Tag Archives: Shore-Excursions

Royal Caribbean Brands Increase Sustainable Tours

ROYAL CARIBBEAN BRANDS OFFER SUSTAINABLE TOURS 

Sustainable Tours Increase Across Royal Caribbean Brands

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

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

Commitment to Sustainability

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

Educating Tour Operators

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

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

GSTC Criteria consists of four main themes;

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

Unprecedented Scale and Scope

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

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

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

  • emissions reduction
  • sustainable food supply
  • destination stewardship

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

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

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

Bombay Sapphire Distillery with Princess Cruises

As well as a glass of bubbly, I am also partial to a pre dinner gin and tonic. Gin has become very fashionable in recent years, with many different types available. My first experience of Bombay Sapphire was about 10 years ago. From that very first sip I fell in love with its creamy almond texture and unique botanical blend.

Little did I know, in 2014 my favourite gin’s new home was just down the road from me. I discovered the Bombay Sapphire Distillery when Princess Cruises invited me to try their signature cocktail there. This is a shore excursion now offered to guests cruising on Sapphire Princess from Southampton in 2019.

Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire

Set in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, Laverstoke Mill consists of 3 Grade II listed buildings formerly used for milling corn and paper.

Laverstoke Mill can be traced back to the Domesday Book. It is now one of the most sustainable distilleries in the world.

These cottages were the homes of on site workers.

The Glasshouse

The Glasshouse is home to the ten botanicals that make up Bombay Sapphire’s unique blend. One side has a Mediterranean climate, while the other is a Tropical climate.

The Test is the purest chalk-stream in the UK. It runs a water turbine which generates electricity for the distillery.

Inside the Glasshouse you can see, smell and learn about each botanical.

The Dakin Still House

A tour of the Dakin Still House is a must. Evidence of it’s rich history adorns the walls and brings the romance of the ‘old days’ back to life.

The two Carter head stills used for producing Bombay Sapphire are named after Thomas and Mary Dakin, who were connected with the early recipe used for Bombay Gin.

Sample the aromas of 22 bowls containing various aromatics.

As you go around each table, punch a hole on the areas of the card which you like the smell of. At the end of your visit, you can present this at the bar where your perfect cocktail will be made for you to enjoy.

You will also find a fabulous display of the bottle and label designs throughout the ages.

Enjoying my perfect gin cocktail, The Laverstoke.

We were also treated to a special class to learn how to make the signature Princess Cruises, Sapphire Princess Cocktail. You can read about that in my post How To Make The Sapphire Princess Cocktail

Location

Laverstoke Mill, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7NR

OPENING TIMES

7 days a week 10:00 – 20:00 (last admission 18:00)

You can follow them on social media and share your photos when you visit

Facebook – Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Instagram – Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Viking Sea Cruise – Last Day – Barbados

The last day of a cruise is always a sad one. However when it’s your first time in Barbados, it’s hard to be anything but completely excited.

During my cruise on Viking Sea I had met many lovely people. On my second day in Puerto Rico, we were gathered in the terminal to depart for our horse riding adventure, and Julia bowled up to our group to join us. Looking the part in her cowboy boots, I immediately took to Julia and her bubbly personality. We chatted non-stop on the drive to the stables. It turned out that Julia was working onboard Viking Sea as HR Manager. When I told her I was looking to get some amazing beach photos, she kindly offered to help and arranged the whole thing!

I met Cassie Wilcox, Senior Writer for Viking Cruises UK, in the check in queue at Heathrow. After a few days on the cruise, Cassie told me she was desperate to get that soft white sand between her toes asked if she could join us.

TAXIS EVERYWHERE

If you’ve never been to Barbados on a cruise, it is worth knowing that as you emerge from the terminal building you are greeted by hundreds of taxis. There seems to be one person managing the operation. They will ask you where you want to go and find the driver for you. They seem to prefer lots of passengers on shorter journeys, so for three of us looking for a two hour trip we were not getting any takers.

Thankfully Julia sorted it all out and a lovely retired gentleman name Marson said he would be our driver. I needed to be back to the ship by midday as we were flying home, so we didn’t have a lot of time and I wanted to see as much as possible.

BROWNES BEACH

Marson was a real charmer and told us some great stories of his ballroom dancing. The first beach he took us to was Brownes Beach just 15 minutes from the cruise terminal.

Pristine white sand and crystal blue water at Brownes Beach.

Dress: M & S Linen Blend Sleevless Tunic Dress

It certainly ticks all the boxes for that dreamy Caribbean beach. We arrived around 9.30am so we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. Apparently it can get extremely busy so my advice is get there super early and head back to the ship when it gets too busy. All of the beaches we visited had sun-loungers and umbrellas for hire.

Julia and Cassie were really good fun to hang out with.

A big smile from Cassie as she gets that powdery sand between her toes.

I love this photo of Julia laughing at me.

That’s why she’s laughing

What a great shot, even if I say so myself.

From there, Marson drove 5 minutes south to Needhams Point. We stopped at the Hilton Barbados Resort to take in the views and have a quick wander around the grounds.

The hotel has several gorgeous pool areas, it’s right on the beach and offers stunning views.

If you fancy staying there, you can check pricing and availability for the Hilton Barbados Resort here.

I love this hotel.

Get the outfit: M & S Woven Vest Dress, Mia Tui Jennie Bag and Sparkly Fit Flops.

Next stop was Worthing Beach just 10 minutes drive away. Since Marson had told us so much about his passion for dancing, I asked if he would show me a few moves. He kindly obliged.

The best taxi driver in Barbados. Marson Craigwell shows off his moves.

We wandered along the beach and found a great place to stop and reflect.

We stayed there for a while, just soaking up the beautiful atmosphere. What an incredible place Barbados is. I want to go back at the first opportunity. Maybe a Christmas cruise?

Dipping my toes in the water for the last time

Outfit: M & S Wide Leg Beach Trousers and Sparkly FitFlops

There is a great restaurant and bar on the beach called Coast. We met the owner, Anna who bought the bar 4 years ago when she moved over from her home town of Milan, Italy. If you are visiting Barbados, make sure this is on your list of places to visit.

As you can see, I was far from ready to leave. What a gorgeous place. Barbados! I’ll be back!

The clothes in this post are my own and purchased by me. I have not been paid or gifted to endorse any of the products listed below. These affiliate links mean I will earn a small amount of commission on any purchases made via these links, at no extra cost to you.

  1. M & S Linen Blend Dress
  2. Black Beach Dress
  3. Sparkly Fit Flops
  4. Beach Trousers
  5. Hilton Barbados Resort

Recommended Reading: Viking Seas Cruise – Day Two – Puerto Rico

Take an MSC Cruise To The Taj Mahal

Have You Ever Fancied A Cruise To The Taj Mahal?

Now you can take a cruise to the Taj Mahal with MSC Cruises. They announced today a move to double their sailings from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The totally refurbished MSC Lirica will join MSC Splendida for 2018 to 2019 Winter Season. This comes after continued growth and strong demand for cruises in the region.

MSC Lirica will offer brand new 11 and 14 night itineraries with longer stays in port. There will be an overnight stay onboard in Dubai, allowing guests to enjoy the city by night. The real jewel in the crown however, is the introduction of three new destinations, New Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai. An overnight stay in Mumbai allows guests an opportunity to really explore the treasures of India.

Discounted Shore Excursions

In addition to the new itineraries and excursions, MSC Cruises are offering new excursions on MSC Lirica.

  • Dubai – EXCLUSIVE DUBAI: BURJ KHALIFA & LUNCH AT BURJ AL ARAB     

Visit iconic symbols of Dubai. The Dubai Mall, Burj Al Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai’s famous gold souk to name a few.

  • Abu Dhabi – THE LOUVRE MUSEUM & ABU DHABI EXPLORATION      

 Guests can tour the “Manhattan of Arabia,” with a visit to the new Louvre Abu Dhabi.

  • Bahrain – BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT IN A 4X4  

A real adventure as guests blaze through the Bahrain International Circuit in the Sakhir Desert.

  • Muscat – MYSTICAL MUSCAT     

Guests will have the opportunity to experience Oman’s spiritual and cultural heritage. The tour visits the Grand Mosque, old Muscat and Muttrah Souk. They will stop at the Bait Al Zubair Museum to view the archaeological find and the traditional dress and jewellery of Oman.

  • Qatar – DESERT SAFARI AND RELAX AT THE BEACH

Guests can ride through Qatar’s surrounding desert across the sand dunes. The journey will end up at Gulf Adventure camp. This oasis of tranquillity is located in the Arabian desert, kissed by the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf.

  • Goa – CROCODILES, MANGROVE & RIVER CRUISE  

This one-of-kind river cruise, allows guests to discover Goa’s verdant landscape. As they head down to the mangroves where the Cumbarjua River flows; the will be impressed by the magnificent birdlife and freshwater crocodiles.

  • Mumbai – OVERLAND TO THE TAJ MAHAL       

This incredible three-day tour takes guests through Mumbai, New Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra – where guests will experience the breath-taking Taj Mahal – and Cochin. They will experience an express tour through some of India’s most famous and memorable landmarks and get to spend two nights in luxury hotels.

  • New Mangalore – Jain & Udupi Temples

From the 15th Century Moodbidiri temple, to Udupi’s Krishna Temple, guests will visit the famous Jain temples of Mangalore.

Free Status Match

MSC Splendida will be offering 7-night itineraries in the region, and now is a great time to book. MSC Cruises are currently offering to match your loyalty status with them, to that of your regular cruise line. You just pay for port taxes.

Recommended Reading MSC Magnifica Restyled for UK Guests