want something a little more lively.

Browse through Costa Cruises holidays to Singapore to find your next cruise adventure.


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