September 26th, 2016 by Francesca Bandini
Embarkation day can be a really intense and stressful time of your holiday, but there are ways to make it fun if you get organised in advance. Read our 10 tips for a stress free embarkation day.
How to have a stress free embarkation day:
1. Plan your way to the port in advance - How are you getting to the port? If you are driving for example, you should be aware of the level of traffic at that time - nowadays with Google maps estimating the traffic is very easy. Additionally you should take into account the time you will be spending finding a car park, if not booked prior. Alternatively you can reserve a taxi or a private transfer in advance so you can wait to be picked up stress free.
2.Get the timing right: it is highly recommended to get to the town of the port the day before, so you can get your way to the ship without worrying about the timing.
3. Finding the best car park deal at port - This pre-booking can save you a whopping amount of money. Just browse the internet or ask to your travel agent to provide you with some options to park at the port.
4. Get your documents sorted in advance - Get your documents, tickets/e-tickets, passport and any other documents ready, and pack it in the hand luggage you will carry with you on embarkation day.
5. Magazines have never been so useful - As you may know on embarkation day you are likely to queue at the terminal. This time can be made fun with magazines or other pastimes to entertain the last moments before your holiday starts. You can also use the internet on your smartphone as you are unlikely to have internet access on board unless you've purchased a package.
6. Bring a bottle of bubbly - Embarkation should be celebrated as the start of the holiday! Lift up the mood with a bottle of bubbles to share with your friends or family.
7. Be smartly dressed and ready for any weather - In terminals you can find a variation of temperatures. It could be too warm inside or too cold outside and you may be queuing in both situations. For this reason, you should wear an appropriate outfit.
8. Zero Currency problems - You should be aware of the on board currency prior to departure. The majority of cruise lines operate on a cash free environment, although just remember to bring your debit card with you (credit cards get normally charged fees). You should also think in advance about the currency of the countries you are visiting, you can exchange some cash in advance so you will not need to worry.
9. Last minute packing is forbidden! - You should be familiar with this rule, last minute packing can just cause you a sleepless night and a stressful embarkation day. Start to pack in advance and if you need to bag something in the same day of the embarkation, just make a check list.
10. Book the bookable in advance - Days before your cruise, you can book your excursions and your spa treatments. This can not only help you save money, but cause less stress on your embarkation day and holiday.
Have you enjoyed our tips? Have you got your own personal tip for a stress free embarkation day?
If so, we would like to hear that from you.
August 26th, 2016 by Francesca Bandini
Going on a cruise is not a crazy idea, it is in fact an amazing way to experience magnificent holidays at just the right price.
So why do we question the suitability of this type of holiday? Because there are many misconceptions we make about cruising. Let's unveil the 7 seven false myths on cruising and discover why we should change the way we think.
August 26th, 2016 by Francesca Bandini
July 26th, 2016 by Francesca Bandini
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!