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VIDEO: An Interview with Dream Designs Colchester

Posted by RCI fans on August 5, 2014 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

During our recent visit on board Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas in Harwich on 26th July 2014, we had the opportunity to sit down and interview Harry Cotterill from Dream Designs Colchester.

During the interview, Harry discussed how he started the company, his career highlights and how he draws the cruise ships. He also explained his thoughts on Royal Caribbean and gave some note-worthy advice for first time cruisers. 

You can check out the full interview starring Harry Cotterill and our Founder and Editor, Jordan Bailey, below;

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Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great cruise videos, including highlights from our Brilliance of the Seas visit. 

We had a great time exploring Brilliance of the Seas and even had the chance to visit the bridge! A full blog post detailing our visit will hopefully be coming soon, as well as some outtakes from the interview!!

It won't be too long until RCI fans and Dream Designs Colchester team up for another event, so stay tuned for more details to come. All that we can say at this stage is it will be BIGGER than before!!

RCI fans to visit Brilliance of the Seas

Posted by RCI fans on June 19, 2014 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

We are very excited to announce that we have teamed up with our friends over at Dream Designs Colchester for a special ship visit on board Royal Caribbean's beautiful Brilliance of the Seas. 

The visit will take place a month today on July 26th 2014 on board Brilliance of the Seas at Harwich International Port.

Founder and Editor of Royal Caribbean Fans, Jordan Bailey, will be meeting Harry Cotterill, President and Managing Director of Dream Designs Colchester along with Gavin Pamnent, Chief Photographer, before heading over to Harwich International Port just before 10:30am. 

Once on board, we will explore the main areas of the ship, especially some of the venues we missed on our visit last year, including some of the specialty restaurants. During the tour, we also hope to locate Harry's fabulous drawing of Brilliance of the Seas which he presented to the Captain during his last visit on July 27th 2013. You can keep up to date with the search using #WheresHarrysDrawing.

Jordan commented on the event stating: "We're so excited to be visiting the beautiful Brilliance of the Seas again. It's a pleasure to be attending with Dream Designs Colchester and we look forward to exploring some of the venues we missed on our previous visit last year. We thank Harry and Royal Caribbean International for making this all possible!"

Whilst touring Brilliance of the Seas, we aim to take multiple photos and videos which we will be posting on our Facebook and YouTube pages after the event. The tour will conclude by having lunch on board. 

Harry Cotterill, President & Managing Director, Dream Designs Colchester, said: "We are thrilled to be working together with our friends at Royal Caribbean Fans and truly delighted that they are able to join us for our ship visit aboard Brilliance of the Seas in Harwich next month!"

He further added: "Our thanks of course have to go to the Captain and crew of Royal Caribbean International's Brilliance of the Seas for agreeing to welcome us back again aboard."

To keep up to date with our visit, follow @RCI_fans and @HarryCotterill on Twitter or by using hashtags #rcionboard #WheresHarrysDrawing and #DreamDesignsColchester. 

Alternatively, we'll also be posting several images on our Instagram account, @rci_fans.

10 things to love about Quantum of the Seas

Posted by RCI fans on April 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (0)

1. Virtual Balconies - If given the choice between having a balcony or inside stateroom, the majority of people would choose a balcony. However for a lot of people this may be out of their price range. Thankfully Royal Caribbean have come up with a solution – bring the balcony inside. These new-concept staterooms feature a floor to ceiling video wall which plays a live feed from a camera mounted on the outside of the ship!


2. Dynamic Dining - The concept of eating when you want, where you want was first pioneered by Norwegian Cruise Lines, but in true Royal Caribbean style, they've taken it to the next level. For one of the first times ever, they'll be no main dining room, instead 4 large individual venues specialising in various cuisine, including Asian, American, Contemporary and Formal.


3. Speciality Restaurants - Speaking of dining options, Quantum of the Seas will offer some of the most diverse and largest options afloat. The ship will feature “Wonderland” serving unusual, imaginative and not-so-traditional food! Suite guests will be able to dine in their own private restaurant. There will also still be all the Royal Caribbean favourites such as Chops Grille and Izumi.


4. SeaPlex - This multi-purpose complex features bumper cars, roller skating, a circus school with flying trapeze, basketball court, badminton and table tennis. There's pretty much nothing you can't do here – There's even a DJ booth which lowers down from the ceiling!


5. Ripcord by iFly - Your friends may not believe you when you return from your cruise saying you went skydiving on a cruise ship! Ripcord by iFly allows you to experience the thrill of skydiving in safe and controlled way.


6. North Star - If you're afraid of heights, this feature may be one to miss. A glass capsule, inspired by the London Eye, elevates you 300 feet above the sea, giving you perfect views of the sea and ship below!


7. Two70 - Quantum of the Seas is all about delivering the WOW and when I saw this venue for the first time, that is exactly what I said. Another multi-purpose venue, this entertainment lounge is located at the very aft of the ship and features giant 3-storey windows offering a 270° view! This lounge is also home to spectacular aerial acrobat shows during the evening and the windows magically turn into a video wall offering moving backdrops. If that isn't enough technological marvel, then giant robotic arms with several 100-inch screens will move in time with music and choreography during shows! WOW!


8. Mamma Mia! - Royal Caribbean has always been known for its amazing entertainment. Hairspray*, Chicago, Saturday Night Fever and CATS* are performed on select ships in the fleet and are all full Broadway productions. Mamma Mia will feature on board Quantum, which will surely have guests 'super-trouping' in the aisles!


9. Celebrity Chefs - Quantum will feature 2 celebrity chef restaurants, Michael Schwartz's “Michael's Genuine Pub” serving up traditional pub fare, and “Jamie's Italian” by Jamie Oliver.


10. Music Hall - This stylish and sophisticated venue, transports you back to the days when Rock and Roll and Swing was king! This is the perfect place to dance and listen to live music by resident musicians and acts.


So what are you most looking forward to on Quantum of the Seas?

Michael Poole (@mpoole3) says he's most excited about being in total control of his dining experience.

Millie Sloan thinks there is so much to do on there, She'd look forward to just being on the ship!

Leave a comment about the thing you can't wait to see on board Quantum of the Seas! There are still so many other features we haven't mentioned.


*CATS will replace Hairspray on board Oasis of the Seas in October 2014.

Nominate 'RCI fans' in the 'Best Cruise Blogger' category

Posted by RCI fans on April 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The Cruise Awards 2014 celebrate and recognise the very best of the cruise industry. The awards are voted for by cruise passengers and holiday makers themselves and this year marks the fourth year of the Cruise Awards hosted by Cruise International!

Royal Caribbean Fans is dedicated to providing you with the latest news and reviews. We also write various blog pieces related to not only Royal Caribbean, but also the cruise industry in general. Therefore we would be delighted and very grateful if all our readers could vote for 'RCI fans' in the 'Best Cruise Blogger' category. Every single nomination counts. Thank you.


British Isles Blog: Day 10 - Dover

Posted by RCI fans on April 5, 2014 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

We arrived into the port of Dover at 8:30am. The weather was rather dull. Dover is not a very affluent town, despite its many marvellous and grand buildings. The cruise terminal occupies the old Dover Western train station, which closed in the 1990's. Walking through the grandeur of the former station was one of the most unique, yet eerie experiences of the trip.


A private shuttle service operates from the port to the town centre and castle. A return to the town costs £3, whilst a return to the castle costs £4. The town centre has a variety of chain stores and local businesses. I had a walk through the town looking in the shops, before a drink in Wetherspoons, using the free Wi-Fi. Back on board, I spent the remainder of the afternoon packing the suitcase ready for disembarkation the next day.


Tonight was our last evening meal on board. This evening, I had a beef consommé, chicken breast filled with ham and swiss cheese, and a heavenly chocolate éclair for dessert!


The final show of the cruise was 'We Will Rock You', a unique twist on Queen's hits. The show was ok, but it certainly was not the best we had seen over the 10 nights.


After the show, I headed to the Discovery Theatre at 9:45pm to catch the evening film, Disney's Frozen. It was a great film for all ages, with a fantastic soundtrack.


After the film, I headed back to the cabin, put the last items in the case, and placed the cases outside just before midnight.

British Isles Blog: Day 9 - Guernsey

Posted by RCI fans on April 4, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

After waking up earlier than usual at 8am, we headed for breakfast once again in the Lido Buffet. The weather looked very uninviting with fog and rain greeting us. I decided to wait until the rain eased off a little, but it was clear it would not be stopping any time soon. I decided to head ashore to St Peter Port.


The town has a unique mix of English and French architecture. The walk from the harbour jetty to the town centre is just a short walk and the main street features a variety of UK shops and local cafés. After spending as long as I possibly could staying dry in various shops, I headed back to the harbour, to catch the tender back to the ship.


By the time I arrived back on board, it was approaching 1pm, so we headed to the buffet for lunch. Delicious golden fish and chips were being served.


Tonight was formal night and the farewell 'Baked Alaska Parade'. It was a fantastic meal and our waiter, Phyo, demonstrated his amazing towel folding skills and produced two fabulous peacocks using a wine glass.


Tonight's show was called 'Around the World' and featured songs for all different countries and cultures, including Irish, Italian, Turkish and of course, British. It was a fantastic production and included some very tricky dance moves.


Tomorrow is our last day on board and we will be docked in Dover from 8:30am until 5pm, when we will set sail back for Hull.

British Isles Blog: Day 8 - Isles of Scilly

Posted by RCI fans on April 4, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

We did not wake up until twenty to ten this morning, which meant we would miss breakfast. Instead of getting a tender ticket, I decided to wait until demand for the tenders had decreased. There was a break in operation from 12 till 1, as a ferry would be arriving in the harbour. This made an ideal time to have lunch in the Severn Continents restaurant. I had some delicious mozzarella croquettes with plum tomato sauce. For the main course, I choose leg of chicken with mash, vegetables, and gravy. Dessert was strawberry ice-cream.


After lunch, demand for the tenders had decreased, so I jumped on the next tender and headed ashore. The ship was not using its own tender boats for this port of call, as the drop off area was unsuitable. There was no landing pontoon, just a series of steps that we moored alongside.


As the boat pulled away in the crystal blue waters, the mvDiscovery glistened in the sun. The image reminded me of the Caribbean and it certainly did not feel like we were just a few miles from the English coast.


Once on land, I walked around the quaint main street, before taking in the beautiful views of a bay filled with rock pools and wildlife.


After spending roughly an hour and a half ashore, I ventured back on a very full tender. Passengers seated at the rear of the boat were even treated to the sight of a dolphin swimming by.


As evening came, we had another fantastic dinner in the restaurant, before making our way to the Carousel show lounge, for the evening's show time – Bruce Thomson, a one-man band performing songs, magic and comedy.


After the show, an important announcement was made across the ship. A medical evacuation by helicopter would take place at the aft of deck 6. A passenger had fallen seriously ill during dinner, and guests were told not to venture onto open decks and that due to this, the Discovery Lounge would be closed. If guests were still seated in the restaurant or Carousel show lounge, they were advised to stay seated. The evacuation meant that the 'Give Us A Clue' game show, which was scheduled to be held in the Discovery Lounge, had to be moved into the show lounge. We decided to watch the show team play a game of charades, with two of our table companions Roz and Marlene. The helicopter approached the ship at 2120 and 10 minutes later, we were allowed access to the open decks and the Discovery Lounge.


Tomorrow, we will anchor at St Peter Port in Guernsey at 0730 and depart at 1700.

British Isles Blog: Day 7 - Dublin

Posted by RCI fans on April 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

After being woken up by our cabin attendant at 8am again, we headed down for breakfast, just as the ship was mooring into Dublin. We had pre-booked a sightseeing tour of the city through Cruising Excursions, so we disembarked the ship just after 10am. There was a long line of guests waiting for the free shuttle to take us into the city, thankfully the line quickly moved as each bus could hold 78 passengers.

After the 30 minute journey, passing The O2, Custom House and Trinity College, we arrived on Kildare Street, just around the corner from Nassau Street, where the nearest sightseeing tour stop is located.

The tour took approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes and covered the main sights to see in Dublin including Trinity College, Christchurch Cathedral, the famous Guinness Storehouse, Glasnevin Cemetery and Botanical Gardens, Croke Park Stadium and of course O'Connell Street. Our guide Anne, was very informative and explained all the sights and history as we drove past them. We even briefly witnessed a military funeral take place, whilst at Glasnevin Cemetery. The bus drove into the graveyard and was forced to park up as a procession of military vehicles following a casket draped under an Irish flag slowly passed by. Although there are now many visitors that come to view the cemetery every day, it was quite disrespectful to bring a bus into the graveyard, especially when a funeral is taking place. It couldn't have been nice for the family, with all these tourists taking photos from the large double-decker bus.

We decided to get off the tour at O'Connell Street to grab some lunch before we got back to the ship. The size of the street and the architecture is very impressive, especially the GPO building.

After lunch, we jumped on the closest city sightseeing bus, which would take us back to Nassau Street, where we boarded. City Sightseeing tickets can be used for unlimited trips for 2 days, so if you are spending a weekend in the city, it is a great way to get around and visit the sights as hop on and hop off.


We caught the bus back to the ship at 2pm. The last bus back to the ship was 1430, ready for sail away at 1545. Once we arrived back on board, it was just a short wait until afternoon tea. Today they served a delicious white chocolate mousse cake.

Later that evening, was a British themed dinner, serving beef sirloin with Yorkshire pudding and tasty gravy. For dessert, there was a fantastic honeycomb cake.

The show tonight was called Rock 'n' Roll Dreams and the production team performed all the 50's and 60's rock and roll classics.

Tomorrow, we will arrive at the charming St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly at 9am and depart at 6pm.

British Isles Blog: Day 6 - Belfast

Posted by RCI fans on April 1, 2014 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

We headed up to breakfast at twenty to ten. We were just approaching the beginning of the harbour as we sat down. Throughout our breakfast we had great views as we approached the city. The gigantic yellow Harland & Wolff cranes loom over the city skyline, giving a strong reminder of the city's ship building heritage. The ship docked close to where the doomed RMS Titanic was constructed. The former shipyard is now home to the new Titanic Belfast exhibition.

After breakfast and once we docked around 15 minutes later than scheduled, I hopped on the free shuttle into the city. The bus dropped us off right in the city centre opposite the magnificent City Hall.

I spent a couple of hours walked around the main shopping streets, looking in a few of the shops, including the Victoria Square shopping arcade. I had a quick break in a Starbucks, before heading back to the bus for the ship.

Now we have left Scotland, the weather seems to be improving. For the first time on the cruise, the sun appeared!

After arriving back on board at 3pm, it was just a short wait until afternoon tea. Today's selection was less appetising than previous days.

Today's dinner was a delicious French onion soup, tender beef with mash and vegetables and ice cream.

Tomorrow we'll be in Dublin, where we will be taking a sightseeing tour of the city.

British Isles Blog: Day 5 - Tobermory

Posted by RCI fans on March 30, 2014 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

“What's the story in Balamory, wouldn't you like to know!?” - Today we were in the picturesque village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, better known as Balamory from the UK children's TV series. We anchored just outside the harbour in the bay, where the tender boats would shuttle us to the marina.


We awoke just in time to catch breakfast, after losing an hours sleep due to Daylight Saving Time. After breakfast, I then headed down to the Pursers Desk, to collect a 'tender ticket' to go ashore. I was letter E and within no time at all, my letter was called to board the tender. The short trip to the marina offered fantastic views of the ship up close as well as the surrounding landscape.


Once ashore, I walked along the main street, taking in all the fantastic views of the multi-coloured houses. After a brief stop to take photos of the ship at anchor, I headed back through the village and up one of the steepest hills I have ever walked in my life! However, the reward at the top was worth it. The hill gave fantastic views of the shops below and the ship out in the bay. After the descent, I then headed back on board the ship ready for a well deserved lunch.


After lunch, we relaxed in one of the on board lounges taking in the panoramic views as the ship rotated around its anchor.


Tonight's dinner was Italian themed. I had minestrone soup, a lovely giant slice of lasagne and chocolate profiteroles.


Tomorrow we will arrive in Belfast, Ireland.