Hello and welcome to my September update!
Sadly, this message comes at a time when we are all in mourning for Queen Elizabeth II and out of respect we will be closing on Monday 19 September for the state funeral. During my time with Bolsover Cruise Club, I have had the opportunity to attend several lunches with the Queen at various ship launches and also at a special celebration of the retirement of the iconic QE2 liner. These are fond memories and I am honoured that she was so closely associated with an industry that means so much to me. Looking at events over the past week I am left feeling proudly British!
In my last update, I mentioned that I was about to embark on my first family cruise for a number of years and I am delighted to say we all had a superb time. Seabourn did not fail to live up to our expectations; it’s one of my favourites and I really enjoy the understated luxury that they capture so well. I made a point of dining in the Thomas Keller Grill and couldn’t help but try the roast chicken again, which has been one of their signature dishes for a number of years and was fantastic as usual. Travelling with young adults also meant it was a little more hectic than normal, including a couple of fabulous beach clubs at Saint Tropez and Monaco, plus a few too many late nights! Looking ahead I have arranged to fly out to see Iona in Barcelona and sail on her for a few nights. I am looking forward to cruising with P&O Cruises again, particularly on their latest ship, and I will let you know how I get on.
The past few days have seen the cruise industry reach yet another significant milestone; the majority of cruise lines no longer require passengers to take a mandatory Covid test prior to embarkation, and many are now inviting non-vaccinated guests on board. This marks another step closer to normality and it is reassuring to see that booking levels continue to improve as the last of the restrictions are lifted. Rest assured, these changes have been made in line with the latest health regulations and I am confident they will ensure that cruising remains a safe way to travel.
That said, there are still some specific sailings and destinations that will require you to present a negative Covid test and provide proof of vaccination, so I would strongly recommend you check the exact requirements before you travel. You can find links to the cruise lines’ latest protocols on our website, alongside details on how to check individual countries’ entry rules: https://www.bolsovercruiseclub.com/cruise-faqs/
The newest P&O Cruises ship, Arvia, will be launching in just a few months’ time, and there has been no shortage of updates on her progress. One of the most significant milestones was her ‘floating out’ from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, which marks one of the final construction stages. Some of our team will be visiting Papenburg in the coming weeks to see Arvia for themselves before she sets sail in December – we will be sharing insights on our social media channels so make sure you are following us.
I announced last month that one of our team had been named a P&O Cruises Arvia Insider and I am pleased to say that Millie’s role is now well underway. She recently visited José Pizarro’s restaurant in London to learn more about the Spanish food that will be available on the new ship; she was able to try some of the exceptional dishes for herself, each paired with a wine selected by none other than Olly Smith. In the next few days, she will be finding out more about P&O Cruises partnerships with The Tidal Rum and Salcombe Gin so, again, I urge you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.
I recently read that there will be more than 30 bars and restaurants on board Arvia, including some that have never been seen before on a P&O Cruises ship. These include the American-inspired 6th Street Diner and Green & Co feat. Mizuhana, which will feature sushi and plant-based dishes. You can read more about this in our forthcoming issue of Into the Blue, which will be landing with you imminently. The 45th edition also includes an interview with Carnival’s Food and Beverage Director, Lukas Campestrini, who gives us an exclusive insight into some of the options that will be available on board Arvia.
The past couple of weeks has also seen the launch of Norwegian Prima, the latest ship from NCL. She became the first major cruise ship to be christened in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik and her Godmother, Katy Perry, was on hand to officially name the vessel. Some of our team were lucky enough to be on board for the event, and the feedback so far has been fantastic. Norwegian Prima is currently in Northern Europe before heading to the US for a series of sailings across the Caribbean.
Awards season is also upon us, and I’m proud to say we have been nominated for a number of accolades. Our success at these awards depends on public votes, so I hope you will spare a few minutes to show your appreciation for the dedication of our team.
You may recall from a previous update that we are in the running for Best Cruise Holiday Retailer and Best High Street Travel Agency at the British Travel Awards.
We have also been shortlisted for the Favourite Travel Agent award in The Wave Awards 2022, and the voting deadline for this is 30 September. The winner will be decided by a public vote.
I would like to personally thank everyone who has registered their vote so far and for the support you continue to show for our team.Once again thank you for following my updates and I wish everyone travelling over the next month Bon Voyage and have a great holiday.