Royal Caribbean announces new features to cruise ships

After hard times for the cruise ship industry with numerous disasters including outbreaks of illness and luxury liner crashes, Royal Caribbean is fighting back against all the odds to draw customers back on board.

They announced yesterday that they will be bringing in a whole new range of features on their line of Quantum ships, including a series of what they are calling ‘firsts at sea’ such as a brand new capsule ride, the North Star, which transports guests more than 300 feet above sea level over the edge of the boat; a skydiving experience for beginners and seasoned skydivers within a simulated environment; and updated staterooms.

Richard D. Fain, the chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises stated that “the unique features on Quantum will boggle our guests’ mind, but the real strength of the design is how our people have integrated all these diverse components to create a comfortable and exciting experience.”

The highly anticipated details of the brand new ships such as the SeaPlex sporting and entertainment venue and Two70 multi-level room with floor to ceiling glass walls were announced alongside changes to the staterooms. Every room, even the internal ones, will have a ‘view’ due to the introduction of the ‘virtual balcony’. This is managed through an 80 inch LED screen that will show views in real time of the world outside. There is also more comfortable accommodation for family and friends travelling together with family-connected staterooms with separate bathrooms and bedrooms that interconnect for time together and apart.

The Quantum ships will span 18 decks and have the capacity to carry more than 4000 guests in their 2090 staterooms. The first ship, Quantum of the Seas, will debut in the fall of 2014, followed closely by the sister ship, Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015.

Picture: Royal Caribbean Cruises

Take the Plunge with a Caribbean Cruise Holiday

One thing with the Caribbean is deciding where to start, there are hundreds of islands in this region. It can be difficult choosing which major island to start on, let alone a resort, however one way to get around this is with a cruise holiday.

No longer exclusively for the rich, cruise holidays are great value for money and offer travellers the opportunity to easily visit destinations they may never have dreamed of before. The Caribbean may seem an expensive option but BV.co.uk always has fantastic deals so you can find something to fit your price range.

There are many different itinerary’s available on a number of different cruise line and their ships. You can fly over to the US and start from their heading down to the Caribbean, or set sail for an epic voyage from the UK. You can hit as many islands as you want, some cruise holidays can feature as many as 10 different ports of call, these cruises will be longer in length anywhere from 14 to 40 days. Shorter cruises from 7 to 14 days cover far less ports of call, but you may find you get to spend longer in the ones you visit, which means you can take in so much more and also partake in activities on shore.

There has never been a better time to take the plunge and experience Caribbean Cruise Adventures. Life on board a cruise ships is an experience on its own, if you have never been on a cruise holiday it can be quite an experience (a good one). You will find plenty of restaurants to choose from, the larger ships cater to all needs, from buffet restaurants to specialist al la carts. Even smaller vessels offer fine dining opportunities and plenty of choices for enjoying a drink.

Entertainment wise you won’t be disappointed from swimming pools and beauty spas, libraries and casinos, cruise ships are a floating mecca of entertainment. Some of the biggest ships in the world, have rock climbing walls, zip lines, wave machines and even shopping boulevards.

You really don’t have any excuse not to book a Caribbean cruise holiday!

Choosing a Caribbean cruise holiday

Younger generations are now turning to cruise holidays for their holiday of choice. A recent survey found that 40 per cent of young people in the UK (aged between 15 and 24) considered taking a cruise holiday in the future over their usual European break. So far, 4 per cent of the aforementioned age group have taken a cruise holiday however that amount is expected to rise in the future, especially as the cost of flying rises.

One of the most popular destinations for younger people is the Caribbean, with a number of first time cruisers looking to book a Caribbean cruise adventure for their first taste of this type of holiday. One of the reasons for this is that the Caribbean can be an expensive destination especially when you take into consideration travel costs. With a cruise holiday you don’t have to worry about getting there and all your needs are taken care of on board. You also still have the freedom to explore many of the Caribbean islands with ease on one of many organised tours by the cruise line.

Many also feel that cruise holidays are the safer option, especially in a time of global economic turmoil. Every summer we hear of tour operators or airlines going bust leaving millions stranded, compared to cruise lines where it’s almost unheard of. Over the past few years many travel companies have struggled however the cruise market has grown 41 per cent between 2006 and 2011.

Finding the right Caribbean destination

There are many different cruise holiday itineraries’ to choose from for the Caribbean; the first thing to consider is which cruise line to choose from. Then which islands you want to include in your trip. The popular resorts like Mexico, Dominican, Jamaica, St Lucia and Grenadine to name but a few attract tourists because of their clear turquoise blue waters, golden sands and rich history which means there is plenty to do and explore. If you book with Bonvoyage.co.uk you can tailor make a cruise holiday to your needs, whether you choose to fly to the Caribbean or set sail from the UK. The world really is your oyster with a cruise holiday.

Taking a voyage to the Caribbean

The Caribbean covers, hundreds of tropical islands, large to small, which many call paradise and it, is a beautiful and exciting place to visit for a family holiday. In fact the Caribbean is one of many fantastic destinations that can be visited on a cruise holiday.

The main tourist hotspots which you will find on most cruise itineraries include; Mexico, Barbados, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Antigua and the British Virgin Islands. One thing they all feature is clear turquoise waters, golden beaches and plenty of palm trees. All the islands in the Caribbean are unique, that’s down to the different colonies which discovered them which means they all have their own history so there is plenty to discover. And with a cruise holiday you can easily island hop and make the most of the Caribbean.

A cruise holiday to the Caribbean is great for a travel novice, all you needs are taken care of and you don’t need to worry about getting around the Captain does that for you. This is why cruise holidays have become so popular in the last few years and why the Caribbean is a popular destination. If you feel like the Caribbean is for you with its sun, sea and sand then have a look at the offers on Bonvoyage.co.uk they will have something to suit any budget.

Picture courtesy of ARKNTINA

Cruise Tips for the Caribbean

No doubt the word Caribbean brings to mind sun, sandy beaches, steel band music and palm trees; when cruising, such as with Caribbean cruise deals, it’s safe to assume that all those and a lot more delights will be experienced on the trip.

 Cruises are a great way to enjoy a holiday while allowing someone else to take care of the details. However, when it comes to land excursions you might want to take care of arranging them yourself. Certain ports have certain sights that should definitely be seen.  

If your cruise includes docking at St. John’s, the capital of Antigua, this is one of the best stops in this area for exploring. Leave the ship and pass through the Heritage Quay area to get to Redcliffe Quay. Here you will enjoy a more authentic and rustic experience that is less commercialised and is much quieter.  

Any stop at St. Lucia should include a visit to Pigeon Point. It is also easy enough to take a taxi to Reduit Beach. This has been proven to be much more interesting for cruise passengers than the capital city, Castries, where the ship makes port.  

For Caribbean cruises that make port in St Thomas, take a guided catamaran trip for something different. If you can’t get enough shopping, opt to spend a half-day cruising the open waters on a catamaran where you can enjoy the local islands and see the marine life. 

Cruises for Nature Lovers

Caribbean cruises offer tourists a number of intriguing destinations, with each island specialising in one or more natural wonders.  The botanical gardens on St. Vincent’s feature trees that are older than 200 years; among them are teak, mahogany and cannonball trees.  On Barbados, visitors can enjoy a close-up look at hundreds of different kinds of orchids – many of which are rare varieties.

The animals that inhabit these natural areas are just as fascinating to many tourists.  The shores of Dominica include Champagne Reef, an area where snorkelers can swim with a variety of brightly coloured tropical fish.  More ocean adventures can be found near Cozumel; the Palancar Reef near that island is frequently inhabited by dolphins.  Not all the tropical animals can be found in water; tourists who prefer to stay on land can visit Antigua to explore Great Bird Island, a sanctuary for rare and endangered tropical avian species.  In Aruba, guests can walk through a butterfly farm and find out what it is like to have millions of beautiful insects flutter around them.

Caribbean cruises also offer tourists a chance to visit a number of natural landscape features that most likely do not exist in their hometowns.  In Barbados, visitors can explore the depths of Harrison’s Caves, and learn the difference between stalagmites and stalactites.  On the island of Martinique  is a volcano called Mt. Pelée, and on Tortola, an island in the British Virgin Islands, tourists can climb to the top of Sage Mountain and enjoy panoramic views of the land and sea.

Caribbean Cruises – experience the luxury!

So you have decided you would like to take a cruise around the Caribbean.  Great choice!  You will be able to relax on a comfortable and luxurious cruise liner, as well as visit a number of beautiful locations.  This article provides you with information about Caribbean cruises that are available for your consideration.

Carnival and Virgin Atlantic offer a spectacular cruise around the Caribbean.  You could spend seven nights on board a luxury cruise liner.  During the cruise, you will make stops at Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, San Juan, and St. Thomas.  The liner itself is luxurious, and includes a vast range of facilities and services.

Princess Cruises and Virgin Atlantic offer a great cruise deal around the Caribbean that also includes a three-night stay in Orlando, Florida, prior to the cruise’s departure.  During your seven-night stay on board a luxurious and comfortable cruise liner, you will make stops at Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Grand Cayman and Rotan Island in the Caribbean, Cozumel in Mexico, and Princess Cays in the Bahamas.  On board, you can enjoy a wide range of facilities and services offered by the cruise liner, such as a swimming pool and various sports facilities.

Royal Caribbean International and Virgin Atlantic offer a nine-day cruise around the Caribbean islands, starting in New York.  You stay in New York for three days before boarding the cruise liner that will take you to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Labadee.  While on board, you can enjoy the excellent accommodation, choosing a room or suite to suit your needs and budget.

Caribbean Beaches

The Caribbean is known for its incredible beaches.  Here is a list of some of the region’s best for those planning holidays to the Caribbean:

Shoal Bay, Anguilla

Anguilla is one of the world’s newest holiday ‘it’ spots, thanks in large part to the silvery sands of Shoal Bay.  Snorkelers come here on Caribbean holidays to swim with the bright, iridescent fish that populate the offshore coral reef or to explore the area just off Katouche Beach. 

Antigua

Local legend says that Antigua has a beach for every day of the year.  Two of the best, according to the natives, are Dickenson Bay in the northwest and Half Moon Bay along the east coast.  Most of the better resorts offering holidays to the Caribbean open directly onto a great beach, so you are never too far from a stretch of soft white sand.

Palm Beach, Aruba

Hailed as one of the 12 best beaches in the world, Aruba’s Palm Beach is often crowded with tourists enjoying their Caribbean holidays.  This is a great spot to people watch, but peace can be found either in or on the water, where there is plenty of fishing, sailing and swimming.

The Gold Coast, Barbados

This is not the place for cheap Caribbean holidays, but if your budget allows, you are sure to find some of the most exclusive luxury resorts and spas here.  Paynes Bay, Paradise Beach, Brighton Beach and Brandon’s Beach are all lovely and open to the public.

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Runners and joggers favour this long stretch of white sand for early morning workouts while enjoying cheap Caribbean holidays.  The beach at Cane Garden Bay is far less crowded than the popular Magens Bay on nearby St. Thomas.

Choose a Caribbean Cruise for your next holiday

With beautiful weather all year round, and lush and green islands, the Caribbean is a popular destination for cruise holidays. The Caribbean is not just a tropical paradise, as the islands also have a unique and interesting history. There are plenty of activities on offer, from swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman, to jeep safaris through the tropical rainforest on St. Lucia, to horse riding in Jamaica. Snorkelling and diving are popular, as is whale or dolphin watching.

Jamaica is one of the top destinations for Caribbean cruises. Jamaica’s untamed beauty sets it apart from the other islands. Combining dramatic mountains with beautiful beaches, its rugged terrain lends itself to a multitude of activities, including river rafting, canopy tours and swimming with dolphins. Once the home of pirates, Jamaica has a unique history and reggae heritage, as personified by Bob Marley, whose home is now a museum.

Antigua boasts 365 beautiful beaches that circle the island like a necklace. Antigua is also renowned for sailing, so thousands of sailors from all over the world head to the island in April for its world-famous Sailing Week. Antigua is proud of its maritime heritage, and Nelson’s dockyard is one of the island’s biggest attractions.

The Cayman Islands are a highlight of many Caribbean cruises. These three low-lying islands offer visitors everything from nature sanctuaries and deserted beaches to hi-tech architecture and top restaurants. Grand Cayman is the favourite haunt of well-heeled Americans, so life is more hectic here, but escape to one of the smaller islands and you will find a more relaxed way of life.

Many cruise lines offer Caribbean cruises, including P&O Cruises, Thomson Cruises, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruises made its name in this area, and the company has some good off-season cruise deals, either in late April or May, or between September and early January (excluding holidays).

Caribbean Cruises

The cruise industry is big and is getting bigger. It is estimated that over 13 million passengers cruised in 2008. While there are many cruise destinations throughout the world, including cold Alaska, the warm Mediterranean, and chilly Scandinavia, the beautiful and sunny Caribbean remains a top choice for cruise holidaymakers. It is no wonder really as the Caribbean offers great ports of call, beautiful scenery, grand ships, and good value for money.

The bigger cruise lines that operate in the Caribbean include Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard, Royal Caribbean International, and Disney Cruise Line, to name just a few.

It is hard to differentiate between one cruise line and another these days. They offer modern, large ships many with similar amenities. These luxurious large ships have movie theatres: swimming pools, spas, cafes, a computer room and WIFI, many different dining rooms and restaurants, kids’ rooms, a dance club, and much more.

Most cruise deals cater for couples, singles and families; although some offer speciality cruises for a particular category of traveller on a particular date, such as families, singles, seniors, etc. Choosing a particular cruise is easy if you have cruised before and know which ship you want to use. Or if a particular cruise fits in perfectly with your holiday dates. Other than that you are really spoilt for choice. Certain ports of call might appeal to you and influence your decision as to which cruise line you use. Most operators offer cruises from three or more days in length; some flying will be required if you opt for a short cruise.

To select your ship of choice, or a great last minute cruise, look online, or you could ask friends for a recommendation.  Travel agents are also very knowledgeable about the availability of cruises.