Wednesday, 30 April 2014
£599 -- Fantastic seven-night Mediterranean Cruise, inc Flights & Transfers
Norwegian Epic, Mediterranean: Broadway Traveloffers seven nights aboard Norwegian Epic on a full-board basis from £599pp visiting destinations such as Rome, Majorca, and Cannes.
Promising live acts, first-class facilities and superb accommodation, Norwegian Epic promises an unforgettable Mediterranean cruise. Amenities on board include an Aqua Park, five hot-tubs and two pools. The famous Blue Man Group offer hilarious comedy, techno music and lots of flying paint.
The price includes full-board cruise accommodation and flights from London to Barcelona. Based on two people sharing on selected dates between May and October.
More info www.broadwaytravel.com; 0800 088 7036
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Woke up in Chalons sur Saone, great breakfast of cold meats/ cheeses and fruit juice. On to our final trip - Beaune where we visited one of Frances jewels- the Hospices de Beaune. It was founded in 1443 by charitable Nicholas Rolin, Chancellor of Duke Phillip the good. A must see is the amazing painting of the last judgement by Rosier van der Widen and the great hall of the sick.
Walking out of the hospice we arrived in a maze of smells and produce - the weekly farmers market and flea market, plenty of things to taste and try including cheeses and saucisson as well as local mustards.
As an optional tour, Our very good friends decided to go on one of Uniworld's trips wine tasting in and lunch to in a chateaux owned by a Count. The chateaux has been passed down from one generation to another over 25 generations. Wine tasting in his candle lit cellar was followed by a lunch of Bouef Bourginon in the coach house, surrounded by original coaches! And guess what his day job was? You will love this an estate agent!
After returning to the ship, we set off back to Lyon with dinner travelling on the Soane.
A fantastic final dinner a bit of dancing, and an earlier night than usual to ensure that we managed to get up on time for our departure!
Azamara Club Cruises transformed luxury cruising by offering discerning guests longer stays, more overnights and night touring on nearly all of its voyages. It is once again evolving its Land Discoveries shore excursion programme with two new offerings aimed at culture-seekers. Beginning with the 2014 Europe season, guests seeking a more in depth, personalised destination experience can choose from two exclusive programmes that will immerse them in a destination through its people.
Azamara and its two intimate boutique ships are known for their hand-crafted voyages which discover the world through lesser-known and less travelled ports of call. Guests of Azamara are often port collectors looking for their next adventure to add to the collection.
For more information please call 0844 493 4016 or visit www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk.
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Costa Cruises enriches children’s entertainment programme with Canadian company
After last Christmas’ successful debut of Spin Master games on board Costa Pacifica and Costa Serena, the offer has been extended to the entire Costa fleet this month with the arrival of a new range of games on board.
Costa Cruises’ youngest guests will now be able to enjoy an especially fun-filled holiday on board Costa Fascinosa, Costa Favolosa, Costa Deliziosa, Costa Pacifica, Costa Luminosa, Costa Serena, Costa Magica, Costa Fortuna, Costa Mediterranea, Costa neoRiviera, Costa neoRomantica and Costa Classica with these fantastic games stimulating their curiosity while they interact with other children, parents and Costa Cruises staff.
This collaboration between Spin Master and Costa Cruises will continue into November 2014, with the launch of the fleet's new flagship, Costa Diadema.
More information: 0800 389 0622 and www.costacruises.co.uk
Woke up in another city, it was Frances number two city Lyon. After a breakfast of fresh blueberry pancakes and waffles, we set of for our tour of the old town exploring many secret passage ways which were used for hiding people in the 2nd WW by the resistance. We then headed to the amazing Basilica of Fourvieres. From the outside this is an attractive building but inside it blows your mind with gold mosaics and incredible stain glass windows depict icing biblical scenes. On top of this the view from the Hill of Fourvieres across Lyon is amazing.
We returned to the boat for a lunch of poached salmon oysters and champagne, our waist lines are expanding under the amazing temptations that the head chief offers on a daily basis!
The afternoon was spent sailing Shalons- sur- Aaone. Tonight was the gala dinner night, where we were served Chauteu Briande one of 7 courses! The regional wine from Burgundy flowed freely and it wasn't long until we started to dance to what was one of the best jazz French singers ever encountered. What a night of fun! We'll done Uniworld for an excellent culinary adventure with fun entertainment.
20th May 2014, 3 cities, 4 countries, 7 night Danube cruise, saving £ 780pp
Cruise from Budapest, visiting Bratislava and Vienna, before sailing through the picturesque Wachau valley visiting the magnificent monastery at Melk and the towns of Linz and Passau, disembarking in Vilshofen. This spectacular Danube cruise is now offered with a £780 pp saving, now £1789pp including free flights from London, transfers, breakfast, lunch and dinner on board with free flowing wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch and dinner, daily excursions and tours, free wi-fi, complimentary use of on board bicycles.
26th May 2014, 7 night Legendary Danube cruise, saving £730pp
Save £730pp off a week long luxury river cruise along the Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest, visiting Linz, Passau, Melk, Vienna and Budapest, watching the world pass by from panoramic windows and taking part in daily complimentary tours and excursions. The price of £1799pp includes flights from London, transfers, breakfast, lunch and dinner on board with free flowing wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch and dinner, daily excursions and tours, free wi-fi, complimentary use of on board bicycles.
Contact AmaWaterways on 0808 256 8422 www.amawaterways.co.uk
Monday, 28 April 2014
Celebrity Cruises has unveiled its 2015-16 sailings to Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, featuring over 70 destinations to choose from. With new ports of call including Mystery Island, Dutch Harbor, Beppu and Kanazawa and Vladivostok plus more overnight stays, guests can discover new exotic places in modern luxury style. Sailings are now open for booking.
For the first time, Celebrity Cruises will be offering its ‘cruise price promise’ on all sailings. This means that Celebrity Cruises is guaranteeing that all bookings made before 30 April 2014 will be protected by a lower price or promotion should it become available at a later date. Plus, Celebrity Cruises is also offering up to $400 onboard spend for each stateroom booking made. The cruise price and promotion promise is subject to terms and conditions.
More info: 0845 456 0523, visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk
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Princess Cruises’ latest addition to its fleet, Regal Princess, has achieved a major milestone in preparation for its first sailing on May 20, 2014. The 19 deck ship, which can accommodate 3,600 guests, has successfully completed its sea trials, which involved a series of steering, propulsion and navigation tests. Regal Princess will be ready for her maiden voyage from Venice, a seven-day Mediterranean sailing to Athens including stops in Corfu, Mykonos and an overnight call in Istanbul.
Throughout the summer the ship will continue to sail across the Mediterranean.
· 16 bars and restaurants including three dining rooms
· A luxury spa and fitness centre
· A dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship
· The ‘Chef’s Table Lumiere’, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light
· Balconies on all outside staterooms
Regal Princess has two additional features - access to the promenade on deck seven, which will enable guests to walk the length of the ship, and an additional swimming pool on the aft deck.
More info: 0843 373 0333, go to www.princess.com .
After a good night’s rest in what is possibly the best bed (Savoir of course) that I’ve ever slept in, we rose for a leisurely breakfast. Tournon beckoned us from the shore side and we met our guide Pierre to take a walking tour of the town before a wine tasting session with a local winery.
We meandered around the town taking in the cathedral, town hall and university before stopping at a beautiful restaurant with local artworks which was to be our wine tasting venue. We learned about the region, and their wines - in this case the Crozes Hermitage - with four wines to taste. It flowed freely and as we sat at the communal tables, we had time to make new friends who are avid river cruise fans from Boston.
As others made their way back to the boat for lunch, we detoured to the Valrona chocolate shop. Quite honestly there was no need to purchase a thing given how many free samples they were giving away but after sampling a fair few and some of their ‘chocolat chaud’ we left with two huge bags of goodies to take home pretending that the majority were gifts for friends and family!
We had to stop for one more taste of wine before returning to the ship for roast rib of beef or sandwiches of the runniest Brie and salad - and a touch more wine!
We then set sail and were treated to wonderful weather and the best scenery of the trip as we began our journey to Lyon encountering three of the fifteen locks of the trip.
Ever-innovative luxury specialist Crystal Cruises has released its comprehensive Worldwide Cruise Atlas for all of 2015 and early 2016, detailing the line’s 72 luxury cruises visiting all seven continents aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The 175-page brochure, artfully designed to commemorate Crystal’s 25th Anniversary, is also filled with additional cruise planning tools, from info about onboard programming to stylish accommodations. The “Destination Insider’s Guide” conveniently lists ports of call by country and is newly enhanced to include more local tips for destinations, boldly highlighting UNESCO sites in applicable destinations.
Throughout 2015 and into the first quarter of 2016, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity visit 235 ports in 75 countries, with 22 maiden calls in 2015 alone. Through 30th April 2014, all-inclusive Book Now cruise fares start at £1,410 per person for 2015 sailings and £2,190 for 2016 first quarter voyages.
More information and reservations 020 7399 7601 or visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk
Sunday, 27 April 2014
For the first time ever, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering Scottish guests the chance to take a convenient, no-fly cruise to the
Caribbean from ‘right on their doorstep’. The 32-night
‘Caribbean from Scotland’ cruise, W1521, on board 804-guest Black Watch, will depart from Greenock
(Glasgow) on 10th November 2014, and will take in 12 sun-drenched
islands, including Barbados, the
West Indies, St. Maarten and Antigua, to name but a few.
As an added incentive to book, Fred. Olsen is offering guests the chance to save on multiple cruise bookings; if they book before 7th May 2014, they can benefit from 20% off two cruises, and if they buy three or more cruises, they can save 30%
Prices for this exotic
Caribbean cruise start from just £2,799
per person, based on two adults sharing a twin, ‘Inside’ cabin, and include
accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, and port
More info: www.fredolsencruises.com 0800 0355 242
Marquesas Island adventure cruiser, the Aranui 3, will stop at the picturesque island of Takapoto in a change to the 2014 itinerary. This first stop on the cruise will be an idyllic introduction to the island cruise as passengers are invited to lunch on the white sand beach and to swim and snorkel in the crystal clear lagoon waters of this Tuamotu Archipelago island paradise. The new stop replaces the previous scheduled stop in Fakarava.
This new shore visit to Takapoto is the first scheduled stop of the cruise and is followed by an incredibly varied itinerary sailing to Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuta and Ua Huka in the Marquesas Islands.
The Marquesas Island itinerary has been created to ensure that guests experience the strong local island culture and unspoilt scenery, including the unexpected black sand beaches and steep, forest covered volcanic peaks - a stark contrast to the more traditional French Polynesian fringed atolls.
Further information and bookings for the Aranui 3 are available through Trailfinders www.trailfinders.com/ 020 7368 1300
Another superb breakfast where we enjoyed the special of the day, Scottish Eggs Benedict, and talked about the trip ahead around the quaint town of Vivier on foot. As with every trip we picked our ‘lucky dip’ number for a group and boy did we strike gold!
We met with our guide Frances in Vivier. She is a resident and the town is her ancestral home. She was a very knowledgeable lady who not only gave us a full and detailed tour of the town, but also regaled us with tales of the shortcomings of the town’s mayor which included ordering speed bumps and parking restrictions in a town with few cars and moving a WWII monument to a different location at a cost of €130,000. She gave us a real insider’s view of Viviers.
This excursion was designed to give us tourists a feel of a real French town and that is what we were getting, but what we weren’t expecting was to get a visit to Frances’s breathtaking home in the town, with an invitation to join her for rose wine and local duck rilletes and French bread in her secluded garden. What a treat that was.
After what was a real highlight of the trip we were back on board for lunch and then set sail for Tournon and a spot of sunbathing on deck.
The port talk for this evening was accompanied by a champagne and lavender liquor to get the pallet ready for the dinner - a seven course epicurean feast with matched wines. It was exceptional and as we docked in Tournon for the night, it left us ready for bed and a little lie in as we were starting our tour tomorrow at a respectable 10am.
More info: www.titantravel.co.uk 0800 988 5823
More info: www.titantravel.co.uk 0800 988 5823
Saturday, 26 April 2014
Avignon is the most preserved town I have ever seen. We have lots of historical monuments in England but few are as old and none are as well preserved. Our guide as previously was an expert on the history of this city and the surrounding region, again another hallmark we will associate with Uniworld in future.
The morning was a little tiring but very interesting and informative with a brief coffee or beer to refresh the parts that were starting to fade. After another delightful lunch we were off again and on our way to see La Pont d'Avignon, the most famous bridge in France - check the back of your next €5 note to see it featured. The second part of this trip was to the Chateauneuf du Pape Vineyard where we had an excellent tour with our vintner guide.
We returned to our haven the SS Catherine for freshening up before dinner and as usual had a sumptuous meal with ample helpings of wine, a short dance break on this occasion, before retiring early to bed ready for tomorrow’s adventures.
~ Guests to Play on Show Sets During 2014 Belfast Calls ~
While millions of fans immerse themselves in the fourth season of Game of Thrones, Crystal Cruises is unveiling a new Thrones-focused Crystal Adventure in the show’s key filming location, Northern Ireland. Crystal guests will explore several iconic production locations near Belfast, where they will step into mythical medieval life, shooting arrows, taking photographs with show costumes and learning how centuries-old castles and towers are transformed into sets for the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The half-day excursion is offered on the 24th August seven-night luxury cruise through the British Isles onboard Crystal Symphony and the 5th September 14-night Ireland/Iceland & New England Transatlantic voyage onboard Crystal Serenity.
The seven-night 24th August cruise sails from Dublin to Dover and visits Belfast, Londonderry, Galway, Cork, Portland and Saint-Helier. Until 30th April, all-inclusive fly/cruise “Book Now” fares start at £2,724 per person.
The 14th-night 5th September voyage sails from Southampton to Boston and Guernsey, Waterford, Dublin, Belfast, Reykjavíc (overnight), Halifax and Bar Harbor. Until 30th April, all-inclusive fly/cruise “Book Now” fares start at £3,839 per person.
Crystal Cruises on 020 7399 7601 or visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk
Friday, 25 April 2014
MSC Cruises is to strengthen its position in the Mediterranean with the deployment of MSC Divina in the region for summer 2015. The ship – one of MSC’s four flagship Fantasia-class vessels – will shift from its current base in the Caribbean from the end of April next year.
MSC Divina will operate 20 seven-night itineraries next summer, joining MSC Preziosa, MSC Fantasia and MSC Armonia in the Western Mediterranean. The move will increase MSC’s capacity in the entire Med to a total of 760,000 passengers, 75,000 of those on MSC Divina.
The ship will operate out of Rome (Civitavecchia) from May 16 2015 until October 3 2015. Seven-night round-trip sailings will take in La Spezia, Italy; Cannes, France; Palma, Majorca; Barcelona, Spain; Naples, Italy; and Civitavecchia. While in La Spezia, MSC Divina will offer late-night stays, allowing guests the option of visits to Pisa, Florence, Portofino and the Cinque Terre coast.
The ship will finish the Mediterranean season with a special 10-night cruise in October 2015, before returning to Florida for a third season of seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises beginning in November 2015.
www.msccruises.co.uk or call 0844 561 1955
· Carnival LIVE gets off to a strong start with sold-out debut concert
· 49 performance dates
· Wide variety of chart-topping artists
The Carnival LIVE Concert Series offers guests sailing on select Carnival Cruise Lines ships the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive onboard performance by a diverse roster of popular music artists while ships are docked at a port of call. Carnival has booked 49 performance dates for the 2014 concert series including the following artists:
· 38 Special
· Gavin DeGraw
· Jennifer Hudson
UK Reservations: 0845 351 0556 www.carnival.co.uk
Day 2 - Our first excursion to Arle:
The preparations for leaving the ship were unobtrusive, efficient and professionally executed and we were on our way in a matter of minutes. It was obviously a departure procedure practised to perfection. Within 20 minutes we were strolling with our guide through Arle, a delightful and interesting town. Our guide was faultless with perfect English, huge local and historic knowledge and she came from Denmark. How does that work?
We had a very interesting and enjoyable tour of just about the right duration and distance to travel. We then returned to the boat with similar faultless efficiency and set about lunch. We then sailed and slept part of the afternoon away.
Then it was time to dress for the Captain’s Dinner and arrive to partake of our start up cocktail. This was followed by a brief introduction to the Heads of Department and a briefing on tomorrow’s events. We had a very enjoyable dinner, eating far too much but then dancing the night away along with a significant number of unwanted calories.
The Glorious North West, departing 6 May 2014. Prices start from £2,495 per person for a seven-night cruise
The beauty of Scotland’s northwest is the stuff of legend and the ideal setting for an escape to nature and the sea. Cruise the extraordinary bird paradise of Handa and wonder at serene beaches on Harris and Skye’s ancient Dunvegan Castle on this voyage to the north and west.
Botanic Beauty of the West Coast, departing 13 May 2014. Prices start from £2,495 per person for a seven-night cruise
Experience the rich diversity of Scotland’s west coast gardens in the expert company of Maurice Wilkins, head gardener of the National Trust for Scotland’s Arduaine Garden. Visit some of the areas’ best kept secrets including Attadale in Wester Ross, Lip na Cloiche on Mull and Ardchattan Priory. Combine these with the more famous Dunvegan Castle and Inverewe Garden for a horticultural extravaganza.
Heritage of the Hebrides, departing 27 May 2014. Prices start from £2,995 per person for a seven-night cruise
Explore the history and heritage of this wild untamed land. There is evidence man has lived here for millennia with many ancient remains including Neolithic stone circles and burial cairns, early Christian settlements, ancient seats of Government, medieval castles, whisky distilleries and Victorian splendour, together with gardens bursting with colour, despite some rather inhospitable conditions.
For further information, visit www.hebridean.co.uk or call (01756) 704 700
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Explore the best of Europe and enjoy $200 onboard spend from Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas. Book an eight-night Barcelona to Venice fly-cruise priced from £825 per person (based on two people sharing an interior state room). Enjoy some of the tastiest meals at sea with Asian delights from Izumi or a personal chef experience at our exclusive Chef’s Table.
Price includes return flights from London Gatwick, transfers and an eight-night cruise departing from Barcelona and calling at Cannes , Villefranche , Florence/Pisa, Rome , Naples ), Kotor) and Split ) before disembarking in Venice ); meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees
Price is based on 9 May 2014 departure. Offer ends 30 April 2014.
For more information or to book call 0844 493 2061 or visit www.royalcaribbean.co.uk
Worldof Cruising managing director Chris Pitchford had never been on a cruise before this week. He and his wife decided to break their duck with a river cruise on Uniworld’s latest vessel, the elegant SS Catherine. He shares his thoughts and those of his friend John Dobson who joined them with his wife
" We arrived at the SS Catherine. What a sight to behold - absolutely fabulous. Check in was almost as easy as simply saying good morning. A quick scan of the passport and we were done and on our way. We had a quick look around the boat and settled in a very elegant and comfortable lounge for a few refreshing glasses of welcoming champagne.
A quick unpack and brief respite from travelling and we arrived back in the lounge for an evening briefing covering details of our luxury boat, safety, and the offshore tour opportunities. Our final challenge on day 1 was to do justice to an excellent dinner in a splendid dining room with oodles of quality champagne and wine, or for that matter almost anything you wanted.
Come back tomorrow to hear about our excursion to Arle and the Captain's Dinner!