13/02/2015

Is Regal Princess the ship for you?

Regal Princess - image courtesy of Princess Cruises

Regal Princess, which debuted in spring 2014, combines sophistication in design with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.  If you’re weighing your cruise ship choices and not sure where to start, we’ve got 10 reasons you might consider Regal Princess. And, in honour of St. Valentine, one of them is the ship’s connection with the original “Love Boat.”

Regal Princess might just be the perfect ship for you if:

1. You like to walk on the edge. Regal Princess has a glass-bottomed walkway that projects over the side of the ship on the pool deck. The line calls this the SeaWalk, and it’s a great spot to visit if you want to take on your fear of heights. Take a moment to snap a picture of the view straight down from 16 decks high.

2. You’ve been looking for an excellent buffet. The buffet on Regal Princess — collectively comprising Horizon Court, the more casual Horizon Bistro and over-the-top sweet spot, The Pastry Shop — is enormous, and the selection is incredible. The food tastes fresh and offers variety for any diet — vegetarian, gluten-free, low-sodium, etc.

3. Chocolate is your thing. Princess partnered with chocolatier Norman Love, and his dessert creations are available on menus throughout the ship. (My favourite is his incredible take on tiramisu.) Not enough chocolate? You can get a chocolate massage in the ship’s Lotus Spa.

7 more reasons to consider Regal Princess

12/02/2015

Which cruise lines would you combine to create the perfect ship?

Cruise ships in port - image courtesy of John Panella/Shutterstock

Imagine you’re a cruise ship designer. You have a blank check, and you’ve been given free reign to create your ideal cruise ship. The only constraint? You have to select features from existing cruise lines.

This brilliant topic for what could be endless debate was, of course, posed on the Cruise Critic forums and has generated some fantastic responses in the two days since it went live.

The original poster delirious9876 kicked things off by saying Princess and Royal Caribbean would create the most beautiful cruise ship love child.

“I’ve just been on a Royal Caribbean, Caribbean cruise and a Princess Cruises Caribbean cruise (back to back) and I’m usually very loyal to RCCL, but I now think I’m a bit of a Princess [convert] as well.”

Delirious said he’d include Royal Caribbean’s ship design and entertainment in the mash-up, while “food, friendliness, general day to day quality and service” would be imported from Princess.

Read on for more

11/02/2015

Member review of the week: Arabian Gulf cruise

Cruising the Arabian Gulf

Cruise like a local! This week, reviewer Dazzadd gives tips on making your way around the Arabian Gulf.

Find out where you can visit to see “the beautiful mosque [that] will blow your mind,” by following our cruiser’s hands-on approach to getting around the Arabian Gulf.

Read on to find out more.

10/02/2015

It’s here! Cruise to the London CRUISE Show!

The London CRUISE Show kicks off this Saturday, and we’re looking forward to being there – and hopefully seeing you there too!

Here’s just a few reasons why you might like to attend:

1. We’ll be there!

Cruise Critic will be at the show on Stand E36, and we’d love to meet you and chat about cruising and the site. Cruise Critic’s Jim Walsh will also participate in three expert panel sessions:

  • Where to cruise? 12:30 to 13:15 – Saturday 14th February

The panel will include representatives from Azamara, Saga Cruises and Princess Cruises, and  offer advice on where to cruise and the best times to go to particular destinations

  • Cruising for Families. 13:30 to 14:15 – Saturday 14th February

Cruise Critic’s Jim Walsh will join the panel alongside Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines, and provide tips on cruising for families.

  • Cruising Down the River. 12:30 to 13:15 – Sunday 15th February.

Jim Walsh will moderate a session on river cruisingwhich includes speakers from Viking Cruises, AMA Waterways, Shearings and Avalon Cruises.

2. A chance to win prizes.

Will you be our lucky winner?

There are many prizes and special offers up for grabs, and don’t forget that we’re also offering one lucky winner the chance to win a £500 voucher towards your next cruise* – thanks to Iglu Cruise, the UK’s largest independent cruise agency.

3. Ticket offer!

Take advantage of a special offer of 2 free** tickets (worth £20) when booked in advance. Simply quote ‘CRUISECRITIC’ when booking online at www.cruisingshow.com or when calling 0871 620 4024. (**Booking fee of £2.50 applies. Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras).

We look forward to seeing you there!

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* The small print: Winners will be selected at random from all entries received and notified by email. Contest open to UK residents over 18 years of age. No cash substitution or substitution of prize permitted. Prize does not include any other cost or fee associated with prize receipt. Voucher is Valid until the 1st February 2016.

09/02/2015

Where in the World is Cruise Critic?

Carary Islands

Ship: Fred. Olsen Boudicca

Where: Madeira and the Canary Islands

Who: Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

Why There? We’ll be checking out Fred.’s newly refurbished Boudicca, as well as visiting five Canary Islands – La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Las Palmas and Lanzarote – in five days! We’ll be writing about some of the extraordinary excursions on offer in this Atlantic archipelago.

We Can’t Wait: To hike to the top of a volcano in La Palma and then enjoy local wines; star gazing in the world’s first Starlight Reserve, also on La Palma; scuba diving in Tenerife; jungle trekking in the Garonjay National Park in La Gomera and the plantations and vineyards of Gran Canaria. We’re also very keen to check out what’s new onboard Boudicca.

Carnival Live Concert Series

Ship: Carnival Freedom

Where: Galveston, Texas

Who: Dori Saltzman

Why There? Carnival Cruise Line reinforces its presence in the Texas cruise market with a third year-round ship sailing from the state. To celebrate the arrival of Freedom in its new homeport of Galveston, Carnival has invited members of the military and their families with an open-air Carnival LIVE concert from Martina McBride. After the concert, the families are invited to spend the night onboard to experience all the ship has to offer.

We Can’t Wait: Carnival Freedom underwent a massive $70 million makeover last summer and I’m looking forward to seeing the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements. I also can’t wait to see all the excitement a modern cruise ship has to offer reflected in the faces of military families who so rarely get to spend a day together just having fun.

Dori is on Carnival Freedom and Adam is sailing Fred. Olsen's Boudicca

Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations.

(Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)

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06/02/2015

Hot on the Forums: Overhyped or Underrated?

Hype

You’ve read about, heard about it and anticipated it with great excitement – now you’ve finally got it in your hand and you’re positively underwhelmed. Be it Carnival’s famed WCMC (warm melting chocolate cake) or other glorified grub, entertainment, facilities or a port of call, what some cruisers shout about from the rooftops, others could happily miss.

Cruise Critic member curious_st took to the forums after he went on a Carnival cruise and sunk his teeth into a Guy’s Burger…

“When I finally got one, I was disappointed. It was good, but not great, and definitely did not live up to the hype.”

Other things that he felt didn’t deliver included the line’s most-praised desserts (WCMC, Grand Marnier Souffle, Bitter N Blanc), Tea Time and Shows on Liberty. At the same time, he loved the Fish N Chips, Blue Iguana (“I could eat my body weight in watermelon jicama salsa”), Mongolian Wok, the brass band and San Juan (“I have never been to a more beautiful place”.)

After he asked what other members thought, responses started rolling in and provide an enlightening read.

What else is overhyped?)

05/02/2015

Jolly Olly talks tipples onboard Britannia

Olly Smith doing a wine demo at the Telegraph Cruise Show.

Wine expert Olly Smith (aka Jolly Olly), will be onboard P&O Cruises’ newest ship Britannia when it makes its debut in Southampton on March 9, 2015.

Olly’s hugely popular The Glass House, which is on a number of P&O Cruises‘ ships, returns on Britannia – bigger, in a prime space in the Atrium and for the first time with outside space, “so you can enjoy a tipple outside,” as Olly says.

We caught up with the ebullient enophile at the Telegraph Cruise Show to ask him about his latest project – and get the lowdown on what we can expect to be quaffing onboard.

Read on to find out more.

04/02/2015

If ships could talk …

Carnival Vista's Twitter Account

While Carnival Cruise Line announced details of its upcoming ship, Carnival Vista, last week with plenty of hoopla, some of the most exciting admissions were from none other than the ship itself.

The @CarnivalVista Twitter account launched on January 19 with the tweet, “This is me, casually inviting you to spend a week with me sometime in 2016. But we should get to know each other first.”

It soon became apparent that the ship had a sense of humour:

See Carnival Vista’s tweet jokes. Click here.

03/02/2015

Member review of the week: Marvellous Mediterranean Cruise

Success! Enjoying a large cruise

This week our reviewer, 4Orchard, writes about their time on the brand new Costa Diadema!

This review gives us tips on how to “go with the flow” when trying out a larger ship for the first time, and how to find what works just for you.

Read on to find out more.

02/02/2015

February 2015 Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: Aft Dreams

The Vast Blue Sea

Get your February 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! There’s nothing we like better than a view of the water (especially when the view from our office is so wintry). Here’s hoping that this desktop calendar takes you to warmer climes, at least in your mind.

Here’s how to put this photo on your computer, tablet or mobile 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 centre 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 | 1280 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile

Check back on February 27 for the March 2015 calendar.

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