The Cruise Hub is your cruise information portal with helpful guides, insider info, expert insight and the latest news from the world of cruising. First time cruiser info, onboard tips and ideas to make your cruise special.
Exciting news for those of you who love to sail straight out of the UK – the Port of Tyne in Newcastle is getting a bump-up in facilities for Marella Cruises passengers!
The revamp includes a new baggage handling facility that’ll enable cruisers to drop-off their bags quicker than ever, after which they’ll be security checked and loaded straight onto the ship. Passengers will then be able to park up in a dedicated Marella Cruises car park.
The International Passenger Terminal, based in North Shields, has been reconfigured to accommodate an extra 1,000 bags as well as an additional 382 car parking spaces. There’ll also be a marquee which will provide cover for the baggage handling facility.
The move comes in the hope of making sure Marella Cruises customers enjoy a seamless end-to-end port experience, as the extra added space should make both embarkation and debarkation all ‘smooth sailing’.
Cruises from the UK
Sailing straight out of a UK port and skipping the whole rigmarole of flying has become increasingly popular over the last few years, especially as cruise lines seem to be stepping up with more exciting and inventive itineraries departing from UK ports.
St Petersburg in Russia is just one of the destinations you can cruise to straight from the UK
What cruises sail from Newcastle?
Marella Cruises offer various sailings out of the Port of Tyne, so there’s plenty to choose from! There’s sailings ranging from a mini-getaway of three nights to eight nights or the longer 14-night durations, so there’s sure to be something that suits you. Take a look at some of the most popular sailings departing from Newcastle…
The Port of Tyne is easy to reach and is perfect if you’d prefer to wave goodbye to the hassle of flying. Especially as it means you have no luggage restrictions! Bring as much as you like (whether that’s your whole wardrobe or an empty suitcase to bring plenty of souvenirs back!) and forget about those long queues at the airport.
Marella Cruises also sail out of another UK port which is perfect for anyone living further south. You can view last minute summer cruises leaving from the port of Southampton here.
Happy days cruisers! Marella Cruises have finally revealed their exciting new itineraries for the Winter 2020 season – and the best news is they’re ON SALE NOW!
We can finally introduce you to 10 new itineraries, eight of which are repositioning sailings. The remaining two are season-long itineraries that offer amazing adventures in Asia, including a late night stay in Singapore!
These sailings are set to be incredibly popular, so don’t hang around – it’s never too soon to book your next sailing!
Flavours of the Far East
Marella Discovery 2
Adults only & All Inclusive
Overnight stay in Langkawi, Malaysia
Sailing from December 2020 – March 2021
Ports: Laem Chabang, Thailand | Phu My (for Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam | Singapore | Malacca, Malaysia | Langkawi, Malyasia | Penang, Malaysia | Port Klang (for Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia | Singapore | Koh Samui, Thailand
This is one for the bucket list! If you’re wanting to visit one exotic destination after the next, then Flavours of the Far East is the sailing for you. You’ll get to discover beautiful Buddhist culture and try the tastiest street food first hand. Architectural wonders come as standard in city states like Singapore, and you’ll also be treated to the tropical islands of Thailand and Malaysia, where silk-soft beaches await.
Wonders of the Far East
Marella Discovery 2
Adults only & All Inclusive
Overnight stay in Laem Chabang, Thailand
Sailing from December 2020 – March 2021
Ports: Langkawi, Malaysia | Penang, Malaysia | Port Klang (for Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia | Singapore | Koh Samui, Thailand | Laem Chabang (for Bangkok), Thailand | Phu My (for Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam | Singapore | Malacca, Malaysia
This itinerary takes in all the same hot-spots as the Flavours of the Far East itinerary, but with this sailing you get an overnight stay in Thailand instead! That means you’ll get to explore all that the capital of Bangkok really has to offer. From buzzing markets to astounding temples covered in gold, this is one adventure you won’t forget in a hurry.
This itinerary really does live up to its name – you’re about to embark on a journey to some of the most fascinating ancient civilisations that the Mediterranean has to offer. You’ll start your sailing in Dubrovnik, where the terracotta roofs of the old city centre stand out from the glittering blue of the Adriatic. The gorgeous Greek islands don’t disappoint when it comes to ruins either – you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Adult only & All Inclusive
Sailing 2nd December 2020
Ports: Limassol, Cyprus | Suez Canal, Egypt | Aqaba (for Petra), Jordan (overnight) | Salalah, Oman | Dubai, UAE
This special sailing will have you journeying through the wondrous feat of engineering that is the Suez Canal. Connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, this fascinating passage will take you to Jordan, where the Rose City of Petra (as seen in Indiana Jones!) awaits. You’ll disembark in Dubai, a destination known for utter luxury and extravagance. You even have the option to stay an extra night there at the end of your sailing!
Adults only & All Inclusive
Sailing 9th March 2021 – but you can also choose to join on the 10th March
This sailing sees Marella Celebration making her way back from her winter home port of Dubai and ending back up in the Mediterranean. We’re talking over two weeks of indulgence being All Inclusive onboard Marella Celebration – that means endless amount of cocktails as you sail through the Suez Canal. With visits to the amazing city of Petra and an unusual stop in Beirut in Lebanon, this one-of-a-kind sailing will make the perfect start to your 2021.
Adult only & All Inclusive
Sailing 27th October 2020
Ports: Palma, Majorca | Cartagena, Spain | Malaga, Spain | Gibraltar | Funchal, Madeira | St John’s, Antigua | Philipsburg, St Maarten | Basseterre, St Kitts | Kingstown, St Vincent & the Grenadines
Want a sailing with the best of both worlds? Here it is! This superb sailing takes in both the Mediterranean and the Caribbean on the same itinerary. What more could you want?! You’ll kick things off in Majorca and visit other top Spanish spots such as Cartagena and Malaga, before having a few days at sea to truly relax and unwind. Before you know it, you’ll be in the Caribbean! Turquoise waters, swaying palms and a care-free ambiance like no other. This sailing is the perfect way to wind down before the festivities of November and December come into full swing.
If you’re after something a bit shorter that still packs in plenty of places, then this itinerary couldn’t be more perfect. Over 12 nights you’ll get to take in idyllic Caribbean islands like Barbados and St Lucia, before enjoying a few nights at sea as you cross over the Atlantic. Back over in the Med, you’ll finish things off with a trip to Gibraltar, Cartagena and picturesque Palma. Make sure to visit the iconic cathedral!
This six-night sailing has six spectacular destinations – we’re talking about an itinerary that manages to whisk you off to a Greek island, a Balearic Island, marvelous Malta as well as stops in both Italy and Spain. Plus, you’ll do it onboard Marella Explorer – one of Marella Cruises’ latest ships. She’s perfect for couples and families, and with 10 restaurants and 10 bars onboard, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to make the most of your All Inclusive status.
Marella Explorer 2
Adult only & All Inclusive
Sailing on 15th November 2020
Ports: Malaga, Spain | Gibraltar | Ponta Delgada, Azores | Philipsburg, St Maarten | Road Town, British Virgin Islands | Basseterre, St Kitts | Castries, St Lucia | Bridgetown, Barbados
Grab your other half for this stunning sailing – you’re in for the perfect couples’ retreat onboard the adult-only Marella Explorer 2! It’s not just the ship you’ll be impressed by though as this itinerary will have you island-jumping from one Caribbean cruise port to the next. After a short flight to Malaga, you’ll pop to Gibraltar and the Azores before relaxing in style for a few days as you cross the North Atlantic to sunnier climes. Once at the other side, it’s all powder-white sands and azure waters. You’ll wind things up in beautiful Bridgetown, Barbados!
Capture the Caribbean
Adult only & All Inclusive
Sailing on 2nd December 2020
Ports: Malaga, Spain | Funchal, Madeira | St John’s, Antigua | Amber Cove, Dominican Republic | Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands | Montego Bay, Jamaica
What’s the best way to get ready for Christmas? A cruise, of course! Set sail in December 2020 and get one last bit of adventure out of the year with this gorgeous getaway. Your 13 nights will be split between a short stint in the Mediterranean before a few days at sea to enjoy all the fantastic facilities of your ship. The second half of your sailing lets you discover some of the Caribbean’s finest destinations, including the dreamy scenes of the Dominican Republic.
As if we weren’t already excited enough about the brand new itineraries above, Marella Cruises are delighting us even more by bringing back two firm favourites! Marella Celebration will once again be based out of Dubai from December 2020 to March 2021 – which of these two itineraries will have you sailing out of the ‘City of Gold’?!
Sailing from December 2020 – March 2021
Overnight stay in Dubai
You can also join this itinerary on a Wednesday and stay overnight in Dubai at the end of the cruise
Ports: Dubai, UAE | Doha, Qatar | Muscat, Oman | Khor al Fakkan, UAE | Abu Dhabi, UAE
This spectacular sailing will have you visiting the jewels of the United Arab Emirates as well as captivating Qatar and Oman. With an overnight stay in Dubai you’ll get a real feel for all the glitz and glamour the city offers. You’ll have plenty of time to visit the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa – and in Abu Dhabi you’ll want to snap pics of the country’s largest mosque. It’s quite a sight!
Cities of Gold
From December 2020 – March 2021
Overnight stay in Dubai
You can also join this itinerary on a Wednesday and stay overnight in Dubai at the end of the cruise
Ports: Dubai, UAE | Manama, Bahrain | Muscat, Oman | Khasab, Oman | Abu Dhabi, UAE
Cities of Gold does exactly what it says on the tin – get ready to dive head first into cities packed with futuristic charm. This sailing takes you to three unique capitals – Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Manama – and the fascinating mixture of ancient history and high-rises never fails to impress. An with an overnight stay in Dubai, you can take shopping in the January sales to a whole new level – the malls here are are super-sized!
One of the best things about cruising is you only have to unpack once! However that being said, there’s nothing worse than unpacking your case and realising you’ve forgotten something or wish you’d thought to bring something else. – Well, we’re here to help! We recently asked some of our Facebook followers what their one must pack item is when cruising, so it would be rude of us not to bundle them all together and share them with you.
We know we don’t need to go over the essentials. The correct clothing dependent on your cruise destination, sun creams, after sun, all your toiletries, perhaps a dressier outfit for the formal night on your cruise, you’ll have that all covered – but what else should you be packing for your time on the seas?
Check out our handy packing list below and you’ll be more than good to go!
Ok, so this one isn’t really a item as such but it’s a thoughtful tip for all you cruisers! Make full use of all available baggage allowance but more than that, pack wisely. If you’re traveling with another person, a top tip we’ve came across is to pack half and half of each persons belongings in each case.
Arriving in destination and your suitcase not following suit has to be one of the worst situations, especially when cruising. If the worst did happen and one of your cases went on it’s own holiday for a couple of days, packing this way will at least provide you both with enough belongings to get by!
If you’re a solo traveler, you’re hand luggage can be your saviour here. Take full advantage of those kgs and pack a couple days of essentials. From swimwear to travel size cosmetics, a main dining room outfit and some underwear! – We’d hope you’d never have to experience the loss of luggage but we’d love you to go away as prepared as can be.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be staying in a suite, most cabins on cruise ships may only have one or two power outlets. This may seem ok, until you’re trying to charge two phones, your tablet and dry your hair all at the same time. An extension lead is the perfect solution! It gives you more flexibility with lead lengths and means you only need bring one plug adapter too!
It can be a little windy on pool deck and fighting with your towel all day is never fun. Large pegs are the ideal solution to keep your towels secured to your lounger all day long. Better than that, when you’re not lounging round the pool, pegs are great for hanging up your wet swimsuits to dry or even keeping crisp and sweet packets closed.
Torch/ Night lights
This is something that may be more suited for those in an inside cabin. A torch or nightlight can be super practical on an evening, especially when those middle of the night toilet trips come calling. Of course you can always leave the bathroom light on or turn on the main light, but if you like to sleep submerged in darkness, or wish not to disturb those you’re staying with by turning on the ‘big light’, a torch or night light can be perfect!
Many of us are now all consumed with technology, always having a phone or tablet to hand. We know many of you will now not only use these devices to keep in contact with family and friends, but as your one and only camera too. Wouldn’t you just hate to be out exploring in destination, see something you absolutely must photograph and have your battery die! – A portable charger is fast becoming a necessity.
Portable charging blocks don’t need to be chunky or heavy, many models now are sleek, light and will conveniently sit inside a small handbag or even a back pocket! For peace of mind of never being without life on your phone, be it for an emergency call or just to capture those life long memories, a portable charger is well worth having whilst you cruise.
Ear plugs are a traveling must have for a lot of people, compromising on a good nights sleep can result in a ruined holiday for many! Avoid any snorers, noisy neighbours or any early morning cruise ship noises and bring a pack to help drone out any unexpected sounds.
Refillable water bottle
Most if not all cruise ships will have water dispensers located around the ship. Why not bring your own water bottle along, be a little greener and help yourself stay cool and hydrated during your cruise.
Cruisers have been doing this for decades and it’s probably one of the most simple space saving, organisational tips you’ll come across. Your cabin walls are all made of metal, meaning they’re all magnetic. Very few hanging hooks will be available in your cabin as standard, so when it comes to finding homes for more than a couple of jackets, hats, scarves or whatever it may be, the end of your bed or edge of the chair can become a bit of a dumping ground.
Bring your own hanging space with a small packet of strong magnetic hooks! Simply stick them around your walls and hang anything and everything you can.
Over the door shoe organiser
Not for your shoes! Storage in cabins can be a little sparse, so the more places to put things the better. An over the door storage organiser in the bathroom is great for keeping all your toiletries away from your limited sink space. Wash cloths, deodorants, shampoo bottles, hairspray will all conveniently sit in each shoe caddy!
Believe it or not, there’s a lot to see on those sea days! You’re sitting out on top deck, watching the world go by and spot something in the horizon. No need to strain your eyes to see, just whip out those binoculars you brilliantly thought to pack and get a clear view of all the natural wildlife or upcoming land!
Pens/ Sketch books/ Crochet
Another one for a sea day or perhaps just a bit of down time in the late afternoon, one of our lovely followers suggested taking sketchbooks and pens and another said they love to crochet onboard! – This one may not be for everyone but we think it’s a idyllic way to pass some time whilst sailing in-between ports.
One that can easily be forgotten. Ladies you might pack a bundle of evening bags, and you’ll all have your flight bags but have you ever forgotten to take a bag that’s perfect for your time ashore!
The joys of cruising leads you to new exciting destinations each day. As you’ll be leaving your ship behind for a few hours, you’ll likely wish to bring a few essentials with you. Some excursions that you may wish to go on, may prohibit bags bigger than A4 so you’ll need to keep this in mind, however a well sized secure backpack can make your time on land that little bit more organised and a whole lot easier!
Bottled water, sun creams, snacks from off the ship – you can fit it all in and easily carry it around with little inconvenience to yourself.
We hope that’s helped you think of a few extra items that may make your time onboard a little bit easier. Now that you know what extras to bring with you, let us help you secure your cruise to begin with. – For all of our latest cruise offers, click here!
We recently asked our social media following what their best cruise excursion experience has been and got a bundle of responses! It’s no good us keeping all these recommendations to ourselves and we just love helping you out with planning your cruise holidays. – So if you’re in need of some inspiration of where to spend your money when sailing around The Mediterranean, these four shore excursions came out on top!
Italy may just have, more must see works of art and iconic landmarks than any other country in the Mediterranean! Home to Leonardo’s The Last Supper, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and the Sistine Chapel, Italy beholds some of the worlds most beloved paintings and sculptures.
Although Italy is so much more than art work, as beautiful as they may be, Italy also houses two of the world’s most loved cities, which just so happen to be two major cruise ports – Venice and Rome. Out of all the recommendations we gathered, the top three reside here!
Shore excursions to Venice and it’s canals
No visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride. Take a shore excursion through the maze of canals taking in some of the city’s best known landmarks. From impressive churches to the world famous St Mark’s Square, you can blissfully float along and experience the city built on water in the best possible way. Plus they’ll be time to get out of the water and head out on foot for a closer look at some of Venice’s top sights.
Shore excursions to The Vatican City
When in Rome why not see all the classics AND the Vatican City! With Rome shore excursions that squeeze it all in, you can easily work your way around the full romance of this city. From Rome’s iconic Colosseum, where you can channel your inner gladiator to the Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill.
However The Vatican City is the place our followers voted a favourite of Rome’s shore excursions. Headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and home to the Pope, it’s your gateway to Rome’s rich history!
Independent from the rest of Italy, this small state houses St. Peter’s Square, St Peter’s Basilica and Vatican museums including The Sistine Chapel – said to be one of the city’s greatest treasures. See the works of Michelangelo and marvel over the Italian Renaissance styling. You need only spend part of your day here to cover all the main sights!
Shore excursions to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
If you’re traveling to the port of Naples, the city of Pompeii is only a 30 minute drive away!
Explore the city that was frozen in time. Once a bustling port town, Pompeii’s fate was sealed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius back in 79AD. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular places to visit in Italy – you can really get a sense for what life was like in ancient Rome.
Walk around the remains of it’s temples, villas and streets which more or less look exactly as they did 2,000 years ago. You’ll even see some of those who sadly turned to stone trying to flee the city. It’s harrowing yet ultimately intriguing – a real history fest.
If you like, from Pompeii you can go onto Mount Vesuvius itself. Take a coach up to the 1000m mark and walk through the national park to it’s summit. It can be a little enduring but the extra leg work is well worth it, if you are able – we’ve been told those views really are incredible!
The final Mediterranean shore excursion that our followers were shouting about takes us away from Italy and into the stunning country of Greece. Athens is the historical capital of Europe and if you find yourself cruising into the port of Piraeus, you’ll likely want to plan a trip to the Acropolis!
Shore excursions to The Acropolis and Athens City
Opt to tour both Athens city itself and the marvel that is the Acropolis during your time in Greece!
Many tours will start by taking you around the main city sights such as, Constitution Square, the Neoclassical-styled university buildings, the Royal Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the county’s old Olympic Stadium of Athens. – If you love your history and ancient architecture this cruise excursion really is a must do!
The Acropolis really is the highlight of this tour! Going with a guide is always recommended, you’ll leave on a walking tour which splits into several stages. Listen to your guide explain the history of this most famous monument before having some free time once you reach the top!
Wander around the ancient temples of Athena Nike and capture those breathtaking city views beneath you. Let’s not forget to capture that picture perfect shot of the Acropolis, before you even start your journey up too!
Booking your shore excursions
Like the sound of any of the above?
Most Cruise lines will allow you to start booking your shore excursions once your actual cruise booking is confirmed, or in most cases you can wait until you’re actually onboard the ship – however be aware some excursions may sell out by this point.
There is also the option of private vendors – these usually come out a little cheaper however unlike official cruise line excursions, the ship will not wait if you get held up! So just be aware of ship departure times and ensure you have more than enough time to make it back!
Sail with Marella Cruises
First step of getting to experience all those amazing shore excursions is to book the cruise itself. Why not check out our latest offers page for the best deals and discounts available right now. Let us help you find an amazing deal and get that part ticked off your to do list! – you can always call our friendly sales team as well on 0800 107 2323.
Marella Cruises have a bundle of shore excursions available to you, if you decided to book onto one of their cruises. With six amazing ships all based in various parts of the world, we’re certain you’ll find the perfect match. – Plus, every ship of the Marella Cruises fleet is now All Inclusive! So that’s all your food and drink already covered – Hopefully relieving more spare cash to splash on those shore excursions.
All of the cruise excursions we’ve detailed above are available with Marella Cruises, however you can check out even more of Marella Cruises ports of call and excursion options right here!
Still looking for more recommendations? See our original Facebook post here to read all comments about all world destinations favourites. – Perhaps you’ll have your own to add to!
A conference branded around the idea of #nextgeneration, the 2019 CLIA conference hosted 750 agents and some of the world leaders of the cruising industry to discuss all things new and what’s next from some of the biggest names in the business.
With the recent cancellation of Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Sea’s 2020 UK season, a main question for Ben Bouldin – Associate Vice President and Managing Director for Royal Caribbean International, was why the line decided to reposition “Indi” as she is also known, over to the Caribbean and what were their plans for the UK market now.
Royal Caribbean have recently launched its new private island Perfect Day at CocoCay which has had a “phenomenal” reaction from consumers, this is what prompted the decision to cancel Independence of the Sea’s 2020 UK season. Bouldin discussed how he feared the ship may need to reposition after the line was looking “a little bit light” in the Caribbean for the upcoming expected demand.
Speaking at CLIA, Ben Bouldin emphasised how it wasn’t a decision the line had made lightly or planned, stating they wouldn’t have allowed her to go on sale. He went on to explain how “Independence of the Seas is an incredibly popular ship which sells incredibly well.” She was one of the first ships to go through the Amplified programme and with all other “Amplified” ships already in the Caribbean, when it was felt another was needed there, he feared what might have to happen.
Bouldin stressed how the cancellation of her season was in no way a reflection on the UK market and how “it is our appetite to get back to two ships in the UK very quickly”.
Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages
It was quite the surprise to have the Virgin Group founder turn up at CLIA 2019. With a dramatic entrance that got the atmosphere buzzing, everyone sat keenly waiting to hear what Sir Richard had to say of his entrance into the cruising world with his first ship – Scarlet Lady.
Branson and Tom McAlpin – Virgin Voyages chief executive spoke of their plans and wishes for the line. It was made clear Virgin Voyages had a mission to challenge old cruising traditions and break the mold in order to attract those new to cruise and certainly the younger generation. McAlpin said: “We don’t want to fit into any one category. We’re different. We’re going to be so unique they’re going to want to be on board.”
McAlpin discussed the brands “Rebellious Luxe” category which they have created for themselves. It’s a way the brand hopes to set itself apart from everything currently available in the market. They wish to give customers more flexibility, they want to understand the needs of their “sailors”. It was noted how WI-FI is now almost a life necessity and therefore this would be included as standard with their voyages. Tom McAlplin also detailed how their “Rebellious Luxe” image took inspiration from the Virgin Groups music roots. He added: “It’s all about making you feel like you’re a rock star and feeling like you can get what you want, when you want it.”
When speaking of Scarlet Lady which is due to launch next year, Branson said: “We wanted to try create a cruise ship that the millions of people who have never been on a cruise ship will go on, so we can expand the market.”
Branson hinted at potential extra destinations for Virgin Voyages with Mexico, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Turks & Caicos Islands and even Australia being in the running for future itineraries. Sir Richard added: “I am extremely excited and that is why I have flown 4,000 miles to come and talk to you about it.”
It was revealed Scarlet Lady will be making a trip to the UK when she launches next spring, traveling to both Dover and Liverpool in February 2020. – So you may just be lucky enough to go and catch a glimpse of her!
MSC to revamp Magnifica
Still to be officially confirmed but albeit very likely, MSC Cruises strongly implied that MSC Magnifica will be lengthened and finished off with some British touches before she comes to her homeport in the UK.
Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises managing director for the UK and Ireland has previously kept quiet on the lines plans around which ship was to go into dry dock. The renovation is planned to be completed for Summer 2021!
Cruising – Value for money
Andy Harmer, CLIA’s UK and Ireland director took to the stage to celebrate the cruising industry having a record breaking year, surpassing two million UK and Irish passengers – two years ahead of schedule! Although consumer confidence may be slightly down at the moment in regards to the continuing issues with Brexit, the outlook is looking very positive for the industry.
Larry Pimental, Azamara’s president and CEO made the point: “Industry continues to grow because it’s good value. Value is not just about the price you paid, it’s about what you get after you paid.” Pimental felt that a number one driver for consumers booking a cruise was the experiences that come along with it. Itinerary destinations are now holding greater importance than the experience of the cruise ship itself, also this is still a factor.
Head of NCL, Frank J Del Rio also spoke about the importance of experiences. He believes this is something the entire cruise industry does best, along with continuing to adapt to society changes and needs of the customer. He said: “Today, shorts, flip-flops and T-shirts could be your millionaire next door. The cruise industry does a great job of keeping up with society.”
Next Generation Cruising
The conference speakers covered a number of topics but the end message from all was the same. The cruise industry is to continue to thrive and grow and cruise lines are ready to take onboard not only their most loyal and loved consumers but those wishing to experience cruising for the first time. The #Nextgeneration of cruising sees technology advances make everything from bookings, time spent onboard, excursions and much more far simpler than it ever was before. The younger generation, particularly millennial’s, are now of keen interest to many cruise lines and it’ll be interesting to see how the industry progresses.
Tony Roberts, vice-president of Princess Cruises highlighted the fact $60 billion is being spent on ship builds over the next few years and if they’re anything like Celebrity’s latest “Edge” classification of ships, they’re all sure to be impressive!
What do you think? Are you a new cruiser, are you excited for all that is to come? We sure are!
TUI have recently upped their hand luggage allowance for all TUI flights. What was once only 5kg, TUI have made the move to match many of their competitors and are now offering one piece of hand luggage per person (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg!
This will still be restricted to bags with maximum dimensions of 55x40x20cm and everything you carry, including laptops and handbags must be able to fit within your one piece of hand luggage.
Luggage allowance can sometimes feel quite confusing so we’ve decided to do a quick overview of the TUI luggage allowance, specifically aimed at Marella Cruises packages.
TUI hand luggage for cruise
As we’ve literally just mentioned, hand luggage allowance for TUI Airways flights will now be one piece per person, weighing up to 10kg – as long as you meet the defined bag dimensions.
If you’re traveling with children, they may also use a Trunki case as hand luggage, as long as this does not go over the weight limit.
Checked TUI luggage allowance
When flying with TUI Airways on most package holidays your limit would be one bag per person weighing up to 15kg, however with cruise packages you can enjoy an extra 5kg giving you the bigger allowance of 20kg! – This will be clearly shown on your booking so make sure to take note.
If you feel you may need a little extra, for an additional charge each passenger may up their allowance to 25kg.
TUI Premium Club luggage allowance
During your booking process you may be offered a flight upgrade to TUI Premium Club, this does come with an additional charge but also with many additional benefits including a bigger luggage allowance.
Flying Premium Club with TUI Airways gives you a standard luggage allowance of 23kg plus the now increased hand luggage allowance of 10kg.
TUI Infant luggage allowance
If you’re cruising with infants and taking a TUI Airways fly to your ship, you are able to take a pushchair for infants under 2 years old, completely free of charge! Plus as long as your holiday is part of a Marella Cruises package, under 2’s will also be allocated their own 10kg of hand luggage.
Pooling luggage allowance
You may be questioning whether you’ll be charged if your case slips slightly over the 20kg limit but another in your party stays well under. With TUI Airways you are allowed to pool your luggage allowance with anyone else on your booking, however each case can still only weigh up to the maximum on 23kg. – Unless you have upgraded to the 25kg additional baggage option.
To make things even simpler, if you’re a party of two you’ll be entitled to 40kg of luggage between you. This means one case can weigh 23kg and the other only 17kg and this will be accepted without question at the airport!
No fly Marella Cruises luggage allowance
If your cruise departs directly from the UK and therefore no flight is needed you do not need to worry about any luggage weight restrictions!
Feel free to bring as much luggage as you feel you need – just be considerate of the space you have available in your chosen cabin.
TUI luggage restrictions
As with every airline, there are always restrictions to what is allowed and not allowed. For full details of what you can and cannot take as luggage on a TUI Airways flight – please read through their luggage guidelines here.
It also goes without saying, this information is specific to TUI Airways flights, if your package includes flights from a separate airline you’ll need to make yourself aware of their policies.
Anyone excited for Bond 25? With it being recently confirmed that the upcoming movie will be Daniel Craig’s fifth and final performance as the spy – as well as Oscar winner Rami Malek being confirmed as the movie’s new villain – we thought we’d take a look at the destinations that make these films the thrilling and lavish blockbuster hits they are.
001 – Jamaica
If you’re a true Bond fan, you’ll know that this stunning island could be considered the true home of James Bond – as this is where creator Ian Fleming wrote more than a dozen novels and short stories featuring the 007 agent.
‘Dr. No’ ‘Live and Let Die’ ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ and ‘Octopussy’ are largely or partly set on the island of Jamaica – with the films based on the first two even being shot here.
And the good news for you is that with Marella Cruises, you can choose to do a Cruise and Stay here. That means you’ll embark on a glorious seven-night cruise around the highlights of the Caribbean, before enjoying up to a week’s stay in Jamaica.
With a whole week to get a flavour of the island, you’ll soon see why this luxurious backdrop inspired the adventures of Fleming’s cool character. Slide on your favourite bikini or your best shorts, sit back on the sand and you’ll be feeling like a Bond girl or the man himself in no time.
Who could forget Daniel Craig’s first Bond performance in 2006’s Casino Royale? The scenes of him and Vespa manouvering their way through Venice’s famous waterways make for a remarkably romantic backdrop – that is, before all hell breaks loose with an inevitable speed boat chase.
Sail through the maze of canals yourself on a gondola and explore all that the marvelous St Mark’s Square has to offer. Tick off St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs – and don’t forget to treat yourself to something from one of the many designer shops. Bond does love his smart attire, after all.
In The Spy Who Loved Me starring Roger Moore, Bond is dispatched to sunny Cairo in Egypt – and even in such extreme heat, somehow manages to don a suit perfectly!
But of course that isn’t the only marvel here – this culture-rich capital was home to one of the greatest civilisations the world has ever known – the ancient Egyptians.
Gaze upon the pyramids of Giza and stand before the Sphinx for a truly spectacular selfie. As Bond would no doubt tell you, knowledge is power. And there’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained in this destination, with museums featuring everything from ancient papyrus scrolls to Tutankamun’s tomb.
The tank chase scene in Golden Eye is arguable one of the most thrilling scenes throughout the whole Bond franchise. Why take a taxi around St Petersburg when you can take a tank?
Although Pierce Brosnan’s Bond manages to somehow navigate the streets of this city in a T-55 tank designed for the armoured units of the Soviet Army during the Cold War, we’d recommend trying to keep the city intact and seeing the sights on foot.
Take in the historic St Isaac’s Cathedral before spending some time in the Heritage Museum, home to over three million pieces of art. And in true Bond style, make sure you test out the Russian vodka with a martini or two – shaken, not stirred, of course.
In Die Another Day – once again featuring Pierce Brosnan as the suave secret agent – Bond drives across half of Cuba from Havana to the made-up island of Los Organos.
Most James Bond fans can’t deny their love for cars, making Cuba the perfect retreat for those who are partial to an elegant engine. Bond himself drives a 1957 Ford Fairlane through the glorious Cuban countryside, and you won’t be short on spotting classic cars from the 1940s and 50s whilst you’re here.
It’s essentially a living museum for retro vehicles – so make sure to rent one for yourself or hop in one acting as a taxi. In this unique location, you’ll feel like someone’s about to shout ‘cut!’ at any second.
A good car chase seems to be the key component of every successful Bond film, and the main one featured in 2015’s Spectre took place on the cobbled streets of Rome.
Although Bond’s Aston Martin ends up in the Tiber River – after coming bumper-to-bumper with gentleman listening to Opera music in his Fiat 500 (could he be anymore Italian?) – we’re pretty sure he’d still agree that Rome is up there as one of Europe’s most impressive cities.
Make a wish in the Trevi Fountain, stroll around the iconic Colosseum and feast to your heart’s content on the most authentic pizza and pasta you’ll likely ever taste. When in Rome!
And last – but certainly by no means least, we have the simply stunning backdrop of Thailand. Khao Phing Kan is an island which lies in Phang Nga Bay – northeast of Phuket – and is responsible for being one of the most iconic Bond locations of all time.
About 40 metres from the shores of Khao Phing Kan is a 66ft tall islet -featured in the 1974 Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun, starring Sir Roger Moore. This backdrop became so recognisable that the area is now more popularly known as ‘James Bond Island’.
To get a slice of Thailand’s otherworldly scenery for yourself, Marella Cruises offer amazing itineraries to Asia that take in the likes of Bangkok and Koh Samui. Slap on some sunscreen and soak up the sights – you’ll feel like you’re ‘on set’ in seconds.
The glittering jewel of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik – is high up on the list of places to visit in the Eastern Mediterranean, and for good reason.
Terracotta rooftops, white limestone streets and a medieval charm that has secured it as one of the most famous filming locations for some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, as well as one of the most successful TV series of all-time – HBO’s Game of Thrones.
So whether you’re a super-fan of the show or simply want to see some truly impressive spots on your next visit, here are five fantastic settings that’ll have you feeling like you’ve stepped right out onto set.
Dubrovnik Old Town
The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ acts as one of the main settings within the show – the infamous city, King’s Landing.
The 1.9km long city wall surrounding the bustling centre is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is only second to the Great Wall of China as being the largest on the planet.
The fortresses within the Old Town are simply breathtaking, and you’ll soon realise why this is the perfect spot to portray King’s Landing’s medieval setting.
The seaport here – or Blackwater Bay to Game of Thrones fans – is also a superb sight, and is responsible for being the backdrop to one of the most epic episodes of season two.
Get ready to re-create one of the most famous scenes of the entire show – Cersei Lannister’s ‘Walk of Shame’.
These beautiful and elegant Braoque stairs can be found on the south side of Gundulic Square, and although the Great Sept of Baelor – situated at the top of the stairs in the series – is pretty much entirely computer generated, the steps themselves sure do make for a brilliant Rocky-esque photo!
St Dominic Street
This is where you’ll recognise many of the market scenes from the show, and it also forms part of the route for Cersei‘s walk of penance.
It’s located near the Dominican monastery, which is well worth the visit in itself. This area of Dubrovnik will really have you feeling as though you’ve transported to the streets of King’s Landing!
Forming the east entrance to the Old Town, this 14th-century stone bridge is where true fans of the show will recognise it as the Red Keep Gate.
A walk over this bold bridge is a must when visiting Dubrovnik, and a super-long selfie stick is a handy addition to capture it on camera! You’re going to forget it’s the 21st century – you can’t help but feel as though you’ve time-traveled back to the olden days!
Impressive both from the outside and internally, Rector’s Palace is a must-visit regardless of whether you’re into ‘Thrones or not. Fans will instantly recognise the staircase (pictured above) from a scene in season two when Daenerys Taragaryen asks the Spice King of Qarth for his fleet of ships.
Built in the late 15th century, the palace also features a small museum where you can soak up all the history of the building, including exhibits which show the city’s history over the years. Simply stunning architecture that you don’t want to miss!
Lush gardens, 15th-century buildings and stunning viewing platforms looking out to the Adriatic sea? Yes please! Trsteno Arboretum is the oldest arboretum in this part of the world and is a thing of pure botanical beauty.
Instantly recognisable from the series, all the palace garden scenes within King’s Landing are shot here – from Sansa’s revelations about King Joffrey to the fiesty conversations with Lady Olenna, Queen of Thorns.
A stroll through these glorious gardens is not to be missed – make your way under an ancient archway, take a snap of the Neptune statue and gaze into the water fountain where you’ll find a pool of coy carp.
Time to set sail?
Whether you’re a Game of Thrones superfan or just curious about this marvelous medieval city, one thing’s for sure – Dubrovnik has so much to offer. A day in this enchanting location is a day well spent!
TUI might be making waves in the cruising world with Marella Cruises, but they’ve also decided to move into the river cruise market with three river ships in summer 2020. Exciting stuff!
TUI River Cruises
The three ships named TUI Skyla, TUI Maya and TUI Isla will each accommodate a homely 155 passengers across 79 cabins, with a mix of bars and two restaurants.
The three vessels will be adults only and set to sail over five of Europe’s best and most popular rivers – the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle, over seven and 14-night itineraries. Launching under the name of TUI River Cruises, this new venture went on sale on 25th April 2019 – with 19 itineraries to begin with!
TUI have said life onboard will be all about flexibility, offering their friendly and personal service that they’ve become well known for. With two packages for customers to choose from, you can go a la carte or completely casual.
Dining options are set to include al fresco dining on the top deck, with romantic tables for two. There’ll also be more casual dining, perfect for large groups of friends and optimum socialisation.
Marella Cruises are known to mainly sail at night, allowing more time to explore each port during the day. And it seems TUI River Cruises will be on the same wave length! You’ll be able to dock in more central locations – right in the heart of city centres – meaning even less travel time to discover the delights of some of Europe’s most enchanting locations.
The lead in price stands at £1,099 – and when you realise everything that includes, it’s pretty great in terms of value. It seems as though this venture will follow in the footsteps of ocean sister Marella Cruises when it comes sorting you the perfect package – with tips and service charges already being covered in the initial cost.
Introducing the fleet
TUI Skyla, TUI Maya and TUI Isla will be adults only, with each having the same dining and leisure facilities onboard. And you can wave goodbye to Inside Cabins – as each room will have either a porthole, large window or full French balcony. It’s all about those river views!
Although not All Inclusive, TUI River Cruises have basically everything covered for you. From direct flights from UK airports to transfers, Wi-Fi and even £120 worth of credit for shore excursions – there’ll be very little left to worry about.
All cabins on Deck 1 come with a porthole, cabins on Decks 2 and 3 will either come with a full-sized window or French balcony.
Standard Cabin – measuring up to 12m2, these come with a desk and fixed double bed.
Standard Single Cabin – the same size as the standard cabins but you instead get a single bed as well as a desk and lounge chair.
Superior Cabin – measuring 15m2, you’ll have a king size bed which can be converted into two singles. Along with a desk and lounge chair.
Standard French Balcony – These are the same size as the standard cabins however come with the added bonus of a French balcony. Floor to ceiling doors make your views unmissable, you’ll also have a double bed and desk.
Single French Balcony – Again the same as above, amazing floor to ceiling doors for unbelievable views but instead of the fixed double bed, you’ll have a single, desk and lounge chair.
Superior French Balcony – Just like the Superior cabins, you’ll have a convertible king size bed with lounge chair and desk. Your floor to ceiling glass doors will also lead out onto a French balcony.
French Balcony Suite – A French balcony suite is the optimum treat. Measuring at 24m2, you’ll again have the convertible king size bed, plus the luxury of a bigger bathroom, dressing area, sofa, coffee table and a desk.
With 2 bars, 3 restaurant areas, a library stocked with books and games and the entire top deck filled with facilities – these vessels may be small there’s still plenty to work your way around.
Get drinks at the Observatory and Club Lounge where you can expect widescreen views, special guest acts and delicious coffee and cocktails.
Dine at Verdastro an elegant main dining room which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a buffet service for breakfast while lunch and dinner are an a la carte affair with full waiter service. Your second option Bistro is a little more casual, it’s again open for each meal of the day and has both a la carte and buffet options for you to sample a bit of everything.
Top desk is where you’ll get those views worth swooning over. Split into zones with different areas for activities and those simply for relaxing. They’ll be space for BBQs, sofas for lounging and daybeds and sun-loungers for those wanting to top up their tan. For those liking to keep busy, head to the activity area where sessions such as yoga and Pilates classes will take place!
Words from the manager
Chris Hackney – Marella Cruises managing director, will be adding the new river cruising side of the business to his portfolio and will therefore become the UK & Ireland Cruise Managing Director.
Tui River Cruises will only be sold to the UK market and Hackney has already hinted that more ships may be added to the fleet. Stating this was just the start for them, Chris Hackney said “in terms of how big we get it depends on consumer appetite at this stage” Having just launched, he acknowledged this and the opportunity European rivers gives the company. He followed saying “At the moment we are concentrating on sailings from Amsterdam and we will probably go as far down as Serbia.”
He said the scope of the business was considerable and even suggested the line could offer sailings on the Douro in Portugal, which is becoming a “very popular” river cruising destination.
Tui River Cruises is promising that same great service that Marella Cruises currently offers with it sitting under the same Tui umbrella. Hackney told how each guest will receive a £120 credit for excursions which could include bike tours, sightseeing tours or even cookery classes! – A nice additional benefit if we say so ourselves.
Tui has bought the ships from operators Werner-Tours and Reisebüro Mittelthurgau Fluss. Tui will take over the ships come October when they’ll undergo their refirs and be renamed.
Interested in getting onboard?
Tui River Cruises are set to sail from Summer 2020 and will actually be available to book through retail in late April 2019! They’ll eventually be bookable through Tui’s contact centres at a later day so keep an eye out for future updates!
River cruising not for you? – Why not take a look at our lastest Marella Cruises deals for the same fantastic service just on a slightly bigger ship!
As we’re part of TUI, Team Cruisedeals were lucky enough to be invited onboard Marella Explorer 2 for her big launch earlier last week!
Setting sail from sunny Malaga, we spent four nights onboard before disembarking the ship in Palma, Majorca, where she went on to say hello to her first customers.
Spoilt for choice
Being Marella Cruises’ first Adult-Only ship, she’s packed to the brim full of sophisticated bars and restaurants. You’ll also find plenty on offer to keep you entertained, meaning sea days will be a blast.
We thought we’d give you a quick round up of our favourite places onboard – spanning across 11 decks, there’s certainly no shortage of fabulous facilities!
The top spots
Flutes is Marella Explorer 2’s elegant new champagne bar. Walk through from the Broad Street Shops and immerse yourself among plush velvet seating, stylish gold and marble accents and the beautiful sounds of a grand piano.
The decor itself made Flutes one of our favourite places to sit and have a drink before attending that evening’s performance in the Broadway Show Lounge. Stunning foliage draped across the bar, paired with over-sized rose gold champagne bottles and attentive wait staff – Flutes quickly becomes an idyllic setting to relax in.
Menus placed along the bar include those drinks available at a surcharge – for those not upgraded to the Premium All Inclusive drinks package. However you can ask for anything from the standard drinks menu here also. Although at only an extra £2.50, we’d highly recommend the Bellini’s! Offered in numerous flavours, they’re well worth that extra little splurge to make your evening a little more special.
We were lucky enough to experience Latitude 53 for each course of the day, breakfast, lunch and dinner – and it didn’t disappoint once!
If you prefer a more formal setting with waiter service and a menu to select from, Latitude 53 is your main dining room and the place to head to. You’ll always be greeted by friendly crew at the doors who will then seat you at a table. We asked to be placed in certain areas whilst there, be that on the upper level or with a window view towards the back, and this was always granted when possible.
Lunch and dinner are a three course affair with the likes of prawn cocktails, escargot, lasagne, roast beef and chicken dishes and an array of delicious desserts. From cheese boards to cheese cake, there will be something that tickles your fancy!
Your wine glass will never sit empty and we found portion sizes to be just right! Latitude 53 is well worth a few visits.
Nonna’s is brand new for Marella Cruises, and this pizzeria was far more than we were expecting. Located to the front of the main pool deck, you’ll also find Beach Cove, Scoops ice cream parlour and Snack Shack nearby – Marella Explorer 2 really does give you bundles of choice when it comes to dining.
Enter Nonna’s and find a selection of colourful tables and comfy booths. Take your pick from delicious freshly made pizzas – from everyone’s go-to of traditional margherita to pepperoni, vegetarian medleys and even BBQ chicken.
For more information on Marella Explorer 2’s dining options see here.
The Coffee Port
The Coffee Port felt like the central hub of the ship, with plentiful seating, a reading nook, board games and all the Lavazza coffee you could wish for. We spent a few of our mornings waking up here!
You may be highly tempted to have your chosen hot beverage with a side of something sweet and we can safely say the macaroons are delicious.
The Coffee Port onboard Marella Explorer 2 is the biggest in their fleet and takes over a decent section of Deck 7. It’s calming, relaxed and a great environment to refresh and reflect. Order your drinks to go or take a seat and wait for them to be brought to your table – there’s even electric ports to get a quick charge of your phone.
The Broadway Show Lounge
We grabbed a drink before making our way here but there really was no need, on entrance to the Broadway Show Lounge crew welcomed us with pre-made cocktails and bottles of beer. The venue felt spacious and fit for purpose with its grand central stage, balcony seating and perfectly positioned tables to perch your drinks.
We were lucky enough to see two shows at The Broadway Show Lounge during our time onboard. These being Love Struck – one of the new additions to the programme, and also Movies.
Both were amazing and very well put together. Love Struck was quirky, funny and captured your full attention throughout due to its seamless story line. Not like any other show we’d seen before, the performers perfectly took you through the themes of love, lust and loss. It received a standing ovation from all of us at the end!
Movies was a brilliant crowd-pleaser, working its way through many famous scenes from a selection of popular films. If you weren’t already in awe of the casts’s dancing skills, you’re guaranteed to be belly laughing at their comedic talent too. From James Bond to Dirty Dancing, Singing in the Rain and even E.T, there’s a film in there that everyone will love.
With two evening performances and a fantastic range of shows, The Broadway Show Lounge deserves each and every applause it receives.
Ready to get onboard?
If you’re itching to experience everything Marella Explorer 2 has to offer for yourself, take a look at all her upcoming sailings right here!
To make things a little bit nicer, we even have an EXCLUSIVE discount code giving you an EXTRA £50 off sailings between May and October 2019. Just use code: EGGSTRA50. Happy sailing!