Tag Archives: sailings

Everything you need to know about Celebrity Cruises’ post-Covid UK sailings

Is the gym and spa open as normal?

In the large gym, which has running and cross-trainer machines at floor-to-ceiling windows along the front and two sides of the ship, wearing a mask was a personal choice – after all it’s difficult to run in one – but the gym staff all wore masks. To ensure social distancing some of the machines were out of action and everybody was encouraged to clean them after use, although staff were also constantly cleaning.

Normally passengers can nip into the gym any time they like, 24 hours a day, but a maximum of 30 were allowed in at one time and hour-long slots had to be booked for the opening hours, which were from 6am to 10pm because they had to be staffed.

The gym had been refreshed during Celebrity Silhouette’s major “Revolution” refurbishment last year and, apart from the new flooring, has six Peloton bikes for those who either have membership already or want to subscribe while onboard. There were also new yoga classes designed by US yoga guru Katie Brauer, which are among the paid-for fitness classes available.

The spa had a few Covid restrictions that will be lifted when possible, including a limit to the number of passes sold for the Perfume Garden, which has heated ceramic loungers plus steam room and sauna. Aqua class passengers get free access to this facility, for which others have to pay $ 49 a day or $ 169 for seven nights, but only 10 passengers were allowed in at one time and they had to book hour-long slots.

Also, during treatments you had to wear a mask unless you were having a facial and, of course, all staff wore masks.

Has the Revolution upgrade made any difference?

Boarding Celebrity Silhouette was like getting on a brand new ship. It was immaculate, with no tired-looking décor remaining.

Much of this is down to British interior designer Kelly Hoppen’s work in reinventing the public spaces. Hoppen also designed the new Resort Lounge for suite passengers, which serves a lovely afternoon tea and has free snacks and drinks all day for its guests.

The very sophisticated Retreat Sundeck was even nicer, with cabanas, loungers and outdoor sofas plus a free bar.

Celebrity Cruises’ new Always Included policy means there are free drinks and wifi for all guests and no daily gratuities. For premium brands, though, you can upgrade to an ELEVATE package and for unlimited streaming wifi you can upgrade to an INDULGE package.

Other new venues created by the Revolution include Craft Social, a sports bar with 40 craft beers, where you can buy tasting experiences for beer or wine.

There’s also a new Entertainment Court Bar outside the theatre, for pre-show or after-show drinks, and updates to the Lawn Club, Sunset Bar, Solarium and Fitness Centre.

The spa has a new Quartz Bed – the first at sea was on Celebrity Edge – for Hot Mineral Body Boost or Power Pulse massages. And all staterooms and suites have been redesigned with new carpet, furnishings and mattresses.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

MSC Cruise boss 'confident' UK sailings prove holidays 'are safe' – optimism for June 21

On the Thursday evening MSC Cruises’ new flagship MSC Virtuosa departed UK shores, Mr Paradiso recalls “many smiling, happy faces”, as well as some tears of joy. “I’ve seen many, many customers being emotional because it means so much to be onboard of a cruise ship again after 15 months,” he told Express.co.uk.

While MSC cruise guests were still able to enjoy many of the traditional aspects of a luxurious cruise – an array of restaurants boasting global cuisines, opulent bars and dazzling stage productions – all of these are conducted in line with Covid-safe regulations.

This begins with pre-departure testing, which MSC have already made progress towards streamlining.

“The first embarkation took a tiny bit longer but I was still very happy with the results because the average time to board the ship, including a swab test which is the most time-consuming part of the embarkation process, was one hour and 10 minutes,” explained Mr Paradiso.

Since then, MSC staff managed to slash this time to just 37 minutes by their second sailing.

“We’ve made a few tweaks because we’ve learned a lot. Also terms of guests flow and paperwork that we have we have to check – passport, travel insurance, proof of vaccinations, etcetera,” continued the cruise boss.

“So we have improved our already smooth embarkation process.”

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Once onboard, guests can expect social distancing in public areas and face masks where this cannot be achieved.

“What I keep on saying to everyone is that yes there are some small changes, but the overall onboard experience remains exactly the same,” he explained.

“Yes, when there are public areas or when they are walking from one part of the ship to another, guests are kindly asked to wear face masks.

‘If they use the lifts we don’t accept more than four people at a time in our lifts just to make sure that there’s plenty of distance between each customer.

“But other than that, the second you sit at a restaurant or you sit at the bar, you can remove your face mask and just enjoy your cocktail or your meal.

“I think people, after a couple of hours, actually forget that we have all of these measures in place because I think we’re so used to them after the 14 or 15 months of Covid.”

Combined with pre-embarkation testing, Mr Paradiso says these measures create a “safe bubble onboard the ship”.

“We want to make sure that everyone is safe at all times,” he said.

“All in all, excluding a few changes here and there, the overall experience hasn’t changed at all.”

With the first sold-out four-day sailing having proved such a success, welcoming 1,000 passengers to enjoy their first cruise holiday since the first lockdown, Mr Paradiso believes it will encourage travel on a wider scale.

In fact, he believes these changes could be just weeks away.

According to Mr Paradiso, though, while the social distancing and testing requirements in place may be a little different to cruises of the past, they act as proof “it is safe to go on holiday”.

“MSC Virtuosa was a message of hope for everyone, not only the cruising industry but for the wider travel industry,” he said.

“It’s all about restarting again and building that confidence. That’s why it was so important for us you know to get the first few sailings right, just to prove to the world that it’s actually safe to go on a cruise ship and it is actually safe to go on holiday.”

He continued: “You may need to respect some safety measures, but I think it’s about time we start travelling again. I’m optimistic and I’m confident that things will just get better and better.

“With Virtuosa we’ve proven to the world that travelling is safe if you just follow some very basic rules, and I’m hoping that from June 21 many of these restrictions will be lifted.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Princess Cruises UK sailings boosted by 'luxurious' hands-free service – no more queues

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

While most cruise lines may have on pause for more than a year amid the coronavirus pandemic, many are returning to sailing with the launch of an array of UK itineraries. Among them is Princess Cruises, which is embarking on a host of UK sailings from Southampton beginning in July.

“I think it was five ships, pre-Covid and then every single ship as they come back will be fully Medallion enabled. So it is absolutely a consistent feature for our brand going forward.”

Along with reducing the need for touch-points and helping to enhance social distancing, the Ocean Medallion also promises a new opulent way to cruise.

“Before Covid we were really excited that the Ocean Medallion was going to help us to offer personalised guest experiences and really just remove some of those friction points that you have as part of your holiday but actually now in this post-COVID environment, as well there are additional enhancements that really help,” Mr Roberts said.

“Guests can enjoy things like a touch-less embarkation process or contactless payment on board.

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“Even your cabin door unlocks automatically as you walk up to it so that you don’t have to pull out your key card and touch it to a sensor.”

However, along with ensuring guests can enjoy more contact-free opportunities onboard, it also means lining up at the bar or even journeys to the shop might be a thing of the past.

“There’s really nice features around being able to not having to queue,” continued Mr Roberts.

“We have a feature called Ocean Now which means that you can order food or drink, or indeed just something that you need, from where you are anywhere on one of our servers will bring it to you.

“They asked for it nice and cold and a fresh bottle, and then they were in a completely different bar and location on the ship a day later they ordered a glass of champagne on the app.

“The server bought it to them and said: ‘Just how you like it, cold and I opened a fresh bottle.’

“Those preferences practices were stored into the system.”

Mr Roberts added: “It’s really a very personalised and luxurious experience.”

The app also has the ability to locate members of the same party; whether that is to meet up with a friend for dinner, or to keep an eye on the kids.

“If you’ve got kids or if you’ve got an extended group of six friends on board there is never a time where you won’t know where everyone is, or you can’t catch up with the group,” said the cruise boss.

“You’re able to see where your party are at all times through the app, and even get directions from where you are using the app as well.”

While the technology is able to add so much to the guest experience, the Ocean Medallion itself is “no bigger than a 10 pence piece”.

Guest can access the app using their mobile phone or tablet, one of the designated screens around the vessel or via the TV in their stateroom.

What’s more, there isn’t even an additional charge to enjoy the Medallion experience, as it is included in all fares moving forward.

“It really is as simple as just picking what you want with no charge having that brought to you where you are,” said Mr Roberts.

“It really fantastic experience and the proposition that we’ve got is an all-inclusive one that includes premium drinks gratuities and high-speed wifi.”

TUI cruise holidays: Marella Cruises unveils UK summer coastal sailings – on sale tomorrow

All under 18-year-olds, excluding infants under the age of two who will not be able to sail as they are exempt from testing, will be asked to have a lateral flow test.

All guests must also provide proof of a negative lateral flow test before boarding the ships at the start of the cruise.

Cruisers can still enjoy the same great facilities onboard including the luxury Champneys spa, a wide range of dining experiences, fitness classes, award-winning entertainment and of course, family-friendly activities onboard Marella Explorer such as the indoor cinema or minigolf.

Managing Director of Cruise TUI UK & I Chris Hackney said: “After pausing our operations for more than a year, we are delighted to announce our UK summer programme and welcome our wonderful customers back onboard our ships.

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Cruise holidays: P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises & Virgin Voyages updates for UK sailings

Cruise holidays around the UK will be going ahead this summer, with Britons able to pick from a plethora of cruise providers offering domestic sailings. Virgin Voyages[1], Princess Cruises[2] and P&O Cruises[3] have all issued new updates this week. This is what you need to know.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages today announced its plans to set sail from Portsmouth, England with a limited series of voyages this summer.

An offer available to UK residents, the upcoming staycation-at-sea series, which go on sale April 13, will include two, three and four-night itineraries with a total of six sailings this August.

Holidaymakers will be offered a first taste of sailing on Scarlet Lady, which includes, Michelin-inspired dining experiences, luxurious spa treatments, unlimited fitness classes, entertainment featuring local British talent, and of course an adult-only sailing experience.

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All “sailors” must be over 18 and vaccinated against Covid.

“After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we’re ecstatic to announce these new sailings and bring Sailors onboard to experience what it’s like to set sail the Virgin Way,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO and President of Virgin Voyages.

“We look at our UK summer voyages as a homecoming to pay homage to our British roots, and what an excellent way to kick-off our sailing season before heading back to PortMiami.”

The ‘Summer Soiree Series’ includes:

Itinerary 1 – Long Weekender ( three-night, Friday – Monday)

Aug. 6 – Aug. 9

Aug. 13 – Aug. 16

Aug. 20 – Aug. 23

Itinerary 2 – Summer WeekDaze (four-night, Monday – Friday)

Aug. 9 – Aug. 13

Aug. 16 – Aug. 20

Aug. 23 – Aug. 27


Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has today announced it has added the Isle of Portland as a port-of-call to four itineraries for its all-inclusive Summer Seacations.

From July through to September, MedallionClass ships Regal Princess and Sky Princess will sail roundtrip from Southampton on scenic cruises and voyages with stops in UK ports, with itineraries ranging from three to seven nights.

Along with Portland, Regal Princess and Sky Princess will call at Liverpool, Belfast, and Greenock.

Guests on Regal Princess and Sky Princess will be able to enjoy ‘Truly Touchless’ experiences and personalised services through the cruise line’s MedallionClass Experience, which supports new health protocols.

Features include touchless embarkation and disembarkation, keyless stateroom entry and the ability to order food, drink and retail items to anywhere on the ship.

All-inclusive fares with the newly added call to Portland start from:

– £599pp for a four-night cruise on Regal Princess with a call to Portland. Departs September 5, 2021.

– £999pp for a seven-night cruise on Sky Princess, calling at Portland, Belfast and Liverpool. Departs September 28, 2021.

P&O Cruises

P&O announced yesterday that holidays on new ship Arvia, Canary Islands fly/cruises and a 99-night world cruise are all now on sale, accompanied by launch booking offers, in P&O Cruises new winter 2022 / 2023 programme of holidays.

P&O Cruises has also launched an array of UK itineraries for the summer.

Britannia will offer three and four-night breaks and one six-night holiday running from June 27, 2021, through to September 19, 2021.

Iona offers seven-night itineraries running from August 7, 2021, to September 18, 2021. Prices start from £449 per person for a three-night break on Britannia. Iona’s seven-night maiden voyage starts from £1,199 per person.

Britons hoping to travel will need to be able to prove they have received their COVID-19 vaccination. Travel insurance will also be mandatory.


  1. ^ Virgin Voyages (www.express.co.uk)
  2. ^ Princess Cruises (www.express.co.uk)
  3. ^ P&O Cruises (www.express.co.uk)
  4. ^ Pound euro exchange rate suffers from ‘dismal’ day as GBP falls (www.express.co.uk)

Disney Cruise Line launches new ‘staycation’ UK sailings this summer

If all goes to plan, tourist accommodation in England is also supposed to re-open from May 17.

Even if the domestic trips go ahead, Disney Cruise Line will still be implementing a number of measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections on its ships.

These measures will include COVID-19 testing, passengers having to wear face coverings, reduced capacity, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning.

While the cruise line waits for the UK Government’s announcement on domestic travel plans, it has already announced that its European sailings, which were supposed to depart from Barcelona, Civitavecchia, and Dover from May to August, have been suspended.

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They will set sail from Southampton between June and September and are billed as “the ultimate British break.”

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “It is very demonstrable evidence that a holiday at sea, with all that it has to offer, is a popular and much longed-for option this summer.

“We always hoped that these domestic cruises would be popular, given the uncertainty around holidays abroad, but we have never before seen such significant and immediate demand and it certainly shows the effects of lockdown and everyone’s need for a holiday.

“Many thousands of guests have already made bookings and Iona’s maiden voyage to the Scottish islands is already very well sold and will be a very special cruise.”

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P&O Cruises cancels all international summer sailings in fresh cruise holiday blow

P&O Cruises cancelled swathes of summer cruises today, in the latest cruise news. International cruises will now not return until autumn. P&O Cruises is offering a series of short break and week-long UK cruises instead.
While the roadmap details the date for the return of jet-setting as May 17, there is still much uncertainty about when foreign travel can really go ahead.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said in yesterday’s press briefing: “We are still in a zone of great uncertainty about what the virus will do next.

“On top of that, many of the vaccination programmes in Europe, which is a place where we frequently go on holiday abroad are running behind ours.”

“Clearly, whether we can go on holiday abroad to places such as Europe, depends upon what other countries will say and do in terms of foreign tourists.”

The expert added: “I would just say that there has to be great uncertainty.”


P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said today in a statement: “Following recent Government announcements and as the vaccine programme is rolled out across the globe we can all begin to feel a sense of reassurance and hope that this current lockdown period in the UK will come to an end.

“Life can, we hope, slowly return to some semblance of our previous normality as hospitality opens up and summer holidays can be booked with confidence.

“Whilst holidays here in the UK will be the first to become a reality we will, of course, gradually see the return of international travel but first we want guests to be able to enjoy a proper summer holiday at sea with the best in relaxation, entertainment and dining choice.

“These sailings will leave from our home port in Southampton and sail around UK coastal waters enjoying the summer sunshine.

“More details of dates, prices and the experience onboard will be announced later this month, but they will, of course, all have flexibility so guests can book with confidence.”

Ludlow went on: “We hope that the UK ‘ultimate escape’ staycation option will have wide appeal and we will do our utmost to make it a very special time.

“There really will be something for everyone and the opportunity to spend precious and much-longed-for time with family and friends.

“In order to offer these UK breaks it does mean that unfortunately, we need to cancel some of our current published programme of holidays this summer.”

Ludlow explained that ships would be setting sail when travel restrictions were lifted and that P&O is closely monitoring the situation.

“Cruises on Arcadia, Aurora, Azura and Ventura have been cancelled until the end of August and on Britannia and Iona until the end of September,” he said.

“We remain in very close contact with the UK Government and associated bodies as we monitor the latest situation and guidance on travel.

“From the moment we see travel restrictions lifting we will begin the significant logistical task to re-start our operations.

“It will take some time for the first ship to return to service, followed by the phased return of the remaining fleet.

“We cannot wait to welcome everyone back on board with the protection of effective protocols to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all crew and guests.

“I really am so sorry for the disappointment these cancellations will cause but hope that the new UK cruises will enable everyone to enjoy a wonderful holiday this summer.”