Everything appeared to be perfect – until the first set of paying passengers, myself included, boarded the world’s largest cruise ship for a mini cruise to Rotterdam. The press went on a free two-night cruise alongside travel agents.
Big ships, little ones, or something in the middle?
Do you want to enjoy peace and quiet at sea? Or do you want non-stop fun with something to keep the entire family happy?
Size divides many cruise addicts. Some prefer the intimacy and tranquillity of smaller ships, together with the less-trodden destinations they visit. Others prefer the buzz of larger ships, with non-stop action available 24/7.
Choosing a cruise ship can make or break your holiday. Book yourself on the wrong one, and you may well end up with the holiday from hell. But book the right one for your needs, and you could be in store for the best holiday in your lifetime.
My guides will help you get a feel for a variety of cruise ships and will help you pick the right one for your next holiday.
Built in 2015 and having already covered 90,000 nautical miles, it was my turn to experience the biggest ship built for the British cruise market.
The name ‘Balmoral’ might conjure up images in your head of the grand Scottish castle used by the British Royal Family since 1852. It is also the name of Fred.
Did you know that a quarter of Carnival Cruise Line bookings last year were for family holidays? That is 700,000 children in case you are curious.
When it comes to searching for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in Norway, Hurtigruten is the obvious choice. Its fleet of working ships (cruise ships crossed with ferries) ply Norway’s coastline to a strict timetable.
Norwegian Escape‘s visit to the UK was much like my time aboard: short and sweet. The two-night visit by the 165,300 gross tonne Breakaway-Plus class ship to the British Isles acted as a pit-stop between Hamburg and Miami.
I headed to Dover fully expecting to tour a floating theme park. As I step aboard it was clear that everything I had pictured about a Disney cruise ship was completely and utterly wrong.
Boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises invited me to tour Azamara Quest in Southampton. Richard Twynam, UK and Ireland Managing Director of Azamara Club Cruises, led the tour during the ship’s turnaround.
MSC Preziosa, Italian for ‘precious’, oozes bags of charm and glamour. The ship is classed as ‘large’ at 139,072 gross tonnes, yet somehow it rarely feels that way.
The second smart ship, Anthem of the Seas, is here. The 168,666 gross tonne ship arrived in Southampton this week, and I sailed onboard a two-night mini cruise to find out what makes this ship so smart.
As Quantum of the Seas briefly stopped in Southampton, I toured the ship for a day. The new ship smell only surpasses the air of new technological enhancements that make Quantum of the Seas a smart ship.
My first family cruise to the Mediterranean was an eye-opener. Sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas from Southampton, the 12 night holiday was a mixed experience, with positives and negatives.