See the 145th British Open with Celebrity Cruises
TEXT SIZE A + A -

Royal TroonCelebrity Cruises offers a fantastic selection of themed cruises and their recent 2015 British Open at St Andrews Golf Cruise in Edinburgh was no exception. Already interest is high for a similar cruise in 2016.

Witness the 145th British Open as it returns to Royal Troon in Ayrshire, Scotland and have a delightful experience onboard the Celebrity Silhouette too.

Celebrity has long been known for its cruises dedicated to golf with onboard golf clinics, teeing off on some of the worlds best fairways and visits to major tournaments. A new exciting sailing for golf enthusiasts will be taking place on July 13th 2016.

A spokesman for the cruise line is promising “to take the championship experience to the next level with an exclusive interactive event featuring two golf professionals”. Amateur and novice golfers will be able to test out their skills with the professionals on this twelve night itinerary.

The Royal Troon course was founded in 1878, initially with five holes. By 1888, it took its current form. Having hosted its first Open in 1923, this will be the Troon’s 9th time playing host. The prestigious course is designed similar to the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Royal Troon Golf Course

The British Open Championship is the biggest golf event of the year, where world class players like Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott amongst others get to test their skills on the best greens. The Open has been played since 1923 and continues to amaze even the most casual of golf enthusiasts.

The Celebrity Silhouette is a 122,400-ton, 2,886-passenger ship that came into service in 2011. The ship will depart from Amsterdam and head to the British Isles. Some of the ports include Dover, Liverpool, and Cobh in Ireland, Guernsey and Le Havre before heading back to Amsterdam.

Celebrity Silhouette

At the port of Greenock in Scotland, passengers can book a Celebrity Shore Excursion taking them directly to Ayrshire for the Open. You can follow the great masters at play throughout all 18 holes, including the world famous Postage Stamp hole.

Even after the championship has finished, passengers can pick up a few expert tips from the likes of Steve Parry and other professional players. There will be special facilities that offer cruise goers a chance to improve their golf skills at clinics and putting greens.

This themed cruise is also going to feature classes for novices; those looking to improve their swing would do well to attend them!

However, there are plenty of other sporting facilities and entertainment aboard the Celebrity Silhouette other than golf. Some activities include a gym with state of the art workout equipment, a jogging track and a fitness class for both Yoga and Pilates.

The ship also has many ways to relax with their comfortable lounges and nightly entertainment. The stage productions at the theatre are just first class with the ship’s highly acclaimed singers and dancers. Afterwards join in a celebration of royal fashion and a British rock party known as Reigning Rocks. There’s also a casino with the usual slots, blackjack and roulette wheels.

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub® has a huge variety on their spa treatment menu which is sure to refresh your mind and body. Indulge in a CelebrityLife program, which may consist of cooking demos, wine-tasting seminars, art talks in the Art Studio and the Beyond the Podium enrichment series.

Need some privacy or miss that at home back garden feeling? The Alcoves are cabanas that can accommodate up to four in a designated area called The Lawn Club. Lounge on comfy seating with a fresh fruit platter and preloaded iPad filled music, movies, games and magazines.

Silhouette Lawn Club

Of course, dining is pinnacle in the main Grand Cuvee Dining Room. For dinner, you can opt for early sitting at 6PM or later at 8:30PM. However, for those who appreciate a flexible meal time, then the “Celebrity Select Dining,” allows for dining anytime from 18:00 to 21:30.

Other alternative specialty venues for a varied dining pleasure include the French Continental ‘Murano’, the northern Italian steakhouse ‘Tuscan Grille’, a lighter touch of Mediterranean cuisine at ‘Blu’ and a 21st century style dining facility of ‘Qsine’. An iPad is utilised at the latter to see and order from the menu.

Join the best players in the world as they take on the famous links of Royal Troon. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only watch the pros but also get the chance to play with some on your cruise holiday. Bookings are now open and judging from the British Open 2015 cruise, another sell out is inevitable.

For more details or to book this cruise click here.

Images courtesy of Celebrity Cruises and Royal Troon Golf Club.

Written by

New Itineraries for Norwegian Star
TEXT SIZE A + A -

Norwegian Star

Norwegian Cruise Line recently announced plans for a major global expansion that will extend their reach to areas such as Asia, Australia/New Zealand and South America. These new itineraries will be available throughout the Autumn & Winter of 2016 and 2017.

This new development will be the first time Norwegian has visited the Far East since 2002. However, it will be a first for this freestyle cruise line to voyage to the Persian Gulf and India.

Norwegian’s president, Andy Stuart is looking forward to these new routes stating that: “We are truly excited to offer these incredible new itineraries to our guests, who now have the opportunity to explore areas of the globe that we haven’t called on in many years and some that we’ve never before visited”.

Exciting Ports And Schedules

Leading up to these new itineraries the Norwegian Star will sail from Istanbul on October 31st 2016 after a summer season of sailing through the Baltics.

This Eastern Mediterranean and The Gulf sailing will last for 20 days and will sail through areas such as Kusadasi to explore the Roman city Ephesus and Rhodes for Lindos and its Acropolis. Then it’s on to climb the majestic Mount Carmel in Haifa and swim in the Red Sea in Safaga, Egypt. This is followed by Aqaba, Jordan and Dubai.

After this voyage, the Norwegian Star will head to destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland.

On November 26th, the Star will set sail on a 21 day long “Journey to the East” itinerary which includes Singapore. Leaving from Dubai she will head to several ports in India as well as Abu Dhabi, Oman, Sri Lanka; Phuket, Thailand and Malaysia.

Then from December 2016 to January 2017, the ship has scheduled 11 and 14 day cruises through Southeast Asia, from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

The itinerary changes for its February 7th 2017 sailing when the Star departs from Hong Kong for Sydney, Australia making stops along the way at Bangkok, Bali and Komodo, Indonesia.

From there, the ship will do several tours through New Zealand and Australia, heading to ports like Melbourne and Burnie, Australia; and Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier and Tauranga, New Zealand.

A 19 day cruise leaves Auckland, New Zealand and takes the ship back to Singapore on February 18th, 2017 to exotic locales such as Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin, Australia; and Komodo and Bali, Indonesia; plus Kuala Lumpur.

From there, the ship makes its final tour to the west, on March 9, 2017 which will take 38 days. It can be split into two segments. The first part will be 18 days through Southeast Asia including Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia; Phuket; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Kochi (Cochin), Mangalore, Mumbai and Goa (Mormugao), India; Muscat and Khasab, Oman; Fujairah and Abu Dhabi.

Mumbai

Continuing on towards western waters is the 20-day segment departing on March 27th, 2017 from Dubai. This is an exciting venture to Venice via the Suez Canal. Embark in exotic ports such as the Fujairah Emirate and visit its extensive archeological site and impressive Al-Bidyah Mosque.

Check out all of the antiquity mixed with high rise buildings in Muscat and the subtropical city of Salalah in Oman. The Jordanian coastal city of Aqaba follows, along with Safaga and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Afterwards, disembark for a spell in Haifa, Crete, Dubrovnik, and the city of canals, Venice.

Book Early and Receive A Bonus

NCL is offering a Freestyle Choice promotion if booked by August 31, 2015. A variety of bonuses will make the trip even more desirable. Guests who book any stateroom can select an extra amenity for free.

The choices are a free Ultimate Beverage Package, a specialty dining package, a Wi-Fi package, free pre-paid gratuities, or Friends & Family Sail Free, where the third through to the eighth guest in each stateroom can even sail for free. All five offers are allotted free to those who book a suite.

Written by

What to see when docked in Genoa
TEXT SIZE A + A -

Genoa Italy

While never identified as a famous port like Rome, Naples or Venice; Genoa can certainly compete on many fronts. It is a highly rewarding destination, providing cruise holidaymakers with many things to see and do.

PORT OF GENOA

The port of Genoa, Stazione Maritima, serves container and cruise ships. It is a large harbour and can accommodate several ships on the same date and time. Stazione Maritima is the home port for MSC cruise ships but other major cruise lines have ships that dock here too.

The cruise port has several transportation options for you to get about. It’s also possible to walk to the city centre in 15 minutes. Taxis are available right outside of the terminal. However, there is also a metro stop by the port at the Principe metro station that will take you to the city centre or the old port. The local buses N° 9, 11 or 32 have stops at the port as well.

MSC Poesia and MSC Fantasia in Genoa

Image courtesy of MSC Cruises

THINGS TO SEE

There are many attractions to fill up your day in Genoa.

One of the things that the inhabitants of Genoa are most proud of is their ‘native son’. They call their city the ‘Land of Columbus’ since explorer Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 and raised here. The house is tucked away outside the city gates.

Genoa is Italy’s sixth largest city. However, the historic centre is compact and an easy walk. A good place to start once disembarking is the Porto Antico (the old harbour).

Acquario di Genova (aquarium) is conveniently located here. It was built specifically for Expo 92 and holds the title as the second largest aquarium in Europe. A biosphere known as “La Bolla” is a modernistic glass ball utilized as a conservatory for plants, as well as birds and insects.

Acquario di Genova

In its old town, it’s easy to be transported back to the Middle Ages, with the hilltop castle, the cathedrals and the narrow cobblestone alleyways. Medieval, Roman and Venetian architecture can be seen everywhere.

The San Lorenzo Cathedral or “Duomo” is Genoa’s oldest cathedral and dates back to the 5th or 6th centuries. This historical building has a black and white striped marble facade interior with Moorish influence. During the WW1, the cathedral was one of the few buildings that withstood attack without any damage. A British battleship fired a shell into it but it never exploded. The fuse and the shell are still intact and are visible in a corner of the nave.

A different fate bestowed the 19th century Teatro Carlo Felice (Opera House) located on Piazza de Ferrari, the city’s main square. During WW2, the building was severely damaged during the bombing raids throughout the city. The Opera House was restructured to its former glory and reopened in 1991 serving as a house of culture for ballet, opera and concerts.

The symbol of the city of Genoa is its Museo Laterna, a lighthouse dating back to medieval times. The lighthouse’s property houses an enormous museum which contains several artefacts related to Genoa’s vast history. The observation deck boasts a wonderful view.

Located on Via Garibaldi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was the home of the aristocracy. Today, it serves as a “museum street”, consisting of Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Tursi.

  • The Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) museum contains much of its original 17th Century furniture and impressive frescoes as well as a prestigious art gallery.
  • Palazzo Bianco (White Palace) houses the city’s premier art gallery.
  • Palazzo Tursi serves as home to Genoa’s city council but also plays hosts to several cultural events and art exhibitions.

After sightseeing, passengers find that shopping in the small shops in the old town is a perfect end to the day before heading back to the ship. Originating in Genoa is the much loved Pesto sauce with many shops selling it freshly sealed in a jar.

OTHER AREAS

Genoa serves as port to tour other areas such as the very picturesque Portofino on the Italian Riviera. On the Flower Riviera, another alternative is the Renaissance town of Savona.

The village, Portovenere is a picture perfect UNESCO World Heritage Site and belongs to the Cinque Terre. This is a collective name, meaning 5 lands for five picturesque villages located in a National Park along the Ligurian coast.

Portovenere

To visit any of these places outside of Genoa, arrange for a tour excursion from the ship’s tour desk or venture on your own via train from Genoa or by taxi.

CRUISE SHIP SEASON

Most cruise vessels call on Genoa from April to October. The exception is MSC, who have a ship in this charming home port year round.

WHO CALLS AT GENOA?

The following cruise lines offer itineraries that include Genoa:

  • Carnival
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean International

Written by

Costa’s Italian Style Cruising to make a Comeback!
TEXT SIZE A + A -

Costa Cruises Deck

Costa Cruises made headlines in the cruising industry recently with their announcement that everything old can be ‘new’ again.

According to Neil Palomba, President of Costa Crociere, the cruise line is going to go under an extensive rebranding to give it more of a connection to its Italian heritage.

The ‘Cruising Italian Style’ is coming back gradually to Costa after a long absence and much to the delight of previous passengers. “We are passionate and joyful in everything we do,” he added. “We want to create amazing experiences for our guests and we are proud to be Italian.”

Cruising Italian Style was a symbolic catch-phrase that set Costa Cruises apart from the rest. Costa has been around since 1860 but entered the passenger ship service in 1948. Competition was stiff but word quickly spread of Costa’s ability to provide superior food and friendly, efficient service establishing the foundation of Cruising Italian Style.

In the past 10 years or so Costa removed this specific identity and pursued what its parent company, Carnival Cruises and other major players in the industry were doing.

Whilst in 2014, during the delivery of the Costa Diadema, Costa has gone back to its success formula and is reinstating Cruising Italian Style fleet wide. Costa promises that it is more than just a tagline and the moment the voyage begins, guests will be Cruising Italian Style.

Costa Diadema in Trieste

What this means is to offer a truly authentic Italian experience with all the warmth and friendliness from the staff and crew.

The Italian connection continues with the return of the ‘Buon Viaggio Celebration’ (bon voyage party) which begins the cruise and ends with ‘Arriverderci Night’. This is just a sampling of what is to follow for the rest of the sailing.

Meet the captain at the ‘Buenvenuto A Bordo’ a cocktail party and become a national for fun at the ‘Festa Italiana.’ It is as if an Italian street festival has been transported to the water.

Play bocce, dance the Tarantella, create a Venetian mask or enter and have your face painted Italian-style. There will also be cooking demonstrations to pick up some authentic recipes to try at home.

Guests will notice a change with the exquisite cuisine made with the flavors and products of the Mediterranean nation. Italian specialties will touch on fare from Milan to Sicily and include gourmet pizza, pasta, frosty gelato, frothy cappuccino and steaming-hot espresso served in cozy, romantic bistros.

Costa Diadema La Piazza

Get ready for your Costa cruise with its version of the Roman Bacchanal. This is yet another favourite and signature nighttime Costa activity from its previous days of cruising Italian style. The Staff will see to it that guests are involved and having a fun time. Walk in the Bacchanal Parade with nothing but a toga wrapped around your body. A farewell talent show will finish off the sailing.

Other nations that share the Mediterranean with Italy are also well represented with the ‘Notte Mediterranea’. This is a special series based on other countries. Entertainment and buffets are themed to the country represented. It could be Spain, France, Greece and Turkey. Special “Guest Passports” are distributed and are stamped each night. Get all nights stamped and you can win a special discount on your next cruise.

Join in conga lines and dance to the rhythm of the steel drums with ‘Notte Tropical’. Complete with Italian flair this event includes ice carvings and tasting typical Cicchetti tapas.

Costa has been gradually pursuing this tagline since 2014, with menu revamps and different performers.

Costa is also aiming to increase their market in Asian waters, with four ships heading to there in 2016.

According to Palomba, the changes are coming as “We needed to take advantage of this increasing demand by adding more ships to the Asian market”.

The new neoCollection fleet which will be a premium Costa experience consists of neoClassica, the neoRiviera, and the neoRomantica which are set to go on longer sailings and to more exotic destinations.

Costa believes its vision of returning to its previous signature ‘Cruising Italian Style’ will make the line the “most successful and profitable brand in Europe while exceeding guest expectations.

Images courtesy of Costa Cruises

Written by

The Spanish Port of Vigo
TEXT SIZE A + A -

Spanish Port of Vigo

Many cruises that sail from the Med to the north will stop at the Port of Vigo. Located on the Atlantic coast the Spanish port ranks first in passenger traffic across the north of Spain.

That claim has been held for the last five years and the port has an annual average of more than 215,000 passengers.

Since 2009, the government invested in the port with improvements in functionality and efficiency and a major refurbishment and renovation of the docks. Every year since then, the Port of Vigo receives visits from nearly every major cruise line.

Getting Around in Vigo

The cruise port of Vigo is within walking distance of the historic city centre. The main Tourist Office is located opposite the cruise port where you can pick up maps and be steered towards the major points of interest.

If you wish to tour outside of the city, a train from the main station will suffice. It is faster to reach the station by taxi. However, those who enjoy a brisk walk can be there in about 20 minutes.

Independence of the Seas in Vigo

What to See in Vigo

Vigo is a historic city that has gained popularity in the cruise world due to its close vicinity with Santiago De Compostela as well as several other historical sites. As soon as you you step out of the cruise port, you will see an enormous shopping centre, a perfect place to look at the latest fashion or possibly purchase a memento of your time in Vigo.

A quick walk through the Avenia de Castillo promenade will drop you right at the historic centre with a plethora of activities for sightseeing.

Spain is a prime location to view ancient churches and there are two of note in Vigo. The Santa Maria de Castrelos dates back to the 13th century and La Colegiata de la Santa Maria la Mayor, which is from the 16th century.

Housed in a former courthouse, complete with a jail, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Vigo’s collection offers the most modern and daring art.

Witness one of the oldest and most famous fish markets in the Galician region of Spain at the Mercado de Berbes. Watch the auction and sale of such specialities as spider crabs, octopi and fresh turbot.

The Castro fortress was constructed to protect the city and dates back to 1665 and is another popular photo spot.

La Colegiata de la Santa Maria la Mayor

Visit Santiago de Compostela

There’s no better opportunity than to do an excursion to Santiago de Compostela. At one time, this was one of the most important religious sites in the world where travellers from around the world would make pilgrimages. Many today still follow those footsteps of the past.

The city offers a unique experience in its UNESCO World Heritage old town with the cathedral being a standout. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is said to contain the remains of St. James, who is one of Christ’s 12 Apostles. Just looking at all the carvings and religious icons on the wall can take up the entire excursion.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

A prominent landmark in Santiago de Compostela is Palacio de Raxoi located directly across from the cathedral. The Neo-classical design structure dates from the 18th Century.

The Palacio de Xelmírez is 12th Century Romanesque architecture. Inside its vaulted ceilings is unique and decorated with scenes of a medieval feast.

Be adventurous with the palate and sample ‘pulpo’. This is cooked octopus and is one of the local delicacies that are famous in Santiago.

Other sightseeing options include the Cies Islands, a series of islands that will take you to some great beaches. There’s also an extensive nature reserve, perfect for taking photos of the exotic wildlife.

Written by