Emerald Princess – First Impressions

emerald princess

Hello from Emerald Princess! This is my second full day aboard, so I thought now would be an ideal time to introduce you to this beautiful cruise ship. On first impressions she is very nice indeed and I haven’t even seen all of her yet!

I have a balcony cabin on Baja Deck (Deck 11) and it is a fairly good size, the balcony is slightly bigger than I had expected although I haven’t had a chance to really use it as of yet due to bad weather. We were supposed to be at sea for 3 days before arriving in Funchal, Madeira, but our Captain informed us yesterday that because of a large low pressure system we would instead be docking in Vigo today. Well, as of around 5pm yesterday, we are back to our original itinerary and heading for Funchal, it seems the weather system is now affecting Vigo and it would have been unsafe for us to dock. It’s all fun and games on the open ocean – this is half of the fun!

Baja Deck Emerald Princess

Her aft decks are superb and I absolutely love the outside area that leads from Sabatini’s on Deck 17 – the two small water fountains give the deck a rather nice feel and compliment the outdoor furniture perfectly. I am very much looking forward to better weather so I can see this space being used and really get a feel for the atmosphere it creates. I am also hoping it becomes an outside option for Sabatini’s and I can find one day with weather good enough to enjoy a meal al-fresco.

Movies Under the Stars is just fab! I haven’t braved it yet for a full movie, but I did skip through last night and grabbed a bag of complimentary, freshly popped popcorn! Delicious! I was tempted to go back for another but I stopped myself – there is so much good food aboard that it could prove problematic for my clothes! ;)

movies under the stars emerald princess

Breakfast is a rather busy affair, I struggled to find a table inside today so sat outside on the open deck. It was a bit on the windy side, but quicker and easier than waiting inside for a table. Just about everything you could imagine is served. French toast, American bacon, English bacon, beans, eggs (of several kinds), cereal, pancakes, yoghurt and today I even spotted rice!  I went for hash browns, beans, scrambled egg and a little sample of American bacon, it was pretty tasty, although I am not a huge fan of the onions in the beans. I don’t think anyone should mess with baked beans! Last night’s dinner was via the Caribe Café and was simply noted as ‘Midnight Down Island Buffet’. I will be totally honest, I didn’t have a clue what to expect and I couldn’t find a menu anywhere to tell me, so I just went along and guess what I found – TIGER PRAWNS! A whole dish of them cooked in garlic, parsley butter and chilli. It was like taking a step into heaven, they were SO good as was the rice that I grabbed a spoonful of to accompany them. I have not been in the main dining room yet, that is on my list to do today along with booking tables at the Crown Grill and Sabatini’s for later in the cruise – it may well take me that long to decide what to actually have as the menu for the Crown Grill looks superb, I want to try it all! I have sampled the pizza from the Pizzeria and boy, it is GOOD! I can see why it has been voted as the ‘best pizza at sea’ several times by USA Today. The slices they give you are HUGE and very tasty.

The atrium aboard is beautiful and feels very open and inviting, it is definitely one of my favourites areas onboard – it really does have that WOW factor and is possibly the nicest atrium I have come across aboard any ship. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that it is surrounded by shops and bars! ;)

Tradewinds Bar Emerald Princess

I still have so many more areas to explore and I will do so and get back to you! For now though, I shall enjoy the rest of today and tomorrow being at sea before we hopefully dock in Funchal, Madeira. I also promise to offer some better pictures, I am having a USB malfunction and can’t share images I took from my phone via my blog – I will take the camera around the ship with me now! ;)

It really does feel so good being back aboard a large cruise ship and thus far Emerald Princess is not disappointing!

Author: Danielle

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Posted in General Cruise Articles, Princess Cruises

Black Watch in Port of Tyne – Ship Visit

Black Watch Port of Tyne

Image credit: North News & Pictures

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Black Watch was in Port of Tyne today and I was fortunate enough to enjoy a few hours aboard – before she once again sailed from North Shields en-route to wonderful foreign shores. As most of you know, I cruised on Braemer just 4 short months ago, so I was quite excited to investigate another of the Fred. Olsen fleet and I have to admit that some aspects of her I actually preferred over Braemar! I know, shock horror!

She was built by Wärtsilä Helsinki New Shipyard in Finland for Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Star, entering service in 1972. She then also sailed for Norwegian Cruise Lines as Westward and Royal Cruise Line as Star Odyssey. Today, however, she is known as Black Watch and from what I could tell from disembarking passengers at the port, she is certainly a ship that does not disappoint.

Once all the usual formalities were completed we boarded the ship and made our way toward the Observatory Lounge, where we would spend 30 minutes before heading off on a guided tour.


The Braemar Lounge

We spent time in several areas onboard, but I have to say that I really liked the Garden Cafe. I thought that was a beautiful space, as was the Braemar Lounge that it branched off from. It was definitely somewhere that I could picture myself spending several hours just watching the world go by. I want to say more about it, I really do, but in this case it is easier for me to just let you see for yourself. I am sure you will agree that both spaces are incredibly beautiful and perfectly compliment one another.

Black Watch Garden Cafe

Garden Cafe

During the tour we also had the privilege of looking in several cabins, I don’t remember every single one, but there was a solo cabin – that was incredibly spacious too I might add – several different suites and balcony cabins, and the Owner’s Suite. Every single one was tastefully decorated and actually very modern in decor. Not entirely sure what I had expected with regards to the accommodations, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Owner’s Suite was very nice indeed and it felt like it was never going to end, but personally I actually preferred the PS grade suite, which in this case was cabin 9002 – Lindos Suite. I was a bigger fan of the decor and I liked the snug, second bedroom which led from the living room. I would, however, like to make it perfectly clear that if the Owner’s Suite was offered, I would definitely NOT say no! ;)

The aft outer decks aboard Black Watch were my ideal. Slightly tiered and offering pools, jacuzzis and plenty of sun loungers, one also offering The Grill – the ships new speciality restaurant. As I have said many times before, the outer decks are hugely important for me and although I wasn’t a fan of her top deck, her aft decks received a big thumbs up.

Black Watch Pool Deck


The library onboard was a good size and conveniently located within feet of the lush chocolate bar. Sadly, the bar was closed during our visit, but all the sweets were set out in display cabinets and each one looked better than the one next to it! If you are cruising on Black Watch anytime soon then I suggest you take your “cruise pants” with you – you will need them if you walk through there every day as a diversion for at least one chocolate is guaranteed! Well, it would be for me. I can’t say no to cheeky little bundles of happiness, it’s just unfortunate for my waist that they happen to be covered in chocolate. ;)

Black Watch Chocolate Bar

There is only so much one can say about a ship from such a short visit, but I did like Black Watch, she is certainly a ship I would happily spend my holiday aboard and I am now quite excited to see her sister, Boudicca, next year! :)

I bid all those sailing on her this evening, Bon Voyage!

Author: Danielle

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Posted in Fred Olsen Cruise Line, General Cruise Articles

The Telegraph Cruise Show – Liverpool 2014

Telegraph Cruise Show Liverpool

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is that time again, The Telegraph Cruise Show time and it is taking place this weekend (October 11-12) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

If you are looking for holiday ideas, then this is most certainly going to be the place to find them! Whether you’re looking to try your first cruise or see what cruise styles, ship choices, destinations and offers are available, the show provides everything you need to discover the world of cruise and plan your perfect trip.

In all, there will be over 35 exhibitors and cruise lines in attendance will include: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, P&O Cruises, Cunard, Crystal Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Ponant, Emerald Waterways, American Queen Steamboat Company and Shearings.

Eavesway Travel will also be in attendance, providing FREE coach routes for visitors!

The Telegraph Cruise Show Liverpool will allow you a unique opportunity to meet the cruise lines, find your ideal cruise style and itinerary, be inspired by Telegraph Travel experts on amazing cruise destinations and benefit from show only deals – which are often pretty amazing!!

Telegraph Travel experts will also offer insight into everything from ‘River Cruising in Europe, the US and Asia’, ‘Family Cruising in the Med’ to ‘Cruising the Caribbean’ at the Destinations Theatre. Expert one-to-one advice will also be available from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). It really is a chance to get up close and personal with cruising and have all your questions answered by the people who know best.

The Cruise Lines Theatre sessions, sponsored by Cruise Critic, include talks from Stephen Payne OBE, the British naval architect, on the ‘Making of the Grandest Ocean Liner of Our Time – the Queen Mary 2’. Eric Flounders, Cunard’s Public Relations Manager for 27 years will also share the fascinating story of Cunard’s rich history, which started in Liverpool.

There will be a series of cookery demonstrations and tasting sessions hosted by Atul Kochhar, the twice Michelin starred celebrity chef who has developed bespoke menus for P&O Cruises. The sessions will include one of Kochhar’s signature dishes Kerala Fish Curry (Meen Allepy), offering you the chance to enjoy a taste of the luxury dining experiences available at sea.

I am told there will also be wine tasting opportunities ;)

Former Liverpool FC legends, Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish, will formally open the show and take part in a Q&A session where you will be able to talk to the pair about their cruise experiences, their favourite holiday destinations as well as their illustrious careers and the new Premier League season.

If this sounds like your ideal day out, then I have a very special offer for you, my blog readers! Book before midnight on Friday and take advantage of £8 per person adult tickets (instead of £13 on the door), and use the code CRUISEMS and you will also get a FREE show guide worth £4.

You can book your tickets here.

Happy holiday hunting!

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Posted in Cruise News, General Cruise Articles

Can I Have Your Cruise Card Please, Madam?

Ventura-CannesI believe that the worst words ever spoken aboard any cruise ship are “can I have your cruise card please, madam” (or sir), and I am going to give you an example of how they can ruin the most perfect of moments!

It is embarkation day, time to head towards your ship at 100mph (I don’t mean that literally! It’s not good to go over the speed limit!), and begin your cruise holiday. The anticipation of what is to come has gone through the roof – all you want to do is get onboard, unpack your bags and let the uninterrupted time away from the office commence.

Check-in was a breeze, security gave you the usual feeling of guilt, although you had done nothing wrong, and stepping aboard for the first time made your eyes light up as if it were Christmas. A quick peek inside the atrium and a scan of the deck plans and it is time to make way to one of several restaurants for lunch. Of course you over indulge, you are on holiday now, so who cares, enjoy it! When tummies are full and you are contemplating which area to explore next, you take a quick second to update your Facebook status and let all of your friends know, “we are onboard and have just had lunch, now time to find a bar” – I see these updates every day, we can’t help ourselves.

One refreshing beverage later and the announcement is made that your cabin is ready, now comes the task of locating your floating boudoir – easier said than done, depending on the ship. Several minutes later you arrive outside your door and as if by magic, your ten thousand cases are already there waiting for you! You drag them in, have a thorough investigation of the cabin (and the drawers! We always open the drawers to see if anything has been missed!), and those of us with balconies step outside and let out the obligatory, ahhhhhh!

Cruise Ship Deck Party

Next on the agenda is the muster drill and before you know it, it is done and dusted and you find yourself out on the open deck – where the party is just starting to warm up. You are one of several hundred passengers onboard and each and every single person is happy, care free and simply looking forward to 2 well deserved weeks in the sunshine! Nothing at that moment matters. Your Captain is on the bridge working hard, he sounds the ships whistle and you begin to slowly push away from your berth. The music is blaring, the entertainment team are out on deck getting everyone hyped up and just as you start to get right into the holiday mood, a waiter approaches you with a tray full of champagne flutes. He offers you a glass, of course you reach out and take one, you toast to the start of your holiday with your partner or friend and bring the glass to within an inch of your lips, when the waiter utters the words “can I have your cruise card please, madam”. In a split second you have gone from living life aboard a cruise ship like a rock star, to hitting the ground like a concrete block.

You were having the best day of your life, until he tried to charge you £4.25 (and the rest!) for the glass of bubbles!!

I told you, those 8 little words ruin everything!! – Unless you are all-inclusive, then you are just showing off and ruining my blog post!! ;)

Author: Danielle




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Posted in General Cruise Articles

Eavesway Travel Cruise Link 2015

Eavesway Southampton Cruise Link Service

I have mentioned several times that my preferred method of transport to and from Southampton, and now Dover, is Eavesway Travel. I actually blogged about them last year, but I thought it was only right to cover the service again now, as there have been a fair few changes since my last update.

Eavesway cover departures to/from Southampton for Royal Caribbean International, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Cunard. They also offer a service to/from Dover for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

I have used the Eavesway service for the last 4 years and I swear by them, I really do! The coaches are incredibly comfortable and there is a ton of leg room, they are clean, the drivers are all very friendly and even when having to take a detour half way around the world because of traffic or an accident, I have still always arrived long before the ship was due to sail. I wouldn’t use any other coach service!

Below are some examples of return prices for Southampton departures. To get an exact quote for the Eavesway Travel cruise link service in 2015, I would recommend you check the website or give them a call, but the below gives an idea of what you can expect. My pick-up point is Washington Services, which is quite a fair distance away from where I live, yet still incredibly convenient as it is straight down the A1.

Eavesway Cruise Link 2015 Price List

Let me tell you a little about Eavesway. In 1931, brothers Edward and Thomas Eaves set up a partnership together. Originally working in the local mine, they transported coal from the pit and undertook removals for people. It wasn’t long before they were carrying passengers to local markets and towns at weekends and this subsequently developed into a major part of their business. During the war years contracts were operated for the MOD carrying German POWs; aircrew shot down over nearby Liverpool.

As time went on, the brothers took the business from strength to strength, eventually focussing solely on the coach market and even picking up a contract with Manchester United Football Club to be the teams official coach provider. Today they operate a fleet of 34 Van Hool Executive coaches and offer a dedicated and reliable service with the same values that were instilled from the very beginning.

As I said earlier, I will only use Eavesway for my cruise link service. I have travelled with them more than 15 times to and from Southampton and I tried the Dover route for the first time in June and it was flawless, as I expected it to be. It was the first time the driver had done the route and he didn’t let us down. I have bookings with them for my next 3 cruises – I think that says it all really.

Leave the car at home next time – ring Eavesway! ;)

Author: Danielle

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Posted in Eavesway Cruise Link Service, General Cruise Articles

Emerald Princess And The Canary Islands


In less than 2-weeks, I will be joining Princess Cruises, Emerald Princess, on a 11-night voyage down to the beautiful Canary Islands and I am hoping for two things – lots of sunshine and lots of good food!

I am rather excited to experience Princess Cruises and I have heard many good things, and saying as Emerald Princess is the cousin of my favourite, Ventura, I am sure I will feel right at home from the moment I step aboard. If I am honest, I am also really looking forward to being back aboard a larger cruise ship, all of my travels recently have been on small to mid-size vessels, but I am ready to get back aboard a 100,000 GT+ beauty!

My last visit to the Canary Islands was in May, just a few months ago, so I have planned one or two things for this trip that I have never done before. During our call to Gran Canaria I have opted for a day at Palmitos Park, which is an organised excursion with Princess. I love nature so this seemed like the perfect choice, plus we are in port on a Sunday, so it means the day is full with adventure instead of looking for things to do. The park is a 20-hectare botanical garden and aviary located in the south of the island. There are over 160 different types of cactus, 1000 palm trees of 42 different types, birds, monkeys, an aquarium, orchid house and Europe’s largest butterfly house. In short, it is my ideal kind of day – as long as the sun is shining!

Palmitos Park

I am not 100% settled yet on what I will do in the other ports, they are still being contemplated as we speak, but Madeira is going to be an easy day (and probably filled with lots of cake!) and Vigo will more than likely be a chance to enjoy some retail therapy and a chilled drink in a marina side café. Well, cruising must have one or two days of rest! ;)

As I mentioned at the beginning, I am very much looking forward to enjoying a lot of delicious food and the one place I know I will have to try onboard is the Crown Grill. I made the mistake of having a look at the sample dinner menu earlier this week and oh my goodness! I really do think it will take me a week to decide what to have! The Grilled Tiger Prawns in Whisky, Chilli and Garlic Marinade sound delicious (shock horror!), but so does the New York Strip, which I would have with Garlic and Herb French Fires and Creamed Spinach – maybe I will just have to pay a double supplement and have a bit of everything! If only!

There are also going to be one or two new things for me aboard Emerald Princess and I am itching to check them all out, the main one being Movies Under the Stars – I can’t wait for this, I just hope with crossed fingers that we have at least one evening where it is warm enough to enjoy it. Can you cross your fingers and toes for me too, please?

Emerald Princess Movies Under the Stars

So, that my friends, is where I am at right now! I have printed my luggage labels, ticket and have even started packing, so the countdown really is underway, I just need it to be October 14th and all will be perfect!

The only small issue I do have is that my second love, Oceana, is going to be following us around the Canary Islands as she too enjoys some autumnal sunshine – let’s hope we can all get along nicely.

13-days and counting……………

Author: Danielle


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Posted in General Cruise Articles, Princess Cruises

P&O Cruises Britannia is Red, White And Blue

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises has put the finishing touches to the brand new livery on its newest ship in the fleet – Britannia, the largest ship built for Britain which will be officially named in a glittering ceremony in Southampton in March 2015.

The bold new look on the bow features the world’s largest contemporary version of the Union Flag, which required the following volumes of paint for the newest look to its ship: 280 litres of red paint , 40 litres red for the shadow, 80 litres of blue, 20 litres of blue for the shadow and
160 litres for the big logo of P&O Cruises on the front of the bow.

The ship will also have two distinctive blue funnels carrying an illuminated rising sun motif which depicts the Oriental part of the Peninsular and Oriental (P&O) name on the company’s coat of arms.

When working to full capacity, Britannia’s four engines will generate 62.4 Megawatts or 84,000 horsepower which is equivalent to the power generated by 168 supercars, allowing the 141,000 ton ship to cruise at a speed of 22 knots.

As P&O Cruises refreshes and re-energises its brand, the company is to update the livery across all eight ships to celebrate, more clearly, its British credentials.

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

Image credit: James Morgan Photographic Consultancy



James Morgan Photographic Consultancy

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Strictly Come Dancing From P&O Cruises

p&o cruises strictly come dancing

As Strictly Come Dancing hits the screens this weekend and the nation thinks about polishing its cha cha cha, P&O Cruises has released a video of its Strictly themed cruises with details and prices for holidays next year.

In 2015, P&O Cruises has four dedicated Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise, in partnership with BBC Worldwide Ltd – including a cruise on brand new ship Britannia during the school summer holidays.

Each cruise will have two pairs of the programme’s professional dancers as well as an outspoken judge and special celebrity guest to offer a Strictly experience to remember.

Regular dance classes will be on offer throughout the cruise and passengers can participate in a dance competition, with the grand finale performances taking place in the main theatre, moderated by the judge and celebrity guest.

The Strictly stars will give up close and personal interviews on board, photo opportunities and signing sessions, and official Strictly Come Dancing performances produced by BBC Worldwide. A stunning selection of costumes from the television show will also be on display around the ship, with organised fashion events to showcase them at their very best.

Strictly Come Dancing themed cruises for 2015 include:

  •  A 14-night cruise to Portugal, Gibraltar & Spain on Aurora departing April 23, 2015.
  • A 14-night cruise to Portugal, Monaco & Italy on Ventura departing May 28, 2015.       
  • A 14 night cruise to Scandinavia, Russia & Estonia on Azura departing June 20, 2015.
  • A  14-night cruise to the Canary Islands & Iberia on Britannia departing July 25, 2015.

Info courtesy of P&O Cruises

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Quantum Of The Seas – Her Conveyance So Far In Pictures

The river conveyance is a unique process for the ships built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Unconventionally situated inland to avoid impact from the storms in the North Seas, Meyer Werft has been sailing ships down the River Ems 32 kilometers to sea since 1795.

Quantum of the Seas has already begun her 10 hour journey and I have highlighted it so far in today’s photo blog.

With the introduction of Quantum of the Seas in 2014 (the introduction of Anthem of the Seas in 2015 and Ovation of the Seas in 2016), Royal Caribbean takes WOW innovations to new heights — literally — with the unveiling of North Star, an awe—inspiring experience where a jewel-like glass capsule takes guests on a spectacular journey more than 300 feet in the air to deliver unprecedented 360-degree views; RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving simulator at sea; as well as the first bumper car and roller skating offerings at sea.

Quantum of the Seas River Ems

Quantum of the Seas Royal Caribbean

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum Class Cruise Ship

Quantum of the Seas Conveyance

Quantum of the Seas Ovation of the Seas

Images courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

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Posted in Cruise News, Royal Caribbean International

Ovation Of The Seas To Join Quantum Class


On the cusp of delivering the first in a new generation of technologically advanced cruise ships Royal Caribbean International marked an important milestone today as the first piece of steel was cut marking the official construction start on the third Quantum class ship.

The steel cutting for Ovation of the Seas, scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016, took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where Quantum of the SeasAnthem of the Seas and now Ovation of the Seas are being built.

The groundbreaking Quantum class ships will debut new unprecedented features, such as dancing Roboscreens in the unique Two70 entertainment venue; robotic bartenders in Bionic Bar; RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; transformative venues, such as Sea-Plex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever Virtual Balcony staterooms, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.

The Quantum class will debut in autumn 2014 with Quantum of the Seas sailing from New York followed by her sister-ship Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015 sailing from Southampton in the UK. Quantum ships span 16 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tonnes, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Info courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

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Posted in Cruise News, Royal Caribbean International
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P&O Cruises Aurora
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