Cruise Holidays

My Journey starts…

 

My excitement began when I was confirmed as a competition winner with a complimentary place aboard the brand spanking new Anthem of the Seas. I had only experienced other cruise lines ships and was eager to A. Experience a Royal Caribbean ship and B. To see what all the hype was about.

 

My journey began as I travelled from Manchester Piccadilly train station to Southampton with a Journey time of approx 4 Hours. Although this is a long journey me and 2 other lucky colleagues decided to pass the time with a champagne breakfast as we anxiously anticipated our arrival into sunny Southampton.

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On Arrival into Southampton Royal Caribbean laid on a complimentary coach transfer down to the port which is literally 5 minutes away from the train station. As the sun shined we arrived at the port I must admit I could not contain my excitement at the sight of this stunning 5* ship as I stood back and admired it for its beauty and huge capacity.

As we boarded we were greeted by smiling faces of the staff members who were anxious to show us to our staterooms and eager to serve us in every way possible as this was the first time they had greeted their very first guests!!!

As I made my way up to deck 9 via the lifts my first impressions were certainly only described as two words ‘wow’ and ‘futuristic’ and the new smell of the freshly laid carpets and furnishings filled my nostrils. Every time I entered a lift there was a print of an animal in a quirky style. As I arrived at my balcony cabin I was impressed with the size and layout of my cabin, worthy of a 5* hotel room with tea/coffee making facilities and classy furnishings .On the table there was a rubber watch with a RCCL symbol which acted as a futuristic room key making it easy to access your room whilst having your hands full!!

As we made our way up to the top deck the sun beamed and a steel band played, I suddenly forgot that I was still docked in Southampton and it felt more like I was in the Caribbean as I made my way to the Lido bar for a cocktail.

 

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Part 2. After the sail away aboard the 5* Anthem coming soon……

 

 

Harmony of the Seas

The brand new “oasis-class” ship from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines adds two more new itineraries to her inaugural 2016 season

In April 2016 we will see the launch of the brand new Royal Caribbean ship, the Harmony of the Seas. This will be the third ship in the Oasis Class – which are the biggest ships in the world!!1385468176

Two new itineraries announced for the Harmony of the Seas inaugural season, include a 7 Night reposition cruise from Southampton to Barcelona and a 5 Night European Voyage from Barcelona.

Don’t miss out and book your cabin today!

 

The Solarium at night

So far I have driven from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale with 2 hotel stays on route (see part 1), then I sailed the Caribbean for 7 nights on board the Holland America ship, ms Eurodam (see part 2) and now I get to my favourite part of the holiday, embarking the Celebrity Silhouette Cruise ship.

This was my first sailing with Celebrity Cruise Line and will certainly not be my last. We embarked the Silhouette the same day as disembarking the Eurodam, both in Fort Lauderdale. We were one of the last to disembark the ship which was around 9:20am.

After collecting luggage and clearing customs, we got a taxi from the Eurodam to the Silhouette as it wasn’t within walking distance even though they were at the same port. The taxi cost $10 as that is the minimum fare, even though the meter was at $3.

We gave our luggage to the porter and waited in line for around 30 minutes before being able to check in for the Silhouette. This was just as easy process as the Eurodam and we were on board by 10.30am.

 

Celebrity Silhouette
Celebrity Silhouette

 

As soon as I stepped off the gangway, my first thought was WOW! The ship is just beautiful. Again, we were greeted by a smiling Filipino waiter with glasses of Champagne for us to toast with. As we were quite early embarking the ship, there wasn’t many people on board so we took this opportunity to explore.

Most areas were of course closed due to us being in port so we headed straight to top deck. This was like being at a Luxury 5* resort somewhere in the world. With plenty of sunbeds on board, they also offer private hammocks, cuddle chairs and cabana style beds for your comfort by the pool.

 

 

Pool Deck - Silhouette
Pool Deck – Silhouette

 

With plenty of choices to eat on board, I found the Ocean View café to be absolutely fantastic. This is their Buffet style restaurant where you can eat pretty much anything from anywhere in the world! They have the master grill on top deck which offer made-to-order hot-dogs and burgers. Here I ate probably the BEST burger I have ever tasted! They are so large, one is definitely enough to feed two people!

I booked us a Balcony category 2C Cabin which has a 30% obstruction. The ‘obstruction’ did not bother us in the slightest, please see pictures below of the balcony obstruction.

Category 2C Balcony Cabin
Category 2C Balcony Cabin

 

Category 2C Balcony
Category 2C Balcony Cabin

When I made the booking for the Silhouette, Celebrity Cruises had their 123go promotion on and we received the Classic Drinks package with our booking. This was absolutely fantastic and I will not travel on another cruise without a similar package. There is an upgraded package called the Premium Drinks package which offer the premium brand drinks such as Smirnoff Vodka or Red Bull but we did not need to upgrade to this as we found the classic package to be more than enough for us. Our usual daily drinks on board were; Budweiser, Coors Extra, Harvey Wallbanger, Prosecco, and soda drinks.

In the evening on board, we would visit the Martini bar before going anywhere else. This is the famous Ice bar from Celebrity Cruise lines and the atmosphere here is always great! Live music from DJ’s on board and entertainment from the Flair Bartenders makes it a great place to start your night off, or finish off!  – Yes the martini’s are included in the classic drinks package too!

In the daytime, this ship is a lively place to be and night time is no different. From the Martini bar we would take a stroll around the ship visiting all the venues, listening to the fantastic live music bands. We would end on top deck at the Lawn Club which is a great place for a night cap. Sitting under the stars, with real grass surroundings, you wouldn’t think you were sailing on a ship.

The solarium is the adult only pool/area on board which offer plush sunbeds and a couple of adult only hot tubs. This is a stunning place to relax and the AquaSpa café is located here.

The Solarium at night
The Solarium at night

 

Celebrity Cruise Line advertise themselves as Modern Luxury Cruising – This couldn’t be any more true!

This ship was just fabulous and don’t just take my word for it, try Celebrity Cruise lines for yourself. Give me a call on 0161 798 2512 to book your Modern Luxury Cruise today!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our night in Fort Lauderdale, it was then time to Embark our first cruise of the holiday, which was the fantastic ms Eurodam cruise ship with Holland America Line.

We arrived at Port Everglades around 12pm and was on this ship by 12:30. The embarkation was an easy process as everything is perfectly organised for guests.

After walking the gangway to the ship, we were greeted by Elegance and Charm. Soft, classical music playing in the background as we were offered a glass of champagne to toast to a fantastic holiday which was to come. As we sat in the Foyer taking in the charm from the ship and drinking our champagne, we watched on as the Acrobatic performers on board were delivering a fantastic performance.

Cabins were not available for us to access until around 2pm, so we took ourselves to the Lido Restaurant on Deck 9 which is the Buffet style restaurant on board the Ship. Here we found a huge selection of food from all over the world. The food here was quality, so much so, we never made it to the main dining room as we found the Lido restaurant to be fantastic, and most likely the best option for us.

Top Deck on board the Eurodam is a very quiet, relaxing place. Unlike most of the other cruise lines, Holland do not have bands playing throughout the day and will not offer pool games each day.  I think of Holland America Line to be a more ‘traditional’ cruise line when you compare them to the likes of Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruise Line.

 

ms Eurodam Top Deck Pool Bar
ms Eurodam Top Deck Pool Bar

Our first port of call was Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas which is the Cruise Lines private Island. Here they offer fantastic some fantastic excursions or just a relaxing day on the beach.  The name Half Moon Cay comes from the two and a half mile long Crescent shaped Beach that the island has to offer.

After our visit to Half Moon Cay, and a relaxing day at sea, we then arrived at Ochos Rios, Jamaica. Here I had pre-booked a tour for the Dunns River Falls. We were greeted by a very friendly, helpful lady at the port where she drove us around 1 mile down to the road to the Falls. Our driver, Denise, then introduced us to our tour Guide, Nakan, who was a fantastic guide. He took us down to the beach, which is the start of the Falls Climb. On route to the beach, he took us to a shop where we purchased ‘water shoes’ at $10 each. These are a great souvenir!

As this is one of the most popular trips on the Island, it can get very busy here. After your put your belongings into a locker, you are ready to start the climb. We were not with a group of people on this tour, it was just myself and Husband and we managed the climb without any problems. Lots of other groups are ordered to hold hands in a line as you all climb, but we had no problem just the two of us. Others will assist you if needed.

It took us around 1 hour to climb the falls, maybe even longer. It was just amazing!

After we completed the climb, our tour guide then took us into the local village where we got to sit by a lazy river with rafts and rubber rings sailing down. We had some local red stripe beer and Jerk Chicken. This was certainly a day to remember.

After such a busy day climbing the falls, the Eurodam then brought us to Grand Turk, the Cayman islands. Due to the intensity of the falls, and my lack of fitness, I was unable to get off the ship here. So, this gives me the excuse that I must return here as I didn’t get off of the ship.

We were then taken to Key West, where I have been before. The fresh seafood restaurants at the marina never fail to satisfy.

After Lunch in Key west we returned to the ship for two days at sea before disembarking the ship in Fort Lauderdale.

I would not recommend the Holland America line for families with Children looking for lots of activities on board the ship. I would recommend Holland America Line for any passengers looking for a Traditional, Relaxing Cruise.

Please check my next blog for our following cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow we have just been notified that one of their most popular ships is returning back to her original port of Southampton for Summer 2016…..which one I hear you ask…well worry no more I am pleased to tell you that it is the Independence of the Seas.

Independence of the Seas.
Independence of the Seas.

This is one of their larger ships accommodating over 4000 passengers. Since her launch in 2008 she has spent every Summer sailing around Europe and the Mediterranean pleasing adults and children with her many facilities and abundance of entertainment on board in addition to  many interesting ports of call. With the launch of Royal Caribbean’s brand new ship the Anthem of the Seas they decided to move her to the Caribbean to allow people to experience their newest most innovative ship yet, however due to popular demand she is being brought back to the UK which will delight both regular and new cruisers. Itineraries will include a mix of between 3 – 14 night voyages so there will be something for everyone, the mini cruises are always very popular as a taster to try the ship or just to have a weekend away.

She has won many awards and most recently been voted best family cruise by Cruise Critic, her family cabins are some of the fastest selling cabins for peak sailings and ask anyone who has cruised on her and they will tell you that there is something for all ages, from the varied children’s clubs to a rockclimbing wall, from a flowrider where you can surf the waves to ice skating to just relaxing by the many pools, the shows are not to be missed and brand new since her refurbishment last year is the Cupcake Cupboard where you can have a different flavoured cupcake everyday and the Royal Promenade also deserves to be strolled down

These are available to book from 19th March and I would definitely recommend booking early to take advantage of some fabulous offers including free all inclusive drinks packages and free gratuities plus for the first time in a long time these offers are combinable with loyalty benefits from the C&A Society, with deposits at only £150p/p to secure your next cruise, plus here at Cruise Club Uk we have no credit card charges on deposits for our cruises for your extra protection with booking.

So get yourself a cruise, if you would like to register for a priority callback on the 19th March email me today at Marcia@cruiseclubuk.com or call me on the day 0161 798 2516

 

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

Now is the best time to be booking with Royal Caribbean with there fantastic deals. free drinks package and up to $400.00 per cabin on board credit until 09/02/15. Yes the free gratuities that you received from the promotion in January have now finished but don’t forget tips are not mandatory on board and down to the guests discretion.

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The drinks package you receive complimentary is called the Select drinks package and includes, Wines, Beers & soft drinks by the glass, all passengers sharing the same cabin will receive the same package – soft drinks for children. This is great news for us, just imagine that drinks bill at the end of the cruise, it can come as quite a nasty shock, this is taken of in advance and provided by Royal Caribbean, for the adults they can however upgrade this package to include spirits and cocktails.

With various worldwide sailings there will be an itinerary that will suit everyone down to the ground, Mediterranean, Far East Caribbean, Australasian, Alaskan to name just afew!

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During the month of February Royal Caribbean have also amended the deposit fee from £150.00 to £50.00 per person, this is a great booking incentive for us all to take advantage of.

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Are we all looking forward to the arrival of Anthem of the Seas – I am, Im a travel agent and have been lucky enough to win a place for myself and a friend on a 2 night stay on board this fascinating and innovative ship in April.

I’m really looking forward to boarding this brand new ship and sampling everything onboard, the new Dynamic dining facility is something I’m looking forward to doing, a first for Royal Caribbean and something m sure other Cruise Lines may follow in years to come, it gives guests more more flexibility and a chance to dine in a different restaurant every night of their cruise.

Also having a cocktail made in the Iconic Bionic Bar, once Ive been on the ship I will be able to report back to you all about there new features and I am sure some secret ones which they are keeping under wraps.

Have a great weekend all 🙂 Happy Sailing.

Adelaide – South Australia  

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Welcome to part three of Cruising Australia as I discuss the amazing port of Adelaide

I spent 3 months living in a suburb of Adelaide – Mitcham, I hung out with locals and got to experience the day to day local life and fell in love with Adelaide.

Gateway to the ‘outback’ Adelaide has lots to offer, they say it’s the most liveable city in Australia. Surrounded by parklands, historic buildings. It’s so easy to get around with hills and beaches reachable within 20 minutes.

Esperance – Western Australia

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The second installment of my blog detailing the delights of cruising Australia.

Head south of Perth and you reach Esperance. This is one of my favourite places in Australia. With a Mediterranean climate all year round what’s not to like!

I actually flew from Perth to Esperance, however if you’re arriving by cruise you pre book a day trip or arrange prior to departure. My first experience was a scenic drive, a 38km tourist loop called the Great Ocean Drive. It takes in some of the most beautiful coastal scenery Australia has to offer. There are plenty of viewing stops along the way too.