July 2015 Desktop Wallpaper: Norwegian Fjords Cruise

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas docked in Alesand, Norway, Shutterstock

Get your July 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper!

Cruises along the Norwegian Fjords are in full swing. We hope this photo of Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas docked in Alesand, Norway, will inspire you to consider your own Norwegian Fjord cruise.

Here’s how to put this photo on your computer, tablet or cell 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 | 1200 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile

Check back on July 31 for the August 2015 calendar.

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Member cruise review of the week: ‘Amazing Anthem of the Seas’

In this tale of an almost-new-to-cruise experienceTrixie21 and his wife went on their second cruise together with her parents. They were lured onto Anthem by the Canary Islands & Iberian Peninsula itinerary as well as the promise of that new ship smell.

The cabin, the entertainment and  the service all earned five-star ratings, and Trixie21 had great things to say about most other aspects of the cruise. He did, however, make a point to note that the ship is very different from Independence of the Seas, an old Royal Caribbean favourite in the UK.

Which ship is better? Indy or Anthem? See what our review decided.


We ask that tricky question: Is a cruise value for money?

paper money boat

From the Cinderella-like disappearance of the once obligatory midnight buffet and lack of lobster to chocolate-free pillows and increased gratuities, any seasoned cruiser is likely to say that life on the ocean isn’t the value it used to be.

While some complain cutbacks have gone too far, the other side of the coin is that more people are being introduced to the world of cruising, thanks to ever-increasing fleets and keenly priced fares to entice passengers onboard. Cruising is no longer, thankfully, the preserve of the wealthy or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday treat.

But do you still believe that a cruise gives you value for money? That is the question posed by Cruise Critic member chromered7: “Given that these message boards are full of reduced portions, less staff, poor quality, customer dissatisfaction, lowering of standards and the growing cost of cruising, does cruising still give you value for money? The methods used by cruise companies to get you on board appear very attractive but when you when you dig down to the small print, are they the real deal?”

It’s certainly struck a chord with some fellow members, who still seem to think a cruise delivers good value. (For more insights, see the ships that were awarded Best Cruise Ships for Value by our readers in 2015 and How to Find the Best Cruise Bargain in 2015).

Read on to find out more.


If it were up to me…. Help Sir Richard Branson design his new cruise ships

Richard Branson

For the past few months, we here at Cruise Critic have been asking ourselves and our readers: What would YOU do if you ran a cruise line? Apparently British billionaire Richard Branson has the same crowd-sourcing mindset.

At a news conference on Tuesday in Miami, Branson and Virgin Cruises president Tom McAlpin said that they wanted potential passengers to leave ideas for the fledgling line on the company’s website. Branson has said that he wants his three ships – set to arrive in 2020, 2021 and 2022 – to have the stylish and design-centric “Virgin touch” seen on his other travel offerings, including airlines and space flights.

Read on to find out more.


What’s the best cruise line for your Myers Briggs personality type?

ENFP: Azamara Club Cruises

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a psychological assessment that measures how people perceive the world. Read on to see which cruise line you should try, based on your type.

ENFP: Azamara Club Cruises

Free spirits by nature, ENFPs are independent travelers who crave adventure, emotional connections and endless possibilities. They are often the life of the party — not for the attention, but for the sheer enjoyment of getting to know everyone in the room. Azamara’s award-winning shore excursions and small yet lively ships are a perfect fit. Onboard, ENFPs would have plenty of opportunities to mingle with fellow passengers (potential new BFFs) while letting their imaginations run wild in port.

Find your perfect Azamara cruise.

Read on for more.


Cruise tip of the week: How to get “free” money on your cruise

Cruise ship docked in Alayna Harbor

Tip: When you cruise, extras like speciality restaurants, spa treatments and Internet are paid for with a cruise/key card — which you can fund with cash up front or link to your credit or debit card. But did you know you could get “free money” deposited into your onboard account?

It’s called onboard credit, and there are quite a few ways to get it. One is by booking through an individual travel agent or online agency. Most third-party sites offer an average of $100 OBC per cabin, but that varies. Keep in mind: If you work with the same travel agent for every cruise, your OBC is likely to build over time.

You can also get OBC by booking your next cruise onboard, booking way out from your sail date and through loyalty programmes.

Full Article: Read more ways to get onboard credit, and learn how you can spend it.

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

Find your perfect cruise
What to Expect on a Cruise: Onboard Spending
22 Do’s and Don’t’s for Your First Day Onboard a Cruise Ship

What’s you Cruise Tip of the Week? – let us know in the Comments below!


Member review of the week: A ‘cruise of good fortune’ to Alaska

Our highlighted reviewer this week, goodwinmacc has just recently returned from a ‘fascinating’ cruise to Alaska on Regent Seven Seas Navigator last month.

The cabin, the dining, the service and the shore excursions all earned five-star ratings, and the reviewer described the beautiful sights of the trip to the western United States on their ‘really memorable holiday’ in detail.

Read on for more.


What’s your dream cruise entertainment lineup?

Entertainment onboard MSC Splendida

Imagine you are the entertainment coordinator for your favourite cruise line. What kind of talent would you book? Steel drum bands on every corner, a comedy dream team, the latest stage production?

Music, unsurprisingly, is a popular theme among our staff and Facebook followers.

“After a busy day in port, my idea of fantastic evening entertainment is music that doesn’t compete too hard for my attention,” admits Cruise Critic Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown. “I love classical music, especially more upbeat tunes, as a great accompaniment to an after-dinner drink; where you can listen to and/or chat around. I also love a simple, themed revue — like the Beatles, retro torch songs or composer based, like the songs of Stephen Sondheim — as long as the vocalists are talented.”

Beatles tribute bands and Broadway shows made up the bulk of entertainment requests posted to our Facebook page.

Our staff, however, desires a little more originality.

Read on for more.


Hot on the forums: How does a world cruiser cope after the cruise is over?

sand castle

We all know that sinking feeling when you disembark from a cruise and come back down to earth with a bump. For me, reality hits before I even get to the front door, as I start thinking about domestic chores, work, bills to pay and a waistline to shrink.

So it makes me wonder how a world cruiser recovers their land legs after being gone for a month or more. I am sure I would be all at sea (albeit back on dry land) after being spoiled for so long, with no cooking or housework and being waited on hand and foot.

Cruise Critic member MawganTr posted similar thoughts on the forums: “How does it feel to return from an around the world cruise?” she asks. “Is it relief? Joy? The ‘glad to be home’ feeling that you get at the end of any holiday. Or is there a real longing to remain onboard? Is there some sort of culture shock coming away from such luxury?” 

Read on for more.


Cruise Tip of the Week: How to have a stress-free sailaway

fly early

Tip: Your bags are packed. Travel documents are in order. What else could you be missing? While the mental checklist might come naturally to some, it’s easy for others to neglect “the obvious” when gearing up for embarkation day. One way to avoid stressing before your cruise is by arriving at your port city a day early. Whether you’re driving or flying, adding wiggle room to your itinerary will help you prepare for the unexpected. Holidays are for relaxing, after all!

Full Article: Read 14 more ways to take the stress out of embarkation day.

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

22 Dos and Don’ts for Your First Day Onboard a Cruise Ship

What to Expect on a Cruise: First Day Onboard

What’s Your Cruise Sailaway Style?

Do you have a Cruise Tip — share it with us below in Comments!

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