Hot on the Forums: What’s in a Cruise Critic name?

Hard to handle: Some users struggle with their Cruise Critic nickname

Informative, lively and frequently amusing content aside, when I scroll through the Cruise Critic forums I always enjoy looking at members’ names and wondering how they came about. They range from the obvious – SeagoingMom – to the clever ones you have to read a couple of times to get it – gr8life, ICtheC and IWant2BatC – and the cryptic such as SeaSharp (a former music professional turned cruise lover).

So it’s been great fun to read a hugely popular thread started by popcan (and it’s not what you imagine) that throws light on the stories behind the “handles”.

Read on for more


Hot on the Forums: How Did You Catch the Cruising Bug?

Friends on a cruise

We all remember our very first cruise, but exactly what was it that made you splash out and try life on the ocean?

Whether you developed sea legs in childhood, or came to cruising in retirement, there are lots of reasons behind passengers’ decisions to take the proverbial plunge. Many have now been revealed on the forums. From being captivated by the TV series The Love Boat or being a late convert, the thread started by misty57 has evoked plenty of memories.

She asked fellow Cruise Critic members how they caught the cruising bug and shares her own: “Our first three-night cruise did it for us! It was for our 10th wedding anniversary. Those were the days of inside cabins (those will be coming back more as we inch into retirement), and traditional dining. Looking forward to 20 and 21 next year.”

The TV show Love Boat, launched in 1977 made quite an impression on members such as cruznjan who writes: “The cruising bug hit me pre-cruise from watching The Love Boat. After my first cruise on the Rotterdam in 1980, I was definitely hooked.”

Read on for more


Competition: Win a limited edition Norwegian Escape coin!

Win a limited edition commemorative coin to celebrate the launch of Norwegian Escape!

Norwegian Escape, the latest, and largest edition to Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet has launched, and the Cruise Critic team have been onboard to experience and review the ship.

To celebrate the launch, Cruise Critic is giving away 14 limited edition, commemorative keel laying coins to our readers.

Like to win?

Simply send your name and address to: contests@cruisecritic.co.uk.  Winners will be selected at random. The competition closes on Friday 27th of November.*

Good luck!

Read our review and view images of Norwegian Escape.

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Terms & Conditions:
*Please note that this competition is only open to UK residents and entrants must be 18 years and above. Deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 27th of November 2015 and the winner will be drawn and notified by Wednesday 2nd December 2015. The winners will be notified by email, and also announced on the Cruise Critic website and social channels.


Blooming marvellous

On a recent cruise on Voyages of Discovery’ Voyager, a day in port at Honfleur allowed for a shore excursion to visit Monet’s Garden, writes Ken Rush.

After a two hour trip by coach we arrived at Giverny, where Claude Monet died aged 86 in 1926. The first of the French impressionists, Monet lived in a large house and grounds. The garden in front of the house was full of hundreds of colourful plants and varieties of flowers, for the most part in full bloom although it was only mid May.

Read on to see more lovely pictures!


A legacy that lives on in the Galapagos Islands

It’s not often that you get a new ship (36 years in fact), so Galapagos specialist Metropolitan Touring thought they would mark the occasion not with the usual bottle-smashing and ceremony, but in a more meaningful way.

The line decided to mark the passing of its old ship – Santa Cruz – and the arrival of the new one – the appropriately named Santa Cruz II – with a series of ‘legacy sailings’ for children living on the islands.

Read on to find out more!


Hot on the forums: Do you have a pre-cruise ritual?

What's your pre-cruise ritual? (photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

What’s your pre-cruise ritual?

Passport (tick), wallet (tick), tickets (tick), keys (tick), iron and oven off (tick) – then repeat at least three times to make sure. We all have our pre-cruise rituals, but some are a lot more pleasurable than others.

From splashing out on stretch limos to stopping at a favourite cafe on the way to the port, Cruise Critic members have a variety of enjoyable routines to get their cruise off to a great start.

Read on to find out more.


Hot on the forums: Lobster – love it or happy to lose it?

Lobster tails

Tailing off: All-you-can-eat lobster is increasingly rare

Chatting about crustaceans (or loss of them) is a popular recurring theme on the Cruise Critic forums, and a subject I’ve written about in the past. It’s now resurfaced, so to speak, following Carnival’s decision to stop serving ‘free’ lobster on cruises of five nights or less.

The announcement has also triggered a new wave of comments in a thread started back in 2011 by scgamecock asking members to reveal the record number of lobster tails consumed in one sitting. The original poster (who admits to having eaten four) witnessed a pair of fellow diners having a chow down contest and eating seven each, adding: “They ordered all seven at once and the waiter didn’t even flinch. Started out with one, then they put three per plate on the next two plates.”

Read on to find out more.


Best Views at Sea – Captains reveal their top scenic spots!

With the best views from the bridge and a job that involves gazing out to sea (amongst many other things of course), ships’ captains are in a prime spot to take in the world’s most spectacular sights every time they sail into port.

In a bid to uncover the top panoramas from around the globe, Royal Caribbean International asked the captains who sail the fleet’s 23 ships to compile a list of destinations that take their breath away – no matter how often they see them. From the English Channel to Sydney Harbour, today they reveal the top 12 sights – and provide Cruise Critic with an exclusive snapshot of their own photos.

Read on to see these exclusive images!


The hills are alive…!

The author with Elisabeth von Trapp, granddaughter of Maria.

Elisabeth von Trapp strums the familiar opening bars on her guitar and counts us in. On three we break into a heartfelt — if not entirely pitch perfect — rendition of ‘Do-Re-Mi’, oblivious to the amused glances of fellow tourists. As more than 60 of us are virtually blocking the steps in Salzburg’s Mirabell Gardens, where the namesake scene in The Sound of Music was filmed, there’s little the fellow visitors can do but stop and stare until we reach the end — some reach for their cameras.

But, in the lyrics immortalised by Julie Andrews, let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… Read on to find out more.


When Sophie met Guy Harvey onboard Norwegian Escape

“It’s like being on the set of Star Wars,” exclaims Guy Harvey — the artist behind the artwork adorning the hull of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest addition, Norwegian Escape.

We’re stood on one of the ship’s upper decks in a vast hangar in Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard where Harvey has been watching his huge design being transferred onto the ship. Coils of wires, piles of wooden planks and mounds of metal pipes litter the floor around us, while the whirr of heavy machinery is accompanied by the shouts of the 800 or so workmen beavering away to ensure the ship’s completion for its launch on October 27 – and you can be one of the first to see it (see below for a chance to get onboard!).

Read on to find out more.