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Cruise Blog

Hot vs Cold Cruising

2nd May 2018

With more and more choices of cruising styles and destinations becoming available, it can seem overwhelming when it comes to making a decision about where and when to go. Well, one of the first things that should be considered is what kind of holiday you’re looking for – a hot and sunny one with plenty of opportunities to swim and sunbathe, or a cold one with chances to explore new surroundings. Read on for our helpful overview of hot versus cold cruising.

Cruising in a Hot Destination


Where to go

There are plenty of sunny spots to choose from for your next cruise holiday. From popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, to more unusual places in South America, Africa, or Asia, there are places to suit everyone. When deciding, consider who you’re travelling with and what you’re looking for in a holiday. The Mediterranean can be great for families who only want short flights - or even no flights at all - whereas the Caribbean is wonderful for couples looking to relax and recharge. On the other hand, if you’re after a bit of adventure you could opt for an enriching itinerary in Peru which includes Macchu Picchu, or an exciting experience on the Mekong River taking in Cambodia and Vietnam.


What to pack

No matter where you decide to go on your hot weather cruise holiday, there are some must-pack items that it’s important not to forget;

  • Sun cream
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun hat
  • Water bottle – ideally foldable
  • Scarf/shawl – for covering up from the sun and at attractions if required
  • Flip Flops or slider shoes for by the pool

    Cruising in a Cold Destination


    Where to go

    While hot destinations are often the more popular choice, cruise lines are now travelling to an abundance of cooler places all over the world. Adventurous cruisers have the chance to take on the elements on an expedition cruise in the Arctic and Antarctic, or those wanting to stay a little closer to home could enjoy a European river cruise wandering through the magical Christmas markets. Scandinavia also offers some wonderful cruising opportunities in the winter, for instance traversing the Norwegian fjords is on many a bucket list. Canada and Alaska cruises are also becoming more popular as more cruise ships are being designed to tackle the environment.


    What to pack

    When travelling in cold destinations it’s important to be prepared. When it comes to exploring the various ports or taking part in excursions – or even if you’ll be spending time on the deck – you’ll need the proper clothing. Consider packing the following;


  • Thermal layers – vests and leggings are helpful and take up little room in your suitcase
  • Winter boots – well-insulated boots are a must
  • Winter coat – ideally to the knee in length, and with a hood
  • Extra socks – both thin and thick; layering is key

    Armed with this information, the next step is to take a look at your own cruising wish list and determine exactly what you’re looking for. Both hot and cold cruises can deliver a fantastic range of experiences, so if you’re still none the wiser why not call our team for some great advice and to discuss your options. It might even be possible to create your own tailor-made cruise holiday, which offers both hot and cold destinations.

    Top Tips for Cruising the Caribbean

    12th January 2018

    Many people deem the islands of the Caribbean to be among the most idyllic and relaxing places on earth. There you’ll find just what many of us want when on holiday; warm weather, white sandy beaches, friendly locals, and great food. Sounds perfect, right? Well, just to make sure you have the absolute best Caribbean holiday possible, we’ve put together this list of tips to consider.



    Choose the right cruise ship


    You’ve made up your mind and your heart is set on the Caribbean, so next you need to think about which cruise line and ship is right for you. Fortunately, due to the popularity of this destination there are many cruise lines that cruise the Caribbean. If you like traditional British-style cruising P&O Cruises could be your ideal choice, for families Marella Cruises and Royal Caribbean are a great option, or for a little bit of luxury, consider Azamara Cruises. Remember that you will be spending a fair amount of time onboard, especially if you have opted for a no-fly cruise.


    Choose your islands


    With over 26 islands to choose from, it can be tricky to narrow down the top spots you want to see on a Caribbean cruise. It’s important to do your research and figure out what you’re interested in – maybe you just want to lie on a beach and relax, or do some snorkelling, or see some history. There are plenty of options when it comes to things to see and do, so depending on what you’re interested in you might prefer one island to another.

    Some cruise lines even have their own exclusive island for guests onboard Caribbean sailings, such as Virgin Voyages, Disney Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and more. These stunning locations are designed to offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation, delicious dining and activities for the adventurous. Whether you're a family of four, a laidback couple or going solo, there are plenty of islands to choose from. See our concise guide of some of the best islands to visit.


    It will be hot!


    You can rely on the islands to have sunny skies just about all year round, so when it comes to what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, your simple shorts, tees, sun dresses and the like are a safe and easy option. As well as appropriate clothing, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for bright skies and beaming, strong sun. Be sure to remember:


    • High-factor sun lotion

    • After-sun lotion – just in case!

    • Cap or sun hat

    • UV-Protective sunglasses


    When is the best time to cruise in the Caribbean?

    The ideal time to cruise in this tropical destination is between December and April. If you go in this period you should miss the majority of the rains, and will see warm temperatures averaging 26°C. Also, remember that cruising in these months means you’ll escape some of the cold and wet winter weather in the UK. If you want to find out more, check out our blog on the best time to cruise the Caribbean.

    Take your phrasebook

    If you intend to explore the islands and perhaps meet some locals, you might need to practice a few choice phrases before stepping into port. While English is likely to be the first or second language most of the time, French, Spanish, and Dutch are also spoken on various islands. Making an effort to learn some basic language – such as please, thank you, and hello – can go a long way toward making friends in new places.



    Other things to pack for a cruise in the Caribbean:


    • Swimwear

    • Sandals or flip flops

    • Comfortable shoes, if you plan on doing active excursions

    • Thin cardigan or shirt for the evenings

    • Formal wear, if your cruise line hosts formal nights

    • A small bag for days spent in port

    • A camera!

    If you're new to the game, or even just want to make sure you're in the new when it comes to getting the most out of your cruise holiday, take a look at our top tips for first time cruisers.

    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.

    How to plan your first river cruise

    4th September 2015

    Updated March 2017


    Whether it be exploring the delights of Southeast Asia sailing along the Mekong or discovering the wonders of Europe on the Rhine, river cruises are a great way to see the world.

    With carefully planned out itineraries and excellent hospitality onboard, venturing along one of the world's most famous rivers is a great way to enjoy a holiday. It could even be a break from the traditional beach holiday or city tour that you tend to go on. On these cruises, not only will you visit some beautiful places but also see some glorious sights en route.

    If you are planning your first river cruise, there are probably a few things you will want to know before stepping aboard. Here is our handy guide to your first river cruise adventure.


    Picking your location

    river cruise far east

    The first thing you need to be considering is where you want to go and there are a huge amount of cruises to choose from spanning the globe. You can pick from Asia, Africa and Europe with all the trips ranging from 7 night voyages to 16 night adventures.

    There is a wide selection to suit all tastes. Why not explore the likes of Holland, Germany and Austria with a cruise of the Rhine or see a different side of Spain and Portugal with a trip along the Douro? Eastern Europe can be covered with a Danube Explorer holiday which visits other nations such as Hungary and Slovakia.

    You can travel a bit further to the likes of Vietnam and Cambodia to get a flavour of Southeast Asia. Even sail along the mighty Mississippi discovering the southern states of the US, there is simply so much choice available.

    You will need to be aware of the travelling time involved. European cruises will include either flights or Eurostar travel to your first port of call while the longer cruises will involve longer trips to reach your starting point. So you need to decide what type of holiday you want to experience.

    Read more in our blog about exotic vs European river cruising.


    How long to go for?

    Each cruise is tailored with a special itinerary in place, ensuring that you get to see all the best bits during your river cruise. The majority of European cruises span seven nights, including either flights or Eurostar connections, making them very manageable. The further afield trips in the likes of Asia, Africa and beyond are much longer. The latter gives you the chance to recover from long flights and ensure you have overcome jet lag before you set sail. Many of them will include a couple of nights stay in a hotel, giving you the opportunity to not only recharge the batteries but experience cities such as Siem Reap or Beijing before hopping on the cruise.

    What to pack


    This will no doubt be one of the first thoughts that crosses your mind when preparing for your first river cruise. You will get many chances to step off the ship and explore plus there will be many chances for dressing up and donning your smart attire.

    Life aboard a river cruise is a laid back and casual affair but there are a number of formal evenings where a dress code may be required - so pack your best glad rags for these occasions. We also recommend low heeled shoes and comfortable footwear for when exploring the towns and cities during your holiday. Something for rain or shine is advisable and always pack sun block no matter the time of year.

    Most of the ships are are fitted with onboard Wi-Fi so you can stay connected and upload photos whilst you sail. Ask your cruise sales expert about plug sockets in case you need to take an adaptor for your appliances.

    Food and drink

    food and drink river cruise

    You will be treated to some of the finest food around as all cruises serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at no extra charge. However, you may want to take a bit of extra money to treat yourself while ashore or to dine in a speciality restaurant.

    You can not go to the likes of Southeast Asia or mainland Europe without trying some of the local delicacies. So while all food onboard is catered for, don't miss out on the delicious cuisine you can find at port.

    Any river cruise will be one to remember, make sure you are thoroughly prepared before setting sail and ask your agent for more information.


    Browse our river cruises or find out exactly what's included in your river cruise.

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