Lights illuminate the floor for dancing into the wee hours. On the incredible Ovation of the Seas every member of your family will find the perfect way to enjoy their cruise whether action-packed or more relaxed. Experience a spectacular view for a memorable vacation. Enjoy the ocean sounds from your a private balcony and sitting area. Have a spectacular view for a memorable vacation. Gaze into the beautiful views from your cozy room.
Accessible : Gaze into the beautiful views from your cozy room. Up to 4 guests ,Stateroom: sq. Enjoy a live feed scenic view in the comfort of your room. Accessible : Enjoy a live feed scenic view in the comfort of your room. Up to 4 guests. Stateroom: sq. Experience a spectacular view for a memorable vacation from your comfortable balcony. Accessible : Experience a spectacular view for a memorable vacation. Up to 4 guests Stateroom: sq. Balcony: 81 sq. Enjoy a comfortable suite, larger balcony and extra perks. Spectacular two-floor loft with private balcony, dining and living areas and more.
Enjoy a comfortable suite and the extra perks. Indulge in a comfortable suite and enjoy the extra perks. Enjoy a great view from your spacious balcony. An incredible intimate suite with a great view. Luxurious two-floor loft with private balcony, dining and living areas and more. Enjoy the ultimate suite for a perfect vacation. Enjoy a one of a kind experience and special perks in this expansive two-floor contemporary suite.
Contemporary two-floor loft with private balcony, dining and living areas and more. This category can be booked for a special rate, guaranteed to you. Please note that the category is not associated at the time of booking with a specific stateroom, deck, bedding configuration or other particular settings.
The assignment of an actual cabin will be performed during your check-in. The cabin can be anywhere on the ship. Choose from a variety of savory hot-pressed sandwiches, salads custom-made to your liking, homemade soups and more. Best of all, your selections are packed up picnic-style, so you can enjoy them in Two70 or anywhere else onboard. Decisions, decisions…. If you enjoy gourmet fare paired with the finest of wines, then dining at Chef's Table is an absolute must.
Located in an intimate, exclusive enclave throughout various spots onboard, this private epicurean experience for a limited number of guests treats you to a five-course, upgraded menu and wine tasting. Dinner at Chef's Table is both experiential and educational, as the Chef de Cuisine specially prepares and presents each course, while explaining its cooking techniques, ingredients and flavors. Then a sommelier pairs every course with wine chosen to enhance your enjoyment of the dish. For more than a decade, the chefs of Chops Grille have proudly presented quality, hand cut steaks at this hallmark Royal Caribbean restaurant.
Now, they give you a fresh twist on a favorite, with a revamped menu. Most intriguing: our exceptional prime meat. This prime beef is joined by Maine lobster, veal parmesan, grilled branzino and other succulent dishes paired with addictive sides and irresistible desserts. Exclusively for suite guests and Pinnacle Club members, Coastal Kitchen fuses Mediterranean influences with the unmatched riches of California's bountiful farmlands. This is a destination that exudes pure freshness. From Pacific Coast favorites to Med-inspired tastes, the menu is always rotating.
And from the golden hills of Napa and Tuscany, an extensive selection of vintages awaits, served by the glass or bottle. Wine, dine and relax amid rustic earth tones and an expanse of windows that offer the sun's warm embrace. From sushi to sashimi and tableside preparation using Hot Rocks, Izumi offers guests an exotic Asian-inspired dining experience. At Izumi, items are charged a la carte. You'll enjoy a wide variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, desserts and more, all made-to-order with intense flavors, the best ingredients and impeccable presentation.
Now that's fresh. Chef Jamie Oliver may be one of Britain's most famous food exports, but it's his love of Italian cooking and the Italian way of life that drives the menu at Jamie's Italian. At the first seafaring outpost of his hugely popular restaurant, you'll enjoy rustic dishes, handmade using seasonal ingredients, and authentic recipes that are tried and tested crowd-pleasers.
Warm up with Jamie's Italian Famous Plank piled high with cured meats, pickles and tempting cheeses. From there, try delicious pastas made in-house every day, like indulgent pumpkin panzerotti and zingy prawn linguine to name a few. Plus more entrees, small plates, a gorgeous selection of grills and tempting desserts. Discover French confection perfection. Take your sweet tooth on a journey through an exciting assortment of macarons, petits-fours and chocolates, along with tasty espressos, cappuccinos and more at La Patisserie.
Located in an intimate enclave within Chops Grille, this private experience for up to 16 people treats you to a five-course, upgraded steakhouse menu and wine tasting. She brings her unique approach to healthy cooking to the kitchens of Solarium Bistro where dishes are big on flavor and low in calories and fat — so you can focus on more important things like relaxing in the laid-back atmosphere and fabulous setting of this resort-style restaurant. Looking for an authentic New York pizzeria experience… at sea?
Then head to Sorrento's for fully loaded pies right out of the oven. Try a different creation every day— from chorizo to Hawaiian to Pizza Florentine, with classic cheese and pepperoni always on call— or have one custom made with your favorite ingredients. A graceful nod to a baygone era when dining was not a task, but a time-honored ritual. Rediscover a few timeless classics. Windjammer Marketplace, a Royal Caribbean dining mainstay, is a global culinary pavilion that invites you to explore the world, dish by dish. Enticing food islands weave throughout, showcasing international fare while mapping your way between interactive stations.
Here, staff prepare signature specialties to your specs— like fresh-pressed panini, juices blended before your eyes, fluffy omelets, pastas, salads, soups, sandwiches and tantalizing desserts— all part of a menu that changes daily. Our chefs twist the kaleidoscope to invent fantasy gourmet dishes, magical elixirs, and more never-before-seen fare. Why watch a movie inside? Lounge on the pool deck with an ocean breeze, the moon, and movie stars as big as all outdoors.
The square foot movie screen presents first-run movies, live sporting events and more at the pool area on select ships. Our professional cast hosts an evening of theater packed with mystery, intrigue and lots of laughs. Solve the crime in one of our specialty restaurants over an exquisite multi-course dinner paired with fine wine. An exclusive event onboard select ships; sailings vary. Limited space, reserve early. In just seconds, find yourself anywhere in the world— or somewhere never before imagined.
Players love Casino Royale? Explore thousands of square feet of games, from penny slots to poker tables to roulette. Check out complimentary sessions to learn how to play the most popular games, or show off your skills at a tournament at sea. In the mood to curl up with a good book? Or show off your poker face? Our well stocked Library and Card Room offers great reads across many genres. Plus tables for cards and board games. Our comfortable conference center with sweeping ocean views features state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and a variety of meeting rooms.
Every night onboard is an opportunity to party. Explore an array of venues— all without a cover charge— to suit your mood, tastes and moves. Try salsa dancing at Boleros or heat up the floor at our multi-level night clubs, featuring DJ mixmasters, as well as celebrity scratch DJs on select sailings. Sit back and enjoy live acoustic tunes at the pub or bust out the show tunes at a Schooner Bar piano singalong.
The pool deck is the place to be. And each ship has several to choose from. Bask in the sun or relax in the shade while you sip a cool tropical cocktail and enjoy the complimentary loungers and live music. From kids' aqua parks to the adults-only Solarium— and all the slides and cantilevered hot tubs in between— there's a splashy place to spend the day for every adventurer onboard. Mbtintc78 1 Review Written. Disorganized chaos ship. Bad service and setup. Sail Date: May This ship is big but not wholesome. They have no clear directions for what is happening when.
It takes multiple attempts to reserve a special dining room because you have to walk to the dining room to reserve it and those dining room It takes multiple attempts to reserve a special dining room because you have to walk to the dining room to reserve it and those dining room staff are not available 24x7. Why can you just reserve online or at guess services? Everything that is an event show or plain dinner on the ship has a waiting line. The entertainment is good IF you can get in! Worst ship I been on out of 7 ships.
The first show had technical difficulties, the second show on the next day got post-form. This ship just sucks!! No fun, just constant issue and waiting lines. Just think of something you want to do and add minutes for the waiting line!!! HiPlainsCruiser 1 Review Written. Another Great Addition to the Oasis Class.
Sail Date: April We chose this cruise to get a chance to sail on the newest addition to the Oasis Class ships, having previously sailed on the Oasis and Allure. We did this cruise not for the dull Western Caribbean itinerary, but for the ship and dining We did this cruise not for the dull Western Caribbean itinerary, but for the ship and dining experiences. Fortunately, the Symphony offers a lot of onboard experiences during port days. We also wanted to try some of the newer restaurants onboard, since we are kind of "worn out" with Chops. They were all very, very good and certainly deserve a try.
Wonderland provides an evening of fascination where nothing is as it seems. It is a fun experience. As usual, the entertainment on the bigger ships is beyond spectacular. Hairspray was wonderful, even though we had seen it a couple of other times on RCCL. The Diamond Club is very nice and provide a lot of nice amenities. Disappointing overall; some good points. Sail Date: March Our 10th cruise, 4th with RCI.
Embarkation: super quick, but we got to the port at 10am. They started boarding the ship at and we were on the ship at am getting drinks at the They started boarding the ship at and we were on the ship at am getting drinks at the tides bar. Disembarkation: We always walk off with our bags. Went down to the Promenade at am, waited in line for 45 minutes behind about people already on line.
Once they started the line, we went from line to taxi stand outside the terminal in about 10 minutes. We were at the car rental place by , too bad they didn't open until 8. I have say something about the cleanliness of this ship. All areas of the ship were clean and polished as usual, but the floors in the pool area and solarium area were just plain disgusting. At first I thought it was from all the people, but it was like that first thing in the morning and I noticed the same "hair wad" on the steps to the hot tub that didn't move the entire 7 days we were on the ship.
We've been on the big ships including Oasis May '15 and Allure Dec. We chose this cruise just for the ship because we love how well RCI handles large crowds, especially on these large ships. On Oasis and Allure, we never felt crowded, it just never felt like there were over 6, passengers on the ship. Unfortunately, Symphony's "improvements" simply crowded the open areas that are on Oasis and Allure. These improvements created crowds almost everywhere on the ship, especially in the solarium.
On Oasis and Allure, the solarium is so large that at 11am on a sea day, there were still dozens of lounge chairs and by 3pm there were still empty chairs we like to spend the whole day in there. On Symphony, all the loungers and chairs were taken with personal items by 9am - and the saddest thing is that many of them would not have people in them for hours some didn't have people until after lunch! One morning I woke up at 6am. Not wanting to bother the husband, I went to the solarium to read my kindle and ALL the round loungers with egg-shaped surrounds already had personal items on them no people , ALL the round loungers without shades were taken, and more than HALF the regular lounge chairs had personal items on them.
The tiny 3ft pool 16 people max and the 2 hot tubs were always full of people except in the early morning and at dinner time. Frequently the little pool had double the max occupancy so it was "standing pool only". We've seen the dive shows on the other ships and it was highlight of our cruises so we couldn't wait to see the new Hiro show. Well, it just plain sucked. It sucked so bad, we wanted to leave. The show had no story at all, just samurai-dressed dancers. Sure the dancers were excellent, but they did the same dance moves to all the songs.
The girl flying across the sky above the crowd was really cool - the first time. By the 10th time, it was just "her again? And divers? Yeah, they dove from the lowest platform about 6 times, and one time from the high dive. That was it! It was a 45 minute dance show, not a dive show. The whole thing could have taken place on the main theater stage. We loved the iSkate show; didn't see any of the other stage shows. The comedians were terrible. We had reservations on the first night and after the show we were glad they both said they did the same routine in every set. Food was ok not great, but make reservations - even if you have "my time dining".
The buffet food was mediocre and all the best food for all meals is in the back of the buffet. The new Mexican grill was excellent, very fresh, just get there early because it seems they are only open for a couple of hours for lunch. They do offer breakfast burritos sometimes, and they were good too.
We didn't do any of the paid dining restaurants, but we did eat at the sports bar on the Boardwalk and that was good. To be honest: the best food on the ship is from room service. Sorrento's Pizza was much better on Symphony than on the Oasis and Allure a few years ago so I guess they improved the quality because usually the pizza is pretty bad, but this time was very tasty.
All the crew members we interacted with were polite and nice. Occasionally there was a grumpy bar tender in the solarium but they were way under staffed. The exercise gym was so crowded at 8am that there wasn't one piece of equipment that didn't have a person on it, including all the free weights - it was wall to wall bodies. It was the smallest gym on any cruise ship we've ever seen. Overall, I would not go again and if I hadn't already booked a cruise on the Harmony for next year before I set sail on this cruise, I would not have chosen another big ship.
Great Family Cruise Ship. I choose this ship for my family vacation because of the size as well as the variety of activities, entertainment and open air spaciousness of Central Park and the Boardwalk. Members of my family vary in age and interests and there was Members of my family vary in age and interests and there was something on the Symphony for everyone.
I first considered the Harmony until I discovered that the Solarium didn't have a pool. The Solarium is my favorite Sea day spot so this was an important feature for me. Dining: I read reviews about the food being average so we went to four speciality restaurants. Two for lunch and two for dinner. The service in the Main Dining room was amazing but the food was hit or miss. The food in the speciality restaurants was an all around amazing experience. Chops, Wonderland, Central Ave and Hooked. We also had a Mediterranean buffet dinner in the Solarium which was also quite tasty.
The only place that we would never eat at again was El Loco Fresh which was crowded, messy and did not have good food. Service: March Spring Break was a sold out sailing and a very full ship. The staff was on point and had everything under control. The waiters and bartenders kept orders moving quickly, the room attendant was pleasant and did a great job. Customer service was efficient and the ship was immaculate with the crew detailing the ship daily. World class shows and entertainment! This alone was worth the cost of the cruise.
Casino: I wanted to try my luck at the slots or even play the lottery but I couldn't get near the casino because the cigarette smoke was so terrible. It also permeated the hallways, Dining room entrance and the entertainment areas on the fourth floor. Second hand smoke is a serious health hazard especially for people with asthma and those who work there. Royal Caribbean should do a better job on the air filtration or ventilation system.
The crew is still working out the kinks but things went smoothly in most cases so it was worth the added expense for this sailing. If I weren't on a crowded ship I would pass on the Key. Teen Center: My son only went on the first day, he had fun but preferred to hang with his older brother on the sports deck where there are tons of activities. Art: There is no shortage of spectacular artwork to discover around the ship. I sent my kids on a daily scavenger hunt and we still haven't found it all. On the last day we looked down the elevator shaft and noticed art in the elevator well below the third floor.
Our family loves the Oasis class ships and Symphony of the Seas has all of the best features combined in one perfect ship. LJBaker 4 Reviews Written. Was a delightful surprise and one fabulous trip! We went with several friends on Spring Break and were dreading it mainly because of the size of the ship and having so many children aboard and our last experience on a mega ship that was a disaster.
This turned out to be one of our This turned out to be one of our best trips ever I can hardly believe we never once felt crowded anywhere. It was incredibly laid out well and had an insane amount of entertainment for everyone. Did not even make it to half of the entertainment. RC is known for their world-class shows and this was not a disappointment. Ice Skating was world-class and wonderful costumes and staff had tons of energy.
The Hiro Dive Show was spectacular. Even the marriage show in the theatre was a blast and funny. The pools were never super crowded and reasonably easy to find a chair. The only big complaint is they closed the second floor in the solarium one day for wind because they were worried about some decorative metal pieces. It was a huge huge disruption and made several people mad and frustrated. Take down the sculptures if you are so worried, because the wind was not that bad at all. The Solarium is beautiful and adults only and we had plenty of sun.
Well laid out. ALL of the staff was very very helpful and kind everywhere. She was fun and helpful. Loved seeing her several times just because she was such a bright light. They however, did not offer any boutique shopping on the ship for clothing and that was a huge surprise and disappointment. All of us gals, were so taken back and they need to re-think this. You have a captive audience and also women love to be resort wear on vacation Biggest dissappointment was the food in the evenings. Very sub-par from other ships like Celebrity and Holland and some other ships.
Our entire group was very dissatisfied with the meals. Over cooked, undercooked, no flavor, too much fat, etc. Also our particular server was poorly trained and we did complain on the second night and Tatyana stepped in to remedy many of our concerns which we appreciated greatly. They need to be trained better as service was fast, not personal and for example, it took him three nights to offer fresh-ground pepper before we even knew he had any. One night one of the pepper shakers had no pepper and the butter dishes were empty.
Cruise Director was hysterical and super entertaining which made it fun. Everything was extremely cleaned and the cabin had amazing storage. It was such a great cruise! It went by way too fast. GREAT employees serving the guests! Annelle 3 Reviews Written. Nice cruise. Back from a family cruise with teens.
Embarkation and desembarkation: fast and easy. Stateroom: We had 2 balcony rooms, ocean view. The room attendant The room attendant came twice a day to clean. Dining: Disappointed by Windjammer. Everything was fresh but the choices were greatly reduced. Breakfast was particulary below expectations. No omelette station, no more little croissant, the apples and oranges are behind a window so you have to wait in line to ask for some, the bread is already toasted and put in a basket but only in a couple of place, so quite cold by the time you get some.
Main dining room: We found out that the good breakfast is at the main dining room a la carte or buffet. One morning the even had a chocolate fountain that was spectacular. Dinner was good. Lobster night is back at no charge, serving only the lobster tail. Specialty dining: Chops and Izumi were delicious. Jamie's Italian was very good but lacked the Wow you expected from a specialty restaurant. We wanted to tried it but I would not return.
Climatisation: That was a problem throughout the cruise, in our room and on the ship. The main area were either cold or hot, depending ot the days. At one point on the Royal Pormenade, the air conditionning was working mainly in the area at guest services but it was really hot around the shops and Boleros. Staff told us that this is usual and that climatisation needs improvment. Shops: For alcohol and make-up, you better check the price at home. Some items were a deal, some others not so much.
Medical clinic: Went there for a minor issue. Staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Though the sanitation is a priority everywhere, the medical clinic restroom strangely had no motion sensor soap dispensor. If the clinic is closed, there is a vending machine on the 15th floor where you can get a variety of medication ex: advil and personnal hygiene products.
You can get free medication for seasickness if need be, in a box at the entrance of the clinic. Entertainment: Amazing! There were so many shows to enjoy and the whole family loved it. We were really impress by Hiro at the Aquatheater. If the show you want to see is sold-out, go wait in line and 10 minutes before the beginning you will likely have a place. Slides: Water slides are much fun and the whole family will enjoy it.. The Ultimate Abyss is OK but after times you will have enough.
Ports of call: Nassau: Stayed on the ship to enjoy it. St-Thomas: Went to the beach by taxi and had a great day St-Kitts: We booked a private tour with Royston and that was the highlight of our trip! We visited Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in the morning, saw many off the path places on the island and went to the beach after.
Symphony is a great ship with many things to offer. However, the difference with the other Oasis class ships is not that significant to me, except for the slides. Anichs 1 Review Written. Beautiful ship, Excellent Service! Sail Date: February We ended up on this cruise by accident - we were originally scheduled to cruise on the Navigator sailing that was meant to be the first sailing after the renovation.
When we found out our original cruise was cancelled, we immediately When we found out our original cruise was cancelled, we immediately called and got on one of the only ships available. After the horrible customer service by the land side crew hung up on, laughed at, and told we didn't matter , we booked a cruise 3X the original price of our Navigator sailing.
Symphony, after all of the tears and trouble of being cancelled and treated like garbage by customer service, gave us the cruise of a lifetime. The crew on board were absolutely incredible! From the moment we walked into the building at Port Miami, the customer service was stellar. We got stuck with My Time dining due to booking the cruise only 10 days before sailing and we were weary and worried about having to make reservations every day.
The staff at the dining room were able to make us a standing reservation for the entire trip. We made the request and they worked their magic - we had them for all 7 nights and they were honestly the highlight of the trip. We looked forward to dinner each night, returning from our day out and about excited to tell them about what we experienced and to find out how their day went. By the end of the trip, we had inside jokes and everything. I wish I could have them on every trip. The ship in general is absolutely beautiful - everything is so clean and there are helpful staff everywhere.
We were hardly able to see it all during our 7 night stay. Central Park is beautiful and the promenade has so much going on. The rooms were so well designed - our party was in 2 different interior rooms. Having seen an interior on Enchantment which was my first cruise and I had a balcony room , I was afraid it would feel cramped in an interior. That was not the case at all! The updated look makes it feel like you're in a modern hotel room. The housekeeping staff was also very accommodating - any time we passed him in the hall, he made sure we had everything we needed.
The noise levels were also non-existent. Maybe we just had good neighbors, but once we were in the room, we couldn't hear anything else! The shows on board were incredible. Royal's production of Hairspray rivals any Broadway production. The cast were stellar - and so personable! We were able to do a backstage tour of the production and it was so much fun. Roatan was so beautiful, I want to continue to find ships that stop there!
I have never seen water so blue. We did not do a shore excursion in Costa Maya but did explore the shops in Port and you could fill a day just shopping and exploring right there! Our shore excursion in Cozumel was a major disappointment and we thought a waste of money - we did the ship offered dune buggies with snorkeling and a beach trip. They took us to the windy side of the island for the beach and admitted that it's rare that you are able to swim there due to such high winds and under currents.
The snorkeling was very bare - although the guides were a lot of fun, it was not worth it at all. And Nassau is my least favorite place - busy and all I feel is harassed as soon as I step off the boat. We only got off the ship because one person in our party had never been - we make it a point to find cruises that do not include Nassau. Overall, we had an absolutely wonderful time on Symphony, but it is not without its flaws. Being such a large ship, you hardly have time to see everything on board, but at the same time we found ourselves bored and waiting for something to do. Because the ship relies so heavily on its built in entertainment, things like trivia and shows are spaced out quite far.
We found ourselves so many times, going from one activity to another and having to wait a long time for it to start simply because if we tried to do something in between, it would take too long to get back! You absolutely MUST preplan everything - and having booked little more than a week ahead of time, most shows and shore excursions were gone.
We had to show up to shows way ahead of time to be able to get in and see them. The scheduling also makes it impossible to see shows more than once without sacrificing seeing another show. The casino is beautiful, but often very full! I did however appreciate that because of its size, I barely noticed the smoking session. Last but not least, we hardly ever saw our cruise Director! When I sailed on Enchantment, our cruise Director Cruisin' Susan was involved with everything and she made the short trip feel like a week long party!
I certainly prefer the smaller ships, but a trip on Symphony is a must just to experience the service and grandeur such a beast provides. Better Than Expected. We wanted to see what the biggest ship in the world would be like. We could not believe the speed at which we were able to get on and off the ship. I mean how do they do it. Vietnamese life: At Cai Be an entertaining guide takes us to a family sweet factory, where young girls sit twisting caramels into plastic wrappers and rice is popped in vast woks. The kids, who sing and practice their English questions, are full of endearing enthusiasm.
I also enjoy stops at Angkor Ban, with its venerable wooden farmhouses, and multicoloured Wat Hanchey, a temple complex high on a hilltop above the Mekong, providing a new angle on the river from above. The Cambodian curries are the highlight; I find myself tucking in almost daily. Ports along the Mekong offer an incredible insight into everyday life in Vietnam.
The sky is pink and retirees in pyjamas practice tai chi on the waterfront. The Cambodian capital is elegant in places like Sisowath Quay and the Royal Palace, and Central Market provides an Aladdin selection of jewellery and clothes. Our excellent guide, Pisith, makes it personal by talking about the experience of his family, who lost two uncles and his year-old sister to the Killing Fields. He comes from a family of intellectuals, among the most persecuted of groups.
Finally, we leave the Mekong for a coach transfer to the bustling tourist centre of Siem Reap so we can visit Angkor Wat. This is a vast temple complex, and while Angkor Wat itself is the most famous, I find others even more appealing. Cruises generally sail between Mandalay and Yangon, but some now explore the tributary Chindwin River too. Highlights are the yearold temple ruins at Bagan and the ancient capital of Amarapura, but the riverbanks provide a spectacle of daily life, from villages to processions of orange-robed monks, mahogany forest to gleaming gold-leaf temples.
The revered river is characterised by rice paddies, spice plantations and mango orchards, dotted between which are Hindu temples, crumbling Mughal fortresses and colonial-era towns.
Alternative Fred Olsen Ships
Yangtze River, China This mighty river cuts through central China, with cruises usually starting in Yichang and sailing to Chongqing, though some take in longer sections. Visit your local Flight Centre for more advice and the latest deals on river cruising in Asia. Go to flightcentre. The sunlit water glimmers in a thousand shades of aquamarine and turquoise in the lagoons that encircle the islands of New Caledonia, including the Isle of Pines. Charmingly low-key and vibrant with culture, the archipelago of Tonga is a destination where immersion in daily life is the main attraction.
Island time is a given, tourist traps are nonexistent, and the friendly locals are more than happy to demonstrate how to relax into their leisurely pace of living. Float free through crystal water, where you might be lucky enough to meet a sea turtle or hear the whale song of the local humpbacks. Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea hardly need an introduction; the scenes of enchanting overwater bungalows and luscious waterfalls feature in the daydreams of many. Fijians traditionally use dance and song to relay stories in a practice known as meke.
Insights into traditional culture are easy to come by and cast everything into wonderful perspective. These dense, emerald forests conceal waterfalls that plummet from magnificent heights into rock pools. Enigmatic stone figures dot the hills of Easter Island, some buried to the neck and others up to 10 metres in height. No-one knows why the ancient Rapa Nui people erected the moai statues, but today their mystery, plus a little island splendour, is why people come.
Although tourism is on the rise, the island retains a blissful seclusion. Visit your Flight Centre for South Pacific cruising advice. Tweens can enjoy the view from a cruise ship just as much as adults can. The pool is an eternally popular spot on ships for both kids and tweens. Activities like da Vinci treasure hunts in Rome are common in many ports. Tropical cruises allow for cool breezes and palmshaded beach visits. Take your tween snorkelling in reef hotspots. No longer kids but not quite teenagers, tweens are the perfect cruising companions.
Making time for family Tweens love hanging out with newfound friends, but family time is important too. Instead of nagging your tween to spend time with you, why not set a family challenge? Dining is another way to spend quality time together. As much as my husband and I enjoyed our date nights at sea, we insisted our son join us for lunch each day.
Tweens love hanging out with newfound friends, but family time is important too. Do you expect your tween to join you for dinner? Can they get treats. Are they allowed to charge items like soft drinks to their cruise-ship card? Discussing these things beforehand can help prevent misunderstandings that might spoil the holiday mood.
More tweens equals more fun While some parents prefer to avoid busy school-holiday sailings, these can be ideal for tweens who revel in the opportunity to socialise. If your child skips this session but decides to join in later, it can be harder for them to make friends. Consider starting with a limited amount of freedom at first, such as allowing them to sign out at an agreed time and meet you in the cabin, to help them gain confidence and earn your trust. Walkie-talkies are a handy way to keep in touch onboard and can provide extra peace of mind.
Visit your local Flight Centre for more advice from our experts about cruising with tweens and deals on cruises.
Macao The true essence of Macao is hard to convey in words. Only by visiting will travellers get a true impression of the destination. This former Portuguese colony embodies glitz and glamour, and it just so happens to be the perfect way to enrich a cruise through Hong Kong.
A foray into Macao rewards luxury seekers with many ways to indulge. Macao is situated just across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong, and an easy minute ferry ride will reveal this destination of beautifully preserved colonial ruins, surprising cuisine and eyepopping opulence in the form of high-end resorts and hotels.
Feed the inner foodie with Macanese cuisine involving a fusion of spices and food cultures from Africa, India and the coast of Malacca, brought to Macao by the Portuguese and is prepared with Chinese ingredients and cooking style. This unique taste has been enjoyed by travellers for decades. For retail devotees, there are sleek shopping centres filled with international luxury brands, independent fashion boutiques and specialised Chinese antique. Each evening, travellers can enjoy a selection of extravagant shows, or wake in the morning to an exclusive breakfast with the DreamWorks gang.
Going beyond the luxury of 5-star stays and renowned restaurants, Macao takes travel to the next level with attractions that delight travellers of all types. Ascend to its lofty height to savour panoramas or add a dose of adrenaline with a stroll on the Skywalk X, a heart-stopping metres high. For those who prefer their feet firmly on the ground, rich and diverse history is all around. No matter how travellers decide to experience Macao, this beautiful gateway to Asia promises a holiday to remember, and a stopover that will add glamour, luxury and excitement to any cruise itinerary.
Busy, bright and bustling downtown Macao. A street scene in the historic centre of Macao. Luxury travellers will love Galaxy Macao Resort. Incense burns in the mouth of a stone lion at a temple in the city. Although fitness centres and exercise classes are commonplace on ships, cruise passengers keen for an adventure can now get even more from their holidays thanks to forward-thinking operators such as APT, Avalon Waterways and UnCruise, which are jumping on board with new itineraries designed specifically for the energetic.
The day Cycling Magnificent Europe trip and the eight-day Bordeaux By Bicycle itinerary fit guests with their very own touring or road bike from the start of. Fancy lacing up your runners for an early morning jogging tour along the grand boulevards of Vienna? Yes, you can. All activities are included in the fare and guests can participate in additional experiences, such as canoeing along the Danube, cycling through the apricot orchards and vineyards of Durnstein, or trekking secret Budapest routes and underground tunnels created by smugglers during World War II. This tour will start operating from July Keen for more?
Visit your local Flight Centre for more advice on active travel and the latest cruise deals. Ship-shape at sea Cruising on an ocean liner? With Princess Cruises, take lessons in ballroom, salsa and linedancing, work out in a Zumba class or find your zen with tai chi and yoga. Popular with kids, Royal Caribbean has added rock-climbing walls to its new ships, and the brandnew Ovation of the Seas features skydiving simulator iFly and surfing simulator FlowRider. The same ship also offers SeaPlex, with facilities the whole family can enjoy such as bumper cars, a circus school and a roller-skating rink.
Here, he shares his top five tips for keeping fit while holidaying at sea. RUN While cruising, my goal was to jog every second day for about 40 minutes. Getting out for a snorkel and to check out the reefs is great exercise. Luxury cruise lines are going into overdrive, launching lavish new vessels and spending hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading their existing fleets. Esprit will be joined by Crystal Endeavor in August ; the guest mega-yacht will be equipped with. In , the first of three new 1,guest ocean-going Exclusive Class ships will join Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony; these will boast 48 privately owned Crystal Residences.
Ponant The French line launched Le Lyrial, the fourth of its stylish, nearly identical passenger luxury expedition ships in Such has been the demand. Regent Seven Seas Cruises Seven Seas Explorer, the most expensive cruise ship ever built per berth , was christened in a ceremony in Monaco in July Its Regent Suite has attracted the most attention; the The much-talkedabout Eclipse will sail to most ports of the globe and is ice-rated for Polar regions.
Seabourn Seabourn Encore will be gracing Australian waters soon after its January christening in Singapore, becoming the youngest, most luxurious ship to sail Down Under. The elegant guest Seabourn Encore is slightly larger than its three Odyssey-class sisters, and Seabourn Ovation will follow in Viking Ocean Cruises Another highly successful river-cruise line that has taken to the high seas, Viking has launched two ocean-going ships — the guest Viking Star and Viking Sea — since May The contemporary adultsonly vessels are already winning awards, and three more are set to debut by Three of its fleet are sailing ships and three are boutique motor-yachts.
Between them, the six ships sail to more than destinations worldwide. Words: Kris Madden. The perfect paella served in Barcelona, of course , the sweetest sauternes hello, Bordeaux and street food cooked in front of your eyes good morning, Vietnam! Just as dining at sea has become more sophisticated with the spate of celebrity chefs joining ships, cruise.
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They recognise the value of gastronomy as a means of socialising, exchanging experiences and, of course, generating hundreds of Facebook and Instagram posts. Culinary cruises, just like a fine dining meal, are best paired with a delicious drop of wine. Shop with a chef during a culinary cruise to Barcelona with Seabourn. A benefit of cruising is super-fresh seafood. Experience both culture and cuisine in Oaxaca, Mexico. Picturesque views dot the coast of New Zealand, also a foodie destination. From the rich and historic wine regions of France to Mayan cooking classes in Mexico, on a gourmet-themed cruise you may find yourself sipping real champagne in a French chateau, indulging in a fine feast by a Michelin-starred chef, pulling Alaskan crab straight from the pot or learning about the five elements of Vietnamese cuisine.
The wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux. Eating a meal crafted by a Michelinstarred chef. On the Alaska Salmon Bake adventure in the city of Juneau, eat your fill of wild Alaskan salmon barbecued over an open fire, served with rare accompaniments such as reindeer sausage. Crab, lobster and salmon pulled fresh from Alaskan waters. Tasting chocolate in the region where it originated. Adding some of the best Chilean wines to your cellar. Travelling elsewhere with Seabourn? Word to the wise: wear stretchy pants. Each year, Nguyen escorts two APT Mekong River cruises, taking guests on immersive city tours, where meals at his favourite local restaurants in Vietnam and Cambodia are all a part of the tantalising equation.
In Siem Reap, take part in a traditional Khmer cooking class. Cruising to the world-class wineries of Australia and New Zealand. Visit your local Flight Centre for more advice on gourmet travel and the latest cruise deals. Sampling delicious Vietnamese cuisine like the locals do — on the street. Learning the yin and yang of Vietnamese cuisine and why it is so healthy. Tasting an authentic assam laksa in Penang. Cruises create the perfect atmosphere for your kids to have fun meeting people and making lasting friendships.
Cruises are great for groups with different interests. For one, you only have to unpack once. Plus, it removes the fuss and work in creating your own celebration at home. They can help you with flowers or chocolates, make and deliver a cake or fruit platter, bring up a bottle of Champagne and even decorate your cabin as a surprise for that special someone. You can also purchase gifts onboard — day-spa experiences are popular. Three-night round-trip cruises heading into the ocean from Australia are great for large groups. For something a bit longer, seven- to night cruises through the South Pacific or around New Zealand are fabulous for families.
Individuals and couples should consider destinations like the Mediterranean, Alaska and the Caribbean. I get great feedback from kids and their parents about Disney Cruise Line. Almost every cruise ship has something on board that each generation will love to do, either on their own or with the rest of the family. The best destinations for cruising with friends are islands. Some of the best onboard memories are made when a bunch of friends participate in fun and sometimes random activities.
You can get a multiple cabin discount for booking several categories. Group bookings can also come with more onboard credit and other benefits. A New Zealand itinerary allows you to explore the natural wonders of the country, such as volcanoes and mountains. It also has rich heritage and Maori culture. For party people, there are dress-up parties and two-storey nightclubs. We also have cruises designed for relaxation and solitude; find your nest on a hammock bed and read a book while the crew attend to your needs.
Insider tip Guests of all ages will enjoy the reduced travel time and transport that comes with holidaying on a cruise. Everything is taken care of. There is no need to move everyone and their luggage between cities and modes of transport. Someone also miraculously cleans your cabin twice a day. Most cruise lines welcome children from the age of one, while some shorter cruises welcome babies from six months.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival are particularly suited for younger children. There is no chance of any kid getting bored. Every night they will be sent a list of activities for the next day and they can choose what interests them. Usually there are swimming pools, a sports deck, plenty of shows to see and games to take part in as a family. They will also learn about each port they visit, and there are plenty of activities to choose from in each destination.
Programs are organised by age, experienced carers look after the kids, and the dedicated zones are well-equipped with toys, games and books. Cruising takes away the stress of land travel, allowing couples to connect. Not at all — there are lots of solo travellers out there. There are many group activities and public spaces like bars and cafes for socialising. You call the shots and do what you want, when you want. Go on shore or hang around the pool deck as you please. Be social and party or curl up on a couch and read a book.
Pick the right cruise line, itinerary and cruise ship for your personality. Big ships are great if you like to party and do activities. Small ships are tailored to intimate experiences. Solo travellers come in all shapes and sizes, just like cruise ships and itineraries. Have Champagne and flowers delivered to your room, go for dinner in a fine restaurant, or go for cocktails after having professional photos taken together. Smaller ships are intimate and have high attention to detail and service. Small luxury liners cater perfectly to cruising couples.
They focus on the beautiful experiences couples often may not get in everyday life. Luxury cruise lines have this amount already built into the fare, therefore saving additional onboard charges. Shore excursions: Guests who wish to explore each port a cruise ship visits will soon find that. A number of luxury cruise lines in particular, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Viking Cruises include one or more shore excursions in each port, adding several thousand of dollars in value.
This means more attentive service, less queuing and a more personal experience. Accessibility of smaller ports: Most luxury cruise lines operate smaller vessels, which allows access to smaller ports and the ability to sail closer to the town centres, therefore eliminating the need to spend hours in shuttle buses to reach a destination. Adults-only options: Many luxury cruise lines cater predominantly to adults and have passenger age restrictions.
This creates an exclusive atmosphere that invites tranquility and relaxation. There are plenty of luxury ships and itineraries to choose from, so chat to a Flight Centre Travel Expert today about finding the the best luxury cruise holiday for you.
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Large-ship cruising aims to be very inclusive and there are plenty of fun programs available for all ages and interests. Large ships are perfect for those who like to fill their days as there is always something to do onboard. Privacy: Should you want a bit of peace and quiet during your cruise, many ships have adults-only areas featuring a pool and oh-socomfortable loungers. They can help you choose a good value itinerary and get the best deal on flights and cruises. How can I find the right cruise for me? Will everything be included in the cost, or will I have to pay more on board?
Tipping is usual for many cruise lines, so if tips are not included in your fare, you will receive an envelope in your cabin on the last day of the cruise. However, some cruise lines have a no-tipping policy. I prefer to travel in a small group. Are there any cruises that suit smallgroup travel? Small-ship travelling is the perfect style of cruising for small groups as there are fewer passengers on board than on the larger oceancruising liners, and often fellow cruisers tend to share many of the same travelling interests.
Smaller ships are also at a more general advantage as their size enables them to cruise to shallower or narrower waterways, gaining access to very special and unique destinations. Visit flightcentre. A cruising holiday ticks all the boxes. Did you know that Australia is currently recognised as one of the leading cruise markets in the world? With a choice of more than ships — small, large and everything in between — and about 2, ports of call across the world, there is a perfect cruise for everyone. On a cruise, you can see the world, unwind completely, experience diverse cultures, dance the night away, feast on fabulous cuisine, learn new skills, make new friends and bond with your family.
The possibilities are endless, and the benefits are plentiful…. Value for money: Whatever type of cruise you choose, it will include your accommodation, food, travel, entertainment and, often, other additions. These could include cultural walking tours, cooking schools, shopping tours and many adventures, including helicopter rides, mountain biking, canoeing, whitewater rafting and trekking. Formal nights are common too men should wear a suit while women should opt for a cocktail dress. Then there are specialty restaurants where, for a fee, you can indulge in.
Cruises are great for those on a budget and also for people wanting the most luxurious experience on water. With so many options available, you can choose a cruise based on your price point. Most cruise lines offer a huge range of age-appropriate child and teen facilities and activities supervised by experts.
Bookings can be made once on board or pre-booked online, depending on the company. Plenty of onboard activities: Many ships have great programs on board and often include options such as swimming, fitness classes, computer training, art auctions, photography classes, dance lessons, cooking, basketball and tennis, to name a few. Entertainment extravaganza: Every.
Consider your ship a floating capital city, with nightclubs, movies, live. There are options for those who want to sit back and watch, and also for those looking to participate in interactive entertainment. Top-notch facilities: Larger oceangoing cruise ships are fitted out with an array of facilities for everyone to enjoy. They often house day spas, gyms, wave pools, cinemas, ice-skating rinks, mini-golf courses, tenpin bowling alleys and rock-climbing walls, to name a few.
Sensational spas: Many cruise ships. Handy hint: keep an eye out for spa sales in the ship newsletter on larger liners. Strolls under the stars, exotic port stops, spa services and intimate dinners make cruising the ideal choice for couples. Want to make it even more memorable? Chat to your Flight Centre consultant to see how the cruise team can help organise a proposal.
Generations of families and groups of friends travelling together will enjoy cruising because of the wide choice of activities on offer. Keep the day for yourself, then catch up with everyone at night. From massive ships that navigate across the seas to vessels that glide down scenic rivers, choosing your itinerary is half the fun. Ocean cruises give you the opportunity to see the whole world, with endless possibilities at your disposal.
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These days, highly competitive prices mean it now suits young families wanting a fun-filled experience as well as groups, couples and singles wishing to circumnavigate the globe in high style. Resort-style ships are the biggest cruise ships, and because of this they house just about everything. Diversity and choice are both huge benefits of choosing an ocean cruise. Onboard facilities include — but are not limited to — casinos, pools, saunas, rockclimbing walls, ice-skating rinks, kids' clubs and entertainment centres.
Activities range from 4D movies, destination-based lectures and fitness and cooking classes to dining with the captain and indulging in lavish spa treatments. Do you want to shop for a bargain in Singapore, listen to the steel drums of the Caribbean, marvel at centuriesold European architecture or laze on a white-sand beach on an Asian island? With the right ocean cruise, you can do it all. Adventure and small-ship cruising Adventure and small-ship cruising allows you to journey to some of the most remote regions of the world.
Live life under billowing sails, take part in scientific expeditions and participate in unique experiences and seminars. This type of cruising often comes down to the choice of destination and, generally, there are fewer passengers on board than on the larger ocean-cruising liners, with numbers starting at fewer than 50 and climbing to about Smaller ships are at an advantage as their size enables them to cruise to more shallow or narrow waterways, gaining access to unique destinations.
Many adventure and small ships have inflatable Zodiacs that transport passengers into the depths of the environment that is being explored. Onboard experts: Specialist guides assist in making your cruise as wondrous as possible, with informative lectures, interactive classes and in-depth briefings all part of the inclusions. Responsible travel: Responsible travel is demonstrated by hiring local guides and working with local businesses. Discover the wild in comfort: Amenities often include state-of-the-art equipment, such as satellite navigation, medical facilities, gourmet cuisine and comfortable cabins.
They cover considerable distances, allowing you to see a great deal of the countries you are visiting. Smaller vessels also allow admittance to areas larger ships cannot access. Ships are often docked in the centre of cities and towns during stops — a dream for any sightseer. Engagement: Embarking on a river cruise is about immersing yourself in your surroundings, which is easy to do because of the proximity of most river cruise ports and shore excursions. Easy border crossings: Visas and border patrols are taken care of, so all you have to do is enjoy the journey while someone else sees to the finer details.
Luxury cruising can be likened to an extravagant floating resort, filled with everything your heart desires. Those who appreciate a first-class travel experience will undoubtedly enjoy cruising aboard a luxury cruise liner, where spacious surroundings, art collections, flawless personal service, extra stateroom amenities, quality linens and onboard enrichment programs are just a few of the inclusions. Cuisine is creative, fine dining is a highlight and connoisseur wines and premium spirits take centre stage on luxury cruises. These ships sail to ports that are chosen based on what sophisticated travellers desire.
Shore excursions in style: Whether you are exploring the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska or sipping on a fine Chianti in Florence, luxury shore excursions are always designed around comfort and service — just like your onboard experience. Some rooms feature in-room spas, private balconies, hour butler service and flat-screen televisions.
Fine dining at its best: Dining is understood to be an integral part of luxury cruising. When it comes to ships, there are choices ranging from intimate yacht-like vessels with as few as 50 passengers to massive mega-ships stretching longer than three football fields and carrying more than 6, people. When choosing your ship, you need to consider: The number of passengers: Do you want to meet and socialise with lots of people, or would you prefer quiet time with your partner?
The personality of the cruise: Selecting the cruise line that best matches your personality is crucial. So, what kind of cruiser are you? The kind of service you want: Are you seeking personalised service and an intimate feel, or a resort out at sea?
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Location, location, location: Do you want an adventure across the oceans or a meander along a river? Ships come in three principal categories, and are measured in gross registered tonnes GRT and by the number of passengers they carry. Think of these cruise ships as resorts at sea, where entertainment, cuisine, social activities, facilities and amenities are plentiful. Each day there is something new to do.
Large ships are perfect for those who like to fill their days, as there is always something to do on the ship. Evening entertainment: Grand venues, such as casinos and nightclubs, are pumping once nightfall hits, or head to a theatre to watch Broadway-style shows. Privacy: Many ships feature adults-only areas, should you want a bit of peace and quiet. You can easily find your way around, and there is still a range of activities and excursions to participate in. If you are seeking an intimate cruise experience with personalised service, a small ship holiday will probably suit you best.
Superior access: Mid-size ships are very well suited to smaller ports, due to their ease of manoeuvrability. Happy medium: Neither too big nor too small, the size and facilities of these ships generally strike a happy. Relaxation: If you enjoy a quiet, relaxed cruising experience with fewer passengers, facilities, entertainment and dining options than large ships, this will be ideal. Unique experiences: Boutique and small-ship cruising is perfect for those looking for a more unique adventure or an educational. Smallship cruising allows you to experience culturally rich and unique destinations, with exclusivity in your shore excursions.
Porthole cabins are on the lower decks and are generally the least expensive in this category. These luxury cabins come in all shapes, sizes and locations. Step aboard and experience luxurious modern amenities, gracious service and endless authentic experiences. Introducing in June American Duchess the first all-suite river boat.
The celebrated American chefs draw their inspiration from the great US heartland to create a movable, delectable feast for you to indulge in. Every day celebrates the culinary senses. Night after night, top entertainers take centre stage and deliver high-calibre performances worthy of Broadway. Boasting a rich decor and comfortable seating, the warm ambiance on board provides the perfect setting in which to enjoy rousing musical revues and high-energy cabaret from the exceptional cast. Stroll the deck, relax with a book or enjoy a beverage in one of the unique bars.
American Duchess — the first all-suite US paddlewheeler. As history plays such a large part of your cruise experience, a Riverlorian is on board for each voyage to impart the history and lore of the river on which you are cruising. Choose from multiple, specialty dining options, all at no additional charge, along with complimentary bottled water and soft drinks throughout your cruise, and complimentary wines and beers at dinner. Using local produce and discovering the local flavours of each region, the exquisite gourmet cuisine is sure to be a highlight on your APT Small Ship cruise.
Each ship has a relaxed and friendly onboard atmosphere, and a selection of house wine, beer and spirits is included throughout your journey, as well as impeccable service. APT prides itself on bringing each unique destination to life.