Posts Tagged ‘cruise advice’

Cruise jargon for first timers

November 16th, 2016 by Matthew Bayford

cruise-jargon

So, if this is your first time booking a cruise, all the different terms may cause a bit of confusion. Use this blog post as your instruction manual when going through the countless webpages full of cruise deals!

Aft – The Aft is the back of the ship, sometimes you may see rooms described as ‘aft balcony cabins’.

All-inclusive – This means that you don’t pay extra for specialty restaurants, drinks on board and tipping. This could vary depending on the cruise line and itinerary, so it’s best to check before you set sail.

Atrium – The centre area of the ship, equivalent to a lobby of a hotel.

Berth – On a ship, a berth means bed. In a port, it means where the ship is docked.

Bow – This is the front part of the ship.

Bridge – The control centre of the ship. This is where the ship is commanded from.

Cabin – This is your room. There are various options you can choose from; Inside (no windows), ocean view (with windows), balcony (a room with a balcony), suite (similar to suites in hotels, filled with lush furnishings and concierge service).

Closed-loop sailing – A roundtrip cruise. An itinerary that starts and finishes at the same port.

Deck plan – An aerial view map of the ship showing all areas of the ship.

Disembark – When you leave your cruise.

Dock – When the ship ‘parks’.

Embark – When you board your ship to start your cruise.

First/Second seating – The options for meal times.

Formal night – Designated nights on the ship where you can dress smart for dinner. Depending on the cruise/cruise line will determine how many nights of your holiday this will be.

Gangway – The entrance and exit to a ship when docked at port.

Galley – The ships kitchen.

Guarantee – A lower price cabin on the specific cabin category you choose. These are often limited in numbers and you will not be able to pick your cabin number.

Itinerary – A list of ports the ship will stop at.

Lido deck – The deck where the pool is located, usually on the top deck.

Midship –  The centre of the ship.

Muster drill – This is done at the start of a cruise to make you aware of what to do in emergencies. You will also be assigned a muster station where you need to meet in case of an emergency.

OBC – On-board credit.

Occupancy – Most fares are based on double occupancy of a room. You may be required to pay a single supplement if you want a room to yourself.

Porthole – A window usually found in most outside cabins.

Port/Starboard  – the left/right hand side of the ship.

Repositioning cruise – A cruise that starts and ends at a different port. These are usually used to get a ship to a new destination to start a new itinerary for a new holiday season, and are usually a bit cheaper.

Sea day – A day that is spent at sea. This is usually when the ship is sailing to another port that is slightly further away than the previous destination.

Shore excursion – A tour or activity you can do onshore. These can be booked with the cruise company or independently.

Single supplement – A fee you need to pay if just one person is staying in a room on their own.

Speciality restaurant – An alternative restaurant that is usually themed. These need to be pre-booked and may cost an extra fee.

Stateroom – Another word for cabin or room.

Tender – A small boat that will take you to shore if the harbor is too shallow for the ship to dock.

Transfer – A form of transport that will get you from the airport to the ship or from the ship to a hotel.

Verandah – Another word for a room’s balcony.

Cruise lines dress codes: what you need to know

October 3rd, 2016 by Francesca Bandini

We all know how it is important to feel comfortable around other people and the way you dress certainly influences your self-confidence. Cruise lines adopt various dress codes and before packing you should know what is the expected dress code for your cruise. Read below to discover the dress codes for each cruise line.

bow-tie-businessman-fashion-man-large

Cunard Cruises dress code
This cruise line envisages a quiet formal dress code throughout the various night cruises. In fact the dress codes varies from elegant, formal up to semi-formal. For men, jackets are not always required and this will be specified in the on board journal. Having said that there is the possibility to adopt a more informal dress code in certain areas of the ship such as the lido area. Swimwear is not allowed anywhere in the ship.

P&O Cruises dress code
There are two dress codes to be observed on P&O Cruises: Evening casual and Black tie, both apply after 6 pm in the main venues. These will be announced in the on board journal and prior to departure in your booking details. During the day time you can wear what you would be wearing during a holiday, shorts are permitted.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines dress code
The dress code for the evenings vary. Every cruise will include one or more formal nights, whilst on the other nights the dress code required is smart casual, where a pair of smart trousers or black jeans together with a shirt or a polo t-shirt are accepted. In the daytime you can wear what you prefer to feel at ease.

Norwegian Cruise Line dress code
NCL is well known for its Freedom at sea campaign, they in fact envisage a free style of cruising and this reflects in the dress code. You can wear what you like in the evenings and at formal restaurants. NCL asks you only to be considerate and avoid wearing the following items on dining areas: tank tops (for men), flip flops, visors or baseball caps, jeans with holes or below the hips.

Celebrity Cruises dress code
Celebrity Cruises envisage a smart casual dress code throughout most of the evenings on board. There will be a chic evening or more (depending on the duration of your cruise), and in that occasion you are required to dress to impress, without the need of being too formal.

cruise lines dress codes smart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruise & Maritime Voyages dress code
The dress code is smart casual on most of the evenings, requiring shirt and trousers for men and a smart outfit (dress/trousers) for women. On formal nights, guests are required to comply with the dress code, wearing a suit with a tie for men and an evening gown for women. Although the dress code is casual during the day, swimwear and similar should only be worn in the designated areas.

Royal Caribbean International dress code
The general dress code on board is smart casual for the evenings. There are formal nights on board with cocktail dresses or elegant trousers for woman and suit for men (black tie is optional) as part of the dress code. During lunch time flip flops, shorts and t-shirts are allowed on board and at restaurants.

Saga Cruises dress code dress code
Saga Cruises are exclusively reserved to over 50s and the dress code is relaxed with an extra touch. On evenings ladies are required to wear cocktail dresses and smart jacket/cardigan. For men chinos and shirt are perfect. There is the chance to wear a more elegant attire on formal nights. During daytime light trousers and smart tops are OK, ideally accompanied by nice jewelry or scarves.

Princess Cruises dress code
Princes Cruises recommend to dress as if you were going to a stylish land-based resort. There will be smart casual evenings requiring shirt and trousers (for men), and on cruises of more than 4 days there will be some formal nights as well. During the day time you can dress according to the climate therefore a more relaxed outfit is fine.

Voyages to Antiquity dress code
The dress code is very informal throughout your cruise. During the day you are advised to dress for the climate and any excursions you are taking part in. As for evenings, a more smart casual dress code is required, but very far from formal. However, if you fancy dressing up for a night, you get the chance to on the Captain's Cocktail night.

cruise lines dress codes

Regent Seven Seas dress code
The recommended dress code for the evening is Elegant Casual resort wear (tie is not required), whilst trainers and jeans are not permitted. The dress code may range from semi-formal to formal on cruises of 16 nights or more. Before 6pm the dress code is definitely more relaxed, requiring a more casual style.

MSC cruises dress code
Overall the dress code is casual. However on formal nights men are required to wear ties and jackets and women cocktails dresses. There are also specific themed evenings, and guests are encouraged to comply with the theme.

Seabourne dress code
The dress code on board applies after 6pm. Casual smart outfits are required throughout the ship (trousers and shirt, dresses). During formal nights an appropriate formal code is required in the restaurants.

To avoid disappointment, it is good to know in advance the alcohol policy of your cruise line. Read below to discover the alcohol policies for each cruise line.

cruise lines alcohol policies

Cruise lines’ alcohol policies

Cunard Cruises alcohol policy
You are allowed to bring a bottle of wine on board on embarkation day, but beers and spirits need to be purchased on board. However, alcohol bought at ports or shops on board can be consumed in your cabin with no restrictions.

P&O Cruises alcohol policy
You are allowed to bring a small quantity of alcohol on board. There isn’t an official restriction, but the cruise line reserves the right to confiscate alcohol. When you buy alcohol at duty free shops, you can collect your purchase only on disembarkation day.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines alcohol policy
Guests cannot bring their own alcohol. Alcohol bought at ports or at duty free will be retained by the cruise line and given back at the end of the cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line alcohol policy
Guests are allowed to bring Champagne or wine on board, but no spirits or beer.

Celebrity Cruises alcohol policy
Passengers can bring two bottles of wine or Champagne each, but beers and and spirits are forbidden. If alcohol is purchased at ports, it will be retained by the cruise lines and released on the last day.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages alcohol policy
Guests are not allowed to carry any alcohol on board. In regards to alcohol purchased at duty free shops, it will be given to customers at the end of the cruise.

Royal Caribbean International alcohol policy
For private consumption guests can bring up to two bottles of wine/champagne per cabin.

Princess cruises alcohol policy
On embarkation day each guest can bring only one bottle of wine/Champagne. Alcohol purchased during the cruise will be kept by the cruise line and given back at the end of the cruise.

Voyages to Antiquity alcohol policy
Wine and Champagne bought on the shop on board or a shore can be keep in the staterooms, other alcoholic beverages will be kept by the cruise line and deliver back on the date of departure.

Saga cruises alcohol policy
Saga doesn’t have a strict alcohol policy as other cruise line, guests are allowed to consume in their cabin alcohol bought ashore or aboard, so the custom will exercise rule.

Regent Seven Seas alcohol policy
The cruise line does not restrict alcohol carried on board.

MSC Cruises alcohol policy
Guests are not allowed to bring their own alcohol on board. Alcohol purchased ashore will be held until the end of the cruise.

Oceania Cruises
Passengers can bring up to three bottles of wine/Champagne on board, but spirits and beers are not allowed.

Seabourne alcohol policy
The cruise line does not restrict alcohol carried on board.

 

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Cruise Lines alcohol policy are updated at the time of publishing and may change at any time.

The 10 favourite cruise cocktails you should try

September 29th, 2016 by Francesca Bandini

You might not know, but a cruise is the perfect occasion to try out new drinks and cocktails. Cruise lines are well equipped when it comes to their cocktails making skills. Discover which are our 10 favourite cruise cocktails - after all, you are not ready to embark if you don't know the best drinks to try out on board...

Top 10 cruisers' favourite cocktails

1. Pina Colada: This creamy mix of rum, coconut and pineapple is among the cruisers favourite drink. Perhaps this is due to the exotic name, or the inviting glass decorated with fruit and an umbrella that instantly reminds them of remote paradise.

cruise cocktails pina colada

2.Woo Woo: This is a classic Summer cocktail, with it being very popular in the '70s. A mixture of vodka and peach based liquor and cranberry juice gives to this cocktail the perfect kick to your night.

best cruise cocktails

3.Elder flower gin and tonic: This cocktail is appreciated by everyone whether you like gin & tonic or not, the sweetness and the perfume of the elder flower transport your taste buds to the holiday season.

4.Perfect Singapore Sling: This gin based cocktail has a unique taste thanks to the balanced mixture of ingredients including cherry brandy, grenadine and tonic water. The taste is sweet but not too sweet, perfect for after dinner.

moscow mule cruise cocktails

5.Sex on the Beach: Another classical hit for the Summer, you meet very few people who don't like a Sex on the beach. An exotic mixture of vodka, cranberry juice, orange and peach liquor make a perfect refreshing cocktail for any time of day.

6.Moscow Mule: A cocktail for those who love a strong and bitter taste. A perfect blend of vodka, ginger beer and angostura.

top 10 cruise cocktails favourite -

7.Mai Tai: Already the name makes us think of a holiday! The Mai Tai is a rum based cocktail, complemented by Grand Marnier and pineapple juice.

8.Champagne based/ Prosecco based cocktails: These refreshing cocktails are very popular on cruise ships. Not just because they are ideal at any time of the day, but also because they reflect the elegance of cruising. You will see people drinking cocktails, such as Bellini or Mimosa, these are all the rage.

cruise cocktails - champagne based

9.Bikini Martini: This inspiring cocktail doesn't contain any Martini but it's served on a Martini glass. Its taste is sweet and refreshing with vodka, a dash of coconut rum and pineapple juice.

10.Cosmopolitan: There is no surprise that this cocktail is amongst the cruisers favourites. Cosmopolitan is a drink loved by girls and secretly by men as well!

Let's not forget about the Mocktails, the non alcoholic version of cocktails. They are so many variants and the taste is as good as alcohol based cocktails.

The 6 must read books for cruise lovers

September 23rd, 2016 by Francesca Bandini

Have you ever wondered what are suitable books for cruise lovers? We are not talking about the books on specific destinations, cruise lines or travel guides. But those books that real cruisers would enjoy. We picked the 6 must read books that every cruiser should get the chance to read at least once.

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Harmony of the Seas is the biggest ship in the world with plenty of things to do. It might feel overwhelming when you are there and don't know what excursions to do or which entertainment you should go and watch, or even get involved in. That's why I have decided to compile a list of the best attractions you cannot miss!

Royal Caribbean - Harmony of the seas

 

Top 10 things to do on board Harmony of the Seas

1. Have a coffee in Central Park: you don't need to go to New York to enjoy the rejuvenating air of Central Park. In fact, Harmony of the Seas hosts an amazing spot where you forget that you are on a ship. There are many trees around and I swear I could hear some birds (despite not being there)! On the promenade there are various other tranquil venues for a coffee, snack, a cocktail or even a meal.

harmony of the seas review Central Park3

2. Alice in Wonderland restaurant: have you ever dreamed of being in a fairy tale where houses are made of marzipan, trees of chocolate and clouds of candy floss? You can make this dream come true on board of Harmony of the Seas, at the Alice in Wonderland restaurant. The restaurant features modern imaginative cuisine, where you can eat dishes inspired to the six elements: sun, sea, earth, ice, fire and dreams. The decor adds to the magic, but perhaps not as much as the menus - They only reveal what is on them with the help of a magic brush! A six course dinner costs $45 per person.

3. Puzzle break: I am sure that when you read on the journal 6 pm Puzzle Game: Escape the Room you will think of a board game. However, what seems a boring game turns out to be one of the most entertaining and amazing experience of your life! This game involves teamwork to escape a space in the ship by solving riddles and puzzles, with just an hour to do it in. To know more about the game read the article The most intense hour of my life

4. Surf experience: have you always dreamed of surfing but you were a little too scared? You can now surf on the Flowrider, where instructors can guide you to be the next big thing!

harm flowrider ony of the seas review

Flow rider

5. The tallest slide at sea: the Ultimate Abyss is the tallest slide at sea and is for those adrenaline junkies amongst us all. The people I met said that is was very fast and dark... I'll have to take their word for it!

6. Watching a show on Ice: at Royal Caribbean, they are well known for the amazing entertainment. It is worth spending at least one evening watching a show that you wont forget.

harmony of the seas review ice skating ring

Ice rink

7. On air Club: this bar is really nice, not only a stage for karaoke enthusiasts but also includes various games for everyone earlier in the evening.

8. Bionic bar: There are very few places where you can experience the bartender of the future. However on this ship you can. It is not everyday you get served a cocktail from a mechanical hand!

Byonic bar harmony of the seas review

Bionic bar

9. Water show: Harmony of the Seas provides an excellent water show in the Aqua Theatre. This is another exciting show put on by Royal Caribbean and involves so many talented acrobats.

10. Eat a meal at the Solarium bistro: a low calorie and tasteful lunch can be found at the Solarium bistro, a buffet style meal packed with high energy and no regrets food. I really enjoyed my meal there, the setting is nice and was almost like a greenhouse.

 

Ultimate checklist: what should you take on a cruise?

September 8th, 2016 by Francesca Bandini

The dilemma unveiled

The main thing before leaving for your holiday is packing your luggage.Now, those are those who enjoy packing, those who hate it and then of course there's those who just simply can't get it right! 

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Many people wonder if it is more convenient booking a cruise through a travel agent or the cruise line.
By looking on the internet and also for personal experience we can say that booking with a cruise agent is the most convenient solution, not only from a financial point of view but also because the quality of service you receive when booking your cruise through a travel agent. 

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A weekend onboard Caribbean Princess

July 26th, 2016 by Francesca Bandini

Caribbean Princess

Day 1, 20 May 2016:

As this was my first ever cruise I was quite apprehensive as I waved goodbye to my parents at the Ocean Cruise Terminal in Southampton. I didn’t know anyone else on board and was excited to see who I would be sharing a cabin with. It wasn’t long before I met a couple of other agents who were on the same trip and we all headed to our rooms to see where we’d be staying for the next 5 days.

We were lucky enough to be staying in balcony cabins and although the rooms were a little dated they were spacious and comfortable. The balconies were an amazing feature to the cabin. They were spacious enough to sit out on and enjoy the sea breeze and incredible views as we sailed into each port.

Caribbean Princess - Muster Drill

It wasn’t long before we had to head to Princess Theatre for the Muster drill. This was all new to me but I was very impressed as to how well organized it was and how smoothly it ran considering the whole of the Princess Theatre was full to capacity. Afterwards we headed up to the top deck for the Sail Away party and we grabbed a slice of free pizza from the Grill bar – it’s renowned for being the best pizza at sea! It was delicious!

 

We headed back to our cabin to get ready for the evening ahead. We enjoyed a sumptuous 3 course meal in the main any-time dining restaurant. I had fresh spring rolls to start, followed by the famous creamy fettuccine pasta dish, then the Princess signature chocolate dream desert. I have to say I was very impressed with the food, especially the desert! After our dinner we went to Croner’s Bar where we sampled some fabulous evening entertainment from a Scottish Piano Player. The bar soon filled up and people were stood singing along with him. The atmosphere was incredible.

 

Day 2, 21 May 2016:

We were due to disembark via tenders to Guernsey today but due to bad weather we were advised to stay on the ship. We ate breakfast in the buffet restaurant and looked out at people struggling to climb aboard the tenders in the strong winds and rain. We were glad we made the right decision to stay in the warmth, it gave us more opportunity to explore what the ship had to offer.

Even though it was raining and cold we braved it and headed to the spa pool on the top deck. It was lovely and warm inside the pool and we didn’t want to get out! After we’d had enough we headed back inside to use the sauna.

In the evening we had a table at the Crown Grill, another specialty restaurant famous for its steak. I had onion soup to start followed by the most amazing rump steak I have ever had followed by a mini-platter of deserts. The food was incredible and some of the best I have ever had.

We went to the piazza for some evening entertainment and then on to Skywalkers again for more cocktails and dancing!

 

Day 3, 22 May 2016:

Caribbean Princess - Cobh

I woke up to plenty of sunshine and stunning views as we sailed into Cobh, Ireland. I enjoyed my breakfast and a cup of tea on the balcony of my cabin admiring the scenery. Today we would be docked in Cobh for most of the day. I was excited to explore and learn more about this beautiful historic town. Our group was split into two halves and we were group 1 which meant we were able to explore the town of Cobh first.

As we walked down the streets in Cobh we came across a man who was selling tickets for a train ride around Cobh. We thought this was a fantastic way of seeing Cobh town in the short time we had. The train took us past historical sites; churches, nursing homes, schools and an old doctor’s surgery. The driver was a typical Irish man with a wicked sense of humor. The last stop on our journey was the Cobh Cathedral, an architectural delight. We all hopped off the train and went into the cathedral to take pictures of the stunning stained glass windows and the incredible architecture. We headed for a drink in a local pub and enjoyed some Irish pub and a pint of Guinness before we had to return to the ship.

Caribbean Princess - Cobh, Ireland

In the afternoon we were lucky enough to have a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Caribbean Princess. I was excited to see what went on ‘backstage’ and get an insight into how cruise ships run day to day. The tour started by looking at some of the cabins and then into the kitchens. The head chef took us to various sections within the kitchens and showed us where all the pastries, fresh pasta and meat was prepared and cooked on a daily basis. We also were able to trial some of the famous chocolate journey’s selection, they were dreamy! The tour continued downstairs to the laundry area. The room was filled with machines washing, ironing and folding hundreds of bed sheets. They even had a machine which was used specifically for ironing shirts! We ended our tour on the bridge, the place where the captains operate and actually drive the ship. There panoramic views were incredible up here. One of the captains gave us a tour and talked us through the machinery and systems they use, it was very technical.

For dinner we were lucky to enjoy a delicious meal in Sabatini’s, one of the ships specialty dining restaurants. The Italian food was sensational. I had calamari to start followed by steak. The food was so amazing but I couldn’t quite manage desert. We decided to leave the restaurant and head back to Croner’s bar for more entertainment. We then went on to the ships only nightclub, Skywalkers. Skywalkers is situated at the back of the ship. Guests can enjoy delicious cocktails in an incredible setting with panoramic views.

 

Day 4, 23 May 2016:

 

We spent the morning sailing into Dublin. This was the place I was most excited to visit on this trip. I couldn’t wait to explore the streets of Dublin and see what it had to offer. After breakfast in the buffet we disembarked the ship and caught the bus into Dublin city centre. We listened to some buskers and wandered through the tiny cobbled lanes. We went to the famous Temple Bar for an obligatory pint of Guinness and listened to some fabulous live music. Afterwards we decided to hop on an open top bus for a quick ride around town and to learn about some of the cultural sights of Dublin. We didn’t have long to explore so got a taxi back to the boat from a lovely local Irish man, he waved us goodbye as we boarded the ship.Caribbean Princess - Temple Bar, Dublin

We had some free time in the evening so spent some time in the pool and in the lounges having a few drinks and playing cards before we headed to the main restaurant for dinner. The creamy fettuccine pasta was so good I had it again! After a tiring day in Dublin I headed to bed for a good night sleep as we had to be up early in the morning.  

 

Day 5, 24 May 2016:

It was the end of our trip and we had arrived in Liverpool. It was sad saying goodbye to all the friends I had made but I knew I was going to keep in contact with them. We all had a final talk from the hosts and grabbed our suitcases from our rooms. As I walked through the deck one last time I reflected back on the amazing time I had on board Caribbean Princess. Definitely a trip to remember!

 

Bella Coggins

Day 1, Nice, 02 June 2016

My first day was very exciting, though lengthy. My first cruise was sailing from Nice (France) to Barcelona on board of Aegan Odyssey on a cultural cruise. I woke up at 3.30am to be able to get the bus at 4.30am from Southampton to Heathrow airport.

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The joy and excitement of a first time cruise is accompanied by a hint of fear and anxiousness.  No worries, this is all normal. Everyone has had the pre-cruise panic before embarking. How do you overcome it?

Simply make sure you read our tips for first time cruisers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Our blog features amazing cruise advice and news for expert cruisers as well as new cruisers.

We welcome your contribution so if you have come back from a cruise and you want to tell your story or simply send us some pictures of your holiday: we will make you the star of our blog! Read the rest of this entry »

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