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