31/07/2015

Hot on the Forums: Do You Collect Cruise Souvenirs?

Souvenir magnets from a Turkish port

Fridge magnets, key rings, ornaments and the obligatory T-shirts (bragging rights optional) are some of the most popular cruise souvenirs to bring home, according to a thread on the forums — and that’s not forgetting the things you really don’t want to bring back, such as extra pounds and credit card bills.

A discussion of favorite cruise souvenirs started when suzi asked: “What collectables, items or memorabilia, if any, do you bring back from a cruise? For us it’s just minor things like refrigerator magnets or spoons to remember where we have been. We also bring back things unique to the port/place for our friends and family.”

Christmas tree ornaments are also well-liked cruise souvenirs, so much so that Cruise Critic member Krazy Kruizers has an entire tree decorated with keepsake ornaments bought in various ports and cities visited while cruising.

Read on for more

30/07/2015

Win! A hamper courtesy of Holland America Line to celebrate 2016 launch of ms Koningsdam

Would you like to dine at the Culinary Arts Center?

April 2016 will soon be here, and with it comes the launch of Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam, the largest ship in the line’s fleet, as well as the first in its new Pinnacle Class.

ms Koningsdam will bring new innovations to the line including solo and family cabins, and new dining venues: Sel de Mer (French), the Lido Market (twist on fleetwide Lido Restaurant), Grand Dutch Cafe and Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center. The ship will begin sailing the Mediterranean shortly after its April 2016 launch, followed by a summer series of Baltic, British Isles and Northern Europe itineraries and will then reposition to Fort Lauderdale, where it will sail Caribbean cruises and one Bahamas cruise between November 2016 and March 2017.

To celebrate the upcoming launch, Holland America Line is offering one of our lucky members a chance to win a Fortnum & Mason hamper worth £100.

To be in with a chance to win, we only ask that you answer the following question:

Q: ms Koningsdam is to be the largest in the fleet when it launches, but which ship currently holds that position?

 

Please email us with your answer, name and address to:  contests@cruisecritic.co.uk

Perhaps French cuisine in Sel de Mer whets your appetite?

* Please note that this competition is only open to UK residents and entrants must be 18 years and above. Deadline for entries is 13th August 2015 and the winner will be drawn and notified by 18th August 2015.  The winner will be selected at random from the correct answers, and notified by email, and also announced on the Cruise Critic website and social channels.

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27/07/2015

Share your love of cruising with friends who’ve never cruised!

MSC Cruises is offering you the chance to introduce three friends to cruising onboard MSC Splendida.

MSC Splendida

If you love cruising, and want to share why you love it so much, we have some good news for you! We’ve teamed up with MSC Cruises to offer seven lucky readers the opportunity to introduce three friends to cruising onboard MSC Splendida on Monday September 1st 2015 during an exclusive Cruise Critic ship visit.

While onboard our seven lucky winners and their friends will have the chance to experience what MSC Cruises has to offer. Guests can explore MSC Splendida, which debuted in 2009, and enjoy the cuisine, which reflects the line’s European heritage. Visitors will also tour the Yacht Club, a VIP area featuring 71 suites and 24-hour butler service.

Here are some highlights of your visit:

  1. Experience a guided tour of the ship including the Yacht Club
  2. Enjoy lunch in the main restaurant

How do I enter? It’s simple!

You: If you want to learn more about MSC Cruises, and would like to bring friends with you who are new to cruising, simply email us with your name, the number of tickets you require (maximum of four per person, including yourself), and the names of people you’d like to take with you.

Your guest(s): Remember, this is all about sharing the cruise experience, so we ask that your guests are new to cruising.

The itinerary for the day includes:

9.30 am: Arrive at The City Cruise Terminal 101, Port of Southampton in preparation to board – don’t forget that you’ll need to be able to get yourself to the Port – and bring your passport or photo driving licence with you, so please bear this in mind when applying!

10.00 – 10.15:  Embarkation and taken to Top Sail Lounge (Yacht Club)

10.15 – 11.15:  Guided tour of Yacht Club area /refreshments in Top Sail lounge

11.15 – 12.30:  Guided ship tour

12.30 – 14.00: Lunch in main restaurant

14.00 – 14.30: Tea and American coffee in lounge, followed by debarkation  

For your chance to attend the ship visit simply email us at: contests@cruisecritic.co.uk stating “MSC Cruises Ship Visit” in the subject line. Please include the names of up to three friends or family members that you would like to join you. This event is only open to a maximum of 28 visitors, so don’t delay!

For more information on MSC Cruises visit: www.msccruises.co.uk

Terms & Conditions

The contest is open to legal residents of the United Kingdom who are 18 or older at the time of entry and have a full and valid passport or photo driving licence. Please note that timings may be subject to change. The deadline for entries is Monday 10th August 2015. Only one entry per person will be accepted. For the full Terms & Conditions, please read here.

Review Cruise Critic’s privacy policy here.

 

 

 

24/07/2015

Hot on the forums: Do costume parties make you want to jump overboard?

Pirate costume party

Mention the words costume party, and you’re guaranteed to get one of two reactions — each at one of the furthest ends of the barometer.

Now, I’ve been known to dabble in a bit of light sartorial swashbuckling on pirate night, but for other cruisers, even formal night is perceived as going too far. The love/hate reaction people have to costume parties has been highlighted in two threads on the Cruise Critic forums.

First up is young-at-heart granny WanderLit, who has booked her first Disney cruise for herself, her daughter and her granddaughter. She took to the forums to find out if it’s only the youngsters who get to unleash their inner princess or cartoon character.

“While I’m sure there are little girls going around in princess attire all day long, what about the adults?” she asks. “We would like to all three wear Minnie Mouse dresses to board. Me, like a 1928 black and white polka dot skirt. My daughter in a 1965 red and white polka dot dress and my granddaughter in the pink and white polka dots of today’s Mickey’s Club House style Minnie.”

It doesn’t stop there, as she continues: “For formal night, I’d like to wear my long flowing black dress and maleficent horns, my daughter, a flaming red-head, wants to wear her best Merida green gown. So how often, if at all, do adults play princess and villain dress up on a Disney cruise?”

Read on for more

23/07/2015

Cruise tip of the week: Visit the spa on a port day

Spa essentials

Tip: Cruise ship spas charge more than what you’d pay at a typical day spa. And while any massage you get on vacation is a splurge, there are ways to save. If your muscles are aching for hot stones and lavender oils, book a spa treatment on a port day. When it’s slow, spas often discount services and packages.

Full Article: Read 9 more tips for stretching your cruise dollars onboard.

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

– Check out our latest cruise deals

6 Best Cruise Ship Spas

Understanding Cruise Ship Spa Services

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21/07/2015

Review of the week: The Channel Islands on Britannia

Our member review of the week comes from Alex Naughton, who had a great weekend cruise on P&O Cruises’ Britannia. Alex was a first-time cruiser and has loads of tips for newbies.

Alex (a 30-something) took mum on a weekend cruise from Southampton to Guernsey in the English Channel and both had a ‘lovely’ time – as you can read in the full review.

Read on to find out more.

20/07/2015

10 dos and don’t for throwing a nautical-themed party

nautical theme party

Our US-based colleagues decided it was high time to throw a nautical theme party (unfortunately we couldn’t justify the airfare to join them – even though it sounded like great fun!).

Here’s how they got on:

Determining the nautical theme for the party was a no-brainer. As for the time and location, one of our staffers gladly volunteered her home, which even came with a mascot (more on that later). Online shopping for decorations was the fun part. And while the party was a success, we hit some rough seas along the way.

If you want to plan your own nautical theme party, read our 10 dos and don’ts to avoid losing your mind — and blowing your budget.

Nautical Theme Decor

Do: Reflect on past cruises for ideas. The anchor theme never fails for tableware and accessories, but mix it up. We found an easy-to-hang ocean wall print that was both a fun design and backdrop for pictures.

Don’t: Overlook product details like size and quantity. We learned the hard way when the life ring we thought was full size looked like a Barbie accessory.

Read on for more

16/07/2015

Cruise tip of the week: Choose your cabin wisely

Quantum of the Seas Virtual Balcony

Tip: When booking a cruise, you’re able to select where you want to stay from a map of all the cabins. But how do you know which one to choose? For starters, it’s good to know which cabins to avoid. For example: You might be set on an inside cabin, but make sure it’s midship if you’re prone to seasickness. Ship movement is less likely to be felt in cabins closer to the interior and on a lower deck.

Full Article: Read 5 more cruise ship cabins to avoid.

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

– Check out our latest cruise deals

– Sign up for Cruise Critic’s Price Drop. We’ll let you know when fares are dramatically reduced so you can get the best price for your sailing.

5 Ways to Get a Cruise Ship Cabin Upgrade

How to Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin

Tips to Avoid Seasickness

Do you have a cruise tip you’d like to share? Let us know in the Comments below.

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14/07/2015

Member review: A cruise fit for a Queen

Our member review of the week comes from EssexFarmers, who had a great time cruising the Med on the Queen Victoria with Cunard. It was her first cruise experience and it couldn’t have started better (especially after managing to ‘smuggle’ her own booze on board…)

She was also a big fan of the retro-style dining and partial to the occasional Cosmopolitan – especially accompanied by dolphins! – as you can read in her full review.

EssexFarmers felt a bit worn out after nine days at sea – and two sweltering bus journeys didn’t help – but all in all she had a “lovely holiday”. Glad to hear it!

Read on to find out more.

10/07/2015

Share your love of cruising with a loved one who’s never cruised!

Thank you for entering.  This contest is now closed. 

Celebrity Cruises is offering you the chance to introduce a friend to cruising onboard the recently refurbished Celebrity Eclipse!

To help you share your love of cruising, and demonstrate why you enjoy it so much, we’ve teamed up with Celebrity Cruises to offer 14 members the opportunity to introduce a friend to cruising on Saturday August 22nd 2015 on an exclusive Cruise Critic ship visit.

Following the success of last year’s ship tours, we’re pleased to offer another opportunity for you to show your friends why you love cruising. Members can win a ship visit onboard Celebrity Cruises’ recently reinvigorated, 2,850-guest ship Celebrity Eclipse, which won four Cruisers’ Choice Awards in 2015 including “Best Ship from the UK”, “Best Cabins”, “Best Shore Excursions” and “Best Fitness”.

This will give you the chance to experience first-hand what this luxury line has to offer on its Solstice class ships – and to share this with one guest of your choice who is new to cruising. Better still is that guests can explore some of the brand new features, which include a cocktail bar, World Class Bar which is the first ever at sea; a craft beer bar, Gastrobar; a frozen drinks venue on the pool deck, Slush, and a dedicated restaurant for guests staying in suites, Luminae.

Here are some highlights of your visit:

  • Arrive at the Cruise Terminal in the morning and then enjoy a guided tour of the ship
  • Enjoy a wine tasting onboard before sitting down to a three-course lunch in the main dining room.

How do I enter? It’s simple!

You: If you want to learn more about Celebrity Cruises, and would like to bring a friend with you who is new to cruising, just send us an email with your name, and the name of the person you’d like to take with you.

Your guest(s): Remember, this is all about sharing the cruise experience, so we ask that your guest is new to cruising.

The itinerary for the day includes:

9.30 am – Arrive at The City Cruise Terminal 101, Port of Southampton in preparation to board – don’t forget that you’ll need to be able to get yourself to the Port – and bring your passport or photo driving licence with you, so please bear this in mind when applying!

10:00 am – Embarkation

10:30 am – Tour of ship

11.30 am – Wine tasting

12.30pm – 3-course lunch in Main Dining Room

2:00pm – Disembark

For your chance to attend the ship visit simply email us at: contests@cruisecritic.co.uk stating “Celebrity Cruises Ship Visit” in the subject line. Please include the names of one friend or family member that you would like to join you. This event is only open to a maximum of 28 visitors, so don’t delay!

For more information visit Celebrity Cruises.

Terms & Conditions

The contest is open to legal residents of the United Kingdom who are 18 or older at the time of entry and have a full and valid passport or photo driving licence. The deadline for entries is Thursday July 23rd 2015. Only one entry per person will be accepted. For the full Terms & Conditions, please read here.

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