Tag Archives: Cruise-Blog

MSC VIRTUOSA ARRIVES IN LIVERPOOL

Biggest Cruise Ship To Call At The Port

MSC Virtuosa arrives in Liverpool

The Port of Liverpool yesterday welcomed the first call of MSC Virtuosa. At full capacity, the vessel is able to accommodate over 6,000 guests. However the 1,085ft-long ship is currently sailing with only 1,000 guests in accordance with government guidance.

Guests are welcomed aboard MSC Virtuosa (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for MSC Cruises)

Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director of MSC Cruises UK & Ireland commented “MSC Cruises is excited to be in Liverpool for the first time and we are proud to bring our new flagship MSC Virtuosa to this renowned cultural city.”

CREDIT Stratus Imagery. MSC Virtuosa Docked Liverpool

Angie Redhead, Head of Cruise Liverpool added: “We are delighted to offer guests the opportunity to join an MSC cruise in Liverpool for the very first time and as MSC Virtuosa is the largest cruise ship to ever call here, I have no doubt she will draw quite a crowd to our World Heritage Waterfront! We just know that MSC Cruises’ guests are going to love the convenience of embarking in Liverpool, whilst our amazingly friendly city will extend a warm Liverpool welcome to everyone on board.”

MSC Virtuosa, Galleria Virtuosa (Credit: Ivan Sarfatti)

Vaccination Requirements

Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated guests are welcome on board, as all guests are tested at embarkation. This falls under MSC Cruises’ industry-leading and proven health and safety protocol developed by a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts. This protocol was first deployed on MSC Grandiosa in August 2020 and has since helped protect thousands of guests sailing on the ship in the Mediterranean.

Guests may explore ports of call by taking part in ‘bubble’ shore excursions. These have been carefully developed to extend the comprehensive health and safety protocol, tried and tested onboard and ashore. These bubbles include;

  • Sanitised transfers
  • Tour guides and drivers in PPE
  • All guests staying within their group
  • Visits to pre-screened venues
  • Reserved areas for MSC Cruises guests

All of these measures not only help to protect the health of the ship’s guests, but also residents of the local communities where the ship calls.

MSC Cruises’ Long-Term Goal To Achieve A Zero-Impact Cruise Operation

MSC Virtuosa represents another step towards this goal as one of the most environmentally conscious cruise ships at sea. The ship features some of the most advanced technology currently available, such as shore-to-ship power to substantially reduce emissions close to urbans areas, waste management centres, a hybrid exhaust gas cleaning system, and advanced water treatment systems.

For more information and to book, visit: www.msccruises.co.uk/cruises/ships/msc-virtuosa/itineraries

MSC Virtuosa Arrives In Southampton

MSC Virtuosa Arrives In Southampton

To Restart UK Cruising

The newest and most innovative ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet, MSC Virtuosa has arrived in Southampton. She will homport here for the Summer, setting sail on 20th May. Her maiden voyages will consist of 3- and 4-night mini cruises. 7-night sailings around the UK will begin on 12th June.

An Exciting Moment

Antonio Paradiso, UK Managing Director said “The arrival of our flagship MSC Virtuosa into Southampton today is an exciting moment, as we prepare to welcome UK guests back on board from May 20th for her inaugural season around the British Isles. We are proud to be the first cruise line to set sail from UK waters this summer and offer holidaymakers the chance to experience all of the new and incredible features on board our latest and most innovative ship. ”

Image Credit: Antonio Paradiso – Facebook

Environmentally Advanced

MSC Virtuosa is one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative and environmentally advanced ships. The 19-deck ship will offer its British guests of all ages the very best of;

  • fine dining restaurants
  • world-class entertainment
  • relaxing bars and lounges
  • boutique shopping
  • spa and fitness centres
  • an aquapark and clubs for toddlers to teenagers
  • the iconic 112-metre promenade with a stunning LED sky dome

Horizon Terminal

The ship will initially set sail from City Cruise Terminal, before moving to embark guests from the newly-named Horizon terminal once it has opened.

Third Ship Back At Sea

Joining two ships already operating in the Mediterranean, MSC Virtuosa will become the third MSC Cruises ship back at sea. MSC Seaside welcomed guests back on board last week, and MSC Grandiosa has been sailing in the Mediterranean since August 2020. All ships operate under the same industry-leading health and safety protocol.

Recommended Reading MSC Virtuosa Will Restart UK Cruising

MSC Virtuosa Will Restart UK Cruising

IT’S TIME TO SAIL AGAIN

JUST ONE MONTH TO GO

MSC Virtuosa will restart UK cruising from Southampton on 20th May 2021. British guests will be first to discover one of the newest and most innovative ships in the UK this summer.

Initially, the cruise will offer 3 and 4 night mini cruises from Southampton to the isle of Portland, Dorset. From the 12 June, guests can enjoy 7 night cruises calling at Portland and Belfast. These will have embarkation points in Southampton, Liverpool and Greenock.

Here is a taste of what guests can expect onboard.

EXCLUSIVITY AND PRIVACY AT THE MSC YACHT CLUB

Image Credit: MSC Cruises – MSC Virtuosa, MSC Yacht Club Duplex Suite

Spread over three upper decks and linked by glittering MSC Cruises signature Swarowski crystal staircases, the MSC Yacht Club, offers the exclusive luxury of a private club. Located in the front of the ship, guests can experience the best view on board across the bow and out to sea. Two MSC Yacht Club Royal Suites with a private balcony whirlpool bath are among the gorgeous accommodation. Guests can dine in style at the exclusive, 120-seat Top Sail restaurant,  with a curated à la carte gourmet menu paired with a wide selection of wines.  The Top Sail Lounge has it’s own private pool and spacious sun deck.

A PLATE FOR EVERY PALATE

An unparalleled dining experience awaits guests on board MSC Virtuosa. There are five main dining restaurants, five specialty restaurants, 21 bars and lounges both indoor and outdoor, and globally inspired menus from all corners of the Earth. Whether guests are looking for a steakhouse, fresh seafood, Mediterranean cuisine or sushi and Asian dishes, every taste bud will be satisfied.

Making their debuts on MSC Virtuosa are two new speciality restaurants: Indochine and HOLA Tacos & Cantina. Indochine combines two culinary heritages as it brings together savoury Vietnamese classics and gives them a contemporary French twist. At HOLA Tacos & Cantina, MSC Cruises introduces its first street food dining concept, offering Latin American and Mexican inspired dishes with a selection of Tequilas and Mezquals to be savoured alongside.

For those with a sweet tooth, two-time World Champion in Pastry, Jean-Philippe Maury returns on MSC Virtuosa with Chocolat & Café and Crêpes & Gelato, two mouth-watering concepts for pure indulgence.

ROB, THE ROBOTIC BARTENDER

The star of the MSC Starship Club is Rob, the robotic bartender.

Image Credit: MSC Cruises – MSC Virtuosa, MSC Starship Club

Rob is a humanoid robot with different facial expressions and a voice. He can move his arms, body and head just like a real person as he prepares your cocktail.

He can speak eight languages according to the language chosen when the guest makes the order.

ALL NEW TEENS LAB

This will be an immersive, tech-filled space with the latest games consoles, virtual reality and music, all just for teenagers.

Driven By The Music combines a silent disco with a juke box for kids and teens to dance their hearts out.

For young Sherlocks, Junior Detective is a game of wits, observation, and puzzle-solving, as they collect clues in search of the truth.

Image Credit: MSC Cruises

A SHOPPING LOVER’S HEAVEN

MSC Cruises’ has received accolades for Cruise Retailer of the Year 2020 and Cruise Retail Environment of the Year 2020 at the Travel Retail Awards. MSC Virtuosa, will have 11 state of-the-art boutiques housing 250 brands spread over 1,168m2 of dedicated space – the largest retail area at sea.

The ship will feature a branded MSC Foundation shop, which was the winner of the Judges’ Gold Seal for “CSR or Sustainability Initiative of the Year” at the Frontier Awards 2020. The shop offers a selection of specially crafted, high quality, sustainable pieces made from recycled plastic.

Image Credit: MSC Cruises – MSC Virtuosa, Sky Lounge

Here are some of MSC Virtuosa’s highlights in numbers:

·        A 1,100 m2 spa with more than 20 massage treatments for the ultimate in relaxation

·        More than 17 hours of entertainment each day and over 210 different activities to choose from on a 7-night cruise

·        A 975-seater theatre with West-End style original productions and entertainment each night

·        164 slot machines and 12 tables in the Red Gem Casino

·        A 112-metre long Mediterranean-style promenade

·        10 restaurants and 21 bars

·        Five swimming pools including an indoor pool

·        The longest LED sky-screen at sea

·        Two bowling alleys and two F1 Simulators

·        A Himalayan Bridge adventure rope course 80 metres above the sea

Image Credit: MSC Cruises – MSC Virtuosa, solarium

Cruise With Confidence – Industry Leading Health and Safety Protocol

There are comprehensive health and safety measures in place that are designed to protect the guests and crew. However, MSC Cruises aim to preserve the unique holiday experience at every step, so guests are able to relax and enjoy their holiday with the confidence. To find out more visit: www.msccruises.co.uk/health-and-safety-measures

Image Credit: MSC Cruises – MSC Virtuosa, Marketplace Buffet

Environmentally Advanced Technology

As one of MSC Cruises’ most environmentally advanced ships, MSC Virtuosa reinforces MSC’s commitment to protect the seas and communities. The ship is highly equipped with advanced cutting-edge technologies, this will ensure cleaner air emissions and improved overall environmental performance.

Find out more about what this ship holds in store

To find out more about MSC Virtuosa this summer in the UK visit here.

Suggested Reading A New Southampton Cruise Terminal

Will Cruise Ships Wait For You?

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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.

EMBARKATION

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.

Coach Transfer

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.

Fly Cruise

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.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

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.

Coral Princess 107 Day World Cruise from Australia 2022

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links

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 the ultimate bucket-list seekers. In May 2022, Coral Princess will be sailing round trip from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

The 107-day circumnavigation of the globe will include the Mediterranean, Norway, Iceland and the Arctic Circle. Other highlights will include a transit of the Panama Canal, a firm favourite. In addition, guests have over 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to choose from.

107 Day World Cruise Highlights

The cruise will sail the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Panama Canal and Pacific Ocean, covering 34,000 nautical miles.  The epic voyage crosses the equator twice, the international date line and travels above the Arctic Circle.

Thingvellir National Park (Reykjavik)

Guests can depart from one of the three roundtrip departure homeports, with the option of 14 unique itineraries ranging from 19 to 107 days;

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;

  • Sibenik (Croatia)
  • Olden (Norway)
  • Isafjordur (Iceland)
  • 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

Guests will benefit from more time in port, with 12 late nights and 4 overnight stays. Princess Cruises’ “More Ashore” promise includes Dubai, Venice, New York and Lima (Callao).

Optional overland tours of Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands are available from Lima (Callao), Peru.

Optional overland tours include the Galapagos Islands

Stay Persistently Connected with MedallionNet – the Best Wi-Fi at Sea

Coral Princess MedallionNet offers fast, unlimited, reliable, and affordable connectivity. Every stateroom has an access point, which allows guests to stream their favourite shows, play games and music; connect to social media sites; and video chat from anywhere on the ship.

World Cruise Early Booking Benefit and Captain’s Circle Savings

Onboard credit and discounts are available to past guests, when booked by April 30, 2021. This offer is combinable with launch and group promotions, but 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.

Actual itineraries may vary from marketing materials.

For the latest updates, click the links below;

Current Travel Advisories
Health & Safety Protocols

Big Changes to Royal Caribbean Muster Drill

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.

Recommended Reading

A Guide To Cruising with Royal Caribbean

Holland America Are Cruising To Greenland in 2021

Holland America Line’s Canada & 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 GreenlandNewfoundland 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 and Rotterdam sail diverse collections of 50 cruises that call at 23 exceptional ports on itineraries departing from BostonFort 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 IslandMaine’s spectacular Acadia National ParkCape Breton’s incredible Bird Islands and Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

New and Notable in 2021:

  • Three new 17-day GreenlandNewfoundland & 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, GreenlandSt. John’sRed BaySt. Anthony and Corner Brook, Newfoundland and LabradorHalifax and Sydney, Nova ScotiaCharlottetown, 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.

Recommended Reading

7 Ways MSC Cruises Is Reducing Plastics

Details of Partnership With P&O Cruises and Gary Barlow

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.

Recommended Reading

MSC Magnifica Restyled for UK Guests

Gary Barlow Is New P&O Cruises Brand Ambassador

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.”

Recommended Reading

Details of Partnership With P&O Cruises and Gary Barlow

An Introduction To Anthem of the Seas

,Anthem of the Seas – Introduction

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

Accessibility

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.

Recommended Reading

A Guide To Cruising with Royal Caribbean

Virgin Voyages Announces Sneak-A-Peak Sailings

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.

Recommended Reading Mark Ronson Virgin Voyages Minister of Music

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New European Itineraries for Royal Caribbean

ROYAL CARIBBEAN ITINERARIES SUMMER 2021

With seven ships in the region, the cruise line is offering 70% new itineraries and new ports of call.

Royal Caribbean International has today announced European itineraries for 2021, with a new mix of destinations and industry-changing ships.

Family-favorites Anthem of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas will return to Southampton and Barcelona respectively whilst the brand-new Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s second Quantum Ultra class ship, will sail through Turkey and Greece.

All itineraries are available to book as of today except for Odyssey of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas which will be open to book w/c December 9.

New Itineraries From Southampton

Anthem of the Seas will be the first Quantum-class ship to take guests to ports in Norway including Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Geiranger. Other new stops for Anthem include Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark and Bordeaux, France. Select sailings include late nights in Paris, France, and overnights in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Lisbon, Portugal.Explore Europe from Barcelona

  • Harmony of the Seas will be sailing 7-night itineraries through the Western Mediterranean from Barcelona. For those wishing to start and end their trip in Italy, round-trip sailings from Rome are also available.

  • Vision of the Seas will continue to offer 12-night Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona sailing the Greek Isles and making stops in Kotor, Montenegro; Nice, France; Rome, Florence/Pisa, Italy and include an overnight in Venice, Italy and late nights in Split, Croatia.

  • Jewel of the Seas will end the summer homeported in Barcelona where she’ll transport guests to the Iberian Peninsula and Greek Isles including stops in Cannes, France; Athens and Santorini, Greece.

Italian Adventures from Venice

  • Rhapsody of the Seas will spend another summer season in Venice offering 7-night sailings alternating between Greece/Croatia and the Greek Isles. Select sailings will offer late nights in Kotor, Montenegro.

British and Baltic Exploration

  • Select Jewel of the Seas sailings from her homeport of Amsterdam to the British Isles and Baltics will include overnights in Edinburgh (S. Queensferry), Scotland and in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as late-nights in Liverpool, England. This marks the first time a Radiance class ship calls to the city – and Bordeaux, France.

  • Adventure of the Seas will offer 7- to 11-night sailings including overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia from Stockholm, Sweden and will also sail to Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia, and Visby, Sweden. Adventure will be open for booking the week of December 9.

For more information on Royal Caribbean’s 2021 Europe itineraries, visit royalcaribbean.co.uk

Recommended Reading: Jewel of the Seas Greek Isles Cruise Review

First Carbon Neutral Private Cruise Island

Royal Caribbean Announce World’s First Carbon Neutral Private Cruise Island

Royal Caribbean have announced their second ‘Perfect Day’ resort will be in the heart of the South Pacific. Perfect Day at Lelepa in Vanuatu, will be the first carbon neutral* private cruise destination in the world.

Created in partnership with the local community, it will provide fantastic employment and education opportunities.

“Vanuatu is a true paradise for both our people and the visitors we welcome to our shores each year. Today marks a major step forward in our island nation’s close relationship with Royal Caribbean and one that will support sustainable growth for future generations. The Ni-Vanuatu people look forward to welcoming Royal Caribbean guests from around the world to enjoy extraordinary adventures and relaxation during their Perfect Day at Lelepa.”

Vanuatu Prime Minister Salwai

Perfect Day at Lepela will be built with sustainable features designed to protect the island’s ecosystems.

Perfect Day at Lepela will be located in the South Pacific Vanuatu Islands.

The new destination will have a different look and feel to Perfect Day at CocoCay. The

‘Anyone who has encountered the tremendous natural beauty of Lelepa, can understand why it is the perfect setting for ‘Perfect Day’. Our guests who travel to the South Pacific are seeking authentic adventures and genuine relaxation, and they will find both here.’

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO, Michael Bayley

*Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at Lelepe will be audited and certified by an independent third-party expert to ensure it meets the standards for carbon neutrality. Details on the extensive and innovative techniques used to achieve carbon neutrality will be released soon.

This announcement is further evidence that Royal Caribbean are committed to reducing their carbon footprint. It is a big challenge for the cruise industry as a whole, but new technologies are making this a reality.

Recommended Reading Royal Caribbean Brands Increase Sustainable Tours

Princess Cruises Names Ship Discovery Princess

Princess Cruises Reveal Name for Next Ship

Princess Cruises Names Ship Discovery Princess

Discovery Princess set to launch on 3 November 2021 will be the 6th Royal Class ship.  She will begin her inaugural season with a series of European Voyages.  She will be a sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess, Sky Princess (joining the fleet later this month) and Enchanted Princess (joining the fleet June 2020 and launching in Southampton).

Her maiden voyage is a seven-day Mediterranean and Aegean cruise departing Rome to Athens on November 3, 2021. For those looking for a longer cruise, this can be combined together with the subsequent seven-day Athens to Barcelona voyage to form a 14-day Adriatic & Aegean Medley sailing.

Discovery Princess will include Adriatic and Aegean Itineraries.

On completion of her short season in the Mediterranean, Discovery Princess will reposition to Fort Lauderdale. From here, she will sail a series of roundtrip cruises to the Caribbean, followed by several voyages around South America.  Ports include Buenos Aires, Santiago, Fort Lauderdale, Mexico and California.

Santiago, Chile. One of the destinations Discovery Princess will visit during her inaugural season.

MedallionClass Technology

Construction of the 143,700-tonne Discovery Princess will take place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The ship will feature the ‘MedallionClass’ technology, which gives guests a smoother and personalised cruise experience, including;

  • Expedited arrival and touchless stateroom entry.
  • On-demand services using smart devices to order drinks, food and retail items and have them delivered directly anywhere onboard, including to their stateroom.
  • Interactive game play – digital scavenger hunts, interactive games and turning their smart device into a game controller for interactive gaming on the Movies Under The Stars top-deck screen.
  • Family and friends locator – Easily locate and chat with friends and family onboard on portals throughout the ships and via guests’ smart devices, and seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest.
  • Guests can use JourneyView to digitally browse on board events, which means they won’t miss out.  This is available up to 60 days in advance, allowing for guests to plan ahead.

Future Ships For Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises have two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order, which will be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025. More details here.

Cruise on Discovery Princess

Princess Cruises is offering the seven-day Mediterranean and Aegean inaugural sailing on Discovery Princess from £1,389 per person. Departing November 3, 2021 from Rome to Athens, calling at Naples, Crete (Heraklion), Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Istanbul and Mykonos.

The 3,660-guest ship’s maiden season is available to book from October 8, 2019. To book visit princess.com

Barbados Food And Rum Festival 2019

THE BIGGEST CULINARY FESTIVAL IN THE CARRIBEAN

BARBADOS FOOD AND RUM FESTIVAL 2019 CELEBRATES ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY

This year Barbados celebrates a decade of the Barbados Food & Rum Festival with a new and exciting line-up of culinary greatness. The event kicks off on October 24th with the popular ‘Night out in Oistins’. The schedule of events runs until October 27th 2019.

This year, the theme of the festival is “The Story of Rum…from then to now”. It is sure to entice travellers from around the globe to experience the island’s famous rum and delicious Bajan cuisine.

What Visitors Can Expect at the Festival

Local and international chefs will be doing live food demonstrations. A whole host of food stations will be serving up food from Michelin star delights to street style bites.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Tasting bars will offer delicious cocktails, compliments of the Islands’ award winning mixologists. Soca music will fill the air with its tropical rhythm to create the perfect soundtrack for a week of indulgence.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Over the past 10 years, the festival has evolved. This has cemented its place as the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’. A source of pride for local culinary experts who give their time and knowledge to showcase exquisite cuisine to the festival-goers.

Barbados Food And Rum Festival 2019 – Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 24

The festival begins with the free open-air fish fry – Night Out in Oistins.

Savour the taste of the South as the Festival curtain opens at the historic Oistins fishing village. Be there to witness local chefs preparing fresh, grilled treats under the stars, and relish in one of the island’s most talked about experiences of cultural and culinary fusion.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Friday, October 25

On Friday night, those who look forward to the sit-down dining experiences will be thrilled to hear that the Gourmet Safari dinner series is back.

Following the success of last year, the festival is being opened to some local restaurants across the island. Guests can look out for Barbados Food and Rum menus at their favourite restaurants, which will offer dishes specially created just for the night.

Saturday, October 26

This year, the festival is introducing a new and exciting Food Truck Mash-Up.

Street food is equally as popular as restaurant dining. This event will be held at Pelican Craft Village and you are guaranteed to shock your taste buds as all the best street food will be in one location.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Sunday, October 27

The festival will climax on Sunday at the Ilaro Court. This is an elegant event not to be missed as the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) will marry class with refreshing speciality cocktails and food stations.

More information is available at the website www.foodandrum.com

Recommended Reading Barbados – Sustainability for a Greener Future

Royal Caribbean Brands Increase Sustainable Tours

ROYAL CARIBBEAN BRANDS OFFER SUSTAINABLE TOURS 

Sustainable Tours Increase Across Royal Caribbean Brands

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has announced 1,400 sustainable tours for the Caribbean, Mediterranean and beyond.

These special tours are available across all Royal Caribbean brands, and are offered by certified sustainable tour operators. Experiences include kayaking along Majorca’s west coast, underground Mayan River Cenote in Cozumel and grape harvesting at Pizzorno Winery in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Commitment to Sustainability

The initiative began as part of the company’s 2020 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) target. Royal Caribbean’s goal was to offer guests 1,000 tours, provided by operators certified to the UN-created Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standard.

Educating Tour Operators

Engaging with its global independent tour operators was a key part of the programme.

RCL’s Global Tour Operations team and GSTC conducted educational sessions for its tour operators. They educated on the company’s commitment, the importance of certification and sustainable operations, and the process to become GSTC certified.

GSTC Criteria consists of four main themes;

  • effective sustainability planning
  • maximising social and economic benefits for the local community
  • enhancing cultural heritage
  • reducing negative impacts on the environment.

Unprecedented Scale and Scope

“The scale and scope of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ commitment to sustainable shore excursions and accomplishments to date, are unprecedented,” says Jim Sano, VP for Conservation Travel, WWF.

“GSTC commends Royal Caribbean for taking these important steps, encouraging tour operators to adopt–and seek GSTC accredited certification for sustainable tourism practices,” stated Randy Durband, GSTC CEO. “Royal Caribbean’s efforts to boost the global supply of certified sustainable shore excursions is a watershed moment for the cruise industry. Having almost 1,400 tours in Royal Caribbean’s portfolio is an important milestone, and we congratulate them for their ongoing efforts.”

In 2016, RCL announced a partnership with WWF to take its sustainability performance to the next level. This partnership set ambitious sustainability targets in three key areas:

  • emissions reduction
  • sustainable food supply
  • destination stewardship

This takes the company beyond its self-contained operations, with the support of sustainable travel and livelihoods at RCL destinations.

Recommended Reading: Cruise People – Interview with Marc Walker – Royal Caribbean Cruise Director

Princess Cruises – New Gaming Production Show

Princess Cruises has revealed details of a brand new production show and concept. The exciting show ‘5-SKIES’ will debut onboard the line’s newest ships, Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess.

Be Part Of The Game

The show, which has been created exclusively for Princess Cruises,  will transport guests into a virtual reality gaming world through a series of digital effects, acrobatics, elaborate sets and unique costumes.

The show follows main character ‘Gamer 1’, who attempts to complete a series of five increasingly difficult levels, meeting different personalities along the way in an attempt to reach Sky Princess.

5-SKIES will open on the 3,660-guest Sky Princess on November 15, 2019 as it sails the Caribbean. The vessel will then head to Northern Europe and sail roundtrip from Copenhagen on a number of Russia and Scandinavia voyages between April and August.

Princess Cruises’ Commitment To Guests Experience

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president UK & Europe, said: “The addition of 5-SKIES to the entertainment line-up aboard Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess showcases our commitment to offering one-of-a-kind experiences to our guests.

“With stunning visuals, special effects and spectacular choreography, the show will be brought to life by our team of talented singers and dancers and will further enhance the extensive entertainment offering which can only be found on Princess.”

After the show premieres aboard Sky Princess it will feature on Enchanted Princess when the ship launches in June 2020 in Southampton and then sails a season in the Mediterranean.

Princess Cruises is offering a 14-day ‘East/West Adventurer’ Caribbean sailing on Sky Princess, departing February 29, 2020. Sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, calling at Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan, Costa Maya (Mahahual), Princess Cays, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Prices from £2,044 per person*.

For more great Princess Cruises offers visit princesscruises.com

Recommended Reading Princess Cruises Reveals New Jazz Lounge

Travel With Friends – Virgin Voyages Circles

Virgin Voyages Offer Incentives for Sailors to Travel with Friends

Virgin Voyages is continuing to shake up the cruise and travel industry. The cruise line have revealed details of its group program. Circles is a game-changing approach to travel with friends and family.

The program is for Sailors who love traveling together and enjoy a luxe adult-only experience.  Groups might include friends and family celebrating milestone birthdays, special occasions or corporate incentive groups.

Why Circles?

Virgin Voyages refer to ‘groups’ of Sailors as Circles because “we love the idea of celebrating togetherness and human connection at sea,” said Tom McAlpin, president and CEO for Virgin Voyages. “We threw out the rule book again by eliminating complex point-based amenity programs, to create something flexible and enticing.  Our approach ensures the experience remains intimate for all Sailors on board and never feels over run by mass.”

Group Requirements

Virgin Voyages define a Circle as 10 cabins or more (including solo cabins) with up to 150 Sailors. The size and number of Circles sailing at one time are limited to ensure exclusivity while maintaining the dynamic for Sailors outside of the Circle.

Circle Bounty

Circles will be eligible for Circle Bounty, which includes an onboard credit for Sailors known as Sailor Loot.

Sailors can spend Sailor Loot onboard, however they wish. The cabin type booked will determine the amount. Insider and Sea View cabins receive $50 per cabin; Sea Terraces receive $100 per cabin and Mega RockStar and RockStar Suites receive $200 per cabin.

Insider and Sea View cabins receive $50 per cabin

Mega RockStar and RockStar Suites receive $200 per cabin.

Cruise Chest

For every 10 cabins sold, the Circle will earn a 10 percent voyage credit. This will be based on the highest fares, and known as the Cruise Chest.

Circles can earn credit towards their Circle Chest in increments of 10 cabins. So, when there is a circle of 15 cabins, the credit will be based on the highest valued 10 cabins within the group. If 20 cabins are sold, credits will be awarded based on all 20 cabins. This continues based on each block of 10 cabins.

The Circle Chest puts the control of the benefit in the hands of the First Mate. The ways in which this can be applied are as follows;

  • Spent in part or in total toward new cabins on the Circle voyage date that can be enjoyed by First Mates or Sailors.
  • Applied prior to final payment as a reduction of voyage fare across any of the purchased cabins on the Circle voyage. In this case, the First Mate’s commission will be protected and based on the full voyage fare.
  • Set up as a pre-funded master account that can be used on board during the Circle voyage. This can be used for extras including onboard credits, visits to the spa, shore things, cocktail parties, etc.

SPECIAL PROMOTION

Virgin Voyages is offering a special promotion for new 2020 Circles booked now through December 31, 2019.

For a limited time, Circles will receive double the standard Sailor Loot amount per cabin. This means Insider and Sea View cabins receive $100 per cabin; Sea Terraces receive $200 per cabin and Mega RockStar and RockStar Suites receive $400 per cabin.

This special offer is valid on all 2020 sailings except Virgin Voyages’ maiden voyage on April 1 and Sir Richard Branson’s Birthday Bash on July 15.

To book or add to a Circle, contact our Sailor Services Crew at 1-800-430-5308 in the US & Canada and +44-800-3688912 in the UK. Or visit virginvoyages.com

Recommended Reading

My interview with Stacy Shaw – Virgin Voyages VP Business Development

MSC Magnifica Restyled for UK Guests

MSC Magnifica To Undergo A Massive Transformation

The most Magnificent EX-UK season ever!

MSC Cruises revealed today brand-new itineraries for Summer 2021 sailing from Southampton on a newly refurbished MSC Magnifica. The ship will undergo a transformation adding 23 meters to the length, which will deliver an additional 7,000 m2 of space to the ship. This will allow for 215 extra cabins, a new water park, a redesigned kids area, plus additional features including two new restaurants and an exciting new shopping area.

24 sailings from Southampton for Summer 2021

MSC Cruises are introducing brand new itineraries designed for UK cruise guests. These include a 14-night sailing to the Mediterranean and 4 different Norwegian Fjord itineraries

The 24 sailings from Southampton beginning in May and ending in October will see the introduction of cruises ranging from 2 to 14 nights. The brand new varied itineraries will include the Canary Islands & Madeira, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic Capitals. The majority of the 24 sailings will set sail on a Saturday. This is to ensure guests can make the most of their holiday experience.

Antonio Paradiso MD MSC Cruises UK & Ireland commented, “We are delighted to be further enhancing our guest experience and offering brand new itineraries sailing from the UK. We are committed to providing UK guests with the holidays they want.”

The announcement comes as a result of agents’ and guests’ feedback and the demand for more options to cruise from Southampton with MSC Cruises.

He added “The UK market is a priority for MSC Cruises and we have shown our commitment consistently over the last few years. Firstly, with our first-ever full EX-UK season in 2018, then with the naming of MSC Bellissima in Southampton in March this year and now with another full EX-UK season on a newly refurbished and enhanced ship with brand new itineraries created specifically with the British holidaymakers in mind.”

Itineraries

Cruise highlights include;

A 12-night cruise that calls at three of the Canary Islands – Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote with their fantastic climate, distinctive landscapes and bustling ports the cruise departing early May is perfectly timed to catch the sun.

14-night Western Mediterranean cruise in August, including popular destinations for UK guests such as Palma de Mallorca and Monte Carlo will be the perfect choice for the family summer holiday.

MSC Magnifica will offer four different stunning Norwegian Fjord itineraries and will call at two brand new destinations; Skagen in Denmark renowned for hours of sun and unique light plus Rosendal, Norway, which is the world’s fourth-largest fjord.

Best of British

In addition to new itineraries MSC Magnifica guests will continue to enjoy the ‘Best of British’ enhancements, initially showcased on MSC Magnifica in 2018. These include favourites such as pie & mash, back bacon and sausages available in the buffet and kettles in cabins with of course Yorkshire Tea.

Environmental Advances

When works are completed, MSC Magnifica will feature two new major and important onboard environmental advances to complement a wide range of existing leading-edge environmental technologies across the company’s entire fleet: a state-of-the-art Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system and next-generation Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) system. SCR technology helps reduce nitrogen oxide into pure nitrogen and water through advanced active emissions control technology.

MSC Cruises took the opportunity to install a state-of-the-art advanced wastewater treatment system onboard. The system meets the highest standards and that purifies used wastewater to near tap-water quality. The system meets the so-called ‘Baltic Standard’ and treats the wastewater to a higher standard than most waste standards available in cities around the world. To help reduce and continuously minimize emissions also while in port, the ship will be able to ‘plug in’ to the local power grid wherever such systems are available at berth.

On Sale Now From £149pp

Cruises go on sale on the 12th September. Prices start from £149pp for a mini cruise and £549 for a Norwegian fjords cruise.

£100 On Board Credit

To celebrate the launch, MSC Cruises are offering up to £100 onboard credit per cabin on all 2021 MSC Magnifica sailings from Southampton. All prices include service charge and taxes. Terms and conditions apply and can be found at www.msccruises.co.uk

Itinerary highlights include:

May Bank Holiday Mini Cruise

This 3-night sailing runs across the late May Bank Holiday. Set sail from Southampton late on Friday evening and spend the day in Zeebrugge before returning to Southampton. Prices starting from £219pp based on two passengers sharing an inside cabin with £25pp OBC.

Baltic Capitals

There are two opportunities to discover the much-loved Baltic Capitals. A 12-night cruise departing 31st May or on a 14-night cruise departing 11th September. Offering slightly different itineraries with added highlights on the 14-night itinerary. These include an overnight stay in the Swedish Capital Stockholm, and a visit to Denmark’s Skagen. Both sailings include an overnight onboard stay in St Petersburg and a visit to Norway’s capital, Oslo. Prices starting from £1,569pp based on two people sharing a Balcony cabin with £50pp OBC.

Norway Your Way

Choose from one of four different Norwegian Fjord itineraries setting sail across the summer season. Explore much-loved ports including Flamm and Stavanger and new destinations for MSC Cruises Rosendal and Nordfjordeid. Cruises depart throughout the summer. Prices starting from £819pp based on two people sharing an Ocean View cabin with £25pp OBC.

14 Nights Perfect For Families

This 14-night cruise visits some of the Mediterranean’s most loved destinations and has been developed with families in mind. Departing on the 7th August this no-fly cruise begins with two sea days to give guests a chance to relax. Then it’s action-packed itinerary allows you to explore seven different ports in nine days. It also includes a late sail from the fabulous Palma de Mallorca and a visit to the exclusive Monte Carlo. Prices starting from £3,296 for a family of 4. All food and service charges included in the price, plus £50 OBC per cabin.

Recommended Reading MSC Magnifica Cruise Review

Sky Princess Completes Sea Trials

Princess Cruises are celebrating another major milestone as they prepare for the launch of Sky Princess.

The 3,660-guest cruise ship set out from Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy for six days of sea trials, where a series of manoeuvres to test the propulsion, steering and navigational equipment were carried out.

Now back in the shipyard Sky Princess will undergo further exterior and interior finishing in preparation for her 7-day Mediterranean and Adriatic maiden voyage on October 20, 2019.

The ship will sail a short season in the Mediterranean before heading to the Caribbean.

Onboard Features

Sky Princess will be an evolution of sister ships Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. Her enhancements will also feature on Enchanted Princess, which launches in Southampton in June 2020. They include:

  • Two ‘Sky Suites’.  The largest balconies at sea, measuring a massive 1,012 square feet (starboard side), and 947 square feet (portside). These exclusive balconies will offer 270-degree panorama views and provide a private vantage of the top deck Movies Under the Stars cinema screen. They will feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining area with skylight as well as a host of exclusive amenities for up to 5 guests.

  • More than 25 dining venues and bars including the World Fresh Marketplace and speciality restaurants Bistro Sur La Mer (French bistro), Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria
  • New entertainment such as the jazz lounge ‘Take Five’, a redesigned Vista Lounge, an enhanced Princess Theatre and the recently announced production show ‘Rock Opera’

  • A redesigned Sanctuary area, the spa-inspired top deck retreat reserved for adults. The Sanctuary will feature an enhanced, contemporary design including twice as many private cabanas as its sister ships, as well as new lounge furniture and the option for guests to indulge in a spa treatment

Ocean Medallion Technology

  • Princess MedallionClass experience, featuring the complimentary OceanMedallion wearable device, which is the same size as a 10p piece, delivers an entirely new level of service and creates a holiday that is more simple, effortless and personalised with:
    • Expedited arrival – Guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile enjoy a streamlined and expedited check-in process that gets their holiday started even sooner
    • Touchless stateroom entry – No need to touch, swipe or insert cards or devices into the door handle to unlock the stateroom. As a guest approaches their stateroom the door automatically unlocks
    • On-demand services – Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks, food and retail items such as suntan lotion and have them delivered directly anywhere onboard, including to their stateroom
    • Interactive game play – Available on portals throughout the ship, PlayOcean allows guests to take part in digital scavenger hunts, interactive games and create their own avatars, as well as turning their smart device into a game controller for interactive gaming on the Movies Under The Stars top-deck screen
    • Family and friends locator – Accessible on portals throughout the ships and via guests’ smart devices, OceanCompass leverages the OceanMedallion to easily locate and chat with friends and family onboard. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest
      • Interactive voyage timeline – Available on ship portals and via guests’ smart devices, JourneyView is an interactive timeline that lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage and bookmark activities they’re interested in to their own personalised itinerary. Voyage itineraries are available as many as 60 days in advance, allowing guests to start planning before they leave home

Growing Fleet

The Princess Cruises fleet will continue to expand with the launch of Enchanted Princess and three additional ships arriving in 2021, 2023 and 2025.

Princess Cruises is offering a 7-day Eastern Caribbean voyage on Sky Princess, departing February 22, 2020. Sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ports of call are Princess Cays (Bahamas), St Thomas and St Maarten. Special offer currently available with prices from £999 per person for a mini-suite.

Recommended Reading A Day Onboard the Royal Princess

How To Start Your Own Cruise Blog

8 Steps To Your Own Cruise Blog

First you need a name that is going to be easy to remember and describes what your blog is about. It is a good idea to have the word cruise in it, to help Google find you. Buy your domain name at a website like Go Daddy and type in the name you want. Do this before you go any further, as the name you want may not be available. It is always best to get a .com address as people tend to trust them more and if you are writing a travel site, why limit yourself to the UK? Having said that, it’s a good idea to buy the .co.uk site aswell and you can redirect it to the .com site when you are up and running. Or at least it ensures no one else copies your idea and creates a website with the same name.

Setting Up Your Cruise Blog

You can go to sites such as WordPress or Wix to start building your blog. They are both really easy to use if you allow some time and patience to learn them. There are plenty of tutorial videos on their support pages and on YouTube. This is going to be the most stressful part if you lack patience (like me), or are not very good at picking up this kind of stuff. You can hire a Web Developer to do it all for you and you can get these fairly cheap at Fiverr.com If you want to go down that route. I suggest you write up 20 blog posts with high resolution images and a plan of how you want your blog to look. Then get the developer to do it all in one go, rather than keep reverting back every time you need another post added. Once you are set up, you will probably find it a lot easier to just add a post yourself.

Cruise Blog Writing Tips

Firstly, always write your draft post in a word document backed up by a virtual folder. I have seen many posts from frustrated bloggers who have somehow lost hours of work due to the website or internet crashing.

If you want Google to rank your site as a good source of information, you need to make sure you write in a specific way. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It’s not something to get too hung up on, but it’s worth learning to write in such a way to increase your chances of being seen. You can get plug ins that give you a traffic light indicator as to how readable your text is. I use Yoast as it also gives you tips on where you are going wrong. Sometimes it can be the formatting where you just need to split a large body of text up with a new heading. All of this adds up to making it a better read for your audience, so it’s going to benefit you in the long run.

Some bloggers are also contributors to cruise publications. If this is something that appeals to you, it is imperative that you get your punctuation, spelling and terminology correct. Always read over it. If you took heed of my first writing tip and started in an external word document, use the spell checker!

Sharing Your Cruise Blog on Social Media

Chose a blog theme that has social media share buttons on each post. This will make it easy for readers to share your content. You also want to encourage readers to follow you on social media, so ensure you have follow buttons somewhere on every page.

When you share a post on social media ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS tag the cruise line. That way they can see that you are supporting them. It’s also a good idea to use their hashtags.

Timing is everything. There are various ways to find out the best times to post. You can Google ‘best times to post on social media’ for insights. If you find you are not able to post at the recommended times, you can use a scheduling website such as Hootsuite, which give you additional benefits such as insights and reports.

Organising Your Cruise Blog

Just because you know where to find your posts, it doesn’t mean your reader will. It’s a good idea to enlist a few friends and family members to look around your site to see if it is easy to navigate. If not, tweak it until it does. The best way to do this is to categorise topics using the menu bar at the top of the page. Look at what other bloggers have done and take the ideas from the ones you like best.

Cruise Blog Mailing List

You will want to give people the option to sign up to your mailing list. This will help grow your audience as you can notify them every time you have a new post. Some people prefer to put a sign up box somewhere discreet and others like to use a pop up (like me). It’s up to you. This is a bit of a minefield as there are many options available. If you prefer, just get the one that comes with your website theme and fine tune it when you are more familiar with the workings.

Consistency

You will grow a much steadier audience if you are consistent. It is useful to have a content calendar to help you plan what you will blog about each week for the next 4 – 6 weeks. This doesn’t have to be rigid, but having a basic plan is always good.

You might want to blog more than once a week, but you will have press releases from the cruise lines you may want to publish in between times. Some bloggers simply copy and paste these, others change them slightly. Ideally,  you should rewrite it in your own words, but in reality our busy lives don’t always allow time for this. My opinion is that it’s better to get it out quick, than be sending out a well written piece of ‘old news’. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the seasoned journalists can turn a press release around in about 15 minutes!

Making Money From Your Cruise Blog

There are a number of ways to make money from your cruise blog. Some are more lucrative than others, but ultimately how much you earn depends on you.

Google Adsense

Once your blog has been up and running for a while, you can apply to Google Adsense for a publisher account. You see the ads on my blog? They are Adsense ads. Some people like them and some people don’t. You won’t earn a lot of money from these unless you are driving hundreds of thousands of people to your blog each month. However it’s quite nice when you get that little bit of extra cash just for adding a bit of code onto each post.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate schemes are where you sign up to the brands you feel fit well with your blog. I have Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Florida Tix. If someone makes a booking using one of these links, the publisher (you) earn commission. This is the second best way for bloggers and influences to earn an income.

You can also sign up to Amazon Associates and when you buy something from Amazon for your cruise, just write up a review with a link to the website. If someone clicks onto your Amazon link and makes a purchase, whether it’s the product you linked to or something else, you will get paid commission.

Sponsored Posts

This is where the money is. Once you have created your audience, you may be approached by brands to write a review about their product. This is one of the reasons bloggers get free cruises. It is instead of payment from the cruise line. However other brands may be willing to pay you for working with them. I have had posts from £60 to £600, just for writing 300 – 500 words with a link to their website to book. Obviously don’t work with brands you don’t like, because your audience will see through this. I have turned down offers purely for that reason. Don’t sell yourself out.

Recommended Reading 5 Tips on How To Get Free Cruises