For The Love Of Sea Days!

VenturaAtSea

The sea day, one of life’s little luxuries between ports. A chance to put your feet up, relax and plan the following day – or for some, to hit the gym like you have lost your mind, eat yourself into a slow food coma or go from one activity to the next until you collapse onto a sun lounger. Love them or loathe them they are there and personally, I  love them!

Sea days for me are just as important as the destinations. Do you know how much you can see at sea?! Seriously! I remember sunbathing on deck in August 2010 and out of the deep appeared a submarine, right alongside! I have seen dolphins, whales, flying fish, other cruise ships (which is always a treat), and the silhouette of distant shores on the horizon. Sea days are a treasured part of my cruise experience and the fact you are in the middle of nowhere, away from the rest of the world, has such a calming effect.

The first time I spotted dolphins from the ship I was completely overwhelmed, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. To see these wonderful, playful creatures out in the big open ocean and with no interference from the human world was simply amazing. They were doing what they do naturally and all they wanted to do was play and show off their skills to their admiring fans. We were all quite happy to watch and applaud them for their tricks and flips!

DolphinsCruiseSeaDay

I tend to spend my sea days soaking up the sun, if it is shining, of course! Occasionally I will move to graze or to have a walk around the ship. I sometimes find I can’t sit still for long, so in that sense bigger ships have a great benefit – I have more places to walk! If the weather is on the grim side I tend to just go with the flow. I may read a book, play cards, prop the bar up for a few hours, it all depends on my mood, but I know sea days with bad weather can be a little tedious for some people – they just don’t know what to do with themselves.

The below image was taken on a sea day, well, a sea evening to be exact. For me, this is what being on the open ocean is all about. Where else in the world can you get such a view, feel so much freedom and just be at one with everything around you. The only place that does it for me is the ocean! I will also add that the image below has not been altered or enhanced, this is exactly as it looked through my canon lens.

SunsetCruiseShip

When you can capture moments like all of the above, why would you ever want to cut them out of your itinerary? I certainly wouldn’t!

If you are embarking on a cruise soon then have a sea day for me! ;)

Author: Danielle

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Posted in General Cruise Articles

Costa Concordia Arrives in Genoa

Costa Concordia Drone Footage Still

After a 200 mile journey, Costa Concordia has arrived at the port of Genoa this morning, where she will be broken up for scrap in a process estimated to take around 2-years.

Environment Minister, Gian Luca Galletti told reports at the port that “This is not a celebration. We have to think of the victims, but it has to be said that keeping the Concordia in Italy is a great occasion for our country. We have excellent technology and we are capable of undertaking great things.”

A 10-15 knot northerly wind has kept the ship around a mile offshore, but she is expected to reach the industrial port of Voltri, just outside the main harbour in Genoa, later this afternoon.

The overall salvage effort is expected to cost Carnival Corporation, owner of the ship’s operator, Costa Cruises and its insurers more than 1.5 billion euros.

A consortium led by Italian engineering group Saipem and Genoa-based San Giorgio del Porto will break up the wreck in an operation which sources close to the project have said could cost 100 million euros and take up to two years.

“Costa Cruises has done their work and they’ve done it very seriously as it was their responsibility to do because they were responsible for the disaster,” Galletti said.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is expected in Genoa later today to hail the completion of the operation.

Captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino is on trial for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all the passengers had been evacuated – even though he has claimed that he fell into a lifeboat. The disaster cost the lives of 32 people, the body of one is still yet to be found.
Costa Concordia Under Tow

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Posted in Costa Concordia, Cruise News

Poison, Murder And Mystery With Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Poison-Murder-Mystery-Cruise-Fred-Olsen

Fancy a cruise with a difference in 2015? then why not join Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Boudicca, for the ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery’ cruise, departing from Rosyth on 10 July 2015,  linking the Duchess of Northumberland’s ‘Poison Gardens’ at Alnwick Castle – which starred as ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry’ in the Harry Potter films – and that of Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior in Guimar, Tenerife.

Guests will get to take part in this great adventure as it unfolds on board, whilst Boudicca takes a leisurely cruise to Leixoes (for Oporto, Portugal), Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz (Tenerife), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Lisbon (Portugal) and Newcastle (UK) – famous as the ‘Agatha Christie Route’.

 This intriguing ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ is a first for any cruise line, and is the result of a creative collaboration between Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior and Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland. Fred. Olsen is delighted that, as well as hosting the largest participative ‘murder mystery’ event ever held on a cruise ship – which will be officially witnessed on board by ‘Guinness World Records’ – the Duchess will be joining the ship for part of the voyage, along with Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior, it is hoped.

Fred Olsen Boudicca

Highlights include:

  • Visit to The Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle – the grand and magnificent home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Here, guests will not only see the Gardens – which have been transformed by Her Grace with an investment of over £40 million – but also visit the only ‘Poison Garden’ in Britain.
  •   In Tenerife, discover the mythical ‘Pyramids of Guimar’ and their own ‘Poison Garden’.
  •  Throughout the cruise, the subject of poison and mystery will be everywhere, with plays, talks and special tours – and a murder mystery starting as soon as guests get on board, which will run through to a ‘Grand Finale’ at Alnwick Castle.
  •  Felix Francis, younger son of thriller-writing legend, Dick Francis, will be penning a short crime story on board as the intrigue around this cruise unravels!

Guest speakers on this cruise include:

  • Peter Dean, Her Majesty’s Coroner for Essex and a former Forensic Medical Examiner with the Metropolitan Police, with some fascinating and gruesome insights into his varied and often ‘dark’ career.
  • Doctor Dan Jones, eminent poison Historian and Archaeologist, who gives a closer look into Rasputin and the Borgias family’s darkest secrets!
  • Doctor Mark Siddall, curator of ‘The Power of Poison’ exhibition at The American Museum of Natural History, will be cooking up all manner of potions and poisons in a hands-on, interactive demonstration.

The cruise returns to Edinburgh on the morning of 26th July 2015, after two weeks of mystery, poison and murder at sea!

Info courtesy of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

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Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Line, Theme Cruise

Costa Concordia Embarks On Her Final Voyage

Costa Concordia Removal

Costa Concordia today embarked on her final voyage, from the island of Giglio to Genoa in northwest Italy. Her towing marks just one accomplishment in one the biggest salvage operations in maritime history.

The journey, which began shortly before 09:00 local time, includes a 17-man crew aboard the Costa Concordia, more than a dozen accompanying vessels, and two giant tugs that are towing the wreck at just two knots per hour. She is expected to sail 15 miles from Corsica and close to the islands of Elba and Capraia before reaching Genoa late Saturday.

“This is a big day for Giglio but we’ll only be able to relax once it reaches Genoa”, Nick Sloane, the South African salvage master in charge of the operation, said.

Costa Crociere, estimate the operation to remove the wreck from the reef and tow it for scrapping will cost 1.5bn euros in total.

Surviving passengers who returned to the Tuscan island of Giglio for the final farewell, said they are ready to put the nightmarish experience behind them.

“We hope that what we’ve kept inside us will depart when the boat departs. And that as it goes on its way, we can finally go on ours,” Anne Decre of the French Survivors’ Collective told AFP, clutching the hand of friend Nicole Servel whose husband died in the disaster.

costa-concordia-towed-away

Costa Concordia is being towed by Dutch- and Vanuatu-flagged boats, while the flotilla carries divers, engineers, a medical team and environmental experts with it.

Sensors attached to the sides of the ship will monitor for possible cracks in the crippled hull, while underwater cameras will watch for debris washing out of the vessel amid fears toxic waste could spill into the sea.

Objects floating free such as suitcases, clothes and furniture will be caught in a huge net while infrared sensors will be used to detect possible oil leaks at night.

Investigators are still looking for the body of Indian waiter Russel Rebello, whose body is the only one not to have been found.

Costa Concordia Removal Convoy

 

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Posted in Costa Concordia, Cruise News

P&O Cruises Britannia Construction So Far

Today I have another set of AMAZING images to share with you of P&O Cruises, Britannia.

This collection shows her construction so far both inside and out – including some cabin shots!

Arriving in spring 2015, Britannia will represent the very best of the best! The largest ship built exclusively for Britain, she will combine signature P&O Cruises features with the very latest innovations in dining, entertainment and modern design. Britannia will embrace a bold new 94 metre Union Flag on her bow displaying the longest version of the Flag anywhere in the world. You can actually see the start of this being painted across her hull in the second image.
Her other distinctive features include 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.
I hope you enjoy this collection! Her maiden voyage is getting ever closer! :)

P&O Cruises Britannia Construction

P&O Cruises Britannia Painting

P&O Cruises Britannia

P&O Cruises Britannia Italy

P&O Cruises Britannia Shipyard

P&O Cruises Britannia Aft

P&O Cruises Britannia Starboard Side

P&O Cruises Britannia Under Construction

P&O Cruises Britannia Deck

P&O Cruises Britannia Funnel

P&O Cruises Britannia Bridge

P&O Cruises Britannia Cabin

P&O Cruises Britannia Twin Cabin

P&O Cruises Britannia Twin Cabin View

P&O Cruises Britannia Lido Deck

P&O Cruises Britannia Atrium

P&O Cruises Britannia Bar

P&O Cruises Britannia Lounge

Images courtesy of P&O Cruises

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Queen Mary 2 – A Photographic Journey

QM2 A Photographic Journey

I must admit that I don’t read very often, I usually keep my designated reading time for sea days as I am just too busy when on dry land to try and keep up to speed with a book. I have been reading one now since last August! Occasionally, however, I come across one that I open and simply can’t put down – that happened recently!

I give you ‘QM2 A Photographic Journey’ by Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross.

 As the title suggests, the book is a visual look at the Queen Mary 2 from bow to stern – literally! It is packed with some wonderful interior images, information on every public space and more, and some quirky little facts. Actually, let me share some of the facts with you now.

Did you know?

The Sliding glass roof above the Pavilion Pool is called a Magrodome

The Britannia Restaurant can cater for up to 1,200 people in a SINGLE seating!

Queen Mary 2 is the largest, longest and most expensive ocean liner ever built

The Galley team are supported by a team of eighty-five dishwashers, pot washers and Galley cleaners who work around the clock!

Queen Mary 2 is the fastest merchant ship currently in service

Image Credit: Chris Frame

Image Credit: Chris Frame

The books foreword was provided by Commodore R.W. Warwick and reads as follows:

In April 1998, after months of speculation, the Carnival Corporation acquired Cunard Line, and, within a few weeks of doing so, the new owners announced their proposal to build an ocean liner. This ship soon became known as the Queen Mary 2.

After years of Meticulous research and planning, a contract was signed with Chantiers de L’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire, to build the biggest ocean liner the world has ever known. From then on construction progressed with thousands of tons of steel and machinery being delivered to the builders of the ship assigned the yard number G32. On 3 July 2002, exactly 162-years to the day of the maiden voyage of the paddle steamer Britannia, Samuel Cunard’s first ship, I had the honour of giving the order to lay the first keel section of my new ship, the Queen Mary 2.

Several months later I set up residence in Saint Nazaire and watched the vessel grow at a very rapid pace. It was exciting to see the architects’ and designers’ visions of grandeur and elegance becoming a reality. On the Bridge and in the Engine Room the latest in maritime communications technology was being installed to make this new ship the most advanced ocean liner of our time.

On 22 December 2003, eighteen months after the keel was laid, the ship was formally handed over to Cunard Line, and, with only the crew on board, we bid farewell to Saint Nazaire and set sail for Vigo, Spain. For the next few days the crew and I had the ship totally to ourselves to carry out an intensive series of trials and tests. We docked the ship several times and turned her around in her own length using the azimuth-podded propulsion system and bow thrusters. The mooring arrangements, watertight doors and gas turbines were tested. The gangways and tender platforms were rigged. Lifeboats and tenders were launched. The anchors were lowered and emergency drills were carried out. Meanwhile, the Hotel Department were busy preparing cabins and testing the culinary facilities. The Britannia Restaurant was ‘tested’ by 1,000 crew members as we sailed across the Bay of Biscay on Christmas Day, bound for our maiden arrival at Southampton.

These few days of dedicated service by an incredibly proud and enthusiastic crew laid the foundations to introduce the magnificent Queen Mary 2 to the world, and to perpetuate the reign of Cunard Liners on the North Atlantic.

In the ensuing five years, Queen Mary 2 has travelled the world, sailed over 800,000 nautical miles and carried many thousands of passengers. Among those passengers have been Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross. I commend Chris and Rachelle for their dedication in celebrating the first vie years of the QM2 by recording this occasion for maritime history in pictorial form.

Image Credit: Chris Frame

Image Credit: Chris Frame

This really is a great book, especially for all the ‘Cunader’s’ out there!

Why not drop by Chris’ official Facebook page where you can find out more about everything that is Cunard!

Author: Danielle

 

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Posted in Cruise Shopping, Cunard Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Offers Exclusive New Rotating Menus and More Culinary Variety

Norwegian Cruise Line Logo

Guests setting sail with Norwegian Cruise Line this summer and beyond will have more choices and flexibility in the line’s complimentary dining venues. These new offerings are a further development of the Norwegian NEXT programme, focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, with the goal of elevating the guest experience and building on the success of the line’s two newest ships: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

The culinary enhancements include: the debut of multiple new menus in the ships’ main dining rooms that offer an increased variety of selections and contemporary dishes; a dedicated “Chocoholic Night” one evening per cruise, featuring speciality chocolate-based desserts in each restaurant; and the ability for guests to make main dining reservations up to 90 days in advance.

The new regionally-focused complimentary dining room dinner menus vary by ship itinerary and change each evening of the sailing, ensuring that guests have a wider selection of dishes to choose from during their cruise. Featuring a sleeker design, along with wine pairing recommendations and anecdotal culinary history, the new menus display several sections – starters, classic dishes, main courses, chef’s signature dish and dessert – and offer an increased variety, with up to 12 starters and up to 15 entrees per evening. The menus have been carefully developed by Norwegian’s culinary team with a focus on balancing popular traditional dishes like prime rib, chateaubriand, rack of lamb and escargot with current dining trends and heightened guest expectations. The new offerings include increased seafood options such as grouper, barramundi, sushi and crab dishes. Contemporary dishes include mojito shrimp ceviche, seared Atlantic scallops with fennel puree, and braised beef short ribs with Cajun shrimp. Additionally, guests can enjoy new lunch menus in the main dining room.

NCLFood

In the popular, complimentary dining venue, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on-board Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jewel, the company is introducing exclusive speciality dish nights, such as prime rib, all-you-can-eat baby back ribs, and chicken and waffles. These speciality dish nights give guests an alternative dinner venue in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

One of the most popular additions to the new dining programme is sure to be Norwegian’s “Chocoholic Night,” which offers a choice of up to seven signature chocolate desserts in every restaurant one evening each cruise. Ranging from the delectable warm chocolate volcano to the decadent chocolate Nutella pot de crème and the white chocolate strawberry mousse, the desserts are sure to satisfy any cruiser’s sweet-tooth.

In keeping with the line’s Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian is also making it easier than ever for guests to further customise their holiday experience by offering the ability to make reservations for complimentary dining rooms up to 90 days prior to the cruise date. With reservation times at 5:30 pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, and 8:30pm, the new system provides guests the option of selecting a dining time during any evening of their cruise, for a party size of up to 12 guests.

The new menus and concepts will be available on most of Norwegian’s fleet by 31 July, and on-board Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky and Pride of America by early 2015.

Info courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

 

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Posted in Food and Drink, Norwegian Cruise Line

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Food Blog

Food is a big part of any cruise and on my recent Fred. Olsen, Braemar cruise, I enjoyed so many good dishes that I decided to photograph some of them and share them in a food blog.

I have gathered a collection of images from the Grampian Restaurant, Palms Cafe buffet, room service, Marquee Deck bar and one snap of traditional afternoon tea, which was served in the Observatory Lounge.

The food on Braemar was very good indeed. A substantial variety of options day and night and some of the best soups I have ever tasted! I especially liked the fact that both the Grampian and Thistle restaurants offered a menu option AND a buffet option for breakfast and lunch. If nothing on the menu grabbed your attention, then you could help yourself to some of the buffet options – for a picky eater like me, this was ideal! It also meant you didn’t have to leave one dining venue and go to another because the menu didn’t suit your tastes.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, I definitely enjoyed eating the food! ;)

Tagliatelle Pasta Tagliatelle ‘Perugia’ – Ribbon pasta tossed in a creamy garlic sauce with smoked ham, peas and spring onion

Chocolate Cake

Milk, white and dark chocolate mouse cake (it was good too!)

Grilled Chicken Breast

Grilled chicken breast with mushroom ragout

Smoked pork loin

Grilled smoked pork loin with a fried egg

Breaded Fish Goujons

Breaded fish goujons with a small spoonful of potato and tartar sauce.

Pork Cordon Bleu

Pork cordon bleu filled with ham and Swiss Cheese, served with sauteed potatoes, green peas and baby onions

Chicken Vermicelli

Chicken Vermicelli – Clear consomme with strips of chicken, fresh parsley and vermicelli noodles

Tagliatelle Alfredo

Tagliatelle Alfredo – Pasta tossed in a light white wine and cheese sauce, garnished with tomato concasse

Rich Chocolate Fudge Cake

Rich (and delicious) chocolate fudge cake

Poached Pear

Poached pear with fresh ice cream

Ham, Cheese and tomato sandwich

Ham and cheese sandwich with ready salted crisps and a side of coleslaw (room service menu)

Chocolate Mousse

Milk, white and dark chocolate mousse with a raspberry compote

Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted garlic soup – It smelled SO strong but in flavour it was not overpowering at all, just right.

Margherita Pizza

Margherita pizza on the Marquee Deck

Indian Buffet

My choices from the Indian buffet in the Palms Cafe – Tandoori chicken, vegetable pakora and samosa, chicken curry, vegetable rice and a little piece of pitta bread

Grilled Chicken Burger

Grilled chicken breast served on a toasted bun with fries

Palms Cafe Breakfast Braemar

My breakfast choice in the Palms Cafe one morning – Beans, scrambled egg and hash browns

Afternoon tea Braemar

Traditional afternoon tea served in the Observatory Lounge – Selection of pastries and tarts and sandwiches including egg mayonnaise, cucumber, plump shrimp and avocado and smoked salmon with cream cheese.

Spinach and Potato Soup

Spinach and potato soup – The BEST soup of the entire trip!

Asian buffet palms cafe Braemar

My choices from the Asian buffet in the Palms Cafe – Chicken skewers with peanut sauce, vegetable spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, noodles and some courgette, which I scooped out of another set of noodles ;)

Chocolate cake

Chocolate fudge cake with a rich cherry compote

Mozzarella, Tomato and red onion salad

Mozzarella, tomato and red onion salad

Smoked salmon parcel

 Smoked salmon parcel filled with diced potato and chopped spring onion, bound in horseradish mayonnaise

Chicken breast and cheese

Grilled chicken breast wrapped in bacon and cheese, served with chunky chips, vegetables and a BBQ sauce

Prawn Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail with avocado

Tagliatelle Carbonara

Tagliatelle Carbonara – with CRISPY bacon too, not the half cooked stuff that some places serve! It was lovely and creamy.

 

OK! Now you go…….eat!!!! ;)

Author: Danielle

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Posted in Food and Drink, Fred Olsen Cruise Line

Costa Concordia Refloat Video And Interior Photographs

The Costa Concordia was successfully refloated recently and I wanted to share with you a timelapse video of that process, you can view it below. I also wanted to share with you some interior images of the vessel as she is now. I think you will agree that the image of the piano is incredible, for after all this time it still looks brand new!

Costa Concordia remains a tragedy that could have been easily avoided, but now the focus is on moving the vessel from her resting place and doing so as safely as possible.

Costa Concordia Refloat 2014

Costa Concordia Bar

Costa Concordia Piano

Costa Concordia Deck

Costa Concordia Inside

costa-concordia-refloated

Costa Concordia Refloat 2

Costa Concordia Refloat Cabin

Costa Concordia Refloat Interior

Costa Concordia Refloat Video

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Posted in Costa Concordia, Cruise News

Norwegian Cruise Line Orders Two New Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line Logo

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GMBH of Germany to build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019. Each ship will be 164,600 gross tonnes and include 4,200 passenger berths.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”

The contract price for both ships is approximately euro 1.6 billion. The Company has export credit financing in place for each ship, arranged and underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH of Germany.

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising® which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise holiday on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed dress codes, a variety of accommodations and world-class entertainment. The Company took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and subsequently launched two game-changing vessels, Norwegian Breakaway based in New York in May 2013 and Norwegian Getaway homeported in Miami in February 2014. These ships incorporate groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks creating a whole new complex at sea and connecting guests with the ocean.

Info courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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Posted in Cruise News, Norwegian Cruise Line
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