Member review of the week: What a Ventura

This week’s reviewer Mighty-muzzo took her first ever cruise on P&O Cruises’ Ventura last month and she thought she would write a review because she was “massively impressed”.

Overall she gave her cruise – a trip round the British isles – five stars.

Here’s what else she enjoyed:

Read on for more.


Let’s fathom it out together

father and son building

As a dad with three teen and tween boys, I’m always looking for a little something more when my family travels, a special experience that goes beyond the normal vacation. And I’m not alone – a lot of parents look for opportunities to expose their children to local culture, to see something unique in a world that is increasingly homogenized. We want to go see things that help us understand the beauty and diversity in the world; we want to give back with our time and talent and we hope to show our kids that there are many ways they can make a mark.

Oh…and it’d be nice to have a great view, a nice meal and perhaps a glass of wine along the way.

That’s why I’m excited about fathom, the new “social impact” cruise line launched by Carnival Corp. & PLC yesterday. Based on P&O Cruises’ 710-passenger Adonia, the line will make weekly voyages to the Dominican Republic on a programme centered entirely around voluntourism. Once there, people will be able to choose different volunteer options, as well as take some time for themselves onboard.

Read on for more


Hot on the forums: Would you dare sit on someone’s cruise deck chair?


Hot desking — where different members of staff share one desk or work station during different time periods — has become common practice in many offices. Presumably colleagues have to reach an agreement about how many personal desk decorations and family photos are allowed, or just shovel them into a drawer in between shifts, but that’s a pretty minor issue to overcome.

So here’s a thought, how about the same system being applied to cruise ships’ over-crowded sun decks?

Bagging a deck chair has long been the subject of heated debate on the forums, with reports of all kinds of evil under the sun. Chairs ‘reserved’ with towels, books, shoes and other assorted items at the crack of dawn and then left unoccupied for most of the day. People dragging chairs into their cabins at night. Children parked on chairs while their parents go off for lengthy lunches. The list goes on and on.

Alas, deck chair wars seem to bring out the worst in some cruisers, and unless you’re prepared to shell out for an allocated seat on a private sun terrace, the conflict looks set to continue. While many cruise lines insist seat-saving is prohibited, in reality action is rarely taken against the sun deck squatters.

Now Cruise Critic member ddlb has suggested a compromise, asking: What’s the worst case scenario if you temporarily take over a deck chair that remains tantalisingly unoccupied?

Read on for more.


Our top cruise tips: How to make the most of the main dining room

dining experience

Tip: Why pay for a speciality restaurant when the main dining room is included in your fare? That’s how many cruisers feel when deciding how to use their spending money onboard. If you’d rather splurge on shore excursions or the spa, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself at dinner. Don’t be afraid to make special requests. Cruise ship kitchens are more equipped with ingredients and prepared for special requests than you might think. Just try to give the wait staff some advance notice.

Full Article: Read 7 more tips for the best main dining room experience.

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

What to Expect on a Cruise: The Main Dining Room

Flexible vs. Traditional Dining

15 Best Cruise Ship Alternative Restaurants

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Just Back From Allure of the Seas: Hits & Misses

Allure of the Seas

The world’s biggest cruise ship came out of dry dock in mid-May, after an 18-day refurbishment that gave it new restaurants, cabins, shops and a brand-new Suite Lounge.

I hadn’t sailed on Allure – one of Cruise Critic’s most popular ships – before the refit. But after a weeklong voyage round-trip from Barcelona, where I took questions in a six-day live chat, I know that ship’s fans were concerned about two things: Dynamic Dining (which has been delayed) and suite changes.

I’m still torn over whether catering to suite guests is the right thing to do. If you’re going to create something for your top spending passengers, shouldn’t you do something for the vast majority of other passengers?

Here are the specifics of what new features enhance sailing on Allure of the Seas – and what don’t.



As if there were not enough dining options onboard Allure already, Allure sees two new ones: Coastal Kitchen and Sabor Taqueria; Izumi has also been tweaked. The three-deck dining room has also been redecorated and renamed, effectively becoming three different spaces, ahead of the delayed roll out of Dynamic Dining.

Read on for more!


Member Review of the Week: Amazing Anthem of the Seas

This week’s reviewer Jb-Lhr took a three-day “cruise to nowhere” on the world’s most technologically advanced ship and gave it a massive thumbs up.

Jb-Lhr embarked Southampton on a taster cruise on Royal Caribbean’s latest gadget-laden megaship – Anthem of the Seas – and used one word to sum it up: WOW!

Here’s what else they enjoyed:

Read on for more.


June 2015 desktop wallpaper: Alaska season is underway

Cruise ship in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Get your June 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper!

The Alaska cruise ship season is underway, with thousands heading north to get their fix of fjords, glaciers, whales and other wildlife. We hope this picture of a cruise ship in Glacier Bay has you dreaming of your next 49er foray.

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

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 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 | 1920 x 1200 | Tablet

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When is it time to break up with your cruise line?

beach breakup

Yesterday I wrote a Dear John letter to the cruise line I’ve chosen for my personal vacations for the past several years. Some shocking policy changes were a last straw for me and I finally had to say enough is enough; I’m moving on.

It seems that someone is always reaching a breaking point and jumping ship (figuratively, of course) for another cruise company. The good news for the cruise lines is there’s always a new customer to be had. The bad news is that it takes a while for a broken-hearted former customer to recover.

We turned to Cruise Critic’s Community Forum to find out what is driving once-loyal passengers away from the cruise lines they once loved.

Read on for more.


The itineraries I’d choose if it were up to me …

Looking out from the deck

Cruise lines spend countless hours making sure their passengers have the best cruise vacations possible, but sometimes cruisers want more. From time to time we ask ourselves — and the Cruise Critic community — what we would do differently if we were in charge.

This week: Imagine you are the itinerary developer for a cruise line. Where would your ships sail? Would there be port-heavy sailings, overnights or scenic cruising?

“I’d definitely overnight in Alaska,” says Colleen McDaniel, Cruise Critic managing editor. “I would love some time in the smaller ports — one day for excursions, another for time in town. That would be ideal. I love the flexibility of river itineraries, spending just a little time in some ports, a ton of time in others. I would love to see ocean cruise lines adopt more of that approach. Some do it already (Azamara and new Viking Ocean), but it’s difficult. I also wish they’d pay attention to regions and what’s popular where. For example, in Mexico, deep-sea fishing is a big deal, but you have to go early. Many ships don’t get into port until afternoon, so you can’t take advantage.”

Read on for more.


Just back from Thomson Dream: Our contest winner’s review

There she is!

Last year we teamed with Thomson Cruises to run a competition offering our members the chance to win a 7-night cruise onboard Thomson Dream.

Cruise Critic member “Suco” was our lucky winner. She recently returned from her trip where she enjoyed the Mexican Medley cruise, visiting exotic destinations including Jamaica, Mexico and Honduras.

Read on for a few highlights and pictures from the trip: