Will my Teenagers enjoy Cruising?
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Teens on Norwegian Epic

Cruising can be a wonderful experience no matter what your age is. This also applies to teenagers and the idea of a holiday on a ship can be enthralling to them.

On some ships, teens are eligible for getting single or double cabins of their own depending on their age. This may increase the price by a small amount but it is well worth it in order for them to have their own personal space.

Dining is easy for teenagers with both exotic and simple tastes onboard the ship. There are many international restaurants onboard that serve a wide variety of food, from Italian pasta to Japanese sushi. However, for those that want a more casual experience, the buffet also offers many different dishes in a more relaxing atmosphere. Stay by the poolside and enjoy the grill nearby that serves up hamburgers, hot dogs and other teen favourites.

I’M BORED!

Theoretically you should never hear the words “I’m bored” onboard as there is an endless amount of activities and entertainment. There are special Teen Clubs as well as vibrant nightclubs and arcades with the latest games. Keep in shape with the exercise room in the spa and the pool is always a popular hangout. Innovative and unique shows are put on at night that are sure to please any age.

Keeping in touch with the outside world is even easier today as the majority of cruise ships not only have internet cafes but have Wi-Fi in the cabin too where you can use laptops, tablets or Smartphone’s. Phone calls can make communication very easy although roaming charges can be quite high depending on the destination.

One of the main appeals for teenagers on a cruise holiday is the idea that they can socialise with others of the same age. Depending on the line and ship chosen, and the right time of year, there is bound to be other teenagers onboard. The holiday months are the best times for this.

The bigger, newer ships will have more teens, more teen facilities and more planned teen activities.

Take a look at what’s on offer for teens with these 3 major cruise lines:

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

Norwegian Epic is one of Norwegians most innovative ships and packs a real punch for teens. Entertainment such as the Blue Man Group and the Second City comedy centre shows prove to be big hits with the teens. Teens need their own space and the Epic also has the ‘Entourage,’ a teens-only centre.

It has the appearance of a trendy club that they would be under aged for back home. However, it is a safe hangout filled with age appropriate gaming such as air hockey. Similar set-ups can be found on the Norwegian Breakaway and sister ship Norwegian Getaway.

PRINCESS CRUISES

Some teens have different ideas for enjoying themselves when onboard. For those with a quest to learn, even whilst on holiday, can take part in one or more of the 40 classes with the ScholarShip@Sea program. Found fleet-wide, these enrichment programmes are available to teenagers aswell. Some examples they may be interested in include pottery classes, designing their own website or exploring the night sky through a telescope.

And for those who prefer to do the normal teen stuff and are aged between 15 and 17, the Ruby Princess for example has an area called Remix. This is a well-appointed teen centre with the latest in Sony Play Station and Nintendo Wii games. There’s also a mini-golf course that will keep teens occupied called Princess Links.

P&O CRUISES

British cruise line P&O Cruises has always been great for families. The Aurora, Azura and Oceana are geared for all ages. However, the Ventura has introduced some great new features including a 3D cinema and a giant virtual “Scalextric at Sea”. These were designed with the teenager in mind and are just the start of what is made available for this age group.

Four bungee trampolines, a rock-music school and teen-only talent shows are some of the features to keep them busy. A first ever circus school is onboard. The Cirque circus school features workshops in which teens and those that are young at heart can learn to trapeze, be a clown, juggle and walk on a tightrope.

Cruises provide a sense of freedom to many teenagers as they can feel free to relax and explore areas on their own. As long as trouble is avoided and boundaries are set, this can be an excellent way to let them unwind, have some independence and explore the world.

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A New Port of Call for Princess Cruises
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Busselton Australia

The Diamond Princess has recently become the first ship to call at Busselton in Western Australia. The guests disembarked on the 27th of November and left very impressive reviews after a full day of sightseeing.

A ‘NEW’ PORT OF CALL

The Princess ship’s guests enjoyed a wide range of tours in the area. Some of the highlights included exploring Ngilgi Cave. Discovered in 1899, it is one of Geographe Bay’s most renowned tourist attractions featuring stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Without getting wet it is possible to head deep below the water’s surface at the Underwater Observatory. Obtain a view that is beaming with a variety of fish species and beautiful corals.

Nature, wine and seafaring adventures can all be found in this port of call.

Apart from walking along the pristine shores passengers can enjoy snorkelling, windsurfing or even sea kayaking. Fishing expeditions can also be arranged.

In recent years, Australian wines have become very popular. Visit the Margaret River wine region and bring back an ideal gift for those back home.

Princess Cruises Australia vice president Stuart Allison said that nine calls to Busselton are scheduled in 2015 and 2016 aboard the Diamond Princess.

The Diamond Princess is one the of the largest cruise ships to be based out of Australia. The ship has just undergone a £17million refurbishment programme and is gearing up for an exciting season down under.

Busselton Pier

DINING

No expense has been spared on the ship to provide the best culinary experiences around. As with most cruise ships these days, there are two ways to enjoy a meal. There is Traditional Dining, which has several formal dining rooms that open at the same time and Freestyle Dining, which allows the passenger to eat at their leisure.

A large amount of speciality restaurants are located on the ship such as the authentic Italian restaurant Sabatini’s, the oriental delight known as Kai Sushi and for meat lovers, there’s the Sterling Steakhouse. Other options include a buffet with international cuisine, a sundae bar and a poolside grill.

CABINS

There are a wide variety of cabins available onboard the Diamond Princess. Everything from a spacious standard inside stateroom to the luxurious interior of the Grand Suite with Balcony. All cabins come equipped with twin beds that can be made into a queen bed, a private bathroom with toiletries, a television, hairdryer, sofa and telephone.

Added amenities in the suites consist of a separate sitting area with a coffee table, a DVD and CD player, luxury towels and bathrobes, a minibar and even a hot tub.Diamond Princess in Sydney

ENTERTAINMENT

You will never be bored on this ship. The enormous casino will have you dabbling with ‘lady luck’. The Grand Casino presents a variety of the gaming selections from blackjack to slot machines to roulette. An enormous theatre offers unique acts from all over the world. It alternates as a cinema and presents feature length films in perfect quality.

Other entertainment is presented at the Skywalkers Nightclub and the Explorers Lounge, both of which offer musical acts of all kinds. During the warmer months, you can also enjoy cinema by the poolside with the Movies Under the Stars programme.

ACTIVITIES

Even when you’re done with all of the entertainment available, there is still an enormous amount of activities to try out. The pool is always a popular choice and there are four of them onboard and that’s not counting the pool in the Lotus Spa. Keep fit with state-of-the-art equipment in the ship’s fitness centre.

Release any stress with one of the many relaxing treatments available in the spa. There is an extensive Japanese bath that has both indoor and outdoor bathing sections.

Culture is also well represented with enrichment programs in fields such as art, cooking and computer classes. The guest lecturers are available to take Q&A’s.

Other activities include an internet cafe and a cosy library that is filled with books for some quiet reading time.

Children of all ages will be thrilled with the underage club on board which is divided into 3 age groups – the Princess Pelicans (ages 3 to 7), the Shockwaves (ages 8-12) and Remix (ages 13-17).

The Diamond Princess has a variety of other itineraries throughout Australia and New Zealand, as well as Southeast Asia, Japan and the Far East.

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What’s Your Excuse for not Booking a Cruise?
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cruise excuses

A holiday at sea is one of the most economical and enjoyable holidays in the entire travel sector. However, often, people don’t want to go on a cruise for a variety of reasons, but the excuses just don’t add up!

Travel agents say that they have heard it all before but certainly understand the concerns from their clients.

Below is a compilation of objections and replies supplied by our featured agents.

“It Costs Too Much”

Cruise holidays have often been cheaper than traditional land based holidays due to the fact that many essentials, such as food, board and entertainment all come included in the price. Although there are other optional services, you can still have a great time with all the complimentary items onboard. You could also skip the tour excursions and get into the city by yourself either by taxi or sometimes there may be a complimentary bus service.

Also be sure to book through a cruise agency who can often beat the cruise lines price and may even offer a cabin upgrade or onboard spending money.

“It Can Be Too Crowded”

Many people have the notion that a cruise ship is more like a sardine can, packed with passengers to the extent where you can’t breathe. This couldn’t be further from the truth as most ships are so large that there’s always a spot for privacy. It all depends on what time you choose to do things: if you head towards the poolside in the afternoon particularly on days at sea, it can get very crowded. But if you go swimming later on in the day, there will be less people.

 “I’m Worried I’ll Eat Too Much”

The buffet can be extremely tempting and passengers certainly don’t want to miss out on trying everything. There are fun ways and an enormous amount of options to make sure you remain trim while on the ship. Almost all major lines have onboard state-of-art fitness centres in the spa section of the ship. Many have jogging tracks with organised morning runs sometimes available.

“I’m Afraid I Will Get Seasick”

Cruise ships are so large and elaborate that the effects of seasickness aren’t as prominent as they would be on smaller ships or in the past. The ships have stabilisers on them to keep them from rocking if the sea gets rough. However, the easiest solution if seasick is still a concern is to pack some special medication such as Dramamine.

“I’m Fearful of a Rogue Wave”

Although they are extremely rare, rogue waves are still something to be concerned about. However, if you are nervous about this fact, just remember that percentage wise you are more likely to get hurt on the roads or in an aeroplane. In addition, there are many special safety precautions that will ensure the protection of all passengers. For your first cruise experience, it is suggested to take the plunge with a shorter duration itinerary in seas that are known to remain calm.

“I’m Concerned That There’s Nothing to Do When Not in Port”

Nothing could be further from the truth! There is always some sort of activity to do whilst onboard. This can range from the elaborate stage productions and gaming tables to bowling and even rock climbing. Shops are jammed packed and there are many enrichment programs or fun activities such as trivia quizzes and contests to keep you busy during sea days.

 “There’s Not Enough Time At The Port of Calls”

Although you may prefer to stay longer in each port, think of the ports of call as a sampler. The port that turns out to be your favourite can always be returned to for a full in-depth visit on your next holiday away.

There are probably many more excuses than mentioned here but the doubters just need a little more convincing!

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Tips on Booking your Excursions
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We have just published a new article titled Booking your Cruise Excursions. The article covers the different types of land tours available as well as your options when you have made the decision to book.

Booking with your cruiseline onboard or before you travel is often seen as the easiest option as the cruiseline takes care of everything for you and ensures you are back in time to board the ship ready for the next port of call.

Independent online cruise excursion companies have become popular in recent years especially for those wishing to obtain a better price than offered by the cruise lines.

However if you are faced with some unexpected delays and are late getting back the ship may not wait for you! Click here to read the full article

MSC Armonia relaunched after Refit
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msc armonia

MSC cruises made headlines earlier this week with the relaunch of the MSC Armonia. The ship set sail on the 18th of November from Genoa on a 10-day cruise to the Canary Islands. About2Cruise has been covering this ongoing story.

“I’m very proud of what we and our partners at Fincantieri have achieved with MSC Armonia. Not only is she smarter and more spacious, but we have given her a new lease of life that will appeal to experienced cruise travellers and first-timers in equal measure. This is why we call her ‘the ship that suits you’” stated MSC Cruises’ CEO, Gianni Onorato.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW ARMONIA

No expense has been spared and the refurbishment is part of MSC’s newest scheme, the Renaissance Programme. The other ships placed in the Renaissance programme for dry-dock are:  MSC Sinfonia – 12 January to 16 March 2015; MSC Opera – 2 May to 4 July 2015; MSC Lirica – 31 August to 9 November 2015.

CABINS

The Armonia holds 1,566 passengers, making it cosier and more intimate than the new builds of today. There are now 786 cabins with more balcony cabins than before the refurbishment. Amenities in all of the smartly decorated staterooms and suites include a flat-screen TV, minibar/fridge combo, a personal safe that is located behind a vanity mirror, a hairdryer and a bathroom with shower and toilet.

THREE MSC EXPERIENCES

Passengers can choose from three different experiences onboard the Armonia which are tailored to their needs. The ‘Bella’ offers what is considered standard cruise service and amenities. The ‘Fantastica’ contains added perks of luxury and the ‘Aurea’ throws in complimentary spa treatments and free refills on beverages.

DINING

There are numerous options for dining onboard the ship. The main restaurant on the Armonia is the Marco Polo, which has open seating for breakfast and lunch and serves a number of international dishes for dinner. There is also an Italian restaurant that is more formal, La Pergola which is available by reservation.

A buffet is open 20 hours a day for those that want casual dining and a variety of cuisines. There are a number of lounges that make for a great escape to sit back and relax after an exciting day at port.

ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT

Children will be enthralled by the special areas for them that have been designed by family-friendly companies such as Chicco® and LEGO®. The swimming pool has added a Spray Park with water jets, slides and other aquatic attractions.

Enjoy unique entertainment at the La Gondola theatre which features performances of plays, cabaret shows, magicians and other interesting shows. Live music is also played in some of the bars onboard.

At the Atlantica Spa there are many treatments available from relaxing in the steam room to massage treatments from MSC’s experienced staff. A good aromatherapy session with chamomile and eucalyptus can be just the thing to remove stress and the Rasul chamber is highly recommended too.

For those who want to get some exercise on the ship, there is a gym with all the latest equipment and a view of the ocean. Outside of the spa, there is a rock climbing wall as well as a basketball/volleyball court.

UPCOMING ITINERARIES

Examples of itineraries planned for this ‘newest’ member of MSC’s fleet include 7 or 9 night winter sailings to the Canary Islands. For the summer months 5 or 7 night itineraries in the Mediterranean will be available with ports of call such as Ajaccio, Spezia, Marseille, Palma de Mallorca, Valletta, Messina and Salerno.

The most highly anticipated sailing for The Armonia is their Grand Voyage scheduled for the 25th of October 2015. This 20-night sailing is far from the typical repositioning cruise. Departing from Spezia, Italy the ship is planning stops in Europe that include Marseille and Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Malaga and Cadiz.

Then it is off to the Canary Island ports of Arrecife de Lanzarote and Santa Cruz de Tenerife before cruising the Atlantic to Salvador, Buzios, Ilhabela and Santos, Brazil.

She will remain in South America for the winter 2016 with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 night sailings before making a 19-night turnaround back to Italy on the 14th of March.

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