Authors Posts by Captain Cookson

Captain Cookson

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Ahoy there! I’m Andy aka Captain Cookson! Welcome aboard my blog I’ll be treating you to the best bits of cruising. I’m a bit of a gadget geek and love all things technology so if you're the same, this is blog for you. I have a completely impartial opinion, no one influences my opinion so at least you know that you’ve got an honest insight into cruising. I’ve been working in travel for some years now and have been with the Cruise Club UK family for a long while now. I am the reservations team deputy supervisor so I am your man to deal with any burning issues for cruise sales, I’m helpful and hands-on. I myself love to travel both on cruises and land holidays, I’ve been on various ships in my time and like to discover all the new features which the cruise lines come up with, with every new ship. Sometimes the world of cruising can seem quite daunting but I’m your man to answer all those questions no matter how big or small I want to assure you that you’re getting the perfect holiday for the best price of course! So stay on board with me for all the coolest cruise bits & news. Capt’n.

 

Afternoon cruisers.

Back in June I started speculating about the new design of ships coming from celebrity cruises.

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Back then we didn’t have any ideas as to what celebrity cruise had up their sleeves, and unfortunately we still don’t know much.

Time is ticking for Celebrity.

STX
Image courtesy of STX France / cutting of steel ceremony.

 

Celebrity boasted that the new design of ship will be debuting in fall 2018. Well time is nearly up for them now as 2018 / 2019 cruises go on sale at the end of November.

What do we know?

There are 4 ships on order

The “Celebrity Edge” launching 2018

The “Celebrity Beyond” launching 2020

  • The other two – as yet unnamed ships are scheduled for 2022 + 2024.

The ships will be 117 thousand tonnes, and will accommodate 2900 passengers (ratio of 1/40.34)

  • The Celebrity Reflection (current flagship) is 126 thousand tonnes and at 3046 guest is a ratio of 1/41.35

The concept for the celebrity edge is “Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities”

There are rumours that the ships will not feature a main dining room and will have up to 14 “eateries” onboard. I would guess that few of those are free and most will be “for a fee”

 

As the 2018 itineraries are on sale 29 November they’ll need to do some announcing soon.

  • People are unlikely to book a ship they know nothing about
  • We can’t sell the cruises without a deck plan, or an idea as to how the dining works.

If they delay the cruise going on sale, they’ll be creating a big hole in their schedules – opening up more rumours in the industry.

 

New ships are usually kept a secret until they absolutely have to announce – and this time they’re really waiting until the last minute to announce.

As soon as I know more – I’ll let you know.

 

One thing I do know is that if there is another Southampton preview cruise – I’ll have to do another CCUK members event!!

 

Tarar for now.

  • The Capn.

Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  

Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise: andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

It’s been barely three years since M.S.C ceased their X-UK (sailing from Southampton) Programme.

And now they’re back – in a very big way!

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In January 2014 M.S.C stated that they needed time to concentrate on Mediterranean voyages. Re-deploying the MSC Opera down to the Mediterranean for the summer season. However in 2018 they’ll be back with the even bigger, Newer M.S.C Magnifica sailing from Southampton on a variety of northern Europe voyages.

Launched in 2012, carrying 2550 passengers in 95 thousand tonnes of space – the Magnifica has been spending her winters in the Mediterranean and summers in the Baltic. In 2018 she’ll be setting sail for Southampton for a summer season.

As one of the newer generation M.S.C ships, she has a full broad way style theater, Sundecks, multiple bars and restaurants, and importantly plenty of balcony staterooms!

M.S.C have also scheduled a brief return to Southampton for late summer 2017 and have some exceptional prices for the voyages.

Starting at £649 per person – Including a Mealtime drinks package and parking at Southampton based on the 24th September 2018 – that’s a bargain!

UPDATE 27/11/16 

Wow, what a popular set of offers this has proved to be,

Itineraries are now on sale and have proved very popular.

24SEP18, 01OCT18, 08OCT18, 15OCT18 (starting at £599per person)

= Southampton, Le Harve, Zebrugge, Amsterdam (2 days) Hamburg

22October 2018

Southampton to Genoa voyage

  • visting Le harve, Leixoes, Lisbon, Cadiz, Barcelona and Marseille.

So what do you think?, have you cruised on MSC before, are you wanting to try them?

I’d like to know your opinions.

Tarar for now

  • The cap’n

Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  

Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise: andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

 

 

 

Afternoon cruisers.

harmony

Well the time has come and Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the seas has crossed the Atlantic to start her new life in the Caribbean.

After leaving Barcelona on the 27th October she made her way over to the Caribbean to start her winter duties. 219 hours later she arrived in port everglades Florida.

As Royal Caribbean’s biggest and most advanced ship yet it was a certainty that they would be having a little celebration on her arrival, in typical Royal Caribbean fashion they did a royal rendezvous at sea.

This is where they greet the arrival of their newest ship as sea with a flotilla of their sister ships – its quite a feat.

 

A happy Accident in 2016 I was onboard the oasis when the new girl (allure) arrived in Florida’s waters, and in Royal tradition they had a Royal Welcome at sea.

 

With helicopters, Flags, Sounding the horns it was quite an experience to be part of the Royal Welcome.

 

The Harmony brings with her the latest all singing & dancing features:

The ultimate abyss, A 10 story slide from the top of the ship to the bottom.

All new restaurants on board (including a larger wonderland and Jamie Oliver’s at sea.

Grease the musical performing at sea.

Multiple waterslides and sports activities to make your cruise as fun as you want it to be.

 

What do you think of the harmony?

 

Too big? / Too busy ? / lots for you to do? Or sign me up – Iwant to go!

 

Tarar for now

  • The capn.
  • Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points
  • (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  
  • Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise: andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

Afternoon Everyone,

A recent question I’ve been asked a lot by customers is about the subject of bonding / protection of Holidays, so I thought this might be of interest to my readers.ABTA-TTA-logo_700x394ATOL logo small

Bonding is a tricky subject, I understand that some people prefer to separate the elements of their holiday because it offers flexibility and a saving, ultimately it’s your decision – but here are the facts and downfalls.

I’m going to try to keep it simple and worded as you the traveller.

 

Self package

This is where you buy your cruise from an agent (such as ourselves) (and have ABTA protection on that cruise booking)

You buy your flights online from Some where else (like easyjet)

Transfers, Hotels all separate bookings and payments.

You’re being the agent – as its YOU that’s created the package.

ABTA / ATOL bonding does not apply if anything does not work.

What Can go wrong

Flight delay – it is YOUR responsibility to buy a new flight to the first port of call

Failure – say the Hotel goes into administration – you have to book into a different hotel and claim your money back for the first hotel / covering any difference yourself.

If you’re doing this – you should

  1. use your credit card for payments in case of financial collapse

(except the cruise as that has ABTA protection)

  1. Book a pre-cruise hotel stay – in case of a delayed flight out – you have a buffer of time just in case.

 

Full package

This is a One Stop purchase.

Where you book with one agent or operator and have ONE booking with everything within.

Check that the company is bonded in the relevant way depending on what you’re booking

ABTA = is a check of Quality and financial protection.

ATOL = is an agent that is licensed and protected by the Government to make packages on the customers behalf including AIR

ATOL stands for Air Tour Organiser Licence.

 

For an Agency to be ABTA & ATOL bonded requires the agent to submit their accounts annually, to be profitable, to have everything in order.

 

If your cruise has flights involved – you Must be issued with an ATOL certificate, this is your protection document in case of any failures or problems. It has information as to what you should do in the event of a collapse.

The ATOL certificate MUST be for the full package. a seperate certificate for the cruise, flights and hotel does not provide adiquate protection.

I hope this helps you.

 

Tarar for now

 

The Cap’n

 

Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  

Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise: andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

 

After many months of silence from Mr Branson it looks like the propellers are finally in motion at virgin cruises.

At a press conference on the 18th Of October they made some very important milestone announcements.

  • 3 brand new ships

A contract is signed with Fincantieri shipyard for delivery in 2020, 2021 & 2022

  • Homeport of the first (as yet unnamed) vessel will be Miami, Florida and they’re sailing the Caribbean to begin with.
  • They’ve changed their name.

No more Virgin cruises – It’s now “Virgin Voyages”

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Branson stated that the word “cruise” is awful and he does not want it associated with their product.

  • The ships will be “Clean”.

Using re-cycling technology they’re aiming to have the cleanest “voyage” ships afloat.

  • The Line is promising unique ports and a very social experience on board.

Also a new logo, introduction video was also released.

“This is anything but just another cruise or holiday, it will be a transformational experience”

Tom McAlpin, Virgin group’s president and C.E.O

 

As usual Mr Branson’s appearance was unique

Virgin seem to be aligning their voyages squarely at a younger age range than the traditional “cruise” line. Separating themselves from the cruise industry could be a very bold move. Will then be shunned by the cruise community and operate as a totally different offering? Surely if virgin are chasing the younger audience then that could be a very brave but important move to make!

Very little information is available and we have at least 2 years until it goes on sale.

So what do you think, are you considering a virgin voyage?

Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  

Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise: andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

 

Afternoon Cruisers,

 

In a surprise move royal Caribbean cruises have announced that they’ve announced that they’ve signed a letter of intent to build two new ships.

The news does not stop there.

The two new ships are due to be launched in 2022 & 2024 and will be an entirely new design of ship. Under the codename project Icon, these ships will be carrying around 5000 passengers so are around halfway between the Oasis class and Quantum class of ships.

And the news keeps on coming!

These ships will be a “radical –re-design and reimagining of cruise ships” this is royal Caribbean’s usual approach in recent years – but the ships will also be significantly greener.

Following Carnival corporations lead the ships will not be diesel power and will be LNG (liquid natural gas) powered ships.

LNG has many advantages over diesel power.

1 – Its Cleaner and better for the environment.

2 – LNG takes a quarter of the onboard space of Diesel

3 – Smokestacks can be located in different positions (not just the aft of the ship) as soot is non-existent the chimney can be anywhere.

royal-caribbean

 

Royal Caribbean will also be installing a colossal battery pack on the ships as well so they will be able to charge when the ship is in dock and use the stored power at sea – or in ports where the infrastructure does not support LNG.

To experiment and test they’re going to install a “battery bank” on an oasis class ship during the winter season and test its compatibility and practicality.

So overall Royal Caribbean’s press office is very busy right now – and as always this is just a letter of intent (it’s the official term for they’ve made an enquiry)

Tarar for now

The Capn.

 

Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  

Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise: andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

Afternoon cruisers

During my years I’ve heard many tales of cruising rituals, traditions and the little touches that make your cruise holiday perfect.

 

I thought I’d put some down in a blog. Maybe you have a ritual of your own that you would share with me?

Sail away with a fizz

  • One customer of mine ALWAYS has a bottle of the finest bubbles for every sail away.

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Lucky Mascot

I have seen many cruising mascots – even on my own cruises. Do you have your own / what’s the strangest you have seen?

A strong start to the day

I have seen this in person! A gentleman who had a shot of the ships finest Scotch every morning after his breakfast!

Collecting

Im guilty of this one – I like to pick up a miniature snow globe from every new place I visit.

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Ive also heard of fridge magnets, Tea Towels and thimbles and of course the souvenir cocktail glass!

 

Acquisitions

Yes I’ve also met passengers on ships who “acquire” items from each cruise – im pleased to say that it’s always been small items (a teaspoon, a towel and a mug) I’ve not had any large-scale criminal activity.

Schedule

Somebody (who will remain nameless) does like to know what ships are in port on the same days as themselves. Will keep an eye out for the arrival / departures of other ships. It’s great to watch a sail away – but sometimes it’s just as much fun to watch another ship sail away!

 

Sampling the local cuisine

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I once met a large group of cruisers – they were very well travelled and visiting Europe as a group of friends. Every day they would all go on shore and do their own thing. Meeting up at the sail away bar every afternoon. Their challenge was to select and gather some local delicacies.

They had cold meats, questionable seafood, fresh bread, bottles of wine and some items I can’t even imagine what was in them.

They would sit as a group and share their late lunch amongst them having a great time.

I didn’t know you could bring all those items onto the ship – but I liked their idea.

So over to you, do you have your own cruise rituals – I’d love to know

Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  

Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise: Andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

 

Tarar for now – and happy cruising.

 

The C’apn

Hope you’re having a great Summer time and have plenty of cruises arranged to take you sailing into the sunshine.

Today I thought I’d talk about one of the industry’s best kept secrets.

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Booking onboard.

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This is booking your next cruise while you’re on board your current cruise, and it can be VERY rewarding.

 

All the cruise lines have an on board booking scheme, and the terms & offers vary from line to line.

  • Im speaking generally.

 

There are two main ways of booking your next voyage while on board.

 

Specific voyage

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  • If you know which cruise you would like to do, this is the best deal.
  • You choose your specific sailing and put your deposit down there and then.
  • As a reward for this you can get a 5-15% discount and Extra freebies for doing so.

If the UK has a promotion on for that cruise – say a free drinks package, you’ll get the same plus another extra like onboard credit on-top.

As a thank you for booking onboard – some lines also give you a bit of onboard spend there and then as a thank you.

Better yet – the new booking is emailed over to your original agent, and they’ll look after it for you.

Also with cruise club you’ll get your loyalty points off the onboard deal too.

  • They’re usually flexible too, so if you need to change the voyage once you get home you usually have one free change – and the benefits move to your new voyage.

 

Again this is generally speaking – and you should always check when onboard for the specific conditions.

 

Deposit Down,

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You don’t know which cruise you want to go on or when you want to go – so you can put down a deposit for future use.

Say you put down £300.00 – that is fully useable for the future, and you receive onboard credits when you spend it.

When you’re home and ready to book – you tell your agent that you already have a deposit paid.

You then get up to $500 onboard credit off your next voyage.

 

Things to remember

In both instances the payments made are not refundable.

They are also not transferrable to another cruise line.

 

My recommendation

Before you’re going on your next cruise – have a look at what future itineraries you might like with that cruise line (if you’re certain you’ll sail with them in the future)

If there is a cruise you like – email me andy@cruiseclubuk.com – I’ll give you a detailed quote on your chosen cruise, you then print that and take it cruising with you.

Go to the future cruise desk with that quote and see what they can do with it.

 

When it comes back to me I’ll knock off your loyalty points and cruise club promotions.

 

If you want and specific advice for your cruise line – get in touch

 

Tarar for now & Happy sailing.

  • The Cap’n

 

  • Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  
  • Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise andy@cruiseclubuk.com0161 798 2514

 

Afternoon cruisers, recently I was having a discussion with one of my loyal customers about their cruise itinerary. The itinerary in question was 14 nights in the Caribbean and It had 4 stops at the cruise lines private island.

 

While any port of call is better than a day at work – we started talking about private islands and what they involve, the main theme = MAKING MONEY.

 

When you think about it – it’s a port of call owned by the cruise line, they don’t promote leaving the resort, and everything in the resort is charged back to your stateroom.

 

So whats the difference from staying on ship,

You get a day on the beach – without having to take taxis from the cruise port.

You get unique experiences that you cant do on the ship – swim up bars, water sports, Barbeques, Snorkeling ect ect.

 

Of course there are shops where you can induldge in a little retail therapy – these stores are run by the locals and not the cruise line (they pay rent to the cruise line to be there)

 

Some of the Private islands / resorts

 

Royal Caribbean (also used by Celebrity)

Labadee = Haiti

i have been to Labadee myself – although it was a beutiful spot – i stayed on the ship and almost had the ship to myself for the day.

Labadee
Labadee, Haiti

Coco Cay = Bahamas

COCOCAY
Cococay

Princess cruises

Princess Cays = Bahamas

Princess Cay
Princess Cay

Holland America

Half moon Quay = Bahamas

Half moon cay
Half moon cay

NCL

Great Stirrup Cay = Bahamas

Great stirrup
Great stirrup

MSC

Ocean Cay = Bahamas (Coming 2018)

As a designated marine reserve MSC are really playing on the wildlife and ecology of this piece of paradise.

Ocean cay
Ocean Cay

 

MSC (Again)

Sir Bani Yas Island

MSC are currently finalising plans for another private resort – this time in Abu Dhabi.

Opening for the winter 2016/17 Emirates voyage season on board the Fantasia

Sir-Bani-Yas
Sir Bani Yas Island

 

Have you visited any private islands, what did you think?

 

Ta-rar for now

The capn.

  • Did you know here at Cruise Club UK we have a Loyalty Bonus Scheme. Book your chosen cabin type and you can receive up to 50 Bonus Points (1 Point = £1). That’s a saving of up to £50 off your next cruise booked with us.  
  • Email or call me to discuss your dream cruise andy@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 798 2514

 

 

Good afternoon Cruisers. Women’s Buffalo Bills ’47 Brand Heather Gray Empire Tri-Blend Slub T-Shirt, cheap nfl jerseys,Youth New York Jets White/Red Vintage Ribbed Cuffed Knit Hat., cheap jerseys

What a busy day its been – but a great one. Today myself and two colleagues were invited on board the Seabourn Quest while she was docked in the heart of Liverpool.

IMG_1988
The Quest docked in Liverpool

The weather was great and so was the ship.

IMG_1997
Sub is Shining on the liver birds

Overall it was a very informative experience, Seabourn really do ultra-luxury cruises and they do them very well. On board they have the highest guest to crew ratios at sea – an impressive 1:1 ratio!

 

The experience on board is taken care, the gratuities are included – they are no expected by the staff.

So much is included – not like other cruise lines who offer an “all inclusive experience “ Seabourn is totally included – from the vintage champagne, to the Caviar (if you like that) to the master mixology cocktails – its all included.

IMG_2003
The “buffet” restaurant – better than some main dining rooms !!

This seemed to create an environment of equality on board, everyone seemed focused on what they wanted to do-rather than keeping up appearances (a really refreshing approach)

IMG_2009
impressive decor onboard

What I learned.

The Seabourn quest has been specifically ice strengthened, so shes the most modern cruise ship to visit Antarctica, with her size she can get into the smaller ports that other ships can only tender to – meaning you get into the heart of your destination from the moment you step ashore.

The staterooms are HUGE – a very generous cabin size means that everyone can stretch out in comfort during their voyage.

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Stunning chandelier

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From your first voyage with us we will issue you with our loyalty bonus points.

It’s our way of saying thank you for trusting us with your dream cruise and welcoming you back again and again with extra benefits every time you sail with us.