Introducing Celebrity Flora: A New Ship Designed For The Galapagos Islands

Celebrity Cruises unveils another stunning revolution in ship design: Celebrity Flora is an elevated and inspired approach to marine exploration, meticulously designed expressly for the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands.

One of the most energy-efficient ship of its size in the diverse archipelago, the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will offer seamless sea-to-shore transportation, and includes anchorless technology that maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea floor. Innovative outward-facing design gives guests 360-degree views of the islands, while personal suite attendants, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, and expert-lead ecological seminars will round out the modern luxury holiday experience.

Designed with the Destination in Mind:

The natural beauty of the islands, the diversity and uniqueness of the species that it harbours earned this archipelago the reputation of being a living laboratory of evolutionary processes still in progress. The region made room for the development of a large number of flora and fauna that do not exist anywhere else in the world, making the Galapagos a very unique place of global importance for the common heritage of humanity.

Featuring Celebrity Cruises’ signature outward-facing design, Celebrity Flora virtually erases boundaries and brings this typically remote destination closer to guests. Educational, research-based programming gives travellers an opportunity to continue learning about the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.

The Marina is the primary point of access to the ship and can accommodate up to three Zodiacs at once, reducing transport time to and from land and allowing more time for guests to explore the practically untouched islands. While on-board guests will unwind in the Sunset Lounge, find solace in The Vista, an open-air hideaway with 360-degree views, cocoon-style loungers and private cabanas, and enjoy the breath-taking surrounds in the floor-to-ceiling glass-wrapped Observatory.

Darwin’s Cove and the Naturalist Center provide a bounty of information on the destination, wildlife and environmental efforts, while the Discovery Lounge and will be home to expert naturalist presentations and excursion information. Guests can participate in a guided astronomy tour or enjoy star-lit skies on their own from the Stargazing Platform.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the Seaside Restaurant. The Ocean Grill offers a casual dining space, panoramic views and Dinner Under the Stars, or guests can choose from an indulgent in-room dining experience.

Sophisticated Accommodations, Attentive Service:

Celebrity Flora transports travellers in all-suite accommodations featuring oversized bathrooms perfect for post-adventure refreshing. These modern retreats bring the outside in through Celebrity Cruises’ signature outward-facing layouts and heralded Infinite Verandas, and come complete with sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials. Personal suite attendants cater to guests’ every need.

Celebrity Flora’s two Penthouse Suites are the largest in the Galapagos with separate indoor and outdoor living areas, customisable lighting and blinds, and a telescope for stargazing or sea lion-peeping. Guests can also find relaxation in Royal Suites, Ultimate Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda, Premium Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda and Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda.

Environmental Stewardship and Innovation:

Celebrity Flora is one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, with a 15 percent reduction of fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions, thanks to the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. Two more firsts in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora’s dynamic positioning system allows the ship to stay in position without physically anchoring and damaging the sea floor, with zero speed stabilizers promising smooth sailing throughout.

Celebrity Cruises will reduce the need for plastics on-board by introducing in-room water filtration stations and by converting sea water and air conditioning condensation into pure, fresh water. Any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be as part of a strict waste management system.

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Posted in Celebrity Cruises, Cruise News, Expedition Cruising

Seven Seas Splendor To Launch In 2020

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the most inclusive luxury experience, has announced the name of its new ship, scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020. The second Explorer-class ship will embody and enhance the elegance, style and luxury that brought forth the high-end features and amenities that have made sister-ship Seven Seas Explorer renowned as the most luxurious ship ever built with her launch in 2016.

“The naming of a ship is an important milestone in maritime tradition and it is my pleasure to announce that the name of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new ship to launch in 2020 is Seven Seas Splendor,” said Jason Montague, President and Chief Executive Officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The extraordinary demand for Seven Seas Explorer has reinforced our decision to expand our fleet and Seven Seas Splendor will offer guests a fifth option that will provide unforgettable experiences in the world’s most compelling destinations, with the incredibly high standards of luxury and service that lure guests back again and again.”

As part of the naming process, Regent Seven Seas Cruises sought suggestions from its valued travel agents, loyal guests and employees for the ship’s name in a sweepstakes held in September. Seven Seas Splendor was chosen among nearly 2,600 unique names from more than 14,000 submissions.

The new all-suite, all-balcony ship will have a gross tonnage of 55,254 and capacity of 750 guests. Stay tuned for more details about Seven Seas Splendor and her exciting inaugural season.

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Posted in Cruise News, Regent Seven Seas

Cruisetouch Set To Launch Australia’s Social Media Cruising App

A brand new app launched recently and it is designed exclusively for those who love to cruise. It’s called Cruisetouch and having already downloaded it myself, I just have to share it with you because you are going to love it.

The Cruisetouch app, which is 100% free of charge, enables international users to read and write cruise reviews, post questions and comments in cruise forums, sign up to meet fellow cruisers on their upcoming cruise, read the latest cruise news as well as several other features that will be progressively rolled out over the coming months, from cruising groups to weather alerts, countdowns, packing checklists, daily cruising discussions, price alerts and a whole lot more.

Unlike other cruise apps, Cruisetouch has a heavy focus on design and technology and developers will constantly be working towards creating a clean design and incredibly smooth user-experience. Which is exactly what we want. There are too many apps out there that are unfriendly for the user, there’s just too much going on, but this one, I can tell you, is different and very easy to navigate.

Cruisetouch is the brainchild of Lachlan Andrews, a self-confessed cruise lover as well as the technical and business lead behind the platform. The Cruisetouch team is based in Sydney, Australia.

Cruisetouch has had extensive reach on social media, with an article published by the Cruisetouch team picked up by multiple national and international outlets that reached close to a million views, including the Daily Telegraph, Yahoo News & Express UK. With over 1.2 million Australians cruising in 2016 alone, Cruisetouch is sure to be the go-to app for all cruise fans, both in Australia and around the rest of the world.

The Cruisetouch App is available in the Apple & Google Play store right now and incremental updates & additional features will follow. Every Friday, a new feature will be added to the app, keeping content exciting and fresh. There are future plans to release a more intuitive onboard event system, price alerts, weather notifications, interactive deck plans, menus & onboard pricing, cruising chat, solo buddy matcher, cabin reviews, hot deals & much more.

Current features include cruise countdowns, personal cruising news feed, daily automatic cruising discussions, cruise forums, custom user profiles and a list of upcoming cruises.

I really do like this app. There are a few things that need ironed out, but I can tell that it is going to be a great tool for many cruisers. If you join, be sure to send me a friend request. You can find me under Danielle Fear (CruiseMiss).

Download the Cruisetouch app today!

For frequent app updates and news, follow Cruisetouch on Facebook.

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Posted in Cruise News, General Cruise Articles

Three Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Ships To Undergo Multi-Million Pound Refits

Three of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ships will undergo multi-million pound refits this winter – in preparation for the start of the 2018/19 cruise season.

Two of Fred. Olsen ships – Braemar and Balmoral – will be refurbished before Christmas with the third, Boudicca, upgraded in March 2018. Black Watch, benefitted from extensive improvement work at the end of last year.

Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We are very proud of our smaller, classic cruise ships and we recognise the importance of investing in ongoing upgrades to ensure that our guests can continue to enjoy them at their best. The refreshed Black Watch has been very well received by both new and existing guests so we are delighted that the rest of the fleet will also benefit.”

The schedule for the Fred. Olsen ships includes: upgrading the existing public areas, creating new facilities – such as a new restaurants and gelato bar on Balmoral, a new dining room on Boudicca, a new buffet restaurant on Braemar – and cabin enhancements across the fleet.

The 929-guest ship Braemar will set sail from Southampton to Hamburg on 23rd November 2017 for a nine-day dry dock at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. Her first sailing after the refit will be a 16-night M1730 ‘Voyage to the Caribbean’ cruise from Southampton on 5th December 2017.

Fred. Olsen’s flagship Balmoral, will arrive in Hamburg on 10th December 2017 for a nine-day dry dock, before the 1,350 guest-ship departs on a 16-night L1728 ‘Canaries Christmas & Funchal Fireworks’ sailing from Southampton on 21st December 2017.

The 880-guest ship Boudicca will undergo a more extensive 13-day refurbishment in spring 2018, entering dry dock on 16th March 2018, before leaving from Dover on 29th March 2018 on a five-night D1804 ‘Mystery Cruise’.

In 2018/19 Fred. Olsen’s fleet of four smaller, more intimate cruise ships will be visiting no fewer than 228 destinations in 73 countries around the globe, covering 91 areas of scenic cruising, from the UK departure ports of Southampton, Dover, Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh (Rosyth).

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Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Line

Voyages To Antiquity Sets Sights On Asia And Africa With 129-Day Cruise

Cultural cruise line Voyages to Antiquity has announced an exciting new 2018-19 winter season featuring a return to Asia and Africa (last featured during winter 2015-16).

Cruises in the region will begin in December 2018 and include six new itineraries and five new ports of call: Ain Sokhna in Egypt (for excursions to the 4th century St Anthony’s and St Paul’s, the oldest Christian monasteries in the world); Trincomalee in Sri Lanka; Port Louis in Mauritius; Reunion Island; and Port Kelang (for Kuala Lumpur) in Malaysia. The announcement means that in 2018 Voyages to Antiquity will once again offer year-round cruising.

With very few repeated stops throughout the season, two or more cruises can be easily combined into Grand Voyages. Four cruises can even be combined for the ‘Grand Odyssey’ sailing, a 129-day epic trip spanning half the world, from Athens to Malaga via Egypt, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the islands of the Indian Ocean and Africa.

Experiences on offer range from a desert island beach barbecue in the Maldives to cruising the Yangon River in the heart of Burma, exploring India by tuk-tuk and discovering the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.

The winter 2018/19 programme features 30 per cent more included shore excursions and overland adventures than previous seasons including those to India’s Golden Triangle and Cape Town in South Africa, with up to 12 nights in hotels per cruise.

To celebrate the launch of the new programme, Voyages to Antiquity is offering savings between £500 and £5,000 per cabin on individual sailings and up to an amazing £21,400 per cabin on the 129-day ‘Grand Odyssey’. Repeat customers can save an additional 10 per cent on 2018/19 winter bookings until 15 December 2017. In addition, a low supplement, equivalent to just 10 per cent, is available across 36 dedicated solo cabins.

In addition to the new destinations and itineraries, Voyages to Antiquity is also enhancing the on-board programme for passengers during the winter season. This includes guest speakers bringing to life regional food and wine, cookery lessons, local cultural entertainment and a new opera group to entertain passengers. The renowned expert lecture programme unique to each cruise will remain a key aspect of enrichment.

Highlights of the new winter 2018/19 season include:

The 29-day ‘Golden Triangle to the Strait of Malacca’ cruise-tour, beginning with a five-night land tour to Jaipur, Agra and Delhi (all India) before joining the ship in Mumbai to sail to the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the Malay Peninsula.

A dedicated Odyssey Club Reunion Cruise for members of Voyages to Antiquity’s past passenger loyalty club featuring an appropriate port of call in Reunion Island. Open to all passengers, the 10 February 2019 ‘Islands of the Indian Ocean & South Africa’ sailing will include special events for Odyssey Club members. This 33-day cruise-tour features highlights such as a special ceremony when the ship crosses the Equator, a Maldives beach barbecue and classic African safari.

The 63-day ‘Grand Indian Ocean and Southern Africa’ cruise-tour combines two cruises. Departing from Colombo (Sri Lanka) the sailing invites guests to visit Mauritius, join a three-day safari in South Africa, enjoy a four-night stay in Cape Town (South Africa) and sail to Namibia, Angola, Cape Verde Islands and Morocco for an overnight hotel stay and trip to Casablanca.

The 129-day ‘Grand Odyssey’ takes in the travel highlights of three continents and 18 countries, with more than 50 visits and excursions included in the fare. A combination of four individual cruise journeys in one four-month epic sailing, it sails all the way from Athens east to Asia, back across the Indian Ocean to South Africa and the length of Africa back to the shores of the Mediterranean in Malaga. Celebrate Christmas and New Year onboard.

All prices include return flights, transfers, hotels, excursions, all meals and drinks with dinner onboard and the full Voyages to Antiquity onboard guest speaker programme, full details of which will be released in the coming weeks. The new winter 2018-19 season from Voyages to Antiquity is on sale now and supported by a new preview brochure highlighting the extensive new season.

 

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Posted in Cruise News, Voyages of Discovery

Crystal Symphony Has A Sophisticated NEW Look

One of the most awarded luxury ships in the world has a sophisticated new look, offering travellers freshly imagined choices during their global holidays. Crystal Symphony has emerged from dry dock, returning to the seas with newly designed spaces, features and amenities that luxury travellers crave. The ship’s new Open Seating dining concept ushers in new restaurants on board, while more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouse accommodations were added. Throughout the ship, state-of-the-art technological upgrades were installed, enhancing guests’ connectivity and access to entertainment and news on demand. The month-long dry dock redesign marks the most expansive makeover in Crystal Symphony’s esteemed history, and reaffirms Crystal’s commitment to providing the most luxurious ocean experiences in the world.

Crystal Symphony’s new look is decidedly modern, particularly in regard to the high-tech features in staterooms and penthouses, although the ship still boasts the classic elegance that has enabled it to transcend trends throughout the years. Crystal Symphony’s stunning redesign includes:

New Penthouses and Penthouse Suites

Crystal Symphony now features more spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, with the newly added Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (12 new suites) and Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (28 new suites), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses are paired by shared entryways recessed from the hall.

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room speciality dining. Penthouse guests now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ship’s guest capacity to 848, while the number of crew on board remains the same. Crystal has long led the industry in abundant space and number of crew per guest aboard its ships, and the decreased guest capacity enhances the atmosphere of copious space in public areas and dining venues.

New Open Dining Concept and Restaurants

The world-class culinary experience also enjoyed an evolution, as brand new stylish restaurants are debuted. Most significantly, a brand new Open Seating concept allows guests to dine at their leisure, affording more choices and flexibility for evening dining and entertainment. While the design and menu of global selections have evolved, the classic elegance, Michelin-level cuisine and superlative service remain.

  • Waterside has emerged in place of the former Crystal Dining Room, reflecting the stylish décor and sophisticated ambiance found in the restaurants of the same name aboard Crystal River Cruises. Added tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine as they wish eliminating Crystal’s previous format of assigned seating and times. Waterside continues to serve breakfast and lunch.
  • Moving into the former Lido Café space are Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. Marketplace continues to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and is converted into Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue in the evening creating an additional dining option for guests. Churrascaria features a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serves a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled meats presented by Crystal “gauchos” on sword-like skewers.
  • Newly adjacent to the existing Trident Grill on the Lido Deck is Silk Kitchen & Bar, offering full service dinner of modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. The Trident Grill remains in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.
  • Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, has been rebranded as Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. The authentic venue serves the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and remains the only Nobu restaurants at sea. The ship’s second specialty restaurant, Prego, remains the same, continuing to serve regional specialties of Italy.

High-Tech Enhancements

Upon completion of Crystal Symphony’s dry dock, all guests now enjoy unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal’s investment in technological amenities for guests includes hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded Internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed.

Additionally, a new guest portal – Crystal Connect – is now featured on the landing page of onboard Internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions; and the ship’s location, itinerary and points of interest. A number of international newspapers are available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, music, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect is also available for use on guests’ personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ship – in each stateroom and in all public areas – high-definition, interactive flat-panel TVs enable guests to conveniently access onboard programmes, view the Crystal Spa & Salon menu, the Connoisseur Wine Selection and dining menus.

Reimagined Public Spaces and Entertainment

Several favourite shipboard spaces also enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of guests’ onboard experience. Crystal Symphony’s mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, was also refitted, boasting a fresh design to complement its vast sea views and brand new technological capabilities.

Underlining the newly revamped entertainment venues is a brand-new production show, Crystal in Motion. The production showcases the vast repertoire of the Crystal Ensemble, featuring various genres of music and dance, and replaces the former “welcome aboard” show in the Galaxy Lounge. Additionally, the ship will offer evening-long entertainment options around the ship as guests enjoy anytime dining. The Starlite Club features varied acts from the Crystal Ensemble, as well as comedians, ballroom dance group and the Crystal Show Band, performing on select evenings of each voyage.

Crystal will continue its investment into its award-winning ocean ships with the equally extensive redesign for Crystal Serenity, set for autumn 2018.

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Posted in Cruise News, Crystal Cruises

Tips For Enjoying Your Cruise Ship Casino

We all know that most cruise ships offer onboard casinos, but it’s not something we really talk about. I sometimes feel like casinos at sea are the taboo of the cruising world and shouldn’t be discussed, but why is that? They are there for our entertainment and so long as you know when to cut yourself off, they can be a great experience.  I never gamble at home, but I do like a little flutter on the Roulette wheel when I am at sea. I’m not exactly a big spender, I usually budget around £20 and once that has gone, I move on.

There are no secrets to winning in the onboard casinos and I truly believe that if you go in with the mindset that you are there to win something instead of just being there to have a fun time, then you’re going to leave empty handed.  Here are a few of my tips for making the most of your time in the casino.

Know The Rules

When you walk into a cruise ship casino, it’s easy to feel that you’re entering a pretty casual environment. Almost everything on a ship feels a little more relaxed than its mainland counterpart, from nice restaurants to theatres, and the casino is no exception. But you still need to know what you’re doing because the games are still the same as they are on land. In fact, one article made the interesting point that they may even be a little tougher on a cruise ship. In a regular casino, you can walk around the floor and look for games with favorable odds or rules, whereas on a ship the games they offer are the only games you are getting. I had no idea how to play Roulette, but I stood and watched the game and studied the rules for several hours before finally joining in. OK, it’s not exactly a difficult game, but I felt more comfortable knowing what I should and shouldn’t be doing. You’ll often find that ships with casinos will offer free teaching sessions of various games, including the likes of Blackjack and Poker, and I’d highly recommend you take the lessons if offered and you have never played before.
How To Pay To Play

This is a simpler concern and shouldn’t take you too much time to figure out, but you might want to look into it before you embark. Some cruise casinos will allow you to pay for play using the same card you have registered to your onboard account, others ask that you play with cash. You may want to research online or even call the cruise line in advance so that you know how you’ll be asked to pay and you can plan accordingly. Even if you don’t take cash with you, you can often make withdrawals onboard but again, it’s best to double check before you leave.

Try Blackjack Before Poker

This is a matter of personal preference, but in general blackjack is the better choice on a ship. For one thing, it’s simpler and less time consuming, meaning it’s easier to fit in a lot of fun games among all your other on-board activities. Additionally, however, blackjack is the world’s most popular casino game for a reason. It’s one of the easier games to learn, and with some simple strategy and practice, you can reduce the house’s edge to make it winnable. These factors make up the perfect ship gaming experience.

Consider Opening Hours

When you’re on a cruise, it’s easy to fall into a mindset that everything is always available to you. The “all-inclusive” nature of these ships, after all, is part of their appeal. But there are strict hours for cruise casinos. They are only open when the ship is at sea and on some ships, they’re also closed during the day. This is all easy to work around, but you should keep in mind that most cruise casinos are not 24/7, just so you don’t try to go and find yourself disappointed.

Keep It Casual

As a last general point, don’t get carried away with the “high roller” vibe you sometimes see in mainland casinos. As mentioned, everything on a ship tends to feel a little more relaxed, and while you’ll certainly find a few people dressing up for a few hours in the casino, they’ll probably be in the minority. The most enjoyable approach is generally to play it casual. Dress comfortably, have a drink or two, and simply enjoy the games!

Don’t forget! Stop when it’s no longer fun!

Posted in General Cruise Articles

P&O Cruises Arcadia And Oceana To Undergo Multi-Million Pound Refits

P&O Cruises has announced details of multi-million pound refits for two of its ships – Arcadia and Oceana – which will result in a fresher and more contemporary feel and improve the onboard guest experience.

Arcadia

Following guest feedback, P&O Cruises has partnered with one of the world’s leading hospitality interior design practices, RPW Design, and will be updating and improving cabins, suites, public areas, bars, main dining restaurants and fine dining restaurants to ensure that Arcadia offers the ultimate levels of design, luxury and comfort.

Highlights of the refit include:

The Aquarius pool and bar at the stern of the Lido Deck will feature a brighter colour scheme with new chairs, bar stools, sofas, coffee tables, signage and wall tiles.

The Atrium/Reception will be given the ‘wow factor’ with new carpets, chairs, banquettes and cushions as well as a brand new eye-catching nautical-themed wall feature. There will also be new open plan Future Cruise Sales & Loyalty booths.

New carpets and blinds in reception, as well as refreshed loungers and armchairs with new cushions, will enhance the sense of calm and relaxation in the Oasis Spa.

The Intermezzo cocktail and Champagne bar will feature a relaxed but sophisticated new colour scheme referencing the Mediterranean with updated carpets, blinds, chairs, sofas, bar stools, coffee tables and lamp shades. New lighting and ironmongery will have a subtle nautical theme.

The Belvedere Buffet will feature new seating and carpet and tiled flooring throughout, as well as improved lighting, new permanent waiter stations, four passenger hand wash stations and a self-serve paid Costa Coffee station.

The Piano Bar will get new carpets, window treatments and furniture in order to inject life and light into the space.

The ship’s busiest public space, The Rising Sun English-style pub, will be given new carpet, vinyl flooring and select furniture.

Arcadia’s suites will be completely refreshed with an elegant new design scheme that will create a warm and inviting ambience. Suites will be treated to new sofa beds, armchairs, coffee tables and headboards as well as various decorative items such as curtains, bed cushions, throws and lamps. Most cabins will be given new sofa beds while selected cabins will be re-carpeted and have balcony doors replaced.

Arcadia will undergo her refit in Hamburg this autumn in preparation for Christmas and her 99-night World Cruise which departs Southampton on January 9, 2018. Arcadia’s first cruise after after refit will be a three-night Belgium cruise round trip from Southampton departing November 15, 2017.

Oceana

Oceana will enter dry dock in Hamburg at the end of November where she will be updated and refreshed throughout in order to improve guest appeal for both summer and winter cruising.

Highlights of the refit include:

Suites will receive new carpets, curtains, sheers, bed runners, cushions, valances, headboards and lamps while cabins will get new carpets, lampshades and stools.

Public spaces and the Atrium will have brand new redesigned carpets throughout.

With the popularity of buffet dining, especially during the summer, Oceana’s Plaza Buffet will get new carpet and tiling throughout as well as new chairs and banquette seating. Draught lager will also be available.

The Yacht & Compass and Magnums will both get new flooring throughout, new furniture and new window treatments while Winner’s Bar will be re-carpeted and be given some new furniture.

Refurbished youth spaces will feature improved entertainment equipment, re-decorated walls and flooring, new soft play equipment, revised nursery space and an updated area for teenagers.

There will be significant work on the Terrace Bar with refurbished hot tubs, re-tiling of flooring and horizontal surfaces as well as a new canopy over the pool which will extend out to cover the bar.

The Spa and Gym will be brought up to date with new décor, wall covering, blinds and flooring.

Following her refit, Oceana will embark on a 12-night Canary Islands & Portugal cruise round trip from Southampton departing December 17, 2017.

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Virgin Voyages First Ship To Be ‘Adult By Design’

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin hosted a ‘Ship Tease’, where key details were revealed about what sailors can expect on the first of three ships, coming to the high seas in 2020. Live from Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa, Italy, they also celebrated the laying of the keel for the first ship, marking the commencement of construction.

Sir Richard and Tom McAlpin arrived on stage via a 200-foot crane drop, in true Virgin style. They were joined by Bain Capital Chairman Stephen Pagliuca and Fincantieri’s Alberto Maestrini to weld ceremonial coins into the keel for good luck and smooth sailing.

Richard expressed excitement that construction is now underway. “This is a very big day for Virgin Voyages, as an exciting new holiday option for travellers starts to get ship shape. She will be the most recognizable ship sailing the seven seas, delivering an irresistible sailor experience. We’re also committed to making sure our crew are the happiest at sea and will be proud to sail with us.”

Tom McAlpin shared specifics on the Virgin Voyages design philosophy and experience. “The entire ship will be built with an attention to detail, reflecting the craftsmanship and materiality inspired by super yachts. Designed to feel more intimate and connected to the sea, 86 percent of all cabins will feature a sea terrace and 93 percent an ocean view. Virgin Voyages is creating a sophisticated ship and a transformational experience that offers our sailors a place where rejuvenating day-life meets exciting nightlife and everything in between.”

In a bold and unique move for the industry, McAlpin then gave details that the first ship’s experience will be “Adult By Design” – meaning that sailors must be at least 18 or older to sail. The decision was driven by feedback from future sailors and travel professionals, who are looking for a more elevated and premium experience, with a few Virgin style surprises.

The world also got its first glimpse of the ship’s distinct livery, which will feature a sleek silvery-grey hull, with smoked glass, and of course, distinctive touches of red. The livery was conceptualized by Ben Christie and David Azurdia from the multi-award-winning Magpie Studio in London. RWD from Beaulieu England, who are leaders in super yacht design, created the iconic red Virgin funnel of the vessel.

Virgin Voyages’ first fleet will be known as the “Lady Ships”, a play on the term ‘your ladyship’, giving a nod to Virgin’s British heritage. The spirit of our ship will be represented by a beautiful mermaid design that will adorn the bow. The mermaid is inspired by figureheads on historic vessels and was designed by London-based artist Toby Tinsley, who also designed the beautiful feminine motif on Virgin Galactic.

Consistent with their commitment to have one of the cleanest fleets at sea, Virgin Voyages signed an agreement with Scanship, providers of advanced waste management systems. Together, they will explore the development of potentially game-changing technology that could one day significantly reduce ocean discharge by turning waste into energy.

McAlpin wrapped up the ceremony by introducing Grammy Award-winning artist Boy George who then performed as the night’s superstar DJ.

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Posted in Cruise News, Virgin Voyages

John Honeywell On His Passion For Cruise – This Is My Tribute To A Cruising Legend

I started my blog in February 2012 and at that time, I had no idea where it would take me or the friendships it would build. I worked tirelessly to make sure my content was always fresh and exciting and it wasn’t long before I caught the attention of John Honeywell, better known to those within the cruise world as Captain Greybeard.

My friendship with John grew over the years and I had the pleasure of embarking on several sailings with him and his lovely wife, Sheila. Our most recent being a trip to Iceland with Saga Cruises. Sadly, that would turn out to be one of John’s final adventures at sea, as he passed away recently after a very short illness.

If it wasn’t for John, I’d not have made my way into publications such as World of Cruising. He gave me advice, he offered support, he encouraged me to go and get what I wanted and he ultimately became one of my closest friends within this industry – I could always rely on him. He told me I had a talent for writing and he made sure that doors were opened.

I’ll NEVER be able to repay him, but I wanted to do something for John that would not only honour his memory, but also give him the spotlight one last time to tell you, in his own words, why he had such a passion for cruise.

I wish I’d known that within days – hours, even – of setting foot on a cruise ship in February 1997, I was going to be addicted. For life.

That first time wasn’t on a particularly grand vessel, and it was far from a perfect voyage. The ship had prop-shaft problems half way through the cruise and instead of sailing from Egypt to Dover, the passengers were flown home from Malta.

But after visiting the Pyramids and then boarding the ship in Port Said, I was overwhelmed by the fact that the very next day we were in Israel, setting off for an excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. At the tender age of … well, let’s say under 50 … I found myself being addressed as “young man” by a tour guide who needed help lifting a section of floor in the Church of the Nativity to show the tiles beneath.

Back then it was the shock of the new. Nowadays, after more cruises than I can count, I have to pinch myself so I don’t take it for granted. I’m still amazed that I could be walking the walls of King’s Landing – or Dubrovnik – one day, and within a few hours be zooming through the canals of Venice in a water taxi, just like James Bond. Or that I can be transported from the height of 21st Century hectic living and skyscraper luxury in Singapore or Hong Kong to the emerging innocence of Burma with its golden temples and placid, friendly people.

Polar bears in Svalbard, grizzlies in Alaska, wallabies in Australia and penguins in the Straits of Magellan – I’ve seen them all thanks to my addiction to cruising.

Give me a chance to take to the seas and I’ll grab it greedily, whether it’s a seven-day Transatlantic crossing on a Cunard liner, a lengthy voyage to remote St Helena, or a three-day jaunt across to Amsterdam in the company of Katherine Jenkins.

Which brings me from destinations to entertainment. If it weren’t for cruising I would probably have never discovered the sensational Blue Man Group, and while I have sat through some of the cheesiest end-of-the-pier song and dance shows imaginable while at sea, I have been spellbound by a West End-quality production of Chicago. Unexpectedly, I also seem to have developed a knack for leaving a shipboard casino with $100 more than when I entered.

As far as blackjack is concerned, I know when to stop. Can’t say the same about cruising though. Pass me my diary and let me know what’s up next …

Captain Greybeard

Sweet dreams, John. Thank you for everything. We all miss you! We love you! x x

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Even in #blackandwhite the #Caribbean looks good! I'm looking forward to leaving the cold and grey of England behind me in January and heading for much warmer climates! #cruise #travel #beach I am DEFINITELY a #cruise junkie! Are you? Can't wait to try out the luggage tags on my upcoming #worldcruise aboard Black Watch - 47-days to go! #cruisejunkie #travel #influencer
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