Tag: Celebrity Cruises

Iceland has some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes – despite being less than 250 miles from one end to the other, the island is packed with volcanoes, mountains, glaciers, fjords, waterfalls and geysers. But one thing it’s not so well known for is its food. You might have heard of bizarre Icelandic specialities like sheep’s head and fermented shark, but what do normal Icelanders really eat? I set out on a whirlwind trip to Iceland to discover more about one of the country’s staple dishes – Thunder Bread or Rúgbrauð.
Cruising has shaken off the old stereotypes and is attracting a whole new audience – and I’m one of them. I loved my Eastern Mediterranean cruise last summer, but if you’re curious about cruising it can feel like a bit of a risk to sign up for a week-long trip if you’ve never been on a cruise before. So Celebrity Cruises have come up with the great idea of a mini taster cruise, so you can test the waters (excuse the pun) before a full-length trip.
You might spot that this is a bit different from my usual accommodation reviews, being as that it’s a cruise ship rather than a hotel. But when you think about it, what is a ship really other than a massive floating hotel? Albeit more like a mega-resort with 1400 rooms, 10 restaurants, five bars and its own theatre. But it’s still a place to stay and picking the right one is even more important, as when you’re miles out to sea you can’t really change your mind and go stay somewhere else.
Istanbul is up there with places like New York, Paris and London as one of the world’s great cities. Places where each different neighbourhood is almost a separate city in its own right, and where you could spend a few months and still only scratch the surface. But what if you only have one day? Istanbul was the final stop on our cruise itinerary around the Eastern Mediterranean, and with only a limited time to explore, rather than spreading ourselves too thinly across the city, we headed straight for Sultanahmet.
On the western coast of Turkey, Ephesus has some of the Mediterranean’s best-preserved, grandest ruins. As a major port for trade routes to Asia it grew from a coastal town in the 10th century BC to the second largest city in the world. A series of rulers over the years left their mark – from the Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines and Ottomans. But when its port silted up, Ephesus was abandoned and fell into ruins.
Santorini is the classic Greek island – its shades of blue and white featuring on magazine covers across the world. But would it be as impressive in person? Docking in the port, we dodged the cable car queue and the donkey handlers and climbed up the 650 steps to the town of Fira. Despite 30 degree heat it was worth every step for the views that greeted us at the top – a maze of whitewashed buildings spilling down over the edge of a steep cliff, with the backdrop of the deep blue Aegean Sea.
Celebrity athletes, elaborate construction projects, political infighting – when you think about it the Olympic Games haven’t changed all that much since they first started in Ancient Greece. All the way from Olympia 776 BC to Rio 2016, the Olympics have always been about so much more than just sport. But back in Ancient Greece it was less about national pride and sponsorship revenue and more about worshipping the gods.
Before going on my first cruise with Celebrity Cruises earlier this month, it’s fair to say I was a complete cruise novice. Pretty much the only knowledge I had of cruising came from repeat viewings of Titanic and The Poseidon Adventure (so I was paying particular attention when it came to the evacuation drill). I normally do a lot of research before a trip, but this time I was in the dark – especially so as a documentation malfunction meant the only info I had when I boarded the ship was a bit of paper with our flight numbers on.
Conventional cruise wisdom has it that when you get into port, you should be first off the ship to get as much time as you can in each destination. Great in theory, but it didn’t take into account that our arrival into Dubrovnik would coincide with a torrential rainstorm – and an umbrella shortage! So, feeling just a little bit guilty, we hung out in the jacuzzi first while else was trudging around in the rain.
When I found out our cruise was departing out of Venice, I knew I’d have to try and fit in a glass of prosecco in Piazza San Marco on the way. But my plans were thwarted by a rainstorm and a flight delay, and instead we had to head straight on board our ship. That didn’t mean we missed out on the views though – or the bubbly. As we set sail, we toasted the start of our trip from underneath an umbrella on our balcony.


A Big 5 Safari in Kruger National Park

We rounded a corner and there in the road essentially right in front of us were the painted forms of a pack of wild…