Authors Posts by Natalies Nautical Tales

Natalies Nautical Tales

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Ahoy There! Welcome to my blog regarding all things cruise. My name is Natalie and I have been working in the travel industry for 17 years and specialising in the cruise sector for over 9 years now. Not only do I book dream cruises for my clients every day but I love to cruise myself! There is just something about waking up in a different place every day and experiencing new cultures and destinations that appeals to me. Cruise ships are just like floating resorts and each has its own personality, no ships are the same so I enjoy trying different cruise lines and sizes of ship. I will be posting pictures from my various cruising adventures and any news from the industry to keep you up to date with the goings on. There will also be some fantastic special offers coming your way in due course so keep your eyes peeled for these too. Please visit my contact page to get in touch if you would like me to check prices for you on any cruise, I promise to get you a great deal! If you want to share any of your cruising experiences or photos with me, I would love to see them!

 

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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If you are considering a fully inclusive luxury cruise then look no further than Regent Seven Seas Women’s Cleveland Browns Brown Direct Snap V-Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Cheap Jerseys from china,Men’s Denver Broncos New Era Gray/Orange Team Boost 9FIFTY Snapback Adjustable Hat,San Diego Chargers 32oz. Stainless Steel Keeper Tumbler with Lid, wholesale jerseys from china.

The following are included as standard which makes Regent Seven Seas stand out from other Luxury lines;

FREE Flights ( Subject to availability )
FREE Business Class flights in Penthouse suites and above on European journeys ( Subject to availability )
FREE Gratuities
FREE Unlimited shore excursions
FREE Wifi ( In concierge suites and above )
FREE Transfers ( Airport to port, return )
FREE Unlimited beverages ( In suite mini bar is also replenished daily )
FREE 24 hour room service
ALL Fine dining in a choice of restaurants on board the ship

There are 4 ships in the Seven Seas fleet, the largest being the Seven Seas Explorer, which is at present only a year old and came in to service in July 2016, at 750 passengers capacity and is 54,000 tonnes. The Mariner and Voyager are slightly smaller with a capacity of 700 passengers and 48,075 and 42,363 tonnes respectively. The smallest in the fleet is the Navigator which can accommodate 490 passengers and is 28,803 tonnes.

As you can see from the stats above, these ships are a great size to receive personal service from the crew on board and also large enough to be able find a quiet space, if wanted, or to enjoy the daily/nightly entertainment in the Theatre or one of the lounges on board.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend half a day on board Voyager for an agent visit and I have to say that I was most impressed with the feel and size of the ship. What I mean by this is that the ship had a ‘ big ship’ feel but with only accommodating a relatively small amount of passengers the amount of space felt vast! If you have been on one of the ‘ big ships’ you will know how they can sometimes feel very crowded but this is not the case with Regent.
The ship felt opulent in both the suites and public areas with one of the restaurants featuring a Versace dinner service. The standard suites feature L’Occitane amenities with the higher level suites featuring Hermes.

Some photos I took of a few areas of the ship are below;

Versace dinner service
Versace dinner service
Constellation Theatre
Constellation Theatre
Compass Rose ( Main Restaurant )
Compass Rose ( Main Restaurant )
La Veranda ( Casual Restaurant )
La Veranda ( Casual Restaurant )

My blog really is a brief overview to Regent Seven Seas, as an introduction for you to judge if this would be the cruise line for you! I hope you found this informative or perhaps learned something new!

We have some fantastic offers with Regent Seven Seas 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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Linking the Atlantic & Pacific Ocean  the Panama Canal extension officially opened yesterday (26/6/16). It took nearly 9 years to complete at the cost of $5.2 billion!

At 49 miles the Panama Canal’s expansion will provide an additional lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of new locks – doubling the waterways capacity

shutterstock_71167744
Panama Canal Locks

For the Cruise industry this is fantastic. Previously Cruise Lines would use older and smaller ships, whereas now, newer larger ships can be accommodated

The Panama Canal should be on everyone’s must see/bucket list. Most cruise lines operate 14 days on a full transit cruise. You can however opt for a partial transit which is a shorter itinerary (the cruise lines only go halfway through the locks before turning around).

Princess Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Lines all offer full and partial transit cruises

The Caribbean Princess will be one of the first large cruise ships to pass through the new locks on her 10 day partial transit itinerary in 2017 from Fort Lauderdale

princess it
Caribbean Princess Itinerary

TOP TIPS:

On your transit day, get up early and find a prime viewing spot to take in the ever so popular views that you will encounter along the way

Choose a cruise excursion by either booking on board or in advance with Cruise Club UK. Many Panama Canal and Central America ports are industrial, which means you will need to find you own way to the nearest City!

 

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: Natalie@cruiseclub.com 0161 798 1106

 

 

Having been lucky enough to have visited New York 3 times I wanted to share my experience with you of places to stay and things to do, in the city that never sleeps!

If you are cruising from or to New York it is the perfect opportunity to spend some time in this vibrant city and experience all it has to offer.

On one of my visits I had a 3 night stopover prior to joining the Crown Princess which sailed from Red Hook port in Brooklyn. I can honestly say, of all the cruises I have done, this has been my most memorable sailaway to date! I cannot recommend it highly enough, as the views of the skyline and Statue of Liberty were spectacular as we sailed by. There was a particular bridge we had to go under and due to the height of the ship the funnel had to be lowered to fit under. I didn’t realise this was possible on a ship, maybe only certain ones have the facility, but it was certainly a sight to see and one I won’t forget in a hurry!

Going under the bridge
Going under the bridge
New York view on sail away
New York view on sail away
View of Staue of Liberty on sail away
View of Staue of Liberty on sail away

Hotel Recommendations

This occasion I stayed at the 4* Novotel Times Square which is a great position if this is your first visit to the city, just 1 block from Times Square itself and you can even see it from the restaurant/bar in the hotel. There is also an outdoor lounge area, again with Times Square views, which is great to relax in after a busy day, if you visit in the summer months of course!

View of Times Square from the Novotel Hotel outdoor lounge
View of Times Square from the Novotel Hotel outdoor lounge

On my most recent visit I stayed at the 4* Element Times Square West Hotel which is part of the Westin chain. Again, great position but slightly further away from Times Square itself but only a few blocks away. A stand out feature of this hotel was the complimentary breakfast and tea/coffee in the lobby area which was available 24 hours a day. This is very unusual for a New York hotel and very welcome! The rooms were very modern and had a kitchenette area with coffee machine, microwave and a fridge if you wanted to store any snacks or drinks.

My first visit to New York was on a budget so I went for a 3* hotel called the Belvedere. Hotels centrally located are known to be quite expensive but this particular hotel was great value for money and again only a couple of blocks from Times Square and the Theatre district. The rooms were large and clean but in comparison seemed old fashioned decor wise in comparison to the other hotels I have stayed in since. This being said, it wouldn’t stop me staying here again if price was an issue.

Sights to see

New York is renowned for its shopping and my favourite place to go is Macy’s. You could spend a full day here as it is huge! On all the occasions I have visited there has always been a sale on and if you visit their website prior to leaving the UK you can print off a voucher giving us tourists an extra discount, bonus! There are some great savings to made, especially for ladies who love their shoes and handbags as the desingner brands I found are substantially cheaper than you would pay in the UK.

The Empire State Building is of course an Iconic building and you wouldn’t want to miss out on a visit to the Observatory deck to see those fantastic views of the city. The queues can be long to purchase tickets so I would recommend purchasing your tickets on line in advance for your chosen day.

A helicopter tour is something you may not have thought of but I have done this twice and I can highly recommend it! I have some great pictures of Central Park from above which gives you the opportunity to see the absolute scale of the park, I hadn’t realised it was so big until I flew over it. My pictures of the Statue of Liberty from above are also some of my favourite pictures I took whilst out there.

If you are visiting in the winter time why not head to one of the Ice Rinks at either the Rockefeller Centre or Central Park for a unique fun experience.

For travelling around the city the Hop on Hop off bus tours are great value for money. You can stay on the bus and do the full loop, with commentary through the head phones, which is a great way to get your bearings and learning some facts about the city you may not know! Alternatively, as the name suggests, hop off at a place of interest and get back on once you are ready to move on. I did this on my first visit and am so glad I did as it stood me in good stead for my future visits and I learned a lot along the way.

An evening cruise along the river is also something you may not have thought of but I thouroughly enjoyed this trip and again it was a different perspective of the city at night time with all the lights from the various buildings. They do give you a lot of information whilst on board about the city and I learned a top tip on how to remember and the names of the 3 main bridges that connect Manhattan and Brooklyn and also the differences between them. Fascinating and insightful!

The many museums in New York, I won’t list them all, are all free to get in to and well worth a visit.

Grand Central Station, although you would think is just a train station, is itself an awesome building and if you get chance is very interesting to have a look around.

For any fans of the TV programmes ‘Sex and the City’ or ‘Friends’ you can take a tour which will show you the locations of the main parts of these shows. Unfortunately I didn’t chance on any of my visits but is something I would like to do on my next visit.

My final tip would be head up to Central Park to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are horse and carriage rides available, although a little smelly I thought! Lovely if you are visiting when the weather is warm, you can relax with a little picnic on the grass or just have a leisurely stroll around.

With so much to do in New York it seems such a waste to just sail out and not spend any time here, I would go as far to say that it is my favourite city of all those I have visited!

If I can help you plan your next cruise out of New York or incorporate a stay in New York with a cruise out of a different port, give me a call directly on 0161 7982506 or email me natalie@cruiseclubuk.com

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.

Having been lucky enough to visit Alaska and Vancouver, and also sailed with Celebrity Cruises, I thought I would share with you my experiences.

Lets begin with the star attraction….Alaska!

This is one of those places that is on most peoples bucket lists. In my eyes, a cruise is the best way to visit a lot of the main destinations in one holiday. Itineraries will vary but will always include at least one day of scenic cruising. I sailed through the Inside Passage and also had a day of scenic cruising through the Glacier Bay national park.
On these scenic cruising days you get to experience the actual scale of some of the Glaciers, It is awesome in every sense of the word! What struck me was the quietness which was intermittently broken by the sound of the Glaciers moving and cracking. I even saw a huge chunk of ice fall off and crash in to the water below, quite a sight to behold!
The pictures below don’t really capture the scale of the Glaciers but bear in mind I was on top deck taking these pictures and the Glacier was still towering above!

Frozen Glacier
Frozen Glacier
Frozen Waterfall
Frozen Waterfall
Towering Glacier
Towering Glacier

I have also visited Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau. You may have read my previous blogs on these destinations but if not, rather than repeat myself, please click on the highlighted links to read in more detail.

Whilst we are on the topic of destinations, Vancouver was the finishing point for me on my Alaskan cruise. I only got to spend a day in this fantastic city but it is definitely on my list to go back to as I only touched the surface of what it has to offer. If you click on the highlighted link you can read my previous blog on my experience in Vancouver.

Now you have a feel for the destination, moving on to my featured ship Celebrity Infinity.

Infinity

Firstly a few facts:
Celebrity Infinity is a Millennium class ship and first came in to service in 2001. She can hold 2170 passengers and is 90,940 tonnes.
The perfect size ship for the Alaskan itineraries!

In October of 2015 Celebrity Infinity received a grand makeover to include some of the most favourite Solstice class amenities. This included the addition of the Ice topped Martini bar, Tuscan Grill and Qsine speciality restaurants and a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy a movie alfresco or just take in the views with your favourite tipple.

Rooftop terrace
Rooftop terrace
Martini Bar
Martini Bar

I sailed with Celebrity Cruises this year, for the first time, on board a Solstice class ship so I can say with confidence that the new additions will perfectly enhance an already popular ship in the fleet.

If you have never sailed with Celebrity Cruises before they are an american style cruise line and their ‘Modern Luxury’ brand is certainly that. You can expect high but understated service and the food on board is fantastic and varied. I dined in both Qsine and Tuscan Grill, which are 2 of the speciality restaurants on offer, and they were both great! Each very different in its concept and well worth a visit.

To read about my experience with Celebrity Cruises, albeit on a different ship to the Infinity, please click the highlighted link above. This will give you a good idea of what to expect.

Top tips!
I would highly recommend having a balcony cabin whilst sailing in Alaska. On the scenic cruising days the top deck can get busy so it is great to have your own personal space to enjoy the views on offer. I would also recommend taking some binoculars with you to spot Eagles and Whales/Dolphins in the distance, mine came in very handy indeed!

I am the only one in our office that has been to Alaska so If I can assist you with making your Alaskan booking please do not hesiate to call me directly on 0161 7982506 or email me natalie@cruiseclubuk.com

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.

The lastest news from Cunard on the remastered Queen Mary 2 is in relation to the informal restaurant on board, Kings Court.

The restaurant will have a major re design with a more open central buffet area. The seating area will be re confirgured to create a relaxed self service experience yet keeping a refined, informal atmosphere.

Cunard have undertaken a lot of development work with input from both guests and galley staff to enhance this popular area of the ship. The planned changes will include new menus, pre set tables, for convenience, and waiter service for drinks.

The chefs in the restaurant will take centre stage offering cooking demonstrations to highlight the new and improved menus on offer and to show off the high quality of fresh produce used. Kings Court will offer informal dining options throughout the day, including hot and cold buffet options and afternoon snacks. In the evening you can expect various cuisines on offer from Indian to Tex Mex, for those that would prefer a more informal evening meal.

The ever popular ‘Chefs Galley’ area, which serves Pizza and Pasta at lunch time, will have a Chef’s table tasting menu on certain evenings. This will be hosted by the executive chef and guests will have the opportunity to get some recipe tips whilst enjoying the tasting menu which will be paired with fine wines.

Kings Court is expected to feel bright and fresh with art deco inspired chandeliers, dramatic art works, timber flooring in areas and a clever use of mirrors to make the most of the ocean views.

Kings Court Servery area
Kings Court Servery area
Kings Court daytime seating area
Kings Court daytime seating area
Kings Court daytime seating - Alternative view
Kings Court daytime seating – Alternative view
Kings Court evening seating area view
Kings Court evening seating area view

Cunard have provided examples of new menu and beverge offerings, as below;

Breakfast:
Hot and Cold breakfast buffet selections

Lunch:
Hot and Cold lunch buffet selections
Speciality Offering:
• Burgers and Hot dogs (in Chef’s Galley area)
• Hot and Cold Theatre Stations which will change on a daily basis.

Dinner:
Hot and Cold dinner buffet selections plus live cooking station
Speciality offering (at a charge):
• Chef’s Galley (Chef’s Table tasting menu created and hosted by the Executive Chef with fine flavours and Ingredients expertly paired with a range of fine wines).
• Rotating Alternative Dining Options (Indian, Italian, Pan Asian and Tex Mex

In Between:
All day buffet with varied and balanced selections including a midnight buffet.

Thats it for Kings Court but keep checking back on my blog for further updates from Cunard on the remastering of Queen Mary 2!

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: natalie@cruiseclubuk.com 0161 7982506.

Probably one of the most frequently asked questions I am asked is ………

‘HELP, WHAT DO I PACK ??!!’

This will depend on the cruise line you are travelling with, your chosen destination and the season in your destination.

Obviously, if you are going on an Alaskan cruise with Princess Cruises you are going to need completely different clothes to the Caribbean with NCL!

My best tip has to be, research the weather in your destination! You can never guarantee weather reports will be correct but it does give you a great idea on what to expect, or have a look at on line forums as you can find some great tips.

If you are still really unsure, I would advise layers! A great example of this was when I went to Alaska at the end of May, a few years ago, which is the beginning of the cruising season out there. I was expecting cold weather and did not expect on 2 of the days to be walking around in shorts and a vest top so I was glad I packed a small sun lotion and one pair of shorts with the thinking ‘just in case’.

I am a great fan of packing for ‘just in case’ and I always take an umbrella everywhere, even in the Caribbean!

The evening dress code on board your chosen ship will vary and you can find information such as the amount of formal, smart casual and casual nights on the cruise lines website. This will help you plan your evening wear and pack savvy, remember on a fly cruise you have a maximum weight allowance!

I have seen and picked up some great ideas on what to take on board to make life a little easier…..

top 10

1) Miniature toiletries – Huge space saving for us ladies leaving extra room for all those shoes!

2) Overnight bag – By packing a small overnight bag means you can leave those essentials out for the next morning, after your suitcase has been left outside your cabin the night before. Once you have collected your luggage just pop it in the top, job done.

3) Magnets – This may sound strange but the walls in your cabin are magnetic! If you want to pin up your daily newsletters or shore excursion vouchers, so as not to lose them, this is the perfect way to know where they are.

4) Motion sickness wrist bands – You never know if you might need these! The medical centre is always on hand to issue tablets ( for a fee of course ) if things get really unbearable.

5) Ear plugs – Obvious uses, you never know what your cabin buddies either side of you might be like! I always find the cabin doors slamming early in a morning, unintentionally I’m sure as they are quite heavy, quite a pain especially if I want a lovely holiday lie in.

6) Waterproof money pouch – I am not sure the exact name for these but you can buy them in the shop on most ships. You can keep your cash,cards, keys and small personal items in these if you are going to the beach or just around the pool. Swim safe in the knowledge your valuables are not going to go walkies!

7) Plastic shoe hangers – If you have a family sharing a bathroom and have lots of different toiletries these can clutter the bathroom area. By hanging one of these on the hook on the back of the door it keeps them all together and tidy and is a great space saver.

8) Lint roller – Suits and dresses can attract bits from anywhere, so to save the cost of laundry on board take one of these to look dapper and fluff free on formal nights!

9) Lanyard – An easy way to carry your cruise card when you have no pockets or hand bag.

10) Alarm clock and adapters – A simple thing but a small travel alarm can be handy if you wake in the night and want to know the time or just need to be up early one morning for an excursion. Don’t forget your travel adapters either to convert your plugs!

Finally my top tip on packing your suitcase…..

Pack your clothes on a beach towel! – Yes, you are provided these on board but I find it so handy to just lift out to get easy access to shoes, toiletries etc. at the bottom of your case if you are checking you have everything or need to get at something quickly.

Happy packing everyone!

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: natalie@cruiseclubuk.com / 0161 7982506

Cunard are well known for their Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites which gives access to the seperate corresponding restaurants.
During the re fit of Queen Mary 2 in 2016 these suites, and their restaurants, are to enjoy major investment which will further position them as the pinnacle of on board experience and service.

A bit of history for you….
These suites epitomise luxury, style and sophistication and have done since they were first featured on the Aquitania back in 1914. In the 1930’s the Verandah Grill restaurant was introduced, on board Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. The idea of a seperate, more intimate restaurant, was favoured by Hollywood stars and buisness tycoons who wished to have privacy and an elevated level of service to the main restaurant whilst also having somewhere they could relax in the surroundings they were used to. The restaurant featured an Orchestra stand and dance floor allowing dancing and socialising until the early hours and was the place to be seen!
The QE2 continued with the exclusive concept in the late 1960’s with the introduction of the Grill room restaurant and bar followed by the first Queens Grill Penthouse suites a few years later.

Below is a picture of one of the original lounge areas in a cabin class suite on the Queen Mary.

Queen Mary old cabin

Princess Grill and Queens Grill Suite enhancements

All grades of the above suites will be refurbished and re configured to maximise space, refelctive of the high expectations modern cruisers sailing with Cunard expect.
The suites will feature new furnishings and luxury bespoke carpets, designed with the iconic Cunard heritage in mind. The rug you can see on the above picture has been an inspiration for the new carpeting and will be visible in the suites.
Each suite will feature new exclusive artwork based around motifs from various Cunard buildings from around the world.
The colours in the suites will focus on reds, blues and neutral background colours with contrasting dark and light wood to further enchance the art deco feel.

These suites really will be the Jewel in the Crown on the Queen Mary 2 and look stunning, as you can see below;


queens grill image and floor plan

Princess Grill and Queens Grill restaurant enhancements

Both award winning restaurants will be reconfigured and designed to accomodate more tables for 2, which are extremely sought after, and the waiter stations will be moved further away from the dining areas for more privacy. Extra space between the tables will also be made which will further enchance the dining ambiance and experience for suite guests.
The decor and furnishings will be refreshed to have a more elegant feel to further compliment the menus on offer.

The picture below shows how the new restaurants are expected look;

princess grills

Further announcements on the re fit are due to be disclosed in early December so check back then for more news!

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: natalie@cruiseclubuk.com / 0161 7982506

Cunard have released another exciting enhancement to the Queen Mary 2 for whilst she is in dry dock in early Summer 2016.

Carinthia Lounge

The current Winter Garden will be transformed in to the Carinthia lounge during the refit and is named after the well loved Carinthia ships.
The new space will have an elegant light and airy feel and will have the versatility to serve as a day and night time venue. The colours are to be powder blue, gold and cream with curved lounge seating and also dining tables and chairs around the new patisserie area. The venue will also feature a ‘Wine Wall’, Art deco inspired vertical metal screens and a dark walnut timber dance floor.
During the day you can take a light breakfast, lunch or even a special Champagne afternoon tea here and in the evening the venue will pair complimentary tasting plates with premium wines and have relaxed entertainment on offer.

New-Carinthia-Lounge

Cunard have provided a sample, as below, of what will be on the menu and it sounds very inviting indeed!

Breakfast:
Chilled Madagascan Vanilla Crème Fraiche Porridge with Fresh Berries
Passion Fruit, Organic Natural Yoghurt, Granola Verrine
Poached Rhubarb in Grenadine, Greek Yoghurt, Manuka Honey Pot

Sour Dough Toast with Maple Cured Bacon, Fried Egg and Monterey Jack Cheese

Mid Morning:
Speciality Tea /Coffee and Viennoiserie Pastries
Praline and Hazelnut Pretzel
New York Chocolate Babka
Pecan and Caramel Muffin

Lunch:
Scandinavian Individual Platter Boards
Classic Salmon Gravelax with Sweet Dill Orange Mustard Sauce, Skagen Baby Shrimp on Pumpernickel, Marinated Cray Fish with Sour Cream and Chives, Matjes Herrings

Smoked Charcuterie and Pate Individual Platter Boards
Smoked Goose, Smoked Venison with Cranberry Orange Relish, Duck and Madeira Pate, Black Forest Ham with Country Pickles, Artisan Crusty Bread
Goat’s Cheese, Beetroot, Parsnip, Farro and Rocket Salad with Carraway Dressing
Hot Smoked Salmon, Shaved Fennel and Apple Salad with Creamy Dill and Manuka Honey Yoghurt Dressing
Home-made Chicken and Mushroom Tarragon Crêpe Gratinated with Mornay Sauce
Spanish Style Frittata – Grilled Peppers, Onions, Potato and Chorizo, Manchego Cheese

Veuve Cliquot Champagne Afternoon Tea ($30pp)
Tomato and Olive Scone with Goats Cheese Mousse and Grape Compote
Roast Beef and Caramelised Onion Mini Whole Wheat Baguette
Strawberry, Pistachio and Frangipane Tart
Selection of Flavoured Scones: e.g. Almond and French Vanilla Bean

Evening:
Bar, featuring premium wines by the glass
Selection of complementary tasting plates

This looks to be a very chic and relaxing venue so Im sure will prove very popular!

More news on the re fit is to be announced by Cunard so stay tuned for more updates….

If you love cruising and are looking for inspiration for your wedding then why not consider getting married at sea!

The process is much easier than you might think and you can choose to get married on the ship by the Captain or at one of the destinations on your itinerary.

The ceremony costs vary from cruise line to cruise line but for example Celebrity Cruiseshttp://www.cruiseclubuk.com/cruiseLineDeals-celebrity.phtml wedding packages for an onboard wedding start from $2500 which includes an on board event co-ordinator, brides bouquet, grooms button hole, master of the ship performed legal service, 1 hour photography service, bottle of champagne, two champagne flutes, flowers in your cabin, rose petals on the bed at turndown, chocolate covered strawberries and more!

Shoreside weddings will vary in cost dependent on your chosen destination, again using Celebrity Cruises as an example, if you chose a beach wedding in St Lucia the costs start from $3995 or a cliff top wedding in Santorini starts from $5195. The choice is yours!

Santorini Wedding
Santorini Wedding
Beach Wedding
Beach Wedding

You can choose to have your wedding breakfast in one of the specialty restaurants on board for a more intimate feel and a great bonus to getting married on a cruise is you know the food is going to be fantastic!

If you want to host a pre wedding breakfast drinks party with canapes this can also be arranged on board with various options open to you.

The spa is on hand for those pre wedding treatments for both the bride and groom and for the big day itself, hair and make up for the bride and guests.

Everything you could need to make your special day perfect is right on hand so in my eyes this takes a lot of the stress out of the arrangements leaving you to just relax and enjoy every moment!

Its not just weddings that can be held at sea, if you are looking to renew your vows this can also be arranged.

On to the process itself… Choose your cruise and date, check with the weddings department with the relevant cruise line that your chosen wedding date is available, then make the cruise booking and confirm the date with the weddings department. Easy peasy!

The actual wedding arrangements and extras you wish to add on will all be handled by your pre sailing event manager but the cruise booking itself will be handled by ourselves.

If you would like more information on weddings at sea with any cruise line please do not hesiate to give me a call directly on 0161 7982506 or you can email me natalie@cruiseclubuk.com