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How To Choose The Right Cruise – The Cruise Guide

Cruise ships at Cococay (1)

Thinking about trying a cruise holiday but not sure how to choose the right cruise? My ultimate cruise guide should help.

It seems every month there is a new cruise ship launch with even greater innovation and ground-breaking facilities on board. The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas has eight different neighbourhoods on board, including Central Park complete with 20,000 plants! Norwegian Encore has a race track on the top deck, while Celebrity Edge has a floating platform where you can dine right at the water’s edge. Cruise companies are frantically trying to out do each other and knowing how to choose the right cruise is not an easy task.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Cruising has changed dramatically in the last number of years. What was once considered the ideal vacation for retired couples, cruising has evolved to become more popular with families and the luxury market.

Gone are the days when you had to sit with strangers for dinner, wearing your finest ball gown. While formal nights are still popular on some cruise lines, you can choose whether to embrace them or not.
 

 

 
I have seen many cruise ships over the years and I can honestly say there is a cruise for everyone. However, knowing how to choose the right cruise to suit your style, requires a lot of planning. The quote ‘the journey is the destination’ springs to mind. It is not only the destination that you need to consider, the cruise line, cruise ship, and time of year are equally as important.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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My ultimate cruise guide should give you some tips and tricks on how to choose the right cruise, however, I recommend engaging with a cruise expert to book your cruise holiday. They will be able to recommend the right cruise to suit your own taste and budget, and will be able to book the right flights and transfers to meet the cruise. 

These cruise deals from Ireland will give you an idea of what is possible, but make sure to read my cruise guide below to know how to choose the right cruise.
 

 

 

How to choose the right cruise ship

how to choose the right cruise for families

A mistake that is often made when choosing a cruise is that people assume that the cruise line is the most important component of your cruise holiday. I believe the cruise ship and time of year you are travelling are equally if not more important.

Just because you liked cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas in the Caribbean in February, this does not necessarily mean you will like cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas in the Mediterranean in July.
 

 

 
Jewel of the Seas can hold 3,500 passengers and crew, but Wonder of the Seas can hold almost 9,300 passengers and crew. Both will offer a completely different cruise experience. Cruise ships are often referred to as floating hotels, but just as hotels vary greatly in size and standard, so do cruise ships.

There are mega cruise ships can carry 9000 passengers, as well as intimate river cruises, that carry 150 passengers. 


 

 

 

Before you choose the right cruise, ask yourself these questions:

 

What type of holidays do you like?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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When on holidays do you prefer to stay in a boutique hotel and dine out somewhere new each night, or is a lively all-inclusive resort more your style? There are cruise ships to suit families and thrill seekers, as well as more intimate cruises with exclusive spas and adult-only pools.
 

 

 
Pool games and karaoke bars might appeal to some, while others like West End style shows and live music. I loved the Aqua Theatre on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships and the late outdoor bar on MSC Seaview.
 

 

 
My favourite cruise experience was on Celebrity Beyond. I loved it modern design and relaxed atmosphere, but if I was travelling with younger children I would probably choose a different cruise ship.
 

 

 

What time of year are you travelling?

Independence of the Seas

Mediterranean cruises tend to attract a lot of families during the summer months, while Caribbean cruises in the winter attract lots of couples. Couples should avoid Easter holidays / Spring Break in the USA, and while Mediterranean cruises are very well priced in the winter time, do you want to be cruising the Med on a cold November day?
 

 

 

How old is the cruise ship?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I was on some of MSC’s older cruise ships and didn’t like their dark interiors and traditional decor. However, when I cruised on MSC Seaview I had a completely different experience. MSC Seaview is bright, airy, elegant and sophisticated – she completely changed my view on MSC Cruises and now I consider it one of my favourite cruise ships.
 

 

 
TOP TIP: If you are booking an older cruise ship, check when it was last refurbished and read the latest reviews to know what to expect.

Read: My review of MSC Seaview
 

 

 

What is the dress code?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Formal nights may be common on most ships but this does not mean you need to wear black tie. In fact I have cruised on many ships and have rarely seen anyone wear Black Tie suit or full length ball gown.

Royal Caribbean have one or two formal nights over a seven day cruise. If you don’t want to dress up, you can avoid these in most cases, by going to the buffet restaurant for dinner.
 

 

 
Norwegian Cruise Line offer a freestyle cruise concept where it is casual and relaxed throughout. There are no set times for dinner and no dress code, so for clients that do not want to dress up at all, this is ideal.
 

 

 
Cunard and P&O Cruises are more strict on their formal nights and encourage it for their guests. Cunard even offer masquerade balls, and the Royal Ascot Ball.

 

 

 

What is included in the cost?

best cruise holiday

Cruises vary in price and standard but one of the main things to consider is what is included in the cost. Most packages are more expensive to book on board so always try to get these included in the cost of your cruise.
 

 

 
If you are booking an all-inclusive cruise, check what the drinks package includes. Most ships have a variety of drinks packages available and you may need to opt for the premium drinks package depending on what your favourite tipple is.

If drinks are not included in the cost, I recommend pre-purchasing a drinks package in advance, as drinks prices can be expensive on board.

review of msc seaview

Check if gratuities are included and pre pay these if possible too. The recommended tip amount is 20% with many cruise lines, so pre-paying gratuities can be a massive advantage.
 

 

 

How many days are you at sea?

how to choose the right cruise for long days at sea

If you are cruising the Med you will likely be stopping in a different port each day. You may want to dine out when in port and therefore not feel the need to pre-purchase a speciality dining package.
 

 

 
However, if you are on a transatlantic cruise or have lots of days at sea you may not want to eat in the main dining room or buffet restaurant for lunch and dinner every day. If that is the case it might be an idea to pre-book a speciality dining package in advance.

Positano view

The same applies to WiFi. You should be able to check emails and messages when in port so you may not need to pre-purchase WiFi if cruising the Mediterranean. However, the opposite applies if you have lots of days at sea.
 

 

 
I hope my top tips for booking cruise holidays have been helpful. I have listed some of my favourite cruises for first time cruisers, couples and families below to help you choose the right cruise. 
 

 

 

Best cruises for first timers:

Marella Discovery
Marella Discovery

Many first time cruisers fear that that they won’t like cruising so tend go for a mainstream cruise that won’t break the bank. This is completely understandable, however, statistics show that over 90% of cruisers will want to cruise again.

A seven-night Mediterranean Cruise is always a firm favourite for first time cruisers. Flights are plentiful and usually inexpensive making them great value and easily accessible.

solarium on wonder of the seas

There are a variety of Mediterranean itineraries to choose from – Western Mediterranean cruises visit Spain, France and Italy, while Eastern Mediterranean cruises visit the Greek Isles, Croatia, Italy and sometimes Turkey and Montenegro too.
 

 

 
Marella Cruises, part of the TUI holiday group, offer great value all inclusive cruises with flights, transfers and checked baggage included in the cost.

Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC and Princess Cruises are the most popular with Irish holiday makers during the summer months. However, it is important to remember that Mediterranean cruises are very popular with families during July and August.
 

 

 
Mega ships can be a bit daunting for first time cruisers, so it might be a good idea to try one of the main cruise lines’ smaller ships. Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas is still a massive cruise ship, but carries 4370 guests versus almost 7000 on the brand new Wonder of the Seas.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Princess Cruises offer kids clubs and plenty of entertainment for children, but they don’t tend to have waterparks, surf simulators or virtual reality games rooms, and therefore can be better suited for couples looking to cruise the Med in the summer time.
 

 

 
For couples or friends looking for a more luxurious option Celebrity Cruises’ 5-star Edge class ships are cruising the Med this summer.
 

 

 

Best cruises for young couples:

MSC Seaview
MSC Seaview

Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises are the most popular with young people. Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line or MSC Cruises newer ships are just some of the favourites and offer great entertainment, night clubs, and lively pool areas. If you don’t want lots of children at the pool, make sure you avoid school holidays.
 

 

 
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships have seven different neighbourhoods, including the Boardwalk, and Central Park which is lined with trees and speciality dining options. You can fly across the ship on a zip line, enjoy surfing in the Flowrider, try your had at ice skating or rock climbing, and slide down the Ultimate Abyss.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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With robots serving you drinks from the bar, and a superb outdoor Aqua Theatre, they are a great choice for a young couple looking for some adventure, modern style. However, drinks packages are expensive with Royal Caribbean, so make sure to book these in advance to secure the best value – see more on this below.
 

 

 
Norwegian cruise ships are also very popular with young couples as they offer great value all-inclusive rates. Despite the name, Norwegian Cruise Line is an American cruise line, and is similar in style to Royal Caribbean with lots of activities on board.
 

 

 
Norwegian Encore has a race track on the top deck. Norwegian Epic is renowned for its lively atmosphere. There are 12 bars including an Ice Bar and an outdoor night club, as well as top performances by bands such as the Blue Man Group.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews cruising
Norwegian Epic.

I loved the expansive outdoor space on MSC Seaview. She has 20 different bars and lounges but my favourite was the Sunset Bar which played music until the small hours.
 

 

 
Carnival Cruise Line are a good choice for young people looking for a lively cruise in the Caribbean, while Virgin Voyages unique adult-only cruises are perfect for couples who don’t want to share the sun decks with young children.
 

 

 

Best cruises for older couples:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Older couples have the pick of the crop as they can usually travel at any time. Princess Cruises are a popular choice for four-star ocean cruises while Celebrity Cruises are arguably the best choice for those looking for a more luxurious option.
 

 

 
As well as the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords and Baltic Capitals cruises are popular for couples who don’t want to travel long distance. However, if flying time is not an issue, you can’t beat Alaska for the dream cruise destination for older couples.

More intimate cruises on smaller ships and the ability to dock in the heart of cities, has made river cruising one of the fastest growing sectors within the cruise industry. They tend to attract an older age group than ocean cruises, and are a great way to find out if cruising is right for you.

MS Arena River Cruise Ship

Arena River cruises offer great value 4-star river cruises which are ideal for couples who want to try a cruise for the first time. Uniworld are the more luxurious choice and offer a selection of 5-star river cruises. Owned by the parent company who owns Ashford Castle, these cruise ships feature lavish designs, and offer fine dining and outstanding service.

Read: A river cruise on Uniworld’s SS Antoinette
 

 

 
For the ultimate bucket list adventure, take a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary 2. It is a very different feel and experience on board to other cruise ships, where dressing for dinner is still the norm.
 

 

 

Best cruises for families:

Despite what you might think, cruises are a great choice for families and offer excellent value for money when you consider your food, entertainment and most children’s activities are included in the cost.
 

 

 
We have enjoyed a few family cruises and I loved to see my children using their independence enjoying various activities on board, while I relaxed by the pool. I never worried that they will get lost, and if you choose the right cruise will never hear your children say ‘I’m Bored!’
 

 

 
MSC Cruises offer fantastic value for families – kids travel free up to the age of 18 once sharing a cabin with their parents. MSC Meraviglia and Seaside-Class ships have aqua parks and virtual reality games rooms on board, and many of their cruise ships have Lego play areas.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Norwegian Cruise Line offer great value all-inclusive cruises that are packed with adventure. Most of the newer ships have waterparks, kids clubs and teen zones.
 

 

 
Norwegian Encore has a race track on the top deck, and I was the first person to test drive it! The race track is 1,150 feet long, sprawls over two decks and extends up to 13 feet over the side of the ship – it really is hard to fathom unless you see it, or in my case race it.

 
 
 
 
 
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There is also an outdoor laser tag arena and an indoor room with high-tech virtual reality games that is like nothing else I have seen on a cruise ship – this is a teenagers dream!

Read: My review of Norwegian Encore

Royal Caribbean are renowned for their family friendly cruise ships. With everything from water parks, surf simulators, zip lines and even sky diving simulators. Royal Caribbean also have a private island in the Bahamas with a water park on site, making a Bahamas cruise an ideal extension to a family holiday in Orlando. 

Read: My review of Harmony of the Seas

Read: 10 reasons to choose Royal Caribbean for family cruises

how to choose the right cruise for families - disney cruises

Disney cruises are ideal for families with young children, although there are also tween and teen clubs on board. Theme days like Star Wars and Marvel days are big hits with families, and getting the chance to meet your favourite Disney characters on board is a dream come true for many children.

Read: My review of Disney Magic cruise ship
 

 

 

Best cruises for adventure:

antartica bucket list cruise holidays

Hurtigruten will help you search for the Northern Lights. They are not a luxury cruise line and do not offer the same facilities on board as some of the main stream cruise lines, but they are truly made for adventurers. The stunning scenery and the true local experiences have made them extremely popular in recent years.
 

 

 
Expedition cruising is growing more and more popular with many choosing to cruise to places that are not easily reached by land or air – Antartica and the Galapagos Islands being two of the favourites.

 

 

 
Celebrity Cruises Xpedition ship is the luxury ship for adventurers but you will need to plan way in advance, this ship can get booked up as soon as it goes on sale.

Read: 25 bucket list holidays around the world
 

 

 

Best cruises for foodies:

The Magic Carpet on Celebrity Beyond
The Magic Carpet on Celebrity Beyond

I have found the quality of food on board most cruise ships to be generally very good, however I will find it hard to beat Celebrity Cruises Edge Class ships. There are four different main dining rooms on board, which gives the impression you are dining in a speciality restaurant, without having to pay any additional costs.
 

 

 
However, food lovers such not miss the opportunity to dine on the Magic Carpet. This takes al-fresco dining to the next level. Favourite seafood dishes from RAW on 5 are served here which is one of Celebrity Cruises top speciality dining experiences.
 

 

 
Another unique experience is the use of 3D table animation in Qsine. As well as having the menu created by a Michelin Star Chef, your table comes to life with Le Petit Chef experience – this is available on Celebrity Edge Class ships.
 

 

 

Best cruise for luxury:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Knowing how to choose the right cruise for a luxury experience is probably the most difficult. Silversea, Regent, Seabourn and Crystal cruises are the market leaders in luxury ocean cruising, however if you seek the luxury yacht feel then the smaller Silversea ships with butler service might be a better option.
 
I loved Celebrity Cruises relaxed modern style and are more reasonably priced than the above mentioned. Their food and service is excellent and the overall feeling is less formal than some of the other luxury ocean cruise lines.
 

 

 
If river cruising is what you seek, Uniworld offer 5-star all inclusive river cruises with fine dining and outstanding service.

how to choose the right cruise for a honeymoon
A suite on board Celebrity Reflection.

 

 

 

Best cruise for winter holidays

how to choose the right cruise for winter holidays

With the possible exception of Northern Lights cruises, the majority of people who cruise during the winter are looking for sunshine. The Caribbean is one of the most popular destinations, with various itineraries covering the Western, Eastern and Southern Caribbean islands.
 

 

 
However, if travelling from Ireland don’t overlook cruising around the Emirates. With daily flights to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha, and sunshine almost guaranteed, this would be my choice for value.

Many cruise companies offer fly-cruise packages with drinks packages and speciality dining options included. You will find they are mostly 8-night itineraries that consist of seven night cruise which includes an overnight stay in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha.
 

 

 
I hope my cruise guide will help you choose the right cruise for you. Remember to contact a specialist cruise travel agency who can suggest the best cruise to suit your style, taste and budget.
 

Travel

Get All Inclusive Drinks on Royal Caribbean 2020 Cruises – Fly Cruises Available from €1489!

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If you are thinking of booking a cruise – now is the time to do it! Travelnet are offering all-inclusive drinks on Royal Caribbean 2020 cruises. Check out some of my favourites below.

 

Many of you already know I am a big fan of Royal Caribbean cruises. Their ships are extraordinary. With fine dining, scintillating entertainment and record breaking adventure activities, it is not surprising that they are one of the world’s most popular cruise lines. However, one of the main concerns many people have when booking cruises is the price of drinks onboard. With this amazing all-inclusive drinks promotion on Royal Caribbean 2020 cruises – you no longer need to worry about that!

Royal Caribbean 2020 cruises

You can enjoy cocktails, mocktails, beers, wines by the glass, premium coffees and fruit juices, all up to a $12 value – FREE OF CHARGE! Bar gratuities are also included and if you fancy a bottle of wine, rather than a glass, you can enjoy a 40% discount on bottles of wine under $100. This amazing promotion on Royal Caribbean 2020 cruises is available on selected sailings, including the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. This offer won’t last long though, you need to book by the 30th of September.

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

When Travelnet asked me to highlight some of the super deals available on this Royal Caribbean 2020 cruises promotion, I was only too happy to oblige. There are lots more cruises available, so if my choices don’t suit you, make sure you check out ALL of their Royal Caribbean cruise deals by clicking here. And if a free deluxe drinks package isn’t enough to tempt you, perhaps this might – Travelnet.ie will secure your booking with a €30 deposit! Note a few Ts & Cs do apply.

 

Allure of the Seas: 7 Night Med Cruise from €1675!

Allure of the Seas is already the most awarded ship in the world, but it also happens to be getting a $165 million makeover – just in time for summer 2020 sailings from Barcelona. I was amazed to learn that this all-inclusive drinks promotion applied to Allure of the Seas too! You will have the opportunity to visit Majorca, Provence, Florence/ Tuscany, Rome and the Amalfi Coast over seven memorable days. 

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

There are seven different neighbourhoods on Allure of the Seas, each with its own distinctive vibe. The Royal Promenade is full of shops, bars and restaurants, and comes alive at night-time with a party atmosphere. The Boardwalk reminds me of a seaside pier and has a hand-painted carousel, and the pool / sports zone is full of non-stop action.

One of my personal favourite neighbourhoods is Central Park. There are a staggering 12,000 trees and plants there, it really feels like you are in a park, rather than on a cruise ship. There are great restaurants and bars there too. After a tasty dinner, what better than a world-class show. Mamma Mia is a must see, as are the Aqua shows in the open-air theatre. Read more about Allure of the Seas here.

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

The price of €1675 includes a seven-night cruise with deluxe drinks package, return flights, transfers and 20kg checked baggage, departing on the 30th of August. There are many different dates available throughout the summer, so if this date does not suit, talk to the team at Travelnet and they will find one to suit your requirements.

View offer here

 

Rhapsody of the Seas: 7 Nights Greek Isles Cruise from €1489!

Rhapsody of the Seas has floor to ceiling windows that ensure stunning ocean views throughout. You can expect world class shows and numerous restaurants onboard, including their famous steak-house, Chops Grille. It’s outdoor movie screen is a big hit with both adults and children, looking to enjoy balmy nights under the stars.

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

I love Greece, so when I saw the itinerary I was hooked. You depart from Venice, visiting Athens and the Greek islands, as well as Kotor in Montenegro, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Marvel at the Acropolis and take time to wander around the Greek towns of Corfu, Kefalonia and Mykonos, before returning to Venice for your flight home.

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

The price of €1489 includes flights, a seven-night cruise with deluxe drinks package, 20kg checked baggage and airport transfers. departing on the 3rd of October. There are many different dates available, so if this date does not suit, talk to the team at Travelnet and they will find one to suit your requirements.

View offer here

 

Oasis of the Seas: Western Caribbean Cruise with Balcony & Pre-Cruise Hotel Stay from €1795!

Oasis of the Seas was the original record breaker. It was the first ship to introduce seven different neighbourhoods onboard a cruise ship. It has recently undergone a $165 million amplification that added several new venues including Portside BBQ and Playmakers Sports Bar. The pool and sports zone has been reimagined too, with the addition of the 10-story Ultimate Abyss slide as well as the trio of waterslides known as The Perfect Storm.  

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

Old favourites like Central Park and the Aqua Theatre still remain, and rightly so. Check out my review of Harmony of the Seas, this should give you an idea of what to expect from her sister ship, Oasis of the Seas.

The Western Caribbean itinerary is one of my Caribbean favourites. You will visit Mexico, Jamaica, Labadee and Haiti, but also have plenty of time to enjoy the Caribbean sea views from your balcony stateroom.
 

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

The price of €1795 includes a seven-night cruise with deluxe drinks package, an upgrade to a balcony stateroom, a pre-cruise stay in Miami, return flights, transfers and baggage, departing the 25th of January. There are many different dates available, so if this date does not suit, talk to the team at Travelnet and they will find one to suit your requirements.

See more here

 

Anthem of the Seas: Bahamas & Perfect Day Cruise, from €1869!

Anthem of the Seas is part of the Quantum class of ships. I was lucky enough to cruise on her sister ship, Ovation of the Seas – and she is a beauty. The facilities onboard are superb. You can sky dive, ride a bumper car and even become a certified diver! The panoramic view from the 300ft high North Star viewing pod is amazing, and something that only Quantum Class ships can boast – to say this ship is innovative is putting it mildly.

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

Like all Royal Caribbean cruise ships, you can expect a wide selection of dining options, including Jamie’s Italian, Chops Grille – Royal Caribbean’s signature steak-house, and the extraordinary Wonderland – a gastronomic delight in an Alice in Wonderland setting. Night-time entertainment is top class too, with broadway shows such as Mamma Mia and the West End hit, We Will Rock You. Check out my review of Ovation of the Seas, this should give you an idea of what to expect from her sister, Anthem of the Seas.

As well as jaw-dropping facilities, this cruise will also enable you to visit Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day. I can’t wait to visit Perfect Day, it is high on my wish list! Royal Caribbean just spent $250 million dollars transforming this paradise island in the Bahamas, with incredible facilities to suit all ages and tastes. Thrillseekers will love the massive waterpark, which has the tallest waterslide in North America, and a 1,600-foot-long zip-line course. They even have a massive helium balloon that goes 450 feet up in air, to capture the ultimate selfie.  This cruise sails from New Jersey and stops in Orlando and Nassau too, with just enough sea days to enjoy all that Anthem of the Seas has to offer.

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

Price of €1869 includes a seven night cruise with deluxe drinks package, an upgrade to a balcony stateroom, a pre-cruise stay, return flights, transfers and baggage, departing the 28th of March. There are many different dates available, so if this date does not suit, talk to the team at Travelnet and they will find one to suit your requirements.

View offer here

 

royal caribbean 2020 cruises

The above Royal Caribbean 2020 cruises are just a sample of the all-inclusive cruises that Travelnet have available. Travelnet.ie  are part of the Barter Travel Group, who have been selling holidays and cruises for over 150 years in Ireland. Suffice to say they know their stuff! If the dates on their website don’t suit, or you have particular requirements, give the sales team a call on 01 5310402 or 021 4851700. Alternatively fill out the enquiry form online and they will get back with the best options to suit you.

 

This post was sponsored by Travelnet.ie but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

 
Travel

Does Norwegian Cruise Line Offer The Best All Inclusive At Sea?

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From Barcelona to the Bahamas, with premium drinks, tips and gratuities included, Norwegian Cruise Line offers some of the best all inclusive cruises on the market.

 

I am a big fan of cruises and I have been fortunate to be on board many cruise ships. The question I am asked the most is ‘what is the best cruise ship? A question that is impossible to answer! Some cruises are more suited to adults, others for families, and with itineraries varying greatly from Alaska to South East Asia, it is important to match the right cruise with each person. However, when it comes to all-inclusive cruises, there is one that springs to mind above all others, Norwegian Cruise Line.

all inclusive cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line have been cruising for over 50 years, have 16 ships and have been voted Europe’s leading cruise line eleven years in a row! They have also won North America’s Leading Cruise Line and Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line for the third and sixth consecutive year respectively, making them the most awarded cruise line at the 2018 World Travel Awards. When they decided to change to all inclusive cruises, it was a real game changer in the cruise industry.

I have teamed up with Travelnet.ie who are agents for Norwegian Cruise Line and who have been selling holidays and cruises for over 150 years in Ireland. Suffice to say they know their stuff and will know how to choose the right cruise for you. Find out below why I think Norwegian Cruise Line offer some of the best all inclusive cruises on the market.

all inclusive cruises

ALL of Norwegian’s cruises are premium all-inclusive.

No matter which cruise ship or itinerary you choose, all meals and premium drinks are included in the price of your cruise. Imagine not having to think about money at all. Ordering branded spirits, cocktails, even speciality coffees without having to pay anything extra – even tips are included! So you can order drinks as many times as you like, any time of day, in all bars, all lounges and dining areas! You don’t have to wear a wrist band showing what drinks package you have paid for. The bar staff don’t have to check if you have the basic or premium drinks package – all cruises are sold on a premium all-inclusive basis. They even throw in 60 minutes of free WiFi per person, so you can instagram your pina colada to your hearts content!

all inclusive cruises

Norwegian offers ‘Free Style’ cruising:

It is not only the premium drinks that separate Norwegian Cruise Line from it’s competitors. Norwegian’s ‘free style cruising’ means you can leave your dinner jackets and cocktail dresses at home! Everything on board is relaxed and you can dine whenever and wherever you like. If you want to dress up and enjoy a four-course meal in the main dining room – you can. If you fancy casual dress with pizza and beer, that’s cool too! You don’t have to sit with strangers or dine at 8pm, there are dining options available 24/7. Norwegian Cruise Line also offer speciality restaurants including steakhouses, Italian restaurants and Asian offerings, featuring Teppanyaki and sushi cuisine. Note à la carte pricing applies.

all inclusive cruises

The facilities on board are superb.

Norwegian Cruises are famous for their superb facilities on board including thrilling aquaparks and Mandara spas. However their new innovative experiences are unprecedented. Norwegian Bliss has a multi-level go-kart track and open-air laser tag arena on board. Its 200,000-square-foot observation lounge offers the most expansive views at sea – perfect for seaviews and cocktails🍸. Complete with a full-service bar, (and remember all drinks are included in the price of your cruise), you may not want to leave! As well as a host of children’s clubs and activities available, parents will be happy to hear they can have a a ‘Date Night’ where kids are supervised and dropped back to their cabin before 1am.

all inclusive cruises

Enjoy award winning entertainment

From Broadway musicals to acrobatic shows, live music to comedy shows – Norwegian Cruise line know how to entertain. Favourites such as the acrobatic Cirque Dreams and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, as well as five-time Tony® Award-nominated musical, Rock of Ages, ensure memorable nights on board. Music lovers will enjoy ‘Legends in Concert’, the longest-running tribute show in entertainment history, with performances from tribute artists such as Adele, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson. If you don’t fancy taking in a show there are plenty of other bars to choose from. Enjoy a cocktail at the Ice Bar or play a game of pool at the pub – the choice is yours!

all inclusive cruises

Travelnet.ie have lots of special offers on all inclusive cruises with Norwegian which you can see here. If the dates on their website don’t suit, or you have particular requirements, call their dedicated sales team on 01 5310402 or 021 4851700. Alternatively fill out the enquiry form online and they will get back with the best options to suit you.

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Note not all facilities and activities mentioned are on all 16 ships. Ask your Travelnet cruise consultant for more details on specific offerings. This post was sponsored by Travelnet.ie but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

 

 

 

Travel

Premium All Inclusive Cruise & Stay Holidays To Alaska, Caribbean & Mexico on Norwegian Bliss

NCL Bliss Ketchikan, Alaska 2018

I have three of the best premium All Inclusive cruise and stay holidays in Alaska, Caribbean & Mexico below! These amazing cruise deals come with flights and hotels included, all meals and drinks on the cruise and a free upgrade to an oceanview stateroom!

 

Did you know that Norwegian Cruise Line have been cruising for over 50 years and have been voted Europe’s leading cruise line for the tenth year in a row! What I love about Norwegian’s cruises is that they are premium all-inclusive. And I don’t just mean local beers and cheap spirits. I mean premium branded drinks, as many as you like, any time of day, in all bars, lounges and dining areas – with tips included! Norwegian’s ‘free style cruising’ means everything on board is relaxed, with flexible dining and casual dress – you can leave your cocktail dresses and dinner jackets at home!

all inclusive cruise and stay holidays

Norwegian have really ‘pushed the boat out’ with their newest ship – Norwegian Bliss. This ship has been custom-built to cruise the Caribbean and Alaska and offers jaw-dropping views from it’s revolutionary Observation Lounge. Located at the front of the ship, this offers the same views seen from the bridge and has the most expansive views at sea. Complete with a full service bar, remember all drinks are included in the price of your cruise, you may not want to leave! There are eighteen different dining options including exclusive speciality dining restaurants. The Waterfront is the place to go with thirteen restaurants and bars to choose from, many offering alfresco seating  – how cool is that? Texas Smokehouse – Q is new to Bliss and the first full-service Starbucks at sea, is here too.

all inclusive cruise and stay holidays

The award-winning entertainment on board includes Broadway musical, Jersey Boys and the facilities on board are incredible. Ride at speeds of 30mph on their two-deck Go-kart track, race your mates on high speed water slides or test your stealth skills in laser tag. If this all sounds like hard work – try the Mandara Spa. There are over 50 speciality treatments available as well as a Thermal Suite, Salt Room and Vitality Pool. If I still haven’t convinced you, check out this video!

I have teamed up with American Sky to bring you three of their top all inclusive cruise and stay holidays on Norwegian Bliss. These luxury cruise holidays bring you to exotic locations without the expensive price tags – remember all drinks and meals are included in the price! They also have an exclusive offer whereby if you book any Norwegian cruise before the 30th of September you will receive an upgrade to an oceanview stateroom! So if these dates or destinations don’t suit you, please contact one of American Sky’s dedicated cruise team and they will tailor make a trip to suit you.

Vancouver, Seattle & Alaska Cruise
11 nights from €2,799 per person including flights

all inclusive cruise and stay holidays

Alaska, a place most of us only ever dreamed of visiting, has suddenly become more affordable. This eleven-night holiday includes two-night, pre-cruise stays in the modern cities of Vancouver and Seattle. This is followed by a seven-night, all-inclusive, Alaskan cruise on Norwegian Bliss. Witness some of the world’s most dramatic scenery as well as some stunning wildlife as you cruise into the wilderness of Ketchickan. Visit the Juneau Icefields, go kayaking or dogsledding or spend the afternoon marveling at Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you stop in Skagway you can enjoy a ride on the White Pass Scenic Railway or enjoy the Glacier Point Wilderness safari. Your last stop is Victoria, the vibrant capital of British Columbia where you can visit the stunning Butchart Gardens or simply enjoy a stroll around Bastion Square.

Price of €2799 includes flights, four nights hotel accommodation, Amtrak train from Vancouver to Seattle, premium all-inclusive seven-night cruise in an oceanview stateroom with all meals, drinks and tips included.

Click here for more details:

 

 

 Direct flights to Miami & Eastern Caribbean Cruise
10 days from €1,809 per person including flights

all inclusive cruise and stay holidays

Another winning combination! Enjoy a three-night stay in Miami before cruising the Caribbean on a seven-night, premium all-inclusive cruise. You will be staying on the world-famous South Beach – a perfect spot for people watching! Stroll around the historic streets in Little Havana, admire the art-deco architecture and dance to the small hours in some of Miami’s vibrant nightclubs. After an action packed three days, what better than a Caribbean cruise? Visit the duty-free island of St Thomas and shop till you drop, chill out on the white-sandy beaches of Tortola or swim with their resident turtles. When you stop in the Bahamas make sure to visit Atlantis, the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, for a day filled with fun and adventure.

Price of €1809 includes direct flights to Miami with Aer Lingus, a three night stay at the Albion South Beach hotel and a premium all-inclusive seven-night cruise, in an oceanview stateroom with all meals, drinks and tips included.

Click here for more details:

 

Los Angeles & Mexican Riviera Cruise
10 nights from €2069 per person including flights

all inclusive cruise and stay holidays

Combine a three night stay in Los Angeles with a seven-night luxury all-inclusive cruise to Mexico. Go in search of the movie stars homes and mingle with the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios or explore some of LA’s trendy beaches. Follow this with a cruise along the Mexican Riviera. You will visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas where you can sip margaritas and enjoy some authentic Mexican cuisine along Mexico’s stunning coastline.

Price of €2069 includes flights to LA with Aer Lingus, a three night stay at the Kimpton Everly Hotel and a premium all-inclusive seven-night cruise in an oceanview stateroom, with all meals, drinks and tips included.

Click here for more details:

 

Note all of the above cruises are just a sample of the many cruises that American Sky offer with Norwegian Cruise Line and other cruise lines. If the above dates or itineraries don’t suit you, contact one of their expert cruise staff and they will find a suitable cruise for you. This post was sponsored by American Sky, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Interested in cruising, for cruise news, reviews and the best cruise deals, click here.

 

Sarah

 

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In The Media

Choosing The Right Cruise Holiday – As Discussed with Ivan Yates on Newstalk FM

spectrum of the seas

Want to go on a cruise holiday, but not sure which cruise ship is right for you? Here are my top cruise tips and cruise deals to help you choose the best cruise holiday.

 

Peoples perception of cruises have changed greatly in the last number of years. While cruises were once considered more suitable for the elderly, nowadays most of the newer ships cater more for families. Not only have our tastes changed but cruise companies have adapted and now have a wider appeal.

I have been on board many ships and I can honestly say there is a cruise to suit all tastes. Cruise ships are often referred to as floating hotels, in some cases they are more like floating cities. You can choose the massive ships like Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas which can carry nearly 7000 passengers, or you can opt for a smaller intimate river cruise, like Uniworld’s SS Catherine, which carries 159 passengers.

It is not only the cruise companies that differ in style, cruise ships can vary greatly within each cruise company. I have been on some of MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises’ older cruise ships and they are completely different to their newer ships. Similarly with itineraries, while many of Royal Caribbean’s ships are family focused, if you choose a Norwegian Fjords or Baltic Capitals cruise, you will probably find mostly couples on board; families tend to choose Mediterranean or Caribbean cruises.

best cruise holiday

Cruising is now one of the fastest growing markets in the travel industry. Approximately 35,000 Irish people enjoyed a cruise holiday last year and this is likely to be even higher this year. (credit Eoghan Corry, TravelExtra). There will also be 400 cruise ships visiting Ireland this year, over 150 of those in Dublin port alone, bringing in 270,000 passengers.

It seems like every other month there is a new cruise launch, which makes choosing the right cruise, harder and harder. I have listed some of my favourite cruise ships and cruise deals below which may help you decide how to choose the best cruise holiday for you.

best cruise holiday

Royal Caribbean’s – Symphony of the Seas

If you want non-stop action and great facilities for kids, then it is hard to beat Royal Caribbean Cruises. Symphony of the Seas is the newest and largest ship at sea and was recently launched in Barcelona. I was lucky to be on board it’s sister ship last year for two days with my family, and we had a blast.

There are numerous swimming pools, a kids splash park, three water slides and also the largest slide at sea, the Ultimate Abyss. This is a pair of slides that offer a 100 foot drop over 10 decks. You can also zip line (I did and it was terrifying), ice skate, surf, use the rock climbing wall.

best cruise holiday

There are over 20 different restaurants on board, some with additional charges but there are plenty of dining options included in the cost of your cruise. This innovative ship has bionic bars (where your drinks are served by robots) and a bar that moves between decks so you don’t miss any action, kind of like a large elevator with a bar inside!

There are seven different neighbourhoods on board including the Boardwalk and Central Park which has 12,000 real trees and plants! They also offer amazing entertainment at night time with top class west end shows and an aqua theatre at the back of the ship.

This modern show sees acrobats and synchronised swimmers perform just as the sun sets over the horizon. The entertainment caters so well for Irish and UK holiday makers and a fun filled holiday is guaranteed. You can read my review here.

best cruise holiday

 

MSC Seaview

I am just back from a quick visit for the christening of this brand new ship in Genoa. I was previously on MSC Splendida and expected a more modern version but similar in style. I was wrong. This ultra modern cruise ship can hold 5,000 passengers, has 20 different bars and lounges, 10 different dining venues, a different show each night and a host of facilities for kids.

There are three different water slides and a separate adventure splash park for younger kids, with slides and rope bridges. Adrenaline junkies will love the zipline, it is the longest zip line at sea! There is also a bowling alley and two simulator rides, one of which is a Formula 1 simulator.

best cruise holiday
I loved all the open spaces on this ship, it has more open space per guest than any other ship at sea, 3.2 meters per guest. There is a boardwalk that wraps around the entire ship, with al fresco dining even from the buffet restaurant.

Most of the cabins are balcony cabins and they also have a five star area, the MSC Yacht Club which has exclusive suites, private dining and pool area. MSC Seaview is extremely stylish and classy, a great choice for a couple or a family.

Many believe that Royal Caribbean are the market leader in Ireland but MSC actually sold 2000 more cruise packages in 2017. They also have the best value drinks package on the market. For €26 per day you can have unlimited drinks including prosecco and selected branded drinks. Most of the other cruise companies charge about €60 per day for a similar package.

 

Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Silhouette

For those who are looking for something a little more upmarket then try 5 Star Celebrity Cruises. I was on Celebrity Silhouette when it was docked in Dublin and I loved it. It carries 2800 passengers which I believe is a great size, not too big but not too small either. It has a country club feel rather than a large cruise ship and interiors are bright and airy.

They have a manicured grass lawn and cabanas on deck and even the sun loungers are luxurious. Over 85% of the staterooms have balconies. Many opt to stay there reading a book on sea days, meaning the pools are never crowded. The restaurants on board are top class. There are plenty of dining options included in the cost of your cruise as well as speciality dining options.

They also offer plenty of over night stays which I think is great. They were docked in Cannes for the film festival and in France for the French Open so you can mix with the celebrities or see great sporting events, without having to pay €500 a night for a hotel room. Although there is a great mix of entertainment and kids facilities on board, it is a more relaxed ship and definitely offers modern luxury. Read my review here.

best cruise holiday

For people who don’t like flying, Celebrity Cruises cruise direct from Dublin Port to Iceland and the Norwegian Fjords. Their 2018 sailings have finished now but they are on sale for May 2019. For a full list of all 2019 cruises sailing from Ireland, click here.

 

Norwegian Cruise Line

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of cruising with Norwegian but I was on one of their ships, the Norwegian Star in Dublin port. They are similar in style to Royal Caribbean, with a lively atmosphere and a host of family activities on board.

They have been cruising for over 50 years, have 17 ships and they been voted Europe’s leading cruise line for the tenth year in a row. The big game changer is that all of Norwegian’s cruises are all-inclusive. And I don’t just mean local beers and cheap spirits. I mean branded drinks, as many as you like, any time of day, in all bars, lounges and dining areas – with tips included! 

The award-winning entertainment on board includes Broadway musicals, live music and comedy, as well as plenty of leisure facilities including aqua parks, kids clubs and a selection of sports activities.

best cruise holiday

Norwegian Bliss is their flagship which was launched in April. This ship has been custom-built to give jaw-dropping views from it’s revolutionary Observation Lounge, which offers the same views seen from the bridge, and has the most expansive views at sea. There are eighteen different dining options including exclusive speciality dining restaurants. 

The Waterfront is the place to go with thirteen restaurants and bars to choose from, many offering alfresco seating. The first full-service Starbucks at sea is on board too. Bliss has the largest competitive race track at sea where you can ride up to 30 miles per hour!

There is also an open-air laser tag course and an aqua park with multi-story The Broadway musical, Jersey Boys is shown nightly and at The Cavern Club, guests can enjoy their favourite songs from The Beatles. The talented cover band will play Beatles tunes in a setting inspired by the Liverpool Club where The Beatles famously performed countless times.

best cruise holiday

The Norwegian Star is one of Norwegian’s older ships but it has been fully refurbished and now offers fifteen different dining options and eleven bars.  You can sip champagne in Gatsby’s Champagne bar or drink a wide selection of international beers in the outdoor Bier Garten.

There are two main dining rooms as well as a variety of cafés and fast food outlets, as well as speciality dining options, which incur a separate charge. The pool deck has two waterslides and six hot tubs and there is an indoor lap pool in the Spa. Read my review here.

 best cruise holiday

 

Like Cruise Holidays? See all my cruise reviews and cruise deals here

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

Travel

Premium All Inclusive Fly Cruises to the Med & Caribbean, With Prices from €1340!

cruise drinks

From Barcelona to the Bahamas, Venice to the Virgin Islands,  All Inclusive cruise holidays with Norwegian Cruise Line offer some of the best value cruises on the market. The only decision is which one will you choose?

 

Did you know that Norwegian Cruise Line have been cruising for over 50 years? They now have a whopping 17 ships and they been voted Europe’s leading cruise line for the tenth year in a row! The big game changer is that all of Norwegian’s cruises are all-inclusive. And I don’t just mean local beers and cheap spirits. I mean branded drinks, as many as you like, any time of day, in all bars, lounges and dining areas – with tips included! Norwegian’s ‘free style cruising’ means everything on board is relaxed, with flexible dining and casual dress – you can leave your cocktail dresses and dinner jackets at home! The award-winning entertainment on board includes Broadway musicals, live music and comedy, as well as plenty of leisure facilities including aqua parks, kids clubs and a selection of sports activities. Have I convinced you yet?

I have teamed up with Sunway Holidays who are agents for Norwegian Cruise Line and have many exclusive offers, unavailable elsewhere. Their cruise experts have experienced Norwegian cruise ships first hand. They will be able to answer any queries you have, and recommend the right ship and cabin choice, to suit your requirements. Whether you seek a family cruise in the Mediterranean, a romantic cruise around the Caribbean, or a cruise and stay holiday in Alaska, Sunway have a cruise to suit everyone.  I have hand picked some of my favourite all inclusive cruise holidays from Norwegian Cruise Line to tempt you.

All prices include flights, and remember with Norwegian Cruise Line, all meals, drinks and gratuities are included too!

 

Norwegian Epic: 28th October, 7 Night Cruise,  Spain, Italy & France, €1340!

This amazing offer is available over the October bank holiday weekend! Take advantage of less time off work or avail of the kids mid term break. This classic Western Mediterranean itinerary cruises from Barcelona and visits Naples, Rome, Pisa, Cannes and Palma. See many of the Italian highlights by touring the Amalfi Coast, visiting the ancient city of Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Chill out on one of the stylish beach resorts on the Cotes d’Azur and shop till you drop in Palma.

all inclusive cruises

Norwegian Epic is one of Norwegian’s largest cruise ships and carries over 4,000 passengers. This innovative cruise ship has twenty-four different dining options, mind-blowing entertainment and one of the largest spas at sea. The top deck spans the entire length of the ship and has lots of bars, restaurants and swimming pools, as well as water park with huge water slides.  There are numerous clubs for kids as well as a dedicated kid’s centre and a teen disco. Sports enthusiasts will love the climbing walls, bowling alleys and state of the art fitness centre on board. If you fancy a quieter place, the adults-only bar and pool area has two hot tubs and a bar serving drinks, to cool you down! At night time movies are shown here too.

all inclusive cruises

There are lots of delicious dining options included in the cost of your cruise but if you fancy trying something special, the Cirque Dreams & Dinner should not be missed. This unique theatrical dining experience presents world class acrobatics with mouthwatering food. Cagney’s Steakhouse is another favourite, offering choice cuts of Black Angus steak, as well as their, made-from-scratch jumbo crab cakes and truffle fries!

Click here for more details:

 

Brand New Norwegian Bliss: 18th January 2019, Miami, Bahamas & Virgin Islands, €1898!

Be one of the first to cruise Norwegian’s newest and most incredible ship, Norwegian Bliss. This ship has been custom-built to give jaw-dropping views from it’s revolutionary Observation Lounge. Located at the front of the ship, this offers the same views seen from the bridge and has the most expansive views at sea. Complete with a full service bar, you may not want to leave! This state-of-the-art cruise ship features the same freestyle dining and premium all-inclusive drinks available on all Norwegian cruises. There are eighteen different dining options including exclusive speciality dining restaurants. The Waterfront is the place to go with thirteen restaurants and bars to choose from, many offering alfresco seating. Texas Smokehouse – Q is new to Bliss and the first full-service Starbucks at sea, is here too.


Bliss has the largest competitive race track at sea where you can ride up to 30 miles per hour! There is also an open-air laser tag course and an aqua park with multi-story slides (one of which extends over the edge of the ship). The Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical, Jersey Boys is shown nightly and at The Cavern Club, guests can enjoy their favourite songs from The Beatles. The talented cover band will play Beatles tunes in a setting inspired by the Liverpool Club where The Beatles famously performed countless times.

all inclusive cruises

This amazing offer includes direct flights with Aer Lingus to Miami, an over-night stay in a four star hotel in Miami and a seven night Caribbean cruise, visiting the Bahamas and the Caribbean islands of St Thomas and Tortola.

Click here for more details:

 

Note all of the above cruises are just a sample of the many cruises that Sunway offer with Norwegian Cruise Line and other cruise lines. If the above dates or itineraries don’t suit you, contact one of their expert cruise staff and they will find a suitable cruise for you. This post was sponsored by Sunway, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Interested in cruising, for cruise news, reviews and the best cruise deals, click here.

 

Sarah

 

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In The Media

Cruise Holidays as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM

The-Travel-Expert-As-Seen-on-TV3

Thinking of cruise holidays but not sure which ship to choose? I discussed cruise holidays on TV3’s Sunday AM this morning, here are the highlights.

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For anyone who thinks cruises are only for elderly people – they are completely mistaken. I have been on board many ships and I can honestly say there is a cruise for everyone out there. Cruise ships are often referred to as floating hotels and in some cases they are more like floating cities. You can choose the massive ships like Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas which can carry 6,700 passengers, or opt for a smaller more intimate river cruise like Uniworld’s SS Catherine, which carries 159 passengers.

 

Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas

Cruise Holidays - Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

Special offer:  28th August, 7 Nights, €1479pp! Includes flights,transfers, baggage and cruise in a neighbourhood balcony stateroom. Click here for more details.

 

If you want non stop action and great facilities for kids, then it is hard to beat Harmony of the Seas. This is the newest and largest ship at sea and was recently launched in Barcelona. I was on board for two days with my family, and we had a blast. There are numerous swimming pools, a kids splash park, three water slides and also the largest slide at sea, the Ultimate Abyss. This is a pair of slides that offer a 100 foot drop over 10 decks. You can also zip line (I did and it was terrifying), ice skate, surf, use the rock climbing wall. See what I mean about non stop action! They also offer amazing entertainment at night time with top class west end shows and an aqua theatre at the back of the ship. This modern show sees acrobats and synchronised swimmers perform just as the sun sets over the horizon. It is really dramatic and quite an experience.

Cruise Holidays - Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

There are over 20 different restaurants on board, some with additional charges but there are plenty of dining options included in the cost of your cruise. This is the most innovative ship I have ever seen, even the wifi on board is super fast. They have bionic bars (where your drinks are served by robots) and a bar that moves between decks, so you don’t miss any action. Kind of like a large elevator with a bar inside! There are seven different neighbourhoods on board including the Boardwalk and Central Park, which has 12,000 real trees and plants! It is enormous, but there are so many different places to go, that it can handle all 6,780 passengers. For more information on Harmony of the Seas, read my blog here.

 

ITAA_opt

 

Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Silhouette.

Cruise Holidays - Celebrity Silhouette

Special Offer: Celebrity Constellation 8th December, 9 night Dubai & Emirates Cruise, €1299 per person. Includes over night stays in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, direct flights, transfers, baggage, oceanview stateroom, with classic drinks package. Click here for more details.

 

For those who are looking for something a little more upmarket, try Celebrity Cruises. I was on Celebrity Silhouette when it was docked in Dublin and I loved it. It carries approximately 3000 passengers so in my opinion a nice size, not too big but not too small either. It has a country club feel rather than a large cruise ship and interiors are bright and airy. They have a manicured grass lawn and cabanas on deck and even the sun loungers are luxurious.

Cruise Holidays - Cabanas on Celebrity Silhouette

Over 85% of the staterooms have balconies. Many opt to stay there reading a book on sea days, meaning the pools are never crowded. The restaurants on board are top class. There are plenty of dining options included in the cost of your cruise or you can choose specialty restaurants which range from $7.50 – $50. They also offer plenty of over night stays which I think is great. They were docked in Cannes for the film festival this year so you could mix with the celebrities without having to pay €500 a night for a hotel room. Although there is a great mix of entertainment and kids facilities on board, it is a more relaxed ship and definitely offers modern luxury. For more information on Celebrity Silhouette, read my blog here.

 

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Thomson Cruises – TUI Discovery

Cruise Holidays - TUI Discovery

Thomson Cruises have just this month launched TUI Discovery. This was an old Royal Caribbean ship, Splendour of the Seas but they have revamped it and added some great extras like an outdoor cinema and an adult only sundeck. This is a smaller more intimate ship that carries 1800 passengers. For anyone who finds the larger ships daunting, this might be for them. The big ‘game changer’ is that for Summer 2017 it will be all-inclusive as standard. Most cruise ships offer drinks packages and some even give them away free as a booking incentive.  Some can have beer and wine, others can have spirits. It can get confusing at the bar and also expensive, depending on which package you have booked. I love that with the Discovery, everyone is treated equally, no need for wrist bands or the Spanish inquisition when you are ordering a drink. They include branded drinks and prosecco too, so it’s not just local beer and wine!

Cruise Holidays - Live Room on TUI Discovery

They have plenty of good dining options too and two speciality restaurants which carry a supplement of £19.95 each. This is good value compared to similar restaurants on other ships which cost a lot more. Another plus is that it is a package holiday so everything is included flights, transfers and baggage. Fights are available from Cork and Shannon too. I think this will be a very popular with new cruisers, groups or people who like all inclusive holidays. For more information on TUI Discovery, read my blog here.

 

For more cruise news, reviews and the best cruise deals, click here.

 

Sarah

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