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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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.


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.


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.


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!


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.
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.


Cruising with baby? Keep calm and cruise on!

Thank you for entering. This competition is now closed. 

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!


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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September 2014 Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: Cruising into Kotor

September 2014 Desktop Calendar of Cruise Ship in Kotor, Montenegro
Get your September 2014 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! We hope that this photo of a cruise ship sailing through Kotor, Montenegro will get you thinking about planning an autumn getaway.
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.
Check back on September 30 for the October 2014 calendar. 

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Cruise line loyalty: The ultimate commitment


Royal Caribbean Tattoo

Most tattoos have some kind of meaning to the wearer and seafarers are no exception. Back in the day, a sailor would have a tattoo of a pig on one foot and a chicken on the other, which was supposed to ward off drowning; pigs and chickens were carried on ships in wooden crates which would theoretically float with the currents in the event of a shipwreck. On the other hand, a sailor sporting a tattoo of a swallow or a sparrow has sailed 5,000 miles (not such a big deal in these days of world voyages and transatlantic crossings). A Neptune or turtle tat means the wearer has crossed the equator or international dateline on a ship.

But how do you interpret a Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor tattooed onto an ankle? As the ultimate sign of customer loyalty, of course. Cruise Critic member Wolfcathorse and her husband started the trend with matching ankle art as a sign of lifelong devotion to their favourite cruise line.

They’re not alone; member Cruising_addict also sports a Royal Caribbean logo, saying “I love Royal so much I had to show it. It is not huge and is at the bottom of my leg above my ankle. I have had people ask on the ship if I work there.” JaxieWaxie proudly sports one on her foot, saying, “Funny thing is, when cruising, everyone on the ship assumes it’s a fake!”

Royal Caribbean Tattoo

Member Cupcrazy also confesses to a discreet bit of ankle adornment, while RcclMiami was given the Christmas gift of a tattoo on the calf by his wife. “It took almost a year for me to get up the nerve to get it,” he confesses. Member BC604 adds: “Me and the wife have C&A [Crown & Anchor] tattoos on the tops of our feet. We like to show them off poolside.

It’s not just Royal Caribbean fans. Carnival diehard Billy Ray Crane had a Carnival smokestack emblazoned on his arm in celebration of his 10th cruise with the line, according to cruise director John Heald’s blog. On the QE2 Story forum, a site for fans of the old Cunarder, member Marty 552 shows off an arm festooned with Cunard ship names (adding one every time the line builds a new ship), while a Star Clippers fan posting on the line’s blog has a tall ship, logo and all, in full sail on his arm.

What next, a P&O tattoo, or maybe a little Fred. Olsen on the shoulder, tantalisingly revealed in a strappy number on formal night? What would your cruise-themed tattoo be? Let us know.

– Sue Bryant

  Loyal to your cruise line? Read about past-passenger rewards

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