168-Night Grand Voyage Aboard Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Boudicca – LIVE UPDATES

If you’re reading this, you’re coming on a fascinating journey with me. On October 3rd, I left the port of Dover aboard Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines‘ ‘Boudicca’ for her 168-night ‘Grand Voyage’. She is taking me to some of the most incredible destinations on the planet and I’m looking forward to sharing the cruise with you. I’ll be updating this page LIVE throughout the cruise, so please save the URL and check back for daily updates on where in the world I am and what exciting places I’ve been exploring.I’ll also be sharing daily content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have any questions about the ship or any of the destinations along the way, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.OCTOBER 3RD – DOVERTo say my adrenaline levels were through the roof this morning is the understatement of the century. I was like a kid on a sugar rush. I arrived at the terminal earlier than I should have, but that was only because I had to check out of my hotel by noon, and when you have 4 cases in tow, you’re limited to where you can go! Check-in was a doddle and I was soon onboard. My cabin is an outside (portholes) on Deck 3 and I’ve started turning it into home. I’ve got a double bed (YES!) and a bath!I’m going to spend tonight settling in to my new home and catching up with old friends.

OCTOBER 4TH – AT SEAWe’ve spent today at sea, heading through the Bay of Biscay. It’s been a bit on the choppy side, but I’ve loved every minute of it. I enjoy being reminded that I’m on a ship. Everyone is settling in and I’ve met a mixture of interesting people. I’ve also bumped into several people whom I met last year on the World Cruise and catching up with them has been a lot of fun. We seem to have just picked up where we left off.Tonight was our first formal evening, which also meant it was time for the Captain’s welcome onboard party. I don’t always go to those gatherings, but I did tonight. I’ve never sailed with this crew and I wanted to put faces to names. Resisting the canapes while enjoying the jokes was hard (they had sausage rolls and I love a sausage roll) but I managed to do it. I wanted to save space for the gala dinner. I sat at my table in the Tintagel restaurant and got right down to business, ordering the chateaubriand. It was cooked exactly to my liking and I cleared the plate. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but what came next was chocolate pudding perfection. I really WISH you could have tasted it! Warm, with a melting middle and finished with a zesty orange sauce. Let’s just say I’m not going to Supper Club tonight because the pudding disappeared just as the beef did. I don’t know what happened! 😉 It was the best chocolate pudding I’ve ever tasted.Day one has been a blast! We’re in La Coruna tomorrow.

OCTOBER 5TH – LA CORUNAWe’re in La Coruna today, in Spain. It’s warm and sunny, and there’s no wind! I’ve been here a few times, but I can’t remember much about the port, so I’m going to head ashore very soon, once all the tours have left, and have a walk around. Boudicca’s RIB’s have just left the ship on their first excursion of the cruise. I didn’t book for today, but I am booked further into the cruise and I can’t wait to share that experience with you. I love a high-speed boat ride.

OCTOBER 6/7 – AT SEABoudicca has been at sea for the last 2 days and they have been absolute heaven. Sunday was warm and sunny, and although I didn’t sit in the sun, it was nice to feel the warmth in the air. Honestly, I didn’t do much, I just wanted to sit on the deck, listen to the sea and start my book. So, aside from looking for marine life, that’s exactly what I did. That’s one of the nice things about cruising, you can do as much or as little as you like and sometimes, we all need a ‘do nothing’ day. My marine life spotting went very well. I stood at the front of the ship for almost an hour and there were dozens of flying fish (some of the biggest I’ve seen), a pod of dolphins and 1 whale. Sadly, I don’t have any photos, but I suspect in time, I’ll catch them!

In the evening, I went to the Silent Disco in the Lido Lounge and it was hilarious. I can’t wait for the next one. The headphones have 3 different music channels, so you can choose which tracks to listen to. Some of us were dancing to rock and roll, while others went for more modern pop.

Today has been overcast but still quite warm. I was up early, walking the Promenade Deck and getting ready for the day ahead, and come lunchtime, there was only one place I wanted to go, the Poolside Grill. It’s absolutely my favourite place for lunch on sea days, I like being able to sit outside in the fresh air and watch the world go by. I ordered the bruschetta but changed the avocado for halloumi. It was fresh and very tasty. Although, not something I’d usually order, I wanted to try it and I’m glad I did. I’ll definitely have it again.

This afternoon I’ve been taking photos and writing this update for you. I’ve also spent a lot of time with other passengers, some of whom will be leaving us in Tenerife and then Cape Town. I’ll be sad to see them go, but some are coming back for other sectors of the cruise, so it’s not all sad. As the sun is shining, the crew have been going around the decks with fresh fruit skewers and cool towels, which I think is a nice touch. I’ll certainly be grateful for it once we get to more humid destinations.

We dock in Funchal tomorrow on the island of Madeira, so I’ll be back soon with more updates for you.OCTOBER 8TH – FUNCHAL, MADEIRAHello from a hot and sunny Madeira! What a beautiful day we’ve had for our call here, and we had the best berth. I’ve not long been back onboard. I’ve walked all over the town, through the pretty gardens and stopped for one of my favourites, a Pastel de nata. Technically, I’m in Portugal, so it had to be done. I’ve been here several times so again, decided to go off and explore under my own steam. I know a few people were going to try the cable car, which I’d recommend if you ever visit the island and the dolphin watching tours are also worth considering. I ended up coming back to the ship with Christmas decorations, as one does! I’m living here for 6 months, so I’m decorating as I go. Well, not with Christmas things just yet. ;)We’ll be sailing soon, heading for Tenerife where we’ll stay overnight. I love the sailaway from here. Funchal always looks so pretty, it’s best admired from the sea, and you quite often see dolphins in the bay. I’ll be on lookout and let you know if I spot anything.

OCTOBER 9/10 – TENERIFETenerife offered us more sun and heat, and the biggest individual pizza I’ve ever seen. I enjoy eating ashore on port days and would usually try local dishes, but this time, I went for Italian and Greek. My first gyro experience and it was nice, but huge! While I’m on the subject of food, let me tell you about the Rooftop Terrace evening we had a few nights ago. It was set up on Deck 9 aft and beautifully presented. There was paella, which was bursting with seafood and being cooked on deck, other light nibbles and a selection of olives and breads. It really was something a little extra special and the deck looked so nice. I’ve also sampled the new gelato bar onboard. I had 2 scoops of salted caramel ice cream in a giant cone that had a chocolate coating. It was lovely. Just what I needed to cool down.We’ve got lots of new passengers joining us today, so we don’t ssil until late tonight. Tomorrow, we’ll be in the last of our Canary Island ports, Gran Canaria.I can’t believe I’ve been onboard for a week already. I’m enjoying everything and taking the days at my own pace. My tours begin in St Helena, so be prepared for info overload. 😉

OCTOBER 11 – GRAN CANARIA So, I originally thought we were going to the island of La Palma, but I was wrong. We docked in Las Palmas this morning, in Gran Canaria. I’ve had a girls shopping day in the mall which is right behind the ship. We’ve got a great berth, just a short walk to town, too. I found a bargain pair of shoes for 9 euro, so I’m very happy. I was going to walk to the beach, but I just wanted to keep out of the hot midday sun. I sat on a bench on the waterside for a while and enjoyed the breeze before heading back onboard. We have 2 sea days coming up before we reach the Cape Verde islands, so I’m looking forward to those and maybe a dip in the pool and a visit to The Grill.

OCTOBER 12/13 – AT SEAWe’re on our second sea day of two and they have flown over! Last night, there was another themed event involving food and drink, but this time, it was held in the Lido Lounge. The theme was ‘Salsa and Sangria’ and come 8:30pm it was in full swing and packed with people enjoying cocktails, canapés and dancing.Since the cruise began, I’ve spent a lot of time with a gentleman named Alan. He’s 82 years old and is my absolute favourite passenger, we’re virtually joined at the hip. I love to listen to his stories from years gone by, the experiences he’s had in life and the places he’s visited in the world. A ship like Boudicca is the perfect place to meet people and form friendships, because she’s small enough to see the same faces day after day. Meeting new people is a huge part of the cruise experience for me, I really do enjoy hearing what they have to say, and in some cases, learning about the world and life as it was before I even existed. It’s fascinating.Alan does have his quirks and I’ve been learning what I can only refer to as his ‘Boudicca Lingo’. I’ll share a few snippets with you.

  • Express lift – Forward lift between 6pm and 10pm
  • The Shed – The Secret Garden
  • Paradise Deck – Deck 8
  • Bubbles – Tonic water
  • Home- Boudicca
  • Playing out clothes – Non-formal wear

We dock in Mindelo early tomorrow morning, so I’ll be back soon!

OCTOBER 14/15 – MINDELO & PRAIA, CAPE VERDE

We docked in Mindelo yesterday and I had such a good day. I used the shuttle bus service into town and had a walk around. I collect African masks and bought one a few years ago in the Mindel Gift Shop. Of course, that was my first stop. There was nothing that caught my eye this time, so I walked along the seafront, through the fish market and then back along to the main town square. It was there that I found a gorgeous hotel with swimming pool and cabanas. They allowed us in and I spent the rest of the afternoon there. It was completely empty and absolute bliss. I felt like I had my own private retreat.Today we’re in Praia and it has been so incredibly hot and humid, it was too much for me, so after a walk through the town and a browse of the huge fruit and veg market, I plonked myself down at a cafe and enjoyed an ice cold Fanta before heading home.I wasn’t blown away during my first visit to the Cape Verde islands, but I’ve explored more of the local towns this time and enjoyed it.

We’ll sail in a few hours and start heading for Ascenion Island. I’m hoping we have good weather so I can go out in the RIB. Keep your fingers crossed!

AT SEA X4

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Posted in Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

GAY TIMES & Celebrity Cruises Launch “Trailblazers” – A Cutting Edge Content Series Exploring LGBTQ Life Onboard

GAY TIMES and Celebrity Cruises today announce “Trailblazers”, an online series exploring genuine LGBTQ+ travel experiences, set against the backdrop of the stunning Celebrity Edge. The award-winning cruise line and the queer media powerhouse have joined forces to create an industry-leading content series, a documentation of authentic experiences onboard the ship as it docks in Europe’s most famous ports.

Launching daily on GAY TIMES and Celebrity Cruises social media channels from 30th September until 4th October 2019, each mini episode of “Trailblazers” paves the way for a perfect LGBTQ+ travel experience.  Aiming to shine a light on queer travel, the collaboration amplifies the voices of key representatives from the LGBTQ community, with the chosen influencers reflecting a range of diverse backgrounds.

Four pairs of new to cruise influencers were selected to participate in the series with each of the duos’ passion points and experiences chosen to reflect a different facet of the LGBTQ+ community. Setting sail to key LGBTQ+ European destinations including Barcelona, Valencia, Ibiza, Nice and Rome and culminating in the influencers’ participation in the third annual Pride at Sea onboard Celebrity Edge, together they explore the world in modern luxury, sharing their stories and building meaningful connections.

Jo Rzymowska, Managing Director, UK and Ireland Celebrity Cruises commented: “We were thrilled to welcome the cast of Trailblazers onboard Celebrity Edge, which we hope has positively shaped their perception of travelling as members of the LGBTQ+ community. We want everyone onboard our ships to feel appreciated and welcome, whoever they are, and am therefore delighted to launch this industry-leading content in partnership with GAY TIMES.”

Tag Warner, CEO of GAY TIMES commented: “Through our ‘trailblazing’ partnership with Celebrity Cruises we’re thrilled to share our exploration of queer travel experience onboard Celebrity Edge. This industry-leading      collaboration has set the scene for a unique      LGBTQ+ travel experience – an onboard community of like-minded people, thriving in a young, free and dynamic environment, a safe space for self-expression set against the perfect Mediterranean backdrop.”

As an industry leader in LGBTQ+ friendly travel, Celebrity Cruises is an award-winning company for championing diversity and inclusion, as proud headline sponsors of TTG’s LGBT initiative and named Best for LGBT Cruisers at Cruise International’s 2018 awards. Jo Rzymowska, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, was also named a Top 10 LGBTQ+ Inspirational Leader at the British LGBT Awards in 2017. The company is proud to spearhead a number of initiatives including: sponsoring the annual Miami Gay Pride; arranging welcome drinks for LGBT guests at the start of every cruise; and is the first U.S company to host same-sex weddings at sea.

Additionally, Celebrity Cruises annually celebrates Pride at Sea – an owned initiative set up to celebrate Pride month across its entire fleet around the globe. June 2020 will see Celebrity Cruises fourth annual Pride Party at Sea, with each ship in the fleet hosting a range of exciting events and activities throughout the “30 days of Pride”. Celebrity Apex℠, the breath-taking new ship launching in Southampton April 2020, will host the Flagship Pride at Sea Party when docked in Ibiza on 24 June 2020.

As part of an ongoing commitment to champion equality, 2018 saw Celebrity Cruises launch its first dedicated Diversity & Inclusion Training Module for agents on the e-learning platform, Celebrity Passport. Agents can log onto Celebritycentral.co.uk to access the updated LGBT toolkit collection with new images, flyers and logos and also learn about how Celebrity Cruises’ ethos of championing progression is filtered all the way through the company.

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Posted in Celebrity Cruises, Cruise News

Explore The South Pacific With Ponant

Image credit: Nathalie Michel

Paul Gauguin Cruises was recently purchased by Ponant and on the back of that news it was announced there were plans to expand the line’s fleet in the South Pacific region. Currently, the area is home to the 332-guest Paul Gauguin, but the future is looking brighter and wider with talks of adding an additional vessel, while Ponant vessels and the Paul Gauguin continue to operate side-by-side and offer an exciting variety of South Pacific cruises.

In a statement released at the time, Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, Founder and President of PONANT said “We are pleased to welcome Paul Gauguin Cruises to our Ponant family. Our guests can now select from a wider range of iconic destinations and become enriched by cultural and expedition cruises of their choice, that literally travel to the ends of the earth from the most remote ports to more perennial favourites, on our combined fleet of small ships. We share the same core values.  The synergy between our operations makes this the perfect collaboration while preserving the unique DNA of both brand experiences.”

By 2021, Ponant will have 14 ships within its fleet, a rapid growth rate for the luxury expedition cruise line that has a flare of all things French. This growth will allow even more guests to explore some of the most incredible destinations on earth, with expansion in Tahiti, the South Pacific and French Polynesia.

Explore the South Pacific

The waters of the Pacific, the Earth’s largest ocean, are home to many wonderful treasures. Let Ponant help you discover legendary islands whose names alone are enough to conjure up idyllic images: Polynesia, Hawaii, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands… all magical places of incomparable beauty. In Polynesia, Hawaii and New Caledonia, the coral atolls encircle the most beautiful lagoons in the world. Composed of deserted fine sand beaches and volcanic peaks covered in dense forest, these island paradises are just waiting for you to explore their unique underwater treasures. You’ll also discover the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – custodians of ancestral traditions that are maintained to this day.

Farther South, standing as a faraway dreamland where Aborigines live in perfect harmony with environment, Australia will treat travellers to the unique experience of the last remaining virgin lands. This vast country is home to a concentration of sumptuous natural treasures, such as the Great Barrier Reef and hundreds of national parks. Off its East coast, New Zealand, the “land of the long white cloud” is an insular realm, an Eden composed of two islands with an infinite variety of landscapes: the volcanoes in the North contrast with the majestic glaciers in the South.

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Posted in Cruise News, Ponant

Backstage Onboard A Marella Cruise

Marella Cruises know there are certain home comforts that cruisers can’t sail without and to shed some light on this, here are some facts from backstage on a Marella Cruises’ ship.

Everyone knows the nation loves nothing more than a proper brew, so it comes as no surprise that during a one-week itinerary 13,000 cups of English Breakfast tea are brewed and served to satisfy the craving. To put this into perspective, if you lined up all those tea bags it would stretch for just under four times the length of Marella Explorer. Of course, to accompany the perfect cup of tea, a full English is the most popular breakfast choice, with 2,500 slices of toast consumed each week.

Coffee lovers are not far behind the traditional tea drinkers, as 12,500 cups of coffee are served during a week on a Marella Cruise making it part of the customer’s daily grind.

For those who enjoy an alcoholic tipple, the most popular cocktail on the cruise lines’ menu is the Long Island Ice Tea, which can be enjoyed whilst watching a show in the Broadway show lounge, where 73% of guests per cruise choose to enjoy a show. In addition, the favourite alcoholic beverage is also often well accompanied with a meal in the most popular á la carte restaurant – Surf & Turf, although the most popular soft drink – diet coke – would also be a top choice.

Guests looking to relax enjoy spending time in the onboard Champneys spa* where on the average week 80-100 guests visit the spa, the most popular treatment is the Lava Shell Relaxation Massage whilst sailing to popular destination hotspots.

Whilst relaxing at the spa and enjoying time away from everyday life are the elements everyone looks forward too, packing stress comes before that. And there is always one item that misses the suitcase and ends up being left behind. But fear not, Marella staff are always on hand should this be the case, and have discovered that a travel adapter is the most popular item people forget to pack and ask reception if they can borrow one to use throughout their stay.

The thought of the perfect cruise coming to an end is a feeling no-one likes, and when it comes to finding the perfect souvenir to keep those memories alive a fridge magnet or a pair of slippers are top of the list. Talking of which, although only a handful of robes go missing, 30% of guests slip away with their Marella cabin slippers** packed up and ready to fly home with them in the hope that when they look out their window, it will still be a different view every day.

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Posted in Marella Cruises

Viking Announces New Ship Viking Venus

Viking has announced that its seventh ocean ship, Viking Venus, will join its award-winning fleet in early 2021, further solidifying the company’s standing as the largest small-ship ocean cruise line. The newest 930-guest sister ship will spend her maiden season sailing popular itineraries in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, including British Isles Explorer, In Search of the Northern Lights, Viking Homelands and Into the Midnight Sun.

Viking will also expand its offerings in the Mediterranean with five new itineraries that include stops in Istanbul, marking the company’s return to the iconic city. The new 8-day Ancient Mediterranean Treasures will sail between Athens and Istanbul, with overnight stays in both cities. Guests looking for an extended experience in the region can choose a longer versions of the itinerary, including the 15-day Ancient Adriatic Treasures, which sails between Venice and Istanbul; the 15-day Ancient Mediterranean Antiquities, which sails between Rome and Istanbul; the 22-day Iconic Mediterranean Treasures, which sails between Barcelona and Istanbul; or the 29-day Mediterranean’s Iconic Shores, which also sails between Barcelona and Istanbul and includes stops in Montenegro and Croatia.

Beginning in April 2021 and sailing on Viking’s award-winning 930-guest all-veranda Viking Sky, guests embarking on the new Ancient Mediterranean Treasures itinerary or its longer combination cruise options will witness the origin of civilisation while cruising the fabled Aegean Sea. Highlights of the new itinerary include:

  • Istanbul, Turkey: Guests begin their journey with an overnight stay in Istanbul, allowing more time to explore the iconic city. Guests can visit a wealth of religious sites including the “Blue Mosque” one of the city’s most recognisable sites, watch the mesmerising whirling dervishes perform at a local venue, or participate in a centuries-old tradition at a hammam, a Turkish bath. Plus, Viking’s Privileged Access offers guests the chance to tour the legendary Hagia Sofia free of crowds.
  • Troy (Çanakkale), Turkey: Guests can explore the nearby well-preserved ruins of Troy, most remembered as the setting of the Trojan War, described by Homer in the Iliad, or visit the nearby Battlefields of Gallipoli, the tranquil memorial site of one of World War I’s longest and deadliest battles.
  • Ephesus (Kuşadasi), Turkey: One of the best-preserved cities of antiquity in the world, Ephesus is rich in history and ancient relics. While in port, guests can visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, walk through the Byzantine Basilica of St. John, or visit the modest home where, according to legend, the Virgin Mary lived out her final days.
  • Rhodes, Greece: While on the island of Rhodes, guests can explore within the city walls of Old Town, Europe’s largest active medieval town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, learn about island culture through a visit to a traditional village home, or head to one of the island’s scenic mountaintops for sweeping views of the island and the Turkish coast.
  • Heraklion, Greece: Located on the island of Crete, Heraklion boasts millennia-old history and was once the strongest fortified city in the Eastern Mediterranean. Guests can take in archaeological splendours whose history is interwoven with the legends of Greek mythology, including the Palace of Knossos and the village of Arolithos, or explore the ruins of the Minoans, Europe’s oldest recorded civilisation.
  • Athens, Greece: The journey concludes with an overnight stay in Athens, known as “the birthplace of democracy,” where guests can witness iconic sites such as the Hellenic Parliament, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the mighty Parthenon atop the Acropolis. Viking also offers guests Privileged Access to the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation’s exhibit on British naval icon Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson and the chance to tour a reconstructed ancient Athenian warship, the Olympias, once the dominant warship on the Mediterranean Sea from the 7th to 4th centuries BC.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of several recent accolades for Viking. Just this month Viking was named Best River Cruise Line at the Food and Travel Reader Awards and Best Overall Cruise Line and Best River Cruise Line at the British Cruise Awards, as well as being highly commended for its culinary offering.  Earlier in 2019, Viking went straight to the top of the table in a Which? ocean cruise consumer satisfaction survey – the only brand to score five stars for its on-board facilities. Viking is a Which? Recommended Provider for both its river and ocean cruises.  In 2018 Viking was awarded Best Boutique Cruise Line and Best River Cruise Operator at The Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards and, for the 10th consecutive year, rated Best River Cruise Line at the 2018 British Travel Awards, one of the largest and most influential polls of consumer opinion in the UK.

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Posted in Cruise News, Viking Cruises

Cunard Announces 2021 Cruise Programme

Image credit: James Morgan

Cunard has released its June 2021 to January 2022 cruise schedule, which will see its three Queens visit 123 destinations across 39 countries.

With an extensive range of itineraries that span the globe, the 2021 schedule includes a variety of extended port stays, including 174 voyages with late evening departures. The schedule means guests can immerse themselves in the local cultures of a wide range of exciting international destinations, at their leisure.

In addition to a number of evening departures, Cunard’s 2021 season includes many overnight stays in spectacular and renowned cities; including Boston, Funchal, Lisbon, Quebec, Reykjavik, Rotterdam, Shanghai, Singapore and St. Petersburg.

Simon Palethorpe, President, Cunard said: “Filled with inspiring destinations, we’re making it our priority to ensure our guests have as long as possible to explore the world’s most exquisite locations in their own time and at their own pace. After immersing themselves in the local culture, guests can look forward to enjoying our unique onboard experience that offers the freedom of time and space with our exemplary White Star Service that is second to none.”

Queen Victoria will undertake an engaging European itinerary throughout 2021 including 20 Southampton roundtrip voyages. Highlights include a maiden visit to Aarhus, Denmark; a first for Cunard in its 180-year history; while extended stays in Lisbon, Reykjavik and St. Petersburg are sure to attract attention.

In 1840, Cunard became the first shipping line to offer regularly scheduled crossings. Today, Cunard alone maintain this timeless tradition, offering 23 crossings in 2021 on board the world’s only ocean liner, Queen Mary 2.

In response to surging demand, Asia remains firmly on Cunard’s radar in 2021 with Queen Elizabeth based in the Asia-Pacific region throughout the year. Itineraries include circumnavigations of Japan, a variety of Australian and New Zealand voyages as well as a spectacular maiden call in Seogwipo City, South Korea.

Simon Palethorpe continues: “In addition to 31 wonderful round-trip voyages from our home port of Southampton, we are excited that 2021 sees Cunard offer itineraries that span the globe. It is a testament to our long-standing commitment to excellence that from Southampton to Shanghai, Boston to Brisbane, Cunard has become synonymous with luxury in all corners of the world.”

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Posted in Cruise News, Cunard Cruise Line

Crown Princess To Feature In TV Series ‘Monster Ships’

Princess Cruises’ 3,080-guest ship, Crown Princess, will appear in an episode of a new TV documentary, ‘Monster Ships’. The episode will air on UKTV’s Yesterday Channel on Thursday 3 October at 8pm.

Providing a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a cruise ship, the hour long episode follows Crown Princess as she sails a 10-day Caribbean voyage roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. The ship visits local islands including Princess Cruises’ own private Bahamas resort, Princess Cays.

The programme provides an insight into the day-to-day roles of the 1,200 crew members and what it takes to ensure a seamless transition onboard when a new voyage begins. With 17 restaurants and bars, round-the-clock room service, four swimming pools, guest entertainment and over 1,500 staterooms, the vessel is a 24-hour operation 365 days of the year.

Monster Ships was commissioned by Discovery Networks International, and made by WAG TV, a leading international producer of TV shows.

Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, said: “We’re delighted to see Princess Cruises once again feature on the small screen, this time providing viewers with a rare onboard glimpse behind-the-scenes. The Crown Princess episode of Monster Ships is recommended viewing for anyone with an interest in the incredible mechanics and logistics of a cruise ship, or who wants to see the premium guest experience we offer on one of our stunning Caribbean sailings.”

Viewers can also experience the ship for themselves when she sails out of the UK next year on a series of voyages to the Mediterranean and northern Europe.

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Posted in Cruise News, Princess Cruises

Counting Down To A ‘Grand Voyage’ With Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

 

When I left Black Watch in April 2018, I told myself that was the first and probably the last time I’d ever visit exotic destinations such as India, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. I don’t like to fly and let’s face it, a world cruise for most people that have the luxury of being able to afford it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But I’d been there, and I’d lived every last magnificent moment of it. I fell in love with Asia, held a koala in Australia, admired the Treasury in Petra, and as a whole, had so many first-time experiences that I’d never forget. Put simply, I felt like the luckiest human being on the planet. I didn’t know it then, but something even more incredible was going to happen in the months that followed…

I’m now counting down to what I am sure will be yet another extraordinary cruise experience. In exactly 21-days, I’m joining Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ‘Boudicca’ on her 168-night ‘Grand Voyage’. I know, I still can’t believe it. Not only will this be the longest sailing I’ve ever been on, it’s also the longest itinerary to date that any Fred. Olsen ship has sailed – we’re making history together.

OK, I know, you just want me to get to the itinerary. It would take 2 full pages to list it all – I have a Google document that is no less than 20 pages long – so I’m going to share some of things I’m most looking forward to seeing and doing during the cruise.

South Africa has long been a dream destination of mine and I’ll be visiting Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay. Being an animal lover, you can probably guess what I’m planning on doing while I’m in that part of the world – I’m going in search of the ‘Big Five’ on an authentic safari. I must remember that under no circumstances can I take a baby elephant back to the ship! I’m also planning on seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach and taking in the views from the very top of Table Mountain.

Mayotte, Madagascar, Seychelles and the Maldives are all screaming at me to pack a snorkel, so that’s what I’m going to do. I want to see what paradise is really like. Some of the best beaches in the world are in the Indian Ocean and one of our calls in the Seychelles (Praslin Island) is the gateway to the small island of La Digue, home to Anse Source D’Argent, one of the most photographed beaches in the world.

Last year, Asia charmed me from the second I put my feet on land. Each place was bursting with history, tradition and in some places, what felt like magic. Although each port was different, there were many similarities and I was completely enthralled by how different life in this part of the world was. On the Grand Voyage, I’ll be visiting several places in Asia, including Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar, but of them all, I’m most looking forward to our time in Bali, Indonesia. Because Boudicca heads east to then come back west, I’ll actually get to visit Bali twice: 3 days in December and 3 days in January. I’ve heard so many good things and have been told numerous times that I must explore every inch of Ubud, including the Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace and the Tegallalang Rice Terraces.

Australia is also on the list and guess where I’ll be for New Year’s Eve? That’s right, Sydney! I’ve never been a fan of New Year and I’m not a big lover of fireworks. Actually, I can’t stand either of them, but I am genuinely looking forward to welcoming 2020 in the land down under and watching the fireworks that I’ve seen on TV for as long as I can remember. It’s quite surreal, actually. I’ll also be heading to Rottnest Island from Freemantle to see the legendary Quokka, supposedly the happiest animal on earth.

Other destinations that I’m excited to visit for the first time are Jamestown, St Helena; Kangaroo Island, Australia; Cairns, Australia; Melbourne, Australia; Hobart, Tazmania; Wewak, Papua New Guinea; Goa, India; Dubai, UAE; Muscat, Oman; Salalah, Oman; and Ashdod, Israel.

Boudicca sails from Dover on October 3, 2019 and I’ll be sharing my updates across social media – so make sure you’re following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ll also be posting a daily (as daily as I can) diary right here on my blog, so please do come back and let’s travel the world together!

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Posted in Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

First Hybrid Powered Ship Completes Northwest Passage Crossing For Hurtigruten

This week, Hurtigruten’s ground-breaking expedition cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen wrote a new chapter in exploration history – being the first battery-hybrid powered ship to ever traverse the legendary Northwest Passage.

As the MS Roald Amundsen arrived Nome, Alaska, in the evening of September 10, captain Kai Albrigtsen could make a monumental entry in the ship’s logbook:  The first complete passage of the more than 3.000 nautical miles passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, by hybrid propulsion.

“Every expedition cruise with Hurtigruten is unique, yet this green milestone is literally making history with our guests. Only a few years ago, building cruise ships with battery packs was considered impossible; now the MS Roald Amundsen pays tribute to the great explorer she is named after by traversing one of the world’s most fabled stretches of sea by hybrid propulsion” says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

For centuries, the renowned passage connecting East and West has spellbound ocean explorers.

Norwegian polar pioneer Roald Amundsen made the first complete passage from 1903 to 1906.

“We have experienced gale winds, snow and ice. We have also witnessed spectacular sunsets, and striking scenery and wildlife. However, what has had the biggest impact on us, is how warmly we’ve been welcomed by the local communities along the route, just as Roald Amundsen himself was. Their unparalleled hospitality is what has made this a genuinely inspirational voyage”, says captain Albrigtsen.

Equipped with large battery packs and ground-breaking technology, the MS Roald Amundsen has made global green waves in the cruise- and shipping industry after she was launched this summer. Using batteries to support her engines, emissions are reduced with more than 20 percent.

Having traversed the Northwest Passage, MS Roald Amundsen will sail further along the coast of North- and South America, before spending the winter offering one-of-a-kind expedition cruises in Antarctica.

The summer of 2020, MS Roald Amundsen will then return to North America, for a series of expedition cruises in Alaska.

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Posted in Cruise News, Hurtigruten

MSC Magnifica To Sail From Southampton In 2021

MSC Cruises has revealed brand-new itineraries for Summer 2021 sailing from Southampton. The newly refurbished MSC Magnifica will undergo a transformation adding 23 meters to the ship that will deliver an additional 7,000 m2 of added space to the ship. This will result in 215 extra cabins, bringing the total number of balcony cabins to 63% of the overall ship, a new water park, a redesigned kids area, plus additional features such as two new restaurants and a new shopping area.

The 24 sailings from Southampton beginning in May and ending in October will see the introduction of cruises ranging from 2 to 14 nights with brand new varied itineraries encompassing Canary Islands & Madeira, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic Capitals. Most of the 24 sailings will  begin on a Saturday ensuring guests can make the most of their holiday experience

Highlights include a 12-night cruise that calls at three of the Canary Islands – Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote with their fantastic climate, distinctive landscapes and bustling ports the cruise departing early May is perfectly timed to catch the sun. A 14-night Western Mediterranean cruise in August, including popular destinations for UK guests such as Palma de Mallorca and Monte Carlo will be the perfect choice for the family summer holiday. MSC Magnifica will offer four different stunning Norwegian Fjord itineraries and will call at two brand new destinations; Skagen in Denmark renowned for hours of sun and unique light plus Rosendal, Norway, which is the world’s fourth largest fjord.

In addition to new itineraries MSC Magnifica will be back with all the ‘Best of British’ enhancements that were initially showcased on MSC Magnifica in 2018, including favourite’s such as pie & mash, back bacon and sausages available in the buffet and Kettles in cabins with of course Yorkshire Tea, which is back by popular demand.

This is not the first time MSC Cruises have refurbished and stretched existing ships in the fleet, in 2015 the four much loved Lirica class of ships underwent a significant renovation as part of the €130 million  ‘Renaissance project’, to improve facilities and enhance the onboard experience.

When works are completed, MSC Magnifica will feature two new major and important onboard environmental advances to complement a wide range of existing leading-edge environmental technologies across the company’s entire fleet: a state-of-the-art Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system and next-generation Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) system. SCR technology helps reduce nitrogen oxide into pure nitrogen and water through advanced active emissions control technology. MSC Cruises also took the opportunity to install a state-of-the-art advanced wastewater treatment system on board that meets the highest standards and that purifies used wastewater to near tap-water quality. The system meets the so-called ‘Baltic Standard’ and treats the wastewater to a higher standard than most waste standards available in cities around the world. To help reduce and continuously minimise emissions also while in port, the ship will be able to ‘plug in’ to the local power grid wherever such systems are available at berth.

Cruises will go on sale on the 12th September.

Itinerary highlights include:

May Bank Holiday Mini Cruise

This 3-night sailing runs across the late May Bank Holiday and is perfect for a first-time cruiser who wants a taster of a holiday at sea or an experienced cruiser looking to make the most of the bank holiday weekend. Set sail from Southampton late on Friday evening and spend the day in Zeebrugge before returning to Southampton.

Baltic Capitals

There are two opportunities to discover the much-loved Baltic Capitals, on a 12-night cruise departing 31st May or on a 14-night cruise departing 11th September. Offering slightly different itineraries with added highlights on the 14-night itinerary including an overnight stay in the Swedish Capital Stockholm, and a visit to Denmark’s Skagen. Both sailings include an overnight onboard stay in St Petersburg and a visit to Norway’s capital, Oslo.

Norway Your Way

With so many beautiful ports to explore in Norway choose from one of four different Norwegian Fjord itineraries setting sail across the summer season. Explore much loved ports including Flamm and Stavanger and new destinations for MSC Cruises Rosendal and Nordfjordeid.

14 nights perfect for families

Following guest and agent feedback this 14-night cruise to some of the Mediterranean’s most loved destinations has been developed with families in mind. Departing on the 7th August this no-fly cruise begins with two sea days to give guests a chance to settle in. Then it’s action packed itinerary allows you to explore seven different ports in nine days including a late sail from the fabulous Palma de Mallorca and a visit to the exclusive Monte Carlo.

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