Tag Archives: Cruises-from-UK

MSC Virtuosa Arrives In Southampton

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

A New Southampton Cruise Terminal

New Southampton Cruise Terminal For Summer 2021

Associated British Ports in partnership with MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise line Holdings Ltd have today announced the opening of a new cruise terminal at the Port of Southampton.

This is encouraging news as we all wait for cruise operations to resume. Clearly the impact of this years events does not show any signs of slowing down the future demand for cruises.

The fifth dedicated cruise terminal is going to be well equipped to service the next-generation of cruise ships. The main terminal building will use roof mounted solar power and Shore Power connectivity to supply sustainable operations. This will enable cruise ships, with the right onboard technology, to ‘plug in’ while they are alongside.

UK’s Number One Departure Port

Southampton is Europe’s leading cruise turn-around port and the UK’s number one departure port. The £55 million investment will further strengthen the Port of Southampton’s position.

The yet unnamed terminal is due to open in Summer 2021 and will become the home port of MSC Magnifica for part of the season sailing from the UK.

Four Existing Terminals

The Mayflower Terminal is the oldest of the four existing passenger terminals, which opened in 1960. Queen Elizabeth II Terminal followed shortly after in 1966. It wasn’t until 2003 that City Terminal was built and Ocean Terminal 6 years later in 2009.

Construction of the fifth cruise terminal commenced in September 2020 and is schedule to open in Summer 2021. The new Southampton cruise terminal will be the port’s largest to date and will be capable of handling the largest cruise ships in the world.

This is great news as we come to the close of the most difficult year in cruise industry history. We are all so desperate to get back onboard and it appears that there is no shortage of demand.

MSC Cruises are committing to sustainable cruising. Here are 7 Ways MSC Cruises Is Reducing Plastics

Cruise People – Danielle Fear – Cruise Miss

Why This Young Lady Loves Cruise and The Best Cruise Tip Ever!

Danielle Fear is a young lass from Newcastle. She lives for cruising and this is reflected in her multi-award-winning blog Cruise Miss. Not one for flying, Danielle is proof that not only is cruising from UK ports the gateway to a world of adventure, it is also an activity that young people do enjoy. So let’s get Danielle’s take on cruising and see what tips she can offer.

When was your first cruise? Which ship was it and where did you cruise too?

My first cruise was in 2007 aboard P&O Cruises ‘Oriana’. It was a 12-night Canary Islands sailing and I was hooked from the moment I stepped aboard. I’d deliberately booked a cruise that was less than 2 weeks in duration, just in case I didn’t like it, and I regretted it almost immediately as I didn’t want it to end.

What did you like/dislike about your first cruise?

One thing that had always put me off cruising was the dress code. I didn’t want to dress up and be forced into a personality that wasn’t really me. Once onboard, I realised that the dress codes weren’t in fact written into the law books and that you could opt-in or opt-out, which I thought was great. However, I soon realised that it also meant if you opted out, you would be the victim of the evil eye from several of your fellow passengers and this is still something I don’t like about cruising. We have the right to decide what we want to do and if I decide I don’t want to wear a formal dress on formal night and that instead, I want to go casual and dine in the buffet, then that’s my choice. We don’t need people throwing the stink eye around.

What is the best cruise you have been on and why?

I’ve been on a lot of cruises, but I think I’d still say that my trip to the Arctic Circle remains one of my favourites, followed closely by my sailings to the Caribbean and America. The Arctic was just spectacular and the excursions were more connected to nature and adventure than any others I have ever experienced; husky sledding, reindeer rides and chasing the Northern Lights.

What is it that appeals to you about cruising?

Everything appeals to me, even the smell of the ship. It’s no secret that I am happiest when I am at sea and I genuinely do love everything about the experience, well, maybe not formal nights, but everything else. I’d go as far as to say that I am addicted to it.

How do you decide which cruises to take?

I always look for at least 1 new destination. I don’t over analyse these things anymore because being able to travel anywhere is a huge privilege. If there’s 1 new place for me to explore, I’m happy, if not, I’m sure the cruise will be just as much as it would be if I’d never been to any of the ports. I also like to make sure the ship suits me – I don’t like HUGE cruise ships when it comes to my own relaxing time away. I want something I can navigate from bow to stern in under an hour! ?

Do you have a bucket list of places you want to visit?

I want to go everywhere. If there’s a port, I want to go there. Simple as that.

What’s the first thing you do when you step onboard a cruise?

Check to see if my case is outside the cabin so I can unpack. If it’s not there, I’ll likely grab a drink from the bar and mark the start of what is sure to be yet another amazing adventure.

What items do you always take with you on a cruise?

I take the obvious things like hair straighteners and so on, but one thing I started doing in 2016 was taking my own hangers, but with a twist! I don’t just pack the hangers on their own, I pack them with my clothes already hanging on them. It sounds crazy, but it means when I open my case, all I do is grab the hangers and then hang them – the clothes are already on! It makes unpacking your case five times quicker. Obviously, you need to pack them carefully so you don’t damage your clothes, but I’m yet to have an incident.

What was your last cruise and what did you like/dislike about it?

My last cruise was with Saga Cruises and we visited Iceland. The only thing I didn’t like was the wind and rain – I genuinely cannot fault anything about Saga. The ship, accommodation, crew and food are EXCELLENT. The ports on this cruise were nearly all new to me and the choice of excursions was ideal.

What is your next cruise? What are you most looking forward to?

My next cruise is the cruise of all cruises, I’m going around the world with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. It still doesn’t feel real, but it is happening. 108-nights aboard Black Watch. I’m looking forward to everything about this cruise, especially South America, Asia and French Polynesia. There are destinations on the itinerary that I thought I would only ever dream of visiting, but here I am, about to visit them. I think I’m most looking forward to Bora Bora, Mumbai, Havana, Aqaba and Yangon.

What is your dream cruise?

My dream cruise would be the world cruise, but Fred. Olsen’s January 2019 ‘Californian Dream’ sailing is definitely on my radar! Not only is it aboard one of my favourite ships (Balmoral) it’s visiting destinations that are on my bucket list, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying a cruise but is worried they will feel trapped on a crowded cruise ship?

Don’t keep overthinking things, just go and do it. You never know unless you try and with some of the MEGA ships out there, the last thing you will feel is trapped!

Can you offer any onboard tips for people who have never cruised?

The last thing you do in cruise club is talk about the cost of your cruise. I’ve warned you.

To follow Danielle on her travels around the world and the cruise ships she’s sailed on visit cruisemiss.com

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Recommended Reading

P&O Cruises drops discretionary Gratuities

Your Guide To Cruise Ship Currency

Onboard Currency

If you are new to cruising, this guide will help you understand how the onboard payment systems work. Cruise ship currency varies from one cruise line to another.  In some cases it can even change depending where the ship is sailing.

Here is a review of the main cruise lines and which onboard currency they use. Of course you are not required to use cash onboard, but it helps to know in advance so you can get the best rate of exchange.

British Pounds

  • P & O
  • Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
  • Cruise & Maritime
  • Noble Calendonia
  • Thomson

US Dollar

  • Azamara Club Cruises
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa – in non European countries
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Cunard
  • Disney Cruise Lines
  • Holland America
  • MSC – in non European countries
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silvers

EURO

  • Costa – in Europe
  • MSC – in Europe
  • Star Clippers

With the fluctuation in currency conversion rates, sometimes it is better to pre-purchase your on board spending money as you will see in my post on How To Get Free Onboard Spend.  Check with your cruise line to see what they are offering at the time.

Anthem of the Seas Review – 2015

It’s A Smart Ship

Putting together an Anthem of the Seas review is not an easy task, as it would be hard to find anyone who has not heard about the newest addition to the Royal Caribbean International fleet. Her recent arrival into Southampton Docks for her inaugural season seems to have the whole cruise industry in a swirl.

With 24 ships in it’s fleet to date, compared to the 8 that P & O Cruises have, Royal Caribbean International has raised the bar to the point where we wonder what on earth they can do next. But after spending two nights on her pre-inaugural sailing, it is clear that they have found a whole new dimension to cruising, cruise ship art, dining and entertainment.

Anthem of the Seas Review

My first impression, as I entered the atrium, was one of class and sophistication. It’s a grown-up version of previous Royal Caribbean ships, in as much as it’s not just about having cool stuff onboard, it’s about having thought-provoking design, art, and menus.  You can experience Wonderland, a unique speciality dining experience which starts when you have to paint your gold-framed menu to read it.

I absolutely love the solarium onboard Anthem of the Seas

There is a lot more indoor space to enjoy the outdoor scenery, such as the adult-only solarium with stunning views looking across the ocean from the front of the ship, and the pool bar which has a retractable roof.  This gives adults a place to enjoy a swim, a drink and relax in all weather conditions without kids, whether it be their own or someone else’s.

Two70

In Two70 with Dominic Paul, Michael Bayley, Richard Fain and Stuart Leven

The Two70 venue by day is another incredible place to relax indoors. It’s a cosy environment with its own cafe and bar, lets you enjoy incredible 270-degree views, spanning two and a half decks of floor to ceiling windows.  At night, this venue transforms into an entertainment place with robotic screens and 12K sound system with scenic images projected on the windows behind it.  That has never been seen on land before let alone at sea.  Watch the short video below and at one point you can hear me saying “how the hell”, which is quite literally what you think when you see the technology capabilities of these robo screens.

Introducing more firsts at sea such as indoor skydiving, rollerskating, dodgems, the North Star (elevates guests 300ft above the water) to compliment their signatures like the Flowrider, rock wall and Royal Promenade, Royal Caribbean International have certainly taken the cruise ship holiday experience to a whole new level.

A friendly waitress offers me a sample of their signature champagne cocktail in The Grande

A friendly waitress offers me a sample of their signature champagne cocktail in The Grande

They have added more in the way of entertainment. In addition to We Will Rock You and the incredible shows in Two70, there is the Music Hall.  This is a two-deck-high music venue with self-levelling pool tables upstairs and a stage and dancefloor downstairs.

Accommodation

They also have some incredible new suites and staterooms. The two-storey owner’s loft suite is incredible with three balconies and a hanging chair.

Getting comfortable on one of the balconies in the Owners Loft Suite

Take a look inside the Owners Loft Suite in this short video.

Having explored the ship over the course of two days, I asked myself “who would enjoy a cruise on Anthem of the Seas?” Everyone!  At least anyone who doesn’t want to experience the same thing on holiday than they do at home.  Anyone who has an inquisitive mind, a sense of adventure and likes to have a good time. There is something for everyone on this ship. If you are not grumpy, boring and miserable, you WILL have the BEST time ever on THIS ship!  TRY IT!

Why not take a look at How Long Is the Allure Of The Seas?

Haven by Norwegian – Luxury Cruising

If you like the idea of a large family ship but want that extra special luxury and a VIP area to get away from it all, look no further than The Haven by Norwegian Cruise Line.

The Haven by Norwegian Cruise Line

With keycard access, this private, ultra luxurious area has been a place for Celebs such as Oprah Winfrey and the well loved Donny and Marie Osmond.  24 hour butler service, a courtyard with private swimming pool, sun deck, loungers (some in the pool to cool off and refresh), fitness room and sauna are some of the features and benefits of this wonderful area.

The long list of benefits and amenities reads as follows:

  • Exclusive access to The Haven Courtyard area with private pool, sun deck and fitness area as well as a private restaurant on some ships
  • White tablecloth in-suite dining
  • 24-hour certified butler service
  • Distinctive platinum key card for shipboard recognition
  • Concierge service and Courtyard valet
  • Priority embarkation and disembarkation
  • Escort to your Suite on embarkation day
  • Priority boarding of tenders
  • Complimentary private car from pier to airport for guests in Garden Villas*
  • Champagne, custom selection of liquor, fruit, bottles water and soft drinks on embarkation day for guests in Garden Villas and (Deluxe) Owner’s Suites
  • Sparkling wine, bottled water and fruit on embarkation day for guests in Family Villas, Spa Suites and (Courtyard) Penthouses
  • 24-hour room service with exclusive Haven menus
  • Mini-bar and espresso/cappuccino machine
  • Gourmet treats delivered to your Suite each evening
  • Invitations to an exclusive breakfast and lunch
  • Cocktail party with ship’s officers
  • Bliss Collection by Norwegian pillow-top mattress
  • Fine linens, feather duvet and pillow menu
  • Plush bathrobes, slippers and over sized towels

*Not available on cruises shorter than three nights

Photos of Family Haven Villas which sleep up to 6 people.  These were taken recently on Norwegian’s newest ship Getaway.

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Ship Review

So the day had finally arrived. Wow! What can I say this ship is amazing.  As we drove through Dock Gate 10 to City Cruise Terminal in Southampton, I saw the most incredible sight I had seen, since I my visit on Independence of the Seas here three years ago.

With my cruise virgin friend Alex in tow, we embarked the brand new Norwegian Breakaway and headed to the buffet to beat the crowds. There was a fabulous selection of foods on offer, so I endulged in a bit of everything. From salads to burgers, stir fry’s to curries, hot dogs, filled croissants, a carvery, freshly made pizza and chilli, the hardest part was choosing what to eat. Then came the desserts. Freshly sliced melon, fruit salad, no added sugar deserts, gluten free jelly, chocolate praline cake, passion fruit cake, apple pie and an ice cream parlour with sprinkles, it was heaven.

We took on the marathon challenge of trying to see as much of the ship as possible before settling down at the bar for a well deserved drink. Alex seemed to fair better with his sense of direction which I put down to beginners luck. So we managed to see the aqua park and sports complex, The Haven by Norwegian, Mandara Spa with barbers and hairdressers, thermal suite and fitness centre. Splash Academy kids club, Breakaway Theatre, Maltings Beer Whiskey Bar and a selection of staterooms.

Having seen as much of the ship our legs could bear to take us, we sat by the pool on deck 15 and enjoyed a nice cold drink. If only this was my office everyday!

That evening we headed down to the Atrium for a pre-dinner aperitif and enjoyed the sounds of one of the regular duo performing acts.  The bar was buzzing with people and had a great atmosphere. Some people were dressed up to the nines and others had taken a more casual approach. But they all had one thing in common, a smile, great conversation and a glass of something nice in their hand. 

The Atrium is a great place to meet up before or after dinner with friends. I can imagine on one of the Southern Caribbean cruises, it would be a place where people would exchange their experiences and views on the port of call they have visited and perhaps giving tips they may know about tomorrow’s port.

After our drink we headed for the Manhattan Restaurant where we were greeted by friendly, first class waiters. There was no doubt that Norwegian Cruise Lines had picked the cream of the crop from the other ships, to work on their latest pride and joy.We were lucky to get a table by the window in the main restaurant.

The selection on the menu was fantastic and as it was so difficult to chose I opted for two starters a main course and a dessert, whereas my guest, Alex save the double servings for pudding.
For main course I chose the surf and turf which was lobster tail and steak, however not being too much of a meat eater but a huge fan of lobster, I asked if I could instead have surf and surf and replace the steak with a second lobster tail. “Of course Madam” was the waiters reply.
 I would like to thank Norwegian Cruise Lines for a wonderful day and evening, and for the opportunity to experience this wonderful ship.
We laughed and joked with the head waiter and his assistant throughout the meal who gave an excellent service whilst remaining friendly and relaxed. The cost of the meal?… well those of you who cruise frequently will know the answer, nothing. This is all included in the cost of your cruise.
Following our delicious meal, we took a stroll around the ship and decided we would visit Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Bar. By this time it was around 9.30pm and on entering the bar we found it was full of people of all ages seated at tables enjoying the music and singing along. It was really like a smokey old Jazz Club only without the smoke. Great atmosphere, great band and great choice of music. I really felt like I had stepped back in time and was experiencing something that I would never have done otherwise. For more information on the band have a look at their website www.slamallen.com


At around 10.30pm I was flagging and I had to leave Alex in the bar to enjoy the rest of his evening and go off to bed. Knowing that I had such a comfortable freshly made bed waiting back in my room for me, made it a very easy decision to make.

I would like to thank Norwegian Cruise Lines for a wonderful day and evening, and for the opportunity to experience this wonderful ship.