It’s 3am and I am having one of my revelations after weeks of turmoil over my blog.
Having the courage to share so vulnerably in my previous post Project: Get Me Home (Trigger Warning), I feel the gates to the path I am destined to follow, have swung open. The clouds are starting to disappear and the sun is rising again.
I love my Ships and Champagne blog and didn’t want to commit it to the blog graveyard. The name in itself defines the things I love. Figuring out how I can use this platform to inspire people to follow their dreams has been challenging.
Do You Remember How Blogs Used To Be?
As I lay awake thinking how I can take Ships and Champagne forward, I thought of the early blogs. People used to use blogs to log their reflections on day to day life. It felt intimate and was almost like reading a personal letter from a close friend or family member. Do you remember that?
According to A Brief History Of Blogging The original blogs were updated manually, often linked from a central home page or archive. This wasn’t very efficient, but unless you were a programmer who could create your own custom blogging platform, there weren’t any other options to begin with.
Nowadays it’s pretty straightforward to create a professional looking website or blog.
Are Blogs A Trusted Source Of Information?
Influencer marketing has become big business. The phrase “people buy from people” has never been more relevant with the explosion of social media. We often question the motives of the mainstream media and whether their reporting is unbiased, but what about bloggers, vloggers and other influencers?
Can people really share a bad experience when they’ve had free trips, with a clear conscience?
When I wrote 5 Tips on How To Get Free Cruises I had a message from the Director of CLIA UK & Ireland within the hour asking me why I would want to promote free cruises. Funny how that person had never shown an interest in my content prior to that. That was the same person who rejected the suggestion of a bursary membership to the association, for someone on a low income.
So it makes you wonder, what happens when you publish something that does not create revenue for the cruise industry?
I had to ask myself, is this something I really want to be part of?
The last 12 months have been the toughest for most of us. One of the positives has been making more online connections than ever before. On my personal facebook page I’ve been sharing things that have helped me with my mindset, in the hope it might help someone else. I am so grateful to have received messages and comments from people like “you are an inspiration and kept me going” and “find it hard some days but your video cheer me up”.
Knowing that I have helped one person makes it worthwhile. I hope you will also find inspiration in the posts and videos that I share and look forward to a bright future filled with love and happiness for you all.
Trigger Warning: This blog post mentions sexual assault which some may find disturbing.
What is Project: Get Me Home? For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Flavia Gray, I am 48 years old (born 1972) and am a single mum of two with 13 years between them. Yes it took me 12 years to find someone else who wasn’t prepared to support their child.
This is not a pity party. I am sharing my story to help inspire others to follow their dreams and that it is never too late.
The reason I fell in love with guys who didn’t love me as I deserved, was because I was sexually abused at the age of 13 by a 21 year old man that I knew. Some of my older male and female “friends” where in the room next door and were fully aware of what was going on. My virginity was violently taken away from me on the floor of a squat in Weybridge, and I told myself that was how things were meant to be. There is a scientific explanation as to why that occurs.
When something traumatic happens to us, our brain has a coping mechanism that kicks in that tells us “this is ok, this is supposed to happen”. It does that because the brain knows we are unable to cope emotionally with the reality. The brain is protecting us.
So from the age of 13 to 29, when my daughter was born, I firmly believed that I had done a disgusting act and hated myself. Victims of sexual abuse will go one of two ways. They either abstain from sex completely or, as I did, have sex with anyone who will have them in the hope to feel loved and/or erase the memory of what happened.
The trouble with the second choice is that it gives the impression that the person is confident and “up for it”, rather than the truth which is a sad little girl desperate to be loved.
A Brush With A Serial Killer
When I was a big boobed, blonde 21 year old, I used to hang out at Rocky’s karaoke bar in Cobham. The club was famous for one of its doorman, serial killer Levi Bellfield. Everyone liked Levi. He was cuddly in an overweight sense and spoke with a high squeaky voice, so no-one took him too seriously. One evening he offered me a lift home to Weybridge. I was drunk on Hooch (remember that). I felt really special that Levi drove me home because he was a popular guy. Before we left Rocky’s I remember people said to me “Be careful. If his Mrs finds out he’s given you a lift home, she will kill you!” The irony!
So Levi drove me home in his white Vauxhall Astra. I think we stopped for a kebab. It was an uneventful journey and I thought no more of it. Later when it came out about his crimes, I looked into the older victims and it seemed that they were big boobed and blonde and they had turned him down for sex. (Disclaimer: I have read this somewhere and cannot verify that is accurate information but am using it to prove a point). My reaction was to joke about it and say “well I was safe then because I never say no”. That was my way of dealing with things. Other people had labelled me, so I had assumed the label. But deep down I just craved to be loved.
Having said that, I had some lovely boyfriends in the past, but because of the programming in my brain, nice guys just didn’t seem strong and manly enough. I know it’s messed up.
Getting My Mind Right
So I guess you are wondering how I went from that way of thinking, to the clarity I have now. Well it’s taken nearly 20 years and will never end because the day you stop learning, growing and developing is the day you die. The answers only come to those who are actively seeking the truth and who are strong enough to deal with it. In my case I had tried everything in my power to get the life I wanted, but nothing ever worked. I felt like I was stuck in a never ending series of Only Fools and Horses. (For those of you who don’t know, the main character Del Boy is always trying to “make it big” but never succeeds)
When the news of Jimmy Saville (celebrity peopdophile) hit the media, it stirred up a lot of emotion for me. Eventually I felt the right thing to do was to contact the police about the incident in 1986. I was absolutely petrified, but I kept thinking, what if there are others. What if he is still abusing children?
Going To The Police
I contacted the police and they sent two female officers to my house to talk to me. We sat down and I told them what had happened, the circumstances leading up to it and during, and they said without a shadow of a doubt that what took place was wrong. I cried. Hearing that from the police was the moment I truly accepted it into my soul. That was my healing.
The police did locate the abuser and he was questioned. He denied knowing who I was. Apparently he was in a bad state healthwise and the police didn’t feel he was a threat to anyone at this point in his life. I gave the police the names of people who knew what happened at the time, but none of them had any recollection of it. So that was all that could be done.
As a result of contacting the police, I was able to qualify for specialist counselling by RASASC which was life changing! This was the first step of my restoration.
Since then I attended the Landmark Forum which is an intense weekend of getting your head straight. I highly recommend it, but you must to be emotionally strong enough to cope with a big mental shake up. I also listen to Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Grant Cardone, Joseph McClendon III and other mentors who help keep my mindset right and raise my standards.
Florida – Finding My Home
Why is Florida my home? Well, in 1993 my Dad paid for a 6 week trip for me to go and “find myself” in St Petersburg, Florida. He chose the destination based on the fact that he had a very good friend living there that I could fall back on in an emergency.
The day I was driven by my new found friend Mark, to Sunset Beach on the Gulf Coast for sunset, was the day everything changed for me. Have you ever had one of those moments when you say “this is where I want to be”? Well that was my moment. That was 28 years ago! Since then I have visited countless times and always wanted to live there.
There is not a day that goes past without me thinking of that sunset.
Here’s to Project: Get Me Home
I ended January 2021 with opening up about my past experience of sexual abuse. This lead to me feeling a sense of acceptance and freedom. It also opened the door to new feelings and thoughts.
I heard a voice that said to me “If Florida was your home, what would you do to get back there?” Wow! That was a revelation and it suddenly felt achievable.
What about medical insurance, what about seeing my family, what if, what if, what if? Ok THIS is the kind of stuff that kills dreams, this is what keeps us in our little box leading an average life.
If your goal doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.
Dig The Ditches
I have heard this message so many times. Act like you are ready to receive what you want. Don’t worry about the how, just visualise it, expect it and prepare for it. I thought I had got this figured out, but it was only when I watched the Class of 2020 video by Sir Anthony Hopkins, that it really became clear.
Sir Anthony relayed a bible verse 2 Kings 3:16 “And he said, “Thus saith the Lord: ‘Make this valley full of ditches. ‘Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye and your cattle and your beasts.”
In other words, prepare to receive it and don’t worry about the how.
Project: Get Me Home
Even as I say it I feel sick with nerves. That’s how I know this is the right thing to do. It scares me because it is a big goal, but success is found outside of your comfort zone.
So now I am preparing to move to Florida. I will apply for my ESTA visas, a pet passport and start getting ready to go.
At the same time, I will continue to connect with likeminded people who have a dream they want to follow. My vision is to be part of a community of people who lift each other up. A community who are positive, kind, loving, honest and willing to stand up to make a difference.
Today I am starting from zero point with no money but a vehicle (my business) to make a good income. I have no working visa or green card, but I will figure it out as I go. Dig the Ditch!
This isn’t just about me, in fact that is the last thing it is about.
I know there are thousands of others out there who are going through exactly the same thing as me. Thousands of people are settling for a mediocre life because they don’t know HOW to make their dreams a reality. Thousands of people who are unhappy because they don’t understand that they have been brainwashed to think this is the best that life can be.
More than sitting on a beach in Florida, my goal is to help as many other people as possible, be truly happy. By using my story and my journey as an example, I want to inspire many others to do the same. Not only to inspire, but to lock arms and show them how they can do it step by step.
If you want to find out more about what I do click here Find Out More
Ships and Champagne
The Ships and Champagne community is changing. It is no longer a platform to promote the cruise industry.
Ships and Champagne’s mission statement is to inspire anyone and everyone to go after the life they deserve. To reach for the moon, not to settle and to believe that anything is possible.
There are certain circumstances when a cruise ship MAY wait for you, but in most cases it will not. Here are some tips to avoid being left up the creek without a paddle.
Let’s look at the good, better and best options.
The main reason people tend to veer away from the cruise line packages is down to cost. Booking things separately might save a few quid, but you have to weigh up the true cost if things don’t go to plan.
Drive To The Port The Day Before
If your departure port is within driving distance the best option is to drive to the port the day before. This way you will avoid any traffic delays or breakdown issues. You can arrive the night before, stay in a hotel and be refreshed and de-stressed for embarkation day.
A better option is to arrange a coach transfer with the cruise line on the same day of departure. The coach will be designated for cruise guests. That means if the coach is delayed for any reason, the cruise line is more likely to wait for you. If they are unable to delay departure, the cruise line will make all the arrangements to get you and the other guests to the next port of call. They cover the expenses for any accommodation, transport and meals required until you step foot onboard the ship.
Allow For Delays
If you can’t go the day before or get a coach then at the very least, leave plenty of time for delays. If you are driving yourself on the day of departure and miss the cruise, it will be completely down to you arrange and pay for flights to the next port of call. Also check with your travel insurance provider what is covered otherwise this could be an expensive mistake.
With a fly cruise, it is without doubt the best option to book the cruise line package. This can still be done through a travel agent, you just need to make it clear to them that you want the cruise lines package and not one that they have packaged themselves. It doesn’t mean that it is risky booking a package with another ABTA or ATOL protected operator, it just keeps things super simple. A fly-cruise package usually include an overnight hotel stay the night before the cruise. It should also include transfers from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the port and the port back to the airport, but clarify this when you get a quote as some cruise lines are different. You can add on extra nights before and after the cruise for an extra cost, if you want to extend your holiday.
Another thing I love about packaging everything with the cruise line is that it is just one set of documents.
A better option is to book a package with an ABTA or ATOL protected operator. They have to stick to certain parameters which will include flying you out the day before and allowing plenty of time to get to the airport when you disembark the ship.
If you absolutely must do your own thing, then the good option again is to fly the day before.
Getting off at the ports is the main cause of passengers missing the ship. This can happen for a variety of reasons but the most common is that guests either lose track of time, or forget that the ship and local time are different. Unforeseen delays such as heavy traffic and even getting lost can contribute to guests missing the ship.
The best option is to book one of the shore excursions offered by the cruise line. Shore excursion staff will keep an eye on the time for you and as there’ll be other passengers on the excursion. In the event that anything should happen, the ship will usually wait or make arrangements to transfer guests to the next port of call.
Some private tours will guarantee to get you back to the ship, although I don’t know how they can do this. If you are doing a fairly local tour and it will get you back to the ship midday giving you 4 more hours until departure, then this is a better option. However, if you are an hour and half or more away from where you want to visit, I would think twice.
A good option and most definitely the cheapest, is to walk around the local town for an hour or so.
Check your travel insurance
Some insurance policies especially the free ones may only give you a basic cover. Check your policy covers you for missing the ship and under which circumstances, so you are not in for a shock later on.
Keep Copies Of Important Documents And Phone Numbers With You
Take photocopies of your passport, and both sides of your driver’s license and credit cards (unless you have the originals with you) when you go ashore. You should also have a copy of the phone numbers for your ship, port agent (printed in your daily onboard schedule) and your cruise line’s customer service department. It’s also worth having the address and phone number of your country’s embassy in the port you’re visiting.
This information will be essential for helping you figure out what to do if you miss your cruise ship.
Ship Time Vs. Port Time
Ship time and local time are often different. Make sure you know exactly what time to be back onboard and if it’s the ship or port time. Get a cheap watch that you can wear in port and keep it in sync with the ship time.
What to Do If You Miss the Ship
Find your port agent
Most cruise lines have port agents stationed in the port area to assist if your ship has left without you. Sometimes the ship’s crew will remove the passengers’ essential items from the ship to leave with the port agents. These officials can help you contact your ship and making travel arrangements.
Make travel arrangements
If you miss the ship, you’ll have to either join it at another port of call or return home. Your cruise line, travel agent or travel insurance provider might be able to help you make the plans; otherwise, you’ll have to make arrangements on your own. Either way, you’ll be responsible for any costs incurred.
Retrieving Your Belongings
The cruise line will ship your belongings home for you which can be expensive.
Itineraries may be changed during hurricane season or bad storms, but a cancelled cruise is an extremely rare occurrence.
It’s more uncomfortable for the guests, but ships are built to handle rough seas.
Monitoring The Weather
If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting the bridge on a cruise ship, you will have seen the huge array of equipment, which is constantly monitored by the crew and officers. The navigational systems include weather maps, satellite images, computer models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and third-party meteorologists.
Behind the scenes at The Bridge of Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.
In January 2017, Royal Caribbean International appointed TV meteorologist James Van Fleet to head up operations at the Royal Caribbean headquarters in Miami. Part of Van Fleet’s job during the hurricane season, is to monitor a 25-foot wall of weather screens and share information with the crew of all the Royal Caribbean family of ships and the executive team.
Carnival Corporation monitors weather from its multi million dollar command centre. The first facility of its kind in Southern Florida is staffed 24/7 and has a 74-foot-long video wall with 57 LED screens that shows the status of all the line’s 27 ships, including weather and safety updates.
Making The Decision
The number one priority for cruise lines is guest safety. It is not just the decision of the onboard crew, it’s a team who makes that decision based on the latest weather patterns, based on the options or other alternatives.
Cruise Lines will reroute the ship if the forecast is serious enough. Ship captains study forecasts and will alter course to avoid storms. Sometimes rough seas are unavoidable or storms are worse than expected. On rare occasions, a ship may have to go through the outer bands of a storm to reach safe haven in a port. Most times however, the ships will go out to sea to avoid storms.
All modern cruise ships have stabilisers to keep rocking and rolling to a minimum. Cruise ships can typically “outrun” most storms, passengers may still experience rough seas as their ship skirts the edges of a storm.
MSC Grandiosa docked in Southampton
Cruise ships are made of heavy steel that’s even heavier with a full load of passengers and crew onboard. With all that weight, they can roll with the waves. In the roughest seas a ship may list, or tilt to one side, but even that’s unlikely. Shipbuilders test things such as buoyancy and centre of gravity during construction. This includes putting scale models of ships through all sorts of storm simulations.
What To Expect If Your Ship Hits Bad Weather
A cruise ship can list enough to send deck furniture skidding and bar glasses crashing. While passengers might be scared or uncomfortable, the ship is typically not in any actual danger of capsizing.
If you’re already on a ship and meet rough conditions, listen to the instructions of the captain and crew. It’s common for the crew to put down non-slip mats and add signage reminding you to exercise caution when walking. Van Fleet says part of his job is communicating with the crew when such procedures may be necessary.
All is calm on the Allure of the Seas
Listen to the captain’s report from the bridge everyday which will include a description of sea conditions. This will help you to decide what preparations you need to make for the day. If you get seasick, be prepared with over-the-counter motion sickness medications, homeopathic remedies, or a prescription patch from your doctor.
Note that attractions such as the pool and water slides may shut down, or the outdoor decks may be closed altogether. In very rare situations, the Captain may require all passengers stay in their cabins. In general, you’ll likely feel some rolling, but that goes for the entirety of your trip, too.
Even if you’re not usually prone to seasickness, cruising through rough waters can test even the strongest of stomachs. Effective solutions to seasickness include acupressure wristbands, antihistamines and Dramamine. If you didn’t bring any with you, the ship’s store will have some in stock, and the purser’s desk will usually have Dramamine for free. Once you start feeling the symptoms it might be too late, so don’t delay!
What To Do If Your Itinerary Changes
Listen to the ship’s intercom for announcements of port or itinerary changes. You may also receive information via a letter delivered to your stateroom. Even if it’s not cancelled your cruise may be affected. Ports that require tendering often have to be skipped because high winds make the process unsafe.
Although cruise lines don’t generally issue refunds for missed ports, they do have to refund port fees.
The cruise line or organisers may cancel your excursion, even though the port may not be skipped. The cruise line will issue refunds automatically, private operators will usually issue a refund if your ship never docked, however you may need to contact them to request it.
Look for alternatives to outdoor activities like spending an afternoon at the gym or the spa. The cruise line will usually put on extra activities. Make reservations for a speciality restaurant or a show immediately to avoid disappointment.
Associated British Ports in partnership with MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise line Holdings Ltd have today announced the opening of a new cruise terminal at the Port of Southampton.
This is encouraging news as we all wait for cruise operations to resume. Clearly the impact of this years events does not show any signs of slowing down the future demand for cruises.
The fifth dedicated cruise terminal is going to be well equipped to service the next-generation of cruise ships. The main terminal building will use roof mounted solar power and Shore Power connectivity to supply sustainable operations. This will enable cruise ships, with the right onboard technology, to ‘plug in’ while they are alongside.
UK’s Number One Departure Port
Southampton is Europe’s leading cruise turn-around port and the UK’s number one departure port. The £55 million investment will further strengthen the Port of Southampton’s position.
The yet unnamed terminal is due to open in Summer 2021 and will become the home port of MSC Magnifica for part of the season sailing from the UK.
Four Existing Terminals
The Mayflower Terminal is the oldest of the four existing passenger terminals, which opened in 1960. Queen Elizabeth II Terminal followed shortly after in 1966. It wasn’t until 2003 that City Terminal was built and Ocean Terminal 6 years later in 2009.
Construction of the fifth cruise terminal commenced in September 2020 and is schedule to open in Summer 2021. The new Southampton cruise terminal will be the port’s largest to date and will be capable of handling the largest cruise ships in the world.
This is great news as we come to the close of the most difficult year in cruise industry history. We are all so desperate to get back onboard and it appears that there is no shortage of demand.
Coral Princess Sets Sail On Her First 107 Day World Cruise from Sydney in 2022
107-Day Voyage Offers 43 Destinations in 27 Countries on 6 Continents
Princess Cruises have announced a 107 Day World Cruise for ultimate bucket-list destination seekers. In May 2022, Coral Princess will be sailing roundtrip from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.
The 107-day circumnavigation of the globe will include the Mediterranean, Norway, Iceland and the Arctic Circle. Other highlights include a transit of the Panama Canal and access to over 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
107 Day World Cruise Highlights
The cruise will cover 34,000 nautical miles through the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Panama Canal and Pacific Ocean. The epic voyage crosses the equator twice, the international date line and travels above the Arctic Circle.
Thingvellir National Park (Reykjavik)
With the option of 14 unique itineraries ranging from 19 to 107 days, guests can depart from one of the three roundtrip departure homeports;
Auckland – May 14, 2022
Sydney – May 18, 2022
Brisbane – May 20, 2022
Olden, Norway is one of the 4 maiden world cruise ports.
The Four maiden World Cruise ports are;
Cornwall (Falmouth, United Kingdom)
Access to more than 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including;
The archaeological “lost” city of Petra from Aqaba
Gorham’s Cave Complex from Gibraltar. A sea-level cave considered to be a last known habitations of the Neanderthals
The Statue of Liberty, New York
Thingvellir National Park, Reykjavik. See stunning views of the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates
Notable sailing experiences include;
Easter Island scenic cruising
A full transit of the Panama Canal (including Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun Locks)
A Suez Canal transit in Egypt
With 12 late nights and 4 overnight stays, guests will benefit from more time in port. Princess Cruises’ “More Ashore” promise includes Dubai, Venice, New York and Lima (Callao).
Optional overland tours are available from Lima (Callao), Peru to see the marvels of Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands.
Optional overland tours include the Galapagos Islands
Stay Persistently Connected with MedallionNet – the Best Wi-Fi at Sea
Coral Princess provides the best Wi-Fi at sea. MedallionNet offers unprecedented connectivity that’s fast, unlimited, reliable, and affordable. An access point is located in every stateroom, which allows guests to stream their favourite movies, shows, games and music; connect to favourite social media sites; and video chat from anywhere on the ship.
World Cruise Early Booking Benefit and Captain’s Circle Savings
Princess Cruises past guests booking by April 30, 2021, are eligible for onboard credit and discount off launch fares. This discount can be combined with launch and group promotions. These discounts do not apply to third or fourth berth guests.
Prices and availability for the 107 Day World Cruise on Coral Princess 2022 can be found here.
Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through the company’s website at princess.com.
In light of COVID-19, Princess Cruises is currently enhancing health and safety protocols and assessing how they may impact future itineraries, with input from global health leaders . Actual itineraries may vary from marketing materials.
Princess Cruises Announces Australia & New Zealand Itineraries for 2021-22
One of the Largest Deployments Offered with 5 Ships Sailing to 82 Desired Destinations in 19 Countries
With once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for seaside exploration, cultural immersion, unique wildlife, regional wine and magical landscapes, Princess Cruises announced destination-rich itineraries for the cruise line’s upcoming Australia and New Zealand 2021-2022 season, on sale September 16, 2020, that also includes visiting popular South Pacific tropical destinations of Fiji, Papa New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu.
One of its largest deployments ever offered, five ships will sail to 82 destinations in 19 countries on 59 unique itineraries. Royal Princess, Emerald Princess, Sapphire Princess, Coral Princess, and Pacific Princess will cruise this season with voyages ranging in length from two to 36 days. Options abound with sailings between a variety of homeports including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland, as well as journeys afar to Southeast Asia and North America.
Itinerary highlights of the Australia and New Zealand October 2021 through April 2022 season for bucket-list aficionados comprise:
Roundtrip New Zealand sailings ranging from 11 to 14 days, from a variety of homeports in Australia including Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Itineraries feature the famed Marlborough Wine Region (from Picton) and scenic cruising of the glacier-carved fjords of Fiordland National Park.
Four one-way Australia & New Zealand voyages between Sydney and Auckland travelling to key home ports including Melbourne and Christchurch on Royal Princess and Emerald Princess.
Circumnavigate the “Down Under” continent on a Round Australia voyage departing from Sydney and Brisbane, including visits to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef and scenic cruising of the epic Kimberley Coast.
Discover the remote island of Tasmania on roundtrip voyages from five to 10 days from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Visit many islands of the South Pacific including Fiji, Hawaii & Tahiti, New Caledonia & Vanuatu or Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands on a variety of voyages ranging from 11 to 35 days.
Variety of Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific Crossing voyages connecting North America to Australia in autumn 2021 and spring 2022, ranging from 27 to 29 days.
Several two- to four-day Australia and Tasmania Getaway cruises from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with stops in Newcastle, Eden and Hobart. Offering more time to maximise the experience in each location, Princess lists 14 destinations with late-night, or “More Ashore” stays, including Auckland, Darwin, Hobart and. Sydney, to name a few.
Access to 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites including:
Tasmanian Wilderness (from Burnie) – one of the largest conservation areas in Australia covering nearly 20 percent of Tasmania.
Greater Blue Mountains with the chance to gaze up at the Three Sisters spectacular rock formation (from Sydney).
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain (from Port Vila) – the most notable chief in Vanuatu’s history, the “domain” is the first site inscribed in Vanuatu and is a triangle including his old tribe village, his burial grounds, as well as the cave where he supposedly died.
Komodo National Park (on Komodo Island in Indonesia) – founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard.
Two Cruisetour options – Australian Outback and Ultimate Australia – offer guests the opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru National Park’s iconic Ayers Rock, combining a multi-night land tour with a traditional cruise. Guests also spend time in world-class cities like Sydney, Darwin and Cairns.
OceanMedallion Transforms the Cruise Experience
Onboard MedallionClass ships sailing Australia and New Zealand itineraries, the OceanMedallion wearable device transforms holidays by making the entire cruise experience effortless, delivering highly personalised service and enabling touchless interactive experiences and entertainment. Among enhancements, guests enjoy streamlined boarding; on-demand food, beverage, retail and service delivery; keyless stateroom entry; contactless payment; friends and family locator; anywhere wagering; interactive games; and movies/live TV on the go.
Stay Persistently Connected with MedallionNet – the Best Wi-Fi at Sea
Select Australia and New Zealand itineraries offer the best Wi-Fi at sea, MedallionNet, on board so guests can stay persistently connected to the things they love and share holiday memories with ease. MedallionNet offers unprecedented connectivity that’s fast, unlimited, reliable, and affordable with an access point in every stateroom, so guests can stream favourite movies, shows, games and music; connect to favourite social media sites; and video chat from anywhere on the ship.
With many notable “best of” accolades, Princess Cruises is a top cruise line in Australia and a recognised destination leader in the cruise industry.
Captain’s Circle Savings
Princess Cruises past guests are eligible for a discount off launch fares when they book by February 28, 2021. This discount can be combined with launch and group promotions. These discounts do not apply to third or fourth berth guests.
Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.
Princess Cruises is currently enhancing health and safety protocols with input from global health leaders in light of COVID-19 and assessing how they may impact future itineraries. Actual offerings may vary from what is displayed in marketing materials. Click on the following links to stay updated on
Cunard announces Classic World Voyage on Queen Mary 2 for 2022
Queen Mary 2 charts a stunning 104 night escape through Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Europe
Cunard’s 2022 classic World Voyage on their iconic flagship Queen Mary 2 goes on sale today (September 8 2020).
The ocean liner will make calls to Greece, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia and Bali, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Italy and Portugal. The World Voyage will cruise through the Suez Canal on both the outbound journey and return.
Intrinsic Glamour and Heritage
Cunard president, Simon Palethorpe, said, “Our guests have told us they want memorable destinations which combine intrinsic glamour and heritage.” Spanning 16 countries, this unique cruise offers 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The 104 night voyage departs Southampton on January 10th 2022 and returns on April 24th 2022. The itinerary will include overnight stops in Haifa, Dubai, Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore. In addition, Columbo will offer a late night departure.
Choose From Six Sectors
Palethorpe continued, “This 104 night voyage can be split into six sectors and booked individually, which is tailored to those who want to fully immerse themselves in the Cunard experience for just a portion of the journey. It truly is the ultimate exploration of east meets west experienced from the magnificent setting of the world’s only ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2.
“Guests on board will be able to take advantage of a multitude of luxurious offerings whether they want to be entertained, learn something new, get active or simply relax, while the ambience throughout the ship is warm, friendly and inclusive.”
Those sailing the full World Voyage will enjoy a welcome on board reception, plus all the services of a World Voyage Concierge. These include the use of a private lounge, a gala event ashore and complimentary daily gratuities.
Prices for an inside stateroom for the complete 104 night voyage start from £11,499 per person.
An Entirely New Approach To Delivering Safety Information To Guests
Royal Caribbean Group is replacing the traditional safety drill, with the new innovative Muster 2.0
The process will be faster and have a more personal, which encourages higher levels of safety.
Tested on Symphony of the Seas in January 2020, Muster 2.0 has been more than a year in the making. Guests who took part in the mock process indicated a strong preference for the new approach. They also reported better comprehension and retention of the safety information.
The New Royal Caribbean Muster Drill Approach Will Help Guests Enjoy A Smoother Sail Away
Muster 2.0 enables guests to access the key elements of the safety drill. This includes things like; What to expect and where to go in case of an emergency and life jacket instructions.
eMuster provides information on mobile devices and interactive stateroom TVs. Guests can avoid large group assemblies by reviewing the information at their own time prior to setting sail.
The new approach also allows guests to enjoy more of their vacation with no interruption.
After reviewing safety information individually, guests will complete the drill by visiting their assigned assembly station, where a crew member will verify that all steps have been completed and answer questions. The ships will not depart until all guests have completed the drill.
The distributed muster for ocean-going vessels concept is patented in the United States and is patent-pending in major markets around the world, including the various cruise industry flag states. The company has also worked with international regulators, the U.S. Coast Guard and other maritime and government authorities to ensure it meets all safety requirements.
Cruise Lines to Eliminate Crowding By Using The Technology
In addition to introducing the new process on the ships of its own cruise lines – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara – Royal Caribbean Group is offering to license the patented technology to interested cruise operators and will waive patent license fees during the time the world and industry battle the global pandemic. Patent licenses have already been granted to the company’s joint venture, TUI Cruises GmbH, as well as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Disclaimer: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but only recommend products that I would buy or have bought myself.
The Princess Sale for 2021
Princess Cruises is offering reduced fares on more than 800 voyages departing from December 2020 – May 2022 as part of ‘The Princess Sale’, with 7-night sailings available from £499pp.
The Princess Sale is open to book from today, May 1 – June 30, 2020, and includes cruises from the UK, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Alaska.
Offering a low deposit of £50pp means guests don’t have to pay their balance until 90 days before departure.
The applicable voyages departing from the UK are throughout spring, summer and autumn next year. They sail to destinations across northern Europe, southern Europe, the Mediterranean and the British Isles.
The Princess Sale voyages include:
A 14-night Mediterranean Adventurer cruise on Grand Princess, departing July 24, 2021. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton calling at Seville (Cadiz), Barcelona, Marseille, Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Sardinia (Cagliari) and Ceuta. Prices from £1499pp.
· A 7-night Scandinavia cruise on Grand Princess, departing November 15, 2021. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton calling at Oslo, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Kristiansand. Prices from £679pp.
Nyhavn buildings in Copenhagen, Denmark.
· A 12-night British Isles cruise on Crown Princess, departing 26 May 2021. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton calling at Guernsey (St. Peter Port), Cork (Cobh), Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow (Greenock), Orkney Islands (Kirkwall), Invergordon, Edinburgh (South Queensferry) and Paris/Normandy (Le Havre). Prices from £1199pp.
Here’s a little video of Josh and I arriving at South Queensferry during a UK cruise on Ruby Princess.
As previously announced, guests booking a Princess cruise of three nights or longer can choose to add the ‘Princess Plus’ simplified onboard savings package for £35 per person per day. The package covers premium drinks, unlimited WiFi and gratuities – which is worth over £70 for guests who pay for these items in advance of their cruise, or onboard.
Holland America Line’sCanada & New England season will be even more scenic in 2021
From April to October, guests have more than 13 unique Canada, New England and Greenland itineraries to choose from. These range from seven to 17 days, including a new roundtrip cruise from Boston, Massachusetts, that features Greenland, Newfoundland and New England.
Image Credit: Holland America Line – Maasdam in Quebec City, Canada
Suite bookings made by Feb. 28, 2020, receive free drinks, free dining package and free gratuities.
To celebrate the opening of the 2021 Canada, New England & Greenland bookings, Holland America Line is featuring an exclusive suite offer that includes free drinks, a free dining package and free gratuities when reserved by Feb. 28, 2020.
“With spectacular scenery in any season, close-to-home access for many of our guests and a thriving culinary and cultural scene, Canada and New England remain our most requested destinations,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Adding Greenland to those itineraries makes them even more desirable because it’s so rarely visited on a cruise, and the natural beauty is a perfect complement to Canada and New England.”
Image Credit: Greenland Travel – A fountain in Qaqortoq
Kicking off the season in April, Amsterdam, Zaandam andRotterdam sail diverse collections of 50 cruises that call at 23 exceptional ports on itineraries departing from Boston; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Montréal, Québec. In addition to Greenland, the cruises call at some of the region’s most iconic destinations, including Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, Maine’s spectacular Acadia National Park, Cape Breton’s incredible Bird Islands and Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.
New and Notable in 2021:
Three new 17-day Greenland, Newfoundland & New England Discovery cruises aboard Rotterdam in July and August sail roundtrip from Boston and explores remote destinations with breathtaking natural beauty. Ports include Paamiut, Qaqortoq and Nanortalik, Greenland; St. John’s, Red Bay, St. Anthony and Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and Bar Harbor, Maine.
Amsterdam and Zaandam will continue cruising between Montréal and Boston in both the summer and fall, which will add three additional Canada & New England Discovery cruises and one additional Atlantic Coast sailing.
Rotterdam takes over the 10-day Newfoundland & New England Discovery itineraries that now sail all the way to Montréal and include a late-night departure or overnight at Québec City, Québec.
All three ships will cruise the region in the fall so guests can view the impressive display of foliage. Itineraries feature scenic cruising on the St. Lawrence River and Saguenay Fjord.
Holland America Line’s perfectly sized ships enable cruising the scenic St. Lawrence River, with calls at Montréal and Québec City on nearly every itinerary.
Leisurely journeys along the Atlantic Coast to and from Fort Lauderdale feature port calls at Charleston, South Carolina, and New York City on select itineraries.
Image Credit: Holland America Line – Saguenay Fjord
Cultural Experiences Come Aboard
On board, Holland America Line’s multimedia EXC Talks bring Canada, New England and Greenland to life with captivating storytelling, expert commentary and stirring audio and video presentations.
Explore Food, Wine and Culture on Culinary Tours
Exclusive shore excursions in partnership with Food & Wine magazine showcase the tastes of the region. On Canada, New England and Greenland cruises, guests can indulge in authentic poutine and maple syrup-infused treats, or farm-to-fork cuisine in Québec City; sail on a classic lobster boat and then dine at a Downeast Maine lobster bake in Bar Harbor; explore Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and attend a tasting at the Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards; or take a walking tour of Portland, Maine, and quaff a small-batch beer at Shipyard Brewing Company.
British singer, songwriter, producer and musician Gary Barlow is to make his debut role as musical director of The 710 Club on contemporary new P&O Cruises flagship, Iona.
Member of one of the biggest groups in British music history Take That, is set to make Iona’s intimate music bar the most exciting live music venue at sea. The atmospheric late-night music venue will showcase an eclectic range of performances. In keeping with P&O Cruises traditions, the shows will be curated to appeal to British music lovers. Up-and-coming musicians will get a chance to play, which could give them their lucky break.
Naming Ceremony Performance
Gary’s role with P&O Cruises will also see him performing at Iona’s naming celebration which kicks off IonaFest, the UK’s most exciting new floating festival which is a seven-night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords from Southampton on July 4, 2020.
P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “We are immensely proud to have someone of Gary’s stature and talent working with us as the brand ambassador. Gary’s impressive career speaks for itself and he will bring his vision and personality to our new The 710 Club; from guiding the resident band, selecting future performers and playlists and even shaping the interiors and signature cocktails.
“We’re excited that our guests can be a part of it and they will have the opportunity to watch Gary light up Iona’s theatre for some extraordinary performances in dazzling surroundings. This collaboration highlights our commitment to providing world-class entertainment on Iona that places music firmly at its heart.”
Image: P&O Cruises. Gary Barlow is to make his debut role as musical director of The 710 Club on contemporary new P&O Cruises flagship, Iona.
Gary Barlow added: “I want The 710 Club to be a celebration of great music and great talent. As its musical director, I want to give a unique experience for people who love music as much as I do.”
“Music has been such a massive part of my life – and taken me on so many journeys and adventures. I’m hoping to pass this on to all the guests in my club.”
Cruises With Gary Barlow
Gary will also join guests on two Iona holidays in 2020 for exclusive performances;*
Iona G018 departing Southampton on 29 August for the Norwegian Fjords
Iona G025 departing Southampton on 31 October for Spain and Portugal
*Tickets for the performances are limited. They will go on sale prior to the holiday, on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost will be £25 per person with a maximum of 4 tickets per holiday booking. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to two charities; Child Bereavement UK and Teenage Cancer Trust.
Gary Barlow Will Be P&O Cruises New Brand Ambassador
P&O Cruises have announced today, that Gary Barlow is going to be their new brand ambassador. Guests cruising in 2020 will be able to experience the benefit of this pioneering partnership.
As a producer, musician, songwriter and member of the legendary British pop group Take That, cruisers are sure to be thrilled at the announcement. P&O Cruises are holding an exclusive event at the Grade 1 listed church building St. Luke’s London Symphony Orchestra this evening (15 January). Here they will announce more details of Gary’s as the new brand ambassador.
Gary is one of the most successful musicians in the UK, with an impressive career. He has written 15 number one singles and sold over 45 million records worldwide. His live performances have sold over 8 million concert tickets. In recognition of his great work, Gary has won six Ivor Novello Awards and eight BRIT Awards.
Gary has also co-written and produced music for other renowned artists. These include legendary singers such as, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Elton John and Robbie Williams. Gary composed the score for the hugely successful ‘Finding Neverland’ and worked alongside screenwriter Tim Firth to write the music and lyrics for the musical ’The Girls’. More recently Gary worked alongside his bandmates Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Robbie Williams to produce ‘The Band’ a record-breaking musical featuring the music of Take That.
P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “We are immensely proud to have someone of Gary’s stature and talent working with us as a brand ambassador and we look forward to revealing more exciting details on Gary’s role very soon.”
Anthem of the Seas is a Royal Caribbean QUANTUM Class ship. She was built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Her Maiden Voyage was on the 22nd April 2015 from Southampton, England.
Accommodating 4,609 passengers at full capacity, Anthem of the Seas is still not the largest cruise ship in the world. She is however, a close second to the largest in the world, her sister Oasis Class ships.
Image Credit: Royal Caribbean International – Outdoor Pool Deck and North Star
The 18 passenger decks offer plenty of space, which is great for those looking for somewhere quiet to relax.
Anthem of the Seas Dining
The ship has 17 dining options to choose from, ranging from casual buffet-style to multi-course fine dining and 24 hour snacks. These include an array of international cuisine and most dietary requirements are catered for.
Image CreditL Royal Caribbean International – Onboard Dining Room Chic
Activities Onboard Anthem of the Seas
Anthem of the Seas has plenty of activities for all ages. High adrenaline activities for thrill seekers, a west end musical for theatre lovers and high tech shows are just some of the things on offer.
Image Credit: Royal Caribbean International – We Will Rock You
Children will love the Adventure Ocean kids club. Free daily sessions are available for children aged 3 – 17. Check your planner onboard as the opening times may vary. These are a pretty good guide to how they usually work.
Morning Session 9am – 12pm
Afternoon Session 2pm – 5pm
Evening Session 6pm – 10pm
Late nights, lunch and dinner sessions are available at an extra charge, allowing the adults to enjoy everything the ship has to offer, without the guilt.
The Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre offers a state of the art gym, a range of fitness classes and some of the most advanced spa services at sea.
At the front of the ship is a stunning glass covered, adults-only solarium. Cascading pools, whirlpools, luxurious loungers and a dedicated bar, makes it the perfect place to unwind.
Image Credit: Royal Caribbean International – Adult Solarium
Anthem of the Seas is perfectly suitable for people with mobility issues. Corridors built to allow wheelchairs to turn 180 degrees, along with all public rooms featuring entrances with gradual inclines.
A wide choice of stateroom types are available, from single rooms to multi-bedroom family suites and two-storey loft suites. Rooms for five people or more cannot be booked online. Please contact your travel agent or the cruise line directly.
Anthem of the Seas is the perfect multi-generational cruise ship.
If you are new to cruise here is an easy guide to cruising with Royal Caribbean that answers the most frequently asked questions.
Cruising With or Without Kids
The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of Royal Caribbean, is kids. Whether you are travelling with or without children, there is still a Royal Caribbean cruise for you.
Every Royal Caribbean ship (unless otherwise stated below) has a sports court, FlowRider, rock climbing wall, in-stateroom movies, family events, and the Adventure Ocean kids club. This is a fantastic facility for kids which both of my children loved. So there is certainly plenty on board to keep them entertained.
Tips For Avoiding Kids on a Royal Caribbean Cruise
If you are not looking to cruise with kids, and the idea of having them onboard fills you with dread, don’t worry because not all Royal Caribbean cruises are the same.
First of all, the smaller ships are less likely to have as many young families on board, as all the exciting new features such as Splashaway Bay, Laser Tag, Bumper Cars, Trampolining, and water slides are mainly on the larger ships.
Secondly, if you avoid school holidays, you will not find too many kids onboard anyway. If you do book a larger ship during the school holidays, then you need to expect a lot of kids around.
Which Ship Should I Choose?
People cruise for different reasons. Not everyone wants to get off at every port and explore. For those with mobility issues, a cruise offers a great way to enjoy a resort-style holiday without staying in the same place. As a single mum, I would relish the port days when I could enjoy the pool deck all to myself while my kids were having fun in Adventure Ocean.
So before choosing a ship, you need to decide what you are looking for in a cruise. If you are going to be getting off at every opportunity, the chances are you will not have time to enjoy the vast array of activities onboard the larger ships. Some ports are only accessible by smaller ships, so that will also play a role in your decision.
If your cruise is more about spending quality family time together, with a bit of time to relax and unwind, then you may want to spend more time onboard the ship. This is when you should take a closer look at the onboard facilities.
What Are The Different Classes of Ship?
The first Royal Caribbean ships were called Sovereign Class and Vision Class. These ships are classic in design and feature a rock climbing wall.
Radiance Class ships are known as “ships of light”. This is due to their outward facing lifts and floor to ceiling glass windows in the atrium. Royal Caribbean introduced the sports court to this class of ship.
Voyager Class were the first ships to introduce the Royal Promenade. A street inside the ship with shops and bars. They also introduced an ice rink for guests to enjoy skating at their leisure and stunning ice show performances.
Freedom Class introduced the FlowRider surf simulator.
Oasis Class are the largest cruise ships in the world. They introduced an aquatheatre, a zip line, a carousel, 7 different neighbourhoods including Central Park.
Quantum Class take technology to a whole new level. The north star is a glass capsule that lifts guests 300ft above sea level. Guests can try the iFly skydiving simulator, drive bumper cars, roller skate and much more. Quantum Class ships do not have an ice rink.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships Newest to Oldest
Empress of the Seas – June 1990
A maximum guest capacity of 1840. Empress of the Seas does not have a sports court, FlowRider or Adventure Ocean kids club.
Majesty of the Seas – April 1992
A sovereign class ship with a maximum guest capacity of 2767. Majesty of the Seas does not have a sports court, FlowRider or Adventure Ocean kids club.
European Waterways ‘Breaks Out the Bubbly’ for the New Year With Exclusive Hotel Barge Cruise Excursions in Champagne, France
*Champagne Tastings feature in the expanded ‘Insider Experiences’ Programme For 2020 Season, including Gastronomic Lunch at Famed Chateau*
Asthe worldbreaks out the champagne to herald the New Year, European Waterways invites travellers to “break out the bubbly” in the land where it all began – Champagne, France.
For the 2020 season, launching in March, the luxury hotel barge cruise specialist is offering exclusive experiential excursions in Champagne that now include a tasting of various vintages and a gastronomic lunch at the 18th century Château Les Aulnois in the village of Pierry, just south of Épernay – the birthplace of champagne.
The opportunity is available when cruising aboard European Waterways’ Panache luxury hotel barge and also includes a tour of the original Champagne Henriot vineyards, one of the oldest family-owned domaines that traces its origins to the late 1700’s.
10% Off Selected Cruises
European Waterways is offering 10% off on selected cruise departures in May and June 2020, aboard Panache in Champagne, valid when booked before January 6, 2020.
For departures on June 7 and 28, cabins are available at £4,131 per person, based on double occupancy. This is a saving £459 off the regular price of £4,590.
Twelve-passenger whole boat charters are available at £44,550 for the May 31, June 14, and June 21, 2020 departures. This is a saving of £4,950 off the regular price of £49,500.
Celebrating with Panache
Panache cruises through the heart of Champagne from mid-June to mid-July, between Château-Thierry and Châlons-en-Champagne, just weeks before the start of France’s famous grape harvest. The vessel’s six-night, all-inclusive cruises offer a unique immersion into the celebrated history of the sparkling wine and the famous houses that include Moët & Chandon, Henriot and Pannier.
In Épernay, the champagne house of Moët & Chandon features the largest vineyard in the region. Guests will enjoy a guided tour of its vast underground cellar, carved into the white chalk under L’Avenue de Champagne, and taste some of Moët’s vintages in a private salon with the cellar master. A separate excursion to the Domaine of Champagne Henriot includes a stop at its famous vineyard, where a viticulture expert explains their grape selection process. Guests are then treated to a private tour of the Château Les Aulnois. This includes a tasting of the various Henriot champagnes, and a gastronomic lunch in the chateau’s dining room.
Panache’s guests visit the magnificent 800-year-old Reims Cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the coronation of the kings of France once took place. Guests will also visit Château-Thierry, the scene of many fierce battles in WW1 and where American Expeditionary Forces first saw action. Guests will also visit the American cemetery at Belleau Wood, where the combined U.S., French and British forces fought against the Germans.
“The pioneering innovations in the wine-making processes by the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon led to the invention of champagne in the late 17th century, and the world has been celebrating ever since,” said Banks. “In 2020, we invite travellers to celebrate with us in the land that made it all possible.”
Six-night cruise fares, based on double occupancy, include:
local, private, chauffeured transfers
comfortable, air-conditioned accommodation
all gourmet meals
fine wines – indigenous to the cruise region
an open bar
daily excursions and admittance fees
use of barge facilities, such as bicycles and hot tub
With over 40 years’ experience in luxury hotel barging, European Waterways has a fleet that spans nine countries and is the largest luxury hotel barging company in Europe.Hotel Barging is a unique experience for 6 to 20 guests. It offers an immersive, all-inclusive “gentle voyage of discovery” focusing on local culture, history, fine wine and gourmet cuisine.
European Waterways provide an impeccable level of on board service with access to intimate inland waterways. This network of smaller canals allows for flexibility, spontaneity and opportunities to explore surroundings on a bicycle, or on foot. Chauffeured “off the beaten track” excursions to exquisite wine tastings to private tours of stately homes are available daily.
Everyone is looking for a deal, so it’s easy to be seduced by the offers that include free drinks, wifi, specialty restaurants, free parking, free flights and anything else that the cruise lines can think of to throw in. But you may find that you are better off getting a guarantee cabin.
The word guarantee can be confusing. It does not mean you are guaranteed a particular room. So let’s take a look and see what it does mean. A guarantee cabin means that if you book a balcony cabin, you are guaranteed to get at least a balcony cabin. In other words, you would not get an inside cabin. This sounds pretty straightforward but there are exceptions to the rule and here’s how to figure them out.
Check the Deck Plan
When you are booking your cruise, take a look at the deck plan. It is best to view this on the website of the cruise line itself to ensure you are looking at an up to date version. Check that the dates of the deck plan apply to the date you are sailing. In some cases, you may only have one option, but if the ship is due to enter dry-dock, there will be two sets of deck plans, before the refurbishment and after. Make sure you select the one that you will be cruising on. Familiarise yourself with the different categories of cabin on the ship and what they mean. This is where you will be able to figure out which cabins are classed as an upgrade.
For example, some cruise ships have suites that do not have a balcony. So you may have your heart set on a balcony, book your guarantee but get an amazing upgrade to a suite. However, not all suites have balconies, but you might find you can live without that balcony after all.
This means that a guarantee inside is a bit pointless because you can’t get a lower cabin type than that, but it is likely to be the cheapest cruise fare for that sailing, so well worth a try. The really important thing to remember about the guarantee cabin, is that you are agreeing to accept any cabin the cruise line gives you within that category or above. Expect it to be right at the back or right at the front of the ship because it probably will be. Booking a guarantee cabin means you have agreed to accept whatever the cruise line offers you. Bear in mind that it might be noisy, it might be obstructed or have an overhang.
What If I Really Don’t Like The Cabin I’ve Been Given?
If you really don’t like the cabin, check the prices of other cabins around 50 days prior to sailing. Cruise may reduce prices of remaining inventory and you might get an upgrade for a little bit extra.
I’ve Been Told I Might Get A Free Upgrade
Yes, that is true. There are cases where people have booked a guarantee inside and ended up in a balcony cabin. It does happen. But don’t take it personally if it doesn’t happen to you and don’t expect it. In most if not all cases the selection is purely at random.
You never forget your first cruise. Mine was in 2011 on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas. I had no idea what to expect and will admit to being a little apprehensive. Like many first time cruisers, I was concerned that I would feel trapped on a ship with lots of people. As soon as I stepped onboard, that feeling melted away.
The first thing that struck me was how beautiful the atrium was. It felt like I had stepped into a fairytale. Thankfully, I had been tipped off about taking my swimwear in my carry on bag so that I could head straight for the pool. That is exactly what I did (see photo above).
Grandeur of the Seas has undergone a major refurbishment since my cruise, so the photos here were taken before the updates. All I can say is that for my first cruise I was totally blown away.
First Sail Away
After a swim and getting settled into our room, we headed to the top deck for the customary sail away party.
This was my first sail away. As we started moving away from the Port of Palma de Majorca, I felt a huge sense of excitement, adventure, and freedom. I’d never experienced a feeling like it and I loved it. That was the moment I fell in love with cruising.
After the sail away party, we went back to our cabin and got ready for dinner. The group I was travelling with, arranged to meet up in the Schooner Bar. This was another place that totally amazed me. The atmosphere was relaxed but upbeat and friendly. The floor to ceiling glass windows gave incredible views of the mediterranean sea.
I stepped outside onto the promenade deck, gin and tonic in hand, and just could not believe what I was experiencing. I was in my element.
We enjoyed a three course meal in the stunning main dining room. Once again, I had never experienced anything quite like it. The room was grand, the service was attentive and the crew made us feel really special. The food was amazing and everything was perfect.
After dinner we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. My first sunset at sea.
Exploring The Ship
Even the smaller Royal Caribbean ships have a rock climbing wall. I had to give it a go. I may have thought twice had I known I would end up looking like this!
When I climbed to the top I rang the bell. It was quite a challenge, but it’s worth noting that the larger ships have higher rock walls. I tried rock climbing on Independence of the Seas last year and only made it two-thirds of the way up.
In the evening we went to one of the lounges which was having a few hours of karaoke. Of course I couldn’t resist singing a couple of songs.
Access All Areas Tour
I love the Access All Areas Tours. You can book them either before your cruise or when you are onboard. One of the places we were taken to was the Galley. It was fascinating.
The highlight of the tour for me was our visit to the Bridge.
So that was my first cruise and the start of my love of cruising. If you are looking at cruising on Grandeur of the Seas, these photos are not a true reflection as they were taken before an extensive refurbishment.
If you have any questions about the ship feel free to email me at email@example.com
Here are a few of my top picks that I think make great gifts for cruisers. They are all available on Amazon, so you don’t need to spend a day searching the shops for ideas, just a few minutes of online shopping and you will be putting a big smile on that cruise loving face of theirs.
£10 and Under
1. Cruise Ship Lapel Pin Badge
A great little cruise ship lapel pin gift for adults, but the kids love to put these on their lanyards too.
2. Home Is Where The Anchor Drops – Wall Sign
This wall sign serves as a reminder of the beauty of cruising.
3. World Famous Ships Top Trumps Game for Kids or Adults
These top trump cards make a great Christmas Day game or to prevent boredom on long journeys.
Virgin Voyages today announced their second ship debuting in May 2020, will be called ‘Valiant Lady’, and is be based out of Barcelona, Spain. From here she will sail 7-night Mediterranean itineraries, with late-night stops and overnight stays in ports such as Ibiza.
Valiant Lady will sail 3 different itineraries with breathtaking ports of call, open for booking in December 2019.
The exotic delights of Barcelona, Ibiza, Monte Carlo, Marseille and Olbia
A fantastic sampling of the Med featuring Barcelona, Ibiza, Toulon, Ajaccio, Marina di Carrara, and Cagliari
Spanish immersion, stopping by Barcelona, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and the British port of Gibraltar
A Home in Barcelona for Summer 2021
Most cruise ships dock at Termina C in Barcelona, which is a 10-minute bus ride to the first point of interest, Las Ramblas. However, Virgin Voyages have secured a prime location usually reserved by luxury liners and mega-yachts. Valiant Lady will dock at the World Trade Center Barcelona, just steps from Las Ramblas, allowing Sailors to be as close to the heart of the city as possible. It gives walking access to the most popular spots such as Poble Sec, el Raval, Barri Gotic, Port Vell and the famed urban beach of La Barceloneta. Departing every Sunday, sailors can enjoy extra time in Barcelona and take advantage of a range of flight options.
Later Stays and Overnights
Sailor and First Mates (travel partners) wanted later stays in ports, which Virgin Voyages have delivered on every itinerary. Sailors can now make the most of their time in port. Every sailing features a Friday overnight stay in Ibiza, one of the most stunning and thrilling Balearic Islands. Whether it’s a beach club, market, spa, sunset, or a late-night out, there is no other place like Ibiza.
Introducing ‘Valiant Lady’
The name ‘Valiant Lady’ was inspired by the Latin valere and the French, Vaillant, meaning “bold”, “strong”, and “courageous”. The image of women historically only graced the bows of ships to bring protection to a vessel. However, ‘Valiant Lady’ embodies the idea that women design, captain, lead and champion change in the maritime industry.
Valiant Lady will continue Virgin Voyages’ ‘Scarlet Squad’ program. This is aimed at recruiting, supporting and mentoring female shipboard talent and growing opportunities to access leadership roles onboard. This includes areas such as marine, technical and hotel management that statistically show low numbers of female leadership.
VIRGIN VOYAGES ANNOUNCES CELEBRATORY MAIDEN VOYAGE EXPERIENCES
Virgin Voyages have made exciting announcements on what to expect for the Scarlet Lady’s Maiden Voyage. The much-anticipated voyage will depart Miami on the 1st April next year. In true Virgin style, the first celebratory sailing will be an unforgettable experience. Celebrity guests will be at every turn, and I am sure there will be much speculation as to who will be onboard. Special onboard events with exciting surprises will give Sailors an enhanced Virgin Voyages experience.
TWO NEW SNEAK-A-PEAK SAILINGS
Virgin Voyages also announced two special preview Sneak-a-Peek sailings, so sailors can sample the Virgin Voyages experience. with the first one departing 26 March 2020.
The adult-only cruise promises to be a cruise like no other, with their fresh approach to cruising. Scarlet Lady officially sets sail on its Maiden Voyage April 1st.
The three-night Sneak-a-Peek Scarlet Lady sailings will feature the ship’s marquee experiences. These include a stunning day at Virgin Voyages exclusive Beach Club at Bimini. Sailors will enjoy a Scarlet Night Party, access to all restaurants and the opportunity to experience complete versions of entertainment offered onboard.
Bookings for Sneak-a-Peak sailings open on VirginVoyages.com Friday, November 15th. The first sailing will run from Thursday, March 26 – Sunday, March 29. The second sailing will run Sunday, March 29 – Wednesday, April 1.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.