Younger generation to try River Cruising

Uniworld, the new river cruise line  devoted to sailings that target the desires of millennial travelers has just announced that bookings are open. Uniworld has always strived to lead innovation in the river cruise industry and  saw a great opportunity with U by Uniworld to reach an entirely new audience.River cruising is the best and most comfortable way to experience all that Europe has to offer. Nine adventures are now available for reservations by travelers ages 21 to 45 years old looking for a new experience in 2018. These include journeys on the Rhine, Danube and Seine rivers that feature overnight stays in major cities such as Paris, Vienna and Amsterdam. Travelers can also transform their eight-day itineraries into a Super Cruise, combining two or more U itineraries into a journey that is more than 15 days long.Two Uniworld ships from the fleet have been pulled to be relaunched specifically for millennial river cruising. The ships will be known as The A and The B. They will be painted all black and feature a sleek design inside and out. Key features for younger river cruisers include rooftop lounges, nightclub and yoga studio. I am surprised that no one thought about it before as there is huge potential of customers for this type of holiday, just needed to be made affordable as most river cruise holidays are very expensive and usually taken by older clientele. Eight-day itineraries on The A start at $1,699 per person and include sailings along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. The B, which sails on the Seine River and throughout France, offers fares that begin at $1,999 per person. All prices are based on double occupancy.Onboard activities will also get a contemporary upgrade with drink and draw lessons, mixology and culinary classes. I think that if this will be successful it will be followed by other lines, what do you think?

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Disney Cruise Line adds new itineraries for 2018

Disney Cruise Line have added now more itineraries and new ports to it’s schedule next year. they look exciting and interesting.The changes, all happening on cruises aboard the 2,700-guest Disney Magic, drew applause from agents eager to offer repeat Disney clients several new experiences to choose from.

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More dining flexibility from MSC

MSC is launching the Meraviglia in June and the Seaside in December. These 2 new ships will have more dining fexibility, choice and on board venues.The new dining concepts cater to the needs of today’s cruise guests, who are looking for more flexibility and choices.Starting with MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, guests will be able to manage their choices, through cutting-edge onboard technology, and experience an even greater selection of international restaurants which will deliver culinary experiences from around the world. MSC will offer flexi dining and classic options.The first affords guests the opportunity to reserve daily dinner times in advance and change them at will. The second is the more traditional approach for selecting from two set seating times every evening. Meanwhile, MSC Yacht Club guests will retain their any-time or reservable dining benefits in the club’s dedicated restaurant. There will be the speciality restaurant options as always.Both the Seaside and Meraviglia will feature “open kitchen” concepts with viewable galleys, and certain venues will also showcase Chef’s Table experiences.Among the premium dining venues will be Kaito Sushi Bar and Kaito Teppanyaki for modern Asian cuisine on Meraviglia. Coming to both ships will be American Steakhouse – Butcher’s Cut for selecting favorite cuts from meat-aging refrigerators, all washed down with a selection of fine wines, cocktails and craft beers.They are offering a dinner and show package which will include a dinner and Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance, while another encompasses the Eataly Chef’s Table, a dedicated chef and sommelier, as well as seven wine-paired courses. Plus, there are discounted packages for guests wishing to experience a range of specialty restaurants.Highlighting celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi on the Seaside, there will be three more dining venues collectively called the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi: an a la carte gourmet restaurant, a sushi bar and teppanyaki grills section. So it’s all exciting news for MSC and I can’t wait, can you?

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MSC gone digital?

MSC Cruises unveiled its new ‘connected’ guest experience digital innovation programme, MSC for Me. It include a dedicated app to help guests tailor their holidays at any point on their journey, whether they are booking their excursions prior to embarkation or a specialty restaurant whilst relaxing by the top-deck pool.Interactive bracelets will provide access to cabin, payments on board, wayfinding on the ship, within a five metre precision, and sharing accurate whereabouts of guest’s children onboard and will activate geo-located suggestions through 3,050 Bluetooth beacons. It’s not the first cruise line to launch an app for it’s guests but this one seems a very sophisticated one with more features than the average cruise line app and it’s going to make life a bit easier for the cruiser.First ship to sport MSC for Me is MSC Meraviglia, coming into service this June.The company envisions a fleet-wide roll-out of the programme to its existing 12 ships, and the addition 10 next-generation mega ships planned to be delivered between 2017 and 2024.Research study carried out in partnership with Deloitte Digital identified some of the following key findings: ‘technology must enable our crew in providing an even better service to our guests, and ultimately must enrich human contact; with 170 different nationalities sailing with us, the challenge for communicating effectively with guests is complex and there is  a need to provide relevant information based on the guest profile, and the digital channels must facilitate the effective delivery of this information.’Additionally, MSC Cruises shared the Deloitte research showed that more than one in two guests are increasingly looking at customising their holiday experience both before and during their cruise (59%), with one out of six guests (17%) claiming to do so only once they’re on-board. Nearly three quarters (73%) of guests claimed to be interested in a holiday at sea on a more connected ship. I look forward to try this app as seems to be an advanced one!

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Your’e safe! Life Guard on board

Parents will be happy to know that lifeguards are rolling out across the Royal Caribbean fleet from this weekend.The new water safety program includes highly trained lifeguards in partnership with StarGuard Elite, Adventure Ocean 15-minute open-session water safety presentation on embarkation day, child water safety fliers at the services desk, captains announcement including water safety during the mandatory boat drill and a lot more. Water safety signs will be more noticeable and parents will be made aware that it is still important to watch their kids while in the ships’ pools. This must be the first time a cruise line operate a lige guard as I have been to a lot of cruise and I have 2 small children and I have never seen a life guard on board as such so it’s a good addition to the safety on board especially for families with small children that cannot swim properly yet but also for anyone on board.Oasis of the Seas: Feb 26-Mar 5, Harmony of the Seas: Mar 7-11, Independence of the Seas: March 11-16, Anthem of the Seas: March 11-14, Liberty of the Seas: March 12-19, Freedom of the Seas: March 22-29, Allure of the Seas: March 23-26, Brilliance of the Seas: March 24-30, Quantum of the Seas: March 26-31, Ovation of the Seas: March 29-April 3, Navigator of the Seas: March 31-April 5, Serenade of the Seas: March 31-April 7, Jewel of the Seas: March 31-April 4, Rhapsody of the Seas: April 5-8, Majesty of the Seas: April 21-24, Empress of the Seas: April 24-29, Adventure of the Seas: April 26-29, Enchantment of the Seas: May 8-12, Grandeur of the Seas: May 13-18, Explorer of the Seas: May 15-26, Mariner of the Seas: May 26-June 4, Radiance of the Seas: May 28-June 6, Voyager of the Seas: June 5-12 and Vision of the Seas: June 15-27. I hope now other cruise lines will follow suit and introduce a life guard, that is brilliant news, what do you think?

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Cruises for women only?

Aqua Expeditions has announced the launch of a series of unique hosted journeys exclusively for women for 2017. Ok it’s a very niche market but still a unique offer and an interesting one as well.The cruises offer women the chance to learn about new cultures and traditions whilst meeting new people who share the same excitement for adventure and enjoy a little bit of luxury at the same time.I wonder if it will be something other lines will copy. With more and more people opting to travel solo, Aqua Expeditions has launched these series to offer women a safe and inclusive environment to explore destinations which may otherwise feel too ‘off the beaten track’ for a solo traveller. I suppose it will be ideal for singles or small group of friends who want to try something different and without their male partners! Vessels offer the ultimate in luxury accommodation, with custom designed suites; 5-star guest service with a 1:1 staff to guest ratio offering a personalised service 24-7; small group excursions. As well as cruising down the rivers, guests will be able to discover hidden gems along the river.To top it off, guests can indulge with a treatment at the on-board spa or simply enjoy drifting past the riverside views whilst taking a dip in the infinity pool.travelling by bike alongside the Mekong through local villages or kayaking down the Amazon to spot extraordinary wildlife. Both cruises offer guests hand-crafted itineraries with biking, kayaking, hiking, wildlife viewing and cultural “meet and greets” with local community members. If it is successful I would anticipate that they may start offering these in Europe as there would be a few more rivers to explore such as the Danube or the Rhine. European travellers may find it easier to get to than the Far East or South America. What do you think?

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The People’s Cruise Awards 2017

2016 was a great year for cruising! With so many new ships, interesting itineraries and happy cruise customers, we thought it was a great time to find out which cruise lines have pleased you in the last 12 months. This is a good opportunity to cast your vote and voice your opinion on this. People do have different opinions and if they had some good or bad experiences with different cruise lines this is the the chance of paying back time.

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What about tips?

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Whatever you are calling it nowadays, you have to take it into consideration when booking a cruise. In the past you were able and encouraged to tip in person your cabin steward, your waiters and so on. At present days most cruise lines will add it automatically to your on board account with all your other expenses, or you can even pre book it with some lines and pay it in advance. The staff on board rely on these tips as their main income so you don’t want to ignore it and deny their source of income? So what are the benefits of pre booking? You can then budget better and know that you don’t need to tip anymore/spend on board. It’s less personal, but you can trust the system, the staff knows exactly who pre paid for their tips, they have it on a list, so rest assured you will get the good service from them. The other option is to just pay it on board which is just the same, and the last option is to remove them and pay them personally at the end of the cruise, yes it’s more personal and nice, but until the last night they would not know if you are going to tip them and how much. Personally I just pre book them and the staff knows that and I get the good service! I have listed below a guide to various cruise lines tipping policy and how do they compare.

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Sorry you are late!

Dining hall in a cruise ship

Carnival are testing new dining rules at two of their ships. These rules will only apply for the traditional meal sitting passengers who have booked early or late dining option. If they arrive later than 30 minutes after their designated time they will be turned away and will be asked to go to the buffet style restaurant instead. They are now testing this only on Carnival Glory and Carnival Conquest. This is because when passengers are late for their dinner it impacts the rest of the table and delay the meal serving which can also impact the following sitting if it is the early one for example.The dining room servers like to keep everyone on the same course and that becomes hard to do when guests arrive 45 minutes to an hour after their scheduled time.This will not affect passengers who have selected Your Time Dining, only those who have set dining times.Personally I agree with that rule as it can be frustrating for passengers who arrive on time to their table and have to wait to be served because their fellow passengers on the same table are late or in some cases they just don’t turn up at all, when they go to the speciality restaurant instead without advising. However, I still don’t know how they can apply this rule as in some cases passengers can kick off angrily and demand to speak to the manager and that can create tension. They can upset people, but then again, there is no excuse, good enough for being late usually and I can see the logic behind this decision. There is another way for me to solve that situation, by just starting to serve the people who arrived on time and if you are late, then you start to eat late and it doesn’t matter that you eat your starter and the others their main course. What do you think?

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Celebrity to build a new cruise ship

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The construction of a new Edge Class cruise ship has begun. It will be built in France at a shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.Celebrity Cruises also announced that the ship’s name will be Celebrity Edge. The ship has been known as the Edge Class during the concept phase and now that name will continue as the first in its class. once completed the ship will be 117,000 gross tons and carry around 2,900 guests. The cruise line is yet to reveal the ship’s design, we can expect further details in 2017.The cruise line also revealed Celebrity Beyond as the sister ship of Celebrity Edge. The second ship in the class will be identical and help expand Celebrity Cruises even further. Celebrity Edge will be delivered in fall 2018 and the Celebrity Beyond in 2020. Another two ships in the same class will be delivered in 2021 and 2022.Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France, said: “Everyone involved in Edge has embraced the challenge of making this new class of ships dramatic and special, and we take great pride in helping Celebrity Cruises take such a remarkable step forward in ship design.”It will be Celebrity’s first new ship class since the debut of Celebrity Solstice in 2008. There are five Solstice-class ships (Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse, Silhouette and Reflection).This is good news from the up and coming Cruise line which is part of Royal Caribbean and it’s the 5* standard at affordable prices that attracts most people. Personally I really like Celebrity as they have large ships but their service, cuisine and atmosphere are second to none as well as the fact that they do cater for families as well as adults which gives them the edge over Holland America for instance or Oceania which are just mainly for adults rather than families. I am really looking forward for these ships, what do you think?

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