Monday, December 23, 2013

The Butler Did It…on Norwegian Cruise Line

The last time someone “drew my bath” I was about five years old and my mom made sure it included an overflowing capful of “Mr. Bubbles”!  I made the switch to showers shortly thereafter and never looked back.  However, after reading about Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Bath Butler Menu” featuring seven different luxury bath packages, I may be swayed to reconsider…at least when I’m cruising!

But first things first.  Before you may even consider indulging in this hedonistic pleasure, you would have to have booked accommodations that include a bathtub…specifically a suite.  Once you’ve got that covered, there a several options to choose from, each inspired by a different exotic locale visited by a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. In addition, every package also includes a specially selected beverage selection.

The “Mediterranean Soak” is truly extravagant at $499! Imagine soaking in French verbena bubbles, while sipping Dom Perignon champagne, poured from the bottle that sits beside you, and snacking on sturgeon caviar.  Pricey, but tempting if the tub comfortably seats two. If not, then maybe NCL should consider including a back scrubbing by the butler.

There are five other menu items more reasonably priced at $99 each.  What romantic honeymoon or anniversary gift to surprise your spouse with!

There's no need to cruise to Mexico to enjoy the “Mexican Riviera Retreat”.  It includes a lime exfoliating body scrub with loofah and a freshly made, margarita with 100% agave tequila, premium triple orange liqueur and fresh squeezed limes.

What's more relaxing then cruising to the Caribbean? The “Caribbean Calm” luxury bath! It consists of a passion fruit bath gel with exfoliator gloves, topped off with a hand-muddled Mojito prepared with Bacardi Superior, fresh mint and hand pressed limes.

Choose the “Hawaiian Bloom” and let the scent of pulmeria transport you to paradise as you soak in a milk bath with floating flowers. If you're not actually cruising to Hawaii, this is the next best thing! This bath is served with a coconut kiwi pineapple splash prepared with Bacardi Rock Coconut, pineapple juice, lemon lime soda with chunks of fresh pineapple and kiwi.

Conjure up images of the Alaskan wilderness while taking the The “Alaskan Plunge”.  This specialty bath invigorates body and soul with its refreshing pine bath salts and a back scratcher. After soaking, guests can enjoy a cold pitcher of strawberry lemonade with Stolichnaya vodka, fresh strawberries and hand pressed lemons.

Beware of the total relaxation effect of the “Great Island Oasis”! It consists of a seaweed eucalyptus bath, complete with bath pillow and passion punch made with passion fruit liqueur, vodka, fresh fruit juices and sparkling wine.

I’m not sure if Mr. Bubbles is still available on store shelves, but if not, parents can treat their kids to the “Wonder Waterfall”, for $49.  This includes kiwi fruit berry bath bombs and a yummy kid-friendly strawberry and banana smoothie, but even better than that, you don’t have to clean the tub when they’re through!"

Monday, December 16, 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces the Bacardi Bar

A stop at Great Stirrup Cay has always been a highly anticipated port of call on a Norwegian Cruise Line itinerary, and now there’s something new on the island to experience! A first-of-its-kind Bacardi Bar has recently opened on Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s private island. Inspired by Bacardi’s rich 150-year history and distinct Cuban heritage, the Bacardi Bar and terrace feature original Bacardi advertising artwork and Cuban-inspired fixtures including specially-designed tiles and shutters.

“We are excited to announce the grand opening of the Bacardi Bar,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “We are honored to partner with Bacardi for the launch of our island’s newest bar. Bacardi’s rich history and quality beverage products are the perfect complement to our private island experience. We know that our guests are going to love spending time here during their visit to Great Stirrup Cay.”

Guests who visit the Bacardi Bar during their island visit can experience some of Bacardi’s superior craft rums through freshly made specialty cocktails. Similar to a “wine tasting experience”, here guests can come and sample some of Bacardi’s most popular Mojito creations!  There will be exclusive events and entertainment on the patio, including live mixology, live DJ’s and a variety of interactive games.

Guests booked on the Norwegian Breakaway or the Norwegian Gem, cruising from New York City, can look forward to visiting the Bacardi Bar at Great Stirrup Cay on an upcoming sailing.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dancing with the Stars…at Sea

Good news for “Dancing With the Stars” fans! Holland America Line has extended its  “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” program for another year! The 2014 schedule will continue to feature “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming on all sailings throughout the year, in addition to six special “Dancing with the Stars” theme cruises featuring the show’s professional dancers and celebrities. Currently scheduled to sail on the six theme cruises in 2014 are professional dancers Tristan MacManus and Kym Johnson and television personality Carson Kressley and actress Sabrina Bryan.

“Our collaboration with ‘Dancing with the Stars’ has been one of our most successful partnerships ever and we’re excited to be able to continue the experience through 2014,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. “Dancing in all forms is among our most popular shipboard activities so it’s no wonder that the ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ experience is getting rave reviews from guests.”

Six theme cruises present the chance to sail with dance pros and celebrities from the hit ABC show.

June 14 and June 21 aboard ms Zuiderdam, 7-day Alaska roundtrip from Vancouver, British Columbia.
July 26 and Aug. 2 aboard Westerdam, 7-day Alaska roundtrip from Seattle, Washington.
Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 aboard Westerdam, 7-day eastern Caribbean roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Each theme cruise features guest performances from dance pros and celebrities. Additional events on theme cruises

include dance lessons with the ship’s professional dancers, a special fashion show featuring glamorous show costumes and a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, ask questions and take photos with them.

Beginning with cruises that depart on or after Nov. 26, 2013, every sailing on all 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet including the theme cruises will feature an exclusive “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” program. Included are complimentary dance lessons with the ship’s dance professionals and a dance-off competition for participating guests to compete for a chance to represent their ship on the 2014 Champions Cruise on Dec. 6, 2014. There will be a total of 15 winners on the Champions Cruise. Competitions held on sailings departing on or after Nov. 26, 2013 and ending no later than Oct. 22, 2014 are eligible.

Winners of the guest competitions with the highest scores from each of Holland America Line’s 15 ships will be notified they have won a free ocean view stateroom on the Dec. 6, 2014, Champions Cruise to compete for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy and title of Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Celebrity's New Captain's Club

This months Celebrity Cruise Line announced major changes to its Captain's Club loyalty club.  At the core of the changes is a new system for earning points that puts far more emphasis on the type of cabin a customer books.  It looks like this:

2 club points for an inside or ocean view cabin.

3 club points for a veranda.

5 club points for a Concierge or Aqua Class cabin.

8 club points for a ""smaller"" suite (up to Sky Suites).

12 club points for suites larger than Sky Suites up to Royal Suites.

18 club points for Reflection and Penthouse suites.

Members’ previous cruise credits will be automatically converted to club points, and members will retain all of the benefits they earned in the program to date. The overhauled program will have six tiers — two more than before. Below is a brief summary of the amenities at each level.

As a Preview Member, you'll receive complimentary access to the Captain's Club Loyalty Desk service center and a Captain's Club newsletter with the latest program news and information.

As a Classic member (2-149 club points), you'll receive complimentary access to our Captain's Club Celebration event. You'll also enjoy great ways to save with exclusive onboard premium offers.

As a Select member (150 – 299 club points), you'll enjoy all the benefits of a Classic member, plus discounted Internet and laundry service specials.

Elite members (300 – 749 club points) know that loyalty yields great rewards, including complimentary Internet and laundry services and complimentary Captain's Club cocktail hour.

In recognition of the most devoted Elite members, they have created Elite Plus (750 – 2999 club points) - delivering a high level of recognition with greater benefits including; discounts on beverages and specialty dining, unlimited complimentary cappuccinos and lattes, 200 free internet minutes and much more.

The height of Captain's Club membership – Zenith (3000+ club points) - is designed exclusively for the most loyal guests, offering the quality benefits and perks befitting this ultimate level of membership, such as access to Michael's Club Concierge Lounge, a beverage package of your choice, complimentary laundry, and 1600 minute internet package.

“Guest loyalty is the cornerstone to any successful business, and that’s why, at Celebrity Cruises, we make our guests the center of our attention"", said Celebrity’s Director of Loyalty Lee Moreau.  “We hope this reinvigorated program will even more vividly show our guests how much we appreciate their loyalty, and allow us to welcome them back onboard even more frequently.”"