Member review of the week: Norwegian Jade ‘cruise that keeps on giving!’

Photo courtesy: Member ‘kalypso’

Our member review of the week this week comes from Rosemerseyside, who had a great cruise on Norwegian Jade. She booked it at the last minute — just 10 days before her cruise — for two very solid reasons, “because: a) it was a great price and b) it included ports we had not been to before, so it was a win-win before we’d even set sail!”

And fortunately for her, in the end, Rosemerseyside decided that she could not ‘find fault with any aspect of the cruise.’ Lucky lady.

See what Rosemerseyside loved so much about her cruise.


8 top tips for cruising to Greece during the Greek financial crisis

Greek flag in Euros

With Greek voters giving European austerity measures a resounding “No” yesterday, cruisers with upcoming Greek sailings have been wondering: How should we prepare for a trip to Athens and the islands during the Greek financial crisis?

It’s a hot topic on the Cruise Critic Message Boards, and we at Cruise Critic have a planned sailing on Azamara Journey later this month that calls in at Turkey and Greece, including port stops in Volos, Hydra, Skiathos, Mykonos, Santorini and Athens. Unless we hear otherwise from the line, we will hedge our bets against the currency upheaval by doing the following:

Bring Euros. Lots of them. Even if there is a “Grexit”, euros will still be widely accepted. Usually we rely on cash points overseas when we travel (and note there is no limit on withdrawals for non-Greek citizens), but with news reports noting some are out of money, we’ll be prudent and come prepared.

Read on for more.


Hot on the Forums: Is it ok to go topless on the top deck (or anywhere else)?


Topless sunbathing is nothing new, but what’s permissible (on certain beaches, in certain countries) is considered, by some, as inappropriate at sea.

The debate’s been going on for a while on the P&O Cruises forum, after seasoned forum contributor seapals2 asked for other members’ opinions on topless sunbathing following her cruise on P&O CruisesAzura (there’s another started over on the Cunard forum, too).

She says there were only a handful (no pun intended) of women seeking an almost all-over tan and predicts: “You can bet where there is half a dozen this year it will be the norm next year.

“We think it’s acceptable on beaches but on a family ship where sunbeds are so tightly packed it’s not appropriate. The Retreat had the expensive boobs on show. Suppose if you had spent a fortune getting them you would want them on display. Thanks, but no thanks. Just embarrassing in our opinion. Interested to see what others think.”

Read on to find out more!


Cruise tip of the week: Arrange your own transfers

Cruise ships in Port Miami

Tip: Your cruise is booked. Now you need to need to figure out how you’re getting to the terminal from your hotel or the airport. It’s easy to give into to the cruise lines’ transfer services when they’re only a click away, but with a little research, you can save a lot of money traveling by public transportation, a shuttle, shared taxi or private car. Just make sure you plan arrangements early, especially if you’re traveling during rush hour or during peak season.

Full Article: Read 10 more ways to make your dream cruise a reality.

Want More?: Check out our related links below for more info, tips and advice.

Find your perfect cruise

12 Surefire Ways to Have a Miserable Cruise

22 Dos and Don’ts for Your First Day Onboard a Cruise Ship

Have you got a Cruise tip? Let us know in the comments below!

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July 2015 Desktop Wallpaper: Norwegian Fjords Cruise

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas docked in Alesand, Norway, Shutterstock

Get your July 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper!

Cruises along the Norwegian Fjords are in full swing. We hope this photo of Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas docked in Alesand, Norway, will inspire you to consider your own Norwegian Fjord cruise.

Here’s how to put this photo on your computer, tablet or cell phone:

1. Click on the following links to get the size that you want. Each link will open a new window (or tab) displaying the wallpaper, in the appropriate format for your screen size.

2. For the desktop versions, right-click on the image, and choose the option that says, “Set as Desktop Background”, “Use as Desktop Picture,” or something similar. The wording depends on your browser. Mac users should ctrl-click and save the photo on their computer in the “Pictures” folder.

3. If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, you may have to go to your preference panel (on a Mac: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop; on Windows: Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose”Fit to screen” as the display mode of your background image.

4. For phone and tablet, open the link and center the photo on your phone so it fills the screen. Take a photo and save it on your device. Then go to your Settings and find your Wallpaper (on an iPhone, this is under “Wallpapers & Brightness.” Set the saved calendar photo as your wallpaper.

2560 x 1440 | 1200 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile

Check back on July 31 for the August 2015 calendar.

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Member cruise review of the week: ‘Amazing Anthem of the Seas’

In this tale of an almost-new-to-cruise experienceTrixie21 and his wife went on their second cruise together with her parents. They were lured onto Anthem by the Canary Islands & Iberian Peninsula itinerary as well as the promise of that new ship smell.

The cabin, the entertainment and  the service all earned five-star ratings, and Trixie21 had great things to say about most other aspects of the cruise. He did, however, make a point to note that the ship is very different from Independence of the Seas, an old Royal Caribbean favourite in the UK.

Which ship is better? Indy or Anthem? See what our review decided.


We ask that tricky question: Is a cruise value for money?

paper money boat

From the Cinderella-like disappearance of the once obligatory midnight buffet and lack of lobster to chocolate-free pillows and increased gratuities, any seasoned cruiser is likely to say that life on the ocean isn’t the value it used to be.

While some complain cutbacks have gone too far, the other side of the coin is that more people are being introduced to the world of cruising, thanks to ever-increasing fleets and keenly priced fares to entice passengers onboard. Cruising is no longer, thankfully, the preserve of the wealthy or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday treat.

But do you still believe that a cruise gives you value for money? That is the question posed by Cruise Critic member chromered7: “Given that these message boards are full of reduced portions, less staff, poor quality, customer dissatisfaction, lowering of standards and the growing cost of cruising, does cruising still give you value for money? The methods used by cruise companies to get you on board appear very attractive but when you when you dig down to the small print, are they the real deal?”

It’s certainly struck a chord with some fellow members, who still seem to think a cruise delivers good value. (For more insights, see the ships that were awarded Best Cruise Ships for Value by our readers in 2015 and How to Find the Best Cruise Bargain in 2015).

Read on to find out more.


If it were up to me…. Help Sir Richard Branson design his new cruise ships

Richard Branson

For the past few months, we here at Cruise Critic have been asking ourselves and our readers: What would YOU do if you ran a cruise line? Apparently British billionaire Richard Branson has the same crowd-sourcing mindset.

At a news conference on Tuesday in Miami, Branson and Virgin Cruises president Tom McAlpin said that they wanted potential passengers to leave ideas for the fledgling line on the company’s website. Branson has said that he wants his three ships – set to arrive in 2020, 2021 and 2022 – to have the stylish and design-centric “Virgin touch” seen on his other travel offerings, including airlines and space flights.

Read on to find out more.


What’s the best cruise line for your Myers Briggs personality type?

ENFP: Azamara Club Cruises

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a psychological assessment that measures how people perceive the world. Read on to see which cruise line you should try, based on your type.

ENFP: Azamara Club Cruises

Free spirits by nature, ENFPs are independent travelers who crave adventure, emotional connections and endless possibilities. They are often the life of the party — not for the attention, but for the sheer enjoyment of getting to know everyone in the room. Azamara’s award-winning shore excursions and small yet lively ships are a perfect fit. Onboard, ENFPs would have plenty of opportunities to mingle with fellow passengers (potential new BFFs) while letting their imaginations run wild in port.

Find your perfect Azamara cruise.

Read on for more.


Cruise tip of the week: How to get “free” money on your cruise

Cruise ship docked in Alayna Harbor

Tip: When you cruise, extras like speciality restaurants, spa treatments and Internet are paid for with a cruise/key card — which you can fund with cash up front or link to your credit or debit card. But did you know you could get “free money” deposited into your onboard account?

It’s called onboard credit, and there are quite a few ways to get it. One is by booking through an individual travel agent or online agency. Most third-party sites offer an average of $100 OBC per cabin, but that varies. Keep in mind: If you work with the same travel agent for every cruise, your OBC is likely to build over time.

You can also get OBC by booking your next cruise onboard, booking way out from your sail date and through loyalty programmes.

Full Article: Read more ways to get onboard credit, and learn how you can spend it.

Want More? Check out our related links below for more info, tips and advice.

Find your perfect cruise
What to Expect on a Cruise: Onboard Spending
22 Do’s and Don’t’s for Your First Day Onboard a Cruise Ship

What’s you Cruise Tip of the Week? – let us know in the Comments below!