October is a super exciting month in the cruise industry. It’s when everyone who loves to cruise comes together to celebrate Plan a Cruise Month: a whole month devoted to everything to do with cruising and the perfect time of year for you to plan your own cruise – especially as there are loads of fantastic offers and incentives available throughout the whole month. This year, the theme of Plan a Cruise Month is ‘destinations’, and I thought I’d tell you about Grand Cayman, one of my very favourite cruise destinations, by having a reminisce of my own lovely trip there, on assignment for Cruise International with Charlie.
We all know that feeling, right? After a gorgeous holiday, the last day is such a massive come-down: you’ve got to be out of your room by midday but your flight doesn’t leave until the evening, you don’t want to get sandy and have nowhere to shower, so your last day is spent miserably killing time, sweating in your travel clothes, before heading home. While I was in beautiful Barbados, though, Virgin announced a brand new concept that’s going to change all that, and I think you’re going to love it. Step forward The Departure Beach from Virgin.
And so, after my big 2016 roundup, let’s move swiftly on to 2017, shall we? What does this year have in store? Lots of happy times and adventures I hope. As you know, I’m a huge Disney fan: I adore everything from the theme parks to the beautiful cruise ships. It’s such an exciting year for Disney magic, with so many new Disney travel adventures to choose from. I thought you might like a sneaky peek at a few of the things I’m really looking forward to in 2017. So if you’re planning adventures for next year now, I hope this helps give you a few ideas too:
What. A. Year. I’ve got plenty more to say about the joy and sadness that was 2016 in my first piece of 2017 (for us, as well as everyone else, it seems, it was a year of huge highs and massive lows), and my plans for 2017. But for now, I want to stay with the joy and take a look back at the highlights of a year of travel and adventure. Here’s my 2016 roundup.
I joined the beautiful Royal Princess in Rome recently to try cruising a different way. With most cruise passengers choosing the cruise line’s own shore excursions, we struck out to find some personalised, hands on shore adventures with a difference! But first, though, a little about the ship… Read more
One of the elements that impressed us most during our wonderful family cruise on Celebrity Eclipse was the quality of the dining. From the great fast food options to the main dining to the speciality restaurants, we really couldn’t fault any of the dining on board Celebrity Eclipse. Most evenings are smart casual, but there are a couple of evenings that are listed in the ‘Celebrity Today’ leaflet left in your stateroom as ‘cruise chic’. There’s never any pressure to dress in any particular way but it’s always tremendous fun to dress up a bit and step out in style. I really enjoyed a bit of people watching – there was everything from ladies in ballgowns and men in white dinner jackets to a few people in full military costume!
So I’ve had an absolutely MAD bout of travelling and can’t wait to update you on all the exciting things we’ve been up to. Firstly, we’ve just returned from a lovely two week family cruise on Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Cruises’ beautiful Solstice class cruise ship, where we sailed from Southampton and visited Gibraltar, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. It was our first time as a family on a Celebrity Cruise (Mr E and I did a wine cruise on Celebrity Infinity a while ago) and we did wonder what it would be like to spend two weeks in a relatively small stateroom as a family (as it turned out, we were treated to extra room, which was fab). Here’s how we got on:
I’ve loved spending the summer at home. I really feel like we’ve been ‘nesting’ in our little house, getting things sorted and finishing a few bits off. We’ve finally planted trees and climbers to disguise our ugly garden fences and Mr E has painted my office a beautiful periwinkle blue and spent ages upcycling old pieces of furniture and shelving from Ebay. The end result is my dream mix of all the colours I absolutely love. I’m so pleased with it. For the rest of the house, we’ve been choosing flooring after living with a fetching mix of lino/carpet/bare concrete since the wall came down between the kitchen and dining room, and I’ve been baking, cooking and working – all the things I love! I’ll be honest though, I’m starting to get itchy feet and we’re all collectively getting VERY excited for our late summer getaway – a cruise on the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse. Read more
So, you’re about to set off on your first proper adventure at sea? Exciting! Cruising can seem like a strange and foreign world, and many first-time cruisers will be wondering all sorts of things: how they’ll spend all that time on board/whether they’ll get bored/lost//fat/feel sick/spend loads of money/whatever. Rest assured that cruise ships today are better equipped than ever before, with exciting activities, delicious food and top notch tipples right at your fingertips. In order to give you more of an insight into what you can expect from your time at sea, here’s my slightly tongue in cheek rundown of what to expect on your first cruise, particularly your first 48 hours at sea.
Regular readers will know that I absolutely love cruise holidays. Whether it’s discovering the Caribbean with the delightful and beautiful Disney Dream (and being featured on Disney’s Facebook page, that was a massive highlight), or cruising around the coast of Europe whilst simultaneously stuffing my face on dazzling Britannia, the sheer diversity of cruise holidays draws me in. What other holiday can you take where you can explore several different destinations in one hit without having to pack and unpack your suitcase. You don’t even have to fly!
Last month, Sam and I were lucky enough to take a trip on Carnival Vista, Carnival’s brand new cruise ship, taking only its second sailing. We boarded on a beautiful sunny day in Barcelona and travelled down the coast to Marseilles, then Livorno, Civitavecchia and Naples, with a fun day at sea before disembarking in Heraklion, Greece. So come with me for a tour around bella Vista – I’ve got everything you need to know!
In the last part of our P & O Britannia foodie cruise diary (see part one and part two here), it’s all about the gorgeous Eric Lanlard. Erica and I specifically chose the cruise because Eric was due to be on board. All the Food Heroes spend some time on the ship on various cruises, and it’s a chance for guests to book different masterclasses and hosted dinners with them.
So, catching up with part one of our foodie cruise on board P & O Britannia, then, having eaten ourselves silly, discovered La Rochelle and L’Il de Ré, done a bit more eating, a bit of dancing and had a busy day in Bilbao, we decided to have a chilled out evening in The Glass House, the brainchild of Food Hero and frankly adorable wine expert, Olly Smith.
This weekend, Royal Caribbean’s new mega-ship, Harmony of the Seas came to Southampton. Sadly, I missed it as I was away on Carnival Vista, but lots of press, bloggers, vloggers and other folk were invited to sample life on board the largest cruise ship in the world on a weekend mini sailing.
It doesn’t seem possible that it was over a year ago now that I watched Her Majesty the Queen, looking glorious in peach (or was it apricot?) smashing a bottle over the bow of P & O’s glorious new Britannia. Well, I’m pleased to report that she’s still as beautiful, as I found out when my friend Erica (editor of Edinburgh food website, Foodinburgh) and I took a little foodie cruise around the med last week, from Southampton to La Rochelle, Bilbao, La Coruña, St Peter Port in Guernsey and back to Southampton.
Setting sail on April 14th, Ovation of the Seas, the third in Royal Caribbean’s ground-breaking Quantum Class fleet, will bring Royal Caribbean’s typical sense of fun and adventure to the shores of Europe before she heads to Asia. Along with bionic bartenders, the fabulous FlowRider and the incredible North Star observation capsule, which soars over 300ft in the air and over the side of the ship, guests can do everything from skydiving in the spectactular RipCord by iFLY simulator to driving bumper cars and high wire circus training at SeaPlex, the largest entertainment complex at sea.
- My guide to dining at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida October 17, 2017
- Baja fish tacos with fresh tomato salsa and guacamole October 14, 2017
- Creamy fish pie with sweet potato mash October 12, 2017
- Grand Cayman: my perfect destination for Plan a Cruise Month October 10, 2017
- Spiced chocolate skeleton gingerbread men – Halloween baking with John Lewis October 7, 2017