15/09/2014

Where in the world is Cruise Critic?

Brittany Chrusciel and Chris Gray Faust on map
Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
(Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
Where: Eastern Caribbean
Who: Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant
Why There? We haven’t yet experienced a full sailing on Getaway and are filling in some gaps in the review, including updates to our dining section since the Norwegian Next overhaul and sampling the comedy and fermented grapes of Wine Lover’s the Musical.
We Can’t Wait: I had the opportunity to sail Getaway on a one-night cruise to nowhere for the inauguration and can’t wait to get back onboard to try everything I missed — from the noodles at Shanghai and sushi at Wasabi to the gourmet plates at Ocean Blue and the Cuban cuisine at Flamingo Grill, I will be packing on the pounds in the name of cruise!
Town in Iceland by the ocean with red and white church
Where: Iceland (Reykjavik and Akureyri)
Who: Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor
Why There? Its active volcanoes notwithstanding, Iceland has been appearing on more ship itineraries in recent years, particularly in Akureyri, the country’s second-largest city. Located in Iceland’s north, Akureyri draws summer stops from Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, and Holland America , as well as Azamara, MSC, Costa, Oceania, Silversea and Cunard. We’ll be checking out what sort of things you can do in this remotely rugged part of the world.
We Can’t Wait: Ever heard of a little show called “Game of Thrones?” The scenes north of the Wall are filmed in northern Iceland, and show-related tours are now available in Akureyri. We hope to get in some whale watching, horseback riding – and a few dips in the area’s thermal springs.

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12/09/2014

Hot on the Forums: Cruising broadens the mind (and also the waistline)

When I first started cruising I noticed a curious thing – whenever I took stuff to the bdrycleaners it would come back a size too small.

It also seemed odd that my washing machine malfunctioned after a voyage, running hot so clothes emerged smaller.

Now of course, I know better. So while it’s true cruising broadens the mind, it also can broaden the waistline.

So what can we do about it?

Well, as ever Cruise Critic members have come up with some interesting tips to cut cruising calories.

Read on to get some top tips!

11/09/2014

Cruise Critic Live!: All about Britannia with Christopher Edgington

P&O’s Britannia is the biggest ship ever built for the UK market and it will be coming to our shores in March next year.

We know you’ve got questions – and we’ve got the man who can answer them – Christopher Edgington, P&O’s head of marketing.

Mr Edgington will be answering your questions at 2.30pm today in a live Q&A, but you can go ahead and post your questions now.

Christopher Edgington, P&O Cruises’ marketing director

Whether it’s about the Oasis Spa, the largest wellness facilities in its history or perhaps you’d like to know more about the Cookery School, and the involvement of the numerous celebrity chefs? Or maybe you’d like an update on the entertainment?

Whatever you’d like to know, Mr Edgington is here to answer your questions, so please post them in our live Q&A and please join us at 2.30pm.

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10/09/2014

Regal Princess: A close shave

An hirstute Adam Coulter gets ready for his Royal Shave

I’m not a big fan of massages. I also don’t really like going to the hairdressers.

There’s just so much other stuff I could be doing while I’m lying down being squeezed and kneaded and pushed and pummelled while tinkly tinkly music goes on in the background.

It’s the same when I’m sat staring at myself in the mirror for half an hour having to make inane conversation about where I’m going on holiday next.

So when Princess Cruises suggested I try out a spa day on Regal Princess – complete with haircut, shave and a massage – let’s just say I wasn’t overly keen.

However, I am also keen to try new things and having never been to the salon onboard a cruise ship, nor ever had someone give me a shave I thought “Why not?”.

Read on to find out more.

09/09/2014

Member Review: A ‘magical’ time onboard Disney

“Amazing”, “fantastic” and “magical” are just three of the superlatives used by the aptly-named member Disney2014 to describe her – yes, you guessed it – cruise onboard Disney Magic.

From the moment she and her family saw the ship in Barcelona, to meeting Mickey & friends onboard, to the friendly crew, as she puts it: “The magic began as soon as we stepped into the beautiful atrium!”

Read on to find out more.

08/09/2014

Where in the world is Cruise Critic?

Erica Silverstein, Colleen McDaniel, Adam Coulter and Chris Gray Faust on map
Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, travelling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
(Have questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
Where: We depart Port Canaveral for a three-night cruise to Nassau and Castaway Cay.
Who: Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
Why There? It’s Halloween! On Disney, the holiday season starts in September with two months of Halloween cruises. We’re going to watch spooky movies poolside and join costumed characters at a “Mouse-querade Party.” I’m also going to put Disney’s baby amenities to the test by travelling with my six-month-old on her very first cruise.
We Can’t Wait: I toured Disney Dream when it was half-baked at the shipyard, so I’m excited to finally ride the AquaDuck, check out the effects at Animator’s Palate and try out adults-only venues like Palo. It’s actually my first Disney cruise ever, so I will be participating wholeheartedly in Pirate Night and attending all the production shows (that is, unless I get Mickey’d out. I prefer Pixar to princesses, so we’ll see whether I catch the Disney spirit or spend the cruise hiding from oversized rodents). On the destination side, I’ve heard great things about Disney’s private island of Castaway Cay. I just hope that departing the day after Hurricane Day (September 10 — the busiest storm day each year) doesn’t keep me away from this much-anticipated port stop.

We’re also headed to Switzerland, Italy and even Iceland! Read on for more.

05/09/2014

9 things you wish you’d known on your first cruise

You set sail on your first cruise with all the gadgets and gizmos of our digital age – phone, camera, tablet and so forth – and then find there’s nowhere to plug in all the chargers.

It’s just one of the many things that you only find out when you’re onboard – and of course by then it’s too late.

So who can you turn to for “in the know tips”? Look no further than the seafaring stalwarts among Cruise Critic members.

Read on to find out the Top 5 tips!

04/09/2014

Just Back From… A Holland America Alaska Cruisetour: Hits & Misses

View of Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage, Alaska
Many first-time cruisers to Alaska don’t realise a typical Inside Passage voyage visits only a fraction of this vast state. For those who want to dig deeper into Alaskan history, culture and wilderness, a cruisetour – a land tour that’s added on to your cruise – is definitely your best bet.
We spent 12 days on an Alaska cruisetour operated by Holland America (the line calls them Land + Sea Journeys). The trip began in Anchorage and spent two nights in Denali National Park before heading north to Fairbanks. The tour then brought us to Canada’s Yukon Territory where we spent several days in Dawson City and Whitehorse before heading back to Alaska. We finished with a four-day cruise from Skagway to Vancouver on Zuiderdam.
Sound tiring? At times, it was. But we’ve come home with a new appreciation for how varying America’s last frontier can be – and we can’t wait to return. Here are some of the hits, misses and “not too sures” from the tour.
Hits
Convenience. A two-week trip to Alaska requires a lot of layers, and I bought a new 24-inch suitcase to handle the packing requirements. The weight didn’t bother me, however, because I don’t think I touched the bag the entire trip. From the airport in Anchorage to embarkation in Skagway, the suitcase showed up exactly where and when it was supposed to, every time. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you realize that Holland America runs numerous Land + Sea itineraries, all through the summer, off each of its eight ships in the region. It’s a potential logistical nightmare that, thankfully, went off like clockwork.
Expertise. Talk about reach: On our odyssey through Alaska and Yukon, we rumbled along Holland America-owned trains, hit the highway in Holland America motor coaches and stayed in Holland America-owned hotels. We even took a Holland America charter plane between Fairbanks and Dawson City, a new addition to the itinerary that shaved at least another day of driving time.

Read on to find out more.

02/09/2014

Cruising with baby? Keep calm and cruise on!

Cruising with kids is fun, but it comes with its own set of challenges, and as all parents know, getting a good night’s sleep is key. After all, a restful sleep means that you, (and every family member in your cabin!), will have a much more enjoyable cruise overall.

With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with our friends over at BabyBjörn and By Carla to offer some great prizes – and some tips – to help make cruising with your little one as pleasurable and relaxed as possible!

Read on for our tips and a chance to win!

01/09/2014

Where in the world is Cruise Critic?

Dori Saltzman on map
Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, travelling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
(Have questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
Where: Departing from Seattle, we’re heading to Alaska for a week-long cruise to Ketchikan, Juneau, Sawyer Glacier, Skagway and Victoria, Canada.
Who: Dori Saltzman, News Editor
Why There? Back in May, Norwegian Jewel became the first cruise ship in the Norwegian fleet to receive a series of upgrades as part of the line’s Norwegian NEXT program, which brings older ships up to date with the line’s newest ship features. During the retrofit, Jewel received O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill and the Sugarcane Mojito Bar. Additionally, treats from Carlo’s Bake Shop, which has a dedicated outlet on both Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, were added to the offerings at Java Cafe. The Horizon and Spinnaker lounges, pool deck, casino and photo gallery were all updated as well.

We Can’t Wait: Having sailed on Norwegian Jewel over New Year’s Eve 2013, I am eager to see the improvements to a ship that did look a bit dated. I am especially excited for breakfasts and the ice cream sundae menu at O’Sheehan’s. I’m also quite curious to see if the new additions in any way encroach on the spaciousness that has always been a highlight of Norwegian’s Jewel-class ships, especially in contrast with the more crowded feel of the Breakaway ships. I am equally as enthusiastic about the itinerary, as this will be my first Alaska cruise. I’m also pleased to host a Live From edition of Cruise Critic Live! onboard Norwegian Jewel on Friday, September 5 at 4 p.m. (Eastern). I’ll be available to take your questions about Norwegian Jewel and the Norwegian NEXT upgrades.

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