Friday, February 26, 2010

Cruise to Bermuda

The telltale signs of spring become noticeable about mid April. Days grow longer and songbirds are heard more frequently. If you look up you will see that trees are beginning to bud, and if you look down you'll observe little green sprouts popping out of the soil. But the most evident sign that spring has sprung? It has to be the return of cruise ships heading down to Bermuda!

Bermuda is known for its pink sand beaches, lemon and lime painted homes, green golf courses and turquoise waters. The island's rich seafaring history is witnessed in museums and forts from St. George, across to the city of Hamilton, and onward to Kings Wharf. Explore the Crystal Caves, swim with dolphins, or shop for English woolens and Irish linens on Front Street. Explore the depths of Bermuda's waters, wrecks and reefs by scuba, snorkel, glass bottom boat or a unique helmet dive. And what better way to get to this paradise but by cruise ship? This year there is an expansive choice of ships to choose from, each as distinctive as the lovely island itself.

After a hiatus of several years Celebrity Cruise Line returns to Bermuda in 2010 with class and style. Sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, the Celebrity Summit will make weekly trips to Bermuda April through September. The Summit is a Millennium class ship that entered service in 2001. A combination of Old World charm and modern sophistication, the Summit is consistently voted one of the "World's Best Large Ships" by Conde Naste Traveler. You can count on award-winning cuisine in which each meal is both a culinary and visual masterpiece, and personal yet unobtrusive service second to none. Don't confuse this commitment of "service with style" as snobbery because that is far from the truth. In fact, Summit is a perfect choice for the entire family! The "family ocean view stateroom with veranda" has a private master bedroom and will comfortably hold a family of 5. And it nice to know that age appropriate children's programs will keep kids engaged and entertained throughout the cruise!

Also out of Cape Liberty this year is Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. Rock climbing, ice skating, in-line skating and mini golf, sports court...this ship is where the action is! When you've worked up an appetite stop into Johnny Rockets for a burger and yummy chocolate shake! For a memorable dinner make a reservation at Portofino and enjoy the finest in classic Italian cuisine. The Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard lined with shops, pubs and eateries also features colorful parades and dance parties in the evenings. Book one of the novel interior Promenade staterooms, a cabin with a window where you can watch the activity below. The Explorer's schedule in 2010 includes 5-night cruises to Bermuda and 9-night cruises calling at Bermuda, St. Maarten, St.Thomas and Puerto Rico.

Calling all Freestyle cruisers! The Norwegian Dawn will sail out of New York City and head to Bermuda from April through September this year. Bright colors and whimsical design reflect the fun, easygoing atmosphere onboard. So, what's for dinner? Whatever you feel like! With 15 different dining options it could be anything from steak to sushi or Tex-Mex to French. Evening dining hours are from 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. so you can dine at your convenience. The dress code during evenings is resort casual so feel free to leave the suit and tie at home. Freestyle cruising is a perfect fit for families and if you're traveling with toddlers don't miss the T-Rex kid's pool and kid's center where they're sure to have a gargantuan good time!

If you call New England your home you'll be glad to know that NCL has a cruise leaving right from your backyard...Boston! The Norwegian Spirit is a wonderful choice for a 7 night cruise to Bermuda. Fully refurbished in 2008 it's like stepping aboard a brand new ship. Giving you all the Freestyle options that NCL is known for, everyone is sure to have a good time. There's an undeniable water theme going on here with the Tivoli Pool, four outdoor hot tubs and the kid favorite Buccaneer's Wet & Wild, with waterslides, a paddle pool, and their own hot tub. The teens and kids program delivers fun both day and night. Adult nightlife is just as exciting with Broadway caliber shows, the "White Hot Dance Party", and the comedy of Second City!

Get ready to welcome Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas to Baltimore this year. Those that have a hard time getting away for an entire week will appreciate her 5-night sailings to Bermuda throughout the summer and fall. This is the only Royal Caribbean ship with a bungee trampoline and it's hard to tell who enjoys it more...the kids or the adults! Guests will certainly appreciate the elegant Solarium onboard in which a retractable glass roof can cover this adult only indoor/outdoor pool and lounge area. Kids won't feel neglected because they will be enjoying their very own sprinkler area and splash pool!
So there you have entire flotilla heading down to Bermuda from the Northeast! Each ship is a destination in itself but these cruises are so much more. They include several wonderful days enjoying and exploring the lovely island of Bermuda! The Caribbean is a year-round destination but not Bermuda. It's a short season and if you don't act now the opportunity may pass you by. And if you miss it you'll be like many others looking for next year's signs of spring.

To view all 2010 Bermuda cruises, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


For those of you that like to plan ahead, NCL has announced some changes in their Winter/Spring 2011/2012 deployment.

Norwegian Jade: October 15, 2011 to April 11, 2012

The Jade will sail from Rome (Civitavecchia) on 11-day Mediterranean and Holy Land cruises. This cruise offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Alanya, Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt, along with four relaxing days at sea. Featured shore excursions include overnight tours in Israel to Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, the Dead Sea and Masada, as well as in Egypt to Cairo’s pyramids and tombs.

10-day Eastern Mediterranean includes the following ports: Olympia (Katakolon) and
Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey; and an overnight in Alexandria, Egypt, offering two full days to experience all of the ancient treasures.

Norwegian Star: October 16, 2011 through April 8, 2012

The Star will sail seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary cruises from Tampa and will depart on Sundays including stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two days at sea.
Happy Planning!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Celebrity Solstice

Whenever a cruise line debuts a new “class” of ship a current of anticipation flows throughout the industry. It is expected that the newest member of the fleet will retain some of the tried and true features of its predecessors, but add enhancement and innovation that will bear interest and excitement. The Celebrity Solstice does just that, and more than 25,000 experienced travelers agree. The prestigious Conde’ Nast Traveler magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards for 2009 ranked Celebrity number one in the new Mega-Ship Cruise Line category, recognizing the widely acclaimed Celebrity Solstice.

At 122,000 tons, accommodating 2,850 guests, Solstice is largest ship in the Celebrity fleet. Her design has an upscale, contemporary feel infused with natural light. Expansive open gathering spots flow seamlessly into one another through the use of color and complimentary design. The airy atrium has a glass ceiling and is circled by places where you can grab a bite or have a drink. Similar venues are grouped together; all four specialty restaurants can be found in one area, while the bars and clubs are clustered in another.

The dining experience that Celebrity has always been known for has been taken to the next level with an amalgamation of restaurants that offer everything from casual to fine dining.

The two-story Grand Épernay main dining room offers traditional seating or open seating dining, but is anything but traditional! A glass wine tower that spans both levels, along with crystal chandeliers, bedazzles the diner. The cream and sable color palette that is highlighted by accent lighting gives this dining room a glamorous feel.

Murano, a specialty restaurant found on other Celebrity ships, offers classic and modern continental cuisine. Riedel stemware, bone china, and tableside service make this restaurant a stylish and romantic dining spot well worth the additional charge ($30pp).

The Tuscan Grille, with its panoramic ocean views, is a steakhouse with an Italian flair ($25pp). It serves Kobe beef, homemade pastas, along a variety of fine Italian wines.

Silk Harvest has a casual Asian inspired décor with its contemporary red upholstery and cherry woods ($20pp). Feast on cuisine from Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, India and China, served family style.

Continuing to move in a more casual direction, the Oceanview Café serves a buffet breakfast and lunch, with plenty of room for outdoor dining. It was designed to have the feel of a European marketplace and will serve foods that reflect the ships itinerary. At dinnertime the tablecloths go on and the space becomes more refined.

Bistro on Five serves light, delectable crepes as well as soups, sandwiches and much more. It is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between ($5pp).

Right across the way is Café al Bacio & Gelateria, a perfect place to meet for an afternoon snack. Or, stop by for a chocolate croissant and cappuccino instead of a full breakfast.

If you’re poolside and don’t want to venture far from your spot in the sun, the Mast Grill & Bar serves up quick and casual options such as hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, etc.

The AquaSpa Café, located in the solarium, is the perfect spot for those guests looking for lighter options.
Last but not least there is Blu, the exclusive restaurant for AquaClass guests. The menu accentuates fresh and healthy, but by no means should this sophisticated restaurant be confused with AquaSpa cuisine!

The posh clubs of the Solstice offers something for everyone. Warm and inviting, Cellar Master offers more than just a cozy spot to savor a glass of vino. Wine tastings and classes are hosted here, as Celebrity continues to expand their enrichment programs. The Martini Bar offers up more varieties of this drink then thought possible. Adjacent is Crush, done in a frosty blue and white decor and featuring an ice filled table. The quickest way to shake off the chill is to sample one of the 100 selections of vodka that is available! Head to the urban feeling Ensemble Lounge or Michael’s Club for live music and an after dinner drink. The Passport Bar, with its subtle and relaxed nautical feel is a great place to meet up with friends. Quasar is a futuristic looking nightclub where you can dance the night away. Spherical lucite chairs hover near the entry, and along with the pulsating sounds, beckon you inside. For a view like no other, head up to the Sky Observation Lounge. The gorgeous vista make it is as beguiling in the daytime as it is at night

The staterooms on the Solstice are on the average, 15% larger than other Celebrity ships with 85% boasting private verandas. A new category of cabins called AquaClass will appeal to those looking for a spa getaway at sea. Guests are provided with additional health and wellness amenities such as complimentary bottled water, flavored teas, and a television channel with special programming including music to foster relaxation. In the bathroom Hansgrohe shower panels with multiple jets and a rain showerhead is heavenly. AquaClass guests also enjoy unlimited access to the AquaSpa relaxation room and the Persian Garden, an exotic aromatherapy and steam room. As mentioned above, Blu is the exclusive restaurant for AquaClass guests.

An industry first, on the top deck of the Solstice is an innovative new country club environment known as “The Lawn Club.” This half-acre patch of real grass invites guests to enjoy bocce ball and croquet, practice their putting, or simply feel the grass between their toes. The area also features the Hot Glass Show, another first in the industry, developed in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass.

The Celebrity Solstice will sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida year round. She begins 2010 sailing seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries, and then in summer months will alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

“The extraordinary response from our guests to Celebrity Solstice has created a corresponding demand for the ship to sail year-round in the Caribbean, and we’re thrilled to meet that demand,” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “This move offers guests in North America a phenomenal closer-to-home vacation option whenever they’re ready to get away, and similarly, our international guests now will have year-round Caribbean vacation options with Celebrity that are second-to-none.”

Book your 2010 cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice between February 16 and March 7th and Direct Line Cruises will include free travel insurance. In addition, get up to $100 onboard credit per cabin on select Celebrity Solstice sailings. Call for details:Direct Line Cruises (1-800) 352 -8088 or visit