Category Archives: Cruise

Your own ‘Haven’ at Norwegian Cruise Line’s private sanctuary at sea

Hidden away at the top of the ship is The Haven by Norwegian®, an exclusive enclave accessible by private keycard with Norwegian Cruise Line’s most luxurious and well-appointed accommodation offering. It’s like your private abode within the cruise ship, with access to all that the ship has to offer along with additional benefits such as personal service of a concierge and 24-hour butler throughout your stay. On top of that, complete privacy and tranquility are just steps away on a sundeck reserved exclusively for guests of The Haven. From embarkation to disembarkation, boarding of tenders to shore, award-winning shows to unique specialty restaurants; The Haven will make for a unique and unforgettable experience!

Haven Observation Lounge

Also read: When hulk of a ship becomes an artwork!

Escape to private Haven venues

·         The Haven Lounge: Catch up with your fellow Haven members, grab a cocktail from The Haven Bar, or just sit back and relax with a book. The Haven Lounge is your place to get away from it all.

·         The Haven Restaurant: In addition to the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants on board, Haven members also have private dining options available. Enjoy an exclusive array of dishes in The Haven Restaurant or have your butler serve you meals in the privacy of your suite.

·         The Haven Courtyard and Sundeck: Soak up the sun, take a dip in the pool, then let the world melt away as you relax in the hot tub. No matter how you plan to spend your time, this private sanctuary provides the perfect escape.

Need a choice? Read: Which are world’s most popular cruises!

The Haven Restaurant on Norwegian Bliss

Indulge in exclusive amenities

·         Exclusive access: Haven members are offered distinctive platinum keycard that allows them access to private areas onboard along with exclusive access to The Haven Courtyard area with a private pool, sundeck, hot tub and fitness area. Members are also provided a Mobile phone that can be used throughout the ship; this service is available on Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic.

·         Concierge service: The Concierge service will help you book dining, entertainment, shore excursions among other activities. Members can skip lines and be personally escorted on and off the ship at the pier and at ports-of-call. Garden Villa guests also get complimentary limousine service from pier to airport.

·         Exclusive dining: Haven members are given priority when reserving restaurants and have access to special Haven menus along with grab and go breakfast items including parfaits, diced fruit in a martini glass, fresh pastries and gourmet meats. They are the privileged ones to get VIP invitations to exclusive breakfast, lunch and cocktail parties on board.

Also read: Experience bliss on a cruise holiday

Haven Courtyard on Norwegian Escape

Ultimate luxurious stay

The 6,694 sq. ft. Garden Villa is the largest 3-bedroom suite on board followed by Deluxe Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony, Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony, Spa Suite with Balcony and Family Villa with Balcony.

·         3-bedroom Garden Villa: A sanctuary of contemporary design featuring a spacious living room, walls of windows, outdoor terraces with a hot tub and a private dining area; these villas sleep up to eight guests.

·         Deluxe Suite: Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an ever- changing view in this chic suite. Includes a bedroom (some ships offer two) with a luxury bath, plus a separate living and dining room.

Also read: Vagabond at cruise- Super star Virgo

·         Penthouse: Beautiful dining and sitting areas, spacious rooms, and amazing balconies make these penthouses unforgettable. Some of the opulent Courtyard Penthouses with Balcony are designed to be a romantic hideaway ideal for two with a round queen-size bed.

·         Family Villas: Chic décor adds a modern twist to this sumptuous villa. The master bedroom provides you with a retreat, while your kids can have their own room with a flat-screen TV and private bath. A private balcony completes this sanctuary at sea.

·         Spa Suite: The perfect way to experience a total spa holiday, the Spa Suites include a king-size bed and additional bedding to accommodate one guest, hot tub, oversized waterfall shower and multiple body spray jets, spa decor, easy access to the adjacent Mandara Spa and fitness centre, as well as complimentary access to the Thermal Spa Suites during regular Spa hours.

Love cruising? Also read: World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

Haven at Norwegian Bliss

This private keycard-access only for Haven members is unlike anything available at sea, reserved exclusively for guests to relax, dine and enjoy exquisite privacy.

Have you ever travelled in a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship? How was your experience? Share with us in the comments section below.

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When hulk of a ship becomes an artwork!

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, the award-winning Spanish artist, created the hull artwork for the fourth and final ship of its Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Encore, debuting in Miami in November 2019. A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull will feature a labyrinth of color inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona and pay tribute to the vibrant guest experience for which the Norwegian brand is recognized.

Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line

“Norwegian Cruise Line is a dynamic, pioneering company known for its innovative experiences and breathtaking collection of beautifully designed ships,” said Arranz-Bravo. “I am honored to not only bring that vibrancy to life even more on Norwegian Encore but also showcase my love for the ocean and my hometown of Barcelona.” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, played a key role in the selection of Arranz-Bravo as the hull artist for Norwegian Encore, having been inspired by his work for many years. Del Rio’s passion for the arts has helped elevate Norwegian’s on-board experience, most recently with the multi-million-dollar art collection curated for Norwegian Bliss. “We are well-known for our iconic hull designs and know that Arranz-Bravo’s lively design will complement the colorful destinations in the Caribbean that Norwegian Encore will visit when she debuts next year,” said Del Rio.

Also read: Vagabond at a cruise – Super Star Virgo
Spanish artist Eduardo Arranz-Bravo

Recognized for his inventive and humanistic approach to abstract art, Arranz-Bravo’s work is showcased throughout the world and portrays a constant evolution that some refer to as futuristic.  He is highly regarded, having been the recipient of countless awards and accolades, and was one of three artists chosen to represent the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. “Eduardo’s design will be a perfect complement to the collection of hull artwork within our fleet and is a testament to the dynamic experience our guests will have on board,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.  “We are proud to welcome him to our Norwegian Cruise Line family.” 

Need a choice? Read: Which are world’s most popular cruises!
Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating up to 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will complete the Breakaway-Plus class, the most successful class in the company’s history. She is currently being built at Meyer Werft, in Papenburg, Germany and will feature many innovative dining, entertainment and recreational activities that guests have come to expect from the industry-leading brand. Following her unveiling, she will cruise out of Miami every Sunday and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with her first journey on November 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020.

Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line
Love cruising? Also read: World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 51-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising.  Most notably, Norwegian revolutionized the cruise industry by offering guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal cruise vacation on their schedule with no set dining times, a variety of entertainment options and no formal dress codes. Today, Norwegian invites guests to enjoy a relaxed, resort-style cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea with a wide variety of accommodations options, including The Haven by Norwegian®, a luxury enclave with suites, a private pool and dining, concierge service and personal butlers. Norwegian Cruise Line sails around the globe, offering guests the freedom and flexibility to explore the world on their own time and experience up to 27 dining options, award-winning entertainment, superior guest service and more across all of the brand’s 16 ships.

Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line
Also read: Experience bliss on a cruise holiday
Have you ever travelled in a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship? How was your experience? Share with us in the comments section below.

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Experience bliss on a cruise holiday


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Norwegian Bliss at Port Miami

Planning a holiday with family or friends? Opt for an ultimate cruise holiday. Norwegian Cruise Line’s sixteenth ship ‘Norwegian Bliss’ has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience and will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean beginning June 2018. Take a look at the exciting activities available on board offering best of luxurious accommodations, gourmet dinners, live entertainment and much more.

Two level electric-car race track

Race Track on Norwegian Bliss

Enjoy the blue sky above and turquoise waters below from the largest competitive race track at sea, a first for any North America-based cruise ship. Put your driving skills to test and experience a thrilling ride on the two-level competitive race track built at the top of deck 19, offering guests amazing views while twisting and turning at a speed of up to 30 miles per hour.

Open-air laser tag course

Laser Tag on Norwegian Bliss

Experience the first-ever open-air laser tag at sea on a North American-based ship. Get your friends and family to join you on a mission to search an abandoned spaceship and shoot for the stars in galactic laser tag. 

Heart-racing waterslides

Water slides on Norwegian Bliss

The ship’s Aqua Park includes two multi-story thrilling waterslides- the Ocean Loop which is a free fall slide with exhilarating loops that stretch down to the deck below; and the tandem Aqua Racer slide that allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet, both offering stunning ocean views. The not-so adventurous guests can enjoy the ship’s expansive pool, sundeck or six infinity hot tubs. Junior cruisers can splatter around and have a blast at the Kids’ Aqua Park, a watery wonderland of splash pads, water cannons, tipping buckets and slides.

Special kid’s zone

Splash Academy on Norwegian Bliss

Tiny cruisers, age six months to just under three years old, have a dedicated space to enjoy aboard Norwegian Bliss with the fleet’s largest Guppies playroom. For children between three to 12 years, Splash Academy offers fun activities while children from 13-17 years can hang out with their peers and make new friends at the Entourage. For video game lovers, Video Arcade is the place to be.

Ultimate pampering experience

Thermal Suite on Norwegian Bliss

After glacier trekking in Alaska or discovering hidden caves and sea pools at the Baths of Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean, Norwegian Bliss guests will be able to revive, refresh and recharge at the ship’s Mandara Spa that offers an ultimate pampering experience with its 24 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, barber shop and thermal suite. The luxurious thermal suite can transport guests to a deep state of relaxation, with unobstructed views of the ocean. Find instant stress relief in the spa’s hydro-therapy pool, whirlpools, steam room, dry sauna, sanarium and salt room.

Vibrant nightlife, Casino and Broadway style entertainment

Bliss Casino on Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss brings the best of live entertainment, electrifying deck parties and an expansive casino featuring hundreds of slot machines and table games to suit the likes of novice and pro gamblers alike. The Social Comedy & Night Club features sets from today’s most popular stand-up comedians, and then transforms into a chic nightclub late in the evening. Enjoy Broadway style live musicals like Jersey Boys, theme parties, grab a drink and groove to the music at legendary clubs and various lounges on the cruise.

180-degree observation lounge

Observation lounge at Norwegian Bliss

Guests will be in sheer awe at the 180-degree indoor Observation Lounge that offers expansive views at sea and features a full-service bar so guests can toast colourful sunsets with their favourite cocktail. More than 3,500 square feet of custom built floor-to-ceiling windows provide spectacular vistas while cruising past snow-capped mountains.

Luxury Spaces

Haven at Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss’ custom design offers guests the freedom and flexibility to ‘imagine Bliss’ and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations. The Haven located at the top of the ship is an exclusive enclave with private key-card access to the most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations. Studio staterooms with virtual ocean views are ideal for solo travellers and new connecting staterooms are best suited for large group or families traveling together.

Original as well as New Dining Concepts

Norwegian Bliss swimming pool

Foodies and cocktail connoisseurs will be able to dine, sip and savour to their heart’s delight with a breadth of dining and bar options aboard Norwegian Bliss, including signature favourites as well as exclusive new concepts. There are more dining options for you to enjoy than days of your cruise! The Waterfront, an outdoor promenade is designed to enhance guests’ connection to the ocean with al fresco dining, bars and lounge spaces and offer spectacular views of Alaska’s breathtaking scenery, wildlife and the Caribbean’s stunning turquoise waters.

Norwegian Bliss waiting for guests at port

Norwegian Bliss hosts excitement around every corner and delights guests with thrilling activities spanning the entirety of the ship. Get set and pack your bags for this blissful journey!

Have you ever experienced a cruise holiday on Norwegian Cruise Line ship? How was your experience? Please share with us in the comments section below.

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World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

The world’s biggest cruise-liner, Symphony of the Seas, has left the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire in France to embark on its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean. French shipbuilder STX handed over to U.S. giant Royal Caribbean International on Friday. The ship, which weighs 228,000 tonnes, is 362 metres long just 20 metres shy of the length of the Empire State Building. It is marginally bigger than its sister ship, the Harmony of the Seas, which STX France delivered to Royal Caribbean in 2016.

Love cruising? Read: Which are the world’s most popular cruises!

Majestic view of the Symphony of the seas

The Symphony will head to Malaga in Spain and spending its first season in the Mediterranean before heading to its home port of Miami. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean.

Crew celebrating the inauguration

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighbourhood. One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighbourhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn.

Language of the cruise! Read: Cruise Lingo to help travellers talk the talk!

New Culinary Adventures

• Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.

Playmakers bar at the Symphony of the seas

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.

• El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favourites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.

• Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New destinations for cruise! Read: Adventure seekers can now visit Havana on Empress of the seas

A view from balcony of the rooms around central park

New Ways to Play

• Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

• Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Royal suite with a loft

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

  • Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Fly into cruise! Read: Cruisefly for Royal Caribbean cruises

A family suite at the Symphony of the seas

Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s newly revealed destination in the Bahamas.

Aerial view of the helipad of the Symphony of the seas

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 49-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean, including jaw dropping, state-of-the-art entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.

Also read: Vagabond at a cruise- Super Star Virgo

On board, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging service by every staff and crew member. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 15 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards. The cruise line sails 25 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand.

Have you been on cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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Which are the World’s most popular cruises!


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The winners of the 8th annual Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards – naming the most popular cruise ships of the year, based on consumer reviews shared on Cruise Critic over the past 12 months have been revealed. This year’s list of winners has the wide range of ships awarded as the best of the best, explains Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor of Cruise Critic.

Also Read: Vagabond at Cruise- Super Star Virgo

Colleen says, “You have two of the largest ships at sea, alongside luxury yachts and small expedition ships that sail to some of the most far-flung destinations across the globe. As different as these ships are, the common thread is the exceptional ratings they received from actual guests. Whether you’re looking for a mega ship or a more intimate vessel, a port-heavy itinerary or laid-back beach escape, this list is a fantastic resource to guide to you to a ship perfectly suited to your needs.”

Large Ship Category

  • Celebrity Cruises was this year’s big winner in the Large Ship Category, winning five awards, including Best Overall, Best Dining, Best Public Rooms and Best Service for Celebrity Equinox, and Best for Value for Celebrity Silhouette. Celebrity Silhouette sails a number of itineraries, including the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Baltic and has been praised for its wide range of dining and entertainment options onboard.
  • Royal Caribbean International received four awards in the Large Ship Category, including Best Cabins, Best Embarkation and Best for Fitness & Recreation for Harmony of the Seas, and Best Entertainment for Allure of the Seas. Allure of the Seas features a number of chart-topping shows including Mamma Mia! and How to Train Your Dragon performed on ice.

Mid-Size Ship Category

  • Oceania Cruises was awarded the most accolades in the Mid-Size Category, snagging five awards for Best Overall, Best Cabins, Best Dining, Best for Fitness & Recreation and Best Public Rooms for its ship, Riviera. This is the fourth consecutive year that the line was awarded in all five categories. Riviera offers Caribbean, Baltic and Mediterranean sailings, and will begin sailing to Cuba in 2019.
  • Celestyal Cruises won two awards in the Mid-Size Category for its Celestyal Crystal – Best Shore Excursions and Best for Value. The ship sailed Cuba year-round, but will be redeployed to sail in the Mediterranean later in 2018.

Also Read: Adventure seekers can now visit Havana on Empress of the Seas

Small-Mid Ship Category

  • Viking Ocean Cruises was the runaway winner in the Small-Mid Category, winning in every category but one – Viking Sea was named Best Overall, Best Cabins, Best for Fitness & Recreation, Best Shore Excursions and Best for Value; Viking Sky was named Best Entertainment and Best Public Rooms; and Viking Star was named Best Dining and Best Service. Viking Sea was also named Best for First-Timers across all size categories.

Small Ship Category

  • Windstar Cruises won four awards in the Small Category – all for different ships in its fleet. Star Pride was named Best Cabins, Wind Spirit named Best for Fitness & Recreation, Wind Star named Best Service and Star Legend, Best Public Rooms. Wind Star and Wind Spirit are both four-masted sailing ships, while Star Pride and Star Legend are luxury yachts.
  • Silversea Cruises won three awards in the Small Category – Best Overall, Best Shore Excursions and Best for Value – for its 100-passenger Silver Galapagos. The ship is all-inclusive and offers year-round Galapagos cruises.

The winners of the 8th annual Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards are awarded in four ship size classes, based on passenger capacity (Large: 2,000+ passengers; Mid-Size: 1,200 to 1,999 passengers; Small-Mid Size: 400- 1,199 passengers; Small: Fewer than 400 passengers.) The rankings are calculated using ratings published with user-submitted reviews on Cruise Critic.

First-place winners include:

Best Cruise Overall

  • Celebrity Equinox (Large) – Celebrity Cruises
  • Riviera (Mid-Sized) – Oceania Cruises
  • Viking Sea (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Silver Galapagos (Small) – Silversea Cruises

Best Cruise Ship Cabins

  • Harmony of the Seas (Large) – Royal Caribbean International
  • Riviera (Mid-Sized) – Oceania Cruises
  • Viking Sea (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Star Pride (Small) – Windstar Cruises

Also Read: Uniworld’s S.S. Joie De Vivre sets sail on maiden voyage

Best Cruise Ships for Dining

  • Celebrity Equinox (Large) – Celebrity Cruises
  • Riviera (Mid-Sized) – Oceania Cruises
  • Viking Star (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • National Geographic Explorer (Small) – Lindblad Expeditions
Allure of the Seas

Best Cruise Ships for Embarkation

  • Harmony of the Seas (Large) – Royal Caribbean International
  • Amsterdam (Mid-Sized) – Holland America Line
  • Pacific Princess (Small-Mid) – Princess Cruises
  • Celebrity Xpedition (Small) – Celebrity Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment

  • Allure of the Seas (Large) – Royal Caribbean International
  • Disney Wonder (Mid-Sized) – Disney Cruise Line
  • Viking Sky (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • L’Austral (Small) — Ponant

Also read: Costa Cruise to sail from Mumbai to Maldives and Colombo

Best Cruise Ships for Fitness & Recreation

  • Harmony of the Seas (Large) – Royal Caribbean International
  • Riviera (Mid-Sized) – Oceania Cruises
  • Viking Sea (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Wind Spirit (Small) – Windstar Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Public Rooms

  • Celebrity Equinox (Large) – Celebrity Cruises
  • Riviera (Mid-Sized) – Oceania Cruises
  • Viking Sky (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Star Legend (Small) – Windstar Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Service

  • Celebrity Equinox (Large) – Celebrity Cruises
  • Amsterdam (Mid-Sized) – Holland America Line
  • Viking Star (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Wind Star (Small) – Windstar Cruises

Also read: Dubai gets world’s largest cruise terminal at Mina Rashid

Best Cruise Ships for Shore Excursions

  • Carnival Breeze (Large) – Carnival Cruise Line
  • Celestyal Crystal (Mid-Sized) – Celestyal Cruises
  • Viking Sea (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Silver Galapagos (Small) – Silversea Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Value

  • Celebrity Silhouette (Large) – Celebrity Cruises
  • Celestyal Crystal (Mid-Sized) – Celestyal Cruises
  • Viking Sea (Small-Mid) – Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Silver Galapagos (Small) – Silversea Cruises

Also Read: Most Eagerly awaited Indian Wedding of the year on Costa Cruise

Best Cruises for Families

  • Carnival Breeze – Carnival Cruise Line
  • Best for First Timers
  • Viking Sea – Viking Ocean Cruises

(Source: cruisecritic.com)

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This Earth Day a unique effort from Uniworld for Just A Drop!

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, as a member of The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands and an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, is supporting the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, a year-long initiative dedicated to mobilising global awareness and action around the value of tourism to create positive change.

In the spirit of this important initiative, and to observe Earth Day on 22 April, Uniworld will donate US$5 to Just a Drop, an international water aid charity for every booking made with Uniworld so more communities and beneficiaries can receive safe water and improved sanitation.

Just a Drop’s mission is to reduce child mortality by delivering accessible, clean, safe water where it is needed most. The organisation’s projects support communities through the construction of wells, boreholes, pipelines, hand pumps, and latrines and establish health and sanitation programs for some of the poorest and most remote regions in the world.

This year the global UN system, and global community at large, will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:

(1)        Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

(2)        Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction

(3)        Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change

(4)        Cultural values, diversity and heritage

(5)        Mutual understanding, peace and security.

“2017 is a unique opportunity for us to promote the contribution of tourism to achieving the future we want – and also to determine, together, the exact role we will have tourism play in the sustainable development agenda, to and beyond 2030,” says Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) . “Promotion, however, must be mirrored by action. Central, therefore, to the success of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is providing inspiring examples in leadership of tourism businesses across the globe.”

“Earth Day 2017 is a perfect opportunity for Uniworld to actualize Dr. Rifai’s stirring call to action,” explains Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO, Uniworld. “Our sustainability project partners at Just a Drop personify the belief that collectively we can make a huge difference. The fact that they’ve delivered more than 170 projects in 31 countries, helping an estimated 1.5 million children and their families, is resounding proof that this approach is highly effective. Uniworld takes pride in being able to continue supporting their invaluable efforts with our Earth Day campaign.”

Uniworld operates a fleet of 21 river cruising ships. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection—the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise line – features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 130 guests, exclusive excursions, gourmet cuisine, and one of the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry. Based in Los Angeles, California, Uniworld offers truly all-inclusive itineraries in Europe, as well as voyages in Russia, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, India, and Egypt—a total of 23 rivers in 24 countries worldwide. Uniworld is a member of CLIA and is highly regarded by discerning travelers, media, and cruise industry experts, having most recently been named the #1 River Cruise Line in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016 readers’ survey. Uniworld guests automatically become esteemed members of the River Heritage Club upon completing their first voyage, eligible for a number of member-only savings and onboard benefits. For guests who book select itineraries by April 30, 2017, the river cruise line is currently offering complimentary stateroom upgrades.

Most eagerly awaited Indian wedding of the year on Costa Cruise

An entire cruise ship has been booked to celebrate a fairy-tale wedding. For the first time ever, a ship from the Costa Cruises fleet has been reserved exclusively for the celebration of a sumptuous wedding. From the 6th to the 9th April 2017, Costa Fascinosa (114,500 gross tonnage and maximum guest capacity of 3,800) will set sail on the Mediterranean as venue for the nuptials of Adel Sajan, son of the Indian industrialist Rizwan Sajan who is Founder and Chairman of the Danube Group, the leading building materials company head-quartered in Dubai. During the cruise, Adel Sajan, director of the Danube Group, will marry the charming Sana Khan, dentist, beauty queen, artist and writer.

Four days of festivities will be held in true “Bollywood” style, which will be executed by India’s leading wedding planners-Wedniksha and will bring together over 1,000 guests, including show business stars and personalities primarily from India and the Arab Emirates. Costa Fascinosa will set sail from Genoa on the 5th of April with the bridal couple, their families and a staff specially selected for the occasion on board; it will dock at Barcelona where on the 6th April the guests will embark and will kick-start the celebration with a welcome dinner. It will then arrive in Marseilles on the 7th of April, where the guests will enjoy the day of excursions around town before bringing in the evening celebrations. The day after that, the cruise will set a course towards Cannes, where, on board the ship anchored in the bay, the marriage will be celebrated. The cruise will end on the 9th of April at Savona.

The cruise programme includes themed parties in many of the different venues on Costa Fascinosa, gala dinners, parties and shows by special guests. The wedding itself will follow the traditional Indian rites in an updated style on board the ship. The Sangeet, planned for Friday 7th April, is the traditional party the day before the wedding itself; a ceremony that originally was organised to prepare the bride for the big day, but which, in time, has become a party in honour of both the bride and groom. It will be held in the Costa Fascinosa theatre, which will be specially adapted to host the event. Saturday 8th April is the actual wedding day, which will include a Baraat ceremony and will be concluded with a Grand Gala dinner on the pool deck. The groom, accompanied by family and friends, will parade across the outer decks of the ship to reach his promised bride, who is waiting for him in a real miniature castle which will be sumptuously decorated for the occasion.

The cuisine on offer will be exceptional: there will over 75 chefs on board the Costa Fascinosa, carefully chosen by the Sajan family. These chefs will have the task of guiding the galley brigade in preparing a multitude of cuisines. These will be added to some typical Italian dishes, which are a distinctive element of the Costa Cruises experience. Moreover, the guests can indulge in a plethora of beverages and spirits including Chivas 18, Blue Label and the best of Champagnes and wines.

Among the stars who will be on-board for the occasion are some of the most popular show business personalities in India, such as the actresses Gauhar Khan, Bollywood star and winner of the latest Bigg Boss’ reality show edition, Shilpa and Shamita Shetty, Dia Mirza, the rapper Badshah, the Meet Bros and Vishal-Shekhar, authors of songs that have also been used as famous Bollywood film soundtracks.

“In our recent history, this is the first time a whole ship has been exclusively booked by a private individual for a family celebration. We are truly delighted and honoured that the Sajan family has chosen Costa Cruises and this is further confirmation of the global appreciation of Italian style and quality. We have, in fact, been the first to introduce cruises in new markets such as China, the Emirates as well as in India, where recently we introduced a new itinerary allowing many countries to discover the best of Italy. We will do our utmost to make this a truly unforgettable wedding” – commented Neil Palomba President of Costa Cruises.

Costa Fascinosa will change its look, and put on the colours and charms of the Indian traditions, with every detail meticulously taken care of. For this event, even the cards used for access to the cabins will be personalised. Furthermore, each guest will be allocated a suite or balcony cabin with the use of the respective internal cabin as a personal wardrobe.

Originating from Mumbai, the Sajan family has been operating in Dubai since the ’90s in the building materials industry. The entrepreneurial capacity of its founder and president, Rizwan Sajan, has developed and expanded the Danube Group, making it now a benchmark for the building industry in the Arab Emirates. For the third consecutive year, Rizwan Sajan appears in the Forbes Middle East ranking as one of the most powerful Indians in the Emirates and held the twelfth place, in 2016.

Costa Cruises is an Italian company that is part of Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise group in the world. For 69 years the ships of the Costa fleet have been travelling the world’s seas offering hospitality and authentic Italian style holidays, distinguished by exquisite food, fine wines, unique shopping experiences, and a comprehensive selection of famous Italian brands. Currently the Costa fleet has 15 ships in service, all flying the Italian flag. Two new latest generation vessels are expected in 2019 and 2021. They will be fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world’s “cleanest fossil fuel”, and a real environmental innovation. Costa represents Italian excellence, and every day surpasses the expectations of its guests with a unique and unforgettable holiday experience. It does this thanks to the approximately 19,000 employees around the world who work to provide the best of Italy on board, with 137 different routes, 261 destinations and 60 ports of embarkation.

Uniworld’s S.S. JOIE DE VIVRE sets sail on maiden voyage

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s newest Super Ship, the S.S. Joie de Vivre, set sail on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 on its maiden voyage along the historic Seine River. The inaugural events included a christening ceremony in Paris led by the ship’s Godmother, Dame Joan Collins. Following the event, the S.S. Joie de Vivre embarked on its journey through Northern France along Uniworld’s Paris & Normandy itinerary, with unique programming in celebration of the highly anticipated launch.

Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre Christening Ceremony with Godmother Dame Joan Collins. 27th March 2017. Paris. Photo by Steve Dunlop

“We are delighted to welcome the S.S. Joie de Vivre to our impeccable fleet of floating boutique luxury hotels, as the first of Uniworld’s Super Ships to sail the renowned Seine River,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “Our company has brought travellers to France for more than 70 years and we are thrilled to introduce a new, enticing way to experience the country. Godmother Dame Joan epitomises the same ‘joy of living’ philosophy embodied by the S.S. Joie de Vivre, and we are honoured to have had her christen the ship before its inaugural journey.”

Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre Christening Ceremony with Godmother Dame Joan Collins. 27th March 2017. Paris. Photo by Steve Dunlop 

With a length of 125 metres, rather than the typical 135 metres, the S.S. Joie de Vivre can conveniently dock in the heart of Paris in the shadow of its most beloved landmark, the Eiffel Tower. The ship has two Royal Suites, eight Junior Suites, and 54 staterooms for a maximum capacity of 128 guests. Sailings on the S.S. Joie de Vivre in 2017 run from 2 April to 27 December.

The family-run design team from Uniworld’s sister brand, Red Carnation Hotels, has bestowed their creative talents on the S.S. Joie de Vivre with bright, colourful and classic design and décor inspired by 20th Century Parisian influence from the Golden Twenties to the free-spirited Sixties, all blending seamlessly with modern conveniences. The ship features a design influenced by its destination and reminiscent of the finest super yachts across the globe, including highly-polished wood finishes throughout the vessel, each surrounded by luxurious fabrics and carpets in a minimalistic setting.

Farm-to-table cuisine and superb local wines are on display throughout the ship’s culinary venues, including Restaurant Le Pigalle, Salon Toulouse, Le Bistrot. Le Cave des Vins is the S.S Joie de Vivre’s hidden gem – an intimate venue for an exclusive hands-on dining experience. Guests select fresh ingredients and prepare a seven-course meal with the ship’s onboard chefs, with French wine pairings from the sommelier.

Passengers are invited to relax and indulge their senses at Club L’Esprit, the onboard spa and wellness venue.  Club L’Esprit offers a variety of massage therapies and beauty treatments, as well as a fitness center. Yoga sessions and aquatic fitness classes are also offered daily and refreshing smoothies are served in the L’Esprit Bar.

A pool with a hydraulic floor transforms the space from day to night for guest entertainment.  By night the venue becomes Claude’s and offers an authentic French Supper Club experience, serving delicious delights from a tapas menu accompanied by curated cocktails with live music. For a few nights throughout the duration of the journey, Claude’s presents classic French cinema under the stars.

The S.S. Joie De Vivre joins the Uniworld fleet which feature all-inclusive itineraries in Europe, as well as voyages in Russia, China, India, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia – a total of 22 rivers in 26 countries worldwide. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection – the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise line – features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 130 guests, exclusive excursions, gourmet cuisine, and one of the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry. Based in Los Angeles, California, Uniworld offers truly all-inclusive itineraries. In 2018, Uniworld will launch U BY UNIWORLD, a new brand for 18 to 40 year old adventure seekers, featuring two renovated ships that will sail to cities such as Amsterdam, Budapest and Paris. Uniworld is a member of CLIA and is highly regarded by discerning travellers, media, and cruise industry experts, having most recently been named the #1 River Cruise Line in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016 readers’ survey.

Adventure Seekers Can Now Visit Havana On Empress of the Seas

cubasThese are changing times. With Cuba getting closer to the world. Salsa music, dominoes, Mojitos and historic Havana neighborhoods are easier to reach than ever before for guests on Royal Caribbean International. The newly revitalized Empress of the Seas will make history for the cruise line with its first visit to Cuba during a 5-night sailing departing Miami on April 19, 2017. The ship will then reposition to Tampa offering two itineraries with calls to Havana on April 30 (7-night sailing) and May 20 (5-night sailing). These Empress of the Seas sailings are now open for sale.

empress-of-the-seasEmpress of the Seas will homeport in Tampa for the 2017 summer season – the cruise line’s first-ever summer program from the destination – offering a series of 4- and 5-night sailings, including port calls to destinations in Cuba. The largest ship to sail to Cuba from the United States, Empress will provide vacationers with the opportunity to discover the timeless sights, sounds and culture of this island nation. Details of the summer itineraries will be released at a later date.

“Royal Caribbean is the world’s most exciting adventure company, and we’re thrilled to introduce culture-seeking travelers to Cuba. As the unrivaled innovators of the cruise experience, no company is better positioned to help adventurers explore and experience this culturally rich destination,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. Guests sailing onboard Empress of the Seas and visiting Cuba can enjoy curated people-to-people experiences created to immerse vacationers in the natural beauty of Cuba, its architecture, cuisine, music and art. All cruises will be designed in accordance with current U.S. to Cuba travel regulations.

empress-of-the-seas2While in Cuba, guests will explore Old Havana – a UNESCO World Heritage site – some of the city’s most notable squares, historic neighborhoods, a local artisan market, Havana’s rum museum as well as Hemingway’s former residence and favorite haunts. Local experts will immerse guests in the history, culture and people of Cuba. These authentic encounters will give guests an unforgettable taste of what has made Cuba the gem of the Caribbean.

The authentic experiences aren’t limited to land. The vibrant culture will extend to Empress of the Seas, from cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music, guests will have a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life during the entire journey. The revitalized Empress will bring the shipboard Cuban flair together with signature amenities, such as a thrilling rock-climbing wall for adrenaline seekers; new pools and whirlpools, including an adults-only Solarium; a Vitality Spa with an extensive treatment menu; and a complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program. Empress also will offer a variety of dining options with the casual atmosphere of the Windjammer Café and fine dining at Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse Chops.

empress-of-the-seas3The summer program on Empress of the Seas provides travelers with more opportunities to sample the unique Royal Caribbean experience from Tampa. Two other Royal Caribbean ships, Rhapsody of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas, will offer Caribbean itineraries from the homeport during the winter season.

Vagabond at a cruise : Super Star Virgo

Cruises are always fascinating. Its a different world. Indians love cruise and every year a large number of Indian tourists go to different cruise hubs in Asia like Singapore and Dubai exclusively for cruise experience. Indians have often missed a home cruise, despite a few attempts. Now Costa cruise has announced a cruise from Mumbai in the coming season and lets hope it changes things to come.

Singapore has been one of the topmost cruise destination in Asia, until Dubai came up with the biggest cruise terminal of all. Star Cruises has been one of the favourite Asian cruise lines for Indians, which had tailor-made itineraries and amenities suited to them. But there are many strong competitors and number of cruise operators. Every year scores of Indian tourists will be flying to Singapore, take a cruise for 3-4 days and fly back. Singapore has a big cruise terminal and it looks almost like an airport terminal and actually functions like that with similar operations

Singapore Cruise Terminal
Singapore Cruise Terminal

Cruise is a journey and a destination. Its indeed a journey in luxury with huge modern cruise ships being a floating town in themselves, with everything on offer. Only thing is feeling of being on ocean for a longer period of time. If you are comfortable with it, cruise can be thoroughly enjoying and relaxing. Also because they give you a lot of options to spend your time in your own way. Similar experience for me on board Super Star Virgo from Singapore for a three night cruise in Strait of Malacca, touching three countries on the way.

So here is the first look of Super Star Virgo and above the ship you can see the Singapore Cable Car which runs from Harbour Front Tower 2 to Sentosa.

Once on the board, that is how the crew welcomes you with a poolside dance, its entertaining.

Safety first, so immediately after coming to ship there is a necessary security drill to tell all the passengers about safety tips and about emergency evacuation procedures.

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Best places to relax on a cruise are of course poolside. The ship has pool and a kids pool. It also has a water slide, part of which pops out of the ship onto the sea (minor thrill). There are many restaurants (as per cuisine), shopping plaza, playing area, bars, discotheques and much more.

Being from media, we also had a chance to interact with the Captain and his first officers at the ship’s command room itself. Learnt a lot about running of the ship from the master himself.

Cruise ships have many categories of rooms on different decks to suit different budgets and taste, some interior rooms, some with ocean view windows and even bigger suites on the upper decks with balconies towards sea. How deep is your pocket!

Cruise have a variety of entertainment programmes for the evenings- shows, musical programmes, fashion shows and even Las Vegas style cabarets (where you are not allowed to take any form of recording or shooting gadgets). In leisure time people in groups enjoy themselves.

Besides, there are also off-shore excursions. Ship will be cruising in night and during day it might anchor to a port for people to go on land and enjoy some sight seeing in another city for few hours. They plan some excursion itineraries too. But these excursions are optional and chargeable. Otherwise, one may choose to stay put on the ship and relax. Or one can manage the land excursion by oneself as well.

Enjoying views from the top deck itself is a fun- day or night. Being on a vastness of sea is a different feeling altogether. You have options to sunbath, read, relax, sleep and socialise.

Finally back to the home port, Singapore after a delightful trip.

I haven’t put any statistics here as they all are available online on respective websites.

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