Cruises

CruisesDestinationsTravel Guides

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.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


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.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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 night outdoor bar on MSC Seaview. I also loved the relaxed  atmosphere on Sky Princess.
 

 

 
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?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


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?

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


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.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

Princess Cruises offer kids clubs and 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. Princess Cruises relaxed style will also suit first timers looking for great food and service.
 

 

 
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.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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:

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

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:

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

I have found the quality of food on board most cruise ships to be generally very good, however I was very impressed with the variety of food on Sky Princess – both the complimentary and speciality dining options were excellent.

Read: My Sky Princess – guide to dining and facilities

If you are looking for a five-star cruise experience, you 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.

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

 
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:

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


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.
 

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 10th March 2020

Best Travel Deals

This week’s best travel deals include April holiday deals from €249, a wine tasting weekend in Bordeaux, summer in Portugal and Mauritius, a Mother’s Day break in Westport, Christmas in Disneyland Paris and an early booking offer to Las Vegas.

 

Best last minute:

Jet off to sunny Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria on the 2nd of April, for just €285! Price includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven-nights stay in the Tamanaco apartments.

View offer here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:
 

 

 

Best April / May deal:

Sunway have super deals to Turkey during the month of April, a country where no cases of coronavirus have been reported. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the 4-star Golden Day Wings Hotel is €299 during Easter holidays, and only €249 on the 25th of April. Prices include flights, hotel with breakfast, airport transfers and checked baggage.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Visit Disneyland Paris for Disney’s Enchanted Christmas Festival. We visited at Christmas time a few years ago and it was magical. Price for flights, transfers, park tickets and a three night stay in the Disney Sequioa Lodge Hotel with breakfast and evening meal included, is just €515 per person, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. They will also give you a FREE Gift Card worth €100 to spend in the parks.

See more here

 

Read: My top tips Disneyland Paris at Christmas time.
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Treat your Mum to an overnight escape with breakfast included in the 4-star Westport Hotel, for just €30 per person! Choose to relax in the brand new Spa Veda, complete with swimming pool, jacuzzi and thermal suite or enjoy the vibrant city of Westport. This deal is available arriving on Mother’s Day, March 22nd. 

View offer here
 

 

Read: 10 Mother’s Day breaks that won’t break the bank
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Finish off the summer with a week in the upmarket resort of Vilamoura on the Algarve. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the highly rated Vilamour Golf Aparthotel is only €374 on the 26th of August.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Can you think of anything better than a wine tasting weekend in Bordeaux 🍷? Flights are so cheap at the moment so why not escape the stresses of home for a few days in May. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the highly rated 4-star Best Western Plus Gare Saint Jean is just €219 per person. Note: when you click on the hotel link below the lowest rate is bookable via the hotel website – €107 per room per night.

View flights here€59pp

View hotel here €160pp
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Another country that has recorded no cases of coronavirus is Mauritius. Enjoy a seven-night all-inclusive stay in the highly rated Veranda Pointe Aux Biches Hotel for just €1469! Price includes flights, transfers and all-inclusive accommodation, based on travel in June. You can save up to €800 per person when travelling between 1st June and 31st August.

View offer here

 

Read: Where to stay in Mauritius
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Choose Las Vegas for your Christmas shopping break this year. Price for flights and a five-night stay in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is only €560 on the 24th of November. Price includes flights, 23kg checked baggage and hotel for five nights. Deposit of €50 secures booking. Many more hotels and dates available.

See more here
 

 

 
Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made
 

 

 
Sarah
 

travel deals

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 3rd March 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s Best Travel Deals include Easter offers in Lanzarote, a week in the Algarve for €199, all-inclusive deals to Greece and Mexico, a city break to Washington and super staycations for couples and families. 

 

 

Best last minute:

Escape the the Costa del Sol at the end of March – Aer Lingus have return flights to Malaga for just €100! Add on a seven-night stay in Marbella for €175pp in the San Cristóbal Hotel, or €230pp in the Princesa Playa aparthotel.

View flights here €100pp

 
View hotels here from €175pp

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:
 

 

 

Best Spring /Summer deal:

Kick start the summer with a week in the Algarve for just €199 in May! Choose the Vale de Carros apartments in Albufeira or the Vilamor apartments in Alvor, both highly rated and both available for just €199 including return flights, departing the 5th of May. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Go all-inclusive in Greece this summer. I found some great all-inclusive deals departing in August with flights, accommodation, all meals, drinks, transfers and checked baggage included! Price for the Rodos Star Hotel in Rhodes is only €584 per person, while the Cavo D’oro in Zakynthos is only €667 per person. Both deals are departing in August and a deposit of €75 secures booking. Use code PAYDAY to save €100 of the listed prices.

See Rhodes here €584pp

 

See Zakynthos here €667pp
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Enjoy a family holiday in Lanzarote this Easter. Prices are particularly good value if you fly on Monday the 13th of April. I found great family deals staying in Puerto del Carmen. Price for flights a seven-night stay in the Oasis apartments is only €230 per person, or choose the popular Rosamar apartments for just €258 per person. #StealOfTheWeek

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Plan ahead and secure a great deal to Mexico this winter. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the 5-star Ocean Riviera Paradise Hotel, with all meals and drinks included 🍹 is just €1017 per person! This super hotel is located right on the beach in Playa del Carmen and is rated excellent on Tripadvisor. Price includes flights and hotel on an all-inclusive basis for seven nights, departing the 12th of November.

View flights here €578pp

Note: This airfare has just one stop. I adjusted journey time to less than 17 hours to guarantee best connections.  

View hotel here €439pp
 

 

 

Best ferry / cruise:

Sail across the Irish Sea for just €7 one-way on the brand new Stena Estrid. This amazing deal is even valid during the summer months! You can also sail from Rosslare to Cherbourg in April, May and from 10th September – 18th December, for just €14! You must book these amazing deals before the 9th of March – so don’t delay.,

See more here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

The highly rated Lough Allen & Spa Hotel in Leitrim have superb deals available until the end of June. Price for an overnight stay with full Irish breakfast, unlimited leisure access, and a €20 spa voucher is only €35 per person! Stay for two nights for just €60 per person. Valid Sunday – Thursday until the end of June.
 

 

 
Want to bring the kids? Price for two adults and two children (under 12) in a standard family room from Sunday – Thursday is only €109 for one night, €199 for two nights and €249 for three nights – these prices are less than half price! If you want a weekend stay, the price is €199 for two nights and €249 for three nights. Prices includes breakfast, complimentary kids club for primary school children, and access to the leisure facilities.

See more here

 

See family deal here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Explore the wonderful city of Washington this summer. Price for flights and a three-night stay in August is only €699 per person based on 2 sharing, or €619 per person based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. 

See more here
 

 

 
Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:
 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made
 

 

 
Sarah
 

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 25th February 2020

best travel deals

This week’s best travel deals include short breaks in Prague and Dubai, a family staycation in Cork, a Camino walk, a Caribbean cruise, a wellness break in the Algarve and an Aer Lingus seat sale.

 

Best last minute:

Enjoy the St Patricks Day festivities in Dubai this year. Price for direct flights with Emirates, airport transfers, and a three-night stay on a half-board basis in the 5-star Anantara The Palm Dubai, is only €899 per person.

See more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals? See it here
 

 

 

Best summer break

Walk the Camino with Roz Purcell this summer. Roz is taking part in the last stage of the French Way on the 2nd of July for seven nights. Price of €550 includes hotels on a bed & breakfast basis, daily baggage transfers, airport transfers and walking notes. Single room available from €145.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Enjoy a family break in the highly rated Quality Hotel Youghal in Cork this summer. Choose one of their luxury self catering apartments (sleep up to 4), from €149 or a luxury house (sleep up to 6), from €159 for two nights. Price for three nights is €219 and €249 respectively – this is 40% off! Located right on the beach you can choose the open sea or the indoor swimming pool with leisure facilities. They also give you a €10 spa voucher per person towards a treatment costing €40 or above. Valid until the 30th of June.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Think a holiday in Zanzibar is out of your price range? Think again! I found an amazing deal departing on the 5th of September with flights and a 4-star hotel included for just €892!

See more here

 

 

 

 

Best cruise:

Enjoy a three-night stay in Miami before cruising the Caribbean on the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas! Price for flights, hotel accommodation in Miami and a seven-night cruise in a balcony cabin is only €1699!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Fancy a quick getaway? Book a weekend break to Prague. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the highly rated Lindner Hotel Prague Castle is just €196 on the 25th of April.

See more here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Treat yourself to a wellness break in the Algarve this winter. Spend four nights in the five-star Real Marina Hotel & Spa, with breakfast included, for only €225, departing the 1st of November.

See more here
 

 

 

Best seat sale:

Aer Lingus have launched a new seat-sale today, with up to 25% off flights to Europe and UK. Travel until 30th April and book by 2nd March. 

See more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals? See it here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made

 

Sarah
 
travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel DealsCity Breaks

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 18th February 2020

Best Travel Deals (2) (1)

In this week’s Best Travel Deals I have a spring break in the Amalfi Coast, all-inclusive deals to Crete and the Dominican Republic, a family holiday to Greece, a weekend break in Toulouse for €167, luxury escorted tours and a cruise and stay in New Orleans.
 

 

Best last minute:

Escape to the Amalfi Coast next month and enjoy a week in the highly rated 4-Star Grand Hotel Aminta in Sorrento, for just €390 per person. This hotel receives an Excellent rating on Tripadvisor and is superbly located in the resort centre. Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights with breakfast, departing the 22nd of March.

View flights here €80pp

View hotel here €310pp

 
Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals post? See it here.
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Swap the Canaries for the Caribbean this summer and enjoy an all-inclusive week in 5-star Bahia Principe Grand Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for just €993! Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights, with meals and drinks included.

See more here

 

 

 

 

Best long haul offer

There are some great savings available on luxury tours in Asia and South America. You can upgrade to business class for €199 on tours to India, save €600 on South America tours, and get free VIP door-to-door chauffeur transfers on all tours. If you want to travel solo, avail of the no single supplements offer – saving a whopping €1140 on the Panoramic Peru tour. If you are looking for authentic escorted tours in Asia or South America, don’t miss this post.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Looking for an all-inclusive family complex with a water park on site? I found a great deal to the Sun Palace in Rhodes this summer. Price for flights, transfers, checked baggage and accommodation with all meals and drinks included, is only €2476 on the 24th of June, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Use code SUN100 to save €100 off the listed price of this holiday or any holiday to Greece or Turkey over €1000 in value. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Enjoy a weekend break in the charming city of Toulouse. I visited Toulouse last year and loved it. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the 4-star Privilège Hôtel Mermoz Hotel is only €167 per person, departing Friday the 15th of May.

View flights here €49pp

View hotel here €118pp
 

Read: My Toulouse Travel Blog 
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Combine three nights in the vibrant city of New Orleans with a seven-night cruise around the Bahamas. You will even get the opportunity to visit Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at Cococay. Price for flights, three nights in the 4-star Hilton Hotel in New Orleans,  and seven nights cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, is only €1329 on the 26th of August. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Spend St Patricks Weekend in Belfast. The highly rated Malone Lodge Hotel is offering two nights for the price of one. Price is only €84 per person for a two-night stay with breakfast included, arriving the 15th of March.

Search offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Round off the summer with an all-inclusive week in Crete. Stay at the highly rated 4-star Hotel Dore, with all meals and drinks included for just €470, departing the 11th of October. This hotel receives an Excllent rating on Tripadvisor.

View offer here

 

Read: Top things to do near Chania, Crete
 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals post? See it here.

 
Sarah
 
travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 11th February 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s best travel deals include Sardinia, Mexico, Iceland, Gran Canaria, Christmas markets in Cologne, an American road trip, an all-inclusive cruise deal and a staycation in Waterford.

 

Best last minute:

Escape the cold and book a week in Gran Canaria, where the temperatures are a balmy 23 degrees. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the Tisalaya Park apartments with transfers and checked baggage included, is only €378, departing the 5th, 12th, 19th or 26th of March. 

View offer here

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Alghero in Sardinia is one of the new Aer Lingus routes from Dublin airport for next summer. It happens to have a delightful old town, a beautiful sandy beach, and of course some great Italian restaurants. Alghero is located just ten minutes drive from the airport so it is an easy destination to book independently. I found a great deal staying in the 4-star Rina Hotel , departing the 10th of June. Price for flights and a seven-night stay with breakfast included is just €519 per person. Lots more dates are available, simply edit your search when you click on the links below.

Book flights here 10th June €184pp

View hotel here €345pp

 
Read: 10 new destinations from Dublin Airport for 2020
 

 

 

Best city break:

Cologne is one of Europe’s best Christmas market break destinations, and flight and hotel prices always increase closer to departure. I found a great deal staying in the highly rated 4-star Lyskirchen Hotel. Located right in the heart of the city, close to the historic centre and the Christmas markets, this is superb value for such a popular weekend. Price for flights and a three-night stay on the 12th of December is just €227 per person.

View flights here €86pp

View hotel here €141pp

 
Read Europe’s top 10 Christmas markets
 

 

 

Best family holiday:

I love a good road-trip and this one is right up my street! As well as visiting Los Angeles and Las Vegas, this amazing family itinerary includes rafting along the Colorado River, horse riding on a ranch in Tucson, and an exhilarating glamping experience near the Grand Canyon National Park. You will also have the opportunity to visit Universal Studios and Disney in California too..Price, based on a family of four with flights, accommodation and SUV car hire for 10 days is €1049 per person.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

If you haven’t tried cruising yet, you don’t know what you are missing! This all-inclusive deal on Marella Dream is only €969 in May, including flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven-night all-inclusive Mediterranean cruise. This is a great option for first time cruisers, or for people looking for a great value cruise with drinks and tips included in the cost. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Enjoy some winter sun in Mexico next November. This great all-inclusive deal includes flights, 4-star hotel, return airport transfers, checked baggage, all meals and drinks, for just €1186!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Looking for a staycation but don’t want to drive? The 4-star Fitzwilton in Waterford is located just 300 meters from the train station, and five minutes from the Waterford Greenway. Price for an overnight stay with breakfast and main course evening meal, is just €50 per person, valid until the end of May. Use promo code TRAVEL15 to save a further 15% off this price, making it just €42.50!

View offer here

 

Read: 10 Great hotel deals in Ireland from €40 per person.
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Fancy ringing in the New Year in Iceland? This super deal includes flights and three-nights in a 4-star hotel from just €393 per person. Who knows, the Northern Lights might even light up the sky on New Years Eve!

See more here
 

Read: Top things to do in Iceland
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 4th February 2020

Best Travel Deals

This week’s Best Travel Deals include Disneyland Paris, Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, Alvor, a cruise around the Emirates, New Year in Orlando and a staycation in Connemara.

 

Best last minute:

February is considered peak time for skiing, so when I saw that you can get a week in La Thuile, Italy for just €219 this weekend, I just had to post it. Price includes flights, apartment and transfers for seven nights, based on four sharing. If there is only two travelling, you can get seven nights in Austria, with breakfast included for just €344. 

See more here

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

 

Best summer sun:

I’m a big fan of Alvor in the Algarve and have holidayed there on a few occasions. I found a super deal to the 4-star Pestana Alvor Park, which is rated number 1 on TripAdvisor. Price for flights and a seven-night stay is only €479 on the 30th of August. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

There are so many great Disneyland Paris offers available, the trouble is which one to choose? Breakaway.ie have excellent deals with flights included for the Frozen Festival in March, and the Enchanted Christmas season in December. Prices for flights, transfers, three-nights in a Disney hotel and four days park passes are from €1470 for 2 adults and 1 child, or €1739 for 2 adults and 2 children. You can upgrade hotel for just €25pp to get free Half Board, and they also have free dining offers with €100 spending money on selected dates.

See Frozen Festival here

 

See Christmas season here

 

See Free Dining offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Cruise Dubai and the Emirates on the stunning MSC Bellissima for just €1049! I was on this ship last year and loved it. Price includes flights and a seven-night cruise with drinks package and gratuities included, departing the 29th of February.

View offer here

 

Read: My review of MSC Bellissima
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Enjoy a five-night break in Abu Dhabi for just €479 including flights! This super deal departs on the 3rd of June and you will be staying in the 4-star Le Meridien Hotel. Highly rated onTripAdvisor, this is amazing value for a five night stay. Add on extra nights if required.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Treat your loved one to a romantic break away for Valentines Day. Choose Lisbon from €254 or Barcelona for €319. Both prices include flights and a 4-star hotel for three nights, departing the 12th of February. Travalue have also included a hop-on hop-off bus tour in Lisbon and a Barcelona Express card in Barcelona. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Enjoy a healthy getaway break to the superb Delphi Resort in Connemara. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, but the thermal suite and yoga classes are a great alternative if you just want to relax indoors. This super deal for just €65pp includes an overnight stay in a one-bedroom suite with breakfast, one-hour thermal suite access, 10% off treatments and activities, and a two-course dinner at the 814 Restaurant. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €95pp, and its valid until 25th June.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

If you want to get away for New Year, now is the time to book. This great family deal to Orlando is just €2598 including flights and hotel for ten nights, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.

See more here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 
 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 28th January 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s best travel deals include a winter break to Malta, summer in the South of France, Majorca, Marbella and Kenya, a cruise on Allure of the Seas, Mother’s Day breaks in Ireland and an early booking offer to PortAventura.

 

Best last minute:

Explore the beautiful island of Malta in February. I found a great deal staying at the 4-star Seashells Resort at Suncrest, for only €230 including flights and hotel with breakfast, departing 8th February for seven nights. This popular hotel is highly rated on TripAdvisor and is centrally located. You will be away for Valentines Day so this could be a romantic break away…

View offer here
 
Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Explore the South of France this summer with this great deal to Nice. Fly from Dublin to Nice on the 20th of July and enjoy a seven-night stay in the Victor Hugo Hotel for just €529. Nice is a beautiful town and the resort is full of style, but you can also choose to explore the coastline. Pop into the nearby towns of Cannes, Antibes or St Tropez, or go further afield and explore Monaco or the Italian Riviera. The choice is yours…

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

The Protur Bonaire in Majorca is a super family complex. I stayed there when my kids were smaller and they loved it. It is rare to find a Free Child Place in the Bonaire during school holidays, but I managed to find one departing the 14th July! Price for 2 adults & 2 children including flights, transfers & baggage is only €2619 for seven nights. You better be quick though – there is only one room left at this price. Use promo code HOLIDAY150 to get €150 off the listed price 😎

View offer here
 

 

 

Best short break:

Planned your girls trip away yet? Jet off to Marbella over the May bank holiday weekend for just €267. Price includes flights and hotel for three nights, based on 2 sharing.

See more here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Looking to try somewhere new this year? Take a trip to Kenya and enjoy a seven-night stay in the highly rated Leonard Beach Resort and Spa. Located a short drive from Mombassa on the world famous Diani Beach, you will be surrounded by crystal clear waters and coral reefs. This super deal costs just €895 including flights, hotel on a half-board basis, checked baggage and airport transfers!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is one of the most talked about cruise ships this year. Allure is the worlds most awarded cruise ship and it is having a $165 million dollar makeover, before it cruises from Barcelona this summer. This super deal from e-travel is hard to beat: Enjoy a seven-night Mediterranean cruise with flights and transfers included from just €1195.  

View offer here

 

Read all about the newly amplified Allure of the Seas here.
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Treat your Mum to a spa break in one of Ireland’s 4-star hotels for Mothers Day. I’ve got 10 great deals from just €36 per person including breakfast!

See more here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Bring the kids to PortAventura and Ferrari Land over the October mid term break. This super deal includes flights, a four-night stay at the 4-star Dorada Palace Hotel, with breakfast and evening meal included, and 2 day passes to PortAventura & Ferrari Land! Total cost for all of this is just €1082, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.

See more here
 

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 21st January 2020

best travel deals

In this week’s Best Travel Deals I have a wellness break in the Algarve, a family holiday to Salou, a three-night Greek Islands cruise, summer sun in Croatia, amazing city break deals, luxury for less in Malaysia and a New Year in Lisbon.

 

Best last minute:

Treat yourself to a wellness weekend break in the Algarve at the start of February. Spend three nights at the 5-star Grand Real Santa Eulalia for just €251 – and that includes flights! Complete with a spa and wellness centre, this is the perfect choice for a winter break. I found this super deal departing Friday the 7th of February but many more dates are available. 

View offer here

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.
 

 

 

Best city break:

Want to plan a few trips abroad this year? With these 10 city breaks for €199 or less, you can do just that. All deals include flights and highly rated hotels for three nights. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best family holiday:

I have had a few requests for 10/11 day holidays, so I did some searching and came up with this great deal to Salou. Enjoy an 11-night stay in the 4-star H10 Mediterranean Village, departing 7th August for just €2514, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. This is one of the most popular family apartments in Salou and receives excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. Price includes flights, accommodation, transfers, checked baggage and a €125 saving when you use the promo code SAVE125.

View offer here

 

Read: My family holiday in Salou
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Cavtat in Croatia is one of my favourite destinations for a summer break. I loved the laid back atmosphere and the great restaurants, and also its proximity to Dubrovnik and Montenegro. The centrally located Hotel Cavtat is the most popular hotel to stay in, and it is usually booked out. However, I found a deal departing on the 26th of August for seven nights for just €536. Price includes flights and hotel with breakfast for one week. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor if you still need convincing. 

View flights here €131pp

View hotel here €405pp

Read: My holiday visiting in Croatia and Montenegro
 

 

 

Best cruise:

This is the perfect taster cruise for anyone who is new to cruise, or for anyone (like me) with Santorini and Mykonos on their bucket list. Enjoy a three-night all-inclusive cruise visiting the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Crete and Santorini, with a two-night stay in Athens for just €1069! Price includes flights, all meals, drinks and gratuities, departing 23rd July.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Pangkor Laut Resort has to be one of the best luxurious places to stay in Malaysia. Located on its own private island, surrounded by some of the world’s oldest rainforests, this is a resort like no other. Expect luxury, natural beauty and plenty of relaxation. I found an amazing deal for just €1099 including flights, transfers and a seven-night stay. I have seen this resort advertised at over twice this price, it really is an amazing deal for such a world-class resort.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Have you seen the new video from Sligo Tourism? It is bound to make you want to visit. I found a great deal to the 4-star Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa for just €89 per couple until the end of March, or €99 until the end of June! This price includes an overnight stay for two with breakfast, spa and dining credit and a late check-out. Two-night stays also available. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Psst… Lisbon flights are on sale already for New Year! I’m tempted to book this myself. Price for flights and a three night stay in the 5-star Corinthia Palace Hotel is only €273, departing the 29th of December. Highly rated on TripAdvisor and with a wellness centre and pool onsite – can you think of a better bargain for New Year? #StealOfTheWeek

View flights here  €113pp

View hotel here €160pp
 
Want to stay somewhere else? Check out guide to Lisbon Hotels here.
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 14th January 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s Best Travel Deals include a last minute escape to Puglia, summer holidays in Greece, Costa del Sol and South Africa, an Alaska cruise, Christmas shopping breaks to New York and lots more…

 

Best last minute:

Be spontaneous, and fly off to somewhere new next weekend. Spend three nights in Puglia, Italy, from the 25th of January for just €153!  You will be staying in the popular Boston Hotel in Bari, which offers free breakfast too. Explore the region of Puglia, visit the magical city of Matera or simply relax and enjoy all that Bari has to offer.

View flights here €50pp

View hotel here €103pp
 

Read: 3 places you must visit in Puglia

 

 

 

Best spring summer:

Kickstart the summer with a week in the beautiful island of Zakynthos. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the popular Giannis Studios is only €399, based on 2 sharing. Price includes flights, transfers and checked baggage, departing the 24th of May.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

With direct flights to Thessaloniki from Dublin Airport during the summer, why not visit the popular Greek resort of Halkidiki. I found a great deal in the 4-star Halkidiki Palace Hotel. Price for flights and a seven-night stay is only €466, departing 13th July. Highly rated on TripAdvisor, this is great value for a week in peak season.

View offer here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here.

 

 

 

Best family deal:

This is one of the best all-inclusive family deals I have seen for July! Enjoy a week at the highly rated Cortijo Blanco Hotel in the Costa del Sol for just €2328 on the 12th of July, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. This super deal includes flights, transfers, checked baggage, all meals and drinks! Use code SAVE125 to save €125 off the listed price.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Always wanted to cruise Alaska but thought it was too expensive? This great cruise deal from Princess Cruises makes it very affordable. Fly direct with Aer Lingus to Seattle on the 12th of September and enjoy a seven-night Alaska cruise, plus an overnight stay in Seattle – all for just €1499!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

South Africa is one of my favourite countries so when I see cheap flights to Cape Town, I am always interested. Ethiopian Airlines is offering return flights to Cape Town from just €399 in September / October. There are two short stops involved of 1 hour each, but for €399 including taxes, I think its worth it. I flew with Ethiopian Airlines on my last trip to South Africa and found them great to fly with. If you prefer to fly a more direct route, flights with KLM via Amsterdam are €500 return on the same dates. 

View flights here €399 2 stops / €500 1 stop.

Check out my post on how to plan the perfect South African road trip here.
 

 

 

Best city break:

It’s never too early to talk about Christmas shopping, right? If you are thinking of a Christmas shopping break in New York, now is the time to book it. Airfares are at their lowest, and hotels are offering some great early booking discounts. I’ve got four-night breaks from €596 in this post.

See more here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Select Hotels of Ireland is offering 2 nights for the price of 1 on a wide selection of hotels. Prices are available from €129 for a two-night stay for two people, with breakfast included, in the Falls Hotel & Spa, Co. Clare and the Clifden Station House Hotel, Co, Galway. Many more hotels are available.

View offer here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.
 

 Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

 
AmericaCruisesDestinationsEurope

Multi-Generational Holidays – 7 Reasons To Go On Cruise Holidays With Your Parents!

multi generation at the beach shutterstock

Royal Caribbean’s latest research has revealed that Irish families like to holiday together. With multi-generational holidays on the rise, is it time to think about booking a cruise holiday with your parents?

 

Did you know that half of Irish adults* still go on holidays with their parents? And 39% of Irish adults between 25-34 prefer to holiday with their parents rather than their friends! I have cruised with Royal Caribbean with my family and think it is the perfect choice for multi-generational holidays. Check out seven reasons why below and get planning your next big trip.

multigenerational cruise holidays

1. Royal Caribbean cruise holidays offer activities and destinations to suit all tastes and ages.

Royal Caribbean cruises are the ideal choice for multi-generational holidays, as they offer facilities and entertainment for all ages. From kids clubs to water-slides, spa treatments to West End-style shows, and dining options to suit all tastes, a Royal Caribbean cruise has something to suit everyone. As well as offering world-class facilities across 26 cruise ships, they cruise to 260 destinations on six continents, so you are bound to find a cruise to suit all the family.

perfect day at coco cay with royal caribbean cruises

 

Read: 10 reasons to choose Royal Caribbean for family cruises
 

 

 

2. Multi-generational holidays allow you to spend quality time with your family.

For many families, ‘time’ is the new poverty. Trying to juggle work, after school activities and housework, it can be difficult to find time for a walk or indeed a social life! Kids love their grandparents, but telling your teenager that they have to visit them every Sunday, chances are you won’t get the response you were hoping for…

Once you are on holidays, all of the work and home life pressures get left behind, everyone is happy and quality family time kicks in. It is great to see children and grandparents interacting, visiting new destinations, enjoying pool-time and evening entertainment – things you would probably never do at home. 

multigenerational holidays - enjoying family shows
 

 

 

3. 58% of parents pay for their adult children to come on holiday with them.

While this shouldn’t be a deal breaker, it probably is for some! 80% of parents pay up to €1,000 for the pleasure of their children’s company – clearly they really want to holiday with them! If you can’t afford to go on holiday and your parents have extra money they want to spend, should you refuse their generosity?

family fun on royal caribbean cruises

4. Seeing the look on your parents’ eyes when they see a destination for the first time.

Although 58% of parents pay for their adult children’s holidays, it can also work the opposite way. I remember bringing my elderly mother to Rome a few years ago. She had always wanted to visit the Vatican but was not able to travel alone. I will never forget the look in my Mum’s eye when she walked into the Vatican for the first time, that memory will stay with me forever.

vatican excursion on cruise holiday
 

 

 

There will be plenty of babysitters available!

As well as parents paying for their adult children’s holidays, this research from Royal Caribbean International also showed that 48% of adults aged between 35-54 brought their younger children with them too. As I now fall into that age bracket, I can’t help but think how great it would be to be able to visit the spa or have a date night, without having to worry about babysitters. When you go on a multi-generational holiday, there is always someone there to help out if you fancy some adult-only time.

cruise holidays are great for multigenerational holidays
 

 

 

FOMO 

FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out’ for anyone who doesn’t know the acronym, can really set in if all of your family are away together and you are at home glued to the various social media posts. If you get a chance to go on a multi-generational holiday – don’t risk FOMO – go with them!  

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 

Memories

It is far better to spend your money on experiences than material things – I think we all know that. Multi-generational holidays are something that you, your children and your parents will never forget. For many grandparents, it will be the highlight of their year. Enjoy holidaying with them while you still can.
 

 


 

View market research and press release including a comment from myself.  

 

 

 

Want to know more about family cruises? Check out my reviews: 

My review of Independence of the Seas

My review of Harmony of the Seas

10 Reasons to choose Royal Caribbean for family cruises

 

This post was sponsored by Royal Caribbean International, but all views, as always are my own.

 

Sarah
 

 

 

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 7th January 2020

best travel deals

In this weeks best travel deals, I have skiing holidays, spring breaks, summer holidays in Sorrento, Lake Garda, St Lucia and Santorini, cruise holidays and lots more…

 

Best last minute:

Kickstart a healthy New Year by skiing in Andorra –there are some amazing package deals available. Prices from €192 for 5 sharing an apartment, or €373 based on 2 sharing a hotel on a half-board basis. Both offers include flights, transfers and checked baggage.

Search more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.

 

 

 
Best spring / summer deal

Treat yourself to some luxury for less on the Costa del Sol. Stay at the 5-star Senator Banus Spa Hotel on the 16th of April for just €282. Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Summer in Sorrento has a nice ring to it! Enjoy a week in the 4-star Alpha Hotel for just €566 on the 19th of August. Price includes flights and hotel with breakfast, for seven nights. Highly rated on TripAdvisor, this is great value for a holiday in Sorrento in peak season.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

The Bella Italia are one of Lake Garda’s most popular family apartments. Jam packed with activities for kids and located close to Garda Land, it is no surprise they get booked out early. I found a great deal departing on the 1st of August, staying in a 2 bedroom bungalow, with flights, transfers and checked baggage included. Total cost of €2802 is based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Use promo code SAVE125 to save €125 off the listed price below.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Cruise the Greek Isles and Montenegro with Royal Caribbean for just €1268. This super deal includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and gratuities, departing the 3rd of October. A deposit of €165 secures booking.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul deal:

If January has you thinking of detoxing, there is no place better than The Body Holiday Hotel in St Lucia. This 5-star all-inclusive resort is the ultimate wellness sanctuary. You can choose an active holiday with yoga, spin and abseiling classes or simply relax in the award-winning spa. Prices start from €2259 which includes flights, hotel on an all-inclusive basis and airport transfers. This includes savings of up to €900 per person if booked by the 5th February, and there are no single supplements when staying in a Single Garden Room. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

March is a great month for European city breaks. Airfares are particularly good value and weather is starting to get a little warmer. I found cheap flights to Lisbon, departing Saturday the 7th of March, returning Tuesday the 10th, for just €48. Check out my post on where to stay in Lisbon to find the right hotel for you. 

View flights here Search hotels here

 

Like city breaks? You might like:

Top 10 city breaks for less than €199

Top city break destinations for 2020
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

I posted a great deal to Santorini for May this week and many of you asked if it was available for later in the year – so I looked and I found a great deal departing in September too! Spend a week  in the 4-star Veggera Hotel for just €580 on the 19th of September. Price includes flights and a seven-night stay with breakfast included.  

View flights here €223pp

View hotel here €357pp
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Bring the family or friends to Fota Island Resort and stay in one of their 3-bedroom luxury lodges for just €299. Price includes a three-night stay for up to five people with two VIP spa passes, 2 x €20 spa credit for full-price treatment of €100 or more, €20 dining credit towards a three-course meal for 2 people, and €20 golf credit between two people towards a round of golf on any of the three championship golf courses.

View offer here

 

Check out my review of Fota Island Resort here.
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.
 

 Sarah

 

travel deals

 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 1st January 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

In this week’s best travel deals I have Crete, Cancun, Sardinia, Rome, a family holiday in Greece, a cruise on MSC Seaview and a luxury staycation in Sheen Falls Lodges.

 

Best last minute:

Beat the January blues by spending a week in sunny Fuerteventura. Stay at the popular 4-star Pierre & Vacance Origomare from only €280 on the 30th of January. Price includes flights and accommodation for seven nights, based on two sharing.

View offer here
 
Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.
 
 

 

 

Best spring / summer break:

Kick start the summer with a week in the beautiful resort of Rethymnon in Crete in May. I stayed nearby last summer and loved it. This super deal, staying in the 4-star Golden Beach Hotel is only €465 per person and includes flights, hotel with breakfast and evening meal included, transfers and checked baggage! Use promo code Save75 to save €75 off the listed price of this and any holiday over €1000 in value.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Alghero in Sardinia is one of three new Aer Lingus routes from Dublin airport for next summer. It happens to have a delightful old town, a beautiful sandy beach and of course some great Italian restaurants. Alghero is located just ten minutes drive from the airport so it is an easy destination to book independently. I found a great deal staying in the 4-star Catalunya Hotel for just €576 in July. Price includes flights and hotel with breakfast for seven nights. Highly rated on TripAdvisor this is a great choice for a summer holiday in peak season.

View flights here €198pp

View hotel here €378pp

 

Read: 10 new destinations from Dublin Airport for 2020
 

 

 

Best family deal:

You can save up to €125 off summer 2020 holidays with TUI when you use promo code SAVE125in addition to any other offers such as Free Child Places etc. The Sidari Water Park Hotel in Corfu is a great choice for families looking for a good family resort in Greece, with breakfast and evening meal included. There is a water park on site and they offer spacious 2 bedroom apartments. Price of €2490 is based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing for seven nights and includes flights, accommodation on a half board basis, transfers, checked baggage and unlimited access to the waterpark, departing 17th July. Price for 2 adults and 3 children is €3262. Remember to use the promo code to reduce the cost from the listed price.

View offer here

 

Like Greece? You might like Top 10 family holidays in Greece.
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Cruise the Med on the spectacular MSC Seaview. I had the pleasure of cruising on this ship two years ago, it is a stunning ship. This great cruise deal includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven-night cruise with meals and drinks included – all for just €1279.

View offer here

 

Read: My review of MSC Seaview here.
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Sunway’s ‘Great Cancun Sale’ has up to 50% off rooms at Dreams, Secrets and Now resorts. Price for a seven-night, all-inclusive stay a the 5-star Now Sapphire is only €1139 including flights, transfers and checked baggage.

See more here

 

 

 

Best city break:

Rome has to be one of the best cities for a weekend break and this deal is just begging to be booked! Enjoy a three-night weekend break in this wonderful city for just €160 at the end of January. Price includes flights and the highly rated 4-star Art Deco Hotel. Your January paycheck will have arrived by then…

See more here

 

Like city breaks? You might like:

Top 10 city breaks for less than €199

Top city break destinations for 2020
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Finding luxury self catering accommodation in Irish hotels can prove to be expensive. I found a great deal to the 5-Star Sheen Falls Hotel in Kenmare. Enjoy a two-night stay for up to 5 People in a 3-Bedroom Luxury Townhouse including a welcome pack (bottle of red wine, chocolates, cereal, milk, bread and tea/coffee) from just €229. This deal is valid seven days a week until the 31st of March, supplement of €25 applies to Friday and Saturday nights.

View offer here

 

Like staycations? Check out all my post on holidays in Ireland here.
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.
 

 Sarah

 

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Travel

8 Reasons To Choose Princess Cruises For Your Next Cruise

Royal Princess at Sea Princess Cruises

World-wide itineraries across seven continents, cutting-edge activities and unique excursions. Choose Princess Cruises for your next cruise holiday….

 
Icebergs breaking, husky dogs racing and captivating world wide adventures – not exactly the promotional video you would expect from a luxury cruise line. No middle aged couples holding hands on a Caribbean beach this time. I guess this sums up where Princess Cruises differ from other cruise lines.
 

 

 
Princess Cruises sail to all seven continents – including Antartica! They have 17 ships cruising to 380 destinations. As well as their outstanding itineraries, they have teamed up with Discovery™ and Animal Planet™ to offer immersive activities on and off their ships. Check out this short video to give you a taste of what to expect.


 

 

 
It is not only world class itineraries that Princess Cruises are renowned for. They have also won Best Premium Cruise line numerous times and have a host of other awards and accolades that you can see here

I have teamed up with Travelnet.ie, who are part of the Barter Travel Group and have been selling holidays and cruises for over 150 years in Ireland. Suffice to say they know their stuff!
 

 

 
They have amazing cruise deals with Princess Cruises with low deposits,  onboard credit and cabin upgrades. Still need convincing? Here are eight reasons to choose Princess Cruises for your next cruise!

princess cruises
 

 

 

They offer outstanding itineraries

Cruising Antartica is a big deal, there are not many cruise companies that can boast that accolade. Of course it’s not just Antartica that excites me, Princess Cruises sail to 380 destinations and have won ‘best cruise itineraries’ 12 times from Cruise Critic – the cruise industries’ TripAdvisor.
 

 

 
We tend to think of Princess Cruises for Caribbean cruises and Alaska (voted best cruise line to Alaska globally), but Princess’ Mediterranean cruises are a popular choice during the summer months.

I love that in some cases you can cruise from one port and return to another, which maximises the amount of cities you can see. . See all of Travelnet.ie Princess cruise deals here.

princess cruises
 

 

 

They have an exclusive partnership with Discovery™ & Animal Planet™

Princess Cruises have partnered exclusively with Discovery™ and Animal Planet™ – two names synonymous with exploration, to bring immersive activities on their shore excursions and onboard their cruise ships.
 

 

 
Learn all about the major constellations from a Princess specialist as you stargaze from the top deck, get up close to sharks in Hawaii, whales in Alaska or sloths in Costa Rica. Discovery and Animal Planet tours are unique tours and are available only through Princess Cruises.

princess cruises

 

 

 

There is a Piazza on board

Like Piazzas in Italian towns, Princess Cruises have replicated this on most of their ships. Guests love to gather around the Piazza and enjoy a glass of wine from the wine bar and catch a spontaneous performance.
 

 

 
This popular place to hang out is like an Atrium and spans over three decks, with duty free shops and casual eateries. Princess’ newest ships, the Royal Class,  have an expanded Piazza and also have the first-ever SeaWalk, a glass bottomed walkway offering jaw dropping views beneath your feet.

princess cruises
 

 

 

Enjoy world class dining options

Food and Wine Magazine voted Princess Cruises the best cruise line for food lovers – I probably don’t need to say much more! Princess Cruises have partnered with three award winning chefs and boast the best cruise ship steakhouse in Crown Grill, a classic Italian trattoria, Sabatini’s, and a six course fine-dining experience at Share, from award-winning chef Curtis Stone.
 

 

 
Their mainstream offerings are pretty good too! Cruise Critic says they have the best burgers at sea in The Ernesto and USA Today gave Princess Cruises the award for the best pizza at Sea in Alfredos.

princess cruises
 

 

 

You will love their original, award-winning entertainment.

Unlike many other cruise lines, Princess Cruises have original shows that can only be seen in Princess theatres. Princess Cruises have partnered with Stephen Schwartz, the Oscar and Grammy award winner, and composer of the massive broadway hit Wicked.
 

 

 
This partnership has brought three exclusive shows to Princess Cruises, with a fourth due in 2019. It’s not just in the theatres that Princess Cruises excel, they have excellent shows such as Magic to Do and the hugely popular, Voice of the Ocean.

This interactive song contest brings the international TV show The Voice, to to the ocean. There are auditions, mentors and even the three “I Want You” chairs! The live final is not to be missed as guests choose the winner by using special voting remotes.

princess cruises
 

 

 

The Adult only Sanctuary is superb

I know adult-only areas are available on most luxury cruise ships, but the Sanctuary is on a different level! The Sanctuary is more than just fancy sunloungers and hot tubs – it is almost like a day spa. Enjoy an alfresco massage on one of the cabanas and enjoy cocktails served to you from the “Serenity Stewards”.
 

 

 
The food is complimentary, although there is a $3 delivery fee. You can enjoy regular top ups of water infused with fruit and healthy light snacks or go all out and have beef burgers and beer!

The only snag is you have to pay to enter, with prices from $20 for a half day pass or $40 for a full day.

princess cruises
 

 

 

They have excellent kids clubs – right up to age 20!

Princess Cruises kids clubs don’t just have art classes, pizza parties and talent shows, you can become an engineer for a day with programs from the California Science Centre, try your luck at the Lego boat-building contest or learn cake decorating and jewellery making!
 

 

 

There is a separate ‘Beach House’ for teens to hang out in. Learn cool dance moves and show off at the Rock the Boat Party. 18-20’s have their own club, with special events just for them without parents or official hosts.

princess cruises

 

 

 

There is a wide selection of family activities

I love the amount of family activities on board. Shows such as Magic to Do and the Voice of the Ocean are ideal for all the family as are Stargazing and Movies Under the Stars®. Watch blockbuster movies poolside, with complimentary popcorn, cookies and milk, and cosy blankets if required.
 

 

 
Mystery lovers will enjoy being a detective to solve the robbery of a rare necklace. This voyage-long search for the thief involves puzzles, clues and activities to help you narrow down the suspect.

The Family Fun Fair, a carnival themed party in the Piazza, has mascots, magicians and entertainers. Click here for more details on all the family activities available.

princess cruises
 
So now that I have given you eight reasons to choose Princess Cruises for your next cruise – the only decision is which cruise will you choose?
 

 

 
Information is correct at the time of issue ( August 2018), but is subject to change. Note not all facilities and activities mentioned are on all 17 ships. Ask your  cruise consultant for more details on specific offerings. This post was sponsored by Travelnet.ie.

 

Sarah

 
Travel

3 Nights In Hong Kong & Dubai With A 5 Night Asia Cruise, 2nd May, €1539!

Ovation of the Seas

This eleven night holiday is a trip of a life time! Enjoy a five night Asia cruise on one of Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise ships, Ovation of the Seas with three night stays in Hong Kong and Dubai –  in one magical holiday!

 

Three nights in Hong Kong is just what you need to enjoy all the highlights! Ride the cable car, take a dragon boat ride, do some duty free shopping (there is no sales tax in Hong Kong), and enjoy one of the best night skylines in the world. Enjoy an action packed three days before boarding the luxurious Ovation of the Seas for five nights. You can enjoy the ocean views from your balcony stateroom before making your first stop in Vietnam.

asia cruise

Your Asia cruise includes two stops in Vietnam, Hue (Da Nang) and Nha Trang. Discover the famous ‘China Beach’ where American soldiers relaxed during the Vietnam war, or visit the Forbidden Purple City in Hue. Snorkel in the turquoise waters of Nha Trang amidst it’s tropical islands. Vietnam is renowned for it’s delicious food, why not try a street food tour in Da Nang or enjoy some of the best sea food in Nha Trang.

asia cruise

Although you are visiting exotic locations, you will also have plenty of time to enjoy all the facilities that Ovation of the Seas has to offer. I had the pleasure of being on board last year and I loved it. It is longer than three football pitches and taller than the Sydney Harbour bridge! Thrill seekers will love the circus school, surfing and sky diving, and if you just want to have some fun, try the roller skating or bumper cars. Let the robots pour you a drink in the bionic bar before sampling some of the top class entertainment on board. There are seventeen restaurants to choose from, including the popular Jamie’s Italian and fine dining options. For more information on Ovation of the Seas you can read my blog here.

asia cruise

Your trip doesn’t end there. After your five night Asia cruise you will then fly to Dubai for a three night stay in one of the World’s most impressive cities. Shop in the world’s largest shopping mall or haggle to your heart’s content in the famous souks. Visit the world’s tallest building or enjoy a desert safari, anything is possible in Dubai!  If all of this sounds like hard work, just relax and chill out on some of the Dubai’s magnificent beaches!

asia cruise

Whats included:

  • Flights from Dublin to Hong Kong
  • 3 Night stay in Hong Kong
  • 5 Night cruise on Ovation of the Seas in a balcony stateroom, with meals and entertainment included.
  • Flight from Hong Kong to Dubai
  • 3 Night stay in Dubai
  • Flight from Dubai to Dublin
  • All taxes & fees.

This offer is exclusive to Sunway and won’t be around for long so call their dedicated sales team on 01-2311868 or

Click here for more details.

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

 

Like cruises? See my cruise reviews and more cruise deals here.

Pin It on Pinterest