Travel Destinations

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailing from Bangkok (Laem Chabang Port) or visiting as a port of call on your itinerary….. Here’s the low down on what to do and useful information:

The port of Laem Chabang on the Gulf of Thailand is two hours south of Bangkok. If your visiting for the day you can opt for a shore excursion to Bangkok or head to the nearest beach resort of Pattaya, approx.. 30 minutes away.  Be warned the port is industrial there aren’t many public transport options!! I would advise to pre arrange a private transfer if you’re going to do your own thing.

Bit of useful information regarding Thailand’s currency, the Thai Baht:

ATM’s charge a high service fee for foreign cards. I took cash with me and stored it in the safe and just took out what I needed day by day. (stops you having excess charges on your bank account once you return home)

Tipping is not expected. If you’re having a sit down meal expect to pay VAT and a service charge on top of your bill

The culture in Thailand is so different from ours. The first time I visited I was woken by loud music being played over the street speakers. After questioning hotel staff I found out that the Thai National Anthem is played twice a day at 8am and 6pm! If you are in a public place follow suit of the locals and stand up or stop walking. You’re not expected to know about the anthem, but it is polite if you do.

tuk tuk

Tuk Tuk’s are the local quirky mode of transport. They are not for the faint hearted as they zip in and out of the busy Thai roads (avoid early morning engine fumes). I would highly recommend haggling before you get in, as the price named by the driver is always higher. You should be paying 5-15 Baht lower. BEWARE in tourist areas of tuk tuk drivers offering you expert knowledge and offering to take you to secret places. I got scammed on this, basically they take you to their friends back street shop and once your there it’s very hard to leave without purchasing something (unless your rude). In return the driver gets given petrol tokens by the retailer.

In the streets and especially roundabouts are pictures of the King, out of respect vehicles passing by beep. As the roads are busy 24/7 there’s a constant beep!

Not to be missed is Kao San Road, best experienced in the evening when it comes alive. It’s a 1 kilometre long road filled with market stalls, hotels, cafes, bars, nightclubs and street food including the local cockroach on a stick!

Check out the floating flower markets north of Bangkok, take to the small canals on small flat boats and be guided through the buzzing waterways. It’s a brilliant atmosphere and you can pick up some bargains on route.

Other highlights include:

Wat Phra Kaew (temple of the emerald Buddha) its regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. Located within the grounds of the Grand Palace. Dating back to the 15th century the emerald Buddha is carved from a single block of jade. *A strict dress code applies due to it being a sacred site. Men must wear long pants, top with sleeves and no bare feet (so if wearing sandals socks must be worn with them). Woman must dress similar, no see through clothes or bare shoulders. When I visited I paid at the front gate which required a deposit and they provide you with very unflattering linen clothes.

bkk blog

Wat Pho is located behind the temple of the emerald buddha. One of the largest temples in Bangkok, it houses the famed giant reclining Buddha. Measuring 46 meters long and covered in gold leaf. TOP TIP: along the sides of the Buddha are bronze bowls, buy a bag of coins on arrival and as a sign of good luck drop them into the 108 bowls. (I was left with a few at the end that I had obviously missed out). Its also home to the Thai massage school and a great place and price to experience.

bkk palace

Wat Arun is the most stunning temple as its located on the banks of the river Chao Phraya. You can take the small shuttle boat from nearby Wat Pho as its situated opposite.

There is so much to do and see in and around Bangkok its hard to list everything but the highlights I experienced. If you have any questions please feel free to call me and I will be more than happy to talk Thailand!

After completing 10 Caribbean sailings with Royal Caribbean, and falling in Love with their fleet, I decided I would try another cruise line to compare.

If you have read my previous posts you will know sailing the Caribbean is my favourite place.

I arranged my flights with Virgin Atlantic and flew from Manchester, UK to Orlando, Florida. What a fantastic Airline! From the moment you board the aircraft, you are taken care of with All meals and Drinks included throughout the entire flight, up-to-date seat back entertainment, with a checked baggage allowance of 23 Kilos per person for economy class and 46 Kilos per person in Premium Economy.

Upon arrival in Orlando, I then took a rental car from the Airport to Cocoa Beach and stayed 1 night here at the Hilton Cocoa Beach. The hotel is perfectly located on North Atlantic Boulevard, just besides the Ocean! Although we were not cruising out of Port Canaveral this would be a great pre-cruise hotel for any passengers that are.

I could have gotten a hotel in Orlando for the same cost for the night, maybe cheaper, but I wanted to start the holiday off with a relaxing stay and not the hustle and Bustle of Orlando. Cocoa Beach/Port Canaveral is around a 50 minute drive from Orlando.

After a great nights sleep, we then took our car on the Highway 1 (coastal drive) from Cocoa Beach to Fort Lauderdale. This is around 4 Hours but due to traffic lights it took around 6 hours. The florida Turnpike is a much quicker route as there are no traffic lights and will take no longer than 4 hours.

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale at the Bahia Mar Doubletree by Hilton hotel which is located on SeaBreeze Boulevard. This is a fantastic location if your staying in Lauderdale pre-cruise or even just on holiday. They have so much on offer, you don’t even need to leave the hotel.

After checking in at the hotel, I then took the hire car to Fort Lauderdale airport (5-10 minutes away from hotel) and gave it back to the hire company. This worked out better for me as most parking in Fort Lauderdale is Valet, which starts at around $20 per day plus tax, so it can get pricey to park a car.

A taxi from the Airport back to the Hotel cost me around $10 and I know didn’t have the hassle of dropping the car off the next day, when I would be embarking my first cruise.

Fort Lauderdale is around half an hour from Miami and is easy to get to. So, if you didn’t want to drive from Orlando, you can fly into Miami and taxi to Fort Lauderdale.

The day of embarkation: Please see my next post, coming soon, for my experience on the Holland America Line – ms Eurodam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join me as I discuss the sights and sounds of the Cruise destination Barcelona, in my eyes the best Spanish City ,offering all year round sun and sightseeing

Bearing in mind if you sail out of Barcelona you won’t have time to experience the city. My suggestion: add on a pre or post hotel stay or if you’ve pushed for time why not opt for a later flight back home. If you choose the latter I would advise take your transfer from the port to airport (which we will/have pre booked for you at the time of booking) and store your luggage. Both terminals offer this service for up to 24 hours, Cost is 10 Euros per bag stored. Then take the airport express shuttle service (approx. 10 Euros return per person) which drops you off at the Plaza de Cataluntya

I have visited Barcelona on numerous occasions, each time a different experience. Here’s a brief overview of things to do:

 

You can’t get around Barcelona without hearing the name: Antonio Gaudi – A famous architect known for his individual and distinctive style. His work was influenced by his life passions: architecture, nature and religion

gaudi

Some of his work includes:

 

Park Güell – A magical park with amazing buildings and sculptures. Gaudí’s old home is located here, which is now open to the public as a small museum

 

sagrada familia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It took 20 years to build the Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt), so far it’s taken around 200 years (with modern technology) to build the Sagrada Familia! (still under construction)  It’s the most visited attraction in Barcelona and is said to be some the finest work of architecture

Casa Batlló – Modernist building by Gaudí on Passeig de Gràcia

Camp Nou – Barcelona Football Club is a very popular excursion. Complete with a museum and multimedia exhibits. Take the selfguided tour of the stadium

Although Barcelona’s beaches are artificial they offer a great day of sunning/people watching and you’re within walking distance of the City

The Columbus Monument – take the lift to 60 meters and experience the great views of the Ramblas and the Port

coloumbus

Upto 150,000 people visit Las Ramblas on a daily basis, it’s busy day and night!

It’s actually split into 5 separate avenues, which flow into each other:

Rambla de Canaletes – the site of the Font de Canaletes, which is a fountain Rambla dels Estudis – the site of an open-air market for caged birds and other small pets, which no longer exists Rambla de Sant Josep – the site of an open-air flower market Rambla dels Caputxins – Liceu Opera House Rambla de Santa Mònica – arts center

My top tip: Its fab people watching in one of the café/bars on the Las Ramblas but it’s expensive…… So eat where the locals do, saving you money and having more to spend on sightseeing!

We have some amazing deals on Cruises departing from Barcelona. For an instant quote please call me on 0161 798 2558

 

 

Kia Ora (Hi G’day) to all you cruise fanatics out there, today I will be looking at wonderful sites,sounds ,smells and especially tastes in the cruise destination New Zealand.

Known as the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland, New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world

Arriving by sea into Princes Wharf you may think it looks rather mundane. You would be wrong to think exotic from first glance, it’s not until you venture on to dry land that Auckland packs a punch! It’s one of the most breath taking places I have ever been.

Read on to discover facts, useful information and things to do:

Most places in New Zealand receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. During the summer months daylight can last up until 9.30pm. With very little air pollution compared to other countries makes the UV rays in sunlight very strong.

For adrenaline junkies New Zealand is one of the best places in the world. From bungy, skydiving, caving, rafting to jet boat rides. The list never ends!

Auckland is a nature lovers paradise, with its stunning beaches, parks and walking trails it’s no wonder the locals spend most of their time outdoors! The city has more boats than anywhere in the world. Your never more than 30 minutes away from a beach.

Look out for i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, situated on Princes Wharf. They provide a free booking service for activities, attractions and transport. Don’t forget to pick up a free map to help you get around too.

Pop into a Tip Top Ice Cream shop and try the local Hokey Pokey flavour – vanilla ice cream with bits of sponge toffee mixed in… YUMMY!

 

Rangitoto Island – A 25 minute ferry ride across the harbour. This dormant volcano offers awesome views of Auckland and the outer Islands. Explore lava caves and climb the summit or opt for the 4wd option!

Sky Tower – The tallest man made structure in New Zealand offers 80 kilometre view in every direction

Head to Mount Eden, the highest point in Auckland. (One of the regions 48 volcanic cones*) Take in the stunning panoramic view, walk through the vast gardens and visit Mount Eden village, complete with cafes, shops and art galleries.

Mt-Eden-19029-lge

Middle Earth fans (Lord of the Rings Trilogy) can experience day trips to some of the film locations within a 2 hour drive of Auckland. Best way is an organised excursion booked prior to arrival or if your staying for a few days book a trip locally.

middleearthmap-72

New Zealand only has one dangerous/poisonous animal – the katipo spider, which is endangered so no need to panic!

 

If you require further info on cruises that feature New Zealand or are thinking of doing a pre or post hotel stay, please feel free to contact me. I spent 4 weeks traveling round North Island, New Zealand in a campervan…. One place I would definitely recommend is The Bay Of Islands situated north of Auckland, breathtaking! Experience Mauri culture.

Call me on my direct line 0161 798 2558

*A volcanic cone is a triangle shaped hill formed as material from volcanic eruptions plies up around the volcanic vent, or opening in Earth’s

Welcome to the latest installment of my bog as I explore the cruise destination Singapore.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited Singapore on numerous occasions, each time different than the last. That’s because Singapore is forever redeveloping and modernizing. It’s no surprise that Singapore has been voted top travel destination for 2015.

 

Quick facts:

 Approx. 13 Hours flying time from the UK

 Chewing gum is banned in Singapore so leave it at home when packing!

 Great news, you can enjoy free wireless internet access in public places across Singapore

Visit:  https://www1.starhub.net.sg/wireless/uam/registration

 As a tourist you can claim a refund on the 7% Goods & Services Tax (GST) paid on purchases when you spend more than $100 at participating shops. Just look out for the ‘Tax Free’ logo

 The fastest way to get around is by MRT (mass rapid transit) train system. Buses are just as convenient and economical

 Hot and humid all year round, with temperatures reaching over 30oc. Be prepared for rain which can be torrential yet brief

 

Singapore consists of 3 areas :    Touristic Zone

                                                          Economic Zone

                                                          Sleeping Zone

 Each of these areas are separated by a 5km stretch of immaculate lawns (this can be seen from Mount Faber). Within these areas are ‘neighbourhoods’ and the places I recommend to visit:

faber blog Mount faber has so much to offer. Spectacular panoramic views, walking trails and parkland. Chic dining venues and best of all various cable car experiences. I took the                  cable car from here to Sentosa Island, taking in some lovely views and on a clear day you can see out to Malaysia.

 

Recommended: try Laska soup it’s devine (my favourite)

Jetlagged or need an energy boost, try the local Kopi coffee (very strong)

Head to Singapore Zoo for the night safari, take the 40 minute tram ride around 7 zones of the world and see the nocturnal animals in their habitats. You can also opt for a walking tour and various shows.

It’s such an amazing experience for all ages.

Onite safair

Orchard Road is a must. A shoppers paradise to cater for all tastes.

Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay is home to some of the cities impressive architecture. Amazing skyline views when you look out over the bay. The recently renovated waterfront promenade is on the bank of Marina Bay, walking for approx. 15 minutes brings you to Gardens by the Bay. It’s one huge park with supertrees. Cloud forest is a manmade dome simulating a tropical rainforest and features a 115 foot waterfall. The waterfront at Marina Bay every evening has a laser show, complete with music and projected images. Best of all its free!

Singapore-Sling
Singapore Sling!

After reading this you may be in the mood to sample a ‘Singapore Sling’ cocktail, this famous cocktail was first served at the Raffles Hotel in 1915.

Ingredients include:

GIN/CHERRY BRANDY/COINTREAU/DOM BENEDICTINE/PINEAPPLE JUICE/GRENADINE/ANGOUSTURA BITTERS & LIMES

 

We have some fantastic offers featuring Singapore for more info please call me directly on 0161 798 2558

 

 

 

 

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.

anthem

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!

A1

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.

Ever thought of visiting Paradise but thought it was just a dream, endlessly flicked through travel magazines and thought wow one day I would love to go there…..well now its much easier than you think. Cruise Club UK’s Marcia explores the wonders of  Indian Ocean cruise ports starting with the islands of Mauritius.

NC beachNC swimmingNC islands

Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is one of the world’s most beautiful places, pristine white sands, crystal clear blue seas and vast forests. Its a multicultural island taking inspiration from many countries and cultures with many things to see and do. Combine this with an Indian Ocean cruise and you can also add a visit to the Seychelles, Madagascar and Reunion Island just to name a few.

NC route

Have you ever fancied visiting one of the best cities in the world? Well now you should! Cruise Club UK take a look at the amazing destination proving very popular with our customers as part of our New York cruise and stay packages.

NYC

With more airlines than ever flying from the UK to New York from most major airports your guaranteed to find a bargain.

There’s also many areas of New York that you can choose to stay in, the most popular being the Manhattan area with an estimated 55 million visitors each year, wow now that takes some beating. I personally would recommend Manhattan with it being centrally located for most of New York’s major attractions.

A warm welcome to part 8 of Cruising Australia and today we find ourselves in the beautiful port of Cairns Queensland

   CARINS, QUEENSLAND                                      map of quuensland

Arriving at Cairns Airport is like no other….. Tropical in temperature and foliage, complete with tropical birds chirping away whilst you wait for your hotel transfer! I knew I was going to like this place.

It’s the only place in the world where two World Heritage Listed areas exist together! Cairns is home to The Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, Daintree.