Tags Posts tagged with "Luxury cruise ships"

Luxury cruise ships

I have just returned from an amazing 4 nights on board Seven Seas Explorer, billed as the ‘Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built’. I can wholeheartedly agree with this statement, I was lost for words walking around this stunning ship!

If you are not familiar with Regent Seven Seas, they are a luxury inclusive cruise line. Included on board are all drinks, gratuities, speciality dining and shore excursions. You really do want for nothing on board, as I learned from my time on board. The staff on board are so personable, getting to know your favourite tipple and genuinely wanting to give you the best experience possible from your cruise. I really can’t recommend this cruise line highly enough and my blog could not possibly cover every aspect of what I loved about Regent!

This was my first time with Regent Seven Seas and my expectations were exceeded in all aspects.  Checking in at Malaga port was a breeze, no queues at all we just showed our passports to security and boarded the ship. Check in is done on the ship itself, usually in the Theatre, with a welcome glass of Champagne, then you are free to go off and explore. Generally speaking suites are normally available later in the afternoon, however if you are in one of the named suites i.e Seven Seas Suite, these are available from 12pm.

We stayed in a Concierge Suite on deck 12 which again following my theme of the cruise, I was blown away by. The marble and stone bathroom featured a double sink, complete with l’Occitane toiletries. We had a large rainfall shower cubicle plus separate bath with shower over the top. The dressing area was fantastic, plenty of both wardrobe and drawer space, which could also be closed off to the rest of the suite by a door. The bed was a European king size, which could be converted to twins if needed, and was extremely comfortable! Our bed faced the balcony which gave a lovely view and was a lovely surprise as this is not always the case, certainly on ships I have been on in the past. There was a sitting area with sofa, chair and table, perfect for room service delivery! In Concierge suites you also receive an Illy coffee machine, I love my morning coffee so this suited me perfectly! Our mini bar was fully stocked with various soft drinks, bottled water and beers and this is re filled daily. Our cabin stewardess came to introduce herself and explained a little on how the room service worked and the various other features of the suite, she also brought us our welcome bottle of Champagne on Ice which was lovely. If you prefer to drink wine or spirits there is also the option to have these delivered to your suite at your leisure, all included, at is standard with Regent Seven Seas.

Explorer - Concierge Explorer - Concierge 2 Explorer - Concierge 4 Explorer - Concierge 8 Explorer - Concierge 9 Explorer - Concierge 3

My first impression on boarding the ship was how modern and chic the reception area was, the centre piece being a stunning crystal chandelier over the grand staircase. The sense of space is clear straight away, I felt like I was in a boutique hotel rather than on a cruise ship. The ship carries 750 guests so for a ship of this size ( 56,000 GRT ) it is perfect and never felt busy with people despite our sailing being virtually full. It was difficult to take everything in at first as everywhere I looked there was a beautiful vase or piece of artwork, from Picasso’s to modern sculptures, a real feast for the eyes! I was just in awe at the attention to detail visible in every area on the ship.

Reception area
Reception area
Main Staircase area
Main Staircase area
Stunning Chandelier - Main Staircase
Stunning Chandelier – Main Staircase

One of my favourite lounges on board was the Observation Lounge right at the front of the ship on deck 11. This has a real art deco feel to it and was the go to place for pre dinner drinks and canapes, featuring live music. In the afternoon this lounge hosted afternoon tea between 4pm and 5pm, again with live music in the form of the on board pianist. I loved the atmosphere in here and of course the tasty cakes, scones and sandwiches were superb!

Art deco design in the Observation Lounge
Art deco design in the Observation Lounge
Observation Lounge
Observation Lounge
Observation Lounge
Observation Lounge
Observation Lounge - Afternoon Tea
Observation Lounge – Afternoon Tea

Dining on board is open seating in the main restaurant in the evening and of course in the speciality restaurants you select your preferred dining time when making your reservation. I should also mention that full in suite dining is also available where you will be served course by course, perfect to celebrate a special occasion.

The food in all restaurants was outstanding, I love Asian style cuisine so Pacific Rim was perfect for me. I had the most amazing Lobster and Seafood Laksa in here! My Husband loves his meat so Prime 7, which is the steakhouse on board, was more suited to his taste. He enjoyed a fillet mignon with Alaskan king crab legs on our evening here, complete with many side dishes to accompany! We both really enjoyed Chartreuse, the French restaurant on board, my starter of Emmental cheese Souffle was beautiful, I didn’t dare try the Escargots, but my main dish of scallops with chorizo was fantastic!

Compass Rose - Main Restaurant
Compass Rose – Main Restaurant
Compass Rose - Main Restaurant
Compass Rose – Main Restaurant
Pacific Rim Restaurant
Pacific Rim Restaurant

Explorer - Pacific Rim

Chartreuse Restaurant
Chartreuse Restaurant

I could go on further about the food but I will leave you to try it for yourself, you will not be disappointed!

In regards to the free shore excursions, I would recommend booking these as soon as they are released. Excursions have limited spaces, as with all cruise lines, so to avoid disappointment it is essential. One thing I was struck by was actually getting off the ship in port. This sounds like a strange thing to mention but I was struck by the ease of this! In Cadiz the gangway was on deck 5, just opposite reception, so we literally just stepped out on to deck and then straight down the gang plank to shore side, Fantastic! I am used to the large ships and having to wait for lifts to take you down to the depths of the ship then having to queue to get off, this is just not the case on Explorer.

The final point to mention, which is very important to us ladies especially, is the dress code on board. The evening is Elegant Casual for most of the time, there are optional formal evenings as well but they are just that, optional. Elegant Casual means different things to each of us, but the main point is that no jeans are allowed after 6pm, with the exception of the last evening where the dress code is more relaxed due to disembarkation the next morning. Ladies wore both dresses and trousers with blouses/tops while the Gents ranged from full suits to trousers and a shirt, some with and some without jackets.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and I have really just touched the surface with regards to my time on board. I genuinely fell in love with Regent and Explorer and would go again in a heartbeat. Value for money is outstanding when you consider everything that is included with the level of service you receive, compared to one of the mainstream cruise lines.

If you are considering sailing with Regent Seven Seas and would like any advice on choosing a suite or have any questions please do not hesitate to drop me an email natalie@cruiseclubuk.com or give me a call on 0161 7982506.

 

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The classic design and detailed craftsmanship of the MSC Preziosa really makes this ship special. Boasting spectacular features such as sweeping Swarovski Crystal grand staircases, Magical ‘infinity’ pool and real stone piazza the ship certainly delivers with its stunning décor. Preziosa of course features some of MSC cruises award winning facilities and amenities such as the MSC Aurea spa and the secluded luxury of MSC yacht club suites often described as a ship within a ship with exclusive areas, private dining, butler service and private decks. The ship takes a capacity of 3,502 guests, with a gross tonnage of 139,072 and a whopping 18 decks!

MAIN DINING ROOM2ND DINING3RD DINING

 

Dining

  • L’Arabesque (Main Dining Room)
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • The Golden Lobster (Main Dining Room)
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • La Locanda (Italian) a la carte Lunch, Dinner
  • Eataly à la carte Lunch, Dinner
  • Ristorante Italia
    table d’hôte
  • Galaxy Lounge Select Dining Venue
    Lunch, Dinner
  • Inca (Self Service)
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Maya (Self Service)
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Sports and Bowling Diner
    a la carte Lunch, Dinner
  • La Palmeraie
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • The One Bar
    Breakfast, Lunch

THEARTRECASINOCINEMA

Entertainment

Platinum theatre – The Platinum Theatre rises over decks 5, 6 and 7 at the front of the ship and seats just over 1600 guests with unobstructed views and futuristic interior features which interact with the stage and lighting to create individual visual effects.

Safari Lounge (Show Lounge) – enjoy exclusive potions from the lounge’s ‘Alchemist Cocktail’ menu.

Galaxy Lounge (Night Club) – The Galaxy Lounge on deck 16 is the ship’s nightclub venue with a themed cocktail menu for guests to sample in-between dancing.

Millennium Star Casino – Guests can try their luck in the Millennium Star Casino on deck 6. Served by its own bar, black jack, poker, roulette, dice and more are on offer along with an array of high-tech slot machines.

4D Cinema – Preziosa’s 4D ten seat cinema, with 3D graphics and moving seats to enhance guests’ experience is located on deck 16 aft and costs around €7.90 per viewing.

 

KIDS

Family

Doremiland (Kids Club, Kids Area) – Doremiland is home to the Mini and Junior Kid’s Club and is located midship of deck 15. Designed around the world of pirates with ships, buried treasure and desert islands.

Doremi Castle Aqua Park Adventures (Kids Pool) – The Doremi Castel Aqua Park Adventures on deck 16, is the ship’s water playground for children.

Graffiti’s (Teen Club, Teen Area) – Graffiti’s midship of deck 15 is a dedicated disco for teens which is also equipped with a Microsoft Xbox Kinetic, Nintendo Wii, a wide selection of games, musical docking station and a social corner with Net TV and Bluetooth keyboards.

Virtual World – Virtual World is a teen’s arcade on deck 16 with games ranging from motor racing to shooting and pinball.

In Addition to these amazing family facilities i found out I found out the ship also has cabins designed for families named ‘superfamily’. Spacious accommodation for up to 6 people, comprising two connecting triple cabins, two bathrooms and two balconies. The SuperFamily cabin comes at a fixed per-cabin price, regardless of how many people actually use it.

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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: Becky@cruiseclub.com 0161 798 2518.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final part of my Oceania trilogy is centered around the ship itself and the staterooms and suites on board.

Apologies for the amount of photos on this particular blog, I got a little photo happy in my excitement, but I do think for this topic photos are needed!

Lets start with the accommodation on offer Men’s San Diego Chargers Antigua Navy Dynasty Woven Long Sleeve Shirt, wholesale jerseys from china,Infant New York Jets Pink/White 2-Pack Baby Bibs,Nike Philadelphia Eagles Ladies Everyday Legend V-Neck Performance T-Shirt – Midnight Green., wholesale nfl jerseys….

I was able to look around a Veranda stateroom and a Penthouse Suite. In both types of accommodation the bathroom featured a marble and granite bathroom with luxury Bvlgari toiletries.

The main difference in the bathrooms between the Veranda and Penthouse Suite is obviously the size and the Penthouse feature a separate walk in shower whereas the Veranda has the shower over the bath. I like the fact that all staterooms from Ocean View and above feature a full size bath tub, this is a popular amenity you don’t find as standard with other cruise lines in these grades of accommodation.

I did not manage to get a picture of the Penthouse suite itself but it is virtually identical to the Veranda just on a larger scale. The Penthouse features a walk in wardrobe and living area, with table and chairs, as in suite dining is offered at this level.

Just to point out that the Concierge Veranda staterooms are identical to the Veranda staterooms they just come with additional benefits. I think the difference in price is well worth the amenities on offer, even just to get complimentary unlimited access to the Spa Terrace located across the front of the ship! Some other benefits include; Priority Embarkation, Priority online specialty restaurant reservations and complimentary welcome bottle of Champagne.

Penthouse Suite bathroom
Penthouse Suite bathroom
Bvlgari toiletries
Bvlgari toiletries
Veranda stateroom
Veranda stateroom

Moving on to the ship itself….

The public areas are immaculate and the staircase in the atrium is stunning! It features Lalique Crystal and really is beautiful.

Main atrium featuring Lalique Crystal Staircase
Main atrium featuring Lalique Crystal Staircase

 

Main atrium
Main atrium

The pool deck I loved! The loungers are not all squashed together giving plenty of room for everyone and I loved the double lounger beds, I imagine these are snapped up early when sailing in sunny climates!

Pool area
Pool area
Space between loungers!
Space between loungers!
Pool area
Pool area

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub is such a serene area and is so well appointed. I could easily see myself spending a few hours ( or more! ) in here.

Spa area
Spa area
Spa Terrace
Spa Terrace

The main focus at night time seems to be around the Horizon lounge which offers fantastic views from the top of the ship. There are various day time activities here also, such as afternoon tea and early evening canapes.

Horizon lounge
Horizon lounge
Dance/Band area in Horizon lounge
Dance/Band area in Horizon lounge

If you enjoy an evening show, there is still a theatre on board! Do not expect a three tier theatre as on some ships but it is still a good size with high quality performances on offer.

Theatre
Theatre
Theatre
Theatre

No cruise ship would be complete without a Casino of which of course there is one on board for those who like a flutter! The bar next to the Casino was one of my favourite areas! It is called Martinis and not only houses 2 of the Picasso’s on board but the seats are also bonded with Swarovski crystals for the ultimate in opulence! The colour scheme is purple in here so it is a very vivid area but I loved it.

Casino
Casino
Martinis Bar
Martinis Bar
Bar in Martinis
Bar in Martinis

There are other bars available on the ship. The Grand Bar, pictured below, is a lovely relaxing area with a Piano centered around the bar area. This is apparently a very popular area for pre dinner drinks.

Grand bar
Grand bar

An area which is extremely popular on board is the Culinary Centre.

Here you can take a cookery lesson with the ships chefs and learn to make some of those dishes you have enjoyed in the restaurants on board.

The Culinary Centre
The Culinary Centre

Finally we will end with some quiet serenity! The library on board was something completely different to what I have seen on any other ship but such a lovely peaceful area. It reminded me of a country house due to the fireplace and old world feel of it. I can imagine relaxing in here with a good book and passing a few hours.

Library
Library
Library
Library

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Oceania trilogy and it has given you food for thought to perhaps consider for a future cruise.

We have some fantastic offers with Oceania Cruises at the moment so if you would like any information or prices please do not hesitate to email natalie@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 7982506.

Visit our new and exclusive web page, featuring news and information for your forthcoming six star cruise holiday!

www.cruiseclubuk.com/prestige

The prestige difference is clear.

  • Dedicated direct phone number and email address to your personal Cruise Concierge.
    (UK Based, luxury trained expert who have personally visited many of the ships we feature)
  • Exclusive offers you won’t find anywhere else
  • An industry beating customer loyalty scheme.
  • A true full package, Return flights including luggage, private transfers, all taxes, ABTA, ATOL bonded and further cruise disruption protection.
  • Regular personal emails containing, unique itineraries and offers, news from the prestige community and more.
  • Interactive website featuring the very best itineraries and prices, cruise news, blog and reviews.
  • All part of the prestige experience,
  • With over 30 years’ experience leading the cruise agent market and hundreds of years of experience at your fingertips – that’s the cruise club difference!

Here at Prestige Cruise Club once you have sailed with us you’re part of the prestige family.

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

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

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We all love to indulge when on a cruise, I’m sure you will all agree!

A huge part of cruising with Oceania is the food on board. They spend double per person the amount that Celebrity Cruises and Regent Seven Seas spend and this is mainly down to the quality and sustainability of suppliers used. For example; They use one farm in Maine for all their lobster and Oceania is their only customer! The same goes for the beef used on board, this comes from one supplier in the US and Oceania are their only customer. This really does make a difference in my eyes, especially nowadays where we all like to know where our food is coming from and that is is fresh.

Before I show you what I had for my lunch on my visit ( prepare to be very jealous! ) I will go over the restaurants on board Marina;

In case you didn’t know, there are no cover charges to use the speciality restaurants with Oceania meaning you can sample all the restaurants on offer without having to budget extra for it, fantastic!

Red Ginger

This is one of the speciality restaurants on board which is an asian fusion restaurant. The actual restaurant is stunning and I was speaking to a lady on board who raved about the food in here.

Red Ginger Interior
Red Ginger Interior
Red Ginger
Red Ginger

 

Jacques

Another speciality restaurant on board which is french bistro style. The menu here is designed by renowned chef Jacques Pepin and he personally oversees the training of the chefs to his exacting standards!

Interior of Jacques
Interior of Jacques
Jacques
Jacques

 

Polo Grill

Again, one of the speciality restaurants on board which is the American steak house. Apparently the steak here is amazing and you may come out of here rolling if you eat every course on offer! Sounds like a challenge!

Polo Grill
Polo Grill
Polo Grill
Polo Grill

 

Toscana

This is the final speciality restaurant which is Tuscan Italian style. You can expect freshly baked bread to start you off with a selection of various olive oils and balsamic vinegar to dip, yummy! All the chefs in this restaurant are Italian so you can expect genuine Italian heart going in to each dish.

Toscana
Toscana
£2500 Versace plate in Toscana!
£2500 Versace plate in Toscana!
Toscana
Toscana

 

Privee

This is a private dining venue which you can hire for the evening. The area will occupy 10 people and is a cover charge of $250 in total, whether there are 2 or 10 people. You can choose anything from the menu at Polo grill or Toscana and even a combination from each.

Privee
Privee
Table made from one solid piece of Onyx
Table made from one solid piece of Onyx

 

La Reserve

A food and wine pairing restaurant on board which is chargeable at approx $75 per person ( Some nights are lower priced than this ). The restaurant seats 24 and you will indulge in a 7 course menu with paired wines. This is very popular on board so early booking is recommended.

La Reserve
La Reserve

 

Terrace Cafe

This is Oceanias take on the ‘buffet’ offering. You choose what you would like as normal but it will be served to you on your plate, rather than helping yourself, and taken to your table. Of course you can keep going back for more but I guess it stops people piling their plate high and then not eating.

Terrace Cafe
Terrace Cafe
Terrace cafe offerings
Terrace cafe offerings

 

Grand Dining room

The main restaurant on board. This is the traditional restaurant you expect on all cruise ships, serving a varied menu which of course will change each evening. This is where I had my lunch!

Grand dining room
Grand dining room

 

Finally here is the menu for my lunch on the day…… I have not included the pictures I took, I will leave this to your imagination and to try for yourselves! All I will say is WOW, highly recommended!

My lunch menu!
My lunch menu!

 

Part 3 is coming soon so please check back for my next installment….

We have some fantastic offers with Oceania Cruises at the moment so if you would like any information or prices please do not hesitate to email natalie@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 7982506.

Visit our new and exclusive web page, featuring news and information for your forthcoming six star cruise holiday!

www.cruiseclubuk.com/prestige

The prestige difference is clear.

  • Dedicated direct phone number and email address to your personal Cruise Concierge.
    (UK Based, luxury trained expert who have personally visited many of the ships we feature)
  • Exclusive offers you won’t find anywhere else
  • An industry beating customer loyalty scheme.
  • A true full package, Return flights including luggage, private transfers, all taxes, ABTA, ATOL bonded and further cruise disruption protection.
  • Regular personal emails containing, unique itineraries and offers, news from the prestige community and more.
  • Interactive website featuring the very best itineraries and prices, cruise news, blog and reviews.
  • All part of the prestige experience,
  • With over 30 years’ experience leading the cruise agent market and hundreds of years of experience at your fingertips – that’s the cruise club difference!

Here at Prestige Cruise Club once you have sailed with us you’re part of the prestige family.

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

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

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This was my first experience of an Oceania ship and I was extremely impressed to say the least! I took a lot of photos on the ship but have just included a selection in my blogs so you can get a feel for the ship and lifestyle on board.

I have decided to split my experience over 3 parts to give you a more in depth overview of the various areas of the ship and Oceania in general. I could talk about this ship and my new love and enthusiasm for Oceania all day!

Part 1 of my blog will tell you about Oceania overall, with a few tit bits from my day on the Marina. 

When I saw the ship berthed in Liverpool I could tell I was going to really like it from first glance, I just had a feeling, so to speak!

I would position Oceania above Celebrity Cruises and slightly below Regent Seven Seas and can highly recommend them to those of you who enjoy sailing with Cunard, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.

There are 6 ships in the fleet, 2 of these ( the Riviera and Marina ) were built and designed by Oceania and the other 4 are ships which belonged to the old Renaissance cruises brand. These ships are Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and the newest in the fleet which is Sirena.

Sirena had been sailing as Ocean Princess and has undertaken a huge multi million dollar refit by Oceania to bring her up to their standards.

Something that I think is unique to Oceania is that all their ships have a refit of the public areas every 18 months to keep them feeling fresh and up to date. I don’t know any other line which does this so frequently.

The staff on board are extremely highly trained, and have worked for the likes of the Ritz Carlton group on land and pride themselves on providing the best service at sea.  Oceania are highly regarded as the best cruise line to work for as the staff are very well looked after by the company. The gratuities paid on board are split equally between all staff members from housekeeping to the chefs, which is great to know. The butlers on board, who look after Penthouse suites and above, are all English trained and will be as hands on or hands off as you wish.

The dress code with Oceania is what they like to call ‘Country club casual’ so no formal dress is needed.

In 95% of ports featured on your itinerary there will be a complimentary shuttle bus in to the nearest town which is always handy!

You will find only 1 announcement made on board which is the morning and is only in English. This is a bug bear for a lot of people so this is a definite bonus!

For those of you that don’t want your every move captured and then sold back to you, unlike some other cruise lines, there is no ships photographer on board! Of course any member of staff will be happy to take your photo but they will not charge you for the privilege.  I do like this little offering!

Before I sign off on this blog, below is a little taster of things to come in my Oceania tales….

I am not a connoisseur in art work but for a ship to feature at least 3 genuine Picasso’s ( one is even in one of the public area ladies loo’s! ) plus a huge collection of Murano glass, to name a couple, I think it is very impressive. Oceania don’t have the normal art galleries where you can buy pieces of work they just have a huge amount on show in the public areas on the ship. There is a self guided art tour you can take which will take you around the various pieces on the ship, this is definitely something I would do, even as an art novice, as I was really intrigued by nearly every piece I saw!

A genuine Picasso!
A genuine Picasso!
Murano glass art work
Murano glass art work
More artwork
More artwork
Artwork outside the Theatre
Artwork outside the Theatre

 

 

Part 2 is coming soon so please check back for my next installment….

 

We have some fantastic offers with Oceania Cruises at the moment so if you would like any information or prices please do not hesitate to email natalie@cruiseclubuk.com or call me directly on 0161 7982506.

Visit our new and exclusive web page, featuring news and information for your forthcoming six star cruise holiday!

www.cruiseclubuk.com/prestige

The prestige difference is clear.

  • Dedicated direct phone number and email address to your personal Cruise Concierge.
    (UK Based, luxury trained expert who have personally visited many of the ships we feature)
  • Exclusive offers you won’t find anywhere else
  • An industry beating customer loyalty scheme.
  • A true full package, Return flights including luggage, private transfers, all taxes, ABTA, ATOL bonded and further cruise disruption protection.
  • Regular personal emails containing, unique itineraries and offers, news from the prestige community and more.
  • Interactive website featuring the very best itineraries and prices, cruise news, blog and reviews.
  • All part of the prestige experience,
  • With over 30 years’ experience leading the cruise agent market and hundreds of years of experience at your fingertips – that’s the cruise club difference!

Here at Prestige Cruise Club once you have sailed with us you’re part of the prestige family.

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

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

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