How to Match Your Personality to a Cruise
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How do you know if your personality matches a cruise? Determining which cruise line is the right fit is one of the most significant parts of a successful cruise holiday.

Cruise lines tailor their activities to accommodate passengers, but each individual line tends to have their own demographics for their average passenger. Nothing could turn somebody off a cruise holiday in the future if the most recent did not meet expectations.

There are cruises designed to suit virtually every niche, interest and personal preference. There are those tailored for special interests. Those specialising in unique destinations or those that are more port intensive will offer less days at sea.

Many cruise lines create special “themes” on board, with the focus on cultural enrichments ranging from cooking side by side with renowned chefs, golf clinics with pros, celebrity talks and murder mysteries to solve whilst at sea. If something like this is not of interest, booking this type of cruise holiday could turn out to be a big mistake.

Are you a people person or someone happy to just spend quality time with a companion or on your own? That can make a difference towards the success of your cruise holiday too.

Examples of cruise holidays can range from luxury yacht style vessels, mega-ships with an array of recreational facilities and entertainment, classic and traditional ships reminiscent of days gone by, river cruises and special interest or exploration cruises heading to Antarctica.

It all boils down to a matter of personal taste. Below is a brief list of some of the more popular lines to see if their personality matches yours.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Party lovers everywhere will enjoy the fun activities and fun, fun, fun that takes place on each of the 24 fleet members. Appealing and designed to a younger demographic, these ships are filled with eye catching décor of neon colours and million dollar Las Vegas styled productions. Night time is when the ship comes alive with plenty of venues of all types pumping out the music.

Cunard Line

This line is perfect for those that want an elegant and British experience. This company has been offering a royal treatment to customers since the 1840s with their names such as Mary, Victoria and Elizabeth being iconic in the cruising industry. It is no surprise, then, that they are well known for their elegant British charm and excellent service, to the extent that afternoon tea is served by cruise members with white gloves. They are also well known for transatlantic crossings from Southampton to New York and back.

Afternoon Tea

Image courtesy of Cunard Cruises

Disney Cruise Line

Families looking for a great cruise holiday would do well to look at this line. All of the Disney magic and quality can be seen everywhere on these 4 ships, including the portholes which display animated scenes. Amazing musical productions can be enjoyed, the children’s clubs are top of the range and don’t forget to disembark on Castaway Cay.

Fred.Olsen

Another favourite of the British passenger, Fred Olsen appeals to those couples and singles over 60 and is in line with the traditional cruise ships of the past, where passengers still dress up for dinner. During school holiday times, the Braemar can become a huge family reunion. During this period there are just as many activities for the adults as there are for the grandchildren.

MSC Cruises

MSC has an Italian flavour but has been trying to reinvent itself and in the past attracted retirees. With the number of state-of-the-art enhancements made on their newer ships, they are gearing towards a new market of families with children. Activities onboard include a Formula 1 Simulator and the 4D Cinema on-board the Divina and its affiliation friendly companies such as Chicco® and LEGO®.

MSC Formula 1 simulator

Image courtesy of MSC Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line

Whether you’re a food connoisseur or just someone that likes to go out and eat, Norwegian will be a good cruise line for you. There are over 20 different specialty restaurants that serve everything from Parisian cuisine to a teppanyaki style meal on each of the 11 ships in their fleet. Their ships keep getting bigger and bigger and the amenities are aimed to impress with plenty of ‘firsts at sea’.

Princess Cruises

Romantics are going to be flocking to Princess Cruises, which is popular amongst honeymooners and newlyweds. The 17 ships that make up Princess’s fleet are specially designed to accommodate those that are looking for a beautiful getaway. Princess offers  stunning locations, a contemporary look and classy service.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

If you want to be pampered to your heart’s content, try a Regent cruise. All 3 of their ships have complementary goods that are sure to impress, with fine dining, wine and spirit tasting and even complementary shore trips that go off the beaten path. This is six star cruising at it’s best!

Royal Caribbean

Want to have a sporty experience that is sure to leave you exhausted in a good way? If so Royal Caribbean could be the right choice for you. Just a few of the thrilling activities that can be found on their ships include a rock-climbing wall, surfing pool, ice-skating rink, bungee trampolines, a boxing ring and even a zip-line that stretches above the pool deck. There is also an extensive gymnasium in the spa area on all of their ships.

Rock Climbing with Royal Caribbean

Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruises

Matching your lifestyle and personality to a cruise holiday is the best recipe for an outstanding time.  Do some research and speak with others. Before you know it, you will book a cruise holiday year after year.

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The 10 Largest Cruise Ships
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allure of the seas

Never before have so many mega-shops been at sea. With their obvious success formula for passenger enjoyment and the cruise industry’s profits, there are more on the way.

THE LARGEST SHIPS OF THE PAST

Cruising dates back further than most people realise to the 19th century, where passenger ships transported people across the Atlantic. The largest cruise ship of that time held only 241 passengers.

The first pleasure cruise ship would naturally be the largest and the man who had the vision to pursue this further was Albert Ballin. Constructed exclusively by Hamburg-America Line in 1900, the Prinzessin Victoria Luise was geared towards luxury travellers and was known as a large yacht rather than a steam ship. It was the largest cruise ship built up to that point at 4,409 gross register tons.

White Star’s RMS Celtic in 1901 was one of the first ships to weigh over 20,000 GT. It was later surpassed by White Star Line’s very own Cedric, being 100 tons heavier. Cedric retained the tile of the world’s largest ship not only in weight but biggest ship in length.

As the popularity of transatlantic crossings increased, so did the size of the ships. Perhaps the best known ship of this era and the largest was the RMS Titanic. With a length of 269.06 m and a weight of 52,310 gross tons, the Titanic famously sank before she could complete her journey.

In 1961 it was the SS France who ruled the seas as the largest passenger vessel in the world, at 1,035 ft. and 66,343 GT. She was later purchased by NCL and became the SS Norway and was considered the first ‘mega-ship’ to sail in the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean unveiled their first Sovereign-class ship, Sovereign of the Seas at 73,192 GT. Sovereign was at the top of the biggest cruise ship ranking at the time of her maiden voyage on January 16, 1988.

They and Carnival were the pioneers that added plenty of glitz and glamour and included the now commonplace glass elevators and multi-story atriums.

THE 21ST CENTURY

NCL’s CEO, Colin Veitch tells it straight as to why there are more mega-ships than ever before. “The thing that’s attractive about bigger ships is you have more choice and variety on board. We make a lot more money on them. Ticket revenue and on-board revenue is dramatically higher on larger ships than on smaller, older ships.”

Those on a holiday onboard a mega-ship can experience on-board activities, dining and accommodations that could rival the most luxurious resorts on the ground. Cruise lines are getting bigger: currently, there are more than 60 cruise ships with a gross tonnage exceeding 100,000.

Gone are the days of the old squeezed in steam ship cabin as seen in the Marx Brothers ‘A Night at the Opera’. Dining  options are amazing and there may be simulators onboard for instance where you can learn to surf or maybe take part in some rock climbing. The best part for any passenger booked on these floating hotels is that they get to experience a number of destinations too.

Both RCCL and Norwegian Cruise Line rank as having the most ships on the 10 largest cruise ships list at present. Other lines have taken notice of their success and are experimenting with the ‘bigger is better’ concept.

TEN LARGEST CRUISE SHIPS AT SEA

The list is ranked by gross tonnage rather than length or passenger count. As of this writing the 10 largest cruise ships are:

1. Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2010): 225,282 gross tonnage; 5,412 passengers.

2. Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2009): 225,282 gross tonnage; 5,412 passengers.

3. Quantum of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2014): 168,666 gross tonnage; 4,180 passengers.

4. Norwegian Epic (Norwegian Cruise Line 2010): 155,873 gross tonnage; 4,100 passengers.

5. Freedom of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2006): 154,407 gross tonnage; 3,634 passengers.

6. Liberty of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2007): 154,407 gross tonnage; 3,634 passengers.

7. Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2008): 154,407 gross tonnage; 3,634 passengers.

8. Queen Mary 2 (Cunard 2004): 148,528 gross tonnage; 2,592 passengers.

9. Norwegian Breakaway (Norwegian Cruise Line 2013): 146,600 gross tonnage; 3,988 passengers.

10. Norwegian Getaway (Norwegian Cruise Line 2014): 145,655 gross tonnage; 3,910 passengers.

FUTURE MEGA SHIPS

Will these 10 hold the record? There are new ships debuting soon not only from RCCL or NCL but other companies as well. Some of them will knock a few off of the list.

Anthem of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2015) 167,800 gross tonnage; 4,100 passengers.

Britannia (P&O Cruises 2015) 141,000 gross tonnage; 4,100 passengers.

Norwegian Escape (Norwegian Cruise Line 2015) 163,000 gross tonnage; 4,200 passengers.

Ovation of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International 2016) 167,800 gross tonnage; 4,100 passengers.

TBA (Star Cruises 2016) 150,000 gross tonnage; 4,500 passengers.

TBA (Royal Caribbean International 2016) 227,700gross tonnage; 6400 passengers – scheduled to be the largest in the world.

The cruise lines continue to flourish and thrive with technological and societal innovations and will continue to do so.

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Upcoming Sailings to Pique the Interest
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Cruise goers are always looking forward to new experiences and the cruise lines are only too happy to oblige. The following three ships are just a small example of what ideas they have been coming up with.

NORWEGIAN JEWEL’S ADVENTUROUS NEW PORT

Norwegian cruise line plan to be the first cruise line to forego Roatan Bay Islands in Honduras and instead head to the first mainland cruise port known as Banana Coast Trujillo. The port of call promises an authentic Caribbean experience far away from rows of hotels and shops. The true beauty and culture of this new destination will be a first for many of their loyal guests.

Trujillo Honduras

“Trujillo is an alternative to Roatan which is an island – this opens up mainland Honduras for the first time” stated Honduras Tourism Minister Emilio Silvestre.

The Banana Coast‘s natural diversity is waiting to be discovered with waterfalls, mountains and tropical rainforests. Norwegian plans to cater for passengers with 15 varied shore excursions geared to meet everyones interests.

The Guaimoreto Lagoon Nature Reserve boasts rare species of hummingbirds and spoonbill. Diving is optimum in this region and the coastal waters contain exceptional coral reefs that are teeming with marine life. Family-oriented snorkeling excursions will be made available and if you are seeking a ‘wet and wild’ adventure you can try your hand at white-water rafting.

There are many historical areas to visit that will give you a new perspective of the country. The Bay of Trujillo was the first mainland landing spot in 1502 during Christopher Columbus’s final voyage. Many artifacts pertaining to Honduran history can be viewed in the local museum. You can even visit an indigenous Garifuna tribe.

The 2,376 passenger Norwegian Jewel will call on Banana Coast Trujillo weekly during the months of October and November through to April of next year.

Other ships such as Holland America Line’s Ryndam, SilverSea’s Silver Shadow and P&O Cruises Adonia will also be making the journey shortly after.

A GRAND VOYAGE BACK TO EUROPE WITH MSC DIVINA

In 2015, the MSC Divina will prove that all roads lead to Rome including those upon the water. The goddess of the seas, MSC Divina is the third ship in the Fantasia Class.

Christened by international screen legend Sophia Loren in Marseille, France in 2012, the ship was going to remain ‘permanently’ in the Western Hemisphere. Her itineraries were exclusively for the Caribbean.

However, changes do take place and the CEO of MSC Cruises; Gianni Onorato announced that MSC Divina is returning to her European roots during the summer months. She will have her first Grand Voyage on 26 April, 2015.

The Grand Voyage is more than an exclusive ocean cruise across the Atlantic according to MSC. Taking a leisurely 20 nights, this one promises plenty of quality time in each port of call.

The Voyage departs from Miami and makes a call in New York for two full days and an overnight stay. She then sails to Bermuda for some fun in the sun before continuing on to Ponta Delgada in the Azores, next is two days and an overnight stay in Lisbon and then on to Cadiz, Barcelona and Naples before ending up in Civitavecchia (Rome).

New York

If the Grand Voyage is too long you can experience life onboard the MSC Divina with seven-night itineraries in the Med beginning on the 16th of May through to the 3rd of October 2015.

MSC Divina features 1,751 staterooms and contains a casino, five swimming pools, a 4-D Cinema, Formula 1 Simulator, the first Aqua Cycling at Sea and seven restaurants with 18 bars and lounges.

In November 2015, MSC Divina returns to Miami to continue her familiar seven-night Caribbean sailings after a one month stint in dry dock.

RHAPSODY OF THE SEAS WILL SAMBA IN THE OTHER AMERICA 

The cruise world is buzzing with the news that Royal Caribbean has a new exciting South American itinerary in store.

The company announced that their luxurious ship, the 2,040-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas will be deployed under the Equator in South America from the 5th of December 2015 to the 10th of April 2016. According to the corporation, it will be centred mostly on the Brazilian area. Starting out of Santos, the sailing will go on a seven day journey to cities such as to Punta Del Este, Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires Argentina

In addition, the company will offer shorter 3 to 5 night mini-cruises. However, there will also be a special New Year’s celebration cruise that will allow their passengers to witness firsthand the Copacabana Beach in Río de Janeiro’s spectacular firework display.

Other exciting trips include a 14 night trip through areas such as Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. Apart from visiting some of the aforementioned areas, the ship will also head through the Chilean Fjords, the Strait of Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Cape Horn and Puerto Madryn.

The Vision-class ship was refurbished in 2012 and after dry dock additional staterooms were added plus an outdoor movie screen joined other shipboard favourites such as a Ben & Jerry ice cream parlour, full-service spa, specialty dining venues and two swimming pools.

Royal Caribbean has put a lot of stock into South America in the expectation that it will continue to be very successful in the future.

Cruise lines always hope that a cruise passenger will become a repeat customer. To entice them, they will continue to serve up new and innovative sailings.

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A New Dining Experience on Norwegian Cruise Lines
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norwegian next dining

Norwegian Cruise Lines have been extremely innovative in their dining facilities over the past ten years. After all, they were the first line to use the phrase “FreeStyle Dining”. When first launched, the program limited itself to an assigned area in the main dining room. This allowed passengers to dine whenever they wished between 17:30 and 22:00, thus making the whole eating experience a lot more flexible.

Dress codes were relaxed from the formal evenings of the past, although the management still frowned upon inappropriate dress, such as shorts and vest type tops.

FreeStyle Dining quickly became a ‘buzzword’ in the cruise industry and forced other cruise lines to take notice and follow Norwegians lead.

After this Norwegian upgraded their dining options with an array of specialty restaurants. The entire fleet has at least six alternative specialty restaurants in each of their ships including the Japanese hibachi-style restaurant “Teppanyaki and the “Cagney’s Steakhouse” both of which are firm favourites with their regular and new passengers.

In 2014 Norwegian made it more affordable for all passengers to experience these restaurants with the introduction of a prepaid specialty dining option known as the Ultimate Dining Package.

THE NORWEGIAN NEXT PROGRAM

The corporation recently announced to the media, their Norwegian NEXT program. Much to the delight of their loyal passengers the menus will be revamped and improvements made in all the dining areas.

Norwegian NEXT began earlier this month, and promises to present more regional focused menus as well as a larger and updated version of their most popular dishes. The menus will also have helpful tips and recommendations from the ship’s chefs on what to order as well as good wine pairings for each dish. For total ‘foodies ‘and gourmets, the full culinary history of what is being served will be provided as well.

Contemporary dishes with an exceptional variety are now available on the menu. Appetizers and entrees such as the Tuna Crudo, Beef short ribs with Cajun shrimp, Atlantic scallops seared with fennel puree are just a few examples. For seafood lovers, there’s good news as more seafood dishes have been added including an increase in sushi and crab onboard.

Norwegians Tuna Crudo

Nothing is forgotten, not even desserts, Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to offer a special dessert event on every ship. The “Chocoholic Night”, which will be held randomly during the cruise, will allow passengers to sample over 7 delectable chocolate desserts. Everything from an enormous chocolate volcano to a pot de crème made with Nutella or even white chocolate strawberry mousse.

Some of the restaurants such as O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, which is located on the ships Getaway, Breakaway, Epic and Jewel, will be offering specialty dish nights as well. A few of the best meals from the restaurants will be free of an excess charge to encourage more passengers to sample these delights.

O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill

Besides all these progressions, their trademark FreeStyle Dining remains intact.  However, passengers will now have the ability to book restaurants up to 90 days in advance and can request a table for up to 12 people. Dining times are in specific slots on the half hour from 17:30 to 20:30.

Norwegian Cruise Line has truly pulled out all the stops to make their menu systems and dining facilities as desirable as possible with this program. The new dining menus and enhancement concepts have begun on most ships. They will be available system wide for the entire fleet by early 2015.

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A look at the Norwegian Epic
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Norwegian Epic

Out of the many ships available these days, one that stands out is the Norwegian Epic.The major cruise lines are continuously pushing the boundaries with innovations on board their ships and Norwegian cruise line are no different.

Difference in cabins

With seven categories of staterooms and twenty-nine different configurations, each one provides a different experience for holidaymakers.

The first thing you will notice when you arrive in your cabin is how good the decor and space settings are. The suites contain a ceiling window that will provide unforgettable sights of the stars at night. With a new system of family villas, guests are secured privacy around the ‘Member’s Only’ pool that has several Jacuzzis, and a relaxation area called Villas Courtyard. There is an adjacent upmarket lounge area as well called “The Epic Club”.

For the fitness minded cruise passenger, the SPA Deluxe Staterooms come with their very own key card which gives you access to the “Mandara Spa and Fitness Centre”.

Epic Haven Suite

The Norwegian Epic has a good number of studio cabins designed for the solo traveler. Prior to this concept a single passenger either had to share a cabin or pay double occupancy fees. This option makes it very affordable for those who travel by themselves.

Dining options

Norwegian cruise line are well known for their Freestyle Cruising concept, which came out ten years ago and revolutionised the entire industry. It is good to start off by heading to one of the many specialty restaurants. Options include the New York style supper club “The Manhattan Room“, the classic steakhouse “Cagney’s“, or “La Cucina“ which provide al dente meals prepared as old-world Tuscan fare.

There are also plenty of Asian restaurants which consist of the sushi bar “Wasabi“, the exciting “Teppanyaki“ bar where food is cooked right in front of you and an all-time favourite known as the “Shangha“, perfect if you want a variety of dim sum and other Chinese specialties.

Wasabi Sushi Bar

Freestyle dining means there is no dress code, with many of the eateries onboard. Smart casual is the order of the day. Have a quick bite or snack, during the day at several casual dining venues spread throughout the ship. Of course, 24 hour room service is available with meals delivered right to the cabin.

Recently NCL has introduced a pre-paid specialty dining option as an add-on to the price of the cruise which allows you to dine in almost any speciality restaurant for a set fee.

Activities and entertainment

There are so many activities and shows onboard the Epic; you will never become bored.

Some of the main attractions are the Aqua Park, a thrilling experience with its enormous Epic Plunge water slides, 2 pool areas and a children’s only pool. There’s a two storey high sports and gaming complex nearby with every arcade game and sport imaginable. Indulge in games such as basketball and hockey in their accurate arenas. The sports complex offers even more obscure sports such as a Squash court and a boxing ring.

epic water slide

The “Spider Bar” is a fun wall climbing attraction that allows visitors to test their balance and arm strength. There’s Bowling, as well as, a casino with all sorts of gaming tables and slot machines.  A wide variety of shows at the Main Theatre play each evening.

A Cirque du Soleil style show awaits visitors at the Spiegel Tent but for a more mellow experience, listen to the jazz music and comedy revue at the Fat Cats club.

The ICE Bar on board is the perfect place to chill out and cool off after a long day. One of only 14 bars carved out of ice in the world, the temperature sits at 17 degrees. Luckily, the fur hats, coats and gloves are provided to keep you warm.

Never mind a floating hotel, the Norwegian Epic is a 4,100-passenger vessel that can be considered a city. Traveling onboard the this ship will seem more like a land holiday resort rather than a cruise ship.

Images courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines

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