Tag Archives: Cruise-Blogger

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.

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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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

Barbados – Sustainability for a Greener Future

Barbados embraces sustainability and looks forward to a greener future

Barbados continues to strive forward with its sustainability initiatives in 2019. With the likes of David Attenborough’s Our Planet and the Extinction Rebellion that overtook many capital cities in May, it is obvious that people’s attitudes to the planets’ general health and wellbeing are changing.

People, governments, and countries are doubling efforts to encourage a more sustainable environment; and Barbados is at the forefront of the movement.

This April the country enforced a ban on single-use plastics, meaning that there will be no more importation, retail, sale and use of petrol-based, single-use plastic on the island. Barbados attracts 623,293 visitors every year, which inevitably incurs environmental challenges.

Banning single-use plastics goes some way to ensuring the protection of our pristine beaches and crystal clear waters that we are famous for. As a destination however, we realise that our sustainability efforts cannot stop there and we are proud to say we are embracing many conservation projects and methods across the island, from driving electric cars to biodynamic farming, we are excited for a more sustainable future”. Cheryl Carter, UK Director, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, commented.

Barbados is already hailed as one of the world’s top users of electric cars. As the island receives over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, the destination saw fit to harness the sun’s energy in 2013 and has been doing so ever since. The island now boasts over 350 solar powered cars, dramatically reducing the islands’ emissions.

2019 also marks the Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure; a theme that ultimately embraces the idea of its locals and visitors exploring the islands’ natural offerings and truly immersing themselves in the healing powers of Barbados’ paradise vibe. Many view the Caribbean islands as solely sun, sand, and sea destinations but Barbados’ offering is so much richer. With a wealth of activities to choose from, including hiking, horse riding and running, to road tennis, island safari and car racing.

The island offers a diverse landscape; from hidden caves, to lush forests, and rolling sugar cane fields; to winding valleys, rugged coastlines, glittering beaches, and peaceful bays. There is a vast amount to explore be it on foot, bicycle or on all fours (in the case of Harrison’s Cave).

Visitors to the environmentally conscious island can enjoy a number of eco-focused attractions and accommodations such as:

  • Welchman Gully: contributes to the islands’ cultural and natural history, by providing an ecological research space for conservationists. The gully itself is home to many monkeys, birds, butterflies and majestic rainforest trees as well as delicate native plants.
  • PEG Farm: encourages visitors to embrace their surroundings and the concept of sustainable living. The biodynamic farm brings new agricultural and holistic lifestyle practices to the island through permaculture and free range animal husbandry. The farm also boasts wonderful medicinal gardens onsite that nurture a large variety of plants sourced from across the island. The sole focus of biodynamics is to restore the Earth’s capacity to heal and regenerate, which are achieved through the farms sustainability initiatives.
  • As Barbados has become more environmentally conscious so have many of the resorts, leading to establishments such as the Eco Lifestyle Lodge and Naniki offering guests retreats and holidays with an eco-conscious focus. Many of the menus feature delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes, with activities centering on the guests’ health and wellbeing, such as sunrise yoga and sunset hikes. Forest bathing is also very popular in the 53-acre rainforest atCoco Hill Forest.
  • The Barbados Sea Turtle project is another initiative close to the island’s heart. The project has been involved in the conservation of the endangered marine turtle species for more than 25 years. Its long term vision is to restore the local marine turtle population through research, education and public outreach. Barbados is currently home to the second-largest hawksbill turtle nesting population in the Caribbean, with up to 500 nesting females per year.
  • Carlisle Bay in the south west of Barbados has recently become a designated marine-protected area, popular with divers, swimmers and snorkelers. Preserving Barbados’ coastline, the marine environment, the health of its reefs and habitats of the marine plants and animals is a continuous focus. It will ensure sustainable use and development of the fisheries, marine assets, resources, minerals and species for sustainable recreation and the livelihoods of those that make a living from the sea.

For more information see: www.visitbarbados.org

Recommended Reading: Corky’s Garage – The Best Bar In Barbados

Take a Look At MSC Cruises New Bahamian Island

MSC CRUISES NEW BAHAMIAN ISLAND DESTINATION, OCEAN CAY

MSC Cruises have released a new rendered video of its exclusive Bahamian island destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

The video gives guests a taste of what they can look forward to while visiting the island. Ocean Cay will be part of itineraries exclusively for MSC guests in the Caribbean region.

Restoration

Ocean Cay is in the Bimini chain of islands in western Bahamas. It was previously an industrial sand extraction site, but has now been restored to pristine condition. The 120-square-acre island is surrounded by a 64-square-mile marine reserve and four smaller cays.

The first guests will step onto the island on November 9, 2019. They will experience the white sandy beaches, beautiful blue water and lush Bahamian greenery. Guests can seamlessly pass directly between the ship and island throughout the day and evening to take advantage of all of the facilities available onboard and ashore.

In the video, viewers can see some of the island’s key areas including:

  • Many unique beaches including the Great Lagoon Beach: Located in an inlet at the center of the island, this is the largest single beach area and offers a haven with shallow crystal-clear water perfect for swimming and water sports.
  • The iconic Lighthouse: A striking 30m tall landmark with a Hemingway-style bar and a terrace, where guests can enjoy incredible sea views with a cocktail and live music. After sunset, guests can gather to watch a breath-taking light show.
  • Seakers Food Court: A buffet restaurant that offers freshly prepared meals from a variety of international culinary traditions.
  • Ice Cream Parlour: An ice cream shop and café that serves a wide variety of ice cream flavours and coffee drinks.

Responsible Tourism

One priority for MSC Cruises on Ocean Cay is the restoration of the coral. As an integral part of the marine ecosystem, it needs to be protected. Coral ensures biodiversity, provide a habitat for marine life and protect coastlines.

From November 2019, all MSC Cruises ships from Miami will call at Ocean Cay as part of the Caribbean itineraries.

For more information about the island and to book your trip, please visit: www.msccruises.co.uk/cruises/destinations/caribbean-southern-caribbean/bahamas/ocean-cay-msc-marine-reserve

Caribbean Princess Opens Water Playground

Caribbean Princess Opens Water Playground on the top deck of the 3,140-guest cruise ship.

The Reef Family Splash Zone includes a water play area, newly-refurbished pool and lounge area.

The Reef’s family-friendly features comprise:

  • An interactive water playground including a splashpool, water sprays and showers. Winnie the Whale ‘rains’ from her fluke and sprays from her spout. Children can find Winnie in Camp Discovery Youth and Teen Centres, and learn about humpback whales
  • A refurbished spa and bar area including a family pool and jacuzzi. ‘Morgan’s Bar’ has child-friendly mocktails with drinks such as ‘Crazy Coconut’ and ‘Berry Nice to Meet You’
  • A new outdoor lounge area with a range of single sun loungers, sectional chairs and sofas with tables. The space also has new fixtures, finishes and canopies offering plenty of shade
  • A multi-generational game zone with oversized activities such as giant Connect Four and Jenga

Destination Themes

In addition, directly below The Reef in the Camp Discovery outdoor area, children can interact and explore with a destination-themed water table. It features the many locations and iconic landmarks Princess visits including the Sydney Opera House and Golden Gate Bridge and also highlights how a cruise ship moves through water, waves and weather.

Discovery Channel

Caribbean Princess boasts a wealth of additional family-friendly features, which were recently expanded via a multi-million pound upgrade. They include three youth and teen clubs, each themed around Princess’ partnership with the Discovery Channel; activities and games for children such as hands-on science experiments, mini golf tournaments, talent shows and stargazing; and interconnecting staterooms for use by larger groups of family and friends.

Caribbean Princess Opens Water Playground

Cutting Edge Technology

Caribbean Princess was also the first ship in the Princess fleet to be fully OceanMedallion-activated. The multi-award winning OceanMedallion, which is the same size as a 10p piece, has been designed to deliver an entirely new level of service and create a holiday that is more simple, effortless and personalised. It supports a number of features such as a family and friends locator, which allows guests to easily find other people onboard.

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president UK & Europe, said: “The Reef Family Splash Zone forms part of our ongoing commitment to offer families a fun and relaxing onboard holiday. Caribbean Princess now has a wealth of features designed to appeal to guests of all ages, perfectly complementing the stunning destinations the ship sails to.”

Princess Cruises is offering a 14-day ‘Circle Caribbean’ voyage on Caribbean Princess, from £1,599 per person including complimentary drinks packages. Departing February 2, 2020 and sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida, ports of call include St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts, Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Bonaire and Aruba. Includes up to $1,100 spending money for a family of four staying in the same stateroom.

For more information or to book visit www.princess.com, speak to your local travel agent or call 0344 338 8663.

Celebrity Cruises Offer S.T.E.M Programmes At Sea

CELEBRITY CRUISES OFFER FROST SCIENCE S.T.E.M PROGRAMMES AT SEA

This month sees the launch of a great new experience for kids and teens cruising onboard Celebrity Equinox. Budding scientists, mathematicians, engineers and tech savvy children with have the opportunity to take part in activities focused around S.T.E.M subjects. This is a result of a new partnership with Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

S.T.E.M Programmes at Sea follows after Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd donated $1.2 million to support ongoing programs at Frost Science earlier in the year. The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami, is a leading science museum. They are dedicated to “sharing the power of science, sparking wonder and investigation, and fuelling innovation for the future”.

First-At-Sea Activites

The first-at-sea activities will be a new addition to the current Camp at Sea on-board programme that provides children and teenagers with opportunities to uncover the world around them through a series of specially tailored activities.

The interactive programming focuses on two science topics – one on the identification of and solutions related to micro plastics and another on the importance and diversity of plankton to the Earth’s oceans and the environment, both designed to nurture the next generation of inventors and innovators.

The micro plastics activity looks at how plastic pollution breaks down over time in the water and how micro plastics form. Tasks for the children include identifying micro plastics, examining filtered samples with microscopes, gathering samples and determining how many micro plastics are in any given area. Activities related to the importance and diversity of plankton include identifying and discussing the form and function of plankton, collecting water samples and looking at live samples.

The newly relaunched Camp at Sea still continues to feature Celebrity Cruises favourites. Young guests can learn how to mix music and take part in the Scratch DJ tournament. Budding film directors can record their own movies using a Go Pro camera and screen the film to their family and friends with the iTake programme. No two cruises offer the same series of Camp at Sea programming, and the on-board youth teams can deliver fun learning across a diverse range of topics to suit the interests of each child on-board.

For more information or to book, call 0800 441 4054, visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk or talk to your travel agent.

Learn more at frostscience.org. Follow Frost Science on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @frostscience.

Related Topics: Celebrity Edge Raises The Bar in Entertainment

Oceania Cruises Announce New Allura Class

Allura Class – Higher Level of Comfort and Amenities

The ultra luxury cruise line Oceania Cruises have announced an order for two new cruise ships. The Allura Class will offer guests an even higher level of comfort and convenience than Marina and Riviera.

The two 67,000 gross ton Allura-Class ships will cost approximately 575 million euros per vessel. The ships will be built by leading cruise ship design and construction company Fincantieri S.p.A.  Each shall accommodate an estimated 1,200 guests. Oceania Cruises want to retain the warmth, design and signature amenities regular Oceania cruisers love about the Marina and Riviera. The new Allura Class will also offer an additional level of comfort and convenience, with new luxury amenities.

The Evolution of Perfection

“This new class of ships will represent an evolution of the Oceania Cruises experience with all the elements our guests treasure – a warm, intimate, residential style; the most spacious standard staterooms afloat; amazing suites, and of course, the finest cuisine at sea,” stated Bob Binder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oceania Cruises.

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd announced; “We are excited to expand the Oceania Cruises fleet with our new Allura-Class ships to meet the strong demand for upscale culinary- and destination-focused cruise vacations around the globe. This new class of ships will further elevate the already best-in-class guest experience at Oceania Cruises and meaningfully strengthen demand from both new and loyal returning guests, which will ultimately drive further returns for shareholders.”

“This new successful project for Oceania Cruises is yet another demonstration of our ability to capitalise on product innovation and diversification to meet the needs of every type of customer, a capability that distinguishes us in the world” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

The ships will be delivered in 2022 and 2025.

Recommended Reading: Ship Tour of Oceania Nautica

Features for Enchanted Princess Revealed

Princess Cruises Reveals New Features on Latest Ship

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

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

The ship will also include:

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

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

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

A ‘Wakeview’ pool on its rear decks

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

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

After its naming ceremony Enchanted Princess will head to the Mediterranean for summer 2020. The ship will offer sailings ranging between seven and 22 days from Barcelona, Athens and Rome.

OceanMedallion for all Caribbean Princess Guests

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

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

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

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

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

Best Connectivity At Sea

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

The ship is based in the Caribbean all year round.

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

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


Celebrity Transforms Galapagos Experience

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

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

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

THE BEST SHIP IN THE GALAPAGOS IS GETTING EVEN BETTER

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

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

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

FROM BUCKET LIST TO BOOK-IT LIST

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

The Heart and Soul of Celebrity Edge

Celebrity Cruises Unveils The Breathtaking Grand Plaza.

Welcome To The Grand Plaza

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

Chic Society

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turning The Typical Into The Transformative

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

World’s First Floating Runway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Princess Cruises

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

Recommended Reading:  Princess Names New Ship Enchanted Princess

Celebrity Edge Transforms Youth Activities

Celebrity Edge inspires the next generation of explorers at sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Subject to availability, prices depending on sailing length

SkyDome – One of Iona’s Star Attractions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P&O Cruises drops discretionary Gratuities

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

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

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

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

Guests will pay one set price which will include childrens clubs

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

Guests will pay one set price which will include entertainment

Applicable Sailings

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

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

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

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

About P&O Cruises

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