Thursday, February 27, 2014

Staying Sun-Safe On Your Caribbean Cruise

With the Polar Vortex bearing down on the Northeast, its no surprise there’s been a mass exodus to the Caribbean!  Cruise ships are heading south packed with people that are yearning to feel the heat of the sun penetrate through to their very soul!  However, before you start peeling off your parka, turtleneck and long johns make sure you pack the essentials to keep yourself sun-safe.

By now everyone knows it’s foolish to spend any time in the sun without slathering on an ample amount of sunscreen.  The Caribbean sun can be very intense, particularly for skin that’s been hiding under layers of corduroy and wool. Dermatologists recommend a water resistant broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. Apply and reapply often, paying close attention to ears, nose and those spots that are hard to reach.  A lip balm with SPF is also a smart choice.

Clothing is the most basic, and one of the best means of sun protection. More and more outdoor clothing now carries a UPF rating (ultraviolet protection factor).   Many sportswear companies design fashionable high-UPF items such as swimsuits, swim shirts, cargo shorts, polo shirts, and summer dresses designed to keep you cool, dry, and protected.

The face and neck receive the most sun exposure and are particularly susceptible to sunburn, so every Caribbean cruiser should pack a hat! The Skin Cancer Foundation advises everyone to wear hats with a brim that extends three inches or more all the way around to shade the face, neck, ears, and even the top of the shoulders.  Baseball caps and fishing hats are also good choices to protect faces and balding heads

A great looking pair of sunglasses is not only a style statement, but vital in safeguarding the health of your eyes. When you're choosing sunglasses, look for a pair that blocks 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Also, opt for wraparound sunglasses or close-fitting sunglasses with wide lenses that protect your eyes from every angle.

Lastly, if you’re planning on spending an extended amount of time lying on the beach or lounging poolside, you might want to consider an umbrella or cabana rental. Cabanas can be rented on some cruise ships (Celebrity has them up at the Lawn Club) and are also available on Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee and Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top Caribbean Cruise Shore Excursions

Ah, a Caribbean cruise!  Ask people what their plans are once their ship pulls into port and many will answer without hesitation…a day at the beach!  And who could blame them?  The Caribbean Islands are known for their miles of soft, sandy beaches dotted with palm trees, and warm azure waters so clear you can see right down to your feet. But if you’re looking for a little more to do with your day in port, we’ve compiled a list of popular shore excursions that are sure to please!

For Western Caribbean cruisers, the highlight of a stop at Grand Cayman Island is definitely Stingray City. Stingray City is a sandbar that has become a gathering spot to a whole fleet of southern stingrays. Locals say that the stingrays began gathering in the area decades ago when fisherman used to clean fish on the shallow sand bars. Tours include a boat ride to multiple sites for swimming and snorkeling, the highlight of course, getting the chance to pet, swim and have your picture taken with these amazing creatures.

If your cruise itinerary takes you to Ocho Rios, you’ll want to climb Dunn’s River Falls! The 600 foot falls are bordered by lush, green vegetation and usually tops the lists of the world’s most gorgeous waterfalls. The climb can be relatively hard so is often undertaken as a hand-holding human chain led by a guide to make it easier.  The guides make stops along the way allowing some time to splash around in the natural pools and are happy to snap photos along the way.

If you are cruising to the Eastern Caribbean, one of San Juan's most stunning natural attractions and most popular shore excursion is the 28,000-thousand-acre El Yunque Rainforest. El Yunque is the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. The rainforest is home to more than 240 species of plants and wildlife, waterfalls, streams and hiking trails leading to enticing locations. Tours differ in levels of exertion so choose accordingly.

Looking for an exhilarating day on the ocean?  St. Maarten offers the thrill of America’s Cup Yacht Racing excursion! Sail the actual boats from the 1987 competition, including Dennis Conner's famous Stars & Stripes! The expert crew will teach participants exactly what to do in a ""crew members"" position. Then it’s off to the races… grind a winch… trim a sail… punch a stop watch, or just sit back, relax. The best part… previous sailing experience is NOT necessary!

Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries that include Aruba also include the opportunity to tour the island off-road via ATV or an open jeep! This tour is great fun! If you don’t already know it, Aruba has a desert-like side which guests will explore on this tour. This excursion will bring you to such sites as Lighthouse, Gold Ruins, Natural Bridge, Natural Pool, Arikok National Park and of course Baby Beach, to cool off with a swim.

Most people are familiar with swimming with the dolphins, but have you heard of swimming with the sea turtles? Barbados, another Southern Caribbean port of call, is home to a healthy population of hawksbill and leatherback turtles. Once endangered by over-fishing, these great creatures are now protected and monitored throughout the Island. There are a wide range of tours that take guests swimming or snorkeling with the turtles. Most turtle tours are on catamarans which provide lunch, masks and snorkels. It's a great day out - sailing down the beautiful coastline, a delicious lunch, rum punch, and of course seeing and swimming along side the magnificent turtles.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Celebrity Cruise Line Partners With The Canyon Ranch Spa

A new partnership between Celebrity Cruise Line and the Canyon Ranch was recently announced and it couldn’t be a more natural fit!  After all, a segment of Celebrity Cruise Line’s popular Celebrity Life program was designed for those that have a passion for all things ""wellness” by incorporating a collection of activities to rejuvenate guests inside and out.  Similarly, Canyon Ranch Health Resorts are land-based sanctuaries where guests learn to take an active roll in their health and wellness.  Both programs aim to enlighten guests on living in a state of optimal health, well-being, and vitality through good diet, exercise, and treatments. You couldn’t find a more perfect alliance if you tried!

The luxurious Canyon Ranch SpaClub can be found on Celebrity Cruises beginning in April, and will include spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness amenities presenting signature Canyon Ranch offerings. Exclusive SpaClub treatments and services tailored to the unique preferences of Celebrity’s guests, including new facial and body treatments, and unique yoga and meditation classes are part of the new alliance.

Fitness lovers can choose from private consultations to group classes, including yoga, Pilates, cycling, Mind/Body Connection and relaxation led by Canyon Ranch-trained fitness experts. Wellness programs such as personal exercise prescription, private nutritional consults, acupuncture, Chiropractic therapy and Canyon Ranch Healthy Feet™ centers will also be available on select ships. Additionally, Canyon Ranch health experts will provide onboard wellness lectures, workshops and cooking demonstrations.

Guests can add to the entire experience by booking an Aqua-class veranda stateroom; accommodations that offer spa elements infused into the stateroom experience. These spa-inspired cabins offer unlimited access to the AquaSpa Relaxation Room (on Solstice Class only) and Persian Garden as well as a host of other comforting extras. If you love the spa, there's no finer way to travel. In addition, those staying in an Aqua-class stateroom can enjoy Blu, an exclusive restaurant offering healthier options for breakfast and dinner.  The cuisine at Blu is called “clean cuisine”, a way of preparing popular dishes without fussiness, pretense, or more importantly, without heavy sauces.

Wellness makes lives richer and more enjoyable. How wonderful it will be to benefit from the Canyon Ranch Spa experience as you travel to exotic ports of call throughout the world, on your favorite Celebrity cruise ship!"

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

“Carnival LIVE”

There is nothing like the “live” concert experience! Loud music, bright lights, clapping to the beat and dancing in and around your seat!  The band plays your favorite song and you sing along! Excitement and energy electrify the room.  That’s what “Carnival LIVE” is all about!

This April, Carnival Cruise Line will launch a new series of live concert performances on select sailings.  Artists scheduled thus far include 38 Special, Chicago, Daughtry, Foreigner, Gavin DeGraw, and Jennifer Hudson.  Jewel, Kansas, Lady Antebellum, LeAnn Rimes, Martina McBride are also on the calendar. So are Olivia Newton John, REO Speedwagon, STYX, and Trace Adkins!

Getting tickets to the show will be as easy as purchasing them on Carnival’s online shore excursion booking page prior to sailing, or contacting the shore excursion desk once onboard (if there’s anything left by the time you get onboard). Tickets will cost between $20 and $40 dollars per person.  VIP tickets will sell for $100 - $150 per person but that will guarantee seating in the first three rows and include an exclusive meet and greet with photo opportunities."