Friday, December 4

Fred Olsen Amazing Late Deals

Take a sneaky peak at todays email offers from Fred Olsen.

Oasis of the Seas first photos!

Here are some photos from Royal Caribbeans newest ship, Oasis of the Seas. I'm not even sure these images do her any justice, take a look for yourself...

Oasis of the Seas

Royal Promenade

Cupcake shop on the Promenade

Rising Tide Bar

Youth Zone

Studio B -Ice Rink

Comedy Live

Central Park

The Boardwalk

These photos are the property of Ideal Cruising. They may be downloaded for personal use only. Other copying or reproduction is expressly prohibited.

Wednesday, December 2

Ideal cruising Xmas Sale

What better way to celebrate Christmas than to treat yourself to a cruise? Ideal Cruising have launched a pre-January sale so feast your eyes on some festive cruise delights!

How would you like....
Independence of the Seas 2010
Up to $200 Free Onboard Spending Money
Free Car Parking at Southampton
from £642

or perhaps even...

December 2009
4 - 8 Night Cruises
Boudicca, Balmoral & Black Watch
Up to £35 free onboard spend
Limited Availability
from £225

Visit the website for details on the Christmas Cruise Sale

Sunday, November 29

Oasis of the Seas - a first look

Driving towards Port everglades Oasis of the Seas dominated the landscape, a Princess ship was moored behind and looked small in comparison. The new terminal was very organised, well laid out with ample check in areas, from kerb to ship they aim for 15 minutes we did it in ten!

Boarded ship on deck five taking you straight into Royal Promenade. WOW. This really highlights how much larger this ship is, promenade is twice the width as Freedom class. Before we started t explore this amazing ship we went to cabins, once in a cabin you could be on any Royal Caribbean ship, but once outside the cabin it is a different story.

The Boardwalk was the first area I came across. As you walk into the area you immediately get the effect of the Seaside, the old fashioned seaside pier with the small quaint shops and eateries and taking centre stage a working Carousel and all leading down to impressive amphitheatre at back of ship. The background music was fun, quite loud but worked well with atmosphere. - I was not entirely sure how much noise could be heard in Boardwalk balconies that overlooked the area, this would be a concern if booking one of these cabins. The Boardwalk was a family area and was quieter in evenings. The two main featured restaurants were Johnny Rockets and then new addition to Royal Caribbean, Seafood Shack, both of these restaurants do carry a small surcharge. I will be back to experience more in this neighbourhood.
Have been on ship for three hours and although had really quick check in, we were still missing cases. When we arrived in Miami, we had to put our cases in one area and get on the coach so we therefore did not travel with them. There had been a problem with the transfer of cases, once the ship did receive them our cabin steward had retrieved our cases and had them with us quite quickly. I was still in same clothes we had travelled I was desperate for a shower and get changed. It was a quick change but made it for a quick drink in Schooner bar before Dinner.
The Opus dining room was beautiful three tier, however seemed to be divided into smaller sections, seemed more intimate, there was a good mixture of large and smaller tables, even many tables for two. The food did not disappoint, a good menu choice and excellent quality, service was first class, staff very friendly. Although Royal Caribbean are catering for such big numbers, they certainly have the right formula.

Then we come to the Windjammer, this is definitely in my opinion best buffet restaurant at sea, the choice, the setting, service, organised and of course yummy.

Johnny Rockets a fifties diner, on many other Royal ships, this one is in a better position located in Boardwalk, the casual restaurant is a fun place, with good burgers, shakes and there famous onion rings, however a few teething problems, which they are trying hard to overcome, they have no juke box at moment, and as that is a key part of the restaurant it was disappointing, staff particip(e in dance routine every half hour, and we missed out on that. I think that's enough about food at moment.

After all that talk about food the Sports zone is the next spot to go, very buzzing, lots of activities including zip line which has attracted a large queue, I am not of them in line however. There is a golf course including a kids version, full size basketball court, two flow-riders, new table tennis pods, this area really seems to be popular, the area has been cleverly decorated in surf theme, and there is still plenty of seating for spectators.

In addition you have 4 main pools, one is for sport, one for kids with lots of fun water spouts and a mini lazy river, you then have a beach pool and a main pool, the sun deck has plenty of sun chairs and numerous hot tubs. There seems to be plenty of deck space, in centre of four pools there is a connecting walkway/bridge where the steel band are situated, I do love a good steel band, sunshine and a book.

All in all a magnificent ship that must be seen to be believed.

A view of Oasis of the Seas by Amanda Carder, Ideal Cruising

Monday, November 23

Tuesday, November 17

Always good to hear a customers view

The weather has been gloomy this week but a ray of sunshine always breaks out when we get nice comments from customers. Today's letter read:

Dear Donna,

We recently sailed on our Azamara Journey cruise, booked through your company, and had the best cruise of our lives so far; it was simply fabulous.

I just wanted to thank you and all staff involved in our booking for offering a superb service and an excellent price.  We won't hesitate to use Ideal again and to recommend you at any time.

Many thanks again,


Thanks Helen, we're glad you had a fantastic trip :-)

Friday, November 13

Oasis of the Seas docks in Florida

Although its Friday the 13th, there is no bad luck surrounding the Oasis of the Seas arrival in Fort Lauderdale today.

What I wouldnt give to be watching that magnificent example of ship engineering sailing in to harbour. The sight of the massive $1.5 billion vessel would have been awe inspiring. After all, the Oasis of the Seas is nearly 40 percent larger than the industry's next-biggest ship and five times larger than the Titanic. The ship will accommodate a whopping 6,300 passengers.

Royal Caribbean, you sure have exceeded yourselves this time - which cruise line dare challenge them for the crown of cruise innovators?

Thursday, November 12

Double Discounts PLUS £300 Spending Money

£300 Free Spending Money - Ventura Sale, 1 week only.....

We are delighted to bring you a fabulous new offer courtesy of P&O Cruises. P&O Cruises Ventura, designed for newcomers and families, has an amazing 7 Day Balcony sale. P&O Cruises will be offering DOUBLE DISCOUNTS plus DOUBLE FREE SPENDING MONEY...

This fantastic offer is only available for 1 week, so call now to avoid disappointment!

1st January 2010 - 15 Nights - Caribbean - Superior Deluxe Balcony Prices from £2049pp
DOUBLE Discount plus £300 FREE Spend* - You can also depart 2nd January 2010

15th January 2010 - 15 Nights - Caribbean - Superior Deluxe Balcony Prices from £2049pp
DOUBLE Discount plus £300 FREE Spend* - You can also depart 16th January 2010

29th January 2010 - 15 Nights - Caribbean - Superior Deluxe Balcony Prices from £2049pp
DOUBLE Discount plus £300 FREE Spend* - You can also depart 30th January 2010

12th February 2010 - 15 Nights - Caribbean - Superior Deluxe Balcony Prices from £2089pp
DOUBLE Discount plus £300 FREE Spend* - You can also depart 13th February 2010

26th February 2010 - 15 Nights - Caribbean - Superior Deluxe Balcony Prices from £2089pp
DOUBLE Discount plus £300 FREE Spend* - You can also depart 27th February 2010

12th March 2010 - 15 Nights - Caribbean - Superior Deluxe Balcony Prices from £1499pp
DOUBLE Discount plus £300 FREE Spend* - You can also depart 13th March 2010

Don't miss out - this unbelievable offer ends Sunday 15th November!
For further information on any of these offers please visit our website at or call us free on 0800 458 8213

Friday, October 23

Booking your Cruise Holiday with Confidence

Cruise agents tend to offer much better fares than going direct to the cruise line It’s very easy to assume that a cruise agent is legit when they have a smart website and plenty of good deals on offer. But, hiding behind that telephone number or website could be a large reputable travel agent or just a one-man operation from a living room somewhere. So, how can you tell the difference and find a good, reputable cruise travel agent and avoid a cruise booking disaster?

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to book with your credit card. Both the initial deposit and the final payment are protected under insurance with most major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Luckily, the law in the Credit law UK states (Fair Credit Billing Act) that you are entitled to protection (via a chargeback of disputed fees to your account) if a merchant fails to provide the product or service that you have paid for.

Its very important to remember this protection does not apply to debit cards. It’s imperative that you check with your own credit card company on their policy before you book.

Check up on an agency before booking your cruise holiday. Ask if the agency belongs to ABTA and ATOL and ask for their licence numbers – you can look them up on the corresponding websites for verification.

Once you have made your booking it’s wise to check the booking has actually been made with the cruise line. Ask your travel agent for your cruise operator reference number so that you may call the cruise line direct – your booking should be accessible immediately with the cruise line under that reference number. Not only will you then know that your information and money ha arrived in the correct place, but you'll also be able to book your shore excursions in advance.

Another good idea is to purchase cruise travel insurance. Check the policy details as not all policy terms and conditions are the same. Some cruise lines offer their own insurance but these do not tend to cover you if the cruise line goes out of business.

Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right or if the deal seems a little too ‘amazing’ then you’re probably right.

Wednesday, October 21

Ideal Recommends... Top Cruise offers this week

Azura Maiden Voyage, P&O Cruises Brand New Ship in the P&O Cruises Fleet. £100 Free Spending MoneyPrices from £1399pp p&0 cruise offer»

Unbelievable Deal!!! Ocean Village15 Nights, 25th Nov 2009. In the Caribbean -Amazing Fares from just £1049 ocean cillage cruise offer »

New Reduced Fares - Med to Manhatten. NCL Gem on 29th Nov 2009, 15 Nights Fly Cruise - an amazing £899pp ncl cruise offer»

Exciting New Itinerary, Royal Caribbean, Brilliance of the Seas, 8 - 14 Nights, Jan - April. Cruise Dubai from £844 royal caribbean cruise offer »

Up to $400 Free Spend Queen Victoria. September - November 2010. Ports include Istanbul, Egypt & Dubrovnik. Limited Availability queen victoria offer »

For more information

Dates for your diary - Celebrity Chef Cruises

The trend of getting celebrity chefs to create signature menus on board cruise ships continues. P&O Cruises have no less than 3 celebrity chefs on their payroll, Gary Rhodes, Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar. There are many rumours that the aforementioned chefs have put their names to signature restaurants but never make an appearance on board. I can confirm now that this is completely untrue, having met both James Martin onboard Ocean Village and Marco Pierre White onboard P&O Ventura. I can also now provide a list of dates that you may catch these chaps in action next year. The three Michelin starred chefs Gary Rhodes, Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar are lined up to visit their restaurants on the following departures next year. They will lead cooking demonstrations, sign copies of their books as well as spending time with their chefs in the kitchens and amongst guest in their restaurants.

Gary Rhodes will be on board during the following itineraries:
*Arcadia 15-night cruise departing 19 June 2010, J008. Ports of call include Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Oslo, Stavanger, Flaam, cruise in Sognefjord, Olden, cruise in Nordfjord, Trondheim, Akureyri and Reykjavik.
*Arcadia 13-night cruise departing 2 November 2010, J019. Ports of call include Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Alicante and Gibraltar.
*Oriana 12-night cruise departing 11 July 2010, X011. Ports of call include Copenhagen, Nynashamn, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Zeebrugge.
*Oriana 7-night cruise departing 27 August 2010, X015. Ports of call include Corunna, Bilbao, Le Verdon, Brest and St. Peter Port.

Marco Pierre White will be on board during the following itineraries:
*Aurora 12-night cruise departing 19 April 2010, R002X. Ports of call include Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Cadiz, Lisbon and Vigo.
*Oceana 14-night cruise departing 15 May 2010, E011. Ports of call include Gibraltar, Cartagena, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Cadiz.
*Ventura 7-night cruise departing 5 June 2010, N014. Ports of call include Corunna, Bilbao, La Pallice, Brest and St. Peter Port.
*Ventura 14-night cruise departing 3 July 2010, N017. Ports of call include Barcelona, Cannes, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Palma, Valencia and Gibraltar.
*Oceana 14-night cruise departing 2 October 2010, E021. Ports of call include Gibraltar, Cartagena, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Cadiz.
*Ventura 14-night cruise departing 22 October 2010, N027. Ports of call include Tenerife, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Barbados.

Atul Kochhar will be on board during the following itineraries:
*Azura 16-night cruise departing 12 April 2010, A004. Ports of call include Malaga, Katakolon, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice, Korcula and Gibraltar.

*Azura 16-night cruise departing 23 July 2010, A010. Ports of call include Malaga, Katakolon, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice, Korcula and Gibraltar.
*Azura 12-night cruise departing 8 August 2010, A011. Ports of call include Madeira, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lisbon and Vigo.
*Azura 7-night cruise departing 21 September 2010, A014. Ports of call include Dublin, Cobh, Bilbao and Brest.

Be sure to book up early as these sailings will sell out fast! For more information view our P&O Cruises section of the website and search your chosen itinerary from there.

Thursday, October 15

Amazingly low fares – Balconies from only £399

Every week Ideal Cruising work alongside the UK’s favourite cruise lines, selecting from over 1000 itineraries to create the most exclusive promotions for our members. This week we have teamed up with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises to bring you the very best value offers available.
These brilliant offers won't last long! Call today! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
£595 -- 07 Nov 09 for 7 nights -- Splendour of the Seas Fly UK/Venice - Dubrovnik - Kusadasi - Santorini - Corfu - Venice/Fly UK

£779 -- 09 Nov 09 for 10 nights -- Vision of the Seas Fly UK/Athens - Rhodes - Crete - Katakolon (For Olympia) - Valletta, Malta - Tunis - Malaga - Lisbon/Fly UK Pay for an Inside and receive an Oceanview^

£855 -- 20 Nov 09 for 10 nights -- Celebrity Solstice Fly UK/Rome - Rome (Civitavecchia) - Sicily - Athens - Mykonos - Kusadasi - Rhodes - Santorini - Naples Rome/Fly UK 5* cruising from only £86pppn

£999 -- 28 Nov 09 for 14 nights -- Explorer of the Seas Fly UK/New York - (Overnight Hotel) - Cape Liberty, New York - San Juan - St. Thomas - St. Maarten - Dominica - Barbados - Antigua - Cape Liberty, New York/Fly UK (overnight flight)

£899 -- 31 Jan 10 for 8 nights – Brilliance of the Seas Fly UK/Dubai (overnight on ship) - Dubai - Muscat, Oman - Fujairah - Abu Dhabi - Bahrain - Dubai (overnight on ship) Dubai/Fly UK Exotic Dubai itinerary – New low fare

£849 -- 06 Feb 10 for 9 nights -- Freedom of the Seas Fly UK/Orlando - Overnight hotel stay - Port Canaveral, Florida - Labadee - Ocho Rios - Georgetown - Cozumel - Port Canaveral, Florida - Fly Orlando/UK (overnight flight) Great low fare – from only £85pppn

£1349 (Balcony) -- 04 Mar 10 for 12 nights -- Celebrity Millennium Fly UK/San Juan (overnight hotel stay) - San Juan - Tortola - St. Maarten - St. Lucia - Barbados - Grenada - Curacao - Aruba - San Juan/Fly UK (overnight flight) Fantastic Balcony Price

£899 -- 21 Mar 10 for 8 nights -- Brilliance of the Seas Fly UK/Dubai (overnight on ship) - Dubai - Muscat, Oman - Fujairah - Abu Dhabi - Bahrain - Dubai (overnight on ship) Dubai/Fly UK Exotic Dubai itinerary – New low fare

£849 -- 25 Apr 10 for 10 nights -- Independence of the Seas Southampton - Madeira - Tenerife - Gran Canaria, Canary Islands - Lanzarote, Canary Islands - Vigo - Southampton $100 FREE on board* spend PLUS FREE car parking

£399 (Balcony) -- 26 Apr 10 for 3 nights -- Celebrity Eclipse Southampton - Paris (Le Havre) (Overnight) – Southampton. Fantastic Balcony Price

£1,149 -- 15 May 10 for 14 nights -- Independence of the SeasSouthampton - Gibraltar - Toulon - Florence/Pisa -Rome (Civitavecchia) - Sardinia - Cadiz - Lisbon - Vigo - Southampton ($) $100 FREE on board spend* PLUS FREE car parking

£899 -- 20 May 2010 for 9 nights -- Rhapsody of the Seas Fly UK/Seattle - Transfer to overnight hotel - Seattle - Juneau - Skagway, Alaska - Tracy Arm (cruising) - Victoria - Seattle/Fly UK (overnight flight)

£1299 (Balcony) -- 21 May 10 for 11 nights – Brand New Celebrity Eclipse Southampton - Madeira - Tenerife - Gran Canaria - Lanzarote - Lisbon - Vigo - SouthamptonPay for an Inside and receive a Balcony^ PLUS FREE car parking

£899 -- 27 May 2010 for 9 nights -- Rhapsody of the Seas Fly UK/Seattle - Transfer to overnight hotel - Seattle - Juneau - Skagway, Alaska - Tracy Arm (cruising) - Victoria - Seattle/Fly UK (overnight flight) Amazing Alaskan Itinerary

£929 -- 31 May 10 for 12 nights -- Jewel of the Seas Harwich - Copenhagen - Stockholm - Helsinki - St. Petersburg (overnight) - Tallinn - Gothenburg – Harwich

£1,065 -- 03 Jun 10 for 12 nights -- Celebrity Century Fly UK/Barcelona - Nice (Villefranche) - Florence/Pisa (Livorno) - Rome (Civitavecchia) - Sicily - Mykonos - Ephesus - Athens - Naples - Barcelona/Fly UK. BRAND NEW Pricing

£1,399 -- 31 Jul 10 for 14 nights -- Independence of the Seas Southampton - Gibraltar - Ajaccio, Corsica - Cannes - Barcelona - Ibiza - Malaga - Lisbon - Vigo – Southampton
For further information on any of these offers please visit our website at or call us free on 0800 458 8213~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, August 18

Celebrate solo cruises with Costa Cruises’ new initiative

To make cruising even more inexpensive for solo tourists, Costa Cruises is decreasing its single passenger supplement by up to 50% for bookings after 1 December 2009.With cruising evolving an progressively well liked holiday alternative for those journeying solely, the move is certain to be affectionately met – especially as Costa Cruises has the biggest fleet in Europe (14 boats in total), and can cater for all flavours and interests.

For those looking for some rest and relaxation, Costa’s four newest boats – Costa Concordia, Costa Serena, Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica – brag the luxury Samsara Spa, amidst the biggest bobbing spas in the world, spanning two decks with up to 6,000 rectangle metres of sheer luxury.Costa Luminosa, the ‘ship of light’, has a thrilling 4D movies, a golf simulator and outdoor putting green, while Costa Pacifica, the ‘ship of music’, has a notes studio where visitors can slash their own CDs and lounges where instrumentalists perform.
Both boats furthermore characteristic a Grand Prix going by car simulator, utilised to train authentic F1 drivers.MD of Costa Cruises, Marco Costa, remarks, “Cruising is the flawless vacation for those journeying solely because there is so much to do, especially aboard Costa ships.

We have excellent activities, truly unbelievable dining experience and a broad alternative of seashore excursions, flawless if you desire to relish some alone-time or meet like-minded people.”With over 250 destinations and 1,100 excursions, Costa Cruises boasts lone tourists a comprehensive alternative of cruises, covering the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, the Far East, North America, the Caribbean and South America.

Saturday, July 4

Ideal Cruising Top Ten Offers

There are some really hot cruise offers around at the moment and with the weather so bad why not book yourself a dream cruise to take away the UK blues?

Don't forget to check out the Top Ten from Ideal Cruising. It's packed with exclusive offers and it's updated regularly!

If you don't see anything suitable just give them a call for a tailor made package to suit you.

Wednesday, July 1

Celebrity Chefs on P&O Cruises

When it comes to a cruise one of the expectations that you hold high is that regarding the dining that is available, with P&O cruises these expectations are reached, if not smashed. The reason being is thanks to the vast array of dining options that are open to you. Formal dining rooms, grill restaurants, oriental and pan-pacific restaurants as well as tapas bars and pizzerias are just a selection of the types of dining options that are open to you when it comes to P&O cruises. However the dining option that is taking the cruising world by storm at the moment comes in the form of celebrity chefs opening their own restaurants on board the ships.

There are a number of celebrity chefs who are currently teaming up with certain cruise lines in order to create their own restaurants on the ships and the cruise line P&O are no exception. These restaurants supply a great way for holiday makers to enjoy five star food at reasonable cost, something they wouldn’t be able to do elsewhere.

Each cruise line contracts certain chefs; in the case of P&O they now have three of the top chefs on board; Gary Rhodes, Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar. All three of these highly acclaimed chefs hold Michelin stars for their dishes and each of these offer signature styles of food so no matter what food you’re in the mood for there will be something to suit all tastes.

Having your meals cooked by such outstanding chefs whilst on a cruise is adding luxury to luxury. Sampling food cooked and prepared by such chefs is worth coming on a cruise for all by itself. So what should you expect from Gary Rhodes, Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar when it comes to the food they will serve whilst working with P&O cruises?

Due to his dedication and continued pursuit for perfection, Gary Rhodes has found himself at the forefront of the culinary world. He is now a well known chef, restaurateur and celebrity as well as author. His various restaurants are what have won him a wide collection of Michelin stars as well as his traditional British cooking, which is what he brings to P&O cruises. Some of the dishes that he serves up are Asparagus and Lambs lettuce salad and Roast beef with foie gras and morel mushroom Madeira sauce. He gives diners a high quality dining experience the likes of which are normally reserved for visitors of his Twenty Four restaurant in London.

Certain Oriana and Arcadia ships are the P&O cruises that Gary Rhodes will be present on, whereas Marco Pierre White will be on board for some of the Ventura, Oceana and Aurora cruises. So what will Marco Pierre White have on offer?

Classic Italian fare is Marco’s speciality, offering simple yet stunning dishes. He has already been named the godfather of modern cooking and is the youngest Briton to be awarded three Michelin stars. As well as sampling his cooking within the ships restaurants you can also opt to buy private cookery sessions to groups of up to eight adults and children. Within these sessions you will join Marco in creating a three course meal as well as get to ask him any cooking questions that you have.

Last but certainly not least Atul Kochhar has recently signed a deal with P&O cruises to bring his culinary skills on board to the company’s new superliner the Azura in 2010. Atul Kochhar is the third Michelin star chef to join this cruise line and he will bring a new restaurant called Sindhu, which means fusion. This will serve holidaymakers with modern British dishes that have an Indian Twist.

Cruise lines all across the country are now enlisting top chefs to open up restaurants on their ships. So if you are going on a cruise this year or you have one planned in the near future then make sure you look out for celebrity restaurants and sample some of the food that they have to offer because let’s face it, this will probably be the only opportunity we get to do this so let’s make the most of it.