Go to https://www.royalcaribbean.com for more information or contact your cruise/travel agent.
From next winter, Royal Caribbean will be offering Caribbean cruises that are ideal for UK passengers.
Grandeur of the Seas will be based in Barbados, and its late evening departures will allow guests to fly out from Gatwick and Manchester to join the ship the same day, thus avoiding the extra time and expense of a pre-cruise overnight stay and associated transfers that are necessary on Florida departures. It also avoids the crowds and often lengthy delays involved in flying into popular US airports as well as the two-day sailing time to get to and from the Caribbean from Miami; guests can immediately immerse themselves in the Caribbean atmosphere.
Ports of call for the seven and fourteen night cruises include Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, plus Trinidad and Tobago. Longer itineraries add destinations such as Aruba coupled with visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, among others. The itineraries also mean that ESTAs would not be requires as there are no American ports involved. Cruises start in December 2021.
Go to https://www.royalcaribbean.com for more information or contact your cruise/travel agent.
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It was not that long ago that the generally-held view about the price of a cruise was that it cost double what you initially paid for it. Expensive drinks - to which 20% gratuities were added, a further £8 or so a day for more tips, plus slow and pricey internet access, all helped to rack up the final bill, a significant deterrent to those considering a cruise.
Now Celebrity Cruises have addressed this major issue by introducing ‘Always Included’. From Tuesday, 17th November 2020, every Celebrity Cruises holiday will include fast Wi-Fi, drinks and tips, simplifying the holiday experience and making it so much easier for passengers to budget for a luxury holiday.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said; “Today, nothing is more luxurious than when things are extra simple and extra special. We wanted to bring that big wonderful feeling of ‘everything is taken care of’ to life for our guests.”
Celebrity Cruises have a history of innovation in cruising. These include grass lawns on top decks
and, with Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex, the ‘magic carpet’, an additional piece of deck that can be moved up and down to provide anything from additional party space to a large, stable platform for boarding tenders at ports where mooring alongside is not possible.
As we move slowly back to normality, this latest move will be very welcome to their existing clients, as well as those looking to cruise in style without breaking the bank.
For more information on all Celebrity Cruises offerings visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk.
A comfortable, effective and cost-saving re-usable mask
Wearing a mask has become an everyday requirement for many people so it’s great to find a mask that is comfortable, efficient and saves you money.
The Breath Happy mask comes in two forms. Everyday is for low density areas such as shops or outside use, and Commuter is for higher density usage. Initial kits, each containing five filters per mask, can be purchased for one, three or five people
The initial mask kit comes in three parts. First there is the main unit that fits snugly around the face and made of a comfortable soft material. Then there is a front filter holder, plus a pack of five replaceable filter pads. These can be bought separately when your initial supply runs out.
The Everyday filter has a Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) of 95% and the Commuter filter achieves 98%. Each filter can be used for seven days before being replaced. Everyday filters cost less than £1 each and Commuter filters no more than £1.25 each, less if purchased in larger quantities, a massive cost saving over disposable masks, and much more effective.
Because the mask moulds comfortably to the face, it doesn't need to be regularly adjusted, and it won’t steam up your glasses!
Ideal for shopping, work or travelling, if you are looking for a comfortable, efficient and cost-saving mask, this could be the answer.
For more information and to order, go to https://www.breathe-happy.com
Saga’s new ocean cruise ship, Spirit of Adventure, was handed over today in Emden, Germany, by shipbuilder Meyer Werft.
Spirit of Adventure is Saga’s second purpose-built boutique cruise ship, joining Spirit of Discovery which became part of the Saga Cruise fleet with much fanfare in July 2019 when she was christened by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at an elegant quayside garden party.
Spirit of Adventure has 554 all balcony cabins and can accommodate 999 passengers with a tonnage of 58,250 GT. She will soon set sail for the UK with her inaugural cruise now scheduled to leave on the 5th February 2021 for the Canary Islands.
Nigel Blanks, Managing Director of Saga Cruises, said, “Though the inaugural cruise will take place a little later than we had originally planned due to the ongoing restrictions on travel, we cannot wait to welcome guests onboard and see all she has to offer. Having recently visited the ship in Germany, I can assure you, she is worth the wait!”
Over the past few months, Saga has put in place detailed new procedures for a return to cruising in a COVID world. These include reduced capacity, pre-departure testing both at home and before boarding, increased medical staff and facilities and enhancements to their state-of-the-art air conditioning, which already provides 100% fresh air throughout our ships.
Saga’s all-inclusive ocean cruises include door-to-door transport, balcony cabins, insurance, internet access and drinks on board.
For more information on Saga holidays, including ocean and river cruising, go to https://travel.saga.co.uk
Blue Islands’ codeshare partnership with Loganair, Scotland’s airline, is now live. Customers can book services from Exeter, Southampton, Jersey and Guernsey to destinations on the Loganair network via www.blueislands.com, or their preferred travel agent.
The codeshare enables customers to seamlessly book connecting flights with just one booking and one transaction. All hold luggage will be checked through to the final destination.
Starting from 26 October, passenger can book from Guernsey and Jersey to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester via Southampton.
From Exeter and Southampton, passengers can fly to Aberdeen and Inverness via Manchester.
Blue Islands CEO, Rob Veron said, “We are delighted that customers can now book flights using our previously announced codeshare partnership with Loganair. Our initial set of connections enable easy travel to a number of very popular destinations in Scotland and the North for our customers in Guernsey, Jersey, Exeter and Southampton. We expect the network to develop even further very soon, with a wider choice of destinations for next summer.”
Loganair Chief Executive Jonathan Hinkles said “We’re excited our new codeshare partnership with Blue Islands starts today and we’re confident it will be welcome news for customers looking to travel to the North from the Channel Isles and by those in Scotland looking to explore all that Jersey and Guernsey have to offer.”
Bucking the trend in aviation, regional airline operator Blue Islands is today re-launching flights from Exeter to both Manchester and Jersey to service both leisure and business passengers.
Flying with Blue Islands is designed to be as easy as possible with simple transparent fares. Blue Fly includes 1 x 23kg luggage allowance as standard. Choose the Blue Plus fare for inclusive 2 x 23kg hold luggage allowance, complimentary seat allocation, double frequent flyer points and flexibility.
Blue Islands is also working with Visit Jersey to promote late summer/autumn breaks to Jersey. Flights from £49.99 one way are still available this September and October, it’s a world away in just 45 minutes.
Blue Islands CEO, Rob Veron, confirmed, “We are very pleased to reinstate two very popular routes from Exeter. The flights will initially operate three days a week, and for next summer we will increase frequencies with Manchester served three times a day and Jersey once a day.”
He added, “The initial flights in September and October will use aircraft from the Channel Islands. However, as previously announced we will base an aircraft in Exeter from the end of October, employing around twenty pilots, cabin crew and engineers in total.”
For more information, visit the airline’s website https://www.blueislands.com
TUI River Cruises launches on 26 November 2020
All three ships, TUI Isla, TUI Maya and TUI Skyla have undergone a major multi-million-pound makeover transform them into stylish and comfortable floating boutique hotels. Customers will have the choice of two restaurants both complete with floor to ceiling views of the river, - Verdastro, an elegant fine dining experience, and Bistro, a more casual scene.
Two brand new bars will also be onboard, the Observatory with glass sliding doors opening out to the terrace and the Club Lounge, a relaxing coffee and cocktail bar with a digital fireplace and signature scent. Customers can choose from a selection of local wines during lunch and dinner as part of the full board plus board basis. In addition, cruisers can also purchase local wines on-shore which the waiter can serve to them during their meals with no corkage charge.
There is a choice of seven cabin types per ship with three cabins for solo travellers. As part of a sustainability initative, all cabin carpets have been made from recycled fishing nets giving them a unique, subtle finish. For those wanting a more luxurious trip, there are 36 suites across the three ships. All suites come with walk in wardobes, double French balconies and spacious bathrooms.
The river cruise line offers 32 itineraries along the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Main and Dutch and Belgian waterways with the added flexibility of three to 14 night sailings for those wanting a short break or those opting for a longer getaway.
TUI Isla will sail three festive Christmas itineraries including Mistletoe & Rhine, Yuletide Wonders and Rhine Gems throughout November and December. TUI Skyla and TUI Maya will be preparing to set sail in April 2021 from Frankfurt and Budapest.
Arena Travel's The River Cruise Line has announced it is launching a new ship, MS Arena, at the end of March 2020. The ship is currently undergoing a major pre-season refurbishment.
River cruising continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the travel industry and this investment reflects the growing interest in river cruise holidays.
The ship will sail the Dutch waterways, , Moselle, Rhine and Danube as far as the Black Sea and its 'push-style' engines will allow it to sail overnight while its passengers enjoy a peaceful sleep.
Each spacious cabin has floor-to-ceiling windows, French balconies, flat screen TVs and free wi-fi. Basic fares include flights, transfers and all meals whilst the 'premium package', costing from £20 per passenger per night, will add a drinks package, a 10% discount on excursions and free use of the wellness suite.
Guests will also enjoy the bright and spacious Panorama Restaurant, the Ambassadors Lounge and an open sun deck.
MS Arena can accommodate up to 180 guests who must be at least fourteen years of age. The company also offers a price guarantee to ensure that, once booked, you will not find anyone on board who has paid a lower price for the same accommodation.
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Built specifically for the British market, Saga’s first new ship, Spirit of Discovery, was christened in Dover on 5th July by her godmother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. It was the first ship to be named in Dover for over a decade. Registered in London it proudly flies the Red Ensign.
The naming event was held at a garden party on the quayside where the ship was moored awaiting its first paying guests. Normally a sea of concrete, the quay was transformed into a large lawn, covered in grass brought down from Yorkshire. Around five hundred guests enjoyed delightful food, accompanied by Hush Heath English sparkling wine. A jeroboam of the same vintage was later used in the naming ceremony.
On display at the garden party was a six foot long cake (top picture) in the shape of the ship, prepared by chocolatier Mark Tilling. The Duchess’s first duty was to cut the cake, whilst Esther Rantzen looked on. The Duchess is patron, and Esther is the founder of The Silver Line which provides a 24-hour telephone service for older people who are feeling lonely or isolated. It is also Saga’s first national charity partner.
Once seated for the formal events, guests were entertained by the Band of the Royal Marines Collingwood and the Morriston Orpheus Choir before the Duchess stepped up and performed the official naming ceremony.
Bucking the trend for ever larger ships, and with a nod to the problems of over-tourism, Saga’s boutique ship holds just 999 passengers. No longer do passengers have to choose between inside, outside and balcony cabins as all the cabins on Spirit of Discovery have balconies and over one hundred are designated for single use.
The ship's decor is muted and it seems Saga has played it safe in terms on not wanting to upset its many loyal and regular clients. For some it may have been a little too safe and perhaps the decor of Discovery's sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, which comes into service in 2020 will be a little more, shall we say, Adventurous? Let's wait and see.
One thing's certain, however, Saga has raised the bar in terms of boutique cruising and these new ships will be a big hit with clients old and new.
With 13 suite ships in Europe and two in Asia, Avalon, recommended by Good Housekeeping and Which? magazines, is leading the way in bringing new levels of comfort and guest experiences to river cruising. Three new classes of shore excursions are being introduced in 2020.
Classic offers guests the opportunity to explore the history and culture of the region, Discover allows guests to get hands-on experience of things such as cooking and painting, whilst Active enables guests to explore by biking, canoeing and hiking the area. There is an ‘adventure host’ on each ship who holds stock of useful items such as maps, Nordic walking poles and so on.
Unique cabin design
Avalon’s cabins are unique in the industry. The beds face the window so guests can enjoy the view before they get up, and the windows open to turn the entire cabin into a virtual balcony. This layout also means that bathrooms are bigger and even offer ‘his and hers’ towels and L’Occitane toiletries. There are also mattress and pillow menus to enhance guest comfort.
In the main restaurant the majority of tables start out as tables for two but, should you wish to dine with new-found friends, they can be pushed together to accommodate larger groups. Dining times are also flexible between 7.00pm and 8.30pm and there is the option of chilling out in the Panorama Buffet and enjoying all the items from the main dining room menu, along with a few unique extras.
With all this great food around, perhaps it’s as well each ship has a fitness room to augment the daily excursions.
Avalon is clearly looking to stay ahead of the game.
Organising a wedding can put considerable financial and emotional strain on the people involved. So why not avoid all the hassle by combining a wedding with a luxury honeymoon and get married at sea.
With basic wedding packages costing between £1200 and £2400, it’s getting more and more popular. One cruise line now organises around 1500 a year, so they’ve had plenty of practice.
There are dedicated staff, both ashore and on board, to organise the event for you. All you have to do is to decide what you want, then relax and enjoy days and nights of pure luxury while they make sure it all happens.
Performing marriages is one of the Captain’s most pleasurable duties, and if you decide to go it alone, two of his senior officers will be honoured to act as witnesses. Weddings take place on sea days when the ship is sailing in international waters and the wedding legally takes place where the ship is registered.
the ceremony itself, champagne, a cake, photography and a commemorative marriage certificate, as your legal certificate may take a short time to reach you.
Each cruise line has its own version of the offering with some extras included. However, you can add items to suit yourself and the cruise lines have special brochures detailing what’s available.
Cruise lines offering weddings at sea include P&O, Cunard, Princess, Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, who provided these images.
Cunard has announced three of wine’s biggest names as the headline speakers for the second annual ‘Voyage Du Vin’, on board Queen Victoria, setting sail this September.
As one of three famed wine experts on the voyage, Oz Clarke is one of the world’s foremost wine connoisseurs. Clarke has written several award-winning books, and is generally regarded as leading Britain's wine revolution in the 1990s and 2000s. Clarke has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, including Food and Drink, the long-running BBC Food show. He said: “Whether you’re an existing wine buff, or simply have a love of fine wine, fine holidays and good times, the Voyage du Vin 2019 is sure to delight. I’m already looking forward to joining Queen Victoria in September.”
Joining Clarke, is award winning columnist and broadcaster Will Lyons, who will bring his trademark humour and down to earth style to the voyage. For more than a decade Lyons has published a weekly column on wine, formerly in The Wall Street Journal and now The Sunday Times. His humorous, informed, down-to-earth writing has been recognised in both the Glenfiddich and Roederer wine writing awards.
Supporting them will be Charles Metcalfe, the International Wine Challenge’s co-chairman. One of the best-known, most spontaneous and amusing wine critics in Britain, Metcalfe presented drinks and occasionally food items for 12 years as one of the Richard-and-Judy team on the ITV programme, ‘This Morning’.
Along with talks from the experts, guests will experience daily wine tastings, pairings and fine dining, featuring over 400 wines from 23 countries.
The much anticipated Voyage Du Vin 2019 will depart from Southampton on 6th September, returning 14-nights later.
One of the highlights of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ new 2020/21 ocean programme is its inaugural 14-night D2101 ‘Authentic Japan’ fly-cruise, from Tokyo in January 2021, aboard Boudicca.
Ports of call are Tokyo, Japan (overnight stay) – Nagoya, Aichi, Japan – Kobe, Hyogo (overnight stay) – Hiroshima, Japan – Beppu, Oita, Japan – Nagasaki, Japan – Keelung (Taipei), Taiwan – Hong Kong (overnight stay). Prices start from £3,349 per person, based on two adults sharing a twin-bedded Interior Room, and accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, plus port / airport taxes, flights and transfers.
Plus, as part of exclusive launch offers, all guests who book by 31st May inclusive will have their gratuities covered by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, with this cruise also qualifying for the ‘Three Cruises for the Price of Two’ offer. For more information on Fred Olsen cruises, click here.
Le Boat has won the Gold award for the best ‘Advertising Campaign (under £250k media spend)’ at the Travel Marketing Awards, for a campaign that they conducted with the UK marketing agency Accord. The operator was recognised for the work that was carried out during their 2017/2018 multi-screen campaign. The prestigious ceremony, which took place on 11 March at the London Hilton on Park Lane, is now in its eleventh year and celebrates innovation and excellence across a wide range of travel marketing disciplines
Le Boat is the No.1 provider of boating holidays on Europe and Canada's beautiful inland waterways, with the world’s largest fleet of over 900 self-drive boats. The award-wining campaign capitalised on their involvement in the Channel 5 television series ‘Celebrity 5 Go Barging’ and the hugely popular Channel 4 show ‘Great Canal Journeys’, in which stars Timothy West and Prunella Scales enjoyed a spectacular Le Boat river cruise along the Marne-Rhine Canal in Alsace and Lorraine. For more information on Le Boat, click here.
Hi, I'm Mike, an award-winning journalist and photographer. I write for newspapers and magazines and edit this site. You can see more details here Also check out the reviews from great writers around the world.