However, with so much choice available, it can be hard to know which idyllic location to set sail towards first. To help, here are our top five cruise destinations you must visit.
#5 Canary Islands
Why only visit one of the Canary Islands when you can experience them all in one trip?
Canary Island cruises provide year-round sunshine, making them an ideal option regardless of the time of year that you’d like to get away. You can top up your tan and tick experiences off your bucket list as you travel.
There’s also an option to suit every taste. From the adrenaline-pumping Siam Water Park in Tenerife (voted the best water park in the world), to the lunar landscapes of Lanzarote and everything in between, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to experiences. Out at sea, you may even spot dolphins and whales off the coast of Gran Canaria. Whichever islands you choose to visit, you’re in for a real treat when you select a Canary Islands cruise.
#4 China, Korea and Japan
With so much to see in such a vast region, a cruise to Asia should be near the top of any traveller’s bucket list. Asia is home to some of the world’s oldest civilisations, and cruising makes it possible to see them all. With a cruise to China, Korea and Japan, you could be looking up at some of the world’s most awe-inspiring skyscrapers one day, and walking along the Great Wall of China the next day. You’ll also be greeted with the opportunity to witness the Buddhist temples of South Korea, the neon-lit capital city of Tokyo, and the miraculous sights of Mount Fuji, all on the same trip.
#3 Norwegian Fjords
The Norwegian fjords are a photographer’s paradise. Packed with some of the most awe-inspiring sights on the planet, a cruise to Norway’s fjords provides views of jagged mountain tops, shimmering lakes and cascading waterfalls. This is the only real way to fully experience the wonder of the fjords, and no cruise to Norway is complete without a trip to the port of Bergen, the home of Norway’s deepest and largest fjord, Sognefjord. Culture is provided in spots such as Stavanger, where you’ll find museums, wildlife and 12th-century churches.
#2 Eastern Mediterranean
If you’re a culture vulture, then an eastern Mediterranean cruise is the perfect choice for you. Here, you’ll find historic destinations soaked in sunshine.
From glorious Greece to idyllic Italy and everywhere in between, the colourful coastlines of the Mediterranean make for fabulous viewing, and will leave an imprint on your heart forever.
A cruise to the eastern Mediterranean is best enjoyed between the summer months of July and August, when temperatures reach highs of 34°C. You’ll need to pack your sunscreen, but it won’t be too hot for you to enjoy the ancient ruins from Greece’s golden age, such as the Temple of Hephaestus and other Roman relics. Once you’ve enjoyed the history of Greece, why not stop by Croatia for its breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea, and its medieval atmosphere? If you fancy doing something a little different, you can even visit some of the locations used in the popular television series Game of Thrones. The choice is yours.
If you’re looking for blissful beaches, captivating culture and amazing exploration opportunities, then look no further than the Caribbean. The spacing of the islands is perfect for cruising, and it means that cruisers can often wake up in a new port each morning. In addition, there are certain private islands that you can only visit by cruise! From the wonderful wildlife of St Lucia to the bustling markets of Bonaire, and even the sands of Bermuda, there’s something for everyone on a Caribbean cruise. Your only problem is that you’ll be spoilt for choice!
There are over 7,000 islands in the region, so plenty of options are available when it comes to visiting these idyllic islands. As a result, it may be wise to get some more information on Caribbean cruises before you select your itinerary. This way, you can make sure you don’t miss out on any of the main attractions. However, no matter which stylish sailing trip you choose, you’re guaranteed to experience a picture-perfect paradise when you select a cruise to the Caribbean.
These top five cruises should be on the bucket list of any seasoned traveller. With so much to see, do and explore, the only question that remains is, which will you experience first?
GUEST BLOGGER: CRUISEDEALS.CO.UK
CruiseDeals is part of TUI Group, the world’s number one tourism business. That means we're the perfect place to find discounted deals from Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises).
We also work directly with other top cruise lines including P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean, to bring you a great selection of the very best value deals.
Disclaimer: This is a paid for guest contribution blog post by cruisedeals.co.uk.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages is Britain’s leading independent cruise line and this year is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The company specialises in great value for money, traditional, no fly cruise holidays.
We invited Mike Hall, the Head of Marketing for Cruise & Maritime Voyages to take part in this CRUISE Q&A interview to talk more about CMV, including the arrival of the cruise line's sixth ship Vasco da Gama and what the future plans are for the cruise line.
Can you give us a brief history of Cruise & Maritime Voyages?
Cruise & Maritime Voyages was originally formed in 2009 by Cruise & Maritime Services International with a cruise programme featuring Marco Polo sailing from London Tilbury and Ocean Countess serving six regional UK ports. The maiden CMV cruise on board Marco Polo was to the West Indies in January 2010.
Ocean Countess was replaced by Discovery in 2013. In November of that year, we introduced our traditional voyage service to Australia and season of local Australian cruises on board Astor. In April 2014, Astor returned to Europe to operate a programme of summer cruises for TransOcean Kreuzefahrten, our German brand.
For summer 2015, Astoria (previously Azores) replaced Discovery and in March, Magellan joined the fleet. This mid-sized, more contemporary cruise ship marked a significant turning point for CMV broadening the appeal of our cruises to a much larger audience. Enjoying a fine reputation on the British cruise market, Columbus became the proud flagship of the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in June 2017. She has already become a firm favourite. In April 2019, Vasco da Gama will be the sixth ship to join the CMV fleet. She will assume the split season, between Australia and Germany, previously operated by Astor. And Astor will operate year round for TransOcean Kreuzefahrten.
How many ships are in the fleet?
The CMV fleet is made up of six ships: Columbus, Magellan, Marco Polo, Vasco da Gama, Astor and Astoria.
Can you tell us about your new ship, Vasco da Gama?
Vasco de Gama will carry about 1,220 guests and is a small to mid-sized premium cruise liner. Following a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2015, she is truly impressive. Previously respected and very popular on the international cruise market, with a rich heritage and maritime pedigree, Vasco da Gama is well suited to those who prefer smaller ship benefits and a more traditional cruise experience.
Vasco da Gama’s CMV programme will commences in April 2019 with a spectacular 44 night Maiden Voyage from Singapore to London Tilbury via the Suez Canal, encompassing 20 ports of call in 14 countries. She will then sail to Amsterdam and Bremerhaven, where Vasco da Gama will commence her maiden summer season under CMV’s German brand, Transocean Kreuzfahrten, sailing from Bremerhaven and Kiel. We are offering this voyage as a 45 night holiday arrangement including flights from London & Manchester to Singapore.
In October 2019, Vasco da Gama will reposition to the Antipodes with a wonderful 53 night Southbound Voyage from London Tilbury to Sydney (49 nights to Auckland), via the Panama Canal, arriving on 1st December and offering the chance to spend Christmas with relatives or friends Down Under.
What facilities do the CMV ships offer?
At Cruise & Maritime Voyages, we aim to offer a more traditional and leisurely style of cruising and maritime experience aboard our classic-style cruise ships, where the emphasis is very much on providing attentive service within a friendly ‘home from home’ atmosphere. These small to mid-size ships are accessible to more ports of call than the larger resort ships, enabling us to offer some truly innovative itineraries.
Nothing whets the appetite like sea air. You’ll therefore have even more reason to anticipate the feast of delights freshly prepared by expert chefs and served by attentive restaurant staff. Opt for a full English breakfast, savour a leisurely lunch and enjoy a sumptuous five-course dinner each and every day of your cruise.
As a casual alternative to our formal restaurants, enjoy a more relaxed buffet-style meal served up with a complimentary ocean view, or treat yourself to dinner at one of our speciality restaurants or the Chef’s Table (supplement applies). Add in the afternoon teas, late night snacks and traditional shipboard occasions such as the Captain’s Gala Dinners, and the pleasures of the table will surely tempt you from the moment you sit down to dinner on your first night aboard until that final breakfast as you prepare to disembark.
During days at sea, you may choose from a work-out in the gym; a spa treatment in the Wellness Centre; a swim in the pool or something a little less energetic in the form of curling up with a good book. Perhaps listen to a guest speaker or learn a new skill from one of our arts and crafts specialists. The choice is yours!
And in the evening, a high standard of entertainment is brought to you by our experienced Cruise Directors and entertainment hosts. It is their aim to ensure that you have an unforgettable cruise holiday and present a truly wonderful and varied entertainment programme. With stylish production shows, guest acts, cabarets, classical interludes and the late-night disco, there’s something for everyone. For singles travelling on cruises of six nights or more, we offer a special programme of events including a welcome cocktail party and get-togethers with the opportunity to meet like-minded travellers.
Where does the CMV fleet cruise to?
The summer programme includes a wide and varied selection of cruising holidays to the breathtaking Norwegian fjords, the glorious Baltic & Russia, Iceland, the Canary Islands & Madeira, European cities and the River Seine and closer to home, our ever popular series of British Isles cruises. Then there’s the spectacular Land of the Northern Lights, Arctic Greenland and Canada in the fall.
The winter 2019/20 season commences with a choice of short festive breaks. Spoil yourself on a wonderful Christmas & New Year celebration to the Canary Islands & Madeira. There are two cruises to Norway and Iceland in search of the spectacular Northern Lights and Magellan will embark on a CMV classic voyage to the Amazon and West Indies.
Marco Polo will sail on a 78 night Grand Africa & Indian Ocean Voyage and Columbus on her 120 night Grand Round the World Cruise which will surely be the travel experience of a lifetime. And, Vasco da Gama offers the chance to experience a spectacular voyage between the UK and Australasia.
Can you describe the types of cruisers who would sail on your ships?
The majority of our guests (85%) are over 55 years old, with 58% female and 42% male. They are mainly couples although there is an increasing demand for single accommodation.
Our customers prefer to cruise from/to a British port. They live throughout the UK, with 32% being from the Home Counties. CMV appeals to both new and seasoned cruisers with 55% of our guests having been on more than five cruises.
Although press adverts are still an important medium for us, 21% found their cruise through the internet. More CMV customers view our website on a mobile device than on a desktop computer.
What is included in the CMV cruise fare?
Comfortable cabin accommodation of your choice
Excellent service standards from a friendly and attentive crew
Delicious full board cuisine plus afternoon teas & late night snacks
Welcome & Farewell Captain’s Cocktail Parties (cruises of 6 nights or more)
Self service tea & coffee from 6am to midnight
Stylish big show entertainment, cabarets and classical interludes
Daytime activities programme
Informative guest speakers and arts &crafts (cruises of 5 nights or more)
Wide range of leisure facilities to enrich your time on board.
Porterage of luggage from port to cabin
What advice would you give to someone thinking of cruising with CMV for the first time?
Take a look at our itineraries. You will find that our small to mid-sized ships are accessible to more remote ports of call than the larger resort ships built today, enabling us to offer some truly innovative itineraries.
Compare our fares together with what’s included and you’ll appreciate what outstanding value our cruises represent. Cabin accommodation, full board cuisine, afternoon teas, daytime activities, evening entertainment and full use of the on board leisure facilities are all included in the fare.
What makes CMV unique from other cruise lines?
Cruise & Maritime Voyages is Britain’s leading independent cruise line, specialising in great value, more traditional style, no fly cruising holidays.
We realise that many British cruisers still prefer a more traditional cruise experience on board smaller more classic-style ships as opposed to sailing on the vast mega resort style ships built today.
We aim to bring cruising closer to home by offering sailings from a wide choice of convenient regional departure ports. CMV sails from more UK and Irish ports than any other cruise line.
Our goal is to offer outstanding value for money with attractive offers and promotional campaigns that benefit those who book early.
What are the long term plans for CMV?
CMV plans to continue to grow the brand on an international basis. Watch this space!
GUEST BLOGGER: Mike Hall
Mike Hall is the Head of Marketing for Cruise & Maritime Voyages. In 2019 the cruise line is celebrating it's tenth anniversary!
Cruise & Maritime Voyages is a traditional cruise line operating a fleet of five small to mid-sized cruise ships, with a sixth ship, Vasco da Gamma joining the fleet in April 2019.
You can learn more about Cruise & Maritime Voyages by visiting the cruise line's website here!
Over the next eighteen months, Saga Cruises will see two exciting new build cruise ships join its fleet. The first, Spirit of Discovery, which is currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and is set to launch in June 2019.
A second new build ship, Spirit of Adventure is expected to debut in summer 2020. We took the opportunity to invite Nigel Blanks, Chief Operating Officer, Saga Cruises to take part in this exclusive CRUISE Q&A, to talk more about Saga Cruises and the exciting new ships!
Can you give us a brief overview of Saga?
Our approach has always been to listen to our customers and design products and services that truly enable them to do the things they love. This simple approach over the past 65 years has enabled us to become the UK's leading provider of products and services to people aged over 50 in the UK. The Saga brand is one of the most recognised and trusted brands amongst UK consumers in this demographic and is renowned for its high quality, award winning products and services, which include cruises and holidays, insurance, personal finance and the Saga Magazine. In addition, we recently launched our new membership programme, Possibilities, and already have more than a million Saga Members.
Can you tell us a bit about Saga's first new-build, Spirit of Discovery?
Spirit of Discovery will be our first ever new-build ship, and the first small ship built for the British market designed with guests in mind. With all-balcony luxury cabins, of which over 100 are single cabins, her design has been inspired by some of the best hotels, yet with a quintessentially British feel. From bow to stern, every aspect of our luxury, boutique-style ship has been designed to surprise and amaze. Featuring design cues from the finest hotels, she will be spacious, modern, contemporary, and packed with places to get active, relax and indulge. It will be a distinctly British cruise experience.
What facilities will Spirit of Discovery offer guests?
Her tasteful spaces include the Britannia Lounge, the Living Room and the Spa, where you guests can relax and unwind. Lovers of the arts and literature can enjoy the Library or take in a performance in the Playhouse theatre or participate in live learning experiences. And it’s not just relaxation that’s on offer on board. The Club by Jools will be our unique steak restaurant and bar in exclusive partnership with the man himself, Jools Holland. This partnership will bring the music aficionado’s love of live music to the sophisticated restaurant and bar inspired by the great cabaret lounges of the 50s. In addition, Spirit of Discovery boasts an array of restaurants from the Grand Dining Room, to Oriental, to seafood. With cuisines from all over the world, they will be a match for London's finest restaurants. Best of all, our guests can eat whenever and wherever they choose. It is absolutely true that guests complain that the food on our ships is so amazing they put on pounds while on board, so fear not, we also have a state-of-the-art gym and two pools to help burn off those pounds.
What will the accommodation be like?
At the heart of every luxury boutique hotel are the bedrooms. Guests will have their own haven to relax in while enjoying their own, personal space. And with an average floor plan of 215 square feet as standard, there’s quite a bit of space to enjoy. Taking their design cues from some of London’s top hotels, each cabin will be styled to showcase the best in contemporary, yet classic British design. Best of all, every cabin has a balcony, so guests can enjoy their own outside space too.
Can you tell us a bit about ‘The Club by Jools Holland’?
The Club by Jools will be one of Spirit of Discovery’s three speciality restaurants, serving a choice of sumptuous meals to appeal to all tastes, but will specialise in classic steaks from fillet and t-bone to sirloin, plus more unusual cuts such as tomahawk. But it’s much more than a restaurant, it’s another of the ship’s vibrant and fun entertainment venues too – the place to enjoy live music and cocktails in the evenings, with resident and guest musicians entertaining until late. Book soon if you want to be there!
Where will Spirit of Discovery offer cruises to?
Spirit of Discovery’s inaugural season is jam packed with exciting itineraries which will kick off with a tour of the British Isles, very apt for the first small ship built for the British market this millennium, and she will make calls in to iconic cities such as Newcastle, Edinburgh, Belfast and Liverpool! Spirit of Discovery’s destinations throughout summer 2019 include Spain, Scandinavia, the Baltic, as well as a four-night mini-cruise to the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
Why has Saga chosen to christen Spirit of Discovery in Dover?
With Saga’s Group headquarters based in Kent, we felt it only right that we name our first brand new, boutique-style cruise ship in Kent, and what better way to do this than with the iconic White Cliffs of Dover as a backdrop. Dover is where, over 20 years ago, we set sail on our first cruise, so how fitting we start a new era where it all began. Spirit of Discovery will be the first cruise ship to be named in the port for over a decade, and the first following the regeneration of the Western Docks. We are already planning a few surprises, and will no doubt add a few more before the big day!
Why did Saga choose to build two brand new cruise ships?
The cruise market is booming with more people seeing the benefits of changing landscapes and destinations every day, but with the benefit of the same luxurious, boutique-style accommodation throughout. To future-proof our product we felt the need to build ships with today’s over 50s in mind. With my generation living longer, having a life-long thirst for learning, and the opportunity to now do all those things we didn’t have the time to do in our youth, I am delighted we have been able to reflect this passion for Discovery and Adventure in our new ships.
Our first cruises on Spirit of Discovery sold out in record time, so the decision to announce a second new-build Spirit of Adventure, was a logical one. Bringing two new ships to the market by 2020 will not only be truly transformational for us as a business, but genuinely give our guests that modern British boutique-style cruise experience they simply can’t get elsewhere.
Will Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure be identical?
The best way to describe our new ships is as sisters, but not identical twins! From the outside they will look identical, however once you step onboard each will have her own individual personality, while sharing the same high levels of boutique-style luxury. Of course, I can’t tell you too much about Spirit of Adventure yet but watch this space!
What makes Saga and the new ships stand out from other cruise lines and new-builds?
As well as having all the high-end features you’d expect from larger cruise ships…ours are in fact, smaller. And small is definitely beautiful, with the recent survey of cruise passengers by Which rating small ships far above the larger ships on offer. Their chic size has another distinct advantage. They can slip right into the heart of ports, giving our guests easy access to more of the world’s great destinations, as they get closer to the ports that larger ships are, quite simply, unable to.
Our Explore Ashore team will be on board all of our ships from 2019. This bespoke concierge service heralds a brand-new way for our guests to plan and enjoy their time ashore, tailored exactly how they want it, and at no extra charge of course! We also include VIP chauffeur transfer to and from your UK departure point, meaning luxury starts from the very beginning of the holiday. We’ve spent more than 60 years fine-tuning how to be the perfect hosts, and nowhere is this better reflected than on our award-winning small ship cruises. In fact, we’re so confident you’ll love your first cruise with us, that, if you don't, we'll happily refund your fare!
GUEST BLOGGER: NIGEL BlANKS
Nigel Blanks is the Chief Operating Officer for Saga Cruises. The cruise line, which is exclusively for the over 50s market will see the launch of two brand new cruise ships.
Spirit of Discovery is set to join the fleet in June 2019, with Spirit of Adventure expected to debut in summer 2020.
Some of you might have considered the idea of booking a cruise during Christmas, others of you might not have. There are so many reasons why a Christmas cruise is such a good idea. We’ve put together a list of what we think are the top 5 reasons to book a Christmas cruise
ESCAPE TO PARADISE
We all dream of escaping to paradise right!? Why not escape at Christmas? It’s the perfect time! Cruises around Christmas offer so many wonderful exotic destinations to choose from that you are bound to find a destination you’ll love. What’s more you might want to pick somewhere hot and sunny and escape winter, whilst on the other hand some might wish to go somewhere colder and a little more Christmas-y.
In the lead up to Christmas many cruise lines offer short two to five-night party cruises. For examples there are many cruises from the United Kingdom sailing to European cities, where you can visit various traditional Christmas markets.
GET THE WHOLE FAMILY TOGETHER
A cruise can be the perfect way of getting the whole family together to celebrate the big day! No more driving to and from your loved ones, rushing trying to fit in a visit to everyone or having to visit relatives on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. On a cruise you’ll all be together on the same ship in the same place!
FUN FOR ALL AGES
Regular cruises offer some many entertainments options and fun events and activities for all ages and this is no different on Christmas cruises. Your ship will offer a whole host of different activities to take part in should you choose to do so. Of course on almost all ships you should find somewhere quiet to get away too if that’s what you’re looking for.
NO WASHING UP OR COOKING
This is always a great part of any cruise but even more so at Christmas! Imagine not having to worry about cooking the turkey or preparing all the trimmings and snacks. On a cruise this is all done for you but a hardworking dedicated, professional team of chefs. Of course there’s no washing up for you too!!
CELEBRATE WITH OTHERS AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS
Christmas is about being together and celebrating with family and friends. A cruise anytime is a wonderful way of meeting new people and making new friends.
WRITTEN BY: HARRY COTTERILL
Harry Cotterill is one of the most experienced young cruisers in the UK, having visited more than 60 different ships and cruises over 25 times.
He's known across the world for his passion of drawing ships and amazing artwork which has been presented and displayed on board close to 100 different ships.
Princess Cruises is one of many cruise lines which is rapidly expanding, bringing a whole host of exciting changes and improvements to its fleet along with a number of new exciting cruise ships launching over the next seven years.
Tony Roberts who is the Vice President of Princess Cruises in the UK & Europe has kindly agreed to take part in this exclusive CRUISE Q&A interview for Cruise Cotterill to talk more about Princess Cruises and some of the new ships which will be joining the fleet over the coming years.
Can you give us an overview of Princess Cruises?
We’re a premium cruise line and pride ourselves on being destination experts - we travel to over 380 locations. We cover all seven continents and the chances are if you’re looking to set sail in a certain corner of the globe, be it close to home or further afield, Princess can take you there.
And we really pride ourselves on our on board service: I can tell you first-hand our crew are fantastic and really provide a warm and engaging service meaning you feel at home when on board.
How many ships do you have in the fleet?
We have 17 ships, ranging from our 3,560-guest ‘Royal Class’ ships – Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess – to the 670-guest Pacific Princess, which is sailing out of Dover this year and next. The really exciting news is we have no less than five new ships on order: three further Royal Class ships which are set for delivery in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and two next-generations ships that are scheduled for 2023 and 2025. They will be our largest yet and accommodate over 5000 guests.
What facilities do the ships offer?
We have all the modern facilities you’d expect from a premium cruise line including welcoming staterooms, delicious food, spas, gyms, children’s centres and West End-style entertainment.
Princess has always prided itself on leading the way with its onboard facilities so also keep an eye out for our luxury beds, which are being rolled out to all ships and without question offer the most relaxing night’s sleep at sea you’ll get; our top deck cinema screen ‘Movies Under The Stars’; and speciality restaurants including my favourite, the Crown Grill, which offers the best steaks I’ve ever eaten!
Where does the Princess Cruises fleet cruise to?
If you’re looking to cruise close to home we have UK-based ships sailing in the spring, summer and autumn across northern and southern Europe. These are particularly convenient and cover off a number of favourite destinations including Barcelona, Rome, the Norwegian Fjords, St Petersburg and Venice.
And as bit of a one-off in September 2019 we sail roundtrip from Southampton to Canada and New England via New York, which will be a great opportunity to travel further afield to a variety of bucket list locations.
Meanwhile for a long-haul adventure we cover a variety of destinations including Asia, the Caribbean, Australia, Alaska, Hawaii, Antarctica and South America. Wherever your dream holiday is we can take you there.
What’s included in the cruise fare?
A wide range of items including accommodation, meals, entertainment, 24-hour room service and select hot and soft drinks. There’s full information available via our website, princess.com.
Can you tell us about your next new ship, Sky Princess?
Sky Princess will include many of the popular features that will be familiar to everyone who has been on her sister ships, Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. These include the stunning central atrium, award-winning dining including the Crown Grill and Sabatini’s speciality restaurants, spa, Movies Under The Stars and the luxury bed.
But expect a few subtle changes to be added, which we’ll announce in due course, and Sky Princess will also be our largest ship once she sets sails with space for 3,660 guests.
Can you tell us a little more about the Sky Suites on Sky Princess?
I’m really excited about the Sky Suites. They will be situated at the top of the ship and give amazing 270-degree panoramic views throughout your voyage. They’ll be our first staterooms to host up to five people, so larger groups of friends and family can be accommodated. And the suites will also include our most spacious balconies at 700 square feet.
With a sizeable living area, large day bed, outdoor TV and a private master bedroom it’s fair to say I’m keen to sample a Sky Suite for myself!
Can you describe the type of guests who choose to cruise with Princess Cruises?
What’s great about Princess is we cater to such a wide range of tastes and interests, while our fantastic customer service means you’ll always feel at home regardless of whether you’re on your first cruise or your 50th.
Specifically, because we travel to such a large number of destinations across the globe we’re a great line to travel with if you either want to tick a few places off your bucket list or instead prefer to visit somewhere you’ve enjoyed previously. Interestingly, Asia is now the second most popular region for UK guests to visit, in part because they know they will get a full flavour of the local areas while at the same time being able to come back to a premium cruise ship and the various trappings we offer.
During school holidays we naturally have more children on board so that’s a great time for families to sail. My family set sail with Princess during the holidays and there are always other children on board for my son and daughter to make friends with. They both highly recommend our kids’ clubs!
What advice would you give to someone looking to try Princess Cruises for the first time?
Firstly I’m pleased to say we received the public vote for ‘Best Cruise Line’ at the most recent British Cruise Awards so you’re always in safe hands with Princess!
My advice is simple really. To start off with make sure you do a little bit of homework – work out where you want to cruise and when, and you may also want to see if a particular Princess ship appeals to you as we have 17 in our fleet.
When looking at cruises you could also consider booking a slight shorter sailing – three or seven days – if you’re a little unsure, although my first family cruise was for two weeks and we absolutely loved every second of it. I do find cruising is a bit addictive and once you’ve sailed I’d be very confident it’s then a matter of ‘when’ your next one will be rather than ‘if’.
Head to princess.com or your local travel agent for more information, and it’s worth having a look at the various cruise message boards and blogs as they contain useful advice and guidance.
What is your favourite thing about Princess Cruises?
The truly international nature of Princess Cruises sets it apart guests join our ships from all over the world and we have a welcoming crew from over 50 countries.
GUEST BLOGGER: Tony Roberts
Tony Roberts is the Vice President of Princess Cruises in the UK & Europe and has held this position at the cruise line since September 2015.
Princess Cruises has a fleet of 17 ships which sail to more than 360 destinations around the world. A further five new cruise ships will join the fleet before 2019 and 2025.
Please visit the Princess Cruises website to find out more.
Celebrity Edge is arguably the most anticipated new cruise ship which is set to launch this year, featuring a whole host of design innovations and industry firsts!
Jo Rzymowska who is the Vice President and Managing Director for Celebrity Cruises in the UK & Ireland and Asia accepted our invitation to take part in this exclusive Q&A interview all about Celebrity Cruises and the exciting new Celebrity Edge.
Can you give us a brief overview of Celebrity Edge?
Celebrity Edge is the newest ship to join the Celebrity Cruises fleet, and is set to revolutionise the cruise experience for our guests and transform what a ship is capable of. Celebrity Cruises’ design team has collaborated with A-list architects and designers, including Kelly Hoppen MBE, Tom Wright and Patricia Urquiola, to create a modern luxury destination focused design.
At the heart of Celebrity Edge’s unique outward-facing design, are the Infinite Verandas which break from traditional ship design and allow for staterooms to grow by 23 percent and provide 10 percent more bathroom space. The simple touch of a button gives guests open-air access to the sea, bringing the outside in and the inside out.
The cantilevered Magic Carpet sets Celebrity Edge apart, as it is an architectural triumph and transformational space, changing from a luxury embarkation station on deck 2, to a restaurant extension on deck 5, a pool deck extension on deck 16, then into a thrilling dining experience, Dinner on the Edge, at its highest ascendance.
Celebrity Cruises prides itself on its culinary experiences, with Celebrity Edge providing guests with a choice of four complementary restaurants as well as 25 other speciality restaurants, bars and lounges.
The Rooftop Garden is just one example of the innovative design and use of space on board. The collaboration with Tom Wright brings a playful note to the urban landscape. The live plants and grand sculptures make for a wonderful green escape, perfect for day dreaming and enjoying the outdoors, whilst connecting guests with the world beyond.
How big will the ship be?
The ship welcomes 2,918 guests (double occupancy) with 3,373 being the total guest occupancy. It weighs in at 129,500 Gross Register Tonnage, and is 1,004 feet long and 128 feet wide.
What facilities will Celebrity Edge offer?
Celebrity Edge offers a fantastic fusion of activities and venues for its guests. The Edge Spa is an exciting new experience, where the treatments are infused with natural elements; The Rainfall water room, infrared sauna, and Crystalarium all enhance the concept of bringing the outside in.
Eden, designed by Patricia Urquiola, is a venue like no other having more outward facing glass than any other room at sea; a venue that transforms throughout the day from a ‘chillfull’ place of relaxation to a hive of ‘playful’ activity before embracing the ‘sinful’ evening entertainment.
The Retreat is an exclusive space for Suite Class guests designed by Kelly Hoppen and featuring its own private lounge bar, pool deck and restaurant.
What is the accommodation like on board?
The revolutionary design of the Infinite Verandas is an engineering triumph and the Edge Villas are a personal favourite. Their two story windows offer stunning views allowing the destination to become a part of the interior decoration; the personal plunge pools and two bedroom two bathroom penthouse suites are the ultimate luxury residence. Guests will have direct access into the exclusive Retreat and Butler service. There are also two new iconic suites situated above the ship’s bridge offering more spectacular panoramic views, a private dining room, and large personal veranda.
Where will Celebrity Edge cruise to?
Celebrity Edge’s first season will be in the Caribbean from this December sailing Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale. In May, she sails to Europe for a summer of Mediterranean sailings between Barcelona and Rome.
When will Celebrity Edge set sail?
Celebrity Edge is due to set sail on its maiden voyage on 9 December 2018, for a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, and visiting Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and George Town.
You’ve more Edge-class ships on the way, right?
Celebrity Edge is just the first of four Edge-class ships. We recently announced that work has started on Celebrity Apex. The sister ship is expected to make her debut in spring 2020, with the third and fourth Edge class ships arriving in autumn 2021 and autumn 2022.
Can you tell us about ‘The Celebrity Revolution’?
The Celebrity Revolution is a $500 million investment Celebrity Cruises is making in order to bring the entire fleet to the Edge. We want the sense of ultimate luxury embodied in Celebrity Edge to be shared across the fleet. We will transform the ships interiors by bringing Kelly Hoppen’s signature style of clean lines and opulence to the fore and introducing some of the same venues found on Celebrity Edge to the rest of the fleet. We aspire to elevate the experience for all our guests, not just those sailing on Celebrity Edge and are committed to refining every comfort.
What makes Celebrity Cruises different from other luxury cruise lines?
Celebrity Cruises offers modern luxury, outstanding service and a choice of inspirational global destinations to explore. In terms of Celebrity Edge the ship is taking the cruise line and industry to the next level of luxury travel.
We pride ourselves on our culinary prowess and are known for our exceptional dining experiences. Not only do we have the largest selection of speciality dining on board with our own Michelin starred chef, Cornelius Gallagher, curating deliciously exciting menus; our wine collection offers the most extensive selection of rare bottles at sea, which are looked after by our expert sommeliers.
Our shore excursions also set us apart as we provide opportunities for guests to truly immerse themselves in their new surroundings, encouraging them to explore the authentic heart of a destination, which in turn creates memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.
Chef’s Market Discoveries are a wonderful programme of shore excursion that invite guests to explore a destination with a Celebrity Cruises Chef as their guide, taking them to the rich local markets, restaurants, and artisanal stalls, where they can choose the freshest ingredients to be reimagined into a delicious dish to dine on that evening.
Our Global Destination Ambassador Ben Fogle has also curated some exceptional adventures for guests to enjoy, which can range from kayaking in Alaska to climbing a volcano in St. Kitts.
GUEST BLOGGER: Jo Rzymowska
Jo Rzymowska is the Vice President and Managing Director for Celebrity Cruises in the UK & Ireland and Asia and has been working for the cruise line for more than a decade. She previously also oversaw Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises too!
You can find out more about Celebrity Cruises and the exciting new Celebrity Edge by visiting the cruise line's website here.