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Virgin Voyages Celebrates Naval Traditions





Although Virgin Voyages are on a mission to disrupt the travel industry with their unique approach to cruise holidays, there are some surprisingly traditional roots within the details. Undoubtedly the most eyebrow raising venue revealed for Scarlet Lady to date, is the Razzle Dazzle restaurant.

A Tribute To War Ships

The design of Razzle Dazzle is based on Dazzle Camouflage used on war ships during the first world war.  The image above shows gunboat HMS Kildangan in her glorious zebra stripes.

However it wasn’t just war ships that donned the design. Cunard’s RMS Mauretania also had a repaint when she was ordered to serve as a troop ship

RMS Mauritanea in Dazzle Camouflage
RMS Mauretania in Dazzle Camouflage carrying troops.

The camouflage acted as an illusion to U-Boats as shown in the illustration below.

 

 

Virgin Voyages - Razzle Dazzle Restaurant onboard Scarlet Lady
Image: Virgin Voyages – Razzle Dazzle Restaurant onboard Scarlet Lady

Female Impersonators in WW1

Diners in Razzle Dazzle can enjoy entertainment by Scarlet Lady’s resident Drag Queen. Not something we are used to on cruise ships and at first glance may seem a very ‘modern’ approach. However in the war, cross dressing was seen as a coping mechanism to deal with the horror and boredom experienced by troops.

Musicians, singers, and comedians were always on the entertainment bill, but the female impersonator was always a show stopper.

Tattoos

Virgin Voyages - Squid Ink Tattoo Parlour onboard Scarlet Lady
Image: Virgin Voyages – Squid Ink Tattoo Parlour onboard Scarlet Lady

Another first at sea will be Squid Ink. The onboard tattoo parlour will offer Virgin Voyages Sailors the opportunity to keep the memory of their cruise with them forever.

The connection between sailors and tattoos can be traced back to Captain James Cook in the 1700s. After seeing the facial tattoos of Maori tribes, the Captain and his crew decided to get tattoos of their own. It is thought that this is how tattoos were introduced to Europe.

Sailor Jerry

During the second world war California born Norman Collins, nicknamed Sailor Jerry, was the sailors favourite tattoo artist. Enlisting in the US Navy at 19, he had been practicing his skills on drunks at Skid Row. During the war Honolulu, Hawaii, the red-light district was full of sailors and soldiers about to ship off for duty.  Before their departure they would queue up in droves to get a tattoo from Jerry.

More details on the design of Virgin Voyages first Lady Ship in my blog post Virgin Voyages – The World On A Plate


Virgin Voyages – The World On A Plate




Scarlet Lady’s Restaurants Revealed

If you’ve been keeping up with announcements trickling out of Virgin Voyages HQ, you will be familiar with the term Creative Collective. This is the incredible design team that is making ship happen.

Another elaborate Virgin Voyages bash was held this week at Chef Jody Williams’ New York Gastrothèque, Buvette. The company chose the perfect venue to unveil the latest wave of designs by their Creative Collective.

Virgin Voyages Sea Licious Event
Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

“We want our eateries to delight and ignite serendipitous experiences for our sailors, so have set out on a mission to capture the spirit of dining in the best cities of the world and bring it to sea,” said Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages. “Because food is the fuel for our bodies and souls, and we’re Virgin Voyages, naturally it all had to be included within your ticket price.”

Sailors will have more than 20 dining options to choose from including restaurants, seaside lounges and casual eateries. Each restaurant has it’s own bar and designed to create experiences that reflect the daily lives of their sailors and who they aspire to be.

In alignment with the cruise lines promise to have the most sustainable ships at sea, their effort to cut back on waste will see all food made to order. There will be no buffets onboard and the restaurants that are typically exclusive on land, will be open to all at no extra charge.

Virgin Voyages Sea Licious Event
Virgin Voyages aims to be one of the cleanest fleets at sea, with a ban on single-use plastics Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

The Restaurants

WAKE

Virgin Voyages Steak and Seafood Restaurant Wake
Image: Virgin Voyages – Wake Restaurant served steak and seafood

Situated in a 5,866 square foot restaurant at the aft of the ship, designed by Roman and Williams, Wake offers sailors a dramatic view of the ship’s wake.

Virgin Voyages Steak and Seafood Restaurant Wake
Image: Virgin Voyages Steak and Seafood Restaurant Wake

Serving a theatrical take on steak and seafood, Wake is the most glamorous restaurant on the ship with an experience inspired by The Wolseley – London and The Grill – New York, a dramatic grand staircase.

Virgin Voyages Steak and Seafood Restaurant Wake
Image: Virgin Voyages Steak and Seafood Restaurant Wake

Offerings include a raw bar (design inspired by the bow of a speedboat), land and sea classics, a table-side cocktail cart and a Sommelier led Magnum program.

RAZZLE DAZZLE

“There’s a Virgin twist on everything you’ll see aboard the Scarlet Lady, which means there will be no stuffy formalities, boring buffets and no main dining rooms. Sailors are not going to want to leave our ship after they experience how we’ve designed our restaurants and tasted the dishes we are going to be serving up in 2020,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

Virgin Voyages - Sea-licious Event
Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

With an interior scheme that nods to the namesake, the bold camouflaging of ships from WWI using patterns of black and white paint, Razzle Dazzle was designed by Concrete Amsterdam.

Virgin Voyages Sea-licious Event
Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

With vibrant and creative twists on vegetarian fare and a juice bar.  Razzle Dazzle delivers a healthy dose of nice with just the right amount of wrong.

Virgin Voyages Sea-liicious Event
Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

The “nice” menu offers plant-based vegetarian and vegan dishes including must have munchies such as the Impossible Burger.

The “naughty” side enables sailors to order meat “add-ons” and offers to spike their healthy smoothies with boozy shots.

Virgin Voyages - Sea-licious Event
Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

To live up to the boldness of its name, Razzle Dazzle will not simply brunch but rather Drag Brunch, where sailors are treated to a performance by the Scarlet Lady’s resident drag performer and friends.

Virgin Voyages Sea licious Event
Brita Filter performs at the Virgin Voyages Sea-licious Event in New York Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

For a small fee, sailors can opt to enjoy bottomless drag-inspired cocktails like the “Yasss Queen” and the Razzle Dizzle, a CBD infused cocktail.

THE TEST KITCHEN

Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen
Image: Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen will offer sailors innovative and avant-garde cuisine in a clean and modern space designed by Concrete Amsterdam.

Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen

Inspired by Escoffier’s Ma Cuisine, this laboratory-like eatery is part cooking school and part restaurant, making it the ultimate place for discovery through cuisine with an atmosphere that is educational, experiential and social all in one.  The chef-driven set menus are presented in the form of an ingredient list to Sailors who will discover how the chef combines the list of flavors throughout the course of the meal.

Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen

This eatery hosts a number of different experiences throughout the voyage from cooking classes, to mixology school to coffee labs, and even a few late-night lock-ins, where sailors will be invited to raid the chef’s fridge and dig into a midnight feast.

GEONBAE

Virgin Voyages Geonbae Korean Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages Geonbae Restaurant

Geonbae, the equivalent of the expression bottoms up in Korean, is a Korean BBQ restaurant designed by Soft Room.

Hosted by the loudest servers at sea, each meal will begin with a complimentary round of soju for the table and throughout the evening sailors are encouraged to take part in lively Korean drinking games.

Virgin Voyages Geonbae Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages – Geonbae Restaurant

A social, hands on, interactive, fun dining experience, Geonbae features specially engineered flameless grills built into each table and invites Sailors to literally play with their food as they cook their perfect BBQ.

PINK AGAVE

Scarlet Lady Mexican Restaurant Pink Agave
Image: Virgin Voyages – Pink Agave Upscale Mexican Restaurant

An elevated Mexican restaurant designed by Tom Dixon, Pink Agave transports sailors to the vibrant streets of Mexico City through immersive void lighting.

Virgin Voyages Blue Agave Mexican Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages – Blue Agave Mexican Restaurant

Offering a wide variety of Mexican specialties that inspire sailors to discover authentic Mexican flavours including tlayudas, memelas, sopes, tortas, esquites, and tamales.

Virgin Voyages Pink Agave Mexican Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages Pink Agave Mexican Restaurant

Pink Agave’s dishes can be paired with a cocktail from the Scarlet Lady’s expansive collection of mezcals, or signature Agua Fresca cocktails. Pink Agave is designed to be a lively shared plate restaurant experience, where the DJ amps up the energy of the room as the evening hours slip away.

EXTRA VIRGIN

Virgin Voyages Italian Restaurant Extra Virgin
Image: Virgin Voyages Italian Restaurant Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin is the ships trattoria serving regionally-inspired and approachable food, deeply rooted in Italian culinary traditions with handmade fresh pasta made daily.  A meal begins with shared antipasti followed by approachable pasta-centric favourites.

Extra Virgin Italian Restaurant onboard Scarlet Lady
Image: Virgin Voyages – Italian Restaurant Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin features a wide and wonderful world of amari and digestivi and traditional Italian aperitifs designed to stimulate the appetite. The wine list will be designed with a unique infographic system to help sailors better understand Italian wines and enable them to navigate to the perfect bottle.  The integration of a Coravin at the bar will allow sailors to taste rare Italian wines by the glass.  Extra Virgin will offer an Aperitivo hour each day with drink specials and small plates.

DOCK

Scarlet Lady Restaurant Dock
Image: Virgin Voyages – Dock

The dock is a perfect place to hang day and night.  Set in the ship’s sun-dappled lounging area at the aft of the ship on deck 7, The Dock is a beach club-inspired space designed by Roman and Williams.

Scarlet Lady Dock Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages Dock Restaurant

Carts of Mediterranean small plates, salads, dips and mezzes provide perfect grazing options throughout the day.  Flame grilled to order skewers provide filling hot options for those wanting a substantial bite to eat.

THE GALLEY

Scarlet Lady Restaurant The Galley
Image: Virgin Voyages The Galley

Modelled on popular food halls where visitors can taste a cornucopia from different restaurants, The Galley will be the main space for the quick and casual meal throughout the day.

Scarlet Lady - The Galley Restaurant
Image: Virgin Voyages – The Galley

The food hall will feature a mix of more than eight shops and food carts, each offering a unique concept with irresistible signature dishes that changes to suit the time of day.

Scarlet Lady Food Hall
Image: Virgin Voyages – The Galley Food Hall

The Galley’s concepts include a dedicated bakery and pastry shop, a panini shop, a burger grill, a taco shack, a sushi bar with bento boxes, a noodle bar, a soup and salad stand, and a 24-hour American diner.

THE PIZZA PLACE

Pizza Place Dining Venue onboard Scarlet Lady
Image: Virgin Voyages – Pizza Place

The beach club-inspired Pizza Place offers a quick, easy and delicious meal.  Sailors can choose from the classic menu or design their very own pizza.

Scarlet Lady Pizza Place
Image: Virgin Voyages – Pizza Place

This casual chill out spot is a great for lunch, as well as late-night, post drink, hunger buster.

Virtual Tour

I’ve created a video to help bring the ship to life. It’s on my YouTube channel. If you are not already, why not subscribe to my channel. If you like the video please give it a thumbs up and leave any comments about your thoughts on the Virgin Voyages dining concept, below.



New Features for Enchanted Princess Revealed





Princess Cruises Reveals New Features on Latest Ship

Princess Cruises has unveiled the first wave of new features onboard its newest ship, the 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess. The vessel will hold its naming ceremony in Southampton in late June 2020, making it the first Princess Cruises ship to be named in the UK since Royal Princess in 2013.

As with sister ship Sky Princess, which launches next year, Enchanted Princess will feature two new ‘Sky Suites’ centrally located on the top deck of the ship. The 270-degree panorama staterooms will provide a private vantage point of the ship’s Movies under the Stars screen and create a large space for entertaining. The suites can accommodate up to five guests, making them ideal for families.

The ship will also include:

A redesigned ‘Salty Dog Gastropub’. The venue will screen sporting events and offer a range of premium-range food and drink including the award-winning ‘Ernesto Burger’

A redesigned Sabatini’s speciality restaurant, Princess Cruises’ onboard Italian Trattoria, which will incorporate new handmade pasta dishes prepared fresh every day

An art deco design for The Princess Live TV studio and café, where guests can watch live entertainment, order drinks and light snacks

A ‘Wakeview’ pool on its rear decks

A newly-designed top-deck ‘Sanctuary’, Princess Cruises’ adults only relaxation area, which will house extra private cabanas

Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, said: “With the launch of Enchanted Princess in Southampton and our continued commitment to enhancing the range of features onboard our growing fleet of ships, this is an exciting time for Princess Cruises as we constantly strive to appeal to passengers looking for something new and exciting, both in terms of onboard offerings and destinations.”

After its naming ceremony Enchanted Princess will head to the Mediterranean for summer 2020. The ship will offer sailings ranging between seven and 22 days from Barcelona, Athens and Rome. The cruises go on sale on Thursday, November 8 at 5pm.

Meanwhile, bookings for 2020 voyages to southern and northern Europe that depart from Southampton, on the UK-based ships Crown Princess and Island Princess, can be made from Thursday, November 8 at 9am.

For more information or to book call Flavia on 0330 041 7418


7 Ways MSC Cruises Is Reducing Plastics




MSC Cruises Have Launches A Worldwide Commitment To Eliminate Single-use Plastics Throughout The Fleet

It is the topic of the decade, reducing ocean pollution and MSC Cruises are taking a big step to ensure they are making changes across their family owned fleet. MSC Cruises’ commitment will see the phasing out of all single use plastic straws by December 2018. This is followed by a further pledge which will se the removal of virtually all single-use plastics fleetwide by March 2019.

  • MSC Cruises’ Plastics Reduction Programme plans to phase out or replace virtually all single-use plastic items by March 2019 across its entire fleet .
  • The first milestone will be reached by the end of 2018 which will see all plastic straws replaced with 100% compostable and biodegradable alternatives.
  • The company is exploring end-to-end recycling solutions and for remaining plastic items to get certification by global organisation.

Antonio Paradiso, MD for MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said of the commitment “At MSC Cruises our passion is the sea and we are always working hard to grow and evolve our business with a mind-set to respect the environment and the oceans which we operate in. Our plastic reduction programme aims to move at a very fast pace and by end of December 2018, we will already reach a first milestone by phasing out all single-use plastic straws, followed by another milestone in March 2019 when virtually all single-use plastics will be removed or replaced if alternatives are available.

The depth and diligence of this programme is exceptional and unique: it is not only about single-use plastic straws, or small ‘visible’ restaurant items, the Programme also looks at eliminating ALL ‘invisible’ single-use plastic items from the entire supply chain. At MSC Cruises we are driven by innovation and development and are working with thousands of partners and suppliers to ensure that our Environmental Stewardship Programme matches the innovation of our next generation smart fleet.”



OceanMedallion for all Caribbean Princess Guests





Princess Cruises announces first fully-enabled OceanMedallion ship is now in service.

Princess Cruises has revealed that the 3,140-guest Caribbean Princess is the first ship in its fleet to have full OceanMedallion access. All guests on the vessel are now using the wearable device, which offers a more personalised cruise experience.

The OceanMedallion is the same size as a 10p piece, is fully automated and has no visible technology such as an on-off switch or charging function. Its features include:

  • A streamlined ship embarkation and disembarkation process, giving quicker and easier entry and exit
  • Keyless stateroom access
  • Enhanced interaction with crew members and other guests, e.g. staff can see guest’s individual food and beverage preferences and accordingly offer a more personalised service

  • OceanCompass, which provides interactive directions throughout the ship and allows guests to easily locate friends, family and children
  • Access for guests to a real-time look at their itinerary via portals throughout the ship, along with events and activities taking place during their cruise
  • Interactive games that can be played on portals across the vessel including trivia challenges and a shipwide digital scavenger hunt
  • A selection of casino games including poker, bingo and roulette available via guests’ smart devices and select portals

Caribbean Princess now also features MedallionNet, which gives guests faster internet streaming speeds equivalent to those on land.

The ship is based in the Caribbean all year round.

Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “Having 100 percent of our guests using OceanMedallion on every sailing of Caribbean Princess is a significant milestone that we are celebrating on the path to fleet-wide implementation. Our guests tell us that OceanMedallion is turning an already extraordinary experience on Princess Cruises into an even more spectacular holiday, making sailing on Caribbean Princess the ultimate Caribbean cruise.”

OceanMedallion was first unveiled by Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald in 2017. It will continue to roll out as part of a phased fleet-wide activation plan with further announcements to be made in due course.

A seven-day ‘Eastern Caribbean Explorers’ roundtrip cruise on Caribbean Princess sets sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 9, 2019. Ports of call include the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Turks & Caicos Islands. Prices from £649 per person.*






Celebrity Transforms Galapagos Experience





After emerging from a seven-day makeover in Panama, the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition is surrounding guests in upgraded comforts as they explore the Galapagos Islands. It’s another bold step in THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, beyond the introduction of two industry-changing ships – Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Flora – and the $500 million modernisation of the rest of the brand’s fleet.

Scheduled to make its return to service on 23 September 2018, the revitalised Celebrity Xpedition will debut an array of enhancements across the 100-guest ship, such as redecorated staterooms, lounges and restaurants, and faster and more reliable Wi-Fi. All of which will compliment the natural beauty of the Galapagos, and allow guests to stay connected even as they disconnect.

“Our commitment to the Galapagos Islands has never been stronger, because we know, having sailed these awe-inspiring islands for so many years, what a life-changing experience it is to come here,” noted Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and ceo, Celebrity Cruises. “The upgrades we’re making to Celebrity Xpedition and the upcoming arrival of our new Celebrity Flora, the first ship designed specifically with the Galapagos Islands in mind, will transform the way our guests discover this amazing place and take our unrivalled Galapagos offerings to an entirely new level.”

THE BEST SHIP IN THE GALAPAGOS IS GETTING EVEN BETTER

As part of her modernisation, Celebrity Xpedition will undergo the following enhancements from bow to stern:

  • Suites and staterooms will be stunningly refreshed, adding new carpeting and balcony upgrades to a list of already impressive touches. This includes Celebrity Cruises’ eXhaleTM bedding to create a relaxing atmosphere after a long day’s adventure
  • All suite and stateroom doors will be outfitted with RFID lock technology, making it easier for guests to access their rooms
  • An upgrade to the shipboard IT systems, including the addition of an O3B satellite to improve the speed and reliability of the ship’s full-coverage Wi-Fi. The adjusted bandwidth will enhance both guest experience and crew efficiency
  • The Beagle Grill will be outfitted with new furniture and lighting so guests can enjoy an intimate dining experience under the sun and stars, and new ultra-modern culinary equipment to help bring the menus crafted by Celebrity’s Michelin-starred chef to life
  • In the Discovery Lounge, guests will find a new, state-of-the-art video wall, upgraded finishes and textiles, as well as a new dedicated DJ station to elevate the ambiance of this guest-favourite hangout
  • The Darwin Dining Room will receive similar design enhancements with new lighting, carpet and millwork
  • Water filtration system on every deck for guests to enjoy
  • Crew area enhancements including new mattresses with Celebrity’s eXhaleTM bedding, carpets, and Dayroom TV

Celebrity Xpedition will debut these enhanced suites, services and amenities in June 2019, to coincide with the arrival of the new Celebrity Flora. Suite guests will be equipped with marine binoculars to use on their cruise, as well as premium backpacks and rain ponchos that they can take back home with them. Whilst guests unwind in their suites on-board, stateroom attendants are on hand to help with their packing and unpacking, and are provided with full in-suite dinner service, upgraded premium bathrobes, luxurious Kuno bath products from Ecuador, and many more during their sailing.

FROM BUCKET LIST TO BOOK-IT LIST

With more than 14 years in the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Cruises remains the authority in the region, offering guests an unparalleled experience in this iconic archipelago of volcanic islands. It offers all-inclusive  holiday packages ranging from seven to 16 nights, each featuring an immersive seven-night cruise and seven certified naturalists on board.

For Quotes and Bookings please call Flavia on: 0330 041 7433



World First Hybrid Electric LNG Icebreaker




Ponant Reveal New Ship to be named Le Commandant Charcot, a tribute to Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot

Ponant, the global leader in luxury expeditions and the only French-owned cruise line, has revealed the name of its polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot. A world first, this hybrid electric icebreaker, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), has been named after Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot, as an homage to the man known as “the gentleman of the poles”.

Le Commandant Charcot © PONANT - STIRLING DESIGN INTERNATIONAL
Photo Credit: PONANT – Le Commandant Charcot

A tribute to the famous French polar explorer, Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot

The new vessel will bear the name of a great French explorer: Le Commandant Charcot. An explorer by vocation with a true passion for sailing, Jean-Baptiste Charcot is an emblematic figure of French polar expeditions. By naming its forthcoming polar exploration vessel after him, PONANT is paying tribute to this “gentleman of the poles”, who was respected by everyone. This choice is even more significant since this new ship will be fitted with the latest technology for minimising environmental impact, as well as a scientific laboratory for conducting operational oceanography missions and research.

Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot, the gentleman of the poles

Jean Baptiste-Charcot
Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot

1867    Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

1873    At school, he drew boats on all his exercise books.

1892    For his 25th birthday, he received a small boat as a gift from his father.

1902    He crossed the Arctic Circle and travelled to the Arctic for the first time.

1903    From 1903 to 1905 aboard Le Français and from 1908 to 1910 aboard Le Pourquoi-Pas, he reached the Antarctic regions.

1909    He located Graham Land on navigation charts, dropped anchor near Alexandra Land, and discovered the island that would bear his name.

1920    From 1920 to 1936, his scientific cruises led him from the Hebrides to the east coast of Greenland.

Sustainable development is at the core of the design of the polar exploration vessel

Powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Le Commandant Charcot will be fitted with the latest environmental protection technology:

Advanced “Cleanship” equipment exceeding the requirements imposed by current environmental regulations:

  • Reduction of SO2, NOₓ, CO2 and particle emissions thanks to the use of LNG
  • Zero emissions in hybrid electric mode

Energy management:

  • Energy optimisation system with precise consumption measurement and optimisation of ship sailing methods
  • Energy recovery system
  • Consumption optimisation with latest-generation electric batteries that make it possible to stop the engines for 2 to 3 hours

Water treatment:

    • Advanced waste-water treatment system
Le Commandant Charcot_Profile © PONANT - STIRLING DESIGN INTERNATIONAL
Photo Credit: PONANT – Le Commandant Charcot

Pre-bookings can be made from 6 September 2018

Bookings for cruises aboard Le Commandant Charcot will open on 4 April 2019, but pre-bookings may be made from 6 September 2018 to secure a stateroom and the early bird price. A chance to discover the Geographic North Pole (latitude 90 degrees North) or parts of Antarctica, such as the Ross Sea, Charcot Island and Peter  Island, that were inaccessible until now… Passengers booking these itineraries will be in for veritable polar odysseys rather than cruises.


The Heart and Soul of Celebrity Edge




Celebrity Cruises Unveils The Breathtaking Grand Plaza.

Welcome To The Grand Plaza

With only three months until the first official sailing of Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises have revealed the heart and soul of Celebrity Edge. The beating heart of the year’s most anticipated new ship will be The Grand Plaza,  a stunning venue that will shatter all expectations and break from traditional cruise ship thinking.

The Heart and Soul of Celebrity Edge

Chic Society

Mixing simplicity and modernity, The Grand Plaza takes inspiration from the glamorous days of transatlantic travel. At a time when cruise ships were at the heart of chic society, the centre of these ships were traditionally spectacular ballrooms, accented with dramatic staircases and ornate chandeliers. They were social places to meet, greet, dine, drink and dance. The Grand Plaza pays homage to these powerful historic spaces and reinterprets them for the 21st century.

The Grand Plaza truly is a grand space. At its centre, on Deck 3, guests will find the breathtaking next evolution of the always-buzzing Martini Bar, one of the most popular venues across Celebrity’s fleet.

A breathtaking chandelier-meets-art installation, immediately draws one’s eye from anywhere in the space. Below its atmospheric glow, the bar curves gracefully around to invite conversation and interaction with Celebrity’s talented flair bartenders who’ll impress guests with their gravity-defying skills.

Guests can choose from a wide variety of martinis, including the brand’s Bella Cera, which blends Chameleon cachaça, Bombay Sapphire gin, lime juice, Angostura bitters, and ginger beer; or try the Marmalade Smash, which fuses Bulleit bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, orange marmalade, and fresh ginger.

Adorning the edges of The Grand Plaza are intricately hand-stitched mesh screens, combining more than 13,500 pieces of metal, leather, and fabric.

In the morning, The Grand Plaza invites guests to enjoy a cappuccino and a croissant at either of the cafés. Guests can return to The Grand Plaza for afternoon tea or to indulge in a pre-dinner cocktail while enjoying unexpected pop-up performances. At nightfall, the energy transforms completely, and the space becomes the social epicenter of the ship, coming alive with live music.

The Heart and Soul Behind The Heart and Soul of Celebrity Edge

With the aspiration to completely transform the way guests connect to the world, Celebrity sought creative thinkers who were new to the cruise industry to ensure every aspect of Celebrity Edge would be a departure from traditional thinking about cruising.

Turning The Typical Into The Transformative

The Grand Plaza remains a highlight of Jouin Manku’s involvement in the design of Celebrity Edge, but their influence is also strikingly apparent in the Main Dining Atrium on Celebrity Edge, where they’ve taken the concept of a staircase and turned it into a work of art. Hanging three stories between the flights of stairs is yet another meaningful art installation known as The Pendulum. The Pendulum base moves ever so gently to the rhythms of the ocean to remind guests that they are indeed moving and connected to the sea, even when they cannot see it.

Jouin Manku’s The Pendulum Celebrity Edge



Norwegian Encore Hull Artwork Unveiled





Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, the award-winning Spanish artist, created the hull artwork for the fourth and final ship of its Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Encore, debuting in Miami in November 2019.

A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull will feature a labyrinth of color inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona and paying tribute to the vibrant guest experience for which the Norwegian brand is recognized.

“Norwegian Cruise Line is a dynamic, pioneering company known for its innovative experiences and breathtaking collection of beautifully designed ships,” said Arranz-Bravo. “I am honored to not only bring that vibrancy to life even more on Norwegian Encore but also showcase my love for the ocean and my hometown of Barcelona.”

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, played a key role in the selection of Arranz-Bravo as the hull artist for Norwegian Encore, having been inspired by his work for many years. Del Rio’s passion for the arts has helped elevate Norwegian’s on-board experience, most recently with the multi-million-dollar-art collection curated for Norwegian Bliss.

“We are well-known for our iconic hull designs and know that Arranz-Bravo’s lively design will complement the colorful destinations in the Caribbean that Norwegian Encore will visit when she debuts next year,” said Del Rio.

Recognized for his inventive and humanistic approach to abstract art, Arranz-Bravo’s work is showcased throughout the world and portrays a constant evolution that some refer to as futuristic.  He is highly regarded, having been the recipient of countless awards and accolades, and was one of three artists chosen to represent the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona.

“Eduardo’s design will be a perfect complement to the collection of hull artwork within our fleet and is a testament to the dynamic experience our guests will have on board,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.  “We are proud to welcome him to our Norwegian Cruise Line family.”

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating up to 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will complete the Breakaway-Plus class, the most successful class in the company’s history. She is currently being built at Meyer Werft, in Papenburg, Germany and will feature many innovative dining, entertainment and recreational activities that guests have come to expect from the industry-leading brand.

Following her unveiling, she will cruise out of Miami every Sunday and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with her first journey on November 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020.

More details on the ship’s design, accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months.


Majestic Princess on World’s First Floating Runway




Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess ‘lands’ on world’s first floating runway in Sydney Harbour

Majestic Princess sailed into Sydney on Saturday morning on the world’s first floating “runway”. The spectacular celebration was held to mark the maiden arrival of the ship, the largest Princess Cruises’ vessel ever to visit Australia.

The 3,560-guest Majestic Princess was filmed arriving into Sydney via the 1,550 metre-long illuminated floating runway, which was created by 62 buoys with red and white flares that guided her path into Sydney Harbour.

Majestic Princess on World's First Floating Runway

The newest ship in Princess Cruises’ fleet, Majestic Princess will be based in Sydney for the next six months, and will join three other Princess Cruises’ ships – Sun Princess, Sea Princess and Golden Princess – in Australia. The vessels will sail from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle, and Adelaide.

Majestic Princess in Sydney

Princess Cruises recently announced its largest ever deployment in the region for 2019-2020. Five ships will travel to more than 100 destinations and carry around 200,000 guests.

The extra capacity will help meet growing demand from the UK. The amount of Brits booking Australia and New Zealand voyages with Princess Cruises has nearly doubled year-on-year in 2018.

Majestic Princess in Sydney

Majestic Princess’ current sailing is being filmed as part of series six of ITV documentary ‘The Cruise’, which is due to air on ITV in early 2019. At 143,700 tonnes, Majestic Princess is equivalent to 126 Sydney Manly ferries, while her height of more than 68 metres makes her taller than the Sydney Opera House. The documentary will reveal what life is like for both crew and guests as they sail around Australasia.

Prices start from £2,689 per person for a 13-night cruise onboard Majestic Princess to New Zealand sailing roundtrip from Sydney, departing 1 November 2019.

About Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises operates a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided with the experience of exceptional customer service. Princess carries two million guests each year to more than 380 destinations around the globe on more than 150 itineraries ranging in length from three to 114 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation

Recommended Reading:  Princess Names New Ship Enchanted Princess



Celebrity Apex launches in Southampton in 2020




Second Edge Class ship, Celebrity Apex to launch in the UK

One of the world’s most hotly anticipated cruise ships, Celebrity Apex from Celebrity Cruises famed Edge Class series, will launch and be named in the UK ahead of calling Southampton home for its first ever cruises in April 2020.

The news provides a boom to the UK cruise industry in 2020 and will be the first time Celebrity Cruises will operate two ships from the UK’s favourite port with Celebrity Silhouette returning to Southampton for her third consecutive year.

Celebrity Silhouette
Celebrity Silhouette (pictured) will be joined by Celebrity Apex in Southampton April 2020

Celebrity Apex is the second Edge-class ship from Celebrity Cruises – an innovative new class of ship that is set to revolutionise the industry and set a new benchmark for modern luxury travel.  Working with designers including Kelly Hoppen MBE, Patricia Urquiola, Jouin Manku, Celebrity Apex will feature all the signature spaces including the Magic Carpet and the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Balcony.

Ten Years On

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, explains:

“When Celebrity Apex launches in Southampton in 2020 it will be another incredible moment for our company and for the UK & Ireland market, especially as it will be ten years since we last named and operated a brand new ship from the UK. In 2010 Celebrity Eclipse changed the face of UK cruising with our modern luxury approach. Celebrity Apex will continue our tradition of reimagining what is expected from all aspects of a holiday at sea and elevate modern luxury cruising in ways never seen before.”

From left to right: Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises; and Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
From left to right: Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises; and Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

More Suites Than Any Other Celebrity Cruises Ship

Boasting some of the most luxurious accommodations, the Edge-class of ships – including Celebrity Apex – has been built to offer the ultimate cruise experience – featuring more suites than any other Celebrity Cruises ship, including the twin-level Edge Villas with outdoor plunge pools. The two Iconic Suites will be the most spacious found anywhere in the fleet featuring over 2,500 square feet of space both indoors and out, plus 82 feet of wraparound glass windows giving uninterrupted views out to sea from the lounge, bedroom and dining room.

Culinary Offerings

From an exhilarating ‘Dinner on the Edge’ experience 16 decks above the ocean, to an immersive fusion of technology, animation and dining like nothing guests have ever experienced at sea, Celebrity Apex’s culinary offering boasts 29 world-class, palate-pleasing venues. This includes four main dining restaurants, one exclusive Suite Class and one exclusive AquaClass restaurant, and seven brand new specialty restaurants.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo adds:

“Our new Edge-class ships are design and architectural feats that bring a closer connection to both the ocean and the destinations visited with a unique outward facing design. Excitement for our newest ships continues to build and build, and I’m thrilled that this news about Celebrity Apex will ensure that enthusiasm reaches record levels.”

Currently being built at the Chantier de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France, Celebrity Apex will enjoy its official launch celebrations in Southampton, including the prestigious naming ceremony. Celebrity Apex will go on sale 29 November 2018.

Recommended Reading: Celebrity Cruises Brings Entire Fleet To The Edge



Oceania Cruises Outstanding Complimentary Amenities




Oceania Cruises Offers the Ultimate in Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, New Zealand and the South Pacific

OLife Ultimate Campaign Provides Guests with Outstanding Complimentary Amenities

Oceania Cruises has extended their popular OLife Ultimate promotion to selected 2018 and 2019 sailings in some of the world’s most coveted destinations. The offer by the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, gives guests unlimited internet, up to eight free shore excursions, a free house alcoholic beverage package, up to $800 shipboard credit and free gratuities per stateroom.

Enriching Immersive Destinations and Experiences

One of Oceania Cruises’ most generous ever offers, OLife Ultimate applies to 18 cruises, not only to the stunningly exotic South Pacific Islands, but also now to cruises which take in both the North Island and South Island of New Zealand, eastern Australia and Tasmania, the tropical havens of the Caribbean and fascinating Asian ports from Dubai to Japan and beyond. The full list of applicable cruises can be found at OLife Ultimate Sailings.

New Zealand and Australia

Tasman Traveller offers guests the chance to see the best of the North and South islands of New Zealand; Sydney and Eden on Australia’s east coast; and the energetic seaside town of Burnie in Tasmania. The 16-day cruise sails 30th January 2019 on board Regatta.  Highlights of how guests can use their eight free shore excursions include trips to glow worm caves and kayaking adventures at The Bay of Islands, New Zealand, or wild kangaroo spotting and fresh oyster sampling in Eden, Australia.

South Pacific

Two Sparkling South Pacific cruises on board Marina are 10 days long, sailing on 21st and 31st January 2019. They both highlight French Polynesia, round trip from Papeete, visiting the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and pristine ecosystems of Moorea, Fakarava, Huahine and Raiatea among others.  Six shore excursions could see guests sailing a lagoon by catamaran off the most romantic island in the world, Bora Bora, or learn how to grade pearls on a visit to a black pearl farm in Rangiroa.

Safaris, Sands and Splendours

Sailing 20th January 2019 for 30 days, the epic Safaris, Sands and Splendours cruise on board Nautica covers 11 countries from South Africa to Singapore. The sailing stops at Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia in an astonishing itinerary of contrasting cultures, which guests will be able to delve deeply into with eight free shore excursions.  An overnight stay in Cape Town means travellers can take advantage of their free shore excursions with a tour of local winelands or visit Robben Island. Or they can use their shore excursions later in the cruise, visiting the Black Lemur Sanctuary in Madagascar, enjoying an insider’s tour of a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, or experiencing a cave and mangrove adventure in Langkawi, Malaysia. There are also a number of pre-cruise land programmes for guests to enjoy, if they choose to, for an additional cost. These include the four-day Winelands & Wildlife tour which showcases picturesque landscapes and renowned wines of the Cape Town region, as well as offering the chance to see lions, zebras, giraffes and more in one of Africa’s pristine wildlife reserves.

Caribbean

Guests could also experience a Caribbean New Year on board Insignia sailing from Miami to New York for 15 days on 27th December 2018.  Ringing in the New Year with an overnight stay in Orangestad, Aruba, the ship also visits Santa Marta, Colombia; Willemstad, Curacao; Kralendijk, Bonaire; St. George’s, Grenada; Castries, St. Lucia; Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe; Gustavia, St. Barts; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Explorers can use their eight shore excursions to marvel at the spectacular Quebrada Valencia waterfalls in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park in Colombia, partake in a 4×4 Land Rover adventure across the rugged eastern shore of Bonaire or discover the rum-making process during a tour of Old San Juan and the Bacardi Rum Distillery. Also, Insignia will be better than new following a re-inspiration of dramatic on-board enhancements, elevating every facet of the guest experience.

Ultimate Amenities on Five Oceania Cruises Ships

OLife Ultimate gives guests a number of free amenities to enjoy on board Oceania Cruises’ Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, Marina and Riviera. Not only will Insignia attract the free amenities, but the ship will also have benefitted from the recently announced OceaniaNEXT $100 million re-inspiration initiative, with her guests among some of the first to enjoy 342 brand new designer suites and staterooms as well as stunning new décor in the restaurants, lounges and bars.

A house beverage package affords guests free and unlimited champagne, wine and beer with lunch and dinner, which can be enjoyed with the Finest Cuisine at Sea in a variety of complimentary dining venues.  Sumptuous dining options include authentic Italian, classic French, Asian-fusion and American Steakhouse.

Guests will also receive up to $800 shipboard credit which can be spent in any one of the ship’s luxurious facilities on board.  This could be while enjoying a refreshing cocktail in one of many salubrious bars or perhaps a relaxing treatment in the Canyon Ranch Spa.  On board Marina and Riviera, guests could even expand their culinary expertise by taking a class in the Culinary Centre which teaches pupils a variety of skills and specialities from ancient cuisines, to magical dishes from Morocco and Turkey, to knife skills.

OLife Ultimate, which must be booked by 30th September 2018, also gives guests complimentary internet as well as free gratuities.

About Oceania Cruises

Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2018, Oceania Cruises is the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line.  The line’s six intimate and luxurious ships which carry only 684 or 1,250 guests offer an unrivalled holiday experience featuring the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe.  Expertly crafted voyages aboard designer-inspired, intimate ships call on more than 450 ports across Europe, Alaska, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, New England-Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Tahiti and the South Pacific and epic 180-day Around the World Voyages.

About OceaniaNEXT

You can read more about the OceaniaNEXT re-inspiration of the iconic Regatta-Class ships here.



Celebrity Edge Transforms Youth Activities




Celebrity Edge inspires the next generation of explorers at sea

From tots speaking their first words to teens preparing to leap into university, Celebrity Cruises  is taking learning at sea to the next level for guests of all ages on its new transformational ship, Celebrity Edge.

Younger travellers will be truly spoilt for choice with the ship’s Camp at Sea programme. With over 500 activities to try out, don’t miss out on the chance to take part in the cruise line’s first youth coding experience at sea, create a holiday vlog using a Go Pro camera or master the music decks with a Scratch DJ tournament.

Those looking to become the next Albert Einstein, Bear Grylls or David Attenborough can harness their inner scientist, explorer and adventurer at Anturus Explorer Academy. Navigate the world like an explorer and uncover the Earth’s magnetic field, test out a homemade shelter with a special camp-out evening on the top deck, and test out those commentary skills at The Explorer Olympics. At the end of the sailing, children will graduate from the academy as an Explorer with their very own certificate and badge, and can put their training to good use after their holiday.

Free for all children on-board, the Anturus Explorer Academy sessions will not only help ignite the imaginations of young people, they also bring the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – to life outside the classroom.

Homeporting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Celebrity Cruises’ newest transformational ship, Celebrity Edge, will be making her first sailing in November 2018. Celebrity Edge will spend her inaugural season sailing, alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries before transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean, with a range of seven-to-11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2018.

Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “X” is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity Cruises can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers’ precious time.  This is the Celebrity Distinction. Celebrity Cruises’ 12 ships offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity Cruises also presents immersive cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of six cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Join Celebrity Cruises for a nine-night Western Mediterranean fly/cruise from £2,659 per person based on two people sharing an Oceanview stateroom. Both guests will receive a free Classic Drinks Package worth £450* per person, along with free soft drinks packages for additional guests.

Departing 10 August 2019, the price includes return flights from London Heathrow airport, transfers, and a nine-night cruise departing Rome (Civitavecchia, Italy), and calling at Naples (Italy), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Monte Carlo (Monaco), Santa Margherita (Italy) and Florence/Pisa (La Spezia, Italy), before returning to Rome for the flight home; meals and entertainment on-board the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.

*Subject to availability, prices depending on sailing length


European Waterways’ Ladies at Leisure Cruises

Rosa's Light & Airy Saloon




Flexible Itinerary Options Offer Culinary Excursions, Boutique and Market Shopping, Art, and Well-being Themes

European Waterways is the largest luxury hotel barging company in Europe. For those of you not familiar with the term hotel barging, it is a boutique, unique experience, offering an immersive, all-inclusive “gentle voyage of discovery”, focusing on the culture, history, fine wine and gourmet cuisine of the region.

Travelling in groups is increasing in popularity and European Waterways has introduced 6 night “Ladies at Leisure” hotel barge charter options, offering a wide range of excursions, culinary experiences, shopping and health-conscious themes, such as yoga and walking.

They are a unique way for female travellers to indulge in their favourite activities, while on holiday with their relatives, friends, or social groups in some of the most attractive and exclusive regions of Europe.

Managing Director of European Waterways, Derek Banks, said “Today’s female travellers are more confident and independent. The social nature of hotel barging makes it an ideal way to take a break, or mark a celebration, with like-minded friends in a relaxing setting”.

European Waterways’ Ladies at Leisure cruises can be tailored to meet the special interests of each group. For example, a culinary themed cruise can include private cooking demonstrations, excursions may feature truffle hunting and visits to local attractions such as an artisan chocolatier, or a Mediterranean oyster farm.

Guests can take an educational tour of L’Oulibo, a factory that produces the purest extra virgin olive oil from the famous Lucques olive, one of the hardest from which to extract the oil. They can also enjoy gastronomic excursions to local food markets, accompanied by their on-board master chef, who can incorporate their culinary finds into the evening menu.

European Waterways' Ladies at Leisure Cruises

Culinary-Themed

L’Impressionniste

The deluxe 12-passenger barge which sails Southern Burgundy on the Canal de Bourgogne – the cruise offers free transfers in chauffeured minivans from Paris

Enchanté

For smaller groups, the ultra-deluxe 8-passenger barge cruises on the famed Canal du Midi, are ideal.

What’s Included

Charter pricing includes:

  • an attentive, experienced crew;
  • transfers from the pick up point to the barge mooring (and return on the day of departure);
  • en-suite accommodation;
  • all gourmet meals; all drinks/fine wines/open bar;
  • all daily, escorted excursions/tours, which are pre-arranged and these are with transport provided;
  • use of bicycles on board
  • Some cruises also feature onboard entertainment by local performers, as well as demonstrations by local craftsmen.

With the charter offer applying, full barge prices for selected Spring 2019 cruise departures aboard Enchanté start from £29,080, based on 8 people, a saving of over £8,000.

Well Being Cruises

Health-themed holidays are also increasingly popular with female travellers, and European Waterways’ cruises offer plenty of opportunities to engage in “gentle exercise”, such as walking on the gentle towpaths that run parallel to the canal, or starting the day with a morning yoga class on deck.

L’Art de Vivre the 8-passenger hotel barge offers Walking Cruises in Burgundy between Auxerre and Chevroches, with the cruises providing countless opportunities to take in the historic Burgundian countryside and picturesque medieval villages along the way.

Wine Appreciation Cruises

The 8-passenger Rosa hotel barge sails through the sun soaked city of Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the most famous of the Bordeaux appellations.

The 20-passenger La Bella Vita provides a slice of the good life on her Wine Appreciation Cruise through the Veneto region of Italy. Guests can taste world-renowned vintages as they tour the sprawling Renaissance wine estates en route between Venice and Mantua.

Art Themed Cruises

For more creative groups, art-themed cruises come with an expert “art guide” who shows guests around craft workshops and boutiques and suggests the best painting spots. The hotel barge itself makes an ideal “spot,” and guests can paint on-board while enjoying a cocktail, or chilled glass of champagne.

European Waterways' Ladies at Leisure Cruises

Onboard Activities

“There is never a ‘what do we do today’ moment on a European Waterways’ cruise, because activities are carefully planned to fill the days,” said Banks. “We also ensure there is plenty of free time for our guests to do nothing at all but enjoy the beautiful countryside as they sit back and sip their favourite wine. For some, that’s ‘activity’ enough!”

European Waterways

With over 40 years’ experience and a fleet that spans nine countries, a 6 to 20-person capacity and 1:2 crew ratio, European Waterways is able to provide an impeccable level of on board service and can transport guests on the intimate inland waterways that are inaccessible to larger vessels.

This fascinating network of smaller canals allows for flexibility, spontaneity and ample opportunity to hop off and explore the beautiful surroundings via bicycle, or on foot.

In addition to this there are daily, chauffeured excursions “off the beaten track” to a wide variety of enthralling locations, from exquisite wine tastings to private tours of stately homes.

Please visit www.europeanwaterways.com for information

Follow European Waterways on Facebook and Twitter and view the YouTube channel.

Recommended ReadingMy favourite travel bags



SkyDome – One of Iona’s Star Attractions




From dawn until dusk Iona’s SkyDome brings the outside in

P&O Cruises newest ship Iona will connect guests with the sea, sky and shoreline with an innovative SkyDome. This incredible feature will include a swimming pool that transforms into a stage at night, as well as a glass dome roof which creates a temperate climate while providing guests with fabulous views as they cruise through the scenic Norwegian Fjords.

The first of its kind in the cruise industry, the two-deck SkyDome on decks 16 and 17 will be the place to go for relaxation, effortless dining and contemporary entertainment.

During the day, SkyDome will be a relaxed, poolside environment, with mouth watering dining and drinking options including a grill, pizzeria and street food as well as premium ice cream with flavours inspired by popular ports of call. The area will feature a central pool and two whirlpools. Sun loungers, reclining chairs, greenery and artworks will all create a peaceful environment and make it a tranquil space during the day, giving it the feel of an English park in summer.

As the sun goes down SkyDome will come alive as the space seamlessly transitions into a must-visit entertainment venue, showcasing spectacular aerialist performances and playing host to party nights under the stars.

The mood will change from daytime to showtime with stunning audio-visual effects including dazzling light shows creating a dynamic ambience. The swimming pool will transform into a stage for the night’s entertainment, while dramatic aerial acrobatic shows will make full use of SkyDome’s height. After the show, the space will transition into a party night, with DJs playing as guests dance under the night sky, whatever the weather.

The glass dome roof was designed by award-winning British engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, renowned for their work on such innovative structures as Bulgari Glass House in Italy and Apple Park in California. The inviting living space underneath the dome was created by cruise ship specialists Partner Ship Design.

P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow said: “SkyDome promises to be one of Iona’s star attractions, providing guests with a magical venue in which to spend quality time whatever the weather. With stunning views of the ocean by day and of starry skies at night, I’m confident that this extraordinary venue will prove popular with our guests, whether they are early birds or night owls. With sunshine, swimming, dining and dancing all in one contemporary, visually spectacular space, SkyDome will raise the bar for entertainment spaces at sea.”

Iona is currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be launched in May 2020. Holidays on Iona will go on sale in September 2018.


P&O Cruises drops discretionary Gratuities

P&O Cruises drops discretionary daily Service Charge




Gratuities will no longer be added automatically on P&O Cruises

Gratuities have been a bone of contention for cruisers far and wide. Someone only has to mention the word on social media and the flood gates open.

So today’s announcement from P&O Cruises that the daily on board discretionary Service Charge will be removed across the fleet on cruises departing from May 2019, has been welcomed with open arms.

Guests will pay one set price which will include luxury accommodation, award-winning dining in a range of restaurants, complimentary children’s clubs and a wide choice of entertainment options including theatre shows, comedy and headline performers.

Guests will pay one set price which will include childrens clubs

P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow said: “We take huge pride in giving guests a holiday experience that’s truly memorable and special.  By removing the daily discretionary Service Charge, P&O Cruises will make enjoying a cruise holiday an effortless experience, knowing that great service comes as standard.”

Guests will pay one set price which will include entertainment

Applicable Sailings

From May 2019  the daily discretionary service charge on board will be removed from the following cruises and all thereafter;

  • Oceana E911/A 2 May 2019
  • Azura A911 4 May 2019
  • Britannia B912 4 May 2019
  • Arcadia J903 5 May 2019
  • Ventura N910 5 May 2019
  • Oriana X907 11 May 2019
  • Aurora R907 13 May 2019

P&O Cruises Facebook page has already received 342 comments in two hours. Here are some of the cruise line’s responses;

  • Rest assured, our wonderful on board staff will not lose out
  • We will be making up any difference in wage to them.
  • We have listened to guest feedback regarding this
  • Cruises will not be going up as a result of this, please note we do operate fluid pricing, meaning they can go up or down at anytime due to demand and other reasons.
  • We do not plan to introduce any gratuity on our drinks on board.
  • On board spend should also remain the same across Select fare bookings (where applicable).

About P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises fleet of seven ships offer holidays tailored to British tastes. Their newest ship, Iona, a 180,000 ton LNG-powered ship is on order for delivery in 2020 with a similar ship on order for delivery in 2022.




Princess Cruises Names New Ship Enchanted Princess





Princess Cruises have announced today its fifth Royal-Class ship is going to be named Enchanted Princess.

The 143,700-tonne, 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess is scheduled to launch on the 15 June 2020. She will be sailing on a series of European voyages and will be a sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess (joining the fleet in October 2019).

Excited guests will soon be able to book sailings for Enchanted Princess’ maiden season, as they go on sale from 8 November 2018.

Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising. We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise.”

There is more to come from Princess Cruises as Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of their sixth Royal-Class ship in 2021. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order to be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the new ship will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard. Enchanted Princess is  set to feature an evolution of the current Royal-Class design platform.

The Princess Cruises fleet currently consists of 17 modern cruise ships, sailing to over 380 destinations across all 7 continents.

Recommended Reading: A Day Onboard The Royal Princess





Michael and Colin’s 15 Day Expedition to Stok Kangri




Michael & Colin are Climbing 6189m to raise funds for Reubens Retreat

Michael English at Everest Base Camp
Michael English at Everest Base Camp

Michael English (Celebrity Cruises) and Colin Jones (Royal Caribbean International) are setting out on an incredible expedition that will be the biggest mental and physical challenge the pair have ever faced. Michael and Colin’s 15 Day Expedition to Stok Kangri will be their personal best reaching the summit.

Their training started back in January and has included climbing Snowdon four times, Ben Nevis once, Winter Survival Training and 100km walk.  They are both now on final countdown to their summit attempt.

Colin Jones in Scotland
Colin Jones in Scotland

Fun fact

Snowdon 1089m v  Stok Kangri 6189m

“Provided we get the right weather and our acclimations goes to plans Team RCL UK will  summit Stok Kangri @ 6189m the morning 7th September and raise a Royal and Celebrity flag. This will be highest mountain climbed for Reuben.” said Michael.

Stok Kangri is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas, the journey to the summit is 15 days, their summit day will be a gruelling 14hrs to reach the summit.

Can you sponsor Team RCL?

If you are able to donate, you can do so on the pair’s Just Giving page

Michael said “Colin and myself would love it if you could share this on your Facebook and Twitter accounts to get as much sponsorship for Reuben’s Retreat as possible.

We will be posting while we are away and you can follow our journey via facebook/instragram. This is Celebrity Cruises chosen charity and one which is very personal to both of us and so many in the UK Travel Industry.”

Michael and Colin's 15 Day Expedition to Stok Kangri
Michael and Colin’s 15 Day Expedition to Stok Kangri

About Reubens Retreat

On Friday 31st August 2012 Reuben’s family Mike, Nicola and Isaac Graham said their final goodbye to their gorgeous 23 month old son and little brother during a beautiful ceremony in their home village of Mottram 11 miles from Manchester.

Photo Credit: reubensretreat.org

Reuben had suffered an ATRT which is Atypical terratoid rhabdoid tumour, it is a very rare and aggressive form of Cancerous tumour, only 4 to 5 children will be diagnosed with this tumour in the UK per year and there are very few symptoms.

Despite the devastating grief that comes when a quarter of your family is gone, his brave and inspirational parents have set up a charity in his name, they plan to have a retreat in the north west countryside for children with life limiting and life threatening illnesses, with a bereavement support and counselling centre for Mummy’s, Daddy’s and Siblings who have lost their precious children. A place where families can take in the rolling hills and countryside, a place of comfort, peace and tranquillity, a place where memories can be built.

(excerpt taken from reubensretreat.org)



Sapphire Princess Give Brits Their Tea In Bed





Princess Cruises Introduces Tea and Coffee Making Facilities in All Staterooms on UK-based ship

Princess Cruises has recently equipped the 2,670-guest Sapphire Princess with kettles and tea and coffee making facilities in all staterooms. As the main Princess ship sailing from the UK both this year and in 2019, the new amenities onboard will appeal to the British market and in particular their taste for tea.

Sapphire Princess underwent an extensive two-week refit earlier this year, which included the introduction of a new luxury bed in every stateroom. The new in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities will further enhance each room.

Guests on Sapphire Princess and all other Princess ships can also continue to order complimentary tea and coffee in their stateroom via the onboard 24hr room service.

Sapphire Princess is currently sailing roundtrip out of Southampton up to October 2018, followed by an April to October season in 2019. A variety of voyages are on offer, largely to the Mediterranean and northern Europe, as well as a 24-day Canada & New England voyage in 2019.

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, said: “We fully appreciate how much Brits all enjoy drinking tea and coffee. While it’s still easy enough for guests to order complimentary hot drinks via room service or our onboard restaurants, introducing kettles will give them an extra coffee and tea-making option when it’s time to rise and shine or they’re sitting back and relaxing in their stateroom or balcony.”

Recommended Reading:

Sapphire Princess Cruise Part One

Sapphire Princess Cruise Part Two – The Love Boat

Famous Tea and Coffee Quotes

Jackie Chan“Coffee is a language in itself.”

Helen Mirren “I drink just as much tea when I’m in Los Angeles as I do when I’m in London. I take my tea bags with me wherever I go.”

Sydney Smith “Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”

David Letterman “If it wasn’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsover.”

William Ewart Gladstone “If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”

Sandra Bullock “I gave up coffee. It’s almost worse than giving up a lover.”

Bear Grylls “I was always brought up to have a cup of tea at halfway up a rock face.”

Lin Yutang “There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson “Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.”

Princess Cruises is offering an 11-night Canary Island Interlude cruise, roundtrip from Southampton, on Sapphire Princess from £999 per person with $100 free onboard spend. Departing Tuesday April 16, 2019, ports of call include Vigo (Spain), Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), and Arrecife (Lanzarote). Click here for more details






Cruising Alaska with the Sassoli-Walkers Part 4

Photo Copyright by Andrew Sassoli-Walker solentphotographer.com





It’s the last instalment of the Sassoli-Walkers bucket list cruise as they spend a day in Victoria, Canada before taking the train from Vancouver to Seattle.

Andrew’s photographs never fail to amaze and this cruise has certainly given him the platform to show his skills at their best. If you have enjoyed the first three blog posts, you are going to love Cruising Alaska with the Sassoli-Walkers Part 4 just as much.

Here it is in Andrew’s own words and pictures.

Day Eight

A visit to charming Victoria in Canada on our last evening onboard Emerald Princess which rounded off our Alaskan adventure very nicely indeed!

Cruising Alaska with the Sassoli-Walkers Part 4
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Emerald Princess docked in Victoria, Canada
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - Victoria, Canada
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Victoria, Canada
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - Inner Harbour with Canadian Parliament Building at dusk. Victoria, Canada
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Inner Harbour with Canadian Parliament Building at dusk. Victoria, Canada
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - Last sailaway - Emerald Princess
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Last sailaway – Emerald Princess

The cruise might be over, but for us we still have another day in Seattle followed by a 3 night stay in Vancouver.

Day Nine

So, normally a cruise comes to it’s conclusion and one disembarks with a tinge of sadness that it’s over. Not for us, as we decided on a one night stay in Seattle followed by a trip to Vancouver for a few days!

Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - Pike Place Market, Seattle
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States (source Wiki)

Instead of going to admire the view from the Space Needle, we opted for the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Tower which happens to be the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest.

Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - View of the Space Needle and Emerald Princess in Seattle
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – View of the Space Needle and Emerald Princess in Seattle
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker: Emerald Princess sails away on another Alaska cruise from Seattle
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker: Emerald Princess sails away on another Alaska cruise from Seattle

Whilst up there we had a grandstand view of Emerald Princess departing on another Alaskan cruise.

Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker: Seattle Southside at Sunset
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker: Seattle Southside at Sunset from the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Tower, the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest.

Day Ten

Another highlight of our adventure was taking the Amtrak Cascades train from Seattle to Vancouver.

Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - Amtrak, King Street Station, Seattle.
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Amtrak, King Street Station, Seattle.
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - Amtrak, King Street Station, Seattle.
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Amtrak, King Street Station, Seattle.
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker - Amtrak, King Street Station, Seattle.
Photo Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker – Amtrak, King Street Station, Seattle.

Anyone familiar with the line between Exeter and Teignmouth will always be impressed when the line hugs the coast around Dawlish. Well this was the same but magnified to an phenomenal scale! We opted for business class which, was worth the extra as the train was packed solid. Certainly a trip I would wholeheartedly recommend!

Finally

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Andrew’s family cruise. Links to parts 1, 2 and 3 are below, in case you missed them.

Andrew has his own website and is available for professional photoshoots. Details can be found at solentphotographer.com

Recommended Reading

Cruising Alaska with the Sassoli-Walkers Part 1

Cruising Alaska with the Sassoli-Walkers Part 2

Cruising Alaska with the Sassoli-Walkers Part 3






Celebrity Edge Raises The Bar in Entertainment

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge The Theatre





Celebrity Edge is poised to raise the bar on entertainment as well as modern luxury travel.

On Celebrity Edge, guests will experience the brand’s most technologically advanced main theatre, the most production shows of any ship in the brand’s history, the largest cast of world-class performers on any premium cruise ship, and more entertainment venues than ever before.

Introducing an Immersive Theatre Experience

The Theatre on Celebrity Edge throws away the curtain altogether, immersing guests in an entertainment experience like no other. With four stage areas and three gigantic, moving projection screens, The Theatre offers an ever-changing canvas for the productions.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge The Theatre Entrance
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Theatre Entrance

The main stage extends into the audience creating a theatre-in-the-round. A rotating platform elevates almost seven feet above the stage to take performances to a whole new level. Two mesmerising rotating spiral staircases, 10 synchronised panoramic projection screens, 16 state-of-the-art video mapping laser projectors, aerial performance rigging, and more, the technology behind the scenes will, at times, steal the show.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge The Theatre
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Theatre

At The Theatre, guests can enjoy five new full production shows, including:

A Hot Summer Night’s Dream, the Shakespeare-inspired  show where light-hearted theatre meets extraordinary acrobatics;

The Jewelry Box, with its jaw-dropping technological feats;

Kaleidoscope, a high-energy music and dance extravaganza harnessing the stage’s state-of-the-art technology; and two shows as part of Celebrity Cruises’ new Headline Residency program –

Get Up, a dynamic pop concert produced by Black Skull Creative

The Purpose, an uplifting production designed to celebrate the inner self

Welcome To The Club

Brought to life once again in collaboration with the visionaries behind Celebrity Edge’s Eden – The Club on Celebrity Edge is a progressive space that changes its persona throughout the day and night.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge The Club Bar
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Club Bar

During the day, The Club offers experiences such as the Funovation Laser Maze Challenge, the Drone Hunting laser obstacle course, and more.

At night, The Club undergoes yet another transformation. Undercover at The Club puts a contemporary spin on the Prohibition era with 20’s-inspired craft cocktails and an aerial saxophonist. The futuristic body scanner of Andromeda allows guests to become someone else for the evening. And Celebrity Cruises’ Hypno Cam Experience is a first-at-sea dance party featuring a high-tech camera that’s passed around to capture photos, which are instantly displayed on a giant LED screen.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge The Club
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Club

Never The Same Camp Twice

On Celebrity Edge, the brand takes its fully customisable Camp at Sea programme to the next level for younger travellers of all ages with more than 500 activities, including Celebrity Cruises’ first youth coding experience at sea, its innovative STEM programme, and two completely separate contemporary spaces, one for the kids and one for the teens.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea

Entertainment Everywhere

Celebrity Cruises has infused entertainment throughout the ship. At the Rooftop Garden, guests can enjoy experiences such as the Rooftop Concert Series and the Garden Cinema Series, the next evolution of the brand’s Taste of Film experience that’s an under-the-stars movie experience with live musical performances.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Edge The Rooftop
Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Rooftop

The iconic Eden will feature evolving entertainment as the space transforms from a “chillful” escape in the mornings to “playful” in the afternoons to “sinful” at night. Daytime experiences include Meditation at Eden and performances from sitar players to aerialists. As dusk falls, Eve at Eden begins. Developed in partnership with Variety Worldwide, this theatrical journey will indulge every sense and put guests at the centre of the experience, for a fusion of culinary exploration, performance art and nightlife – like nothing else at sea, or even on land.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Eden

To learn more about the entertainment on Celebrity Edge, visit celebritycruises.co.uk/celebrity-edge/edge-entertainment/.


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