Cruise Holidays

shutterstock_156910As the nights draw in, and the chilly weather approaches, as does the need for baggy jumpers and cosy nights in front of a roaring fire, can only mean one thing… It’s almost Christmas time!

Sample the festive season, European style, with a European Christmas Market Cruise in a cultural city that truly captures the true spirit of Christmas…

Quaint cobbled streets lined with traditional wooden lodges, decorated with local handicrafts and traditional handmade Christmas decorations, sprinkled with the glimmer of sparkling Christmas lights, which is combined with the gentle sound of Christmas carols and the festive smell of roasting chestnuts and the fruity aroma of mulled wine

Experience a European Christmas for less than £68.00 Per Person, Per night! On board P&O Ventura…

Departing from Southampton on Sunday 13th December 2015

Ventura

P&O Ventura entered service in 2008, and has a guest capacity of 3,078 and 1,205 crew. Ventura promises to be the ship where there is always something going on, boasting 12 eateries, which includes 3 main restaurants, and a fine dining restaurant*

Ventura boasts no less than 12 places to drink, as well as a lavish wine bar*, Olly Smith’s – The Glass House

Entertainment is plentiful, with a two – deck theatre, a casino, and a 3 deck atrium with dance floor

Monday 14th December 2015 – A leisurely day at sea, gives guests the chance to unwind in The Retreat alfresco spa terrace, or in the Oasis Spa with its endless pool and thermal suite. Take a dip in one of the 4 pools, with 1 featuring a skydome and 6 whirlpool spas!

Engage with a book in the on board Library, or enjoy a spot of retail therapy in the on board shops*

Tuesday 15th December 2015 – An early arrival into the popular Amsterdam, sees this usually flowering city being transformed into a illuminated haven for romantics, with illuminated walking routes along the famous Amsterdam canal’s, The Amsterdam Light Festival is open from 26th November 2015 to the 17th January 2016

A variety of festive market stalls, selling local handicrafts, toys, and clothes can be found here, as well as an ice rink, surrounded by food and drink stalls

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Wednesday 16th December 2015 – Ventura arrives into the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium, giving guests the chance to visit Bruges. The Bruges Christmas Market, promises a cosy feel, featuring an Ice Rink, combined with a picturesque and traditional backdrop. Visitors have the chance to take a ride upon a horse drawn carriage through the cobbled streets, filled with festive cheer! Meanwhile, nearby Brussels is home to the soon to be 15th Winter Wonder’s festival, boasting a traditional Christmas atmosphere, whilst playing home to a giant centrepiece – A giant decorated Fir Tree! As well as the Ice Rink, visitors can experience all the joys of the fair, with the Ferris Wheel and The Merry – go – rounds. Visitors are spoilt for choice with around 240 wooden lodges, selling local Christmas handicrafts, combined with traditional Choirs, a variety of artists and open air concerts

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Prices for this truly Festive Christmas experience are leading in at £269.00 Per Person, based on 2 sharing an Inside Cabin for the 13th December 2015 departure. Price includes all port taxes and fees, excludes on board service charge’s.

* Denotes a charge applies

Call me today to reserve your cabin, or allow me to check availability on your perfect Christmas cruise…

Angelina

0161 7982536

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Harmony of the Seas makes her debut with a European cruise season May through till October 2016 and then will follow up with 7 night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from November 2016 out of Fort Lauderdale. Harmony of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s third Oasis Class cruise ship and is packed with even more brand new innovations.

She is the first ship that features ‘Splashaway bay’ which is an interactive aquapark for kids. I would describe this as a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers complete with a multi-platform jungle gym, gigantic drench bucket and sea creature water cannons.

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There is also three new waterslides known as The perfect storm which are named cyclone, typhoon and supercell for guests to enjoy even more thrills. Harmony also has The ultimate abyss which is a 10 storey slide begins in the pool and sports zone at the aft of the ship down to the boardwalk neighbourhood below.

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Harmony in usual Royal Caribbean style features some fantastic eateries featuring fine cuisine from around the world. You can dine in the modern Japanese restaurant Izumi or sample classic Mexican dishes at Sabor or for a more casual approach perhaps grab a slice of pizza at Sorrento’s. The ship also features a bionic bar onboard where you can have your favorite cocktail prepared by a robot!

 

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Entertainment on board in general with any of Royal Caribbeans ships that I have experienced is outstanding. Harmony like the rest certainly does not disappoint with performances that will amaze and dazzle you. Broadway style shows are a must see or why not spend an evening at the aquatheartre.

 

Why not secure your place aboard this amazing ship and prepare for the wow factor!! For expert advice call me directly on 0161 798 2518.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dubai is situated in the United Arab Emirates (Middle East) and is fast becoming one of the most visited cities in the world.

A total of 742, 158 passengers travelled from the United Kingdom last year to Dubai to visit this wonderful and vibrant place.

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You can travel to Dubai direct with Emirates Airlines from several UK gateways (London Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow) only 7 hours long, you can also choose to fly from your local airport on indirect flights with the likes of KLM, Air France, Lufthansa and British Airways, giving you more flexibility.

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When arriving in Dubai you will instantly feel welcomed by all the local / foreign people that work in the airport, very friendly and always full of knowledge, always there to assist and always with a smile on their faces.

The airport is one of the biggest I have been too! It can take upto 40 minutes to walk from one terminal to another, people with mobility issues should definitely pre arrange airport assitance. If your one for shopping then this airport is a shoppers paradise, make sure you check in early for your flight because sometimes passport control can be busy due to the sheer volume of flights that take off on a daily basis.

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Now comes the tricky part, which hotel do you choose? Theres absolutely plenty of choice to choose from here, from your standard 3 star hotels to the 5/6 star propertys, this is all depending on what you can afford to spend? Again another choice is which area would you like to stay in? You can choose from Dubai City, Jumeirah Beach, Palm Island to name just afew, the list is endless.

Most of the hotels in Dubai offer complimentary shuttle bus transfers which take you to the Malls and beach areas on the coast. When choosing a hotel in Dubai another thing to take into consideration would be does the hotel serve alcohol? Some hotels in Dubai are known as dry hotels so no alcohol will be served and you cant bring your own alcohol. There are many licensed hotels to choose from.

Dubai is a fascinating place to visit, Dubai has the worlds biggest malls for shopping, the stunning Burj Khalifa, in my own experience is well worth a visit, fancy travelling up 125 floors in 52 seconds and not even feeling a thing, the views are stunning from the viewing platform and features a 360 degree walk around observation deck (not for the faint hearted though.

I believe that everyone should experience the delights of Dubai atleast once in their lives, I hopefully will be going back very soon 🙂

 

In this blog I am going to go through some of my favourite tours and stays that you can add on and then some where I would like to do that cruise lines currently don’t offer. I’d also like to hear from you. Where would you like to see cruise lines add to their itineraries?

Cruising is becoming more popular than ever and given some of the places that you can see on a cruise it is easy to understand why. Add the fact that you can now add on events, tours, city breaks or beach stays before of after your cruise and you soon realise just how much you can do all in one holiday.

 

Firstly my Top 5 cruise and stay options are:

  1. Cruise & Grand Prix – With cruises going from Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and certain cruise lines calling in at Monte Carlo you can incorporate a day at the track before or after your cruise for a holiday in the fast laneshutterstock_275472749
  2. South America & Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinary setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire with its giant walls and terraces which seem as if they have been cut naturally in to the rock. This is definitely on my bucket list and can be added on to several South American itineraries with Celebrity, Princess and Holland America.shutterstock_168497345
  3. New York – The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps! Home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty and many other iconic sites. New York City is a fast-paced, globally influential center of art, culture, fashion and finance. The city’s 5 boroughs sit where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Add New York on to a Transatlantic Cruise, Canada and New England or Bermuda and the Caribbean.shutterstock_99855551
  4. Dubai – One of the few cities in the world that has undergone such a rapid transformation – from humble beginnings as a pearl diving centre to one of the fastest growing cities on earth. Home of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, idyllic beaches and shopping in supermalls or the souks of the Old Town, there really is something for everyone in Dubai. Add a stay on to a 7 night cruise around the Emirates with Royal Caribbean or Costa Cruises.shutterstock_132104546
  5. Coach Tour and Cruise – Here at Cruise Club we have an exclusive Tour & Cruise program where we take our customers by coach to their chosen Ocean or River Cruise, stopping off at places like Paris, Dijon and Avignon in France, Ypres in Belgium, Ljubljana in Slovenia, Salzburg in Austria & Bavaria in Germany. These offers are ideal for anyone who doesn’t like flying and also those who want to take in areas of Europe that are not accessible on your normal cruise itinerary.

Now here are a few couple I would like to see be added to some cruise itineraries or added on as a stay option.

Parga – One of my favourite areas in Greece, this small mainland town is buzzing with harbour side restaurants, bars and shops and then there is Valtos Beach, the most famous beach in Parga and probably the whole Greece for its silken, sand and crystal clear water. This could make a great stop off for some of the smaller cruise lines.shutterstock_178933340

Menorca – This Balearic Island is much quieter than it’s neighbours Majorca and Ibiza but still has lots to see. It is also home to one of the largest natural harbours in the world in it’s capital Mahon so would certainly be able to handle even the biggest of ships. shutterstock_107273291

Both of these would make excellent ports of call or even extended stays either pre or post cruise.

Where would you like to see more cruise lines visiting? Send me you ideas. You never know, somebody might just take note.

Overlooking Downtown Miami

For my first time staying in Miami, I wanted to make sure I got the hotel just right. We were staying in Miami for three nights in total, made up of three separate one-night stays.

We would be staying one night prior to our first cruise out of Miami, which was on the Majesty of the Seas (see previous blog). When this cruise ended we were then returning to Miami for another night before embarking the Norwegian Getaway (blog yet to come) for another cruise. Finally, when this cruise ended we were to return to Miami for a final night before flying back to the UK.

We choose the Mondrian South Beach Hotel for all three night hotel stays. and what a great choice this turned out to be!!

From the moment you arrive at the Mondrian hotel, you are treated like a VIP. The staff are wonderful there, in particular the front desk staff. They do anything and everything possible to make your stay a memorable one. We were treated like royalty on each of our one night stays.

We made the Hotel aware of a special occasion we were celebrating and we received a bottle of champagne with chocolate dipped strawberries for our enjoyment.

We had a bay view room with balcony, overlooking the bay and downtown Miami. At night the lights came to life with dancing girls and in the day it was calm and relaxing.

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The Bay View Room with Balcony at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel – Night View
The Bay View Room with Balcony at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel
The Bay View Room with Balcony at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel – Day View

 

 

 

 

 

Bay view room with Balcony - Mondrian South Beach Hotel
Bay view room with Balcony – Mondrian South Beach Hotel

 

 

 

Hotel Exterior - Mondrian South Beach Hotel
Hotel Exterior – Mondrian South Beach Hotel

If you have travelled to Miami before, you will know prices can be quite high in restaurants, bars and hotels. The Mondrian is located on Washington Avenue, just off of Alton Road which offers the Alton Loop Bus. With the bus stop situated right outside the hotel, this is an easy way of getting around Miami and seeing all the famous sights.

Just a 2 minute walk from the hotel door, you will find a whole foods. This is a supermarket which will cater for all your needs, and there is also a Walgreens right across the street from here. We would go to the Whole foods to stock up on our juices, waters, alcohol and snacks. They also offer freshly cooked food.

The Mondrian at South beach is like a home from home. With HUGE hotel rooms that are very clean, airy and modern, it was a pleasure to stay here. A small kitchenette area is offered in each room.

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They Bay view room with Balcony – Mondrian South Beach – Interior
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They Bay view room with Balcony – Mondrian South Beach – Interior
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They Bay view room with Balcony – Mondrian South Beach – Interior
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They Bay view room with Balcony – Mondrian South Beach – Interior

 

As the hotel is not located on south beach, there is a much calmer atmosphere to the hotel, rather than that of a party one.

To get to south beach from the hotel, it is around a 15 minute walk straight down one road.

As well as the fantastic points of this hotel, there are also a couple of things that may be a problem to others:

There is a resort tax of $20.00 per room, per night payable locally to the hotel.

Food and Drink at the hotel is extremely expensive (keeping in tone with the rest of Miami). A can of coke will set you back $8.00 and a bottle of beer is around $12.00.

We ate at the hotel one lunch time. The bill came to $75.00 for two of us, for two hamburgers, one coffee and one coke. I advise you visit whole foods or other dining options!

You can see the cruise port from the hotel. it costs $22-$25 one way in a taxi.

I will most definitely be returning to this hotel and recommend to any cruise passengers looking for a pre or post cruise hotel stay in Miami. The location, the staff and the hotel itself really is fantastic!

Check back on my blogs to see how I get on, sailing away on the Norwegian Getaway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have to love and hate this time of year….. For me the love part: time for the BBC’s best show Strictly Come Dancing – and the hate part: The countdown to Christmas begins!

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I’ve been an avid fan of the show since it started back in 2004 with Natasha Kaplinsky as the series 1 winner, to Caroline Flack in 2014.

Did you know that Bruno has given out the most 10’s (score) during the whole series

Expect to see Ballroom at its best, Latin American and specialty dancing. Approx 8.7 Million people turn on to watch this show

It’s no wonder that P&O have themed Cruises for 2016. Get to meet some of your favourite professional dancers. Learn about the sparkly world of ‘Strictly’ and view some of the amazing costumes. Take to the dance floor and show them your moves, or sit back and enjoy the show.

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The following cruises will be BBC Strictly Come Dancing themed cruises:

2016 Cruises

Azura 14 night, Mediterranean – 22 July 2016

Britannia 13 night, Canary Islands – 16 May 2016, 13 night, Canary Islands – 5 June 2016

Ventura 14 night, Canary Islands – 22 April 2016

I don’t know about you, but from me it’s a 7

For further information please visit our website or call our knowledgeable Sales Team

 

That’s all from me………………KEEP DANCING

 

Having worked in the Travel Industry for numerous years, you come across some very funny Cruise questions. I wanted to share my top 10 with you:

  1. How much noise do sunbeds make when being moved? Also do you know the times of day they will be moved around?

This is a rare one, but I have been asked this, I think the customer was trying to suss out if they would hear the scrapping noise of the sunbeds from their cabin below

  1. ‘Your flight leaves at 1400 hours’, customer: ‘Is that in the morning or afternoon?’

In Travel we tend to use 24 hour military time to make it easier when explaining flight times

  1. Do we stay on board the ship at night or do we stay in a hotel?

Yes, of course you stay on the ship in your cabin overnight.

  1. I want to sail from Las Vegas!

Las Vegas is a great add on, however it’s in the middle of a desert. You would have to embark in: San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego

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  1. What’s the difference between a veranda & balcony cabin?

One is how the Americans say it, the other is English!

  1. Do you know what the weather is going to be like?

HOT!!!! The answer is we don’t know, we can guess on previous years

  1. If I pay the cheapest price will my cabin be next to the engine room?

No, not at all!

  1. Do I need a passport if I sail from the UK? Even if I don’t get off the ship?

Yes, your sailing international waters and are required a passport to board

  1. I’m worried about the ‘Captains Cocktail Evening’ how can he host the dinner and sail the ship at the same time?

He’s the Captain for a reason and being in charge means he can delegate

10. If we book an ocean view cabin will it be below the water? 

No, none of the cruise lines have cabins below seas level.

It always makes our working day that much brighter with questions like these.

Share your experiences with us. Tell us some of the things you have been asked

The Majesty of the Seas

If you have read my previous blogs, you will know sailing the Caribbean is my favourite holiday. Trying new cruise lines, new islands and meeting new people is my idea of a great holiday. So, this time, August 2015, we decided to travel from England to Miami to embark on TWO Caribbean cruises.

Royal Caribbean is my favourite cruise line of all time. I have sailed the Caribbean with them numerous times on their biggest ships and now, I was set to embark their oldest, smallest ship in the fleet; The Majesty of the Seas. This was a 4 night Bahamas cruise leaving from Miami. We had an ocean view (port hole) cabin on deck 2!! After traveling on the bigger, newer ships and staying in mostly balcony and suite category of cabins, myself and partner were quite nervous about the cabin and its position.

After a very easy and stress-free embarkation at the Port of Miami, we were on the ship. Greeted by a very grand foyer, and the smiling staff of Royal Caribbean, we felt at home immediately.

We got ourselves a drink from the bar and headed to our stateroom to check out what we would be staying in for the best part of a week…….

HOW WRONG WERE WE!!!!!

We found our cabin (2570) right besides the elevators on deck 2 and we were very pleased with what we found. The beds were separated which didn’t bother us at all, and there was more than enough space to sleep and get ready for 5 days.

I don’t think the ship was at full occupancy for this sailing, which made getting a sunbed extremely easy. Usually it can be difficult to find a sunbed on a sea day, but there was plenty of empty beds to choose from.

The ship is kept to a high standard as are all Royal Caribbean ships, there is no way you would think she is 23 years old. Refurbished in 2007, the ship is a great ship! I would very happily go back on this ship for another cruise.

Our 4 night sailing took us to Nassau, Bahamas – Cococay, Bahamas – Key West, Florida.

 

The Atlantis Hotel - Nassau, Bahamas
The Atlantis Hotel – Nassau, Bahamas

 

Cococay is the cruise lines private island and is a must for all passengers that are sailing here. You will be tendered from the ship to the island as the ship will drop anchor. There is no dock here.

Keeping in with the Bahamas style with bright colours and steel drums playing – The staff on board will take to the island to pre-pare a very big beach B-B-Q. They have bars here too, where your drinks package is of course still valid!

Excursions are offered here, or you can just relax and take in the beautiful island with a cocktail in your hand. Don’t forget your sun cream, its extremely hot here!!

After my 4 night cruise on board the Majesty, I was returning to Miami for 1 night at the Mondrian Hotel before embarking the Norwegian Getaway – my first NCL cruise…. Check back on my blog to see how I got on.

 

 

Our Quarterly mailer is coming to your door soon… For those who want a sneak peek, you can view it online here….. http://www.cruiseclubuk.com/images/search.cruiseclubuk.com/special-promotions/Cruise%20Club%20UK%20-%20September%20Brochure/

Cruise Club UK - September BrochureHaving never been involved in the product & marketing side of the ‘Mailer’, (I’ve always been on the selling side, easy for me just pick up the brochure and check availability) it’s made me realise how much hard work goes on behind the scenes!

From the design of the brochure to what actually goes inside and attracts our customers to pick up the phone, or click the web and book with us

As a thank you we are offering a ‘DOUBLE BONUS POINTS OFFER’…… if you book by 30th September 2015. Our offers sell out fast, my advice if you see something that catches your eye call our expert Sales Team without delay!

In the words of a famous Northerner ‘Booked it, Packed it….. ‘


Cruise Club UK - September Brochure Inisde

 

There is no better feeling, i’m sure you will all agree, than having a cruise to look forward to!

You may or may not be aware of the benefits to booking on board. Whilst enjoying your cruise and longing for it to last just that little bit longer it is the perfect time to secure your next one. The benefits offered by the cruise lines for booking your next cruise on board are well worth taking advantage of and I wanted to highlight a few of these with the most popular cruise lines to whet your appetite.

Norwegian Cruise Line

On board bookings come in the form of an advance deposit scheme called a ‘Cruise Reward’. You will be given on board credit for the sailing you are currently on and the amount paid will be taken as your cruise deposit for your next NCL cruise. For example; the normal amount paid on board is $250 which will give you $100 on board credit on your current sailing and approx. £160 deposit paid on your next cruise.

Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean

As both cruise lines are sister companies their on board booking benefits are very similar.
Cruise Later – If you cannot commit to a particular date you can pay a reduced deposit ( normally 50% ) and once you confirm your booking you will receive on board credit on the booking of up to $200. The amount depends on the duration of the cruise and these details will be provided to you on board.
Cruise Now – If you can confirm your chosen date and itinerary for your next cruise you can receive up to $500 on board credit there and then to spend on the sailing you are on! In addition you will receive a reduced deposit ( normally 50% ) PLUS the best current worldwide offer for your chosen sailing. For example you may receive a FREE Drinks package, FREE Gratuities or FREE On board credit for your chosen cruise. You may even receive more than one of these benefits it would just depend on the best offer available at the time. This is by far the best option to choose due the extras you receive.

Azamara Club Cruises

Again, as with Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean, there are 2 choices. The ‘Open Passage’ or ‘Reserved Passage’.
Open Passage – You do not need to select a specific cruise or date for this option. You will pay a reduced deposit on board ( normally 50% ) and once you actually book your cruise you will receive an extra discount ( exact discount details will be given to you on board ).
Reserved Passage – You will book your specific cruise as normal with the agent on board at a reduced deposit ( normally 50% ). You will also receive additional benefits such as on board credit or an extra discount. This can vary dependent on the campaign on offer at the time so specific details will be advised to you by the on board sales agent.

All bookings made on board will be reverted back to ourselves so we can then apply your Loyalty Bonus Points as a further discount!

It really is worth having a look at the offers available on board to make some big savings!
( Please note; all on board booking offers are subject to change at any time so please see your on board sales team for the up to date details )

If I can help you with any new bookings please do not hesitate give me a call directly on 0161 7982506.