It’s now not long at all until we set off on our next cruise. On 28 September 2016 we will be setting sail from Southampton on our first ever cruise with MSC Cruises on board one of their largest ships, MSC Splendida.
Having booked the cruise well over a year before departure we’ve been very excited ever since. This will be the first time that either myself or Gavin have cruised with MSC Cruises, so we’re not entirely sure what to expect. I have previously visited two of their smaller ships, MSC Magnifica and MSC Lirica.
Cruise Cotterill is delighted to be sponsoring a charity event taking place on Saturday, 24 September 2016, which will raise vital funds for the Sea Cadets in association with Plymouth Cruise Liner Volunteers.
The gala charity event will be themed around the former Cunard ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, which ended her career in 2008. The event will take place at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth. There are a limited number of tickets for the event available so make sure you book yours as soon as possible!
I am especially producing a small scale drawing of Queen Elizabeth 2 to be auctioned at the event to raise money for the Sea Cadets. The auction also includes other items including an original piece of memorabilia from the ship itself!
For more information about the event or to book tickets please see below...
Our next cruise is just around the corner! Next week on 13 July 2016, Gavin and I will be boarding Cunard Line's magnificent flagship, Queen Mary 2 in Southampton for our 4 night voyage.
Queen Mary 2 recently underwent a major refurbishment in Hamburg, Germany costing approximately £90 million. In total over one million man hours went into the 25 day project, which saw over 55,200 square meters of new carpets laid and over 15,000 litres of paint was applied to the liner's hull.
The most noticeable change is the addition of 30 Britannia Club staterooms on Deck 13. Five Britannia Inside staterooms were also added. On Deck 2 the Empire Casino was shrunk to make room for nine Britannia Oceanview Single staterooms and six of these new staterooms were also installed on Deck 3L.
In the Grand Lobby the two glass elevators have been removed making the area much more spacious. On Deck 7, the former underused Winter Garden has been transformed into the new Carinthia Lounge. The Queens Grill and Princess Grill restaurants have been completely redesigned. The Kings Court buffet has also been thoroughly redesigned and like her fleet mates Queen Mary 2 now offers guests The Verandah restaurant, which is located on Deck 8.
Your four legged friends might be pleased to know that 10 additional dog kennels have been installed and there's even a lamp post from Liverpool and fire hydrant from New York on the deck to make your dog feel at home, apparently!
So as I'm sure you can imagine we're really looking forward to getting on board and seeing all the new changes. Our 4 night voyage departs Southampton and will take us to Hamburg, Germany and back. We will have two sea days, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the ship and relax on board.
Many of you have asked if I will be producing a new drawing and as some of you might have already seen I'm currently working hard to complete a brand new drawing of the remastered Queen Mary 2. The drawing includes the new Deck 13 staterooms. I hope to have the opportunity to present it to the Captain during our voyage.
Next year the much loved Astoria, formerly known as Azores, will be leaving the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet. Launched in 1946, she's the oldest cruise ship still in service. I have been keen to book a cruise on Astoria for a little while, but when I heard she was leaving I just had to go ahead and get booked.
In 2017 Astoria will offer a range of cruises from London, Tilbury, ranging from a 2 night mini cruise to 14 night cruises to the Northern Lights. Gavin and I are booked on a 3 night cruise which departs on 09 March 2017 and is the first cruise in the farewell season.
On our 3 night cruise we will visit Amsterdam and Antwerp, which Gavin and I have now visited quite a few times in recent years, but we love both cities and are very much looking forward to returning.
Although neither myself or Gavin have not yet cruised on Astoria we did visit her as Azores whilst she was still operated by Portuscale Cruises, just before she joined Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Our Cruise Ambassador, Jordan Bailey from Cruise Capital has cruised on her twice, so we know what's in store.
Astoria is by far not the most impressive and certainly not the largest ship, in fact she will be the smallest Gavin and I have yet cruised on. However, we want to experience this classic ocean liner, as this might be the last chance we will get.
I'm sure we will have a very enjoyable cruise experience nevertheless and we're confidence Cruise & Maritime Voyages will take good care of us again. Maybe we'll see you on board too?
24 year old Harry Cotterill is one of the youngest cruise bloggers in the world. He's become known across the world for his amazing talent of drawing cruise ships!