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Sail With Shell

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Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Michelle and I have been working in the Travel Industry for just over 9 years. From being very young, I have always been extremely interested in Travelling the world. One of my favourite places to travel too is the Caribbean. I Love cruising the Caribbean islands and have done so 14 times with many different cruise ships. I have cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line & Norwegian Cruise Line, all in the Caribbean. My first ever cruise was with the old Ocean Village cruise ship to the Caribbean and then to the Mediterranean. Working in the Cruise Industry is most suited to me, as my favourite way to travel/holiday is by cruise. I blog about news in the industry and each trip I take so please keep checking back to see what I find on my travels.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company have announced they are going to offer yacht cruising from 2019.

We all know and Love the brand, The Ritz-Carlton. They are well known across the globe for their stunning hotels and unbelievable service in all of their hotels. Founded in 1983, the Ritz-Carlton have a wonderful collection of 91 hotels across the world in 30 countries. All offering a memorable stay.

Set to debut in 2019 the Ritz-Carlton Yacht collection have three ships currently on order. The first will arrive in 2019, with the other two currently set to launch in 2021 and 2022. Names are yet to be confirmed. This announcement is said to be one of the most exiting things on the Horizon for the Luxury Cruise Industry.

All three ships will have occupancy for 298 guests in 149 Balcony suites. Two of the suites will be duplex penthouse suites.

There will be no buffet venue on board, just open seating at all restaurants on board. They will offer passengers a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld who is the man behind The Ritz-Carlton three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Aqua.

Design and service will be offered to passengers at the most highest level.

Drawings of the new luxury ships show a stunning Infinity pool at the back of the ship with a helicopter pad also!! To keep in competition with the other luxury yachts currently sailing, they will have a marina platform with kayaks and a speed boat for special occasions with guests on board.

The design of the ships makes them look like a very high-end traditional private yacht.

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.  

If you would like assistance with your next cruise booking, or have any questions, please contact me on 0161 798 2512 or email me Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com – I am always happy to help.

What is the first thing you do when you embark a cruise ship?

When I embark my cruise, the first thing I do is head straight up to the top deck by the pool and grab a cocktail. I will generally sit and stay here for an hour or so, taking in the new surroundings and people on board. In this time my husband has usually made his way to the buffet restaurant to get a head start on the “eating” week ahead. After an hour or so relaxing and checking out what the top deck has to offer, we make our way down the ship, deck-by-deck. This gives us a chance to see some of the ship before the rest of the passengers are on board.

When we are finished with having a walk around, if our cabin is ready we will go and check it out. Then we will head back up to the top deck to soak up more sun and cocktails.

I am sure most of you agree, one thing I hate to have to do when I embark is go to the muster drill. I feel as though my holiday has just got going and then It is put on hold for a very short while for the drill. Sitting there waiting for the other passengers to arrive at the drill is almost as annoying! I try to be the last one there, so I am the first out. And, lets be honest, the Drill is not the most entertaining to keep your attention.

This is why I think Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd are brilliant to have introduced an eight-minute video for their muster drill, which is designed to bring some fun to the dreaded drill on board!

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All three brands; Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruise Line & Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will all be introducing the new video across their fleets. Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruise Line have already been showing the video on their ships, RCCL will introduce on their ships this month.

Named as “Operation: Little Bear” – The new muster video is a short film following the adventures of a secret agent who has been sent on board a cruise ship to intercept a gold teddy before it gets in to the hands of the wrong person. The agent on board has an off ship partner who supports her and helps her navigate around the ship and all of the safety procedures she will need to follow along the way.

According to the Cruise Company, the film will dramatize the do’s and don’ts of the safety on board in an entertaining way and promote the recall of safety messages.

So, lets hope the muster drill is no longer dreaded and is more welcomed by passengers.

If you would like assistance with your next cruise booking, or have any questions, please contact me on 0161 798 2512 or email me Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com – I am always happy to help.

 

Nicknamed as the “Big Easy”, New Orleans is a Louisiana city located on the Mississippi River, close to the Gulf of Mexico.

For the first time in three years, Royal Caribbean will be docking the Vision of the Seas cruise ship here for the 2018/19 winter season, offering seven night sailings to the Bahamas and Mexico.

Prior to moving to New Orleans in December 2018, the ship will sail two 16-night Panama Canal voyages from Miami to Los Angeles, and then from Los Angeles to New Orleans. This will also be the first time in 3 years that Royal Caribbean will offer Panama Canal sailings.

Well known for its vibrant live-music and twenty-four-seven nightlife, New Orleans has lots of offer. The festival spirit will be in full swing when they sail the winter season, with the late-winter carnival renowned for its raucous costume parades and street parties. The French quarter is a great place to hang out with jazz music sounding all day and all night long. Be sure to try the cuisine whilst there, as the city is French-Founded, this has a huge influence over the food.

New Orleans Paddle Steamer (Riverboat)
New Orleans Paddle Steamer (Riverboat)

Music is a Huge part of the New Orleans culture, with a huge thanks to legend Louis Armstrong who was a native of the Big Easy, and now has a public park named after him; Louis Armstrong Park. New Orleans International Airport is named New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport.

Louis Armstrong Statue in Louis Armstrong park
Louis Armstrong Statue in Louis Armstrong park

 

It could be that famous play writer Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams III said it better than anyone: “America has only three cities; New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.” Even the Bright lights of Las Vegas and the Sky High buildings of New York do not compare to this unique city. New Orleans is a place like no other with a must see SkyLine for everyone visiting.

New Orleans, Louisiana, Skyline
The New Orleans, City Skyline

 

This is a place on my bucket list that I will definitely be visiting and to combine with my favourite cruise line of all time is a must for me. So, if your sailing on the Vision of the Seas from New Orleans, I may see you there.

If you would like assistance with your next cruise booking, or have any questions, please contact me on 0161 798 2512 or email me Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com – I am always happy to help.

 

The time is here for a new brochure, and we have filled it full of fantastic deals, including our wonderful Prestige offers.

Here at Cruise Club UK we produce a new brochure every 8 to 12 weeks full of fantastic offers from all the cruise lines. If I say so myself, our new Destination 2018 brochure is our best yet. With offers from the most luxurious cruise lines at sea, you can be wowed for less!!!

With the fantastic Six Star Crystal Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruise Line and Azamara Club Cruises to choose from, there are lots of brilliant offers to be had.

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Fancy Christmas and New Year in South Africa? No problem. We have you covered with a spectacular itinerary from Crystal Cruise Line. With their outstanding smaller, more intimate ships, you will sail the most unique itineraries. The Crystal Symphony holds just 922 passengers on board.

We also have a fantastic offer for a Mauritius stay followed by a Unique itinerary from Crystal, sailing to Madagascar and the Indian Ocean, before sailing to South Africa.

How about a Bali stay and then a cruise to Australia? Azamara Club Cruises are taking their 694 passenger ship, Azamara Journey, from Bali to Sydney. We have put together a 3 night stay in Bali prior to the cruise. If you want to add a longer duration or stay in Sydney to see the sights, that’s no problem. Give us a call to see what we can do.

The sister ship of the Journey, the Azamara Quest (which is identical) will be staying closer to home from Rome to Barcelona on a 7 night sailing. They will hold a magnificent AzAmazing evening whilst in Livorno, with the Three Tenors singing Italian Opera Favourites. Yes, this is complimentary for all guests on board and must not be missed!!!

Sunbeds on board Azamara

If you want to have a luxury cruise, but don’t want to travel too far, why not try Oceania Cruise Line on their “European Serenade” which sails from Rome to Venice for 8 Nights, stopping in Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia. This is on board the Riviera cruise ship, which cost a whopping $500 million (USD) to build.

Head East with Regent Seven seas on board the Seven Seas Voyager, taking in a stay in Singapore before sailing Thailand & China. Finishing in Hong Kong, why not spend a few nights there? Regent Seven Seas offer unlimited Beverages on board for all guests, as well as up to 25 Shore Excursions for each passenger.

Hong Kong by Night

If you want a copy of our wonderful Brochure, which include all of the Luxury sailings above, please contact me on 0161 798 2512 or email me Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com

Don’t forget: Already a Cruise Club UK Member?… Get up to £100 off your next cruise with Double Bonus Points

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Being one of the lucky 200 UK agents to have won a place on board the inaugural sailing of the Majestic Princess, I was lucky enough to spend 4 fantastic nights on board the brand new ship.

We began our journey with a flight from Manchester to Venice. Upon arrival, the Princess coach transfers were waiting to take us to beautiful Trieste, where the stunning Majestic Princess was ready and waiting for us. The transfer time was around 2 hours. No problem for me, as I slept the whole way!!

Boarding the ship was a breeze, very organised with not much waiting time at all.

From arriving at the port to disembarking at the end of the cruise, the staff on board were better than ever. So attentive and most of all, fun to be around. From just meeting a member of staff once, they remembered my name and needs for the whole cruise.

As the ship has been built for the Chinese Market, they cater majorly for the Chinese, of course! All of the princess benefits are offered on board, and have just been enhanced to cater for the Chinese Market.

if you get a chance to go on board, do check out the Lobster and Dim Sum bar, by the pool on deck 16. Fantastic whole lobster dinner for just $22.00!!!

Entertainment on board was wonderful. The first and Second night on board we were lucky enough to have the Tenors of Rock theatre show. My favourite night!! Singing all the old classics from Bon Jovi, Guns n Roses and many more. I was in my element.

Tenors of Rock
Tenors of Rock

At the end of each day, I would finish off in the Hollywood Conservatory which is the Night club on board. By day this is a beautiful adult only solarium, with private cabanas to hire. By night, well, its part time!!

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Peacock in the Hollywood Conservatory

The shops on board are beautiful, Cartier, Rolex, bvlgari are just a few to name. It is safe to say, I looked but did not touch.

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This was my first experience on board a Princess Cruise Ship and I can definitely say I will be returning some time in the near future. What a wonderful cruise line!!

I had to try the first of its kind “sing on the sea” karaoke and it was so much fun! With a drink each and canapés, you have a private suite for up to 6 people so you can go wild on your private karaoke. all suites are sound proof so you do not need to worry about next door listening. Full bar service available. the cost is $12.50 per person, with a minimum of four guests. you get 1 hour in the suite. TRY IT OUT, its so much fun!!!

Michael Jackson Karaoke Suite
Michael Jackson Karaoke Suite

I don’t really have a head for heights, but, I was brave and I walked the sea walk. this is a glass walkway on deck 17 looking straight down into the sea. This protrudes 30 feet out of the ship.

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Drinks aren’t the cheapest on board (like all other American cruise lines), so I will advise any passengers who like to have a good few drinks whilst away, to maybe take out the all inclusive drinks package which is offered at £42 per person, per day.

My travel buddy, Laura, has a blog here regarding the fantastic food on board the ship. The amazing Emmanuel Renaut on board is the highly acclaimed Executive Chef of three Michelin star restaurant “Flocons de Sel,” located in the French Alps village of Megève.

Me & Executive Chef Emmanuel Renaut
Me & Celebrity Chef on board

We had an absolutely wonderful time on board and I recommend Princess Cruise Lines to all passengers looking for a wonderful cruise, on a wonderful ship, with superb service and food.

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: Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 798 2512.

One of the most popular, well known islands in the Caribbean is the beautiful exotic island of Jamaica.

Being the third largest island in the Caribbean (by land) there is plenty for cruise passengers to see and do here.

With the year-round sunshine, beautiful white sandy beaches and the laid back atmosphere, Jamaica is a place I would say everyone must visit at least once.

Whether its snorkelling, horseback riding along the beach, rafting, climbing the Dunns River falls, or just laying on a beautiful beach, you can find something for everyone on the Island.

Dunns River Falls
Dunns River Falls

There are four cruise ports in Jamaica; Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Falmouth and Port Antonio. The most popular with smaller ships being Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Just last week there were nine cruise ships docked on the same day in Jamaica in the four ports. This brought a staggering 20,000 cruise passengers on to the island in just one day. This is a record for the island. With more cruise ships scheduled over 2017-2018, hopefully they will break this record.

The last time I cruised, I docked in Falmouth, which is North on the island. As I was sailing on the Allure of the seas, which is a extremely large ship, this is the only port that is big enough for her to dock. This was then a 1 hour drive to Ocho Rios where I went rafting. AMAZING!!!!

Horseback Riding Tour
Horseback Riding Tour

You can check my Jamaica experience out here.

Of course language is the spoken language on the island, but you will find the majority of the locals will speak in Jamaican Patois (Patwa) with each other. The country has a lot of culture and history which I found so interesting. A tour guide once took me to Trelawny, and explained how the language was founded in Jamaica. This came back to the days of Slavery.

With many luxury hotels on the Island, you can also get day passes to try them out for the day if you wish. 

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: Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 798 2512.

 

Known as a Family Brand, Royal Caribbean are increasing safety measures on board their ships – fleet wide!!!

Passengers on board any Royal Caribbean ship will now notice a few new crew members on board, who are hanging by the pools on top deck. These are licensed lifeguards, which are just part of the new water safety programme implemented by Royal Caribbean. With new signage and water safety instructions added along with the new crew members.

Current swimming pool signage on board Royal Caribbean
Current swimming pool signage on board Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean pride themselves on being one of, if not the best Family Cruise Brand at sea. They understand families needs and cater for all. With this in mind, the swimming pools on board a cruise ship can be an important part of a cruise holiday, which is why the cruise line want to ensure it is as safe as possible for the guests.

The new lifeguards will be trained by Florida based training company StarGuard Elite.

It is said there will be at least one lifeguard on duty at every pool on board, which also includes the Solarium. Passengers should be aware this is the only role a Lifeguard will be working whilst on board, so don’t expect them to bring you a cocktail whilst you soak up the sun.

All lifeguards will be highly visible wearing a bright red and white uniform.

Swim Vests are known as one of the best swimming aids for children, and are very safe. Royal Caribbean offer complimentary swim vest for the pool use. for all children aged between 4 and 12. Hey, that’s just one thing less to pack, or remember!!

Swim vests offered by Royal Caribbean cruise line for children
Swim vests offered by Royal Caribbean cruise line for children

It is important to remember, children under the age of 12 MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian even with the presence of a lifeguard.

They will publish snippets of safety advice in their daily cruise compass which is delivered to all cabins on board. On embarkation day, children and parents at the Adventure Ocean Club will be invited to attend a 15 minute safety introduction.

As I am sure you agree, Safety first!!!

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: Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 798 2512.

Norwegian Cruise Line are “updating” and “expanding” their on board Cirque shows

After the success of the “Cirque Dreams & Dinner” Dinner show on board the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise line are going to be offering the programme on board the Norwegian Getaway which will debut in May for the ships full summer season.

The current “Cirque Dreams & Dinner” Dinner show on board the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Breakaway will be getting a new update, with lots of new exciting material. A brand new show will include a variety of acts and magic. The new show is said to be called “Cirque Dreams & Steam” which will offer a Steampunk theme.

The ships will be saying goodbye to their current Magic and Dinner show which is in the ships Illusionarium, as they will need to make way for their new show.

One of the spokespeople for Norwegian Cruise Line has said that their current Magic and Dinner show is a show with lots of talking, where as the Cirque show is a more visual show and is going to be better for the more international guest mix.

Next week the Norwegian Breakaway will welcome “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy: The Broadway Hit” and in April the Norwegian Epic will introduce “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” for their passengers.

All shows are here for the foreseeable future and all will be housed in the big-top-like Spiegel Tent! How cool!!

All shows were developed by Broadway director and Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg.

All shows have meals included from a completely new Menu, which has not yet been released. The fee of each show is:

Norwegian Epic: Premium seats – $39.99 / Standard seats – $29.99

Norwegian Getaway: Floor seats – $29.99 / Banquette seats – $24.99

Norwegian Breakaway: All seats – $39.99

I took a cruise on the Norwegian Getaway from Miami for 7 Nights. This was a fantastic cruise which you can read all about here.

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: Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 798 2512.

Holland America Line have endless activities on board their sailings, but that doesn’t stop there for the 5* Cruise Line. They have signed a two year brand partnership with “O, The Oprah Magazine”.

They recently announced their partnership with BBC Earth and now they have teamed up with the one and only Oprah Winfrey, America’s most loved Talk-Show Host.

This partnership will bring Oprah’s Book Club on board more than 300 sailings this year and 2018 as well as fitness classes including tai chi and meditation, Enrichment courses and demonstrations on Healthy eating, and the travel-friendly fashion of Adam Glassman, Oprah’s creative director.

During the Alaska sailing, 15th July 2017 departure from Seattle, Oprah will spend two days on board the Eurodam which will be her first trip.

They have named the sailings as “Adventure of your Life”, and have four secured as of now. These will feature special guests who are to yet to be advised.

Started in 1996 by the Queen of Talk Show herself, Oprah’s Book Club has nearly 25,000 active members who share their passion for reading. Members currently have live question and answers, videos and discussions online. You can also get involved and share your thoughts on Twitter by using the hashtag #oprahsbookclub. All books selected to be featured in Oprah Book Club are all chosen by Oprah herself.

If you have a passion for reading and cruising, this is a perfect combination for you. The amazing five star cruise line will not disappoint, that’s for sure.

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: Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 798 2512.

MSC Divina

Have you heard of the membership status match with MSC Cruise Line?

There are a lot of passengers who sail with a particular cruise line purely based on their membership level. I mean, who can blame them, they have taken a long time (usually many years) in building up their loyalty points and membership level with the cruise line they fell in love with 15 years ago.

Well, things change, and cruise lines change. What may have been the best cruise line for you a few years ago, may not be the case now. With more and more ships being built, the cruising industry has never been so popular with returning and new guests.

MSC Cruise line are a wonderful 4* Italian owned cruise line who sail the globe. They offer large inside staterooms, outside, balcony and suite staterooms. If your feeling like splashing out, you could even try their MSC Yacht Club which is their exclusive “ship-within-a-ship” experience.

MSC Yacht Club Deluxe Suite
MSC Yacht Club Deluxe Suite

The Italian line offer a ‘Status Match’ programme which is applicable to all other cruise line memberships. They will match your loyalty status from the other cruise lines to their equivalent membership.

For example, I have just booked my first cruise on board the MSC Cruise Line, MSC Divina cruise ship for April 2017. My membership with Royal Caribbean is currently Emerald (with just ONE sailing away from becoming a Diamond member) – this has been matched as GOLD status with MSC, which gave me a discount off of my cruise and also an on board spend! Not too shabby! – especially as I have never sailed with them before, this is the second to highest level in their membership.

As well as my discount and on board spend, I am in for lots of other benefits when I embark my cruise. such as a fruit basket upon arrival in our cabin, exclusive on board discount, a free photograph of my choice, welcome cocktails with the captain and so on.

Unlike other cruise lines, MSC do not just award points based on the category of cabin you have booked and for how many nights the cruise is. Yes, they award points for this, but they also award points for on board spend. For example, every £150 spent on board will give you 100 points.

If you are booked or are thinking of booking an MSC cruise line and are not already a member, get your membership status match!!!!

Check back in May for my blog on the MSC Divina Caribbean cruise I will be taking. (yes I am counting the days already, the ship looks amazing!!!)

MSC Divina - Balcony Cabin
MSC Divina – Balcony Cabin

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: Michellehaslam@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 798 2512.