Archive for the ‘Cruise Tips’ Category

I started the day having Brunch as we gently approached the French town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, located just 15 miles from the centre of Paris. The farm to table dining concept really works on The B, and it’s great to try amazing healthy foods, sourced locally where possible.

Due to a national strike in France, we were all told that unfortunately the tour to Versailles would be cancelled as it would be closed for the day. I got off the ship and explored the hilly surroundings of the riverfront. Visiting Conflans-Saint-Honorine was a chance to see the true French way of life, instead of bustling streets filled with tourists like Paris and Rouen. The charming alleyways and tree-lined roads were just waiting to be explored.

Just before 1 pm, I got a message from the U Hosts, on the Whatsapp group chat, saying the strike had been called off and that Versailles was open. Yay!

I walked back to the ship and enjoyed a drink in the gothic/punk-themed U Lounge, before heading ashore again to board the coaches which would take us all to Versailles. It was around 45 minutes to get to the Palace. We arrived in front of the beautiful giant golden gates, where we waited for our guide to sort out the tickets. Due to the earlier planned strikes, the tour reservation the ship had booked us all on was not possible, so we were denied access while the U by Uniworld representatives scrambled to arrange alternatives. The managers successfully secured us a private tour led by a Versailles expert guide, as well as arranging for us to go to an otherwise fenced off area of the Palace, the Chapel. This is what I love about U by Uniworld – when there’s a problem, they will go above and beyond to solve it and secure us exclusive experiences, something not possible when you travel independently. We were shown around the grand palace, where the treaty of Versailles was signed, and into one of the most famous rooms in the Palace, the Hall of Mirrors. 17 floor-to-ceiling mirrors run along this gigantic hall, along with beautiful chandeliers.

The Chapel was simply stunning. The detailed paintings on the curved roof, depicting scenes of heaven and biblical teachings was amazing, and we had this whole area to ourselves thanks to U by Uniworld and the team at Versailles. We continued our tour around the other rooms, before heading back to the ship.

We were almost an hour late arriving back, which meant the planned beer tasting on one of the rooftops in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine was cancelled. It didn’t stop the crew bringing a crate of the local craft beer back onboard for guests to try in the lounge. Once everyone was back onboard, we swiftly departed.

We didn’t have too far to sail – we were due alongside in Paris just after midnight. Tonight was a self-serve buffet in the U Dine restaurant. There was an amazing French onion soup, salmon coulibiac, macaroons, and a regional specialty for dessert called St. Honoré. It was fabulous! I will really miss the food onboard. To commemorate our final night onboard, there was a giant pyjama party onboard! The ship docked just after midnight, and I was awake and off the ship at 6 am.

And that’s it. My time onboard U by Uniworld’s first ever river cruise is over. It’s been a blast! Thank you for coming align with me on my adventures through this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Au Revoir.

P&O Cruises offers some of the best curries at sea, and to celebrate National Curry Week, P&O's Food Hero Atul Kocchar shares his top ten tips to cooking the perfect curry at home.

 

1: What essential spices should a curry enthusiast keep in their spice box?

For the basics, you'll need good garam masala, black peppercorns, chilli powder, tumeric, ground coriander, and coriander seeds. I also recommend to keep some onion paste and giner-garlic paste in the freezer to save time.

2: What's the best way to store spices?

Keep spices in an airtight container (preferably stainless steel), away from direct sunlight. If stored properly, whole spices can last nine to 12 months, while powdered spices can last up to six months. Buy spices in small quantities and use them as often as you can. That way you don't end up with a cupboard full of stale spices that won't deliver on flavour.

3: Is it best to use freshly ground spice or pre-ground varieties?

If possible, grind them freshly for the best results. Pound whole spices in a pestle and mortar and you’ll release their fragrant oils and flavour.

4: Any top tips on heating up oil and spices to release the best flavour?

Frying spices in hot oil means you get as much flavour out of them as possible. Check the oil is hot enough by dropping a little spice in. If it sizzles, you can add the rest of the spices. You only need to cook spices for about a minute - be careful not to burn them, as they’ll turn bitter. Slow down the cooking process by adding onions, or whatever the next stage in your recipe is.

5: How do you chop onions and keep your eyes from stinging?

The sharpness of the knife matters. As soon as you bruise the onion it releases a series of chemical reactions. A sharp knife will cause less damage to cell walls and fewer irritants will be released - so you won’t cry so much.

6: What one gadget do you recommend investing in and why?

For the best results with spices and flavour, I recommend an electric spice grinder or a trusty pestle and mortar.

7: How hot is too hot? What’s your take on the use of chilli?

Too hot is when you can’t taste any of the ingredients in the dish. My rule of thumb is to cut a chilli in half and use a teaspoon rather than a knife to scrape out the seeds (the hottest part of the chilli). And remember, never touch your eyes afterwards.

8: What simple and effective ‘finishing touches’ do you suggest to make a plate of curry sing?

I like to garnish a curry with chopped coriander and green chillies and a pinch of fresh powdered garam masala – delicious! Always taste before serving and adjust accordingly.

9: What’s the best bit of advice your mother gave you in the kitchen?

"Success without struggle is absolutely useless; failure is a very important feeling to be able to enjoy success".

10: What one piece of advice would you pass on to budding curry chefs?

Always know your onions! Cooking onions to use in Indian food is a technical skill that takes years to perfect.

For more top tips and recipes for fabulous curries without the fuss, don’t miss Atul’s cookbook 30 Minute Curries. The collection of 90 dishes showcases Atul’s trademark mix of using the best and freshest British produce and his modern Indian style. Atul also provides an introduction to spice mixes and the best way to store these ready for use in the quick and easy recipes.
 
Atul Kochhar's signature restaurant, Sindhu, can be found on P&O Cruises' Aurora, Arcadia, Azura, Britannia, Oriana and Ventura. To view a sample menu, click here. Atul Kochhar will be personally onboard, these sailings listed below... 

Spain, France & Italy

13 April 2018 | 14 nights | Azura

Southampton - Alicante - Barcelona - Toulon - La Spezia - Civitavecchia - Cartagena - Gibraltar - Southampton

Prices from £1049pp

Portugal & Canary Islands

21 April 2018 | 13 nights | Ventura

Southampton - Madeira - La Palma - Gran Canaria - Tenerife - Lanzarote - La Coruna - Southampton

Prices from £899pp

Spain & Portugal

4 May 2018 | 7 nights | Ventura

Southampton - Vigo - Lisbon - Oporto - St Peter Port - Southampton

Prices from £549pp

Portugal & Spain

20 July 2018 | 7 nights | Ventura

Southampton - St Peter Port - Oporto - Lisbon - Vigo - Southampton

Prices from £659pp

6 Reasons To Try Norwegian Cruise Line

August 16th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey

Guest Post by Emma Leteace

 

Cruise blogger Emma of Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People is a huge Norwegian Cruise Line fan and she’s here to tell you six reasons why she thinks you’ll love an NCL cruise!

The ships

Norwegian Cruise Line have some of the most innovative cruise ships in the industry. For thrill seekers, their ships have rope courses, rock climbing walls, go kart tracks, and more. Large theatres and atriums are common on NCL, with many bars restaurants and quirky places to explore. Despite the amount of things packed onboard NCL’s ships, there are still many places where you are able to escape the crowds and enjoy a quiet drink while watching the world go by. Many of the newer Norwegian Cruise Line ships, like Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Escape, feature a ‘waterfront’ which is a promenade of restaurants and bars which open out onto the deck – this is my personal favourite place to grab a drink and find a comfy seat.

NCL waterfront

The food

Norwegian Cruise Line is famous for freestyle dining. Freestyle dining means that you don’t have to be at a set table at a set time, avoiding the need to plan your evening around dinner. You are free to come and go as you please, similar to a land based restaurant. There is a huge variety of food available onboard NCL ships with many speciality restaurants offering something extra special. In addition to the main restaurants most NCL ships also have a pub which serves burgers and hot dogs in a less formal setting and of course a well stocked buffet. I often find myself heading there for a snack between meals.

NCL dining

The atmosphere

The lack of formal dining and dress codes means that the atmosphere onboard NCL ships is extremely relaxed. Not needing formal clothing also means that you don’t have to pack as much, which I always appreciate. There are no formal nights on NCL ships, but guests that decide to dress up for dinner won’t look out of place, there are still plenty of people who do dress up and photographers are more than willing to take your photo.

NCL bar

The entertainment

NCL’s entertainment is some of the best that I have ever seen, at sea or on land. My favourite being “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” which I saw onboard Norwegian Epic. I went back the next night to watch it again because I enjoyed it so much! The Broadway shows are always incredible and there are a variety of other acts which perform in the theatre. Usually dancers, singers and musicians. NCL has a lower average age of cruiser than many other cruise lines which is reflected in the entertainment choices. It is worth noting that on the newer ships you do have to prebook the shows. This can be done online before your cruise, or once on the ship. The shows do fill up quickly and are not to be missed.

NCL shows

The daily itinerary

There is always a lot going on with Norwegian Cruise Line. Demonstrations, classes, quizzes, game shows and more happen around the ship every single day. On a Norwegian cruise, I feel able to go for a wander if I have a spare minute and be quite confident that I will stumble upon an event of some kind. The daily itinerary run starts way before I get up and continues long after I go to bed.

NCL activity

The price

NCL cruises are priced competitively against similar cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean International and Disney Cruise Line. They often run promotions with a variety of perks, like onboard credit, or savings. With Norwegian Cruise Line, drinks and gratuities are included, so once onboard there’s very little to pay! The number of young passengers and families which choose to cruise with NCL just go to show how affordable cruises with Norwegian Cruise Line can be.

NCL sea

Time to Book?

Has this got you interested in trying an NCL cruise? It’s the perfect time to book with Ocean World Travel! Secure your booking between 25-31 August 2017 for just a £50 deposit and save up to £400 on selected five-day or longer winter sun cruises! Call 0800 368 9059 today to discuss booking an NCL cruise.

11 Reasons To Sail With Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

August 11th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey

Ocean World Travel have been one of Fred. Olsen’s top selling travel agents for many years, and our customers absolutely love the onboard experience, and fascinating itineraries – It’s why so many go back time and time again!

But what is it that our customers love about Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines? Here are the top 11 reasons to consider sailing with Fred. Olsen for yourself…

  • Great food: Food is an important part of any cruise, and Fred. Olsen certainly deliver in this field. Customers are delighted with the quality of the food on board, and the incredible choices on offer every day. There is an impressive mixture of traditional British classics, gourmet dishes, and regional dishes.
  • Traditional experience: You won’t find any gimmicks on Fred. Olsen or cost-cutting measures – Expect chocolates on your pillow at night, nuts and pretzels at the bar, and lovely, spacious teak decks.
  • Great service: Traditional cruising style, together with a warm and friendly service, you can be rest assured the waiter will have learned your favourite drink by the second day!
  • Drinks prices: Speaking of drinks, prices are very reasonable, and the selection is good too. Upgrade to all-inclusive drinks from just £15 per day.
  • Perfect for solos: Onboard public spaces are perfectly designed for easily striking up a conversation with fellow passengers. There are several dedicated solo cabins, including some with balconies. Fred. Olsen also occasionally offer low, or no single supplements.
  • British currency: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is aimed at British travellers, so everything is charged in Pounds Sterling. There’s no hassle worrying about exchange rates or any ambiguity over prices.
  • Event cruises: The Fred. Olsen fleet travel the globe, and cruises are regularly scheduled to coincide with major events, such as the Monaco Gran Prix.
  • Small ships: Fred. Olsen’s four small ships are perfect for visiting smaller ports on a comfortably-sized ship, instead of docking out of town, and having to walk miles to get from one end of the ship to the other.
  • Dazzling entertainment: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers stunning cabaret shows, headliner guest performers, and witty comedians. There is also plenty of other activities going on throughout the day, such as a daily quiz, live music, and expert demonstrations.
  • Inspiring itineraries: There isn’t many places that Fred. Olsen do not travel to. Most cruises conveniently start from regional ports around the UK, and visit the Canaries, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Northern Europe. There are also exotic fly cruises to the Indian Ocean, as well as world cruises.
  • Value for money: For the excellent level of service, and fabulous itineraries, cruise with Fred. Olsen are very reasonable priced.

 

Contact our friendly travel consultants to book your next cruise

Call 0800 368 9059 or email sales@oceanworldtravel.com

Remember – you’ll receive an exclusive Ocean World Travel discount when you book with us!

 

Cruising To Alaska: Why You Should Book Soon

June 13th, 2017 by Fafavie Lumax

From now to September is the season for cruising to Alaska! Alaska is the kind of place that has so much to offer; you will feel like you’re always visiting a new place even though you’re on the very same vacation. Some quick fun facts about Alaska are in addition to its natural beauty, snow capped mountains, and incredible wildlife, it has the longest day and night and it’s the largest U.S. state. If you are looking to cruise to Alaska but haven’t booked yet, here a few reasons why you should.

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