UK & Ireland Cruise Industry Hits Two Million Passengers For The First Time

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that the number of ocean cruises taken by UK and Irish passengers last year reached over two million for the first time. The UK and Ireland cruise industry hit a record 2,009,000 in 2018, surpassing the two million mark a year earlier than predicted and up two per cent from 2017.

The announcement is part of the CLIA Cruise Review industry report, which outlines annual global cruise travel figures including how many cruises were taken both globally and in regional markets.

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said: “2018 was an impressive year for the UK and Ireland cruise industry. Surpassing the two million mark is a significant milestone, as it illustrates how cruise has become a major player within the UK and Irish travel sector.

“As only the second European market to reach over two million cruises and the fourth globally, this figure demonstrates the continued strength of cruising as a mainstream holiday choice in the UK and Ireland and is a testament to the industry’s resilience to economic and political changes.”

GLOBAL FIGURES

Playing a significant role in international tourism, growth in cruising continues with an almost seven per cent increase from 2017 to 2018, totalling 28.5 million passengers globally.

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said: “CLIA and its cruise lines are committed to marrying the industry’s growth opportunities with sustainability, to ensuring this growth is managed responsibly to ensure real benefits for destinations we visit, local communities and our guests.

“The water around and below us, the air above us, the communities around us, the people who work for us; all are critical factors when it comes to planning sustainable growth strategy for the cruise industry. With opportunity comes responsibility, and we are working as an industry to meet those responsibilities.”

EUROPEAN FIGURES

In 2018, European ocean cruise passenger numbers grew by 3.3 per cent against 2017, to 7.17million; following a two per cent growth the prior year.

Strong growth was seen in cruise passengers travelling to the Eastern Mediterranean, up 8.5 per cent to 746,000 passengers, which illustrates a beginning of a return to confidence in the region. Other areas seeing significant growth, from a smaller base, include the Canary Islands, up 9.6 per cent; and the Baltics, up 9 per cent.

The central and western Mediterranean region remains the number one destination for European cruise passengers, and saw growth up by 1.2 per cent, equivalent to 2.27m passengers. Northern Europe was up 4.8 per cent in 2018, to 1.43m passengers.

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Posted in Cruise News

Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery Of Spectrum Of The Seas

Royal Caribbean International has officially taken delivery of the 26th ship in its fleet, Spectrum of the Seas, in a ceremony held today in Bremerhaven, Germany. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain and President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley received the new ship from Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer at the official handover ceremony. The first in the Quantum Ultra class of ships, Spectrum will homeport from Shanghai starting June 2019.

Designed and built to deliver an unforgettable vacation experience for all guests, Spectrum will debut the global cruise line’s first private enclave for suite guests, new stateroom categories, and innovative dining concepts, along with stunning features, experiences and technology – many of which have never before been seen at sea.

 Spectrum of the Seas highlights include:

  • Royal Caribbean’s first exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16. Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space for sunbathing and relaxing – that offers the best views on board; and The Boutique, a shopping area where travellers can book private shopping experiences.
  • The two-level, 2,809-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite, accommodating up to 11 guests. The three-bedroom suite includes a master bedroom and two additional bedrooms for grandparents and other family members. Kids have their own kid-friendly space on the upper level, complete with an in-suite slide that will transport them to the living area below. Everyone in the family can enjoy time together in the recreation room, featuring surround-sound equipment for a night of karaoke, movies or video games.
  • Innovative dining concepts Sichuan Red – with authentic cuisine from the Sichuan province of China, Wonderland’s Dadong – a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck, and the Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlour offering a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and Western desserts and pastries.
  • A new lively and energetic karaoke venue, Star Moment, where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars. This venue debuts on Spectrum.
  • An enhanced SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating and basketball – with new augmented reality walls and floors, providing guests with thrilling, high-tech interactive experiences.
  • The iconic Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship, as well as Quantum Class favourites the North Star, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views; RipCord by iFly, a heart-pounding skydiving simulator experience; and the FlowRider surfing simulator.
  • Cutting-edge and transformative venues, such as Two70 with its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows offering breath-taking 270-degree views of the ocean. Two70 features its signature Vistarama technology, which transforms the panoramic windows into a projection surface more than 100 feet wide and over 20 feet tall showcasing spectacular digital shows. Six agile Roboscreens, measuring over 7 feet tall and controlled by powerful, yet nimble robotic arms, create scenes as they soar and twist solo or as one. Two70 will also feature new room-scale augmented reality experiences that transport vacationers to new worlds of adventure.

Accommodating 4,246 guests at double occupancy and 1,551 international crew members, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she arrives to her new home in Shanghai, China on June 3, 2019. Before Spectrum arrives to her new home this summer, she will sail a 46-night Global Odyssey from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai, taking guests to an exciting array of ports including Aqaba, Jordan; Dubai, UAE; Muscat; Oman, Cochin, India and Georgetown, Malaysia. In winter 2019, the ship will reposition to Hong Kong to offer special holiday cruises.

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Posted in Cruise News, Royal Caribbean International

TUI River Cruises Is Setting Sail

From summer 2020, TUI will be expanding into the river cruise industry following the purchase of three passenger ships. The move comes as TUI continues its pledge of offering customers even more choice, flexibility and an unrivalled level of service.

TUI River Cruises will offer adults the ultimate flexibility to create their perfect trip when it comes to river cruising, with the option to create bespoke packages to suit their every need. Customers will choose their board basis, whether that’s full board plus with wine, beer and soft drinks included with meals, or selecting the premium drinks package, cabin type and even their favourite cocktail in the lounge. The cruise line will also boast a handful of private balcony suites for those seeking to add even more luxury to their package.

When it comes to choosing the perfect excursions, TUI River Cruises will offer a huge variety for all travellers as they work with the destination services team to complete the perfect end to end TUI service. On offer are active excursions for avid adventurers, sightseeing tours with a local expert for those looking to broaden their knowledge, relax and learn, and those looking to try something a little different can experience a bike tour.  The cruise line will also offer £120 credit to put towards any shore excursion bookings, allowing each customer the perfect opportunity to tailor their holiday to suit them.

Similar to the fantastic atmosphere onboard TUI’s ocean cruises, TUI River Cruises will ensure there’s the perfect atmosphere whatever the occasion. The ships will offer chic and revamped spaces perfect for relaxing and watching the world go by, romantic á la carte dinners for two, casual dining and social spaces to enjoy with friends as well as some of TUI’s world class entertainment. Travellers will also benefit from some of the extras customers have grown to know and love with a Marella Cruises holiday, such as tips and service charges included in the price and the reassurance of TUI’s expert support line available 24 hours a day.

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Posted in Cruise News, TUI

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Perfects Culinary Experience On Seven Seas Splendor

Seven Seas Splendor will offer innovative culinary experiences appealing to all the senses when she sets sail in February 2020. The newest Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship will elevate the cruise line’s legendary cuisine, focus on destination dishes that bring aboard local ingredients and culinary traditions from where Seven Seas Splendor is sailing, and feature new curated Culinary Arts Kitchen classes.

SEVEN AMAZING DINING VENUES ON BOARD

Compass Rose

At the heart of Seven Seas Splendor is Compass Rose, the largest speciality restaurant on board. This sophisticated venue, with its exquisite chandeliers and bold Versace dinnerware, offers a multitude of choices and the ability to customise practically every aspect of guests’ meals. Savour enhanced flavours like the Chateaubriand with a delicious Red Wine Grain Mustard Sauce or entirely new dishes like the Malaysian-Style Braised Beef Short Rib with a flavourful Curry Sauce and Jasmine Rice; Paddlefish Caviar, served with Smoked Haddock Jelly and Lemon Cream; and Grilled Branzino, with Cauliflower Rice, Barley, Spinach, and Pomegranate.

Pacific Rim

This dramatic speciality restaurant features intricate architectural details, wood carvings and an immense art installation of a mythical dragon, setting the tone for the culinary journey that awaits. The Pacific Rim menu brings life to rich culinary traditions with a diverse array of delightfully prepared, Pan-Asian dishes, from the new smoking presentation of Dry Ice Sashimi and the sweet and spicy medley of sauces with the re-imagined Duck Spring Roll to the new Thai Red Chicken Curry with delicious Coconut Cream and Crispy Shallots.

La Veranda (Breakfast and Lunch) and Sette Mari at La Veranda (Dinner)

Italy is always part of Seven Seas Splendor’s itinerary with Sette Mari at La Veranda’s delicious dinner menu of authentic Italian specialties, inspired by family recipes which were handed down from generation to generation. Savour the perfectly-paired, fine Tuscan wines with new dishes like a mouth-watering, Spice-Crusted Tuna Steak with Braised Endive, Polenta and Salmoriglio.

Guests can start their day at La Veranda, enjoying a sumptuous breakfast while taking in the gorgeous ocean views, or savour the lunch buffets in the chic indoor dining room or al fresco on the shaded, open-air deck. Breakfasts include made-to-order omelettes and other specialties while La Veranda’s lunches feature a variety of delectable selections to choose from, including hot carving stations. During lunch at La Veranda, there will be a new Destination Corner featuring local cuisine based on the culinary traditions of the destination being sailed.

Enjoy these brilliant flavours morning, noon and night while dining at the most popular tables in the restaurant: the new and stunning, over-water alcove seating jetting out over the ocean for an even closer connection to the sea, surrounded on three sides by inspiring, magnificent views.

Chartreuse

Experience this distinct speciality restaurant featuring classic French fare with a modern twist. Savour new flavours to Chartreuse like Frog Legs in Garlic Cream Sauce with Rutabaga or relish the tender Veal Rack Loin with Caramelised Endive, Grape Chutney and the earthy tones of a Walnut Veal Jus Sauce. Chartreuse evokes memories of a chic Parisian fine-dining restaurant discovered during an evening stroll along the Seine or just off the Champs-Élysées.

Prime 7

Handsomely decorated with inspired uses of glass, metal and marble, Prime 7 personifies luxury at every turn. This intimate and elegant steakhouse exudes glamour and elevates the classic American fare to new heights. The mouth-watering prime New York strip, porterhouse and succulent filet mignon are always aged perfectly while some new dishes re-imagine the ocean’s offerings with sophistication and panache. New at Prime 7 on Seven Seas Splendor are Applewood Smoked Salmon Steak, with Asparagus, Tamarind-Whiskey Sauce; Seared Diver Scallop and Cured Pork Belly Confit with Orange Pomegranate Sauce; and Hamachi Ceviche.

Coffee Connection

Exclusively aboard Seven Seas Splendor, enjoy a newly expanded Coffee Connection that feels like a classy metropolitan café with baristas delivering the perfect pick-me-ups alongside a number of delectable bites. Designed with muted pastels and crisp whites, this space’s elegant interior seamlessly transitions to trendy, open-air seating with astonishing ocean views on deck.

Pool Grill

Dining al fresco at the Pool Grill offers all the best views in any weather, whether enjoying a relaxed lunch or a casual dinner. An on-deck dining experience pairs perfectly with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes, including mesmerising sunsets. Indulge in delicious regional barbecues or the freshly grilled fish of the day and refresh with the perfect milkshake and old-fashioned hand-dipped ice cream desserts.

CULINARY EXPERIENCES ON BOARD AND ON SHORE

Designed as a specialised facility with 18 individual cooking stations, the Culinary Arts Kitchen on board Seven Seas Splendor offers a range of 20 new culinary classes teaching professional techniques and recipes by master chef instructors. New classes vary from teaching seven methods to prepare seafood to exploring emerging fusion cuisines from around the world.

Gourmet Explorer Tours

Exclusive to the inaugural season of Seven Seas Splendor are new Gourmet Explorer Tours delivering one-of-a-kind epicurean adventures, personally crafted by Regent’s Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment, Kathryn Kelly. Guests can choose from a variety of optional tours that take them to local markets to find exotic spices, sample delicious wines at breath-taking estates and savour gourmet meals expertly prepared by locally renowned chefs. Specific Gourmet Explorer Tours will be announced with all Seven Seas Splendor inaugural season destination experiences later this year

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Posted in Cruise News, Regent Seven Seas

MSC Cruises Reveals Creative Process Behind Cirque Du Soleil At Sea

Cirque du Soleil at Sea is a unique entertainment concept created by MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil, the world leader in live entertainment. In March 2019, two brand new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, SYMA and VARÉLIA, launched on board MSC Cruises’ new flagship, MSC Bellissima and today, details of the inspiration and creative process behind these two original new shows, along with the exclusive first images of the spectacular performances, have been revealed.

Every element of each new Cirque du Soleil at Sea show is unique from the concept and storyline, the characters, the costumes and makeup through to the music, staging and sound effects. The concepts are first developed by the experienced and talented creative team based at Cirque du Soleil’s international headquarters in Montreal, Canada. Following a rigorous casting process and intensive ideation workshops, the shows are then refined and brought to life on board the ship in the custom-built entertainment venue, the Carousel Lounge, designed to meet the specific needs of Cirque du Soleil.

The long-term partnership will result in eight original shows that can only be seen on board the Meraviglia class ships. Each ship will offer two brand new contrasting shows to deliver a truly unique and intimate experience for MSC Cruises guests.

SYMA is a fantastical odyssey into the heart of an imaginary world, and the search for a mysterious island inhabited by phantasmagorical creatures. The guests on board MSC Bellissima are embarking on a journey of discovery, just like the main character of the show. Immersive video images, an original set design, bioluminescent lighting and acrobatic feats make SYMA an unforgettable show.

VARÉLIA is a tale of modern chivalry where love and courage triumph over the greatest divides. A medieval tale with a futuristic twist, VARÉLIA follows a classic story arc in a cartoonesque world which adds a humoristic touch. Audiences will delight in the acrobatic feats, the laser show and the unique set design.

With these two new shows, Cirque du Soleil continues to push creative boundaries with the introduction of innovations in staging, makeup, costumes and performances. Some of the highlights include:

  • The Underwater Creatures characters in SYMA have ultraviolet iridescent makeup, which, along with parts of their costume, glow under special lights built into the custom-made Carousel Lounge
  • The creative team have used video projection mapping for the first time in SYMA to project content onto tangible set elements and props on stage to add yet another visual element to the show. This technology enhances the guest experience by animating static objects and surfaces.
  • The finale of VARÉLIA includes a breathtaking roller skating duo spinning at incredibly high speeds while completing complex tricks. This, coupled with an aerial hoop duo, creates a spectacular floor-to-ceiling climax.
  • Laser lights are used in VARÉLIA to create a futuristic and changing set design. They convey the theme and atmosphere of the show. With a strong focus on aesthetic principles the lasers create graphic figures and illusions where Cirque du Soleil at Sea artists can thrive.

Cirque du Soleil at Sea can be booked in advance at a reduced rate or whilst on board during the cruise for any remaining seats. Guests can either book to enjoy a three-course menu of palate-pleasing dishes served before the show (€35), or sip on a specialty cocktail (€15) and enjoy the pre-show that begins 30 minutes before the start of the Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance.

MSC Meraviglia was the first ship to debut the new Cirque du Soleil at Sea concept with the launch of the two shows VIAGGIO and SONOR in June 2017 and recently celebrated the 1,000th performance on board., Work is already underway for the next shows for MSC Grandiosa, that will launch in November 2019.

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Posted in Cruise News, MSC Cruises

Best Aurora Borealis Cruises In The Northern Hemisphere

Very few natural phenomena can match the spectacle that is the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. To see them, however, you will need to head to the Northern Hemisphere, as these stunning views can only be seen in high-latitude places, like Alaska, Iceland and Norway, as well as the northern tips of both Sweden and Finland. That being said, CruiseMiss has decided to take a look at the best Aurora Borealis cruises in the Northern Hemisphere. We’ll start, fittingly, with a cruise we have featured already.

Cunard Alaska Sailings

Alaska is one of the places that offer people a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. It just so happens that Cunard will make a return voyage to the so-called Great Land. As reported here in December, Cunard will come back to Alaska starting in May. Those who take advantage of this cruise will spend several days on board the newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth. They will also get to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Great Land, from its stunning landscapes to its diverse wildlife. Just as important, a trip to the Northwest Pacific coast of Alaska will give tourists the chance to witness the Northern Lights in all its majestic glory. Take note, though, that the best time to go is late August to mid-April.

Cunard’s Norway and Northern Lights

If a cruise across Alaska isn’t very appealing, Cunard has an alternative: the Norway and Northern Lights cruise. This particular cruise is a round trip that starts and ends in Southampton, with guests taken on tour by the Queen Victoria. Those who choose the Norway and Northern Lights cruise features, will make stops at Alesund, Tromsø, and Narvik, which are three of the top places in Norway to see the famed Northern Lights. As an added bonus, guests will see the spectacular Norwegian Fjords, along with a range of majestic sights along the way.

Fred Olsen’s North Norway Sailings

The north of Norway is clearly an ideal spot to view the Aurora Borealis; not for nothing then that Fred Olsen’s Northern Lights cruises are quite popular. The cruises are scheduled for September 2019 and March 2020 and will feature stops at both Alesund and Tromsø. There will also be stops at Alta, Kristiansund, and Trondheim — three more perfect places to catch the Northern Lights.

Cruise & Maritime Aurora Voyages

Cruise & Maritime includes a few aurora voyages, including trips to to Iceland and Norway. The cruise on board the Astoria starts in the Faroe Islands, which is home to Toftir, a small, picturesque coastal village with a population of less than 1,000 people. The village has become somewhat famous in recent years for being the home of Svangaskard, the national team’s football stadium. An article by Daniel Anwar on the ‘Must-see Football Stadia Around the World’, includes Svangaskard in the list, showing how it is perched on top of a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The stadium is the only one in the world that fans can get a glimpse of the Northern Lights, making a visit to the venue a must for those who long to see the aurora. From the Faroe Islands, the tour heads to Reykjavik and Akureyri in Iceland, and then to Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands on the journey back to the Faroe Islands.

Aurora Zone’s Visit Abisko and Icehotel

This four-night tour to Abisko and Icehotel may not be as grand as the others, but for a chance to see the Northern Lights, it is probably your best bet. The reason for this is because Abisko is possibly the best site to see the Aurora Borealis. Abisko has been the No.1 aurora-watching destination on the planet, due to its location in a microclimate with far less precipitation than any other location on Earth that is located within the aurora zone.

Not to belabour a point, but the Northern Lights is a spectacle unlike any other. Seeing it first hand, therefore, should be on everyone’s bucket list. In this regard, the five cruises outlined above will give you the best chance to catch this incredible light show.

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Posted in Destinations

PONANT Takes Delivery Of Le Bougainville

PONANT has successfully taken delivery of Le Bougainville, the third vessel in its exceptional PONANT EXPLORERS series. The ship left Søvik in Norway on the morning of 8 April and she is currently sailing to Spain to begin her maiden cruise on 15 April from Malaga. She will be officially inaugurated on 4 June.

PONANT is delighted with its collaboration with VARD, the Norwegian subsidiary of the Italian shipyard, FINCANTIERI, both in terms of the design and construction of the new vessels as well as the respect for the deadlines of the development schedule

Combining an intimate size with just 92 staterooms and suites, all with a balcony or private terrace, taut, sleek lines, refined design, cutting-edge technologies, respect for the environment and major innovations, Le Bougainville is truly the symbol of the new generation of ships flying the French flag.

As with all the PONANT EXPLORERS vessels, it is fitted with a world first, the “Blue Eye”. This multi-sensorial underwater salon will allow guests to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the form of a cetaceous eye looking out on to the sea bed, non-intrusive underwater lighting, and hydrophones integrated into the keel retransmitting the natural symphony of the deep water, as well as Body Listening sofas, offering a unique sensorial listening experience by corporal resonance.

PONANT maintains the course of its development

Enriching the existing fleet (Le Ponant, Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial) and announced in 2016, the development of the new PONANT ships is on schedule and respecting the construction timetable.

Le Lapérouse – June 2018

Le Champlain – October 2018

Le Bougainville – April 2019

Le Dumont-d’Urville – June 2019

Le Bellot – scheduled for April 2020

Le Jacques Cartier – scheduled for July 2020

Le Commandant Charcot – scheduled for May 2021

 

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Posted in Compagnie Du Ponant, Cruise News

Cruise & Maritime Voyages Welcomes Vasco Da Gama To The Fleet

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has announced the arrival of the latest addition to the fleet, new ship Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama is the sixth ship to join the CMV fleet as Britain’s leading independent cruise line celebrates 10 years in operation.

Her maiden voyage sails from Singapore to London Tilbury 22 April.

At 55,820gt the new ship can accommodate 1,220 passengers in 630 cabins including 120 balcony cabins and 29 suites. Vasco da Gama joins the CMV fleet alongside Columbus (1,400pax), Magellan (1,300pax), Marco Polo (800pax), Astor (600pax) and Astoria (550pax). Following the explorer theme of the fleet, the ship is named after Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, famous for being the first European to reach India by sea. Following in the footsteps of the famous explorer, her maiden voyage sails from Singapore via India to London Tilbury.

Vasco da Gama’s maiden voyage sails on a spectacular 43-night voyage (45 nights includes overnight flight and one night in Singapore) calling in Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cochin for tours to the Taj Mahal, Goa and Mumbai, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Transit the Suez Canal, Israel, highlights of the Mediterranean, Morocco and Portugal arriving in London Tilbury. Highlights include; the beautiful beaches of Malaysia and Thailand, the Taj Mahal in India, the lost city of Petra from Jordan, shrines to ancient Pharaoh’s in Egypt, some of the holiest sites on earth in Israel, the eternal city of Rome and the souks in Marrakech. Vasco da Gama will spend the Summer cruising in Europe and sail from London Tilbury 9 October on a 53-night voyage to Australia calling in Barbados, the Panama Canal, Acapulco, islands of the South Pacific, Auckland concluding in Sydney, Australia, where she will cruise for the Winter season.

The new ship offers a wider choice of restaurants and dining options. A first for CMV, Vasco da Gama will offer flexible dining and timings will not be restricted to specific sittings. Guests will be able to dine at any of three main restaurants between 17.30 and 20.30. One offering a classic menu with a twist of British cuisine will be open for all three main meals. For dinner the other restaurants will offer a choice of styles, one Asian and the other Mediterranean. The Club Bistro will offer buffet style food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Passengers can choose to dine at ‘The Grill’ or the ‘Chef’s Table’ at a supplement. Vasco da Gama was fully refurbished in 2015 and has had new livery painted and revised signage, plus some technical work completed before joining CMV’s fleet.

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Posted in Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Cruise News

MSC Bellissima: Beauty At Sea

Image Credit: Andrew McAlpine

Where do I even begin with this ship? She’s incredible. I wasn’t onboard long enough to sample everything, you would need at least a 2-week cruise to go deck-by-deck, so let me share some facts and figures, and some of the things I did get a chance to enjoy. For everything else, you now have a reason to book your next (or first) MSC cruise and find out firsthand what the fuss is all about.

Horizon Pool

It was dubbed to be the cruise event of the year, but sadly Storm Freya reared her ugly head and MSC Bellissima’s naming ceremony came to an abrupt end, but not for long! Everyone was led back onboard and in true MSC Cruises style, the show went on. Sophia Loren named the ship from the bridge in Galleria Bellissima and the rest of the evening was spent indulging in the food, drink and entertainment that this stunning new addition to the MSC Cruises family was offering. A bit of wind and rain was not going to dampen anyone’s spirits or ruin the lady’s big moment for that matter.

Sophia Loren christens MSC Bellissima – Image credit: MSC Cruises

I’d been exploring the ship for 2 days by the time her naming ceremony came around and I was enjoying being back onboard an MSC Cruises vessel, even if I wasn’t sailing anywhere. MSC Bellissima is filled with colour and every area seemed to ‘pop’ as soon as you entered it. There’s lavish and lush, vibrant and bright, and cool and collected – there’s every type of space you could ever hope to find, and more. My favourites included: Edge Cocktail Bar, Sky lounge, Atmosphere Bar (on the main pool deck), Galleria Bellissima, the Grand Canyon Pool and of course, her incredible atrium. I also liked the Marketplace Buffet, that’s where (in my opinion) the best pizza at sea can be found.

Galleria Bellissima

Atrium

Sportplex turned into a huge disco on the first evening and yes, I was there. I had no idea there was a party going on! It’s located in the Kids’ Club space and is mainly a sporting area, but I guess when the little ones have gone to bed, the bigger kids can come out to play, and play we did. it was packed until the early morning hours.

Sportplex by day…

…and by night!

The following afternoon I finally got to check out some of the gaming options and several of us (Flavia, Marcus, Claire, Andrew and myself) decided we’d tackle the zombies in the 3D virtual gaming. A word of warning, IT’S TERRIFYING!!! I’m sure my heart skipped several beats in those 6 short minutes, and I was genuinely concerned for Claire’s voice box, she wouldn’t stop screaming! It’s definitely not one for the kids.

I’ve sailed with MSC Cruises several times over the years and I always enjoy the experience. We all have different lines we cruise with for various different reasons and for me, MSC is my pick when I just want to spend some time indulging in a state-of-the-art ship. I want onboard down time in an atmosphere that I enjoy and MSC Cruises always delivers that. Some people go for the destination options, the ease of embarkation ports, the cost, but I just want to spend as much time as I can enjoying the ship.

Atmosphere Pool

MSC Cruises has something for everyone and MSC Bellissima is just one example of that – she has a lot of sisters! There’s an option for every budget with MSC Cruises. If you want luxury and relaxation at every step, try the MSC Yacht Club. If you’re on a budget but still want the chance to experience a new cruise ship and exciting destinations, then book yourself an inside cabin. Finally, if you’re somewhere in the middle, I’d suggest splashing out a little more on a balcony cabin and maybe saving some pennies for more tours and a speciality meal here and there.

Deck 10 Balcony Cabin

MSC Bellissima Fun Facts

She’s as tall as 13 double decker buses

Onboard there are 2,217 cabins – 1,418 of which have balconies

Zoe, the world’s first personal cruise assistant, speaks 7 different languages

You can enjoy 300 hours of live music per cruise

15,000 croissants are made fresh onboard every day

There are 640 Swarovski Crystal per step in those stunning atrium staircases

20 bars and lounges

She boasts a 96-metre-long promenade featuring an 80 metre LED dome

12 dining venues can be found onboard

Artists in the 2 Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows come from 9 different countries

There are 7 rooms dedicated to kids learning and play

44 suites have their own private whirlpool bath

Horizon Bar

HAPPY (MSC) CRUISING!

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Posted in MSC Cruises

See Another Side To Antarctica In 2019

Antarctica. It’s perhaps the new ultimate cruise destination. The final frontier. The edge of the Earth.

Endless, unexplored terrain. Incomparable natural landscapes that stretch out onto the horizon. Enough wildlife to satisfy even the most seasoned enthusiast, and its proximity to South America makes it a place like no other on Earth.

Whether it’s the Summer peak season, which lasts from January through to February and is also when you’ll find the most daylight and spot the thriving wildlife more often, through to the unique Autumnal experiences full of beautiful sunrises that can be found in March, any time of year really is the perfect time to experience Antarctica.

So, forget what you think you know about this incredible land, and let us show you another side to Antarctica that is often overlooked. We do this by running through our top tips to make sure you make the most out of your trip to Antarctica, or if you weren’t already planning to visit, we might just spark the inspiration to go.

Encounter the fantastic creatures that inhabit this white wonderland

With a strikingly cold temperature year-round, what many people tend to forget about Antarctica is that it plays home to a varied range of wonderful wildlife. From deep below the water’s surface, across the land and gliding through the icy skies, there’s enough wildlife in Antarctica for you to spend endless time observing the unique and unforgettable inhabitants of the environment.

From powerful Orcas to breaching humpback whales, and the distinctive Chinstrap penguin to the long-tailed Gentoo penguin, Antarctica is a place you simply don’t visit without a camera.

Get into the mind-set of explorers and pioneers gone by

Antarctica is one of those magically powerful places, because a lot of it hasn’t yet been discovered or explored.

From the moment Russian expedition-leader Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen first saw the southernmost continent with his own eyes in 1820, up until the present day, Antarctica has never stopped being explored.

When in Antarctica, every moment is an exploration, and around every (icy) corner, who knows what you’ll find?

Take in Antarctica’s natural beauty

Vast landscapes, icy archways and crystal, shimmering seas. It doesn’t take a geographical expert to know that it isn’t just the amazing wildlife that draws people to Antarctica – some things are right there in front of you. Right underneath your feet.

I mean, just look around, Antarctica’s picturesque and breath-taking, inspirational and amazing. All at once.

Experience the Drake Passage

Luxury Antarctica cruises are very on trend at the moment and a number of major cruise lines now offer these itineraries. Combining luxurious cruise ships with the thrill and excitement of Antarctica. There’s no better way to experience it.

If you do embark on a luxury Antarctica cruise, you’ll likely cross through Drake’s Passage, which is a body of water between South American and Antarctica. Known for its infamous rocky seas, yet extremely safe on board today’s modern ships, to experience the tidal rock and sway of Drake’s Passage on your approach to the continent is to experience authentic Antarctica.

Tie it in with its neighbour, South America

And finally, why not experience Antarctica differently by combining it with a South American cruise? The icy continent’s proximity to one of the most exciting, vibrant and celebrated continents in the world makes it a shame to not visit the likes of Argentina, Chile or the Falkland Islands while you’re that side of the globe.

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