SS United States Is Going Back To Sea – Thank You Crystal!

In

In her former glory – SS United States

In a recent press conference, Crystal Cruises announced that it would be purchasing the SS United States and bringing her back to her former glory, and I have to admit that I am incredibly excited about this.

The vessel will have to undergo extensive rebuilding in order to meet modern demands and be in full regulatory compliance, but eventually she will be transformed into an 800-guest-capacity vessel, featuring 400 luxurious suites measuring approx. 350 square feet with dining, entertainment, spa and other luxury amenities that are true to the ship’s storied history. Features of the original SS United States such as the Promenade and Navajo Lounge will be retained, while new engines and sophisticated marine technology will be installed to maintain her title as the fastest cruise vessel in the world.

The SS United States has sat in disrepair for many years, waiting for someone to literally come along and save her and Crystal have done just that.

The SS United States, built at a cost of $79.4 million, was launched in 1952 and broke the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage (previously held by RMS Queen Mary) – she still proudly retains the Blue Riband to this day.  She remains the largest passenger ship ever designed and built in America. Before her retirement in 1969, the SS United States was the most glamorous and elegant ship in the world, having transported four US presidents, international royalty, many of Hollywood’s “golden era” celebrities, as well as a million passengers.  While the ship captivated travellers with her features and elegance, the ship’s origin was equally intriguing. She was designed as part of a top-secret Pentagon programme during the Cold War, which stipulated she could be quickly converted from a luxury liner into a naval troopship in the event of a war, carrying 15,000 troops with a 240,000 shaft horsepower propulsion plant capable of traveling 10,000 nautical miles – almost half way around the globe – without refueling.

I have said in many of my blogs that I would love to see a luxury liner from yesteryear brought back to life and I am so happy that this, thanks to Crystal, may now actually be happening! What her interiors will be like, I don’t know, I’d hope they would add some of that golden era charm and not make her too “glitz and glam”, but time will tell.

Say goodbye to Philadelphia for you are going back to sea…

Thank you, Crystal!

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Posted in Cruise News, Crystal Cruises, Great Ocean Liners

MSC Cruises Confirms Options For Two Additional Next-Generation Cruise Ships

MSC-MeravigliaToday at the coin ceremony for MSC Meraviglia held in Saint-Nazaire, France, MSC Cruises confirmed ahead of time the existing STX France options to build a further two ships in the Meraviglia class. Furthermore, the two Meraviglia-Plus next-generation ships, as the new class of vessels is called, will feature increased tonnage and overall size, with a total of 2,444 cabins and a maximum LSA (passengers + crew) of 8,000.

The two new units will now be due for delivery respectively in October 2019 and September 2020, thus anticipating by nearly two years the delivery of the last of the now four Meraviglia STX France-made ships.

In another MSC Cruises industry-first, the two Meraviglia-Plus ships will feature the first and only classic and contemporary fine art museum at sea.

Held at the STX France shipyard – also in the presence of the country’s Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Sector Mr Emmanuel Macron and of Mr Edouard Philippe, the Mayor of Le Havre and a Member of Parliament – the traditional, centuries-old coin ceremony presented the opportunity to showcase to media and other key stakeholders attending the progress made on the work of MSC Meraviglia, which will come into service in June 2017.

MSC Cruises today also announced that MSC Meraviglia will be christened in Le Havre, France.

The MSC Cruises Meraviglia-Plus class is the next-level generation of ships for all seasons. With its elegant, cutting-edge design and exceptional features, the elegant side of the Mediterranean, which lies at the heart of the MSC Cruises experience, is brought to life in the mastery of every detail. At 331 metres long and with the addition of 200 more cabins, the two ships will feature a maximum capacity of nearly 6,300 guests. They will also be able to call at all world cruise ports, thus maximizing guests’ choice of itineraries and destinations.

The unique public spaces filled with boutiques, restaurants and tranquil spots for shopping, eating and relaxing as well as socialising have also been further improved. The interior promenade is now an impressive 111 metre-long and the now-95 by 6 metres LED sky screen above it will beam out visual events and vistas round the clock to animate the entire promenade from above to create a unique atmospheric experience.

Another key distinguishing element of the MSC Cruises experience is its commitment to making available to its guests the richest array of entertainment possible. As with the recently announced Cirque du Soleil partnership, which will bring world-class shows exclusively to MSC Cruises in co-designed, purpose-built dining and entertainment venues guests, Meraviglia-Plus ships will feature a unique, cultural experience for guests at sea with the first-of-its-kind classic and contemporary fine art museum. This industry-first feature will now enable guests to discover world culture not only through rich and varied itineraries but also on board by experiencing masterpieces from around the globe in collaboration with the world’s premier cultural centres, classic and modern art museums as well as public and private institutions.

Additionally, Meraviglia and Meraviglia-Plus ships will look to set a new standard in smart ships as the recently announced partnership with Samsung brings next-generation technology with everything from latest displays and mobile solutions to medical equipment, as well as products for enhanced reality experiences.

The two new ships will be worth €1.6 billion, thus bringing MSC Cruises’ investment for the two Meraviglia plus the two Meraviglia-Plus ships to a total of €3 billion.

MSC also confirmed that it will base another ship in the UK, although which ship is yet to be determined.

 

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Posted in Cruise News, MSC Cruises, Uncategorized

Cruise Into Spring: Exploring The Rivers Of Belgium And The Netherlands

Amsterdam-River-Cruise

Why not kiss a welcome goodbye to the winter months by doing something fresh and different? Whether it’s cleaning the entire house or buying some new spring fashion essentials, we all find ourselves inspired to shake things up as the weather changes.

If you have the potential to take a short holiday, one of the best ways to celebrate the arrival of spring is with a European cruise. And what could be more beautiful than taking a tour of Holland and Belgium just in time for tulip season? With a range of lowland river cruises available from travel companies such as Saga Tours, I decided to put together five must-see destinations to inspire your imagination.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of my absolute favourite places and with its fascinating history, stunning waterways, world-famous nightlife, and lively bar and café culture, Holland’s capital makes the perfect jump-off point for your cruise. Take advantage of the balmy spring weather by biking around the city, and don’t leave without a historical tour of the Tulip Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House. I do recommend booking in advance for the Anne Frank House, however, as it does get incredibly busy.

Keukenhof Gardens

No spring holiday to the Netherlands would be complete without a trip to Keukenhof Gardens, a park located in the town of Lisse and famous all over the world for its stunning tulip displays. Easily accessible from Amsterdam, the gardens stretch over an area 32 hectares in size, and this spring will be hosting 800 varieties of tulip and more than seven million bulbs! Visitors can freely wander the gardens and enjoy the unique artworks and cultural events on display. The gardens are only in bloom for a few short weeks of the year, so Spring is THE time to visit. I still haven’t managed to see them myself yet, but the pictures look stunning.

Kinderdijk

Make some time for a visit to Kinderdijk for a taste of truly authentic Dutch history. This small village outside of Rotterdam is unique for the fact that it is home to 19 windmills dating back to the 16th-century. You will learn the fascinating history of the Dutch windmill and get to tour the inside of one. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see if you are on a Dutch river cruise that takes you down the Lek or Noord.

Antwerp

Brussels may be Belgium’s official capital, but many keen travellers believe that Antwerp is the city that really has it all. Located on the River Scheldt and dating back to the Middle Ages, Antwerp has long been known for its trendy cultural scene and lively nightlife, not to mention its history of diamond trading. As such, any trip to Antwerp should always include a mix of the historical and the cultural. Take a walk along the banks of the Scheldt, and visit the Gothic cathedral and riverside castle. However, make sure to set some time aside to indulge in a glass of De Koninck beer and some traditional Flemish food at one of the city’s many excellent restaurants.

The numerous waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands offer you countless cruise opportunities and I can honestly say that Amsterdam and Belgium are both destinations truly worthy of your visit. I am hoping to visit Amsterdam again two or maybe even three times this year – I really have fallen for the city! Another quick tip, if you are exploring in Amsterdam and feel a bit peckish, then grab a bag of fries! Chipsy King are the best and the curry mayonnaise is delicious! ;)

If a river cruise is not quite what you are looking for, then why not consider one of Saga’s ocean cruises? I have had the pleasure of sailing aboard Saga Sapphire twice now and they were both wonderful experiences! I will also be joining her in November for her Mystery Cruise. It should be fun!! Let me know if you are also joining.

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Posted in General Cruise Articles, River Cruising, Saga Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Summer 2017 Deployment For Europe

Norwegian-Jade-UK-Southampton

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced its summer 2017 deployment for Europe with five ships sailing in European waters in the summer season and exciting news for guests looking to set sail from the UK. In addition, the company revealed details on Norwegian Escape’s 2017 summer cruises to the Caribbean.

Marking Norwegian’s return to offering regular cruises from England for the first time since 2010, Norwegian Jade, one of the company’s four Jewel-Class ships, will feature brand new cruises from Southampton in 2017. From 12 May – 20 June and 7 August – 16 October 2017, UK guests can embark on a series of 11 Western Europe and three Norwegian Fjords sailings from/to Southampton, as well as two mini cruises for those looking for a shorter cruise experience, taking in many European highlights.

In addition, the cruise line will bring Norwegian Getaway, the second newest ship in the fleet, back to Europe for the first time since its delivery in 2014, giving guests the opportunity to experience the ultimate in freedom and flexibility on eight- or nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises from/to Copenhagen.

Three further ships will sail European waters in 2017, including the recently refurbished Norwegian Epic with her popular seven-night Western Mediterranean itinerary departing from Barcelona, Civitavecchia (Rome) or Marseille; Norwegian Spirit sailing alternating 11- and 10-night Grand Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Venice and Norwegian Star, which after her return from Australia will spend the summer cruising from Venice to the Greek Isles as well as the Adriatic, Greece & Turkey. The new itineraries go on sale in mid-February 2016 for all bookings.

Norwegian Jade will arrive in Europe looking resplendent after a two-and-a-half-week dry dock to begin her regular cruises from Southampton on 12 May 2017 with a series of seven-night Western Europe itineraries visiting Hamburg, Amsterdam, Zeebrugge (Brussels/Bruges) and Le Havre (Paris), offered from 12 to 26 May and from 17 August to 21 September 2017. In addition, there will be two nine-night cruises to the Norwegian Fjords on 2 and 11 June 2017 with stops in Hamburg as well as Ålesund, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Flåm and Bergen along with a 10-night Norwegian Fjords cruise on 7 August 2017 which also includes a visit to the Orkney Islands. A longer Western Europe itinerary of nine nights is offered on 28 September and 7 October 2017 with additional stops in St. Malo and Brest. On 30 July 2017, Norwegian Jade sets sail from Hamburg for an eight-night Norwegian Fjords cruise ending in Southampton.

Norwegian Getaway will return to Europe and sail one eight- and a series of nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises from Copenhagen from May to October 2017 with stops in Warnemünde (Berlin), Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm, including on the nine-night cruises an overnight stay in St. Petersburg, giving guests the opportunity to see all the splendour of the imperial capital of Russia in two days and add in a ballet performance or folklore show at night.

As the second newest ship in Norwegian’s fleet, Norwegian Getaway brings the ultimate freedom and flexibility to the Baltic. Guests can choose from 27 dining options, whether looking for fine dining in one of 11 complimentary restaurants or something different in one of the many speciality restaurants such as Teppanyaki, French bistro cuisine or spectacular seafood in Ocean Blue. And the freedom and flexibility doesn’t end with the dining options. Guests can also enjoy Broadway shows Legally Blonde and Burn the Floor, five multi-storey waterslides and a two-storey ropes course. There’s a wide range of accommodation on board, including the luxurious ship-within-a-ship suite complex The Haven by Norwegian® as well as Studios, designed and priced for solo travellers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

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Posted in Cruise News, Norwegian Cruise Line, Uncategorized

MS Koningsdam Completes Seas Trials

Koningsdam-Sea-Trials

Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam reaches milestone with successful completion of sea trials

Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam returned to Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard Saturday, 16 January, after successfully completing two sets of sea trials off the Italian coast.

Koningsdam left Marghera on 2 January and performed the first set of sea trials over three days before going into dry dock at Fincantieri’s Trieste shipyard, where standard hull maintenance was performed. The ship sailed her second sea trials between 10 and 16 January, making her way back to Marghera, where the finishing touches will be completed.

Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president, said, “Koningsdam is a new class of ship for Holland America Line, so everyone was eager to get the ship out in the open water for the first time on sea trials. Koningsdam delivered a strong performance and is now back at the ship yard for the final phase of work in anticipation of the early April delivery.”

During the sea trials, Koningsdam underwent a series of performance tests on the ship’s systems, machinery and engines.

Captain Emiel de Vries, Koningsdam’s master-designate, has not yet taken command of the ship, but he participated in testing the ship’s manoeuvring characteristics and safety systems together with the shipyard’s team of naval architects and builders.

In her inaugural year, Koningsdam will feature a variety of itineraries in the Mediterranean, northern Europe and the Caribbean. The ship’s naming ceremony is scheduled for 20 May, 2016, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

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Posted in Cruise News, Holland America Line, Uncategorized

Best Destinations For First Time Cruisers

Thomson-Discovery-Cruise-ShipWe were all new to cruising at some point (how we managed before we discovered the joy of cruising, I will never know) and had the difficulty of deciding where to actually go. If you are struggling to decide on your first itinerary, then my blog today may be of help to you. These are 5 of the most popular regions and five that are ideal as your first cruise choice. The Caribbean is my favourite!

United Arab Emirates

Discover the best of the Middle East with an eight-day cruise to the UAE. Starting your adventure in the desert metropolis of Dubai, you’ll enjoy a hedonistic mix of shopping, great food and fun-filled attractions. Leave this extravagance behind, and you’ll take in the slower pace of Oman’s Muscat. This ancient city is home to a treasure trove of historic sights which offer an authentic taste of the region.

Next, move onto Abu Dhabi, also known as the Arabian Jewel, where towering skyscrapers meet beautiful Islamic landmarks. With an itinerary guaranteed to overwhelm the senses, it’s the perfect introduction to cruising.

Canary Islands

Why limit yourself to just one island when you can visit several in one trip? With each island offering something unique, a cruise of this spectacular archipelago is a feast for the senses. Tenerife is your first port of call – a sun-kissed paradise with a huge array of attractions. Spot dolphins on a guided boat tour, see the spectacular Mount Teide and dine al fresco at one of the many tapas bars. From here you’ll travel to La Gomera, Lanzarote and even Morocco if you choose an extended route.

Central America

Many Central American itineraries begin in Jamaica’s laidback Montego Bay. In a region known for its reggae, rum and palm-fringed coastline, it’s a relaxing start to an adventurous cruise. A favourite amongst the culture vultures, this expedition will include stops at Belize and Honduras before finishing in Mexico. Aside from colonial architecture and natural wonders, visitors can marvel at some of the most impressive ancient sights in the world. You’ll visit countless Mayan ruins hidden away in the jungle before relaxing in Mexico’s Costa Maya.

Western Mediterranean

What better way to visit the many cosmopolitan cities of Europe than aboard a floating city? It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see lots of iconic landmarks whilst relaxing under the Mediterranean sun. Although there are plenty of stopovers to choose from, a combination of Spain, Italy and France is sure to impress.

Highlights include the mouthwatering tapas of Majorca’s Palma, a chance to snap the perfect photo of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, a trip to ancient Pompeii, and the beauty of the glitzy French Riviera at Villefranche. Finally, pay a visit to the sunny sands of Palamos, where you can easily visit Barcelona.

Caribbean

Find your own slice of paradise on a tour of the Eastern Caribbean. The most popular cruise destination on the planet offers an unbeatable mix of great weather, picture postcard beaches and thrilling on-shore excursions. Your introduction begins on the sun-kissed island of Barbados, famed for its water sports and laid-back charm. The untamed beauty of the British Virgin Islands is your next port of call. The adventurous shouldn’t miss a day trip through the Sage Mountain National Park, a tropical oasis also home to the islands’ highest point. From here, glamour awaits as you travel to St Kitts and Antigua. Explore the sights, indulge in duty free shopping and sip on rum cocktails.

Choose an itinerary from any one of these remarkable sight-seeing cruises, and your first voyage should be one to remember. Have questions about taking your first cruise? Then my cruise FAQ’s may help!

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Posted in General Cruise Articles, Thomson Cruises

Ovation Of The Seas Construction Countdown

ovation_hero

Ovation of the Seas is the newest addition to Royal Caribbean’s award-winning fleet.  The third Quantum Class ship is currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas were also constructed.

Ovation of the Seas will debut in Southampton this April and will include extraordinary 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 Virtual Balcony staterooms, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.

Ovation of the Seas will be in the UK for a limited period of time. She will make two ex-UK sailings with the first heading to France and Belgium for 5 nights departing on April 17 followed by a 7-night France and Spain sailing on April 22nd. She will then set sail on her Global Odyssey on May 3rd where she makes her way from Europe to her homeport of Tianjin, China.

 

 

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Posted in Cruise News, Royal Caribbean International, Uncategorized

Carnival Inspiration To Undergo Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

Carnival-Inspiration-Renovation

Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Cherry on Top and Alchemy Bar to be Added During Three-Week Dry Dock.

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Inspiration will undergo a multi-million-dollar makeover that will add a wide range of new dining and bar innovations next month.

The new features will be incorporated during a three-week dry dock taking place in Portland, Oregon, from January 18th until February 5th 2016.  Following the renovation, the ship will resume her year-round schedule of three- and four-day Baja cruises from Long Beach, California.

Here’s a look at the exciting new options that will be added to Carnival Inspiration:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside bar offering the quintessential Caribbean holiday vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red
  • Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed “cocktail pharmacy” themed lounge with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative monikers like Forty is the New Twenty and The Restorative Basil Drop
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chilling by the pool
  • Cherry On Top: the “sweetest spot on board” which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom clothing and more

In addition to these new spaces, guests sailing aboard Carnival Inspiration can check out the ship’s massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide and a kiddie splash zone, a 24-hour pizzeria, full casino gambling, a luxurious 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness centre, and the Serenity adults-only retreat.

On her year-round short cruise programme from Long Beach, Carnival Inspiration departs every Friday on three-day cruises to Ensenada and every Monday on four-day cruises to Ensenada and Catalina Island.

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Posted in Carnival Cruise Lines, Cruise News

Age Of Discovery: A Unique Collaboration Between Cunard, Jack Daniel’s And The Savoy

Age-Of-Discovery-Cunard

Three of the world’s most highly acclaimed brands are embarking on a unique collaboration that circumnavigates the globe. This January, Cunard, The Savoy and Jack Daniel’s will produce Age of Discovery – a specially created, barrel aged, limited edition cocktail.

The cocktail itself will mature in a hand chosen 300 litre, Jack Daniel’s barrel to be taken on board Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 during her 41,000 nautical mile, four-month World Voyage, which departed from Southampton on January 10, 2016.

Age of Discovery has been formulated by the team at the world-famous Savoy Beaufort Bar, named Best International Hotel Bar 2015. Inspired and influenced by the tastes and aromas of the continents Queen Mary 2 will visit, from Europe to Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania, the Jack Daniel’s cocktail will be mixed at The Savoy before the barrel is sealed and bonded for its World Voyage.

The Age Of Discovery cocktail features a blend of Savoy Select Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 and Bacardi 8, with Spice Trail Madeira, Dubonnet, Martini Riserva Rubino and Earl Grey and Cocoa nib bitters.

Painstaking attention to detail and refinement has gone into the choice of ingredients. The cocktail itself has been crafted to reflect both Cunard’s 175-year ocean-going heritage and the decades of history and patronage associated with The Savoy’s famous cocktail bars. Its home for the voyage, a Jack Daniel’s first fill American oak barrel, was carefully chosen by The Savoy’s Assistant Food and Beverage Director, Daniel Baernreuther.

Daniel travelled to the Jack Daniel distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee and personally chose the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel to be used in Age of Discovery. Daniel then had the barrel itself transported whole to The Savoy in London. This is the very same barrel that will play host to Age of Discovery for its global journey.

During her four-month circumnavigation, Queen Mary 2 will visit 39 ports of call in 27 countries. The barrel will be secured in open deck space for the duration of the voyage to expose it to the varied elements and climates that will influence the final result. Prevailing temperatures, humidity and sunlight – as well as more inclement conditions – will combine to produce this truly unique barrel-aged cocktail.

The progress of Age of Discovery will be charted via social media throughout the passage, across the oceans, and will appear in the world’s most iconic ports and cities. The barrel will also have its own unique Log Book.

When Queen Mary 2 returns to Southampton on May 10, 2016, the barrel will be ceremoniously unloaded and will travel to the specially-commissioned Houston Bottling & Co Pack plant in West Dunbartonshire.

It is estimated that the unique barrel will yield a minimum of 250 litres of Age of Discovery, which will become the latest in The Savoy Collection; one of the world’s most prestigious and unique collections of one-of-a-kind spirits and liquids. Launched in 2013, The Savoy Collection was created with the support of esteemed cocktail experts, Speciality Drinks, to celebrate the rare and the beautiful from the world of drinks.

Created by the talented team at The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar, the Age Of Discovery cocktail has been designed to represent the diverse areas through which it will travel on board the Queen Mary 2 and takes its inspiration from the thrilling era of naval exploration between the 15th and 18th centuries. The un-aged cocktail will be available at the Beaufort Bar from Sunday, January 10, 2016.

Jack Daniel’s and Queen Mary 2…I have to try this!!

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Posted in Cruise News

I Can’t Keep Calm…I’m Going On A Cruise!

Oceana-Funchal-2

Image credit: Sergio Ferreira

I can’t keep calm…I’m going on a cruise in 31 days! I know it may seem a little excessive to do a pre-cruise blog now, but my next cruise is for 35-nights and I’m a little excited, so I decided it was OK to start shouting about it earlier than usual.

So, I will leave Southampton on February 8th aboard P&O Cruises Oceana, we will spend 3 days at sea before reaching Funchal and then another 5 days at sea before arriving in the beautiful Caribbean and then sailing north to the USA! Our ports of call are: St Lucia, St Kitts, Tortola, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, New Orleans (overnight), Key West, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Charleston (overnight) and Ponta Delgada. I know, it’s pretty epic!

I’ve missed Oceana, it’s been over a year since I last cruised aboard her, so I’m excited to go ‘home’ as well as back to the Caribbean. I have been to Madeira, Ponta Delgada, St Lucia, Montego Bay, Tortola and Cozumel before, and they are all places that I am quite happy to visit again, although this time I will be doing different things. I was going to go back to Cane Garden Bay in Tortola, but I am now going to be spending the day at White Bay on Jost Van Dyke instead, I hope I made the right decision. In Montego Bay, I will be visiting the notorious Annie Palmer House; in Cozumel I am thinking of doing a short tour before once again hitting the shops; and in St Lucia, a visit to Rodney Bay is currently at the top of the list. Madeira and Ponta Delgada will be a mix of relaxation and exploration, but Ponta Delgada is still a work in progress…I’ll come back to you on that one.

Jost-Van-Dyke

The other ports on the itinerary are all new for me and I’m looking forward to meeting each and every one of them! I have booked a few shore excursions, one of which is a visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Port Canaveral. I’m not really a Space fan, but it’s NASA…I have to go and buy the t-shirt! Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman jumped out of the computer and hit me in the face, so there you shall find me on February 23rd. I’m told taxis are cheap and easily available in Grand Cayman, so assuming the tender process goes without a hitch, I’ll sun myself for at least 5 hours. What else…ahh, yes! Patriots Point in Charleston, I am hoping to visit if I can hail a cab (there’s nothing quite like the thought of a U.S. aircraft carrier to fill a few hours), although our call time in South Carolina is not the best to be honest, so it could be a flying visit: 2PM until 11:30AM the following morning. What’s that all about?!

Kennedy-Space-Center

I’m not going to mention everything that I am doing, I’ll keep a few surprises. :)

Going back to Oceana, I can’t wait to see her again. It’s the little things about her that I love the most: the views from the Pennant Bar, Cafe Jardin for breakfast and the occasional evening treat, her wonderful crew (some of which are old friends and I know will be onboard for this cruise), and how she gets herself all excited when the anemometer starts showing an increase in wind speed. I really do like that ship and I know her like the back of my hand…31 days and counting.

If you are on this cruise then please let me know!

You can follow my journey via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I will be blogging too, of course, but for lots of picture updates, join me on social media. :)

 

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Posted in General Cruise Articles, P&O Cruises
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