Monday, January 27, 2020

Azamara... When Luxury Does Not Mean Stuffy

I had begun to plan a cruise with a friend of mine and we were discussing the cruise lines that offered a particular itinerary we were interested in. I recommended Azamara, a favorite of mine.  Her response made me chuckle when she said her husband wouldn’t be comfortable on a luxury cruise line. It was funny because the reality of it was that her and her husband couldn’t be a better match for an Azamara cruise!  It’s all about how you define luxury.

Some people equate luxury with glitz, caviar champagne and a butler!  But each luxury cruise line will have a distinctive personality, and while this may define some cruise lines, it certainly does not represent all them all! Most cruise lines, including Azamara, will share other characteristics that define them as luxury cruises without all the over-the-top amenities. Luxury can mean a smaller ship with a greater staff to passenger ratio and therefore a more personalized onboard experience. Taking the onboard experience a bit further, the entertainment may be more sophisticated with more guest lecturers, learning experiences and seminars. Luxury lines give a more inclusive experience generally including gratuities, beverage packages and sometimes shore excursions.  The cruise itineraries tend to offer longer stays in ports that the larger ships don’t even visit. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

2 Scoops of Oceania's "Regatta Royale" Please

You scream, I scream…we all scream for ice cream!  Especially when it’s the handmade, unique flavors of Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream, and served onboard your Oceania cruise!

Oceania is partnering with California-based, small-batch brand Ice Cream Humphry Slocombe,a leader in cutting-edge flavors and uncompromising quality. And what flavors!!!! There’s "Secret Breakfast" (bourbon ice cream and cornflake cookies); "Toast & Jam" (brown-butter ice cream, jam swirl and pieces of brioche); and "Harvey Milk & Honey Graham" (raw Pacific Northwest blackberry honey and house-made graham crackers). In addition, the offerings will include a custom flavor collaboration inspired by the sea… “Regatta Royale” (bittersweet dark fruity chocolate with orange zest and smoked sea salt).

All of the Humphry Slocombe's ice cream flavors available at sea will be made fresh daily. The new ice cream debuts in February aboard Oceania's Marina and Riviera, and will roll out fleetwide by May.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Celebrity Cruises Let’s You Extend Your Stay

Would you pay to extend your stay aboard a Celebrity ship for half a day? Well, it’s now an option on cruises from Port Everglades as well as select European sailings.
Guests still have to disembark (as late as 9 AM), go through customs, and move their luggage to a holding area.   A Celebrity representative will then escort them back on board to enjoy some extra hours in the public areas.  The guests will no longer have access to a cabin but they can lounge at the pool with a Bloody Mary or mimosa, as the classic beverage package is included in the extension price!

This option is a wonderful alternative to hanging out at the airport all day when you have a late flight. The price of the Celebrity “Extend Your Stay” package is $79 per adult (but remember, that price includes the classic beverage package) and $39 per child. So what do you say, would you pay to extend your stay?

Monday, December 30, 2019

New Cruise Ships Debuting in 2020

Looking to book on the newest ship cruising the deep blue sea? Here are your choices for 2020 and some of what makes them special.

Carnival CruiseLine: Mardi Gras    Coming in November (5,280-passengers)

·         First-at-sea roller coaster that zooms around 800 feet of track at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour on the ship's top deck -- including a hairpin turn that whips around the vessel's funnel

·         Suites-only enclave (dubbed "Excel")

Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Apex   Coming in April (2,910-passenger)

·         First-for-the-line solo cabins

·         Bi-level villas with their own outdoor plunge pools

Crystal Cruises: Crystal Endeavor     Coming in August (200-passengers)

·         A one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio

·         A fleet of zodiacs, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards

Monday, December 23, 2019

Princess Cruises Wants to Break Record for Largest Vow-Renewal Ceremony

I post this because I am a hopeless romantic. I believe in love at first sight. I am known to cry at movies, at songs, and yes, even at commercials. I believe in “happily ever after.” The Love Boat was my favorite television show during my “coming of age” years. And that is why I’m so excited about

Some time ago Princess Cruises announced that it will host the largest renewal of vows ceremony at sea, in hopes to set a world record onboard a Valentine’s Day cruise. Gavin MacLeod, who portrayed Captain Stubing, will officiate and Jill Whelan, his television daughter Vicki, will serve as matron of honor,  hosting the ceremony onboard Regal Princess, setting sail February 9-16, 2020.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Azamara Expands World Wildlife Fund Partnership

Azamara has announce an expanded partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, the world's leading conservation organization, through a program called People to Planet Voyages and Excursions.  Both are such exciting additions I can only hope I will have the chance to experience them for myself!

People to Planet Voyages: Launching in early 2021, the cruise line will offer six conservation-themed voyages in South Africa. With the intention of inspiring personal commitment and environmental conservation, onboard programming will feature WWF experts discussing topics such as sustainable agriculture, conservation champion wine farms, water resources, food elements, sustainability and wildlife. In addition, professionals will be integrated into a multitude of activities onboard, which range from hosting an interactive Chef's table – where guests can savor the intimate unforgettable journey through five beautifully presented South Africa themed dishes, to conducting WWF-themed trivia sessions throughout the voyage. Paying homage to Azamara's dedication to Destination Immersion® experiences, guests can indulge in the daily "South African dish of the day" at one of the onboard restaurants.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Stocking Stuffers for the Cruiser

I love shopping for and opening up stocking stuffers!  And when they're something useful, all the better! This list of suggested gifts is the result of a poll of Direct Line Cruises staffers.

Luggage Tag Holder
Plastic luggage tag holders come in different shapes and sizes depending on the cruise line.  Amazon has a great selection.

Sold year round in the supermarket or neighborhood drug store it’s quick and easy to pick up. Might as well throw in a SPF 30 lip balm while you’re at it.

Portable Charger
Good to have when you’re in port all day taking pics with your phone or using google maps.  Nobody wants their cell phone to die halfway through the day.

Lounge Chair Clips
Either poolside or at the beach these colorful clips keep your towel from blowing away, plus, they make your lounge chair easy to identify.