Posted in Cruise Feature

Cruise-Staycation: Top 3 British Ports Of Call

The British Isles, so much to see and do. Yet, each year, millions of people decide to head off to sunnier climes for their annual summer holidays. The tempting notion of going to lie on a beach in a sun drenched oasis may sound like paradise for many but for those who enjoy cruises, what about the idea of cruising closer to home. What about a cruise around the British Isles? A cruise-staytion if you will. Although we can’t guarantee you wall to wall sunshine but surely this is a great combination of enjoying life on board a cruise ship whilst exploring areas of the country that you haven’t visited before.

We’ve done it a few times now and it’s a brilliant way to see Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Sometimes it pays to stay closer to home and enjoy the delights of what our home nations have to offer.

So, we’ve decided to compile a top 3 selection of cruise ports of call around the British Isles. Let’s take a look:

 

3: Cobh, Ireland:

Marco Polo berthed in Cobh, Ireland. Image: Damien McCarthy

Formerly known as Queenstown, this was the last port of call for the ill fated Titanic in 1912. Don’t let that put you off though. The little town on the south coast of Ireland is a real gem of a place. Picture postcard best describes the town with quaint brightly coloured houses and winding streets and very friendly locals, you are always made to feel welcome. You will also find the memorial for the Lusitania Tragedy which occured in 1915. There is also the rather impressive St Colmans Cathedral. Opened in 1911, it took 47 years to construct and has some fantastic views across the town. If you want to explore further afield. there is the railway station right next to where the cruise ships dock. From here, you can travel to Cork and explore what the city has to offer.

2: Liverpool, England:

Sailing away from Liverpool with the Three Graces in view. Image: Cruisemarsh

From the Beatles to a city of two football clubs, Liverpool is a city full of culture, history and charm. A dedicated working class background, Liverpool is famed throughout the world as one of the friendliest places you can visit. Take the ‘Ferry across the Mersey’ and take in the views of the city from the water. Take a walk to the Cavern Club, where the Beatles famously were formed or make a visit to the UK’s biggest Cathedral, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral from where you can enjoy some fabulous views across the city, 500ft above sea level. For those with a nautical interest, not far from the cruise berth, there is the Cunard Building. Part of the Three Graces, The Royal Liver Building and the former offices of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board making up the other two, the Cunard Building was Cunard’s headquarters in the UK from 1917 until they moved to Southampton in the 1960s. Liverpool is still considered the spiritual home of Cunard and has since had visits from Cunard’s current ships, culminating in a special visit by all three Queens in May 2015.

1: Edinburgh, Scotland. 

Edinburgh Castle. Image: Visit Scotland.

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is strategically situated on the east coast from where transport links with the rest of the country are in plenty of supply. A cosmopolitan city, visitors will not be bored as there is plenty of things to see and do in the historic city. Take a visit to Edinburgh Castle and marvel at the wonderous views across the city and listen to the One O’Clock gun as it echos around the city. Take a trip to Holyrood Castle, the Edinburgh residence of HM the Queen. From here, you can walk back into history and see where Mary Queen of Scots Italian lover, David Rizzio was violently murdered by her husband Lord Darnley and his associates.  In Leith you can visit the former Royal Yacht, Britannia. Step aboard and see what life was like on board when the ship was in Royal Commission.  If you want to go further afield, Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk and Dunfermline are all in close proximity to Edinburgh.

 

Other ports notable of mention:

Belfast Northern Ireland.

Dublin, Ireland.

Kirkwall, Scotland

Newcastle, England

Greenwich, England

 

We think the British Isles has so much to offer and one of the best ways to say it is by cruising. So perhaps the next time you are considering a cruise, why not consider a British Isles.  You won’t regret it! (Well, perhaps the weather maybe lol)

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cruise Feature, Cruise News

Setting Up Your Own Cruise Line? Piece Of Cake, Right?

Picture the scene. You’ve inherited a fortune of $1 Billion from a long lost relative whom you never knew were that successful. What would you spend all the lovely dosh on? New cars? New houses? Mmm… perhaps. But if you were cruise ship daft (like us) wouldn’t you want to create your own cruise line? Heck yeah, surely it would be easy peasy with a fortune like that? Right?…….

Well, it might not be as simple as that. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.

Well, first things first. What would your cruise line be called? To get that off the ground, you need a name and something that is orginal. You can just take an existing cruise line and tweak their name to suit yours. For example, you couldn’t take Royal Caribbean International and call your line International Caribbean Royal. That would be too close and we’re pretty sure you may have a law-suit on your hands from the word go. Mmmmm…. not very wise and could prove costly exercise.

So, after avoiding a law suit, you’ve finally managed to get your name for your new cruise line and it has been registered with the relevant authorities. Well, it’s time to start thinking about who your team is going to be. You can’t really expect to run a company all by yourself surely? No, that would be pretty naive and stupid. So, you’re gonna have to employ a work force who are going to help run your company. There will have to be a structure in place for hierarchy and management too. To try and bring in extra revenue, you’d perhaps be best considering shares and stocks to try and bring in investment. A board of directors is then required too. Now, in terms of staff and management, this is just the shore side people and we haven’t looked at on board crew and staff yet! Gulp…. this is quite strenuous and expensive.

And we have our name for our new cruiseline.

Alongside having a team in place, we need premises to work from. Registered headquarters don’t come cheap and to be based near a major cruise port will be more logical but a heck of a lot more expensive. This is where the bulk of the shoreside staff and management will be working from, so best to get quite a large building, rather than be stuck in a pokey one room office.

So far, we have a name for the cruise line.  We have a team in place, including staff and management and also a board of directors. We also have premises for the registered headquarters. So, the money is beginning to go down but hey, we had a $1 Billion to work from, so we should be alright.

Well, next step would be to either acquire second hand cruise ships or to build brand new ones. This is where the financial pain will kick in. The cheaper option would be acquire cruise ships that are already in service or had been in layup. Hey, depending on the size of ships you want, you could get a few cruise ships for a knock down price. Certainly for a start out company, this would be a sensible option to look at. On the other hand, we could put all our eggs into one basket and go down the route of building a new cruise ship. Considering they cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build, this would severely restrict you going forward in terms of fincances. Unless the ships are very small that you are building, this would be pretty naive to do for a start up cruise line.

Would you build a new ship, like Princess Cruises, Majestic Princess? Image: Princess Cruises.
Or would you purchase older ships just like CMV’s Columbus? Image: Cruisemarsh

With the cruise ship or cruise ships bought/built, our fortune has taken quite a hit. Now we need to find a crew/crews to take charge of the ships. This will be a costly exercise with wages to pay and training programmes to undertake. But hey’ we’ve got them! Another one less thing to worry about.

Itineraries need to be planned for the cruises and negotiations between our company and the ports that we hope to sail to would have to take place, in order for us to get permission to sail there. With that, there are port taxes and fees that we would have to pay for too. This would happen before the ships were ready to be put into service as can take a while to procure dates in various ports of call.

So. we’ve got our itineraries, our ships, our crew, our offices, our staff and management and our name for the cruise line. Things are beginning to take shape but we need a marketing department in order to get our product across. We need brochures to be printed, a team of digital marketers, people to come up with the pricing for the cruises and also a team of social media experts to connect with passengers online.

Supplying the ship/ships are of importance. Each time they end a cruise, food stocks, drinks etc have to be replenished. Re-fueling the ship too won’t be cheap too.

We are closer to the maiden voyage for the cruise ship/ships. However, there is still quite a few things to worry about before the ropes are singled up for departure. For instance, insurance being one thing, along with the employment of lawyers, specialists etc in case of any disputes.  Never take anything for granted.

Another key issue is to survive and to survive we have to make money. Make sure we’ve got our pricing structure correct and also keep the door open for potential investors. Investments are always welcome, especially when we are low on money.

Phew! Just about made it. We could have mentioned so much more about what all is entailed but I think we have got quite a few things to keep us busy in the meantime. Thank goodness though that this is all hypothetical…. otherwise we would need to go and take a lie down in a dark room to overcome the feelings of stress and fear.  Mind you, to inherit $1 Billion would be pretty cool. Drat, we can only dream, can’t we?

______________________________________________________________________________

If you had the chance to start your own cruise line, how would you go about it? What would be the name of your cruise line and ship/s? Feel free to comment on our website or on our Facebook page. We would interested to read your ideas.

Posted in Cruise Feature

Anchors Aweigh! A Quick Guide To Tendering Ashore

For those who have cruised before and particularly on larger ships, they will surely have had the experience of tendering ashore. For those who haven’t cruised and are wondering what’s that when it’s at home, we are here to give a quick guide through the process….

Sometimes it is necessary for ships to anchor outside the harbour due to either the size of the ship refraining them docking alongside or the fact that the berths have already been taken.  The process of disembarking guests ashore therefore changes. Passengers will need to be disembarked by the tenders. These are a type of a lifeboat on the ship that has been designed especially to transport passengers to and from the ship when at anchor.  Some ports will use their own small boats to transport passengers ashore too.

Tender heading back to Britannia, October 2015. Image: Cruisemarsh

Generally the ship will be anchored with the use of their anchors and their GPS systems a mile or so out from where the harbour is. Journey times will vary between the ship and shore, depending on how far the ship has anchored and that is also dependendent on the draft of the ship and how much water is below the ship.

On most cruise ships, a tender ticket process will be in operation. This is where you have to go and collect a numbered ticket from one of the ships lounges. As there is a limited amount of tenders compared to just walking off the shore and into town, the process is therefore more structured. Your numbers will be called and you will be guided down to the tender embarkation pontoon where you will embark the tender. Usually priority will be given to those who have shore excursions and have tender embarkation priority as part of the cruise loyalty club membership. Priority will also be given those who are less infirm and use foldable wheelchairs. However, it is sometimes not possible for those who rely more heavily on permanent wheelchairs and mobility scooters due to the lack of space on the tenders and the tricky conditions that are sometimes experienced due to high sea swells and wind when embarking the tender.

View of MV Voyager from St Peter Port with tender at embarkation pontoon. Image: Cruisemarsh,

Once the tender has been filled, it will depart the pontoon and head for the specified landing stage in the harbour. The journey will be made as smooth as possible by the crew member in charge of steering the tender however sea conditions can make it a like bumpy with high sea swells and wind being the biggest issues. Sometimes if the conditions are that bad, the ship will not operate the tenders and so will miss out on the port.

Inside an older style tender. Image: Cruise Capital.

 

Tender alongside at landing stage in harbour. Image: Cruisemarsh.

Once ashore, you are free to go and explore and then come and go back to the ship too. Depending on the time you a have in the port, you could back on board for lunch and then decide to go ashore again in the afternoon. This time, you won’t need to collect a tender ticket as the peak of passengers trying to disembark will have already passed so therefore you are free to come and go as you please. Service by the tenders will usely be every 15-20 minutes too on a shuttle system.  Bearing mind that you take note of the last tender to the ship from ashore.

Once the last tender arrives back the ship, they are then winched back up into the davits and ready for the next use in the next port of call that requires them.

Tender being raised back up to where it is housed in its davits. Image: Cruisemarsh

Whilst it is easier for a ship to berth alongside, where passengers can come and go as they please, its an experience when a ship does anchor and has to use the tenders. It maybe more of regimented process to get into a tender but once in, you can get some fantastic views of the ship as you pull away from the side of the ship. Really pays to try and get one of the window seats. Although tip is trying not to sit at the very front of the tender facing back as you’ll feel more movement there if the seas are heavy.  It may seem scary and daunting at first but the process if perfectly safe and will get you ashore in the safest way possible when at anchor. There is always crew to help assist you embarking and disembarking the tender too and also is a great chance to speak with your fellow passengers too.

So, if you have the chance of experiencing going ashore by tender, enjoy it as much as possible. You are only on for a short time and depending on where you are sitting, you’ll get great views of the ship at anchor. It’s also a great chance to meet your fellow passengers too and to strike up conversation. After all, it’s an experience you are sharing with them too. Just remember you have to keep an eye on the time when ashore and don’t forget what time the last tender from shore back to the ship is. You don’t want to miss the boat after all! (pun intended)

 

Images: Cruisemarsh and Cruise Capital.

Posted in Cruise Feature

Ship Or Itinerary: What’s More Important?

Imagine the scene: You’re looking through the cruise brochure (yeah yeah, we know that sounds so last century) or surfing the net for the best deal and you see that perfect itinerary. It’s going to all the destinations you’ve always wanted to sail. It’s the right length of time and its great timing for the school holidays. Perfect! That’s the summer holidays all sorted for another year….but….hold on a second! You look at the details of the ship and you scream in disbelief that it’s an adults exclusive ship. That’s no good for you and your brood of 5 kids and partner. Drat, back to the drawing board yet again. It maybe a case of a two week holiday in Bognor Regis at this rate. (We don’t hold anything against Bognor Regis, just to make that point clear, it’s just for the use of hypothesis)

Choosing a family cruise and the itinerary is good but only to find out the ship is Oriana and it’s a an adults exclusive ship. Image: Cruisemarsh.

That situation can be so frustrating. Just when you thought you had the perfect cruise holiday and whoosh, gone in an instant as soon as you read it’s going on a ship that doesn’t cater for families and children.

However, without the need to go and cower in a corner and break down in tears at the thought of not going on the summer holiday cruise, there are other options out there and there will be a cruise that will surely suit the needs of yourself and if you have a family, them too.

Cruising is flexible and adaptable, so don’t despair. There are other cruise lines out there with alternative itineraries and on ships that are more suitable. Whilst you may have to compromise on certain ports of call, that may be of insignifcance if you manage to get on a ship that is suitable.

There is the case to be made for the first time cruiser too. They are interested in taking a cruise but aren’t too sure. They think being cooped up in a ‘big shiny metal transportation box’ may not be the ideal choice of a holiday but they’ve been persuaded to take one by their better half or a friend. So, they are looking for a cruise that is port intensive and hardly any time at sea. Now, this is the excellent opportunity for those who want to travel and visit destinations they’ve always dreamt about. It’s going to be various ports too, so they will be waking up in new countries each day. If they can visit places that they wouldn’t normally be able to, then the idea of being on a cruise ship might just not be so bad after all. After all, they’ve got that port of call, say Barcelona for talking sake, to look forward.

Then there’s the cruise ship anorak. A bit like us really. They aren’t so much fussed with the destinations, it’s the ship that takes their focus of attention. Yeah, it’ll be nice to go to the Med for a fortnight and all the lovely weather blah blah blah, but the main thing is what’s all on board the ship. How big are the cabins, can I eat 24 hours straight and how many knots will the ship be able to do whilst at sea. It’s all about the technical side of things too. The cameras come out and the whole ship is photographed and documented in 20 minutes since having their first buffet lunch on board the ship after embarkation. They are contented to stay on board the ship when in ports so they can enjoy having the ship to themselves and being able to swim in the pool without having to fight your way through to get to the other side.. It’s not just the cruise ship anoraks that see the ship as the destination, there are those who want to relax, chill and be pampered. Be waited to on hand and foot and enjoy lazing around the ship without having to worry about the stresses of daily life. Sounds like heaven on earth. Either that or they want to try out the latest rockclimbing wall, the latest dining inovation or watching movies on deck on the giant screen at night. The activies and facilities could have a big bearing on their decision to choose that ship and cruise.

Queen Mary 2 would be a ships anorak’s dream. Image: Cruisemarsh

There are those who like to compromise. The ones that feel that the itineraries and the ship compliment on another. This can be quite sensible too when choosing your cruise. For instance, if you wanted to take a once in a lifetime cruise to the Antarctic, you wouldn’t want to take one on  a mega sized ship with thousands of other passengers. The smaller the ship and the lesser the amount of passengers on board would be perfect, in order to enjoy the experience without thousands of others there to dampen the atmopshere.  It’s about balancing it out. It’s the same when it comes to family cruising too. Getting the right itinerary and the right ship is important, especially if you have kids. They’ll want all the mod cons of the consoles, swimming pools and places to go and get plenty of ice cream from whem mum and dad aren’t looking. Generally therefore, larger ships are perfect for families and the itineraries catering for families tie in with school holidays and to places where everyone is going to enjoy going ashore. Plenty of things for the kids to do, plenty of history for the grandparents to enjoy and plenty of shopping, bars and eatieries for the parents to enjoy. Sounds like the perfect balance for any family and a cruise holiday is one of the safest types of holidays that a family can take, with parents knowing their kids are safe in the on board kids clubs and so can enjoy some downtime of their own, lounging by the pool with a nice cocktail in hand.

 

Sometimes the lure of visiting a particular place on an itinerary can be greater than that of the choice of ship, Image: Cruisemarsh.

Sometimes it’s a case that they may not like the ship that is advertised for a cruise but the itinerary is so unique that it’s almost considered a once in a life time opportunity to do it and therefore it’s a case of gritting teeth, keeping calm and cruising on. Our editor, Anthony and his late grandfather did just that in October 2002 when they went on the former Regal Princess on a Pacific Cruise from Hawaii to Japan calling into some of the out of the way destinations such as Midway Island, Saipan, Guam and the Marshall Islands. It was a cruise to track the history of the Second World War in the Pacific, so was of interest to Anthony and his grandfather. However, the ship lacked facilities compared her size of 70,000grt. They both agreed that it should have been on a different ship but they saw the cruise through due to it’s unique itinerary and still had a great time.

 

Sometimes the ship and itinerary combine perfectly. As in the case with the small size of Adonia and cruising up the Amazon. Image: Cruisemarsh.

 

So is there an outright winner in terms of itineraries and ships? Well, whilst both have their merits and disadvantages, there isn’t an outright winner in our opinion. Both the itinerary and the ship work together and without either, there wouldn’t be a cruise. Yes, we may favour destinations over ships and ships over destinations but take either out of the equation and there is no cruise. It would be boring. Nobody would want to go on endless cruises without ports of calls (this excluding transatlantic crossings) So in our opinon there is no winner, and there is no right or wrong. It’s also upto the individual too and their needs and expectations. Nobody can judge others on that and if you are happy to go on a cruise just for the ship or for the itineraries, then enjoy it to the max. Everyone is different and each has their own tastes and that’s what makes this industry so versatile and flexible.

Now, it’s back to the cruise brochures….. now would I like this cruise because of the ship or is this itinerary more inviting than the actual ship? Mmmm…. decisions decisions….

Happy cruising everyone!

 

 

Posted in Cruise Feature

4 Places You Must Visit On A Baltic Cruise.

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and book a Baltic cruise?

Honestly, you will not be disappointed. Well, maybe perhaps the weather maybe hit or miss but the ports of calls and the countries you visit on the cruise, you will not regret why you booked the cruise.

So, for a little guidance, here are our top 4 places to visit on a Baltic cruise:

 

1  St Petersburg – Peterhof Palace:

The maestic Peterhof Palace never fails to impress.

The jewel in the crown for any Baltic cruise is to visit the majestic city of St Petersburg. With so much history and beautiful architecture at your disposal, you are spoilt for choice for where to visit. Whether it be the Hermitage, St Isaac’s Cathedral or the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, there is always somewhere to visit. However, our reccomendation would be to visit the Peterhof Palace on the edge of the city. With vast and expansive grounds to compliment to the grand and regal palace building, it’s an enchanting place to visit and you can see why Peter the Great and his daughter Elizabeth had ordered the construction and expansion of the palace. It’s well worth the visit.

 

2 Old Town – Talinn: 

Town Hall Square, Talinn.

Talinn, Estonia is a charming city which we feel is underservedly under-rated. Just a short walk from where the cruise ships berth, you’ll find yourself in the old town area of the city. With charming architecture that dates back to the 13th century, the old town is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.  It was once centre of the Hanseatic League in the 13th-16th centuries offering a great trading centre.  The castle and the city walls on the upper part of the old town are imposing features of the city and along with the cathedral were major landmarks in the city during it’s time as a major trading centre.  The lower part of the city also offers a a medieval feel with its winding narrow streets, town hall, pharmacies, churches and merchants quarters. You’ll easily lose track of the time and be charmed by the warmth and appeal of the old town. Well worth the walk from the ship.

 

 

3 Little Mermaid –  Copenhagen 

The Little Mermaid statue captures the hearts of all who visit Copenhagen.

Copenhagen is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city and has both modernity and history in abundance. With the Danish Capital home to the Danish Royal Family, the city itself is a popular tourist attraction and no, not just for the Carlsberg Factory, there is an abundance of things to see and do in the city. Whether that be a trip to Tivoli Gardens,  an amusement park and gardens, which dates back to 1843, that caters for the young and old and has one of the oldest wooden rollercoasters in the world,  a walk along the Nyhavn or a trip on the hop on, hop off buses, you won’t get bored. However, we recommend you take a visit to the Little Mermaid Statue, which is situated at Langelinje Pier, a short walk from the central cruise ship berths (larger cruise ships berth in the outer berth, so will require a bus into the centre to visit the statue) and was a gift to the city of Copenhagen from Danish Brewer, Carl Jacobsen in 1913.  The statue, which is made from bronze and granite, is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who relinquishes everything she has to be re-united with a handsome young prince on land. Whilst the statue isn’t as big as you’d imagine it to be, it is nevertheless still an important landmark in Copenhagen and is worth a visit to see her.

 

4 Stockholm – Do It Your Self: 

Well worth travelling by public transport in Stockholm.

We are doing something slightly different here on this one. As we had anchored in Nynäshamn, we had to get public transport into the centre of Stockholm, rather than take a tour with the ship’s excursion program. Now, we decided to buy a 24 hour pass, which enabled us to use the train, bus, tram and boat in Stockholm and Nynäshamn areas. This was a bargain of a price at 13 Euros for an adult and 8 Euros for a child (prices June 2015) This gives great scope for those who wish to travel to Stockholm independently and to utilise the fantastic public transport system on offer. We made full use of the ticket and travelled on the train, bus, tram and boat. So those who wish to see the Vasa Museum, Old Town or Stockholm Cathedral, there is ample opportunity to use the 24hr pass and explore the city at your own pace. Well worth the investment!

 

Whilst there is a whole host of places to visit and explore on a Baltic Cruise, these were just our recommendations for your Baltic cruise.  The main thing would be is if you haven’t been to the Baltic on a cruise, is to book one quick! It’s one of our favourite cruising destinations and will not only charm newcomers but regulars who keep going back for the Baltic cruise fix. It’s a popular cruising regiion and if you can get great weather like we did in June 2015 when we sailed on Royal Princess, then that makes it even more enjoyable.

Most of all, enjoy your Baltic cruise….. we’re not jealous at all! Well, erm….just perhaps a little bit……..

 

 

 

Posted in Cruise Feature

Queen Elizabeth To ‘Grace’ The Mersey This July

As part of Cruise Liverpool’s 10th Anniversary celebrations, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will return to the city as part of her 13-night ‘Tour of the British Isles’ cruise. The City of Liverpool has historical links to Cunard when it established its headquarters there and based in the city until the late 1960’s.

The Liverpool Cruise Terminal was officially opened in 2007 and has since hosted many ships on transit calls and in more recent years has begun to host turnaround calls by cruise lines such as Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV). A proposed new build to cater for larger ships and turnaround calls is earmarked for a site just ahead of the current landing stage. The current facility is managed by Peel Ports.

The Three Graces, Liverpool: Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building: Image: Cruisemarsh

Our Assistant Editor Christian will travel to Liverpool on 11th July to witness the spectacle of Queen Elizabeth on the Mersey and the fireworks display to culminate the ships call, this will be complemented by a unique rendition of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song on the ships whistles.

Speaking of his upcoming trip to Liverpool, Christian said:

“I am very excited to see Queen Elizabeth and what is promised to be a spectacular fireworks display in the evening, with the backdrop of the world famous “Three Graces” of which one of them being the Cunard Building on the waterfront”

 

Posted in Cruise Feature

5 Things We Love About P&O Cruises

As P&O Cruises celebrate their 180th anniversary this year, we’ve decided to have a look at the 5 things we love about the British cruise line…..

 

5: The Great British Sailaway: 

Great British Sailaway on Azura, April 2014.

Sailaway is part and parcel of a cruise and for many, considered to be a highlight. With P&O Cruises, the Great British Sailaway is the opportunity to grab the union flags and wave along to the traditional British songs such as Rule Britannia, There’ll Always Be An England and Land of Hope and Glory. With also the chance to go around the UK, celebrating songs from each of the 4 nations of the UK. It’s an occasion for all members of the family.

 

4: Afternoon Tea: 

Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea. Image: P&O Cruises

Considered a tradition on board P&O, the opportunity to go and have your afternoon’s fill of sandwiches, cream scones, cakes and a good British style cup of tea is too hard to resist! For a cover charge, you can also enjoy Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea in the Epicurian Restaurant on Azura, Britannia and Ventura.  You’ll just have to make sure you  have room for dinner!

 

3: Variety of Entertainment:

Sound of the Underground show, Britannia, May 2017.

Whether it’s the production team presenting their West End Style shows in the theatre to the hilarious comedian, there is entertainment to suit everyone on board. Strictly Come Dancing themed cruises are very popular for those who enjoy the BBC show with dancers and judges also joining the themed cruises to add authenticity and to also allow passengers the chance to appear in their own Strictly Come Dancing competition. Kids on the family friendly cruise ships of Aurora, Azura, Britannia, Oceana and Ventura will enjoy spending time in the various kids clubs whilst the parents can enjoy time relaxing on deck.

 

2: Cabins:

Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin, Britannia, 2015.

Whether you are in an inside cabin or in the very top suite on board a P&O ship, you’ll not be disappointed. The inside cabins, particularly on board Azura, Ventura and Britannia are some of the best laid out cabins designed for a cruise ship. There is a cabin for everyone and each are spacious and comfortable.

 

 

1: Value For Money:

For those that have never cruised and enjoy land-based holidays, the idea of a cruise may sound expensive but when you break down the costs, a cruise with P&O represents great value for money. Included in your cruise fare is your accomodation, food in the main dining room and buffet restaurant, use of the majority of the facilities on board and the entertainment on board. The only extras you’d have to consider would be purchasing alcoholic beverages, shore excursions, dining in the speciality restaurants or having a flutter in the casino.  The prices in the bars are reasonable and comparable to those in pubs back home. The different fares such as Early Saver and Saver allow for greater value when it comes to the prices and passengers can enjoy savings compared to the more expensive Select Fare. Whereas on land, guests would have to factor the costs of entertainment, food and beverages on top of the cost of their accomodation if they hadn’t chosen all inclusive package.

 

So why not give P&O Cruises a try and find out for yourself what makes P&O Cruises tick when it comes to offering a cruise experience for the British Cruise Market.  Ah, now ‘This Is The Life’.

 

 

Posted in Cruise Feature

Does Size REALLY Matter? (Cruise Ships That Is)

Does size really matter when it comes to choosing the right cruise ship for your cruise?

Some regard the idea of cruising on the world’s largest cruise ship as the ‘nightmare from hell’ with too many passengers on board and the thought of getting lost all the time.  There are those that relish the idea of embarking on a cruise with 6000 fellow passengers and taking part in activities that they may not necessarily take part in when on land.

 

There is the traditional cruising camp that enjoy the smaller, older and more traditional cruise ships where they can enjoy a cruising experience without having to fight and wrestle with thousands of other passengers.

There is no right or wrong answer to the question. It’s purely personal choice and there is definitely a cruise ship out there for everyone.

Both concepts of cruising have their merits and negatives. What they both have in common is the experience of being at sea. Cruising the oceans and seas or visiting some far away destination is for some more important than the ship itself.

It’s important to take into consideration at the time of booking what the passenger would like to take from the experience. Do they want to cruise to destinations where only smaller cruise ships can get access to but on board the experience is traditional and very few facilities to distract from the idea of relaxation and shutting off from the real world? Or would taking a slide on the ‘Ultimate Abyss’ on Harmony of the Seas before taking a walk along Central Park would be more appropriate for a cruise experience?

The cruise experience is unique to the individual and everyone will have different ideas as to what the experience should be.

     Cruise ships such as Britannia offer so much choice for families. Image: Cruisemarsh

With cruise ships indeed getting bigger in size and passenger capacity, emphasis is more placed on the newer more glitzy ships coming onto the market. The average age of people taking a cruise is dropping with more and more younger passengers and families taking to cruising more so than at any time in the history of the industry. The attraction of ships that has so many facilities allow for greater choice and for the opportunity for multi-generational family cruises to take place as all tastes are catered for whilst enjoying a holiday as a family. No more arguments then?!

However, the smaller cruise ship should not be discounted. The idea of experiencing something special like sailing the smallest Fjords or going to the Antarctic can only be experienced on a smaller ship.  For others, it’s the idea of personal service from a dedicated crew on board a smaller ship and be regarded as a passenger rather than as a number like on the bigger ships.

Smaller and more traditional cruise ships such as Boudicca are still quite popular. Image: Cruisemarsh

However for some larger ships, they certainly grab a lot of attention. Wherever Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 sails to, she always has an audience. The idea of being part of history too when the largest cruise ship sails into a port for the first time is certainly something to tell the grandchildren.

      Queen Mary 2 always attracts audiences wherever she sails. Image: Cruisemarsh

But for the romantics and enthusiasts out there, the idea of sailing on a smaller ship which has more proportions, lines and style than that of their modern equivalents is something that will be hard to budge the purist on.  The argument is that by sailing on a more traditional looking ship, it will be a classic more authentic experience of cruising. The idea of the ship creaking, rolling and pitching in heavy seas would hark back nostalgically to the traditional days of ocean travel. Purists will also argue that older more traditional ships will travel better in heavy seas than the top heavy mega cruises that are on the market. This is an area of conjecture and debate however it is worth noting that the newer larger cruise ships are designed well enough to withstand heavy seas and to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

However is it possible to consider that there are newer ships on the market such as Viking Star, which are modern, contemporary and stylish yet small enough to reach the less well known destinations.

Is Viking Star a good compromise between contemporary, traditional and small ship cruising? Image: Cruisemarsh

Whilst the cruising world laments the passing of older, smaller traditional ships such as Saga Ruby, there is still plenty of smaller cruise ships out there that will appeal to those who enjoy cruising on smaller ships and even some cruise ships that hark back to the 1940s that are still sailing to this day.

Astoria first entered service as Stockholm in 1948. Image: Cruisemarsh

Therefore cruising has so much to offer. There is so much choice open to cruisers of all ages, whether they are veterans or first time cruisers. There is a cruise ship for everyone and whether that be small, medium or large, it’s ultimately up to you as to what size of ship you would like to sail on. Whether that be old or new, it’s upto you……..

 

 

 

Posted in Cruise Feature

Titanic Fur Coat Fetches £150,000 At Auction

A fur coat worn by a survivor of the ill-fated White Star liner Titanic has sold at auction for more than £150,000 – more than double the original estimate of between £50,000 to £80,000 reports the Yorkshire Post. The fur coat was worn by stewardess Mabel Bennett who put the coat on over a nightdress to protect her from the cold temperatures before evacuating the liner as it took on water after striking an iceberg off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland on 14th April 1912. Ms Bennett who worked as a stewardess in First Class had previously worked aboard the Titanic’s sister ship Olympic and had only joined the recently completed Titanic on 6th April prior to the Maiden Voyage. Ms Bennett served alongside her brother-in-law Alfred Crawford, who survived, and nephew Leonard James Hoare who lost his life in the disaster.

The coat belonged to Ms Bennett until her death at the age of 95. Image: BBC

The fur coat remained with Ms Bennett until her death at the age of 95 – making her one of the longest surviving female crew members from the doomed liner – after which it remained within the family for almost 90 years prior to being sold at auction by the Wiltshire based auctioneer Henry Aldridge and Son in 1999, it was consequently loaned to a museum in the USA. The coat was sold at auction on Saturday 22nd April at more than double its original £50,000 to £80,000 estimate.

Assistant Editor, Christian.

 

Feature Image: Ireland.com

Image: BBC

Source: Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Post Newspapers

Posted in Cruise Feature

105th Anniversary Of Titanic’s Sinking

Today, 15th April 2017 marks the 105th anniverary of one of the most famous maritime disasters ever, the sinking of the ‘Unsinkable’ Titanic on her maiden voyage.

The largest ship in the world, Titanic had departed Southampton on 10th April and with calls to Cherbourg and Queenstown, the next stop for the White Star liner was New York.

However, her maiden voyage was tragically cut short for on 14th April at 11.40pm, she collided with an iceberg on her starboard side, causing the plates and rivets in her hull to buckle and causing fatal damage which would result in the ship sinking. She took her final plunge at 2.20am on 15th April.

It caused shockwaves around the world when news spread of Titanic’s foundering. She had been ‘dubbed’ as ‘unsinkable’ but yet she sank on her maiden voyage with the loss of over 1500 passengers and crew. Over 700 survivors were picked up by Cunard’s Carpathia whom had responded and turned around when she heard of Titanic’s predicament.

It was not a situation that the Board of Trade had envisioned when they deemed Titanic fit to sail. There was only 20 lifeboats on board with capacity for less than half of those on board. The number of lifeboats was deemed sufficient by the Board of Trade, much to the frustration of Thomas Andrews, head designer and architect of Titanic whom wanted to fit more lifeboats on board but it was thought that it would clutter the decks and with the heightened safety features such as a double skinned keel and watertight compartments, it was thought that if the ship did get into any difficulties, then passengers would be able to be ferried to the rescue ship if such a situation occured.

The loss of over 1500 souls was a wake up call for shipping lines, the board of trade and in humanity itself. Since the sinking of Titanic, there has been many measures established in order for the safebeing of passengers and crew on board ships. The creation of SOLAS, Safety Of Lives At Sea has helped travelling by ship become more safe. It was created as the International Convention of Safety Of Lives At Sea in 1914 as a direct result of the Titanic tragedy. The shipping lanes on the North Atlantic would also have an International Ice Patrol which would monitor the icebergs and pack ice throughout the year in order to maintain safe passage for all ships transversing those shipping lanes. All ships must carry enough lifeboats and lifesaving equipment for everyone on board. Lifeboat and muster drills must be carried out before the ship leaves port. (Titanic had only one morning of training for her crew in Southampton to accustom themselves with the lifeboats)  There has been many modifications of the convention since then but it is a direct result of Titanic’s sinking that sailing today is a much safer way to sail than it was back in 1912.

Ironically, nearly 100 years later in January 2012, another shipping tragedy dominated the headlines with the capsizing of Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.. The loss of 30 lives due to ‘human error’ resulted in the safety aspects of cruising being brought under the microscope. It was a further wake up call to the shipping and cruising industry that nothing can be taken for granted and that safety aspects and drills on board would be tightened to make sure that a repeat of this tragedy would not be repeated.

Therefore, as we mark the 105th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking, the shipping industry is ever increasingly evolving when it comes to safety on board. Although nothing can ever be taken for granted and it must be the case that the shipping industry and including the lucrative cruise industry keep vigilant and further reduce the risk of another Titanic or Costa Concordia tragedy ever from happening again.