A New Cruise Terminal for Abu Dhabi
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Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi Ports Company in association with the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture sector is working on a fresh development, an enormous new cruise terminal for the Zayed Port.

Although it will have a modern appearance, great care is being taken to reflect the region’s history and culture as well. In the architecture, traditional Arabic ornaments are being incorporated. The use of colours that emphasise the region and celebrate the long history of maritime of the United Arab Emirates is also part of the design.

One such element of cultural heritage being placed in the port is being placed upon the roof. This design resembles that of the ‘Ghaf’, the national tree of the UAE.

The terminal is scheduled to offer 8000 square meters and will have all the modern amenities, from souvenir shops to casual restaurants. The new building is also due to feature an improved border control system that pledges to make the customs process quicker and more efficient. The terminal is due to be completed in 2016 and the work for it has already begun.

This news comes together with the announcement that the UAE will be offering a multi entry visa that will make travelling to different countries in the area very easy, perfect for cruise holidaymakers.

What can you see when visiting Abu Dhabi during a port of call? 

The Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the world’s largest indoor theme park whose theme is based on the auto company of the same name. Thrilling high speed rides are the main attraction, including a car themed roller coaster that is said to be the world’s fastest rollercoaster, the Formula Rossa.

Ferrari World

For those who are art inclined, architect Frank Gehry is creating yet another of his masterpiece’s to rival his in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will open soon, and his artworks will also be housed in The Louvre Abu Dhabi opening later.

Spend some time at the enormous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Besides a house of religion, the building also serves as a cultural centre to help acquaint visitors with the traditions of UAE and how the religion of Islam ties into it.

There is also the Al Ain Oasis for those who want to cool down on hot days. This oasis is packed with thousands of palm trees and is flanked by huge plantations. The palm trees are watered from the 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system that are located nearby the Al Ain National Museum.

Al Ain Oasis

The Al Ain National Museum is divided into three sections consisting of archaeology, ethnography and gifts and is housed in the same area as the Sultan Bin Zayed Fort. Many artefacts of ancient history will be housed within with items dating back to the first millennium BC.

With all these points of interest that will please all types of visitors in all age groups, Abu Dhabi is certainly looking towards the future. The cruise industry is anticipating the completion of the new and revamped port in two years time.

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What to Pack for a Cruise to the Fjords
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norwegian fjords

The choice of itinerary and activities on board a ship have never been better or more affordable. The huge numbers of people who head on their annual holiday with a cruise have made a wise choice.

Dressing and what to pack is fairly straightforward and many cruise lines have recognised that casual wear in dress now reigns. For those balmy days at sea, it is smart casual, for dinner depending upon the cruise line it can go up a bit. Dress codes on cruise ships are far more relaxed than in the past and dressing for dinner has become more optional.

There is one type of spring, summer and autumn cruise holiday that a little more change to the norm is in order. The cruise with itineraries that head further north for instance to the Norwegian Fjords.

Before you start packing, make a checklist of everything you need to and should bring.

HERE ARE SOME ESSENTIALS YOU WILL WANT TO INCLUDE

1. A waterproof wind jacket helps protect you from any sudden cold winds and rain that are commonplace in Norway. Use it in conjunction with a waterproof hat or a hood.

2. Inclement weather is not unusual and can surprise you at any time. This calls for an excellent pair of closed toed shoes with soles that offer a good grip, especially for walking on the deck. In addition, bring some sturdy walking boots for those trips to hike in the picturesque countryside, in small villages and stepping onto a glacier. An extra pair of socks should always be on you as they will keep your feet dry if they get wet whilst out.

3. A warm jacket or coat should be brought along as the temperatures in Norway can dip especially during May and October. Even in the midst of summer, the higher elevations will decrease the temperatures by several degrees and you will appreciate the warmth. If weight is a concern, go for a fleece or micro fabric that adds the warmth but not the bulk.

4. In a similar manner, pack clothing that can be layered. Hoodies or pullover jumpers are a few examples. It will be appreciated on those cool days or evenings and if the sun is blasting, and the temps rise; they can easily be peeled off for comfort. T-shirts are a must for extra insulation but are light enough to wear alone if the temperature increases during the day.

5. Try to coordinate basic colours that blend and will interchange easily with each other. Have your primary outfit in monochromatic neutrals such as browns, greys and blacks. Then add the layers in the colour you prefer to look sharp.

queen mary 2 norway

6. If formality is standard on the ship of your choice, bring along dressier dining outfits. Most cruisers like to take a stroll on deck after dinner. For men, a dinner jacket or a sports jacket will do, whereas for women a thick wrap should suffice.

7. Bring some light plastic sheeting or a large cloth to take when you go on shore to cover your belongings. However, better yet, invest in waterproof carry ons such as handbags and backpacks to store your belongings safely from the elements.

8. You may be lucky with the weather as it can happen in Norway as well. However, the best bet is to do as you do at home and place a small umbrella in your day pack.

9. Just as you should for any holiday away, don’t forget to pack the camera. The beauty of Norway is exceptional and you’ll be snapping away from the moment you step onboard.

10. Finally, make sure to pack blister plasters. Walking can cause them to happen especially when wearing a brand new pair of boots or shoes.

Go ahead and bring those sandals and flip flops on your cruise. Most ships have coverings over their pool areas and are temperature controlled for you to take a dip.

As you can see, packing for a cruise to the Norwegian fjords is not all that different from packing for any other cruise holiday. It just takes a bit of organisation. Remember, if you forget something, there are shops onboard the cruise ship and plenty of stores whilst in port to obtain what you need.

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Been on a Norwegian Fjords Cruise? Let us know what we missed!

Our Top 10 Cruise Itineraries for 2015
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Cruise Itineraries 2015

2015 is going to be a great year for cruise goers with many specialty cruises, new ships and interesting new destinations. Now is the time to start thinking and decide where your next cruise holiday shall be.

We have looked at the sailings for next year and selected our Top 10 Cruise Itineraries. If you need details and pricing on any of these please enquire here

Floral Britannia Cruise

Fred. Olsen keep up their tradition of themed cruises with this eleven night trip through parts of Great Britain. Departing from Dover, some of the picturesque locations that will be seen include the stunning Eden Project and St Michaels’s Mount from Falmouth, Edinburgh Castle and Liverpool the home of the Beatles.

When: 28 April 2015

Ship: Boudicca

Grand Danube Cruise

This 23 day journey with AMA Waterways begins with a 3 night hotel stay in Prague and then a fourteen night cruise from Vilshofen to Rousse. At the end of the cruise you will stay in Bulgaria for 1 night before heading to Istanbul for a 3 night hotel stay.

When: Selected sailings from April to October

Ship: AmaPrima

India & Southeast Asia

Royal Caribbean specialises in this area, so it’s no surprise that they’d be heading back here in 2015. They will be unveiling a new ship, called the Quantum of the Seas which is said to be the most technologically advanced ship out there today. This 14 night cruise will sail from Dubai to Singapore with stops in Muscat, Cochin and Penang.

When: 29 May 2015

Ship: Quantum of the Seas

Hawaiian Islands

Princess Cruises are offering a two week long Hawaiian Islands cruise next year. This cruise departs from San Francisco visiting Kauai, Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Ensenada (Mexico) before returning to San Francisco 14 nights later.

When: 25 September 2015

Ship: Grand Princess

Norwegian Fjords

Most people wouldn’t associate Disney Cruise Lines with cruises to the Fjords however they have a number of 7 and 9 night itineraries available. The nine night version starts and ends in Copenhagen with stops in Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Molde, Olden and Bergen

When: 20 June 2015

Ship: Disney Magic

Caribbean

On most Caribbean cruises you will need to fly to the departure point which can put off those people who dislike flying. The beauty of this 24 night cruise with P&O is that it starts and finishes in the UK. Great for people who don’t mind a few days at sea this itinerary takes in seven ports in six countries.

When: 10 October 2015

Ship: Arcadia

In Search of the Northern Lights

A truly remarkable experience, the famed and truly beautiful Northern Lights with  Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. The 16 night itinerary includes ports in Norwegian towns including Bergen, Alta and Tromso. As the ship heads further north towards the Arctic Circle, the Aurora Borealis becomes more concentrated.

When: 21 February 2015

Ship: Boudicca

Brazil, Argentina & Uruguay

Always a popular cruise destination, this eight day cruise with Costa Cruises visits Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Departing from Santos and visiting Buenos Aires and Montevideo before returning to Santos this itinerary will allow you to get in touch with the natural beauty of the mountains, wildlife and waterfalls that these three nations provide.

When: 21 February 2015

Ship: Costa Favolosa

Thailand & Indonesia Voyage

Take a 14 night cruise to six different ports with Azamara Club Cruises. The ship will be island hopping to create a varied and unique experience in cultures and styles. Depart from Singapore to the picturesque areas of Indonesia for fresh java, ride the canals to the striking Buddhist temples in Thailand and bask in the sunshine in Bali.

When: 3 February 2015

Ship: Azamara Quest

South Pacific Cruise

Celebrity Cruises has an exciting new itinerary. This is one of our favourites to start the year in style. This 9 night cruise from Sydney visits Noumea, Lifou, Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines before returning to Sydney.

When: 18 January 2015

Ship: Celebrity Solstice

There are so many delightful itineraries scheduled for 2015 it can be a little daunting knowing where to start your search especially if you are looking for something that is a little different.

Our Top10 Cruise Itineraries for 2015 was put together with the help of our featured cruise specialists who can offer advice and competitive prices on any of these amazing itineraries.

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The Port of Cagliari
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Cagliari

The influence of many different cultures in Sardinia shows up in their architecture, customs and cuisine which is rich in seafood and has a very strong Italian and Spanish influence.

Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, an autonomous region and holds the main port for the second largest island in the Mediterranean. The Port of Cagliari is used by several cruise lines on their Mediterranean itineraries. This prominent area still maintains much of its old world charm and has a long summer season from May until October.

History of the Port

The port was first used by the Phoenicians with the Carthaginians, Catalon-Aragons and Romans also discovering its benefits as a well sheltered landing place. Today it serves as a terminal for multifunctional use, including cargo, ferry transport to the mainland of France, Spain and Italy and cruise ships.

The Cagliari port is so large that it is divided into two sections, the historic port (Molo Rinascita) and the canal port. Cruise ships normally dock at Molo Rinascita.

Cagliari Port

Getting Around 

The city centre and some landmarks are less than 15 minutes walking distance from the port but the best way is to utilise the shuttle bus that is provided by The Port Authority of Cagliari. The buses can be found directly outside the terminal. Taxis are also available at the exit of the port.

Local Attractions

A Cagliari tourist information kiosk is located at the main entrance of the port. The city itself offers a wide array of activities and attractions that will ensure passengers will never be bored.

Get off to a good start by checking out the historic part of town, the Castello. Castello is located on a steep hill, but it’s worth the trip up to see the stunning views of the rest of the city below and the Gulf of Cagliari. The city walls and relics from the Roman era can also be seen here.

Castello Cagliari

Another popular sight is the Cathedral Santa Maria. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, hence the name, the structure was completed in the 12th century and was designed in an attractive Pisan style. The style stretches into the interior, where there are baroque inspired religious ornaments located throughout.

One of the most important monuments in Cagliari is the Basilica San Saturnin. It was first built in the 6th century, according to the text at the time. This is an important religious site because it was allegedly where Saturnin was martyred in the year 304AD. The site has been restored back to its former glory after it was bombed in WWII.

The Roman amphitheatre presents one of the oldest architectural relics in the area and was built in the 4th century. Carved out of the rock of the hill, this amphitheatre is notable for being in use with live performances to this day. At one time, it held daring Greek and Roman theatrical productions.

Poetto Beach

Poetto Beach is considered to be the largest beach area close to the Port and is around 3 ½ miles away. It is accessible by the local bus. The sandy 5 mile beach has many water sports facilities and restaurants.

Beachfront Poetto

Nora

According to legend, Nora was the first city settled in Sardinia, and is located about 25 miles from port. The Roman archaeological site contains ruins that include a forum, theatre and baths. The site can be reached on a tour excursion or by taxi.

Nora Sardinia

The Port of Cagliari serves as a port of call for many cruise lines. It is used on Mediterranean sailings by Crystal Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn and Silversea amongst others.

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MSC Cruises Ship Upgrades Begin!
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From their humble beginnings as a cargo line, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) expanded into the cruise holiday industry in 1988. In the last 10 years, MSC’s successful formula placed them on the map and they have been dubbed as the “fastest growing cruise line” by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The Italian company is once again making waves in the industry to prove that statement is still applicable. An announcement was recently made regarding their “Renaissance Programme”. MSC have pledged to renew and enhance four members of their twelve ship fleet and bring these ships up to the same standards as their newer ships.

MSC Cruises’ CEO, Gianni Onorato, commented: “When our four Lirica class ships return to the seas after a total of 38 weeks in dry dock, they will be entirely new ships with additional amenities and comfort for our travellers, allowing them to reach sophisticated and refined destinations around the world”.

Gianni Onorato MSC ceo

All of the ships involved in this £200 million Renaissance Programme project were built between 2003 and 2005 and are presently 820 feet in length and weigh 60,000 tons.

The first ship to undergo its renewal and renovation is the MSC Armonia. On 31 August she made a voyage to Palmero, in Sicily where she will remain. Being docked at the Fincantieri shipyard for roughly 11 weeks, she is awaiting her retrofit by the world class shipbuilders. After the extensive work the Armonia will back in operation on November 17th for a Mediterranean cruise from Genoa to the Canary Islands.

msc armonia at Fincantieri

Some of the scheduled improvements that are being added to the Armonia include increasing her length. Approximately 100 feet will be added and her weight will increase to 65,000 tons.

The extra space will be put to good use and the installation of 200 extra cabins will allow Armonia to carry 2,680 passengers in total. Renovations and refitting other areas of the ship will take place too including the dining and activity areas plus the existing staterooms.

Armonia’s new midsection

MSC Armonia gets a new Block

New areas will include designated spaces for the younger ones in the family, ranging from a ‘Baby Club’ which is going to be partnered with Chicco and a Teens Club with a wide variety of interesting activities geared to age.

Those who are want a quick meal or a snack will have more options available.The buffet will be open for 20 hours a day. There will also be a new lounge area to relax in as well as a new restaurant that will feature international cuisine.

For the first time ever on the ship, the MSC Armonia will have a library in which passengers can rent books to read on their journey or play a board game. The Aurea Spa located onboard will also have many new treatments in store for passengers that are sure to relieve stress.

But the biggest addition will be a brand new spray park, with water nozzles and cannons spraying in all directions. This will be a fun addition to the poolside area and will keep passengers cool in an instant even during the hottest of days.

The Renaissance programmes tentative timetable for dry dock is as follows:

MSC Armonia: 31 August to 17 November 2014

MSC Sinfonia: 12 January to 16 March 2015

MSC Opera: 2 May to 4 July 2015

MSC Lirica: 31 August to 9 November 2015

MSC promises that these ships will meet all safety standards and rival any of the newer ships coming out of the shipyards.

Images courtesy of MSC Cruises

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