New ships for 2018

Exciting times ahead in the cruise industry with more new ships due to be launched this year.
Here are details of what will be available:
Carnival Horizon – launch in March
This will be a sister ship to the Carnival Vista and will operate a few European itineraries before moving to its permanent base in the Caribbean.The ship will feature the Skyride, Imax Theatre, Waterworks Aqua Park and Carnivals Seuss at Sea programme . This will be a great family cruise so make the most of it before it heads over to the USA.
Symphony of the Seas – launch in April
This is the latest addition to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class of ships and will even glow in the dark. At 5400 capacity this will be the largest cruise ship in the world. It will feature exciting features such as the Abyss slide, waterpark, Zipwire, Ice-Skating, Rock Climbing, Flowrider, Aqua Theatre , Hairspray the Musical plus many more exciting features. You will never be bored on this ship and there is something for everyone. We also have an EXCLUSIVE offer on this ship departing 10th June 2018 that you will not find anywhere else. Cabins on a 4 night sailing including flights and transfers from just £599pp. Contact me for more details of this fantastic offer.
Norwegian Bliss – April
The third ship in the Breakaway class and the same size as Escape. This brand new ship will be operating 7 night cruises in Alaska.
NCL offer a more informal cruise experience so if you don’t want to be doing formal nights and set time dining this would be a perfect choice. They also include drinks and gratuities now on most cabins so they are an all inclusive cruise brand. It isn’t often that new ships are positioned in Alaska for their maiden season so this is a great opportunity if you want to cruise in that region this year.
MSC Seaview – May
The ship that brings you closer to the sea with it’s innovative design. This will feature the largest and most interactive waterpark at sea. 2 full size bowling alleys, specialty dining and broadway style shows. MSC are currently offering free drinks packages on certain cabins so a great time to get your booking confirmed.
Celebrity Edge – November
I am really excited about this ship. Celebrity have introduced new features not seen before on any other ship. There will be the magic carpet which is a movable deck cantilevered off the side of the ship that can be moved between deck 2 and deck 16. This will be used as a bar and restaurant and also for embarkation. There will be the rooftop garden which is an extension from the lawn club already features on their ships but will live entertainment available aswell. There will be Eden which will provide shows and entertainment while dining and will of course include the old favourites such as my favourite Martini Bar & Crush.
If you haven’t yet booked for this year have a look and see if any of these interest you or give me a call and I will help you find the prefect cruise.

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Happy new year

After a traditionally quiet month in the travel industry we are back to work and ready for a busy few months ahead.
January is always busy for us with some fantastic cruise deals to get people booked in advance.
MSC are offering free drinks packages even for families. Usually the free drinks packages are limited to the 1st and 2nd person in each cabin but MSC include for everyone which is great value.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are still offering free drinks and RCCL are also including gratuities now on their Southampton itineraries which is a huge bonus as us Brits don’t really like the whole tipping policy and find it much easier when its all included and we don;t have to worry about it.
Norwegian Cruise Line are now all inclusive anyway so there really are some very good deals to be had.
If you aren’t yet booked the summer holidays you need to start looking now especially if you need a family cabin because they will not be available for last minute deals.
I am back to work refreshed after a lovely Christmas break with my family and like everyone else now want to get my holiday booked so i have something to look forward to.
If you need help and advice please give me a call and i will be happy to help you find the perfect cruise.

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Christmas conference

It is the season for social occasions and office parties but at cruise.co.uk we don’t just make do with a night out we go away for a long weekend of partying and of course we also fit in time for conference where we meet trade partners and learn more about their products.
Usually we go away on a short break mini cruise but for various reasons this year we went to Butlins.

It was fair to say it wasn’t a popular decision when first announced but everyone quickly realised it didn’t matter where the venue was as long as we all got to meet up with our colleagues and have a really good time.
Even though we were not on a cruise ship we were very well looked after. The staff at Butlins were amazing and made sure we had everything we needed and that everything ran smoothly.
Cruise.co.uk were fantastic and really looked after their staff. They arranged breakfast and dinner every day in the premium dining experience and also a buffet lunch in a restaurant exclusively for us.
We had constant refreshments while doing conference which was interesting but also fun
Drinks were included with all meals and also at certain venues around the complex.
A private party was arranged every evening in the Front Room Bar with disco and karoke. We did move onto the main hall where they had live bands but everyone preferred the first venue so for the following 2 nights we arranged to keep on this room until midnight.
This was a 60’s themed weekend and we do usually have fancy dress on our Christmas conference anyway so we all dressed up on the first night. I don’t actually like fancy dress but it was great to see the effort everyone made. We had the 1966 England football team, Thunderbirds, Dalmatians and many more.


I have been to Butlins before because we go for my daughters football tournament but this was a completely different experience. There was a great atmosphere and the accommodation we stayed in this time was much better than we had before
It’s definitely worth upgrading. We have the seaside apartments which were much more comfortable and furnished a lot nicer than their standard rooms. You also get towels provided and daily cleaning service.
I am pleased to say we have been promised our Christmas conference on a ship again next year but we still had a fantastic time and I will look forward to next years where ever it happens to be.

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River cruising for the young

River cruising has traditionally been more popular with an older generation but this looks set to change with the introduction of a river cruise product for age 21-45 year olds.
Uniworld have designed a ship to cater for this gap in the market and while some might not agree I think it is an excellent idea.
If you aren’t aware of their product Uniworld are a luxury cruise brand so we aren’t talking club 18-30’s here with foam parties and bar crawls
What they will offer is an upmarket cruise experience on a ship that is designed to suit a younger age group. There is likely to be a gymnasium which not all river cruise ships offer, a spa and rooftop yoga.
They will also introduce more fun activities such as a silent disco and cocktail making classes.
Silent disco’s are very popular and was enjoyed by people of all ages on my last ocean cruise so I think this will be a huge success as won’t be noisy and disturb the peace for those that don’t want to take part.
My kids loved it !!

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Black Friday bargains

It’s that time again when everyone is bargain hunting
Black Friday is more and more popular in the UK with people even setting up camp to try and get their hands on a few bargain Christmas pressies.
Everyone tends to think of these offers being for technical goods rather than holidays but last year black Friday week was very busy for us with some fantastic offers to tempt the bargain hunters.
There were low deposits and some very cheap non-fly cruises so I am hoping there will be something similar this year.
If you do see something of interest don’t hand about because they will be fluid and the more cabins they sell the less discount they will offer so it is very much first come first serve basis.
If you haven’t booked anything yet for next year keep an eye on our website and emails or give me a call and I will find the best deal for you.

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Back to business in the Caribbean

After the devastation caused in the Caribbean last month I am pleased to say that it is business as usual now on most of the islands.
They have made a very quick recovery helped by the cruise industry in particular.
It is fantastic how they have pulled together and offered support to the local people with their homes and business aswell as making sure the ports are repaired and ready for operation.
The Caribbean is huge business for all cruise lines especially now in the peak winter period. It is a beautiful destination and the people are amazing. They are the most warm and welcoming people and they need the support of the travel industry and tourism to ensure they can return to normality.
Even some of the worst affected islands such as St Maarten are hoping to be open again within a matter of weeks.
The benefit of having a cruise booked is that they can adjust the itineraries where necessary and the main changes have been to replace ports such as St Maarten and Dominica with islands such as Antigua and St Lucia.
Feedback from passengers returning from their cruise has been very positive. They have relaxed on beautiful Caribbean beaches, enjoyed the many water sports and activities and ventured inland for tours of the islands. Shops and restaurants have been open as normal.
If you are heading out to these islands soon I would say please support the locals financially by visiting their restaurants and shops and using their local services.
It is very tempting when on a cruise ship to go back on board for meals and drinks, especially if you have a drinks package. However they need our support to help with their economy and spending time and money with locals will give you a more authentic Caribbean holiday experience.

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Half term break

I have just returned from a lovely half term break in the Oxfordshire/Cotswolds area.
My husband couldn’t take any more time off work so I booked a short Monday to Friday break with my parents and 2 children.
The cottage was a beautiful grade 2 listed property that had been restored to a very high standard in the middle of a village called Bampton. The village has been used for filming of Downton Abbey and is a picturesque little village with a few shops, tearoom and 3 pubs.
One of the reasons for choosing the property was that it was in the middle of a village so we could go out during the day and come back and enjoy a few drinks over dinner in the local pubs without anyone having to worry about driving.
However it didn’t quite work out that way as only 1 of the pubs served food and it wasn’t very good food at that. It wasn’t a problem we just had stopped for a meal on our way back instead.
I love the Cotswolds. The whole family used to go for a weekend every year to a village called Chipping Norton so we went back to see what had changed and have a drink in the hotel we always stayed at. It was busier than it used to be with more shops and restaurants but still a lovely place to visit. My favourite place is Bourton on the Water. This has been voted as one of the prettiest villages in England and it is easy to see why. This has hardly changed from our previous visits and even my 2 children enjoyed it here.

The following day we took them into Oxford. I think they had seen enough countryside and were ready for some fun. They went shopping and after spending all of their pocket money we went ice skating. They love ice skating so this was the highlight of their short break.
Bampton was a great place to stay because half and hour one way takes you into the beautiful Cotswolds and half and hour the other way takes you into Oxford so a great break for families with different age groups.

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Thomson to change their name in cruising

Thomson have announced they will be rebranding their products later this month.
You have probably seen in the press that they are changing their name to TUI instead of Thomson.
A lot of people have heard of TUI but not everyone and I can never understand why a company with such a high profile name would want to change their name.
After all Thomson is one of the biggest names in the UK travel industry. People trust Thomson as a brand and I often hear people choosing to travel with Thomson rather than some of the less well known tour operators.
I am sure everyone will get used to it and it will still be a well established name in future years.
What did surprise me even more is that they are changing the name of their cruise product to Marella Cruises.
They will still have the TUI smile logo on their ships but also a Marella cruise logo.
Thomson have said they don’t want to confuse people but it is bound to cause some confusion to begin with. The reason for this change is to open up the idea of this cruise brand to people who have may be put off from cruising with a tour operator cruise brand in the past.
What is exciting news is that they will be positioning a ship in Asia from winter 2018.
Asia is one of the most exciting cruise destinations with lots of cultural experiences along with relaxing days on beautiful paradise beach locations.
They will sail from Langkawi in Malaysia but guests will also have the opportunity to join in Bangkok.
This opens up lots of options for cruise and stay programmes as there is so much to see in Bangkok it is a shame to not extend your stay.
I was lucky enough to visit Langkawi a couple of years ago on a cruise. This place is stunning and I would love to go back. There is beautiful scenery, waterfalls and gorgeous sandy beaches. It is very cheap aswell so no need to be booking expensive shore excursions here.

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New ships on the horizon

This week has seen the announcement that Cunard and Azamara will be adding an extra ship to their fleet.
Cunard will be launching their new ship in 2022 to join the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. The ship will be built in Italy and will carry 3000 passengers which is more than any of the other ships in their current fleet.
The announcement was made to mark the 50th anniversary of the naming of the much loved QE2.
Exciting times for Cunard I am sure this will be very popular. The maiden voyage is likely to sell out immediately so register early if you want to be part of this.
Azamara Club Cruises will be launching their third ship sometime next year. They have purchased the Adonia from P&O Cruises and the final sailing will end on the 9th March 2018. The ship will then move over to Azamara so watch this space for more details of this.
Azamara are a luxury cruise line that offer small boutique style ships. Due to their size they can visit ports that is just not possible on the large ocean liners. This will open up far more opportunities for people wanting to see somewhere different. The same itineraries are repeated all year round with many cruise lines and for those who are well travelled and looking for something different this will be perfect. They also include drinks and gratuities into their price so although the initial price may seem higher it is actually very good value.
If you enjoy cruising on brand new ships there are lots to look forward to near with the brand new Carnival Horizon, Celebrity Edge, Symphony of the Seas, Nieuw Statendam, MSC Seaview and MSC Bellissima and Norwegian Bliss to choose from. All offer different innovations and facilities so if you need any advice on what would be best for you contact me to discuss.
Let’s also not forget the refurbishment of Britain’s favourite cruise ship the Independence of the Seas. From May they will be adding a water park, trampoline park, escape room and laser quest type area. The new water park will have water cannons, pools, fountains and the drench bucket. They will also be added panoramic floor to ceiling windows and Izumi which is the popular Asian restaurant.

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Royal Caribbean to the Rescue

After the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma Royal Caribbean Cruise Line have stepped up and sent ships to help with the evacuation of stranded tourists and to help local people to safety.
We all know this is one of the worst hurricanes to hit the Caribbean and Florida and like everyone else feel desperately sorry for all those affected. Whilst Americans can rebuild their homes and their lives it will not be so easy for the local people in these small Caribbean Islands.
They really have lost everything and even if they do manage to rebuild their homes and businesses they will also have the fear of this happening all over again.
The Caribbean has always been one of my favourite holiday destinations. The islands are beautiful but it is the people who make it so special. They are the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever met on holiday.
What Royal Caribbean are doing is fantastic. They have a lot of ships sailing in this area year round and I am pleased to see they are not ignoring the situation and are actually doing something to help.
They are sending 3 ships to the area with supplies such as water, ice, garbage bags, clothes and canned food. They will assist with feeding and taking care of the responders before taking people to Puerto Rico and assisting them with their flight arrangements home.
Another ship will be going to assist in Key West as soon as it is safe to do so
Well done Royal Caribbean and to everyone else who are out there doing their bit.

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