Sunday, 27 November 2016

Room for a little one? Luxury on family cruise lines

Takings kids on a cruise doesn’t mean foregoing luxury. The most family-friendly companies are now building some of the biggest and best suites at sea.

There are two options for the parent who wants a luxury cruise. The first is to book a holiday on one of the high-end lines that welcome kids on board. This means fine dining, beautifully appointed suites, all-inclusive drinks and excursions – but, more often than not, hardly an abundance of fun for the kids. Ultra-luxury tends not to mean bumper cars and multi-storey waterslides.

The other option is to embrace the family-friendly cruise lines – those who offer ridiculously over-the-top fun for kids and that have increasingly embraced the space and the service provided by luxury lines. It makes sense that some of the biggest ships – those in the fleets of Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International – also have some of the biggest suites at sea.

Norwegian, for example, offers the Haven Three-Bedroom Garden Villa on board Norwegian Gem, Jade, Jewel and Pearl. At up to 5,750 sq f, these are made up of three bedrooms with king or queen beds, a huge living area including bar that seats four and dining table that seats eight, as well as a private garden terrace (and hot tub, of course).

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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Aegean Odyssey scores 98% satisfaction scores from guests!

On the 16th September 2016, Aegean Odyssey disembarked passengers on one of their signature Classical Greece & The Greek Islands cruises. The cruise had an incredible 98% guest satisfaction score, meaning 98% of the passengers who joined the cruise (Many of whom had not cruised with them before or in fact cruised with anyone before) would happily return to cruise again. Below are just a handful of reviews from their passengers.

Of course, as you can see from the last comment in blue, it would be disingenuous of us to only share the positives, we get the occasional negative comment too.

Well, you can’t win them all!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Mission accomplished! Crystal Serenity safely back in NYC after a “Historic” NWP cruise

Crystal Cruises becomes first ever luxury cruise line to transit the historically elusive Arctic route; preparations underway for 2017 voyage.

More than three years after the inception of the immensely ambitious plan to transit the Northwest Passage, Crystal Cruises’ luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity has completed the epic undertaking, arriving in New York City this morning. The successful voyage marks the first of its kind made by a large luxury cruise ship. For 32 days and 7,297 nautical miles, more than 1,000 guests and 600 crew members witnessed the remote Arctic waterways and terrain that was inaccessible just over 100 years ago.

“We are humbled and thrilled to have completed such a monumental journey,” said Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president at Crystal. “As Crystal is constantly seeking new ways to share the world with our guests, the Northwest Passage represents an especially massive undertaking that was made possible by the extreme dedication of our expert destination team and expedition partners. We now look forward to beginning the planning process in delivering another memorable experience for guests on our 2017 sailing.”

The award-winning vessel was captained by Master Birger J. Vorland, who enters an exclusive club of maritime explorers to successfully lead a vessel through the Northwest Passage, and joins Norwegian-born sailors Roald Amundsen and Henry A. Larsen on achieving the professional milestone. During the northernmost portion of the journey, Crystal Serenity was escorted by the RRS Ernest Shackleton. In addition to being fully equipped as a first response vessel for virtually any emergency situation, the RRS Shackleton provided ice breaking capabilities, two helicopters for special adventures and additional expert expedition crew.

“From day one of planning the voyage, we were committed to ensuring the safety of our guests, crew and the ship,” said Captain Vorland.  “In addition to carrying two veteran Canadian Ice Pilots, Crystal Serenity’s bridge team received ice navigation simulator training to prepare ourselves for the conditions and, prior to the voyage, the ship was outfitted with forward looking sonar, ice searchlights, ice radar and a thermal imaging system were installed.”

The rugged journey was somewhat of a departure from Crystal’s famous luxury ocean cruises, as adventures ashore were centred on the remote and sparse terrain of the region. “Wet” zodiac landings, icy hikes and intrepid treks were enhanced by the extensive knowledge of the local Inuit guides and the onboard expedition teams. Community visits in Canada’s Northwest Territories offered invaluable connections and insights into the local cultures. In Ulukhaktok, a troop of young local dancers boarded the ship to perform their traditional interpretive dances, fully outfitted in handmade costume. Travellers reflected on the history of the fateful Franklin Expedition during a visit to Beechey Island, while a call to Pond Inlet brought Captain Vorland and the town’s mayor together for a mutual exchange of gifts of appreciation.

In its continuing spirit of goodwill and connecting intimately with communities worldwide, Crystal extended its support to the local Inuit villages during visits on the Northwest Passage voyage. Crystal donated school supplies, hired local guides to assist in tours, hosted “community visits” which allowed local communities to sell arts & crafts and made charitable monetary donations that collectively represented more than $200,000 (CAD) in direct and indirect benefits.

“The importance of understanding the natural, cultural and historical implications of this sailing is tremendous,” adds Rodriguez. “We did not set out on this expedition to simply sail through the Northwest Passage, but also to illuminate the region and its remarkable nuances while also making a positive impact on the communities we visited.”

Along the way, Crystal’s ‘Unexpected Adventures’ – introduced for this voyage – brought impromptu opportunities to encounter wildlife, including close-up greetings (from the safety of an expert-driven zodiac) with polar bears and numerous whale pods. A small group of adventurous guests embarked on an overnight Crystal Adventure to a Greenland Ice Camp, trekking through deep crevices in massive glaciers and sleeping under the stars on the frozen ground.

The trip’s extreme expedition nature was punctuated by Crystal’s signature six-star luxury. Onboard, guests enjoyed real-time updates of wildlife sightings and other special happenings. Four sets of premium high-powered binoculars, as well as flat screens streaming from a cutting-edge Cineflex system were installed in deck 12’s forward Palm Court, ensuring guests always had the best possible views of their route.

Dozens of acclaimed experts also joined the voyage to lend background and fascinating insights into various topics relevant to the journey. Naturalists, biologists, nature photographers and videographers, historians and professional adventurers all led captivating presentations that helped bring the profoundness of the voyage to life.

Following the astounding response and enthusiasm about the 2016 sailing, Crystal has announced a second Northwest Passage route in 2017, open for booking now. For more information and reservations call Tracey Holt on 0800 432 0291 or visit

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Carnival Corporation’s British line P&O Cruises is to build a new ship for 2020.
The company signed a memorandum of agreement with German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku to build the new vessel, which will be fully powered by liquified natural gas.

The new ship will come in at 180,000 gross tons and be able to handle 5,200 guests. Its newest vessel, Britannia, can carry about 3,647 guests.

The ship will be built by Meyer Werft at its shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and will feature the company’s exclusive “green cruising” design as one of the first generation of cruise ships to be fully powered by Liquefied Natural Gas, shipping’s most advanced fuel technology, which will significantly reduce air emissions.

P&O Cruises senior-vice president Paul Ludlow said: “These are very exciting times. The number of British passengers taking a cruise in the past five years has significantly increased, boosted most recently by our very successful launch of Britannia last year. We know there is still huge potential as more and more people realise the value for money, choice and range of dining and entertainment options available on ships of all sizes. With an amazing range of itineraries, from two days to three months, there is a cruise to suit every budget.

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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Royal Caribbean Cruises warns over Med but predicts record year

Royal Caribbean Cruises is seeing “headwinds” from the Mediterranean this summer yet is still projecting a record year.

The company's overall booking position remains strong, similar to last year's record high levels.

“However, China is a closer-in booking environment making it harder to compare positions,” the company said. “Excluding China bookings, the company's booked position is well ahead of last year's.”

The disclosure came as the parent of brands such as Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises reported that adjusted net profit for the first quarter of the year almost tripled to $124 million from $45.2 million in the same period in 2015.

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Fred Olsen reveals Indian Ocean fly-cruise

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is to embark on its first Indian Ocean islands fly-cruise next year.
The 14-night itinerary covers Mauritius, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion Island and Mayotte on the 880-passenger Boudicca (pictured).

The cruise includes flights from London and Manchester departing on November 30, 2017.
Past Fred Olsen passengers can book until Friday with the cruise going on general sale on Saturday (May 7). Prices lead in at £2,699 per person including flights.

Sales and marketing director, Nathan Philpot, said: “We are extremely excited to be launching our first ever fly-cruise to the Indian Ocean region.

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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Read Cruise Adviser’s River guide in full now

Cruise Adviser’s River guide 2016 is landing in shops this week. 

The publication, Cruise Adviser’s eighth, features a cruise in wine country with Uniworld, an unusual rivers special and our unique How To Sell guide.

You can read the guide in full below and all other Cruise Advisers here.

MSC Cruises has signed a deal with a shipyard in France for four World-class ships.

The letter of intent, which was agreed for four ‘next generation’ vessels, will be delivered in 2022, 2024, 2025 and 2026.

Princess Cruises is to add two ships to its fleet, due to enter service in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The vessels, which are to be built by Fincantieri and will be the fourth and fifth in the company’s Royal-class.

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Saturday, 19 March 2016

Experiential cruising: the holidaymaker’s choice, by Phil Evans

In recent years, attitudes to cruising have shifted thanks to the industry transforming itself to keep up with modern travel trends. There is no longer a ‘traditional’ or ‘core’ customer base for cruising as the industry now appeals to such a variety of travellers – from families and couples to those seeking intrepid adventures. Similarly, there is no longer the outdated perception that travellers might get ‘stuck’ on a ship with nothing to do. Competition within the cruise sector – and against the rest of the travel sector more generally – has driven innovations which have kept cruising as a fresh and exciting holiday option.

Gone are the days when cruise holidays were solely about the ship; the rise of experiential travel has led to an increasing focus on the destinations and the unique experiences available. For example, it’s not unusual for a Mediterranean cruise to visit a new port almost every day of the sailing, reducing the number of sea days and giving on board guests a more immersive experience of the region. It has long been the belief that cruise lines want to have more sea days in the itinerary to encourage guests to book spa treatments, shop in the onboard boutiques and purchase more drinks. However, cruise lines now understand that by offering a variety of land excursions to their passengers, they can create a mutually beneficial experience which is rewarding for their guests, local tenders and also their business.

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Saturday, 12 March 2016

New “ultra-exclusive” event announed by Crystal River Cruises

Crystal River Cruises has announced an “ultra-exclusive” event at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna for its guests with every 2016 and 2017 itinerary on board Crystal Mozart.

Passengers will gain private access to highlights of the baroque landmark’s collections of art.

At the evening event, guests inside the Unesco World Cultural Heritage site will get a chance see works by Austrian artists Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele.

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Got customers confused by cruising terminology? Allow us to crack the code

For the first-timer, the cruise industry can feel like a members-only club, full of confusing terminology and secret handshakes. It means new customers will come armed with plenty of questions – particularly when booking a luxury holiday, where many people fret about committing embarrassing faux pas.

Here, we look at some of the most frequently asked questions for new to cruise customers…

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