Monday, December 10, 2018

Choosing Your Cruise For 2019

Today I wanted to finalize my travel plans for the upcoming year but with so many options I was feeling a bit overwhelmed! Did you know that when one of our Direct Line Cruises cruise consultants opens up our search engine tool to assist a prospective client in selecting a cruise vacation, the system shows 35,162 options available for booking! Wow!  So how does one decide?  For some it’s an easy decision but for others….

An answer to one of the following two questions will dramatically filter those seemingly infinite choices. Where do you want to leave from?  If you’re determined to embark from a port that’s driving distance from your home, that narrows things significantly.  Where do you want to go? Again, picking a destination will assist in determining cruise line, cruise ship and the time of year you will travel. For example, if you want to journey to Alaska the cruising season is only May through September.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Magical Moments aboard the Azamara Pursuit

I recently returned from a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Azamara Pursuit and it was absolutely wonderful!  I loved everything about it…the ship, the crew, the food and the ports of call. Still, certain “magical moments” stand out in my memory when I think back on the week and I wanted to share them so you can have a glimpse of what delightful events can happen on an Azamara cruise.

The Azamazing Evening is a signature Azamara event offered on most sailings. Imagine being invited to a very special event that only a select group of people are privy to.  These events are unique, bespoke and is always an immersive experience into the area you are visiting. On my Azamazing area we went to a concert at Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta. Now this isn’t just any conference center. The building was built as a hospital in the 16th century by the Order of St. John, and it was known as the Holy Infirmary. Historic and lovely. We started the evening with a cocktail hour accompanied by traditional Maltese folk dancers.  It was followed by a concert featuring an avant-garde band. This evening was a high-point of our cruise.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Small-ship Cruising Aboard the Azamara Pursuit

Small ship cruising is new to me.  I always felt the larger the ship, the more bells and whistles, the better the cruise experience. But more recently I started feeling that all those innovative, revolutionary additions no longer enhance my cruise experience…they just don’t matter much to me.  Last week I cruised on the Azamara Pursuit, a ship not much larger than 30,000 tons which carries a max of 777 guests. It was wonderful and I’m now a small ship enthusiast and an Azamara Club Cruises aficionada!

The larger cruise ships I’ve sailed featured rock climbing, skating, sports court, casino and a plethora of other entertainment options. And that was all a lot of fun when I was cruising with my family. Now I cruise with just my husband or girlfriends and I find having all those activities distract me from the culture of the destination. The Azamara Pursuit had wonderful destination lectures that focused on history and culture instead of shopping. We stayed in port late or overnight which allowed us to experience the area with less tourists running around and we had time to dine ashore to experience local foods and wine.  Shore excursions on the Pursuit go beyond traditional tours and immerse you deeper into the destination. There are cooking lessons, family visits, winery tours and arts & crafts classes… experience that just isn't offered on the larger vessels.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Food & Travel

As a child and well into my adult life I was a picky eater…a VERY picky eater!  I wouldn’t let a green vegetable touch my plate, only ate pasta with butter, and hotdogs were my protein of choice. Fast forward fifty plus years and I feel my taste buds have gone through an awakening…which has truly enhanced my travel experience in recent years!

Now what can be better than combining my love of travel with my newly discovered love for food? Food and travel are made to go together! When you make a point of trying local foods while you're traveling I believe those tastes and smells become intrinsically entwined in your memories of the trip. Have you ever noticed how even the faint aroma of something you ate on a vacation instantly takes you back to the moment you experienced it? There is no better souvenir to return home with!

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Holland America Adds Additional FOOD & WINE EXC Tours

Due to popular demand Holland announced that they are adding 20 new immersive culinary-themed FOOD & WINE EXC Tours (shore excursions). Developed in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine, Holland America debuted 23 excursions earlier this year on select cruises in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe that explore food, wine and culture in some of the world's hottest gastronomic locales. The new tours will be added throughout Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Canada & New England.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Norwegian’s "Meet the Winemaker" Fall & Winter Schedule

Norwegian Cruise Line’s "Meet the Winemaker" cruise is a special program on select sail dates in which guests may participate in a variety of events with experts in the wine-making industry. This fun and educational series has proved to be a favorite of oenophiles and social drinkers alike.

On these cruises guests will have several opportunities to engage with winemakers and other industry experts through a variety of enriching seminars and activities, including open-forum question-and-answer sessions and meet-and-greets.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Revolution Targets the Celebrity Summit

In order to bring their level of luxury up to the standards of the line's soon to sail Celebrity Edge, the cruise line will spend over $500 million in the coming years to revitalize nine of its ships. This massive project is nothing short of a Revolution... the “Celebrity Revolution!”

This is especially exciting news for cruisers that love to sail out of Cape Liberty, New Jersey; particularly those of you that have made the 7-night Bermuda cruise aboard the Celebrity Summit your summer tradition. That’s because in early 2019 the Summit will be taken to dry dock and when she emerges she will be a totally re-imagined ship!