Cruising

#therearenorules

Tradition is a limitation someone else has set. There is no such thing as a traditional cruise, and there is no such creature as a typical cruiser.

Cruising now appeals to such a wide range of people that there is always a good mix of age groups, families, couples and singles on board. A cruise holiday is a great way to escape from everyday life and to explore many different destinations in one of the most relaxing ways imaginable.

It offers you an extraordinary variety of activities and entertainment, plus exceptional restaurants and bars. And of course, if you simply want to escape, there’s plenty of opportunity to do absolutely nothing at all.

Debunking a few cruise myths

If you’ve got a reason why you couldn’t possibly like cruising, we can guarantee that we’ve heard it before. And whilst not every cruise will suit every traveller, the reasons people give for not wanting to take a holiday at sea are generally unfounded.

In fact, we’d bet that for every cruise excuse, a cruise line exists to prove that theory wrong. The cruising market has exploded and cruise ships and holiday experiences come in all shapes, sizes and budgets. Vessels like Royal Caribbeans Harmony of the Seas is like a floating resort, with every possible activity on board, while Star Clippers fleet offers an authentic sailing experience and the closest you’ll get to becoming a pirate of the Caribbean. Specialist cruises focus on, for example, gourmet cuisine, health and well-being, or family friendly with all day entertainment for the kids, and itineraries can be port-intensive visiting a different destination each day, or totally relaxing offering uninterrupted days at sea.

Whatever your beef, we think we’ve got it covered……..read on oh cynical one!

 

Cruising is for old people!

Tell that to the passengers on a Disney Cruise as they meet and greet with the Disney characters on board. Tell that to the rock climbers, skydivers, surfers and ice skaters on a Royal Caribbean cruise and the teenagers hanging out in the soda bars, video games area and kids only discos on a Carnival cruise. Add to this active shore excursions such as kayaking, horse riding, hiking, cycling and diving rather than the old school sedentary bus tour and you will see why the average age of cruise passengers is coming down. Fact. Different cruise lines often target different demographics, and some ships’ facilities are designed to attract younger passengers – climbing wall, surfing machines, and even Nintendo Wii duels are not for “the old folk”. The average passenger age on Royal Caribbean International ships is 42. Mention the Flowrider and ice-rink and ask what age group they think they are aimed at.

P&O offer “school holiday” cruises aimed specifically at families, and the kids clubs offer so much, Mum and Dad get plenty of relaxation time. P&O also offer adult only cruises, for those who prefer things a little quieter.

I have been on 3 cruises to date, and my first was on P&O Oriana was when I was in my thirties!

I’ll get claustrophobic!

Sure you will if you charter a catamaran with a rough bunk, or squeeze a family of four into a cross channel ferry inside cabin. But just take a walk around the vast decks on board some of the largest floating resorts in the world, surrounded by endless ocean, and you will soon realise there is nothing claustrophobic about a cruise ship. The running track around Royal Caribbeans Harmony Of The Seas is 670m long – that’s more than one and a half times the length of an Olympic 400m track!

If you are truly worried about space, luxury line Regent Seven Seas Explorer’s 4443 square foot Regent Suite comes with a 1416 square foot wraparound balcony, two bedrooms, a large living and dining area and an in-cabin spa with private sauna and steam room – and it comes with butler service. Pricey, but available.

More realistically priced cabins still offer floor to ceiling windows and balcony’s, and even some of the most economical inside cabins are now coming equipped with “virtual balconies”, bringing the outside world inside.

Shopping arcades, theatres, cinemas, gymnasiums, countless bars and restaurants, libraries, adventure playgrounds, climbing walls, golf nets, basket ball courts, football courts, swimming pools, casinos, Spas and salons – there is so much space and so much to do!

I’ll get bored!

Royal Caribbeans Harmony, Oasis and Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ships ever built, offer rock climbing, miniature golf, surfing, ice skating, full size gyms, ziplines, beach pools, spa treatments, hot tubs, comedy shows, Broadway musicals, parades and acrobatic shows, sports bars, karaoke bars, shopping arcades, libraries and the tallest dry slide at sea. Other cruise liners offer ice bars, themed restaurants, beach clubs, simulated skydiving or even panoramic views 300 feet above sea level in the extendable North Star observation arm.

Bored yet? And we haven’t even started on the ports of call.

Cruises are designed to allow passengers as much time ashore as possible, sailing at night and waking up in a new port. Imagine arriving in a different resort every day without having to re-pack and unpack your suitcase! And what better way to enjoy breakfast than to watch your next landfall appear over the horizon.

But it is entirely up to you how much or how little you do. The cruise line will always organise on shore excursions which you can book, or passengers can explore ashore alone. Shore-based excursions can include activities such as bike tours and swimming with dolphins. Or you can stay on the ship, and relax by the pool – cocktail in hand 🙂

I’ll get seasick!

Just because you go green around the gills on a fishing trip to seal island in the choppy shallows around good old Blighty doesn’t mean you’ll suffer from mal de mar on a cruise. Think difference between a 2 seater prop plane and Airbus A380! The bigger the ship, the less you feel the motion, and modern ships are well built with stabilisers to minimise rocking.  If you are still concerned, choose a cabin on a lower deck in the middle of a big ship where there is less movement, and cruise more sheltered sea areas such as the Caribbean, the Baltic and Adriatic, which don’t have big Atlantic swells.

Modern medicines and natural remedies can help, including ginger sweets, medicated patches, pressure bands and green apples (honest!!). Plus, you might find after a few hours on board you forget you’re on a ship at all.

But if you are still unsure, and are prone to sea sickness, why not try a river cruise? No waves and no swell mean even less of a chance of motion sickness. River cruiser liners are catching up with oceangoing vessels in terms of luxury and on board activities, with large balcony cabins, more choices of restaurants, spas and pools.

You have to dress up for dinner and sit with strangers every night

Ok, this is your holiday, you have paid for it and you don’t have to do anything at all!

All ships offer a choice of dining options – on P&O cruise ships, they are referred to as club dining and freedom dining – you choose the option which works best for you!

Club dining is where you share your table with the same guests each evening at the same time. Different dress-codes operate on different days, with smart-casual the “norm”. Black-tie dining may be feature on one or more evenings and is a great excuse to dress up in your best bib and tucker. If you’d rather not attend these glitzy evenings, simply opt for freedom dining instead!

Freedom dining is where you pick and choose the venue each day, and eat at a time that suit you. Wear smart-casual or shorts and a tee-shirt. You decide.

For some, the whole dining experience is one of the main highlights of their cruise. Club dining is a totally sociable occasion and a chance to meet new people. We have since cruised twice with the people we dined with on our first ship. If you prefer to go it alone or be flexible on time, dine at any time between  6.00pm and 9.30pm – a pager will let you know when your table is ready.

But cruising is so expensive!

Prices of cruises are dropping, due to popularity and economies of scale. P&O Cruises head of brand marketing Philip Price said: “You can have two weeks on the Oriana for under £1,000 per person, including food, accommodation, entertainment and a new destination every day.”

You might be surprised to find that all of the following are included in the price of your ticket…

  • Your cabin
    • including the services of your cabin steward, who will see to your every need
  • Your ship
    • Use of the swimming pools, state of the art gym’s, sports facilities, health & beauty spas
    • Childrens’ clubs
    • Boutique shops
    • Libraries
  • Entertainment
    • Nightly theatre shows, live music, cinemas
    • Deck games
    • Dance classes, pub quizzes,
    • Sailaway deck parties
    • Free entry to the casino
    • Cards and games rooms (cribbage, poker lessons)
  • Fabulous dining
    • Club & freedom dining
    • Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, evening meal
    • Fast food is available on many ships, when other restaurants might be closed

 

Please Note: not all features are available on all cruises or on all ships. We will advise you what is available before you book.

Types of cruise

Sailing From the UK

If you choose to sail from the UK, the world really is at your doorstep, and your holiday begins the moment you step foot on your ship. Your very generous allowance of luggage is whisked away from the drop off point at your departure port and is delivered to your cabin while you relax, drink in hand, at the Sail Away party. As your ship weighs anchor, your adventure has already begun; no queuing at airports, no cramped airline seats and questionable airline food. No queuing at the luggage carousel, no waiting for a transfer coach. You already have the freedom of your ship.

Fly Cruise

If you are travelling during our winter months, the first few days on board may be cooler if you sail from Southampton. A fly-cruise is the perfect choice to get you straight to the sun. It is also a good choice if you are not sure if you are a good sailor. The Bay of Biscay can be temperamental, especially in the winter, and a fly-cruise can get you straight to calmer waters. Cruise companies include airfares in their fly-cruise holiday prices (unless they state otherwise) and return transfers from the airport to your ship.

River Cruise

Rivers of the world are fast becoming hotspots for UK cruisers, and a great option for cruisers who get seasick! European river cruising has boomed in the last decade, and cruise lines are expanding to more exotic and interesting parts of the globe every year. So whether you’d like to sail gently along as medieval castles float by your balcony or you prefer the hustle and bustle of a trip through an Asian metropolis, we can help you find your perfect river cruise.

 

With the market for cruising growing all the time, operators are catering for increasingly diverse client requirements, including but not limited to

  • Family Friendly Cruises
  • Christmas Cruises
  • Singles Cruises
  • Disney Cruises
  • Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruises
  • Music Festival Cruises
  • Festival Cruises
  • Sporting Event Cruises
  • Expedition/Discovery Cruises
  • First-Time Cruisers
  • Fitness and Health Cruises
  • Gourmet Food Cruises
  • Group Cruises
  • Luxury Cruises
  • Romantic Cruises
  • Senior Cruises
  • Around the World Cruises
  • Cruises for Disabled Passengers

Life on board

 Your cabin / stateroom

(that’s seafaring talk for bedroom!)

All cruise companies have different names for their classes of staterooms, but most ships generally have four types: –

  • Inside cabin
    • The most economical option and the perfect way to travel if you plan to spend most of your time out and about. For some, their cabin is just somewhere to sleep after a days exploring and an evening of entertainment. Some cruise companies are now offering inside cabins with “virtual balconies” bringing the outside world into your cabin
  • Outside Cabin
    • These are also an economical cabin, but a room with a view adds so much to your cruise – everyday brings something different, whether it is a breathtaking seascape, a stunning sunset or the first glimpse of your next port of call
  • Balcony Cabins
    • When you’re surrounded by an amazing ocean, or sailing into a beautiful new destination, you’ll want to enjoy the perfect vantage point. A Balcony Stateroom is a luxurious home from home, where you can enjoy both in and outdoor space and a front row seat of the horizon. Enjoy breakfast al fresco and watch breathtaking sunrises across the ocean – the spectacular view is ever-changing
  • Suites
    • The ultimate in style and luxury. With a separate sleeping area, a lounge with sofas and chairs, floor to ceiling windows and a spacious balcony for uninterrupted ocean views most suites also come with 24 hour butler service who handle everything from dry-cleaning and unpacking to daily delivery of canapes and making reservations for the spa. A popular aspect of suite living, beyond lush furnishings, is the extra services most ships offer. You can expect concierge service, priority embarkation and disembarkation, and assistance when making reservations for alternative restaurants, spas and sold-out shore excursions

Some operators and / or types of cruise, also offer: –

  • Single cabins
    • Travel in a room designed just for you, our single cabins are spacious, comfortable and all yours. Importantly they’re priced just for one, so you won’t have to pay a surcharge
  • Family suites & cabins
    • These contemporary cabins are designed with families in mind. Beds for everyone and clever design ensure a restful holiday for everyone. Please note that children under 16 cannot stay in a cabin without an adult

Cabin Top Tips

  • Inside cabins have no natural light. At all! Turn your TV to the bridge cam station, turn off the sound and — voila! — you’ve got an instant nightlight and a way to see if the sun is up.
  • Spa cabins can often be a smart financial decision for avid spa-goers. For example, Carnival’s Cloud 9 Spa balcony cabins include access to the thalassotherapy pool, steam room and sauna. The extra you’d pay for the cabin (above a regular balcony room) is often less than what you’d pay for a cruise-length spa pass.
  • With all of the electronics we carry around with us these days, most people find cruise ship outlets to be insufficient. You can bring your own charging station or power strip (check to see if these are legal on your cruise line), but you may also want to ask your cabin steward. Sometimes there’s an extra outlet hidden behind the TV or under the bed.
  • Picky about your bedding? Some lines will provide egg crate mattress toppers, top sheets and alternative pillow types by special request. Feel free to ask, before or during your cruise.
  • Cabin designers are pretty smart about creating as much storage space as possible. Do a little exploring or ask your cabin steward for a tour. You may be surprised to find extra storage under the bed or couch, inside an ottoman or behind a mirror.
  • If you’re feeling queasy, don’t run out to a pharmacy before making some calls. Room service can bring you green apples and bland crackers (crew members swear by the apple remedy), and often you can get seasickness medication from the purser’s desk for free.

Cruise operators

P&O

Probably the best known operator in the UK, Peninsular & Oriental (P&O) celebrate 180 years of history in 2017. Offering no-fly cruises from &  to Southampton, along with fly-cruise / cruise-fly packages, they currently have a fleet of seven magnificent ships including Oriana and Arcadia which are exclusively for adults.

 

Cunard

A cruise aboard Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, or Cunards flag-ship Queen Mary II (it’s not for nothing that she’s the most famous ocean liner in the world),  will be nothing short of spectacular.

The Queen Mary II continues the proud Cunard tradition of regular transatlantic crossings, between the United Kingdom and New York, USA. In early 2017, she embarks on a full 118 night world voyage. That’s one not to be missed!! (please can you take us with you?)

With a fleet of just three ships, Cunards’ focus is on quality, not quantity.

 

Royal Caribbean International

Home to the largest cruise ship on the planet, Harmony Of The Seas, Royal Caribbean Int. (RCI) has a fleet of 25 ships at last count, 8 of which will be sailing around Europe and the Arabian Gulf in 2017. Focusing on jaw-dropping entertainment, thrill-a-minute activities and lip-smacking food & drink, RCI have a ship for every occasion.

 

 

Celebrity Cruises

With a choice of over 270 world-wide destinations, Celebrity Cruises’ 2017-2018 season is set to be their most exciting yet. Launched in 1989, Celebrity has one of Europes’ youngest cruise fleets. Celebrity are part of the Royal Caribbean Cruises company.

One of the few cruise lines to offer voyages to The Galapagos Islands and Alaska.

 

Fred Olsen

Fred Olsen take pride in their fleet of four smaller ships; focusing on the style, ambience and understated quality of a country house hotel, you’ll not find a zip wire or climbing wall on any of their vessels. Their smaller ships allow them to navigate waterways that are out of reach of the leviathan resorts at sea, getting you closer to the things you want to see. Fred Olsen also offers an “Enjoyment Promise” – if you are a first-time cruiser and find that cruising is not for you (within a day or two of stepping on board), they will fly you home and reimburse you your fare. Can’t say fare-er than than!

Destinations

Come back soon – there’s more to add, and we can’t do it all in day!!


If you would like to know more about cruising, please Get in touch!