Friday, October 1

Exclusive Caribbean Offer - Unbeatable price!

IDEAL CRUISING'S INCREDIBLE EXCLUSIVE - as featured in this week's Travelzoo
LAST FEW CABINS REMAIN - Please hurry to avoid disappointment.

15 night Caribbean cruise on P&O Cruises Ventura

19th November 2010
Fly UK/Barbados (overnight on ship) - Barbados - Bonaire - Aruba - Ocho Rios - Grand Turk - St Maarten - Antigua - St Lucia - Dominica - Barbados/Fly UK

20th November 2010
Fly UK/Barbados - Bonaire - Aruba - Ocho Rios - Grand Turk - St Maarten - Antigua - St Lucia - Dominica - Barbados (overnight on board)/Fly UK

Inside from £899 
Outside from £999
Balcony from £1,299 
Click here for more information

If you can't see the sailing you're looking for then call or go online today!
For further information on any offers please visit our website at

Tuesday, September 21

National Cruise Week 2010

So this week celebrates National Cruise Week where more than 2,000 travel agencies will hold events to draw attention to the world of cruising.
'What does that mean to you?' I hear you cry. Well, the nice people at the cruise lines all get their heads together and come up with some smashing incentives for you to book your cruise this week, highlighting just how much value for money a cruise is compared to other forms of travel.
In keeping with the theme Ideal Cruising have provided some fantastic offers available only this week. For more information look out for the National Cruise Week logo.

Thursday, September 9

Olly Smith brews up Autumn cocktail treats

Ollie Smith on Azura

As Hallowe’en on October 31 draws spookily near, TV drinks expert and celebrity Olly Smith has created four new cocktails to warm up those autumn evenings.

Olly Smith, who oversees The Glass House on Azura, Britain’s newest and largest cruise ship, said: “On a dark, chilly night there is nothing better than gently brewing spices and spirits. They fill the house with the aroma of comfort and a sense of festivity. Autumn evokes magical smells of crackling fires and glorious tastes like ginger parkin and of course, it’s mulled wine heaven. My recipes here are for old favourites with a twist and new ones which will soon become legendary.”

Dragon’s Blood!
My kids love this – serves two.

10 ml Cassis
10 ml Grenadine
200 ml fizzy water

Garnish with a slice of blood orange.

For the full effect, make matching Dragon’s Blood ice cubes (use the above recipe but replace fizzy water for still, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze as normal).

You can always customise it into a more grown up cocktail by adding a tot of blackcurrant vodka or sloe gin!

Mulled Wine 
This is a simple drink to create – and you can easily customise your own version. The key is not to boil the wine, just keep it warm. You can add orange juice, brandy and sugar to the base, a clove or two, a knob of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick and you can load it with oranges, lemons and limes or try using slices of fresh mango for a tropical twist. The rule of thumb is keep tasting until it’s right – and don’t over do the cloves or they make it bitter!

Mulled White Wine 
This couldn’t be simpler, choose a fruity leftover white wine, add freshly chopped pineapple, a few lemon wedges, honey and a cinnamon stick. Strain and serve with a sliced lemon garnish and sugar to taste (and you can give it a kick with a dose of leftover spirit – brandy, vodka, or Cointreau for an orangey tang).

Olly’s Secret Punch
Gently heat equal measures of leftover port, Cointreau and Southern Comfort topped up with fresh orange juice in a pan. Don’t let it boil. At the last minute squeeze two halves of blood orange into the pan and toss in the squeezed halves. I prefer not to add sugar as the port makes my secret punch gloriously sweet. Garnish with an orange slice and serve in glass mugs.

Olly Smith will be travelling on Azura regularly throughout 2011 and 2011 - for details see A variety of Olly’s cocktails are available on Azura this autumn

Books to take on your Cruise Holiday

Jewel of the Seas

There really is no better time to whip out the latest novel, than on a cruise holiday. There are plenty of comfortable spaces around a ship that you can settle down to a few chapters before dinner. 
One on my fondest memories of cruising was a 4 day jaunt across to Amsterdam on board the Jewel of Seas - they have the most fantastic solarium with a roof. The weather was pretty poor during our day at sea but the solarium more than made up for it. The décor was delightfully Asian/tropical. the temperature was warm and the loungers were almost too comfortable. I could only ever read a few chapters at a time before I found myself dozing again. 
Anyway back to the point of this post! I wanted to give you the heads up on the top books to take away with you in the coming months. Here are a few of my personal recommendations:
  1. The first paperback on my list is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. This story is told from the eyes of a young boy in Germany, the son of a Nazi Officer. Its difficult for me to give you a full synopsis without spoiling the story. I can assure you this book is light hearted in places, shocking in others but most of all its an eye opener. Keep the tissues at hand, you might just need them!
  2. I have to add The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson to my list as it is definitely the best book I've read in a few months.
    I would probably class this as crime fiction. It fairly stereotypical with its characters but the plot is complicated and yet totally believable. Hopefully you won't have seen the movie to put you off a very good read.
  3. Another crime fiction novel I thoroughly enjoyed was Dan Brown's latest offering, The Lost Symbol.
    Yes, I am a Dan Brown fan so I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book. This time Robert Langdon's adventures are set in America. I admit, this book isn't a masterpiece on its own but as part of a collection it fairs well.
  4. If you enjoy a good spiritual read then My Whispering Angels by Francesca Brown is just the book for you. Its basically a true story of how the author was diagnosed and ill with ME for over 2 years. In her fight to come to terms with her illness, she meets her angel, Anne. This book is half autobiography and the rest is more instructional on how you too can connect with your angel. I'm sure I don't need to say that this book isn't for non believers.
  5. Ok I haven't strictly read this yet myself, I've just borrowed it through a friend who claims it to be the most poignant, wonderful, witty book you'll read this year - The Fry Chronicles: A Memoir by Stephen Fry. The book follows on from a previous autobiography 13 years previous. Since then Fry has become quite a household name as a comedian, author, presenter and of course, Tweeter. 
Let me know your thoughts - whether you agree or disagree!

Wednesday, August 18

Todays e-Newsletter Crammed with Cruise Offers


If you're keen to sail away with a bargain here are just a small selection of our top offers, hand-picked by our cruise experts. Whatever your choice of cruise, our travel specialists are here to offer you outstanding service, unbiased information and the best deals available! We have selected some of the newest offers available as well as some sailings that are just too good to miss.
Join our Global Community on Twitter and Facebook and catch up with all the latest news, competitions,reviews, deals and much, much more...

£799 - 7 night on Celebrity Equinox - Mediterranean - 2nd September 2010
Fantastic Late Deal
Click here

£1,195 - 14 nights on Independence of the Seas - Italian Med - 25th September 2010
Great Low Fare
Click here

£699 - 7 nights on Costa Concordia - Mediterranean - 1st October 2010
Magnificent Med Deal
Click here

£891 - 14 nights on Fred Olsen's Boudicca - Western Med - 5th October 2010
Sail from Newcastle!
Click here

£1,695 - 30 nights on P&O Cruises Aurora - Caribbean - 16th October 2010
Only £56pp per night!!!
Click here

£699 - 7 nights on Celebrity Constellation - Mediterranean - 16th October 2010
Classic Med itinerary
Click here

£999 - 12 nights on Queen Victoria - Mediterranean - 19th October 2010
Unbeatable low fare
Click here

£699 - 7 nights on Costa Serena - Eastern Med - 31st October 2010
Amazing Itinerary
Click here

£1,369 - 15 nights on P&O Cruises Ventura - Caribbean - 19th November 2010
Up to £400 FREE on board spend*
Click here

£1,399 - 15 nights on P&O Cruises Azura - Caribbean - 26th November 2010
Up to £400 FREE Onboard Spend*
Click here

£1,299 - 15 nights on Sea Princess - Caribbean - 29th November 2010
Up to £400 FREE Onboard Spend*
Click here

£679 - 11 nights on Independence of the Seas - Canaries - 10th December 2010
New Reduced Fare
Click here

£969 (balcony) - 5 nights on Queen Victoria - Christmas Markets - 15th December 2010
Buy one, get one free! - Exclusive to Ideal Cruising
Click here

£899 - 7 nights on MSC Magnifica - Eastern Med - 19th December 2010
Christmas Cruise! £200 FREE on board spend*
Click here

If you can't see the sailing you're looking for then call or go online today!

Don't forget! Princess 2011/12 Exotic On Sale Now!
For further information on any offers please visit our website at or call us on 0845 296 1864

We look forward to hearing from you,
Ideal Cruising
Terms & Conditions:

Terms and conditions apply, please call for more details. All offers are subject to availability and can be withdrawn without notice. Offers available for new bookings only. Prices are per person and based on 2 sharing the lowest available cabin, unless stated. *Free spend is per cabin, based on 2 sharing and only applicable to certain dates and cabin grades, amounts may vary by cabin grade. Savings already included in prices. Flights based on London, regional flights available, airline may vary and supplement may apply. Prices are based on a fluid pricing system and may vary. If you are paying on a credit card a 2.5% surcharge does apply.

Thursday, August 12

New Kids on the Block Carnival Cruises Concert

I wasn't much of a 'New Kids on the Block' fan to be honest, when I was younger I preferred the English boy bands however I know I was the odd one out. My friends all had the posters, had the keyrings, knew all the words to every song. Bordering on the obsessional. And so, time has moved on, they're married, a few have had kids and now my friends have blossomed into seasoned cruisers. So, as you can imagine I'm actually quite scared to tell them about the concert that will be held on Carnival Cruise line in May 2011.
This will be the 3rd time NKOTB have performed at such an event at sea and by all accounts you don't just see them perform then never catch them, again - oh no, something far worse happens... they hang around, they host competitions, you'll see them at the bars and restaurants and even hosting poolside games.
Last year their cruise sold out in a matter of hours just proving there's life in the old (sea) dogs yet!

I fear all this will all be far too much excitement for my ageing friends but worse than that, I fear those poor lads will be hounded by them the entire trip. So, my decision is made, my lips are sealed and theres no-one but me and you going to ever know *wink*.

USA ESTA Applications

Quick message about the USA ESTA - From September 2010 the USA will be charging $14 per person to obtain the ESTA Visa, this is currently free of charge to UK citizens and is valid for 2 years. If you are looking to travel to or via the USA in the next 2 years it would make sense to apply now, the form can be found at
It takes just a few minutes to complete and in most cases the visa is issued instantly.

Wednesday, August 11

UNBEATABLE 2-for-1 Cunard Christmas Markets Cruise Offer!

Get a BALCONY cabin for 2 people for just £969... bear in mind Cunard's own website is advertising the same cabin at £875 for 1 person!
This package includes a 5 night sailing on Cunard's Queen Victoria from Southampton, full board accommodation inclusing 24hour dining and a balcony cabin for two. Remember, you wont need flights as this cruise sails back into Southampton.
The itinerary will take you to Amsterdam, then Zebrugge (for Bruges and Brussels) then on to Le Havre for Paris before sailing home.
The joy and atmosphere of Christmas Markets really is unsurpassable. This prices makes this an incredible offer - please share it with your friends as all booking must be made before 18th August - thats if it doesnt sell out before!

View the Cunard Christmas Markets Cruise offer here.

Friday, August 6

Tour & Lunch onboard Holland America Maasdam

This week I got to take a look at Holland America's Maasdam while it was docked in Dover. Luckily for me it was just before the rain came, the sun was high in the sky and not a cloud to be seen so I got to see the ship in all her glory.
This was my first time on a HAL ship so I was intrigued to see how it would match up to the company ethos. Now I know I chose one of the older ships in the fleet but that didnt matter to me - if anything it made more sense, this way I get to see the service and atmosphere onboard for what it is. All without being seduced by new furniture and sparkly decor.

The ships staff were very attentive which ever part of the ship I happened to be, but of course I noticed the service most at lunch. My waiter was gracious and ready to answer any of my queries or requests. He brought more bread without asking, topped the wine before I'd noticed the level going down and brought out the food in a timely and effortless manner. I was more than impressed.
The lunch itself was just delicious - i'm not really a beef lover but i (rather wisely) chose the filet mignon which turned out to be cooked to perfection, medium but with no blood, simply full of melt-in-the-mouth flavour. As HAL has a good reputation for food, the quality of my lunch only served to reinforce that.

The ship was pretty easy to navigate my way around due to the size and layout. Most of the facilities were grouped towards the center of the ship on levels 6,7 & 8 then other facilities either side of the Lido pool. There was notabley plenty of space on the deck areas which were filled with comfortable loungers.
I got to have a sneaky peak into one of the few empty outside twin staterooms while I mooched around the lower decks. The spaciousness of the cabin was such a breath of fresh air to me - having been stuck in pokey cabins on other cruise lines. The decor wasn't necessarily to my taste but I am one of those aweful creatures that prefers minimal, modern, beiges and curves.

The kind staff in the spa took me for a mini tour of their facilities including the Thermal room - I particularly liked the idea of relaxing on heated stone loungers in a steamy room whilst staring out through the large windows to sea. Dipping into the whirlpools every 10 minutes to reveive my senses.
The fitness area was suprisingly large and found it to contain all the equipment the avid gym-goer would need.

The most modern and the most recent additions to the ship were the culinary arts center, wine tasting and Explorations library/cafe. The culinary centre was set up like a small theatre with a purpose built kitchen taking the centre stage. Any demonstrations there would, im sure, be easy to view and feel like you are part of the process rather than just a spectator.
The library was larger than expected, a very comfortable area that exuded a scerenity that masde me want to drop my backs and put my feet up with a coffee and the latest hardback!

All in all, my tour showed me that even the older ships on the Holland America fleet have an undefined charm that cannot be overtaken by the lures of any new ship. Long may Maasdam sail the seas and fly the flag of excellence.

Monday, August 2

7 of our Favourite Cruise Ship Cakes

Its probably no secret that we like cakes in the Ideal Cruising office. Thats why we decided to put together a slideshow of our favourite cruise ship themed cakes accross the world wide web.

And lets not forget that we owe a big thank you to Kelly Tayor, one of our multi-talented cruise specialists, for her special cruise ship themed birthday cake (photo on the right). Made specially for Ideal Cruising's 6th birthday. This photo was taken with a bity of a dodgy phone camera - within and hour there were barely crumbs left. Yum, thanks again Kelly!


This week's Top Offers, Exclusives & Late Deals

This week we have some great cruise deals lines up for you. If you have any questions or you would like to book one of the Top Cruises, please call our cruise specialists on 0845 839 9344

  1. 'Sale' Away in 2011 - Independence of the Seas
    April - December 2011
    FREE Spend upto $200 (selected sailings)
    FREE Car Parking (selected sailings)
    3 - 18 nts now... from £276
    View this cruise deal here
  2. P&O Early Booking Sale March 2011 - March 2012
    FREE Onboard Spend up to £250 per cabin
    FREE Parking or Coach Transfers (selected sailings)
    PLUS Extra Savings on Balcony cabins
    2 nights only... from £179
    View this cruise deal here
  3. Prices Too Low to Show!
    Brand New Celebrity Eclipse
    Selected dates, Aug & Sep 2010
    Limited Cabins - Don't Miss Out!
    View this cruise deal here
  4. 2011 Sale Bonanza - Early Booking Spectacular!
    FREE Onboard Spend up to $900
    FREE Parking or Coach Transfers (selected sailings)
    PLUS Savings up to £1,000 per cabin
    3 - 29 night now...from £333
    View this cruise deal here
  5. Exotics Double Bonus - Queen Mary 2 & Queen Victoria
    November 2010 - March 2011
    COMPLIMENTARY Hotel Stay - Up to 3nts
    PLUS New Discounted Prices
    11 nights now...from £1,375
    View this cruise deal here
  6. 2011 Triple Bonus Deals
    Celebrity Eclipse - Apr - Oct 2011
    FREE Onboard Spend up to $200
    FREE Car Parking (selected dates)
    FREE Cabin Upgrades (selected dates)
    4 - 16 nts now...from £368
    View this cruise deal here
  7. Fantastic New Offer - Celebrity Constellation
    25th Sept, 9th & 16th Oct 2010
    Exclusive Offer to Ideal Cruising
    Cabins are Limited - Don't Miss Out!
    7 nights now...from £699
    View this cruise deal here
  8. Cunard 2011 Mega Sale
    April 2011 - December 2011
    FREE Onboard Spend upto $2,560 per cabin
    FREE Car Parking (on selected sailings)
    PLUS Early Booking Savings upto £800 per cabin
    2 nights from £338
    View this cruise deal here
Please remember these prices are correct at time published. For more information please call our cruise specialists on 0845 839 9344

Wednesday, July 28

Recipe for Dutch Apple Cake served onboard Holland America Cruises

This recipe is a tried and tested favourite onboard the Holland America fleet. if you would like to make this cake for yourself,m the recipe is listed below.


3 ¼ pounds baking apples (about 11)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
¾ cup raisins

1. Peel and core apples. Slice ¼-inch thick and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch, sugar and salt; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2/3 cup water to a boil. Whisk in reserved cornstarch mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thick. Scrape cornstarch mixture over apples and toss to coat well. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins, and stir to combine; let cool completely. (Filling can be refrigerated, covered, up to a day in advance.)


2 sticks unsalted butter (½ pound), softened slightly
½ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cups flour
Créme anglaise (optional)

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Pour in half the beaten egg (reserve remainder) and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in vanilla and salt.

2. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour until combined. Do not overmix. Gather dough into ball, kneading with your hand until it comes together; divide into 2 pieces, 1 slightly larger than the other. Flatten larger piece into a disk and smaller piece into a rectangle; wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead; keep refrigerated. Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 9-inch round springform cake pan, or spray it with nonstick spray. Roll out larger piece of dough (disk) onto floured surface to ¼-inch thick. (If your pan is 3 inches deep, circle will need to be 15 inches in diameter.) Ease crust into bottom and up sides of prepared pan, patching as necessary. Leave a ½-inch overhang.

2. Spoon apple filling into crust. Roll out dough rectangle until it is less than ¼-inch thick. Cut lengthwise into twelve ½-inch wide strips. Place 6 strips 1 inch apart atop apple filling. Place remaining 6 strips diagonally atop first 6 strips, forming a diamond lattice pattern. Trim strips even with bottom crust. Fold dough overhang in, pressing onto edge of cake pan. Press dough edge to seal.

3. Brush dough strips with remaining beaten egg. Bake cake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue to bake until crust is golden and apples are tender, covering crust edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Cool at least 2 hours. Remove side of pan and serve cake slightly warm or at room temperature with créme anglaise, if desired.


Do not add cold eggs straight from the refrigerator to creamed butter and sugar. If your eggs are cold when you need to use them, warm them in their shells in a bowl of hot tap water first. - Guenther Cussigh, corporate executive chef.

Tuesday, July 27


This offer is too good not to shout about!
5 nights All Inclusive 4* hotel stay in Malaga PLUS 5 night Full Board cruise onboard Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas - OCT HALF TERM. Thats 10 nights from only... £699pp
Click here for more information on this incredible cruise deal

Monday, July 26

A Great Concept in Cruising for the Solo Traveller

Hats off to Norwegian Cruise Lines, their latest innovation in singles cruise travel aboard their newest ship, Norwegian Epic, really is quite a breath of fresh air.

Solo travellers can often be punished with high suppliments and made to feel as though they dont fit within the social fabric of a cruise holiday. NCL have taken the time to understand the problems facing single cruise travellers and taken steps to put things right.

Onboard NCL's Epic, you will find 128 studios designed specifically for one person. The rooms are compact and bijou but definitely a step in the right direction for the single cruiser.

The critics have stated they're not a space you would want to be confined to day and night but I think thats pretty harsh - they are more than fit for purpose. The bed is a full size double for starters and the bathroom design ensures the space is used well. I particularly like the feeling of airiness that the window to the corridor gives  – you see out but others can’t see in. The 100 sq ft of space also includes unique storage areas, flat screen TV and a desk. And lets not forget the private access you get to the Studios Complex & Studio Lounge.

The Studio Lounge is a stroke of genius in my opinion. A unique, two story lounge where all other single guests can socialise without feeling alone. Expect lots of comfortable seating, two big-screen TVs, a private bar and a coffee machine where you can help yourself to espresso, cappuccino, and other coffee drinks throughout the day.

The prices for the singles cabins are very reasonable though I should imagine the limted number will sell early. If you would like further information on NCL Epic Single Studios please call our cruise experts on 0845 839 9344.

All in all this is a great concept, one which will hopefully filter through to other cruise lines in time. Well done NCL!

Our Top Ten Gadling Cruise Tips

This week we decided to pay hommage to Gadling's 100% reader-generated feature, "100 words or less" In a nutshell, this is where YOU—the expert traveler—get to share your expert travel tips with Gadling. Some are brilliant, some are fun and some are quite bizarre - one thing is for sure, its a great read.

Here's our Top Ten Favourite Cruise Tips

  1. Pack a dry erase board and markers (our favourite for sheer randomness)
  2. Pack a swimsuit in your carry-on bag
  3. Get the right cabin for you
  4. Wear your room key
  5. Use two-way radios
  6. Bring these 6 Essential Items
  7. Bring Grandma
  8. Research your excursions
  9. Book early
  10. Write, don't call
For more like these please visit the Gadling Top 100 Cruise Tips here.

Wednesday, July 21

World Cruise Reality or Dream?

Ever fancied taking time off for a World Cruise? I'm sure as I mention those words your eyes have glazed over and you stare into the distance with a large sigh. Well you're not alone, the notion of a world cruise seems to be the unattainable holiday that you can only hope to try in another life. Well in the past that may have been the case but these days the World Cruise is extremely good value - in fact your biggest problem will be convincing your boss to give you the time off. But assuming that wouldn't be a problem, or that you may be lucky enough to have reached retirement age, it doesn't have to be such a distant dream. Prices are very reasonable from about £74 per night - that's less than a decent hotel! Take a look at our P&O World Cruises to see for yourself.

Friday, July 2

10 Questions Every First Time Cruiser Should Ask Themselves

  1. Which destinations would i like to to visit during my trip?
  2. Do I want a warm climate?
  3. How much can I afford to spend?
  4. Do I want an all inclusive cruise?
  5. Do I want to fly or do I want to sail from a UK port?
  6. Am I looking for a casual experience or a more formal cruise?
  7. Do I need to be kept entertained or am i ok lounging by the pool with a book?
  8. Am I looking for an adult only ship or one suitable for families?
  9. Am I looking for an inside, outside or balcony?
  10. Am i willing to forfeit any of the above in order to get a good deal?
Once you know the answers to these, you're ready to call your cruise specialist, Ideal Cruising on 0845 839 9344

Tuesday, June 29

Tips to Stay Slim on a Cruise

Staying slim on a cruise holiday could be a nightmare, think 24 hour buffets and endless choices to tempt you. Or maybe you have just started dieting and exercising and your cruise is just around the corner. Will you dread stepping back on the scales when you return?

Cruising has changed over the last few years; it’s not just bigger ships offering more destinations, now many have encompassed a healthier option for those who wish to stay slim on their cruise holiday.

Think of it like a 5 star Health Resort, with your every need catered for. It is a lot easier to start eating healthily or remain on your healthy eating plan if someone else is doing the cooking, planning your daily meals, and counting all the calories for you. The options to take up a new form of exercise are bountiful, maybe you’ve always wanted to try Yoga, Tai-chi, or aerobics. Or just discover what all those machines in the gym can actually help you achieve. On a cruise ship you have the luxury of trying them all to see which suits you, a tiresome and potentially expensive option once back on dry land.

One of the key elements to staying slim on a cruise is to set yourself a routine, choose certain times to eat and try to stick to them, which is much easier if you have pre-booked an exercise class. Of course being on holiday means time to unwind and crack open a bottle or two of wine, which can be the downfall of any healthy eating plan. If like myself you are a lover of the vino do not despair, try mixing it with a slim line tonic to make a refreshing spritzer, or save that special bottle that you really like for a pre planned meal where you have taken the calories into consideration. Also remember you don’t have to drink the whole bottle in one sitting, ask the waiter to seal it for you and enjoy with your next meal.

Avoid, avoid, avoid the buffet restaurant unless you have nerves of steel. I challenge only the robots of our species to not pile the plate with those extra tempting calorie laden titbits, or indeed go back for seconds and thirds. At the more traditional type of restaurant you can choose your meal without having the temptation of looking at what you know you shouldn’t have. One tip that has over the years helped me enormously, ask the waiter to remove/don’t put there in the first place, is the bread basket, it is oh so easy to spread with butter and nibble away till your actual meal arrives

If like me you are a natural grazier, a lit bit of something and often suits the way you eat, and then seek out the many options on board of fresh fruit which will be in abundance, or raw vegetable, even try if you haven’t already great freshly made smoothes that are a great way to fill yourself up. Obviously go for the options that don’t contain coconut, which unfornately for a coconut lover is laden with calories.

Cruise holidays also offer the chance to join in with on deck sports and activities. Walking around the deck certainly beats walking back at home on a rainy day. Views of the ocean are inspiring and creative, and indeed reflective. Take this time to be selfish, and relish in the wonders of what you have achieved or would like to achieve.

Then there are the swimming pools. Maybe there is nothing more luxurious then swimming in an open air pool aboard a cruise liner as you gently glide across the ocean, and of course a great opportunity to tone up. An option that I particularly like is jogging in water, not only are you supporting all the major muscle groups, but you will find you can keep going a lot longer than if you were to jog around the deck. If you haven’t seen anyone jogging in the pool before, be the first, you will soon find you have quite a following.

One of the UK’s favourite cruise brands, P&O Cruises, Sports & Spa offers a wealth of options to regenerate mind, body and spirit. Their ocean view gymnasium with its up to date equipment and personal trainers can be combined to build a comprehensive well-being programme. P&O Cruises have literally taken the cruise holiday to another dimension with their ‘CruiseTone’ option, which incorporates a balance of healthy eating menus, personal trainers, and classes ranging from Pilates, Yoga, to the more energetic aerobic classes. Of course all of these activities need to come with some much deserved relaxation, and here again P&O Cruises do not disappoint with their excellent Holistic Spa. Here you can wile away the hours being pampered with the latest treatments in facials, aromatherapy, reflexology to name but a few of the vast list of beauty and relaxation treatments available.

Staying slim on a Cruise holiday is two-fold; it is how you exercise and what you consume. But the fantastic facilities and healthy food options have now pushed Cruise holidays to the fore. You can now look forward to coming home to a healthier, slimmer, more revitalised you, and of course a cruise holiday to remember.

Original article written by Amanda Barnes for Ideal Cruising

Friday, June 25

What are your thoughts on being charged for airline 'extras'?

It seems that airlines are squeezing every possible penny from the air traveller. Take a look at Thomas Cook's plans to charge for inflight entertainment at £7.50 per person... Read the full article here

Posted via email from Ideal Cruising Posterous Blog

Thursday, June 24

No fly cruises, no hassle holiday

The recent events surrounding air travel have had a massive impact on the way we book our holidays. Before a few months ago, we wouldn't think twice about our travel method - if we wanted to go to Spain, we would have booked a flight.  But since the pain of regular airlines strikes and the impact of the Icelandic volcano ash, we have been forced to seek alternative holiday arrangements...
Read more of this article:

Posted via email from Ideal Cruising Posterous Blog

Wednesday, June 23

Recycling operations on a luxury cruise ship

Whilst all 1,432 passengers on board Holland America's Zaandam, are enjoying their  5-course meal at one of the ship's luxury dining restaurants or unwinding with a hot-stone massage in the invigorating spa, the crew are busy below deck, sorting out tons of waste and recyclables. Read the rest of this article here: Recycling operations on a luxury cruise ship

Posted via email from Ideal Cruising Posterous Blog

Tuesday, June 22

Your cruise holiday is safe in our hands

As a member of ABTA (K0476) and part of Europe’s largest consumer co-operative we can offer you complete peace of mind that your holiday money is safe. Your cruise holiday is in our hands and we know how much it means to you. More reasons to book with Ideal Cruising here

Thursday, June 17

Interview with Sophie Higgins, Head of Sales UK, Azamara Club Cruises

1. Azamara Club Cruises are still relatively unknown in the UK, can you explain the essence of Azamara Club Cruises?
Azamara Club Cruises is part of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd and is the upscale, boutique brand within the portfolio. Everything we offer on board is uniquely presented and each cruise focuses on complete destination immersion – we have 2 ships in the fleet but we visit 140 ports which is an incredible global deployment and mean that no two cruises are the same.

2. Who would Azamara Club Cruises appeal to?
This is very much a brand for the discerning traveller who wants to take time to get to know a port or city. As with any boutique brand, our two ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest sail with only 650 guests, so there is a more intimate feel from the moment guest’s board. We’ve also really slowed down the experience so that itineraries include much longer stays in ports such as 3-nights in St Petersburg or multiple overnight stays in Southeast Asia, including Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong. Guests who enjoy the finer things in life will really love this brand.

3. Who are Azamara Club Cruises main competitors and what makes Azamara Club Cruises unique?
What makes us unique is our ability to visit more ports and really let the guest get up-close-and-personal with the cities that we travel too, even those that are slightly further afield such as a 3-night excursion from Mumbai to take in the Taj Mahal. None of our itineraries are ‘round-trips’, which means that guests can create their own bespoke itinerary depending on the number of itineraries or land-based excursions they combine. We’ve realised that ‘one-size’ doesn’t fit all and by offering real destination immersion to our guests that this value is not attainable elsewhere. We recognise that upmarket boutique land based hotels are our competitors.

4. Why do you think Azamara Club Cruises offers value for money?
It is the entire package that one of our cruises offers, as well as the host of items that are included – our guests enjoy bottled water, sodas, speciality coffees and teas offered at no charge throughout the voyage, whether in public venues or in staterooms, as well as house wines during their meals. Our housekeeping and dining gratuities are also included in the price of the cruise. We provide shuttlebus service to/from port communities, where available at no extra cost to the guest.

Combine this with the destinations and itineraries and we have already received the most amazing feedback from customers who loved the intimate experience and personal service levels.

5. Can you tell us about Azamara Club Cruises itineraries and best destinations?
All our itineraries are unique in that they do not have the same embarkation and disembarkation ports – and guests can create their own bespoke cruise as by connecting any number of the 7-night itineraries consecutively. I think we offer some truly wonderful destinations but I’d certainly like to be able to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered such as watching the Grand Prix from the ship whilst in Monte Carlo.

6. Azamara Cruises recently changed their name to Azamara Club Cruises. What other changes have been made?
We made a number of changes in January to the brand which were implemented over a course of a couple of months. The most significant would be the name change, as the brand became known as Azamara Club Cruises.

The other key changes revolve around enhancing the senses, seeing the destinations; savouring the wine and cuisine on board/in port, listening and expanding knowledge through our enrichment and land programmes; touching all of our guests with extraordinary service; and breathing in a healthier lifestyle with programmes to help guests balance their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual needs.

7. What is your favourite element of Azamara Club Cruises?
For me it has to be the opportunity to really explore exciting destinations in the comfort and intimate style onboard an Azamara vessel. Plus of course the extensive choice of complimentary ice creams found onboard are pretty amazing!

8. In one sentence, why should people cruise with Azamara Club Cruises?
Simply because, anyone who sails with us will simply love where our ships will take them.

Wednesday, June 16

Beat the Queue by Booking your Cruise Early

Booking your cruise early for 2011 makes more than just good sense - it can make you money! Yes thats right, booking early means you can benefit from free onboard spend as well as the obvious early-bird savings on your overall cruise price. You may also take advance of our low deposit, free cabin upgrade and free car parking offers. Call us today (or click the link below) to see how you can save by booking early!
Early Cruise Booking Offers

Tuesday, June 15

Standby Cruises and Cancellations

Looking to go on holiday in the next couple of weeks? Having trouble finding a real bargain?
Well, If you want someone else to do all the legwork and find a last minute cruise holiday on your behalf, why not sign up to the Ideal Cruising Standby Cruises Service?

This new service means you get a personal call whenever a suitable cruise offer comes up. This could be a cancellation or a standby cruise.  You simply fill out an online form and an Ideal Cruising agent will do the rest for you.

Standby cruises can go for as little as £44 per night, which is way less than staying in a hotel!

For more information go to Ideal Cruising Standby Cruises

Holidays keep you sane!

I would holiday every other week if I could, but alas I have a mortgage to pay and a job to do! That said, I can never believe how anyone copes without a holiday for longer than a 6 month period - I've heard people say (proudly) ‘I haven’t taken a holiday in 5 years!’ No wonder they're always ill, stressed out and old before their time! I'm no doctor but anyone better qualified people than me could tell you that going on holiday is essential for a number of things :
  • Dealing with stress and strain  
  • Overcoming anxiety  
  • Allowing your mind & body to rest completely 
  • Overcoming illness  
  • Reconnecting with loved ones
A holiday can take many forms and as you can imagine, my favourite is the cruise holiday. But it doent really matter what or where - it just needs to be time away from your everyday responsibilities. Leaving your work emails and phone alone, taking time to rest properly.

Many people think that just 'taking time off' and staying home is as good as a break away. I tend to disagree with this theory. After all, the temptation is too great to think about everyday stress's, Your bills will still drop on the doormat. People can still call you. Your friends and family still drop over unannounced. No, what you need is a complete break from real life to really benefit.
So if you're reading this thinking - im that person that hasnt had a holiday in over six months, why not book some time off and take a break away from it all. Im sure you'll come back to this post to thank me.

Thursday, June 10


Independence of the Seas
Selected dates June - August 2010
No Flying - Sail from Southampton

Please call 0845 296 1852 for details!

Click here for Independence of the Seas Offer

Posted via web from idealcruising's posterous

Wednesday, June 9

Modelling legend Twiggy Godmother to luxury cruise ship Seabourn Sojourn

British fashion icon Twiggy, more recently known as a judge on TV's America's Next Top Model, was chosen to christen the latest Seabourn ship, Seabourn Sojourn.
After a short speech, Twiggy pressed the button to release the champagne bottle which thankfully broke (averting the mythical mariners bad luck).

The exclusive event was held whilst the ship was docked in the Thames River across from London's Canary Wharf. While the christening itself was releatively short it was followed by a black tie celebration where several hundred guests were presented with a five-course meal and a fireworks display on deck.

Seabourn Sojourn is the second of three new sister ships being rolled out over three years in a major expansion programme tripling capacity.
The ship's maiden voyage begins on Sunday  followed by an inaugural series of 12- to 14-day voyages of Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic this summer.
Call our cruise specialists on 0845 296 1852 for more details and a competative quote.

Posted via web from idealcruising's posterous

A great new way to buy your cruise - P&O Cruises Flexicruise

Flexicruise is the new way to book your cruise with P&O Cruises. How does Flexicruise work?
There are two departure groups of cruises to choose
from, you simply need to decide whether you would
like to cruisebefore or after Christmas. The first group
of pre-Christmas holidays consists of five Caribbean
cruises and the second, nine Caribbean holidays.
To find out more click on the image...

Tuesday, June 8

Read our New to Cruise guides

If you’re new to cruising, you’ve come to the right place. In this collection of articles we will concentrate on some of the big questions like costs, what it's really like onboard, and other frequently asked questions.

One thing you can be sure of from your first cruise, as long as you plan carefully and choose the right ship and destination suited to you, you're in for the holiday of a lifetime!

Posted via web from idealcruising's posterous

Amazing Star Cruise Buys!

Crown Princess - 29th July 2010
Norway & Iceland - Sail from UK
Fantastic Reduced Price
School Hols - Kids from just £399!

Amazing low fare from £899pp

Posted via web from idealcruising's posterous

Monday, March 15

Party Cruises for 2010

Party Cruises 2010

Special Birthday or Anniversary...
perhaps try a NEW cruise line...
or just enjoy a relaxing short break.
New discounted fares
2 - 5 nights from only... £241pp

Thursday, March 4

As seen on Travelzoo this week

This week we had an exclusive Alaska cruise and stay offer featured on Travelzoo... now you can get access to exactly the same deal. This offer is very popular so get in quick!

Offer of the week
14 nt Alaska Cruise & San Francisco Adventure
Sea Princess, May - September 2010
Bonus 1) FREE upgrade Outside to Balcony
Bonus 2) 3 nights FREE in San Francisco

14 nts now only... from £1,299

Call our cruise specialists on 0845 296 1603