I’ve known my friend Erica since we met on our first ever Disney trip together back in 2009. We’ve always stayed in contact and, along with most of the original members of the Disney 7 (our group of mummy bloggers from way back who met on our very first Disney trip), chat pretty regularly. Erica lives in Edinburgh (where she runs the hugely successful Edinburgh food blog, Foodinburgh), so we don’t get to see each other that much. Every so often the opportunity comes up for us to take a trip together, and this time as we were both so busy, we wanted to choose a holiday where we could kick back and relax. We wanted lovely, chic surroundings for a few days of quiet contemplation and catching up, with a bit of light exploration thrown in. As you probably know, I’m a bit in love with cruising: I love the glamour, the gorgeous surroundings, the delicious food, cocktails on the deck and waking up in a new port with all the fresh possibilities of exploring a new destination, so we chose a Greek islands trip from Malta on board P&O Oceana – a beautiful not-too-big, not-too-small ship, with a bit of old-world glamour thrown in. And although you might not immediately think of taking a cruise with friends as a grown up holiday option, we absolutely loved it. Here’s why we think cruising with friends is fabulous:
I’ve had a bit of a travel flurry over the last few weeks, and after our fab few days on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, Mr E dropped me off at Gatwick to spend the night at the gorgeous BLOC Hotel before setting off to Palma to join Marella Cruises for a lovely weekend to celebrate the launch of the latest edition to their fleet: Marella Explorer. So what’s it like to cruise on board this brand new ship? I thought it would be fun to give you a guided tour of Marella Explorer in pictures!
Many, many moons ago, back when my children occasionally did anything I asked and I was a fully fledged ‘mummy blogger’, I was really proud to be asked by Royal Caribbean Cruises to be an Official Family Ambassador or ‘Royal Mum’. It was a fab time and I really enjoyed my role: as part of my ambassadorship, I wrote about family cruising on the Royal Caribbean blog as well as in newspapers like The Times, and was lucky enough, along with my lovely fellow Royal Mums, to experience wonderful trips like a Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, and a family cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Another wonderful memory was when we all got together at Southampton for a sunny day on board Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. I’ve always been hugely proud of my long-running association with Royal Caribbean: I love the quality of the brand, the wonderful people who have a genuine love and enthusiasm for creating incredible experiences, and all their beautiful, innovative ships, so when Mr E and I were invited along to experience the shakedown cruise following Independence of the Seas’ multi-million dollar makeover, we were all over it. Here’s how we got on.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about discovering (or rediscovering) the Caribbean after it was battered by hurricanes Irma and Maria, and promised to tell you more about our ship, the beautiful Viking Sea. So what’s it like to sail on Viking Sea around the Caribbean? Well, it’s a relatively small ship carrying just over 900 passengers, and on board, you won’t find a casino, on board photographers, gaudy kids’ clubs (in fact, any kids) or drum and bass by the pool. The emphasis is on relaxation, and – cliché alert – connecting with the sea, so what you will find are wide ocean vistas, calming colours, friendly staff and breathtakingly beautiful design details. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a ship as much. Everywhere you look there’s another gorgeous, mid century chair in a perfect little corner inviting you to sit and read, or sip a cocktail.
There’s no denying it, cruising is big business. CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association predicts that 27.2 million passengers will take a cruise in 2018, and with so much demand, the cruise lines are busy commissioning more and more new ships. This year sees Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, Carnival Horizon, Celebrity Edge, Norwegian Bliss, and many more take to the seas. With so much choice, and so many cruise lines, what’s the best way to choose, and is it possible to get a good deal? Well, if you’re thinking of setting sail on your very own cruise adventure this year, here are my top tips for booking a cruise.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
After our magical 24 hours in Walt Disney World, Florida, we woke early and grabbed a quick breakfast at the Cape May Café with Minnie Mouse (as you do), before waving her goodbye and jumping on a coach which took us to Port Canaveral. There we caught our very first glimpse of the Disney Dream. Here’s part two of our Disney stay and cruise photo diary: all about the Disney Dream.
The next few days are going to be busy for me. I’m going to be talking at World Travel Market in the WTM & Travel Perspective session about working with brands in a digital world, all about my experience of working on the Sainsbury’s advert, and also about the Samsung ‘People of Note’ campaign.
So last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the gala celebrations on board P & O Cruises’ gorgeous new flagship, the £500 million super-liner, Britannia. The ship is breathtaking. From the Union Flag on her bow, to the stunning three floor atrium featuring the most incredible chandelier you’ve ever seen, she’s a modern miracle.
This weekend, I was lucky enough to join the inaugural voyage of Royal Caribbean’s brand new Quantum Class vessel: Quantum of the Seas. This is the first of the class, to be joined shortly by Anthem of the Seas.
These days, everyone has a smartphone, so Royal Caribbean have ramped up their latest ships into, well, smartships. Here’s what to expect:
- Weekend wishlist: new season trends are landing! August 11, 2018
- Houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018 August 10, 2018
- Our tips for making the leap to university August 9, 2018
- Cruising with friends: our P&O Cruises Oceana adventure August 7, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: REN skincare deals and discount codes August 4, 2018