New Cruise Passenger Terminal Opens in Limassol, Cyprus

Cyprus have never been a major stop for cruise lines comparing with the likes of the other Med countries in the area, but personally I love Cyprus and I have been there on a land holiday several times and it’s well worth visiting even if just for a day during a Med cruise.A brand-new cruise terminal launched in the port of Limassol last week  with space to accommodate up to three 350-meter cruise ships at any one time.Lines will call at the new terminal from September 2017, with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Regent Seven Seas, Holland America Line, Viking Ocean Cruises and Thomson Cruises among those with scheduled calls. I hope that other big lines such as Royal caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises will join them. Oceania and Crystal are also calling later this year in Cyprus and Cunard are calling there as part of the ship’s world cruise next year but it will be nice if the main cruise lines will call there and preferably more than 1 day to allow passengers to see more of Cyprus and to offer Cyprus as part of a Med cruise regularly. Cruisers want new destinations and Cyprus will be a good option as the Island got so much to offer and being a small Island you can get to places in the Island quickly and easily. You can take a hike in Trudos Mountains or just soak up the sun in one of the lovely beaches in Limassol. Facilities at the new Limassol terminal include Wi-Fi and a taxi rank, with plans in place to add an ATM and other facilities soon, however the port has not yet confirmed what the other facilities are or when they will launch.The port’s former terminal will no longer operate as a cruise passenger terminal, however it will remain operational for commercial use.

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Celebrity Edge

I am very excited to announce that Celebrity now revealed  that its newest ship, Celebrity Edge, will feature Eden: a multi-level culinary and entertainment space. Excited because I am already booked on it, not until 2019 but still very much looking forward to be on one of the best and most innovative ships ever built. It’s already revealed that they will feature the Magic Carpet which is another seating area on the edge of the starboard side of the ship with a full bar and live performances and this spectacular space will be open to several decks and transforms into a new and exciting venue depending on which deck it’s positioned.

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MS Emily Bronte

I was lucky enough last week to be invited on board the beautiful brand new MS Emily Bronte in Koln, Germany. We flew from here just for the day and taken by Riviera Travel to see this magnificent ship. The ship itself was stunning in design and well equipped with all the up to date facilities that I will list below:

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Are you booking shore excursions?

Every cruise line is offering a wide range of shore excursions and it’s another source of making money for the cruise lines. As you may be aware those excursions can be very expensive, usually between £50 – £100 per person, and sometimes all you get for it is simply the transport there and back, with no entrance fees included or anything else. So what’s the alternative? You can go on shore and find a taxi or a bus and do a bit of DIY and most times you can do it at a fraction of the price they quoting, however, the down side is that it may not be convenient as the cruise line own excursion, you may not see the main sights that are offered by them, and the main point is that you are responsible to get back to the ship on time, so if anything went wrong, like traffic jams and you didn’t get back in time, the ship will sail without you, where if you booked the cruise line own excursion the ship will wait. Also excursions in certain places such as St Petersburg will include the group visa’s which are arranged by the cruise line and included in the price where if you wanted to do your own stuff then you have to obtain a visa seperately which can be a pain. In some places like Alaska or Norway if you don’t pre book something then you may find yourself outside the ship with nothing to do as all trips are full.

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Celebrity Eclipse

As I mentioned in my last blog, we had a wonderful time on board the Eclipse. The service is next to none and the food is superb as I have mentioned before. The entertainment on board could be a bit better though as they don’t do many big productions at all which I have seen before on Royal Caribbean, Princess and NCL, instead it’s more shows with a single singer accompanied by an orchestra and it’s ok but when you see the same a few nights even if the singer changes it’s start to get boring. The worse one they had was a so called magician or mind reader who came with no props as he claimed the airline lost his luggage and he was improvising a show but I have seen better shows on the streets of London than that. There is a need for improvement there, but saying that the music bands performing around the bars were pretty good and in line with other ships I have been. The main point with Celebrity is the cleanliness on board, the service, food and the cabin high standards. At ports there are no queues when you get off the ship which is amazing, I don’t know how they are coping with nearly 3000 trying to get off the ship and no queues at all! You also feel that there is always space where you go and it never feels crowded, although the ship was full we never felt it. There are always tables available at the buffet and also in the main restaurant as we were on the Select-any time dining and we never had to wait for a table. Other facilities we used was the swimming pool and again plenty of space, table tennis and sport court, always space is available. It’s a fantastic ship that I would love to go back on again.

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Back from the Eclipse

Oh what a trip we had, just got back from 13 nights on board the Celebrity Eclipse which we sailed from Miami the other week. It was a fantastic transatlantic crossing and visiting a few ports on the way back. We sailed from Sunny Miami on Sunday 16th April after spending 5 nights in Orlando doing mainly the Disney parks with our kids which was very tiring to say the least, but we knew we will have a good rest on the Eclipse. I must admit that my expectations were high and i wasn’t disappointed after boarding the Celebrity Eclipse. We had a concierge balcony cabin on deck 10. Very comfortable and fully equipped cabin and being in a concierge cabin you get a few little treats every day such as free fresh fruit and canapes every day, dressing gowns and slippers and some other little treats. The buffet dining, called the Ocean view Cafe has ample space and excellent food choice, the best I have had,maybe apart from Regent. We hardly ever struggled to find a table whenever we went there and the kids loved it! The main dining restaurant, the Moonlight Sonata is very pleasant and the service was excellent although food choice could have been a bit better which leads me to the speciality restaurants which we paid for a dining package of 4 dinners, so we have tried out the Tuscan Grill which is a lovely steakhouse with an Italian theme, this was great with a really romantic atmosphere and we did this on our own without the kids as they would not appreciate it I don’t think.. The $45 price tag per person is a little high compared with other ships I have been to. The next on we did was the lovely Murano which is a french restaurant with amazing food cooked in front of you. That was a good one well worth it, though price tag is $50 each!

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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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