March 6th, 2018 by Jordan Bailey
Ever thought about taking a cruise with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines? Don’t like the thought of sailing on a mega-leviathian of a cruise ship with what seems like millions of people on board? Then a cruise with Fred.Olsen may be ideal for you.
They currently have a fleet of four small sized cruise ships that sail on itineraries that the larger ships cannot. With passenger capacity ranging from 929 on Braemar to 1350 on Balmoral, you are not going to be overwhelmed with passenger traffic on board and will create for a more intimate setting in which to enjoy your cruise and perhaps make new friends.
We’ve picked out three cruises that are not to be missed with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines. Let’s have a look…
‘Choose Your Cruise- Baltic: 29 May 2018
Every wondered what it would be like to be a navigator on board a cruise ship? Well…
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines are allowing guests on board Braemar for her 14 night cruise to Baltic, departing 29 May 2018 from Southampton, to vote for a chance to ‘steer the ship.’
Guests will vote in a ballot and the winning vote will be picked by the captain. The winning guest will then get the chance to ‘chart the ship’s course’ and choose between two ports of call as the ship sails. The destinations will be kept a mystery.
Guests can chose from the capital cities of the Baltic or decide to perhaps visit less known ports of call with hidden gems across The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.
There are two highlights that have been pre-determined before the cruise and that is an overnight stay in the Russian city of St Petersburg and the transiting of the Kiel Canal.
The choices for the ports on the cruise are below.
29/05/18 – Southampton
31/05/18 – Amsterdam or Rotterdam (Netherlands)
02/06/18 – Copenhagen or Hundested (Denmark)
04/06/18 – Tallinn or Saaremaa (Estonia)
05/06/18 & 06/06/18- St Petersburg (Russia)
07/06/18 – Helsinki or Kotka (Finland)
09/06/18 – Wismar or Travemunde (Germany)
12/06/18 – Southampton
Greek Islands & Corinth Canal: 27 September 2019
Ever fancied transitting the Corinth Canal? Making the passage on the longest ship ever to go through the canal? Well, you will be able to experience this on board Braemar’s epic 25 night Greek Islands and Corinth Canal cruise departing 27 September 2019 from Southampton.
With a smorgasbord of both popular and less well known ports of calls, guests will have ample opportunity to indulge in all things historical and culture as they visit places such as Valletta (Malta) Rhodes (Greece) and Trapani in Italy.
The highlight of the cruise will be the transitting of the Corinth Canal. Opened in 1893, the canal is 3.9 miles long with a water depth of 26 feet. The most iconic feature though is its width. Ranging from 69 ft at the bottom to a maximum of 83 feet at the waters’ surface. So with Braemar’s 73.8 feet width, it will make for an exciting and interesting passage.
Four Fred.s In Funchal: 4 April 2020.
4 April 2020 will see the four ships in the Fred.Olsen fleet meet together, this time in Funchal, Madeira.
Black Watch, Boudicca, Balmoral and Braemar will gather in the Portuguese island, where guests will be able to enjoy a variety of entertainment and events to help celebrate the meeting.
It will be the third time that all four ships will have been together in port together in Fred.Olsen colours, following the events in Bergen in July 2015 and Cadiz which will take place in September 2018.
All four ships will be incorporating the beautiful island of Madeira on their itineraries These intineraries are: Black Watch’s 14-night W2009 ‘Azores & Madeira’ cruise, departing Liverpool on 26th March 2020, Braemar’s 12-night M2007 ‘Closer Spain & Portugal with Madeira’ cruise, departing Southampton on 28th March 2020; Boudicca’s 19-night D2008 ‘Cape Verde Islands’ cruise, departing Dover on 29th March 2020 and Balmoral’s 16-night L2003 ‘Canary Islands’ cruise, from Newcastle on 29th March 2020.
It promises to be quite the occasion in Funchal and will be a special moment for the captain’s of each ship as they enter the port together.
So for those that are new to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, then these 3 options would certainly be a great start to finding out what they are like. If you have been with Fred. Olsen before then it’s the perfect opportunity to returning and spending special moments on board. The decision is yours!
For more information on these sailings or to book a Fred. Olsen Cruise, call Ocean World Travel’s friendly sales team on 0800 368 9059.
Guest post by Cruisemarsh
February 26th, 2018 by Jordan Bailey
Who says luxury has to be expensive? On a Princess cruise you can experience the best of the world, with excellent service, all aboard an amazing fleet of 17 stunning ships. Here are four examples of how Princess Cruises stands out from the crowd and why you should consider cruising with them.
Princess Cruises’ innovative Ocean Medallion is set to revolutionise the way we all cruise. The medallion, the size of a pound coin, can be worn as a pendant, wristband, or simply placed in your wallet. The Ocean Medallion will speed up the embarkation process, and the small device is packed full of technology that will automatically unlock your stateroom door as you approach it, track your friends and family around the ship, and bar staff will instantly know your favourite drink.
Movies Under The Stars
Cosy up with a blanket, a bag of fresh popcorn or warm cookies and milk and enjoy a thrilling film under the twinkling stars on the giant movie screen situated on the pool deck. Movies Under The Stars is a signature Princess experience that is unlike any other at sea.
Embark on a culinary journey. Taste new flavours, and dine like a local. Onboard, choose from a range of speciality restaurants. The firm favourites among guests are Sabatini’s for the perfect Italian pasta, and Crown Grill for a beautiful steak. Chocoholics will love master chocolatier Norman Love’s delicious Chocolate Journeys desserts – the perfect way to end a delicious meal in one of the main restaurants.
You’re guaranteed to have the ultimate nights sleep you’ll ever experience on a Princess cruise. Developed exclusively for Princess by the manufacturer of some of the most comfortable hotel beds in the world, The Princess Luxury Bed was created in conjunction with Dr Michael Breus, who served as the official sleep expert of WebMD and appears regularly on the Dr Oz Show. Sink into the perfect slumber, with plush pillows and luxury cotton linen.
Like the sound of what a Princess cruise has to offer? Call 0800 368 9059 to book or visit our cruise deals page for the last offers.
February 16th, 2018 by Jordan Bailey
With a fleet of 14 stunning floating marvels, and another 10 currently on order, MSC Cruises is quickly becoming one of the largest cruise lines in the world. Offering an Italian touch to both the cruise experience and the decor of its ships, MSC Cruises is the perfect cruise lines to explore the Mediterranean with. Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking an MSC cruise.
International audience with an Italian charm
MSC Cruises is a popular choice with many European cruisers. The majority of guests will likely be from Italy, Germany, and France. The numerous nationalities and languages add a unique multi-cultural flare, from the varied live music and entertainment offerings, to the abundant food options. MSC Cruises is an Italian brand, so expect plenty of amazing pizza, pasta, wine, and gelato. The decor is simply stunning, ouzing with charm and glamour. You’ll find lots of marble, gold and on some ships even Swarovski diamond encased glass stairs!
MSC Magnifica from Southampton
MSC Cruises will be offering a season from the UK in 2018. MSC Magnifica will offer cruises from Southampton to the best of Northern Europe, such as Amsterdam and Hamburg. The 2,550 passenger ship will also offer sailings to the Baltic, Norway and the British Isles as well as Spain and France. After a strong response to 2018 sailings, MSC Cruises will base the even larger ship MSC Preziosa out of Southampton in 2019.
MSC Status Match
Being loyal to one cruise line is rewarding, but with Status Match, MSC will acknowledge your loyalty with other lines and match your loyalty points to the equivalent in their membership scheme, MSC Voyagers Club. So before you’ve even taken your first MSC cruises, you could be reaping the fantastic rewards of MSC’s Black top tier. MSC is confident they will win your loyalty after your first experience, and in order to keep your loyalty status, you’ll have to sail with them at least once every 3 years – with excellent value-for-money cruises, this is easy to achieve.
All Inclusive Drinks Package
MSC Cruises offers one of the best All Inclusive drinks packages at sea. The choice is amazing and the package offers great value for money. From just £20 per person per day, you can be enjoying refreshing cocktails, spirits, beer, soft drinks, and the most delicious milkshakes and gelato!
MSC Cruises offers cruises to all the most iconic destinations in the world. From Dubai and the Middle East, to Caribbean and Cuba, South America and South Africa. The Mediterranean is MSC Cruises speciality with the majority of the fleet based out of the area. Unlike other cruise lines where a ship will vary itinerary week by week, MSC ships mostly run on a set timetable and itinerary. This means that each port of call can be used as an embarkation port offering greater convenience and flexibility.
For more information about taking an MSC cruise or to book, call our friendly team on 0800 368 9059.
January 23rd, 2018 by Jordan Bailey
If you’ve never cruised before, what’s taken you so long!? A cruise is the perfect holiday for everyone. It’s important to consider a few options before you book a cruise. Here are a few tips for first time cruisers…
What type of cabin?
Unlike when booking a hotel, you have several categories of accommodation and then those categories also have multiple different choices too, such as the positioning and size. For a first time cruiser it can be a minefield in choosing the right cabin. First, it’s important to think about the basics. Would you prefer a Balcony, be happy with an Outside window, make do with an Inside, or would you like to splash out on a luxury Suite? Even if you know what type of accommodation you’d prefer, it’s good to check the prices of other cabins, as upgrading from an Outside to a Balcony for example may only be a small amount more (or even less in some cases!)
When do you want to go?
Depending on the destination, it’s important to consider when you’d like to go. This not only depends on the weather and seasons, but also when cruise lines deploy their ships. Unlike a regular holiday, where you’re able to fly most days throughout the year, cruise ships have deployment schedules and move around the world. Summer is the peak season for cruises from the UK, but if you look for a cruise from the UK in the Autumn and Winter, you’ll find fewer options as most ships have re-positioned to warmer climates such as the Caribbean. It’s important to be flexible on dates. Although some cruise lines have repetitive weekly timetables to the same ports, such as MSC Cruises in the Mediterranean or Royal Caribbean in the Caribbean, most cruise lines will offer several itineraries to a destination, but varying itineraries to different ports.
How long for?
The most popular duration for a cruise is either 7 or 14 nights. These are the ideal times to be able to see the best of a destination, while also remaining affordable. Cruising from the UK offers great convenience, such as no luggage restrictions or waiting around at airports, and while that’s fine for short Northern European cruises, there are limitations on where you can visit further afield. If you want to explore the Mediterranean, it takes around 3 days to get there through the Bay of Biscay and through the Strait of Gibraltar. Buy the time you enter the start of the Mediterranean it would be time to turn back. It’s just not doable on a 7 night cruise. The convenience of cruising from the UK means you’ll have to spend more money on a longer duration cruise. The ideal duration for a Mediterranean cruise from the UK is around 14-17 nights. Flying to join your ship means you’ll enjoy a more port-intensive itinerary, without encountering several sea days beforehand. Of course if you love the idea of a relaxing few days at sea, you can still enjoy immersive itineraries from the UK.
Book with Ocean World Travel
With Ocean World Travel, you’re in safe hands. We’ve been cruise specialists for over 20 years and can find you the best deals and share personal advice, while delivering exceptional customer service. We’ll be there every step of the way, from answering any questions you may have, to wishing you a personal ‘bon voyage’ before you go, and checking how everything went when you return. You can relax, knowing your holiday is fully protected and your personal cruise expert just a phone call away to answer any of your concerns or questions.
Call 0800 368 9059 to discover the cruise life for yourself!
December 29th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
With the new year, comes new cruise ships. Here are the top new ships set to launch in 2018, and what an amazing line up it is!
Carnival Horizon (March 2018)
After the successful launch of Carnival Vista in 2016, Carnival’s latest ship Carnival Horizon will bring all the fun to Europe and the Caribbean sailing from Barcelona and New York. From the SkyRide – a suspended cycling track with the best views out to sea – to making a splash at the Dr Suess Water Park, all ages will have a blast on this brand new ship.
Symphony of the Seas (March 2018)
Symphony of the Seas is the fourth in Royal Caribbean International’s ever-popular Oasis class. It will become the new largest cruise ship when it launches in March out of Barcelona, taking the title from its older sister, Harmony of the Seas which launched in 2016. From a ten-storey slide for the ultimate adrenaline rush, to robotic bartenders, a vintage carousel, and a park with hundreds of plants and trees, Symphony of the Seas will be the ultimate cruise ship.
Norwegian Bliss (April 2018)
Following an inaugural cruise from Southampton and a transit of the Panama Canal in April and May, Norwegian Bliss is set to debut in Alaska from June. With improved energy efficiency to meet Alaska’s environmental regulations, a giant panoramic lounge, and a go kart track and water park on top deck, Norwegian Bliss is sure to be the hottest ship sailing in Alaska.
MSC Seaview (June 2018)
MSC Seaview is the second of two identical next generation cruise ships for MSC Cruises. Featuring racing zip lines, a Miami Beach condo inspired aft pool area, and spacious outdoor space and interiors, MSC Seaview is set to change the way of cruise ship design.
Scenic Eclipse (August 2018)
Leaders in river cruising and land tours, Scenic Eclipse – the first luxury discovery yacht – is Scenic’s foray into the ocean cruise sector. This six star ship includes return flights, butler service for every guest, spacious all-verandah accommodation, complimentary beverages, a focus on wellness, expert local guides, and zodiac excursions, this is truly the ultimate all inclusive luxury package.
Nieuw Statendam (December 2018)
Holland America Line’s newest Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam will combine classic style with contemporary appointments, engaging new experiences, and carefully crafted itineraries. Cruise the Caribbean, relax in elegant comfort, and delve deeper onboard and ashore.
Celebrity Edge (December 2018)
Celebrity Edge will change everything when she launches in December. From the incredible multi-purpose Magic Carpet that moves from the top deck down to sea level, the Infinite Veranda staterooms that bring the outdoors inside, to the 3-deck-tall Eden lounge with giant panoramic windows, this revolutionary new ship will sail the Caribbean and Europe.
December 12th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
With so much choice and such diversity, when it comes to having the perfect cruise experience it’s important to consider the size of cruise ship that’s right for you.
There are around 300 cruise ships currently operating around the world, all offering unique experiences and at varying different sizes. From luxury boutique ships carrying less than 100 guests, to the mighty resort mega-ships carrying over 5,000 passengers, there is a ship ideal for you.
To find the right cruise ship for you, you first need to think about what you want from your cruise holiday.
Cruising with the family
If you’re planning to take the kids, then the larger ships, overflowing with wonderful family activities and facilities will most likely be the ideal ship to book. These ships are often some of the newest and revolutionary ships in the industry, perfect for technology lovers, thrill seekers, and those little ones too, with dedicated children’s clubs and entertainment.
Top recommendations: MSC Meraviglia, MSC Preziosa, MSC Seaside (MSC Cruises); Azura, Britannia, Ventura (P&O Cruises); Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, (Royal Caribbean International).
If you’re looking for a more relaxing cruise experience, with a closer connection to the sea, and with no fancy gimmicks, then a traditional cruise ship may be the right one to choose. These ships are usually older and less sizeable than the family resort ships, so can get into smaller ports for a more authentic experience of the local area. These ships usually carry no more than 2,000 passengers, so are the perfect size for making new travel companions and being more sociable, which is why this style of cruise is so popular with solo travellers.
Top recommendations: Astoria, Magellan, Marco Polo (Cruise & Maritime Voyages); Balmoral, Black Watch, Boudicca (Fred. Olsen Cruise Line); Arcadia, Aurora, Oriana (P&O Cruises).
A touch of luxury
Smaller boutique ships often have a higher price tag, but the experience offered is a lot more personal and attentive than on a larger ship. Think in-suite butlers, rejuvenating spas and the finest cuisine. These ships rarely carry more than a thousand guests.
Top recommendations: Marina, Nautica, Riviera (Oceania Cruises); Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn (Seabourn); Silver Muse, Silver Whisper, Silver Wind (Silversea).
November 30th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
A cruise is the perfect type of holiday to choose for all the family to enjoy. On cruise there is something for everyone, from children clubs and play parks for the little ones, to rock climbing walls and unlimited ice cream for the teens, to adult-only retreats, spas, and fantastic entertainment. Choosing not just the right cruise line for your family needs, but also the right ships is important. Here are 5 top cruise ships we recommend for that dream family holiday…
Symphony of the Seas
The largest cruise ship in the world launches in 2018. Symphony of the Seas is filled with fun activities and amazing experiences. Sailing in the Mediterranean from Barcelona during summer 2018, the ship will then reposition to Miami for the winter months. There’s everything you could ever think of on this behemoth. From ice skating and rock climbing, to a zip line, traditional wooden carousel, Hairspray The Musical, and a robotic bartender. This truly is the ultimate cruise ship for families.
Top things for Children: Adventure Ocean youth club, Splashaway Bay water park, traditional carousel, mini golf, AquaTheatre
Top things for Teens: Starbucks,The Living Room teen lounge, basketball, Ultimate Abyss slide, Flowrider surf simulator
Top things for Adults: Solarium, Central Park, Rising Tide Bar, Bionic Bar, Vitality at Sea Spa
Also why not try: Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas
Norwegian Escape is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ships. There are plenty of things to do onboard.
Top things for Children: Splash Academy youth club, video arcade, family slide, mini golf, aqua park
Top things for Teens: Aqua Racer, ropes course, Entourage teen lounge, Dolce Gelato, hot tub
Top things for Adults: Headliners Comedy Club, Spice H20, 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, Food Republic, The Supper Club
Also why not try: Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway
Independence of the Seas
Independence of the Seas is one of the most popular cruise ships sailing from the UK. Set sail for fun from Southampton and enjoy all the wonderful activities onboard. In early 2018, Independence of the Seas will receive an extensive makeover, which will add many new features, such as waterslides, laser tag, and a trampoline park.
Top things for Children: Trampoline park, Splashaway Bay, Adventure Ocean youth club, Sugar Beach Candy & Ice Cream Store, waterslides
Top things for Teens: Laser tag, Studio B ice rink, Fish & Ships, Escape Room, rock climbing wall
Top things for Adults: Solarium, Vitality at Sea Spa, Chops Grille, Casino Royale, cantilevered whirlpool
Also why not try: Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas
P&O Cruises flagship Britannia is a family friendly ship based out of Southampton. P&O is the most popular cruise line in the UK, and Britannia – the largest cruise ship built specifically for the UK – caters to all ages.
Top things for Children: The Reef youth club, children’s play area, deck games
Top things for Teens: Pizzeria, The Studio cinema, Lido Pool, Arena sports court, ice cream parlour
Top things for Adults: The Retreat, The Cookery Club, Oasis Spa, The Glass House, Limelight Club
Also why not try: Azura, Ventura
The newest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet has just launched. MSC Seaside is a revolutionary new cruise ship which will offer Caribbean cruises from Miami. The ship has been designed to maximise deck space, and with a wide promenade deck, plenty of sun lounging space, and a Miami beach condo inspired aft pool area, this is the perfect ship for relaxing in the sunny climates of the Caribbean.
Top things for Children: Arcade games, bowling, Doremiland, Forest Aquaventure Park, Club Logo
Top things for Teens: F1 simulator, zip line, poolside movie screen, XD cinema, Infinity Bridge
Top things for Adults: MSC Aurea Spa, South Beach Pool, Champagne Bar, Sports Bar, Waterfront Boardwalk
Also why not try: MSC Seaview
As you can see, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on a cruise. These are just five family cruise ships to enjoy, but there are plenty more ships and amazing activities we haven’t mentioned. Speak to one of our friendly sales team today on 0800 368 9059 to book your next family cruise!
November 14th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
Looking for an unforgettable cruise at a fabulous price? Cruise & Maritime Voyages offers a traditional country house style of cruising. With CMV you’ll love the leisurely onboard atmosphere and personal service; where you’re treated like family, not just another passenger. Discover 5 reasons why 40% of passengers return to CMV time and time again and why 95% of guests enjoy their cruising experience with CMV.
Traditional Smaller Ships
Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ fleet of five ships caters to the British cruise market. The smallest is Astoria. Carrying just 550 passengers, this classic and beautifully restored former ocean going cruise ship offers spacious public lounges, and accommodation, and the perfect ship for maritime enthusiasts. The stylish 600-passenger Astor offers grand voyages between the UK and Australia, where the ship is based for most of the year. Marco Polo has gained a loyal following over the years and cruises to a wide array of exciting destinations all around the world. Magellan is a medium-sized cruise ship accommodating less than 1,250 passengers, but still retains that intimate and sociable atmosphere that guests love about CMV, coupled with plenty of lounges and outdoor deck space. Columbus is the newest and largest of the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet, carrying 1,400 guests in modern, comfortable surroundings. The ship has the most diverse array of facilities within the fleet, but still has a traditional feel, with a large spacious promenade deck.
With 11 UK regional ports, no matter where you live in the UK, you’re never too far from a Cruise & Maritime Voyages embarkation port. With all five ships offering a variety of cruises from this port, London Tilbury is CMV’s main departure port. Located just off the M25, the port provides easy access into London, and is the ideal port for those in the South East, and Essex. Those in Essex and East Anglia have the convenience of sailing from Harwich aboard Marco Polo on a couple of short breaks, and longer itineraries to the Arctic and Greenland, plus St Petersburg and Baltic cities. Those in the Midlands, Yorkshire, and Lincolnshire, can easily sail from Hull aboard the traditional Marco Polo on cruises around the British Isles, the Norwegian Fjords, Greenland, and the Baltic. Cruise & Maritime Voyages also sails from Newcastle, perfect for those in the North. Magellan offers cruises to Iceland, the British Isles, Faroes, and Norway. From Dundee, visit the stunning scenery of the Norwegian Fjords, the beautiful cities of Scandinavia and Russia, as well as Iceland and the British Isles. Sail down the Mersey from Liverpool on Magellan and visit Iceland, the Fjords, and the warmth of Spain and Portugal or Canary Islands and Madeira. From Bristol Avonmouth Port step aboard the charming Marco Polo or marvellous Magellan, and explore the British Isles, Portugal and Canaries, Norway or a grand voyage to South America. Cruise & Maritime Voyages is the only cruise line to sail from Wales. In 2018, Marco Polo offers cruises from Cardiff to Iceland and Ireland. For the first time, Astoria departs from Poole and Portsmouth in 2018, with a selection of European sailings.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages offers excellent value-for-money cruises to some of the most beautiful destinations all around the world. Deals often include Buy One Get One Free fares, savings of up to 60%, or added value benefits such as a complimentary upgrade or onboard spend. Throughout the year, CMV have several day and overnight events, especially during the festive season. These make the perfect experience for those new to cruising, or those eager to be on a ship again.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages passengers are predominantly British, and the experience onboard reflects this. Sit back and relax in one of the onboard lounges, enjoy a cabaret show, or savour a classic British dish or regional favourite. There are tea and coffee making facilities around the ships 24 hours a day, as well as afternoon tea and pastries. Several sailings have themed events. Upcoming themed cruises include a TV Comedy Legends sailing aboard Columbus in October 2018, with guest speakers that include Jeffrey Holland (‘Hi-Di-Hi’ and ‘You Rang M’Lord’), plus John Challis and Sue Holderness (‘Only Fools & Horses’ and ‘Green Green Grass’). Daytime activities include dance classes, quizzes, craft sessions, and insightful port talks.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages offer cruises to all four corners of the World. Take a trip along the mighty Amazon, visit the exciting shores of Australia, discover the rich heritage of St Petersburg and the Baltic, or sail to colourful Cuba, the Caribbean and Canary Islands. Fancy something a bit closer to home, Cruise & Maritime Voyages offer discovery cruises around the British Isles. Thanks to CMV’s fleet of smaller vessels, you’ll be able to dock in ports that larger cruise ships would not, allowing you to experience a more authentic taste of the destination.
As you can see, a Cruise & Maritime Voyages cruise is a wonderful experience for those who enjoy a leisurely and relaxing experience, with a closer connection to the sea, unlike the large modern resort ships of today.
For more information about Cruise & Maritime Voyages or to book, call our friendly sales team today on 0800 368 9059.
October 11th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
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.
October 9th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
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.
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