Member review of the week: Why so critical of MSC?


MSC Orchestra

MSC Cruises’ MSC Orchestra

An undeniable buzz of dispute on the forums over MSC Cruises has certainly grabbed our attention at Cruise Critic HQ for the past few months.

There is certainly an element of mystery surrounding where these quite contrasting views came from all of a sudden.

This week’s reviewer has the MSC doubters well and truly quashed in their review.

Read on to find out more.


Just Back from…Costa Diadema: Hits and Misses

When you think of Italy perhaps you picture yourself strolling along the Italian Riviera. Maybe you’re in a seaside bar sipping a bubbly Prosecco, or if it’s breakfast time, a cappuccino.

It’s that kind of Italian style that Costa Cruises works to capture in the line’s new flagship, Costa Diadema. The idea behind the 3,724-passenger ship, launched in October 2014, is to showcase the best of Italy with an array of new features.

Read on to find out more.


Hot on the Forums: Memories of transatlantic crossings

Since Cunard’s Britannia first set sail across ‘the pond’ in 1840, transatlantic crossings have conjured up glamorous images of a bygone era and the golden age of cruising. And today, for those with time and money to spare, the thought of seven days at sea is much more appealing than spending the same amount of hours squeezed into a plane.

Forum contributor ukkid invited fellow Cruise Critic members on a trip down memory lane by asking what it was like to traverse the Atlantic between the 1970s and 1990s.

“I read they used to be five days and about £600 ($900) and alcohol cost next to nothing. Similar price to a saver now but then again I was told you could buy a house for £6,000 ($9,000) and people earned £20 ($30) a week! I was also told there were bell boys in the lifts, but this may be a reference to a P&O cruise. Do people have memories over those decades and care to share them in this thread?”

It’s fascinating to read the responses, with accounts of Cunard, Holland America and French line crossings. Even though it’s relatively recent history, plenty of things have changed that will doubtless leave many members hankering for the good old days.

Read on for more.


Q&A: Edie Rodriguez, Crystal Cruises president

Cruise Critic’s Australia Editor Louise Goldsbury obtained an exclusive interview with the president of Crystal Cruises, Edie Rodriguez (pictured in centre, below) after news broke last night that the luxury line had been sold to Genting Hong Kong. Here’s how the interview unfolded…


Q: Big news for Crystal! Can you tell us how the acquisition may change the onboard experience of your two ships, or the proposed third ship?

Edie Rodriguez: It won’t affect our two gorgeous ships, Symphony and Serenity, which are stunning the way they are. We also don’t envisage anything changing with our published itineraries until 2017, many of which have sold out, and our 2018 World Cruise, which we will be announcing very soon. And of course, the excitement of another ship is just fabulous!

Q: Has the third ship been ordered?

Find out if a third ship has been ordered and learn more about how the sale will affect Crystal’s onboard experience. Click here.


10 things I learnt from my cargo cruise

So you’ve been on several cruises and you’re thinking of something different. Perhaps a cargo ship? Or maybe cruises aren’t ‘your thing’, but the idea of travelling by freighter is the big attraction. Or perhaps you’ve just always wanted to visit the Marquesas Islands, the remote French Polynesian archipelago 800 miles northeast of Tahiti.

These are the some of the reasons passengers choose the two-week voyage aboard the Aranui 3, the mixed vessel cargo and passenger ship which travels every three weeks between Tahiti and the Marquesas in the South Pacific.

And here’s what you might want to know:

1. Expect the unexpected

If the ship can’t dock close enough to shore, you’ll hop onto the Aranui’s barges or whaleboats to reach dry land, or suddenly see a boat being lifted onto the deck. After all, the Aranui’s purpose is to deliver and collect cargo for the Marquesan people so itinerary and timings, while passenger-friendly where possible, are determined by freight needs.

Read on to find out more.


Member review of the week: Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean

Nieuw Amsterdam

Nieuw Amsterdam

This week our reviewer takes on two well known scenarios that apply to many of us: converting a cruise doubter, and defying the age gap on a cruise that is commonly known for the mature traveller.

bonjour_blondie writes about her cruise to the Eastern Caribbean onboard Nieuw Amsterdam, telling us how cruising with an older-than-average passenger base and a cruise doubter is nothing to worry about. In both cases, the ship speaks for itself.

Read on to find out more.


March 2015 Desktop Wallpaper: Sunset Sailaway

Sunset Sailaway

Get your March 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! We love the sight of a brightly lit cruise ship slipping through the dusk (especially after a particularly impressive ocean sunset). Here’s hoping that this desktop calendar inspires you to think back on your last cruise – and dream about the next one.

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 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 | 1280 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile

Check back on March 31 for the April 2015 calendar.


Cruise Critic Live!: A special announcement and everything Britannia

The bow of Britannia

The bow of Britannia

Our next Cruise Critic Live! takes place Wednesday, March 4th at 11 a.m. (GMT) and looks at the newest and biggest ship in the P&O Cruises’ Fleet, Britannia (which will be named by Her Majesty the Queen, as predicted by our readers).

Our special guest is someone who can tell us about everything that will be happening onboard – Christopher Edgington, Marketing Director of P&O Cruises.

We caught up with Christopher to quiz him ahead of the chat and here’s what he had to say:

Read on to find out more about Britannia


Coming soon: Yet another thrill ride at sea.

Carnival Vista Exterior

Last week Carnival unveiled its new ship, Carnival Vista. It comes with a host of new features to stun and amaze, not least the first IMAX cinema at sea and a kind of thrill ride high above the deck in a recumbent bicycle. But there’s something that the brains behind these novel ideas missed – an idea that unites every cruiser …

What’s that idea? Read on to find out.


River cruise snapshot: Sailing River Royale in Bordeaux

Uniworld's  cruise ship River Royale

As we look ahead to this year’s river cruise season, we revisit one unforgettable experience our reviewer had sailing in Aquitaine in southern France onboard Uniworld’s refurbished River Royale.

Read on to find out more.