Monday, March 22, 2021

The Celebrity Retreat Experience

 


For suite guests aboard a Celebrity Cruise Line ship, the Retreat offers a vacation experience that rivals any high-end resort.

The exclusivity of the Retreat experience becomes apparent as soon as you arrive at the cruise terminal.There is a reserved pre-boarding area for expedited, escorted service onto the ship, and a personal butler waiting for you to do your unpacking. But if you’d rather not have a stranger going through your suitcase, no worries, that’s not all your butler does. He can arrange to have dinner delivered to your suite, will expertly serve it, course by course, and even prepare a complimentary espresso or cappuccino. Now that I like! I’ll have mine on the balcony, please.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Playing the Waiting Game until My Next Cruise

 

It has been well over a year since I boarded a cruise ship to sail away on vacation! Gosh I miss it! Waking up every morning in a different city or island, gourmet dining, an evening show…I know, I know, you’re feeling it too! Aside from scrolling through the Direct Line Cruises website for future itineraries, here’s what I’ve been up to while playing the waiting game.   


I have become an armchair travel.  I’ve always been a voracious reader and now I let every book I read whisk me away to some wonderful foreign destination.  Within the last months I’ve been to Barbados, (“The Summer Country” by Lauren Willig), an island off the coast of Ireland (“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley), Australia (“ Exiles” by Christina Baker Kline), India (“Mother Land” by Leah Franqui) and Cuba (“When we Left Cuba” by Chanel Cleeton). That is just a sampling of a very long list. Not quite the same as being there, but almost as enjoyable, though in quite a different way.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Ready to Cruise?

 

I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired of mourning the vacations I had planned but never happened in 2020. The two weeks in June that were to be spent wandering through the small towns in France and the fall cruise to the Mediterranean that was not to be,  left me with travel funds that are itching to be spent!

 Then I caught the new commercial released by NorwegianCruise Line that uses the song by Queen, “I Want to Break Free,” (so apropos…if you haven’t seen it you can check it out on YouTube). The spot acknowledges some of the realities that COVID inflicted on our lives, but then looks ahead, raising hopes of cruising in 2021.


 That was the push I needed. I was on my computer almost immediately booking cruises for the new year! I now have a trip to Alaska planned for June as well as a cruise to Norway, and another to the British Isles in the fall.  And I am not the only one who was ready to take action.  In the office this weekend the phone was ringing literally non-stop! It was a pleasure listening to our sales agents chat about their favorite destinations as clients planned their future cruise vacations.

 So what about you?  Are you ready to turn the page on 2020 and plan your next cruise vacation? 

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Newly Renovated Norwegian Spirit


The Norwegian Spirit has undergone a $100 million renovation as part of The Norwegian Edge program, designed to update and elevate the standard of the fleet.

I love the variety of restaurants on a Norwegian ship but the Spirit was definitely lacking in this area.  It’s good to hear they added additional complimentary dining venues such as another main dining room, Taste; the 24-hour eatery, The Local Bar and Grill; the all-day dining outlet, Garden CafĂ©; the Great Outdoors Bar; and Waves Pool Bar. I was particularly excited to see the addition of the specialty restaurant Onda by Scarpetta (Onda, which is Italian for “wave,” will combine a classic approach to old-world fare, including using in-house-made pasta, with its own signature seafood dishes, to offer a new take on Italian cuisine).

Monday, February 10, 2020

Why Reef-Safe Sunscreen Is Important


Reef-safe sunscreen…I keep hearing about these products but I admit, until I started to get ready for my upcoming Caribbean vacation, I never really gave it my full attention. So I started Googling the term and what I discovered was a bit alarming!


I read that up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen (the equivalent of 25 million bottles) are estimated to wash off human bodies and into coral reefs around the globe each year.  And yes, that’s a big problem!  It seems that some of the ingredients in sunscreen may damage the world’s coral reef systems and other more!

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.