Thursday, February 24, 2011

Updates from Norwegian Cruise Line

If you’re an NCL cruiser then here’s some news you may find interesting!

 The Norwegian Dawn is going into dry dock in May for a bit of updating.  She will emerge with 58 new staterooms, the most interesting being four deluxe owner suites.  These cabins will be in the very front of the ship, directly below the bridge (the area from which the ship is commanded).  The cabins will have floor to ceiling windows and looking out you will be privy to the same amazing view as the captain!

 Great news for families, too!  Fourteen family suites that sleep six are also being added, along with 10 family suites with balconies.  In addition there will be 30 more inside cabins.

 The Norwegian Sun recently finished her stint in dry dock with some really nice updates.  Twenty suites were modernized, carpet and wall coverings were replaced in many public areas, and the “Kids Crew” area received a face lift.

  The most exciting improvement to the Sun is the addition of Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazillian steak house.  This restaurant proved to be so popular on the Epic that its nice to see it introduced on other NCL ships.  Will the Dawn be so lucky?  Time alone will tell.

 The Murder Mystery Lunch with Second City that debuted on the Epic has also received rave reviews.  So much so that  it will soon be offered on the Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Star.  The “who dun-it” was written by Scott Turow, the author who wrote the best seller “Presumed Innocent.”

 Speaking of the Norwegian Epic, for those that felt the casino area reeked of cigarette smoke, the problem has been solved.  Built in air purifier / ionizer units have replaced the portable units and they seem to be working beautifully.

 Lastly, if you liked being able to pre-book your dining reservations online for the Norwegian Epic, you will soon be able to do it fleet wide.  Look for this enhancement to be rolled out ship by ship sometime this spring."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Celebrity Cruise Line 2011 Guest Chefs

Savor Your Destination” is part of the Celebrity Life program that gives food and wine enthusiasts the opportunity to enhance their cruise experience with a series of events that emphasize their passion for fine food. On select sail dates a celebrity chef is invited aboard to share their expertise.

 Planned events include:
  •  A meet and chat with the guest chef during a private cocktail party.
  •  Watch a chef-led cooking demo highlighting special techniques and / or ingredients.
  •  Book signings for those chefs that have published books.
  •  Hands-on cooking classes in the ship’s galley.
  •  Exclusive food and wine pairing dinners designed and presented by the chef. 
 This year’s “big star” is Sara Moulton of Food Network fame, though her impressive credentials exceed the numerous television shows that she has hosted.  She has authored several cookbooks, and was the executive chef of  ""Gourmet"" magazine for over 20 years.   She is also the food editor of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America”.  Ms. Moulton will sail on the Celebrity Eclipse on March 26, 2011.

 Additional ""Savor Your Destination"" guest chef theme cruises will be led by:
  • Chef Dean James Max of 3030 Ocrean in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and five other restaurants, sailing on Celebrity Eclipse on March 12, 2011
  • Chef Timon Balloo of Sugarcane in Miami, sailing on Celebrity Equinox on April 1, 2011
  • Chef Govind Armstrong of 8 Oz. Burger Bar in Louisiana, Los Angeles, and Miami's South Beach, sailing on Celebrity Equinox on April 11, 2011
  • Chef John Suley of Gotham Steak at Miami's Fontainebleau Resort, sailing on Celebrity Equinox on April 22, 2011
  • Chef Angel Palacios of La Broche in Madrid, Spain, sailing on Celebrity Solstice on June 7, 2011
  • Chef Jordi Valles of The Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, Mexico, sailing on Celebrity Solstice on October 11, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Royal Caribbean announces Project Sunshine

Royal Caribbean is at it again!  Fresh off the arrival of the largest cruise ships in the industry (Allure & Oasis of the Seas), Royal Caribbean already has plans for a new class of ship.  While not much has been revealed about this new class, we can can tell you that Royal Caribbean has signed a letter of intent with the German shipyard Meyer Werft to build at a minimum one new RCCL cruise ship.  The new class of ship is currently referred to as ""Project Sunshine"" and will be approximately 158,000 gross tons and occupy 4,100 passengers.  Arrival of the new Royal Caribbean ship is scheduled in fall of 2014.

Already many are speculating about the new features onboard ""Project Sunshine"".  It is noticeably smaller than the Oasis & Allure of the Seas, so some believe this ship will more resemble the elegance and intimate design of the Radiance class.

More details to come."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Update on Great Stirrup Cay

The first phase of enhancements are complete on Norwegian Cruise Line’s private Bahamian island, Great Stirrup Cay.

 A new marina with four docks was constructed for the island's tenders. “By moving the tenders’ arrival to the marina and away from the beach, we have now opened up a great expanse of beach front for our guests to enjoy and relax”, stated Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Lines President and CEO.

 In addition, a grand 8,500 square foot dining facility was constructed.  The design is similar to the action station restaurants on the ships themselves.  It includes a central pizza making station, two grills, hot and cold food stations, as well as fresh fruits and breads.  There are two full bars on either side.  Four picnic pavilions offer seating for over 500 guests.

 More water recreational vehicles such as wave runners and kayaks are now available, as well as an eco-adventure boat tour.  A visit to this private island will certainly be the highlight of any cruise.  The Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Sky, and Norwegian Pearl regularly call on Great Stirrup Cay."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Extending Your European Cruise

Cruising the waters surrounding Europe is a great way to see the ancient ports of the Mediterranean as well as the cosmopolitan cities of Northern and Western Europe. A seven, ten, or twelve night European cruise is an amazing vacation as is, but I have a couple of suggestions that can make it even better! 

London, Barcelona, Rome, Istanbul… glamorous cities that are a destination in and of itself!  So why not add on a couple of days in any of these European embarkation ports to take your vacation to the next level!  Arriving several days, or even a week before sailing allows you to slow down and soak up all the city has to offer.

London is a city with a split personality.  There’s the side of London that’s steeped in tradition: the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace with expressionless soldiers in fuzzy tall hats, high tea at the Ritz, and Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Then there’s that other side that consists of the hottest new shows playing in the theaters of the West End, marvelous multi-cultural restaurants, and trendy fashion boutiques.  Stopping over for a few days before a cruise is a great way to experience both sides of London!