Sunday, April 26, 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line Takes Freestyle Cruising to the Next Level

Starting in January, Norwegian Cruise Line will include wine, beer, spirits and soda up to $11 in the cost of the cruise fare on Norwegian Sky. Cruisers also will be able to get unlimited beverages when visiting the line's private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. This is quite the unprecedented move for a contemporary cruise line! Usually the inclusion of free liquor is reserved for luxury cruise lines.

Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer for Norwegian Cruise Line states, ""Norwegian Sky guests will have the freedom to enjoy a cruise vacation the way they desire -- whether it's lounging by the pool with a margarita, having a laugh at a comedy show, catching up on their favorite book on their balcony, or indulging in fine dining -- all included in their cruise fare.""

Is this new policy just a means of attracting new cruise passengers or could this possibly be a way of testing the waters for a fleet-wide change in the future? This year many cruise lines have offered a free beverage package as a limited time booking incentive and it seems to be a very successful strategy for driving up bookings.

The new policy takes effect starting in January 2016, only on Sky three- and four-day sailings from Miami to the Bahamas.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Updated Schedule for Carnival Live! Concert Series

Here it is…the list of upcoming performers for the wildly popular Carnival Live! concert series:

The Band Perry: July 28 (Carnival Sensation), July 29 (Carnival Fascination), July 30 (Carnival Magic)

Boston: August 19 (Carnival Sunshine); August 20 (Carnival Fantasy); August 21 (Carnival Sensation); August 22 (Carnival Ecstasy).

Lionel Richie: October 14 (Carnival Freedom), October 15 (Carnival Pride)

Heart: October 20 (Carnival Paradise); October 21 (Carnival Ecstasy), October 22 (Carnival Breeze).

These concerts, which are held on the ships' main theaters, are performed while the ships are docked in one of three ports of call:  Cozumel, Nassau and St. Thomas.

Tickets for the Carnival concerts range from $35 to $75 for general admission. Purchasing a VIP package gives guests seating in the first four rows, a photo op with the musicians and a commemorative concert pass; tickets for this range $125 to $250.

Tickets for the Carnival concerts sell out quickly and it’s no wonder! Where else can you see an all-time favorite band up close and personal at such a great price?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Best Of The Best Shore Excursions From Celebrity Cruises

A really good shore excursion can take an already amazing cruise to a new level. Shore excursions can take us to unknown places, help us understand foreign cultures, offer a unique way of bonding with friends and family or provide us the means of a once-in-a- lifetime experience! Celebrity Cruises’ newly launched shore excursion program, which includes 75 new excursions, was designed to fulfill all of these desires.

Celebrity Cruises offers shore excursions for every budget.   Short tours, day-long adventures, walking tours, bus tours, and bike tours. There are unique culinary experiences that introduce you to the authentic cuisine of a destination, tours designed to promote wellness, and exciting outdoor activities and sports. But here is a look at a few of their new programs, the best of the best, for the discerning traveler.

“Celebrity Exclusives” offer unique experiences that very few have the chance to do. These are up-scale adventures with a price tag to match, but if its one-of-a-kind adventures you’re looking for, these are for you. How about spending your time in Istanbul being a “Sultan for the Day?” You will spend the morning cruising down the Bosphorus on your Royal Yacht, headed for a traditional Turkish breakfast at the Sait Halim Pasha Mansion. Then it’s back onboard, sailing to Old Town, for a showing of Turkish Art, followed by the exploration of the Underground Cistern. You end the day shopping amongst the hustle and bustle of the Grand Bazaar. This is certainly a day fit for a king!

“Celebrity Family Tour Challenge” is the most exciting programs ever developed to give families a way to discover the world together through entertaining, competitive and enriching experiences! Each option sounds like such fun, but my favorite is the “Venetian Gondoliering Challenge” in Venice, Italy. The participants first receives expert schooling at a real Venetian Rowing Club in the age-old art of gondoliering. Then it’s off to a waterway where everyone breaks into teams and engages in some friendly competition with other teams to see who will be named ""Best Gondolier for a Day"". I can imagine the good time and laughs and I know that if this was available when my family cruised to Venice, we would have been the first to sign up! There are “Celebrity Family Tour Challenges” in other European cities as well as Bermuda and Alaska.

If you want to explore a destination individually or in a small group, “Private Journeys” is the excursion for you! Guests may customize their own shore excursions by choosing an itinerary geared toward convenience, flexibility, and their own personal interests. From a behind-the-scenes tour of iconic landmarks, a reservation at a top restaurant, tee times, help planning a special occasion, or tickets to a local event, a Celebrity Cruises Destination Concierge can create that memorable experience. These excursions, which can include a private car and guide, are designed to immerse guests in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the destinations they’ll be visiting.

Monday, April 06, 2015

5 Reasons To Cruise Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas

Beginning next month, Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas sails from Cape Liberty, New Jersey. If you still haven’t confirmed plans for this year’s summer vacation you must consider Liberty of the Seas! This Freedom-class ship is loaded from bow to stern with amenities the whole family will enjoy. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Looking for action? The Liberty of the Seas has the FlowRider® surf simulator, a rock-climbing wall, an ice-skating rink, a mini-golf course, a full-sized basketball court and even a full-sized boxing ring.
  • Traveling with little ones? The H2O Zone kids’ water park is loaded with interactive geysers shooting out from colorful, climbable creations, plus water guns, pools, and waterfalls.
  • The outdoor movie screen lets you relax in the pool or lounge beside the water and catch a movie or live sporting event.
  • “Saturday Night Fever: The Musical” is the complimentary Broadway hit currently featured onboard. This show has great music and talented performers. Don’t miss it!
  • Kids will look forward to dining, shows, 3D movies, photo opportunities and surprise appearances by their favorite characters from Dream Works Animation Films. Those are the “guys” from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar!

The Liberty of the Seas cruises out of Cape Liberty, New Jersey from May through October 2015.