Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Celebrity Cruises Modifies Specialty Dining Packages

I love the dining experience aboard Celebrity Cruise Line ships.  The main dining room food is delicious and the service, exceptional!  I will go a step further by saying that the specialty dining experience is second to none! 

Celebrity recently announced new Specialty Restaurant Packages that make the additional cost more palatable, giving everyone a reason to give it a try!

The new specialty restaurant packages represent a significant discount when compared with the cost of booking reservations individually onboard, and allow guests to bundle their specialty restaurant visits into one convenient price. Packages vary by ship and the price includes cover charges and dining gratuities. A three-meal package begins at $109 per person ($36.33 per day) and goes up to 14 dinners for $336 ($24 per day). The new pricing for Celebrity specialty dining packages goes into effect in 2017. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cruising to Cuba

Ah…Caribbean cruising! White, palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, the rhythms of salsa, cha-cha and rumba. But hold on, I’m not talking about cruising to just any Caribbean island! I’m talking about cruising to Cuba!

These days, Cuba is the most enticing island in the Caribbean! Many years of political isolation (Cuba is one of the world's last defenders of communism) has prevented the island from becoming developed and commercialized like it’s many neighboring islands. In fact, when you read literary exposés or look at photographs, it seems that Cuba is lost in time, somewhere in the 1950’s.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Cruising From Dublin With Celebrity Cruises

I love exploring Europe by cruise ship.  It allows me an overview of many cities in seven to ten days; cities I may want to revisit to explore more thoroughly. Every year I wait patiently as new itineraries are announced and this year I was particularly excited with Celebrity Cruises’ future plans. They just announced that they will home port the Celebrity Eclipse in Dublin from late April through June of 2018.

New itineraries out of Dublin will include a 10-night Ireland and Iceland sailing that features calls at Belfast in Northern Ireland; Reykjavik and Akureyri in Iceland; Lerwick, Scotland; and Cork, Ireland. What an incredible list of ports!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

How to Burn Excess Calories on Your Next Cruise

I’ll admit it; when I cruise I overeat.  I love trying new foods and new dining venues.  I enjoy eating a big breakfast…something I never do at home!  I order dessert every evening and sometimes I even order two! So when it comes to burning off those extra calories, I have lots of strategies.  Today I will share them with you!

There’s no better way to start the day than by taking a stroll in the fresh air. Or even better, immediately following dinner! Most cruise ships have a track on one of the higher decks and there’s usually signage posted that indicates how many laps equal a mile.  Even if you don’t routinely walk, when you do so surrounded by blue ocean with a gentle warm breeze blowing its quite enjoyable!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Take a Peek at Harvest Caye

Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest port of call in southern Belize, officially welcomed its first cruise passengers when Norwegian Dawn arrived on November 17, 2016. Here’s some of the amenities that passengers had a chance to enjoy.

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a tropical island is the beach, and the Harvest Caye beach is truly amazing!The gorgeous seven acre, powder soft, white sand beach is the heart of this port. The day can easily be spent lounging in the sunshine working on your tan or nestled under a shady tree with a good book.  For guests that want to take a beach day experience up a notch or two, there are 11 luxurious beach villas can be rented for the day. These swanky villas can accommodate up to 10 guests and are equipped with every comfort including air conditioning, dedicated lounge and dining areas, a private restroom, indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks, and exclusive dining and beverage options with dedicated concierge service!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cruising to Florence, Italy

This past weekend my husband and I saw the movie, “Inferno,” based on the book written by Dan Brown.  The story follows famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) as he investigates a trail of clues tied to Dante, the great medieval poet, through several beautiful European cities including Florence, Italy. I really enjoyed the movie, but even more than that, I loved seeing the scenes of Florence!  It’s been too long since our last visit and now I have an itch to return.  If you’re planning a Mediterranean cruise with a stop in Livorno, (the port for Florence), here’s some places to add to your day's itinerary!

Florence's cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore (often called the Duomo), is a vast Gothic structure standing tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome. Entrance into the cathedral is free and for this reason there’s usually a long line to get in. Don't worry, the line moves pretty quickly. It’s definitely worth climbing the 463 steps (there is no elevator) to the dome for the view of the city as well as Giorgio Vasari's frescoes of The Last Judgment. The Duomo complex also includes the impressive structures of the Baptistery and Giotto’s bell tower. You may also climb to the top of the bell tower.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Cruising to Europe With Kids

Some people may think taking school-age kids along on a European cruise is an extravagance and a waste of money. Doesn’t it make more sense to leave them at home with the grandparents and escape on a romantic European cruise as a second honeymoon?  Will an 8 or 9-year-old appreciate, or even remember the experience when their grown? In my opinion, a family cruise to Europe is one of the best gifts you can give your children!

Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” A European cruise teaches your kids that people throughout the world may have a different take on things. Maybe they view life differently, interact differently, have fun differently, or may worship differently. We may do things in a way but who’s to say that’s the only way, or the right way? Travel teaches our children (and us), to expand our thinking, to consider other alternatives, and to view the world with more acceptance.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cruising the Panama Canal

The United States began building the Panama Canal in 1904, a 48-mile-long international waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, (saving ships about 8000 miles from an otherwise journey around the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn!).   Called the 8th Wonder of the World, this historical engineering marvel is an undisputed travel bucket list destination.
The best way to appreciate the Canal is by taking a PanamaCanal Cruise, but do you book a full transit cruise or a partial transit cruise.  Here’s the difference.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Cruising to Split, Croatia

Last week I wrote about one of my favorite European cruise ports, Dubrovnik, Croatia.  This week I’ll continue with another Croatian port of call, Split. Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and a wonderful port of call on a European cruise!

Here’s some suggestions on what to do in port:

Diocletian’s Palace is a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman structures. It was built as an imperial city-palace and a sea fortress but today it’s a city within a city! The ancient fortress has become the old town of Split, with shops, cafes, and restaurants. Don't miss, the underground basement, the St Domnius Cathedral, the Bell tower, as well as Jupiter's temple.   *Special note: Diocletian's Palace was used as a location for filming the fourth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cruising to Dubrovnik, Croatia

When Croatia is a stop on a European cruise itinerary, more often than not the port of call is Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik, dubbed as the Pearl of the Adriatic, is one of Croatia’s most recognizable and famous cities.  However more and more European cruise itineraries are also including Split, Croatia. 

Here’s some ideas on how to spend the day in Dubrovnik:

The city walls are considered to be one of the most grandiose fortification monuments in Europe They stretch completely around Dubrovnik’s Old Town, a distance totaling 1.2 miles and a walk on top of the walls  ( there’s a charge of about $10) is a must do on your visit to Dubrovnik.  Bring a water bottle and try to head up early or the heat can be quite uncomfortable.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Crucial Cruise Carry-On Bag

Most people would never consider flying without a carry-on bag filled with necessary items to get them through a flight.  Cruising should be no different.  After all, once you hand over your luggage to the porter at the pier, you won’t see it again until late that afternoon or possibly not until that evening.  There are always items that should you should have immediate access to at all times.  There are several other items that will just help you jump start your cruise vacation.   Here’s a list of my “crucial cruise carry-on” items. I carry them in the beach bag that I will also use when hanging out at the pool or when I’m in port.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Holland America Line to Ban Smoking on Stateroom Balconies

Holland America Line will eliminate smoking on the balconies of its ships starting in 2017. Most other cruise lines have banned smoking in cabins and on balconies years ago.

Smoking is allowed indoors in the ship casinos in designated areas where slot machines are being played, with the exception of the Oosterdam and Eurodam.
Designated outdoor smoking areas will still be available to guests. E-cigarettes and vaping devices are permitted in designated smoking areas, as well as inside passenger staterooms.

Enforcement will begin on the Rotterdam and Maasdam on Jan. 2 and will be rolled out on most other ships the first two weeks in January. (The policy will take effect on the Amsterdam on April 26 and on the Prinsendam May 6). 

Monday, September 26, 2016

America’s Test Kitchen on Holland America Ships

I watch and enjoy many cooking shows but truth be told I never even try to make 99% of the dishes that are featured! Too much time, too many ingredients, and a husband that is afraid to try anything new are just some of the obstacles I face.  Maybe that’s why I absolutely love America's Test Kitchen.  They focus on the real stuff…the recipes you make when you rush in the door at 6PM to face a hungry family! The show develops and perfects these recipes so they'll give you the best results every single time.

So when it was announced that Holland America Line would be transforming it’s shipboard Culinary Arts Center to replicate the television set where America’s Test Kitchen TV shows are recorded I was pretty excited! Designed specifically for Holland America Line, the shipboard shows will be hosted by Holland America Line chefs trained by America’s Test Kitchen culinary experts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dining Changes aboard Anthem of the Seas

Are you planning a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas?  You should know that there have been some changes in the dining program that go into effect on November 27th.  Here’s what you need to know…

In response to passenger’s negative feedback, the “Dynamic Dining” concept has been scrapped and guests will now have the choice of “flexible dining” or the  more of the traditional “main dining room experience.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cruising with the WHOLE Family

My favorite vacations were those that my family shared with our extended family.  My parents, my sister and her family, my brother and his family; those vacation memories are priceless to me and particularly to my son. Aptly stated by Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association, “Cruise vacations offer a unique option for family members of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents, and a chance to celebrate family milestones and create memories.”

Here’s why I agree:

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Celebrity Cruises’ Debuts Concert Series

Celebrity Cruises’ first-ever Concert Series will kick off with pop star Demi Lovato. The award-winning singer and songwriter is known for her chart-topping hits such as hits like 'Skyscraper,” “Cool for the Summer,” and “Give Your Heart A Break.”

The concert can be booked by guests sailing on one of the following four Celebrity Cruises’ Caribbean itineraries:
•Celebrity Equinox (Departing Fort Lauderdale December 19, 2016)
•Celebrity Eclipse (Departing Miami December 21, 2016)
•Celebrity Summit (Departing San Juan December 24, 2016)
•Celebrity Reflection (Departing Miami December 24, 2016)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cruising to the French Caribbean

Looking to season your next cruise vacation with a bit of French flavor? That’s easy to do when you choose an itinerary that visits an island or two in the "French Caribbean"!

Colonized by France in 1635, Martinique has subsequently remained a French possession. Exceptional French food, French music and fashion, make the island a paradise for Francophiles. (A bit of island trivia…Napoleon's Empress Josephine was born on the island in 1763). Most cruisers spend their day on the island relaxing on one of the many beautiful beaches (swim tops optional) or exploring the winding streets and colorful markets of the island's capital, Fort-de-France. A popular excursion is a visit to the glorious Jardin de Balata, home to a stunning collection of over 3,000 tropical plants, as well as several ponds with lilies, stairs, and a massive bamboo forest. A must do at the gardens is a stroll across an unnerving treetop ladder pathway high up in the canopy for its incredible panoramic views!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Royal Caribbean Modifies the Crown & Anchor Balcony Discount

Beginning September 1, changes go into effect for members of Royal
Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Loyalty Club. Members will no longer be offered a discount on balcony cabins or suites if booking a cruise within six months of the sail date.

However, for top-tier Pinnacle members only, the balcony & suite discounts will increase by $25 and be updated to $175 for 3 – 5 night sailings, $275 for 6 – 9 nights, and $375 for 10+ nights starting on August 15, 2016.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Carnival LIVE 2017 Star Roster

Are you familiar with “Carnival LIVE”? I’ve talked about it many times before because I think it’s such a phenomenal cruise experience! “Carnival LIVE” invites incredible musicians and outrageously funny comedians to perform for their guests at a fraction of what the same concert would cost you on land! I’m always excited to report the list of upcoming stars, but seeing what’s planned for 2017 leaves me ecstatic!

Country music superstars will step aboard some of Carnival’s ships when passengers dock in Nassau, The Bahamas, early next year. Tim McGraw will bring hits like “Something Like That” and “Where The Green Grass Grows” to fans aboard the Carnival Breeze March 2 and Carnival Valor March 3.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Celebrity Cruises’ Wine List Wins Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence

Each year Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards recognize restaurants (including those on cruise ships) whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.

For the fourth year in a row, Celebrity Cruise Line has been recognized by this formidable publication, claiming nine awards this year!  Celebrity is the only ship-based winner this year bestowed with the prestigious “Award of Excellence” for their wine lists featured in each ship’s main restaurant!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Build-A-Bear on a Carnival Cruise

Build-A-Bear Workshop is a fun-filled shop where kids of all ages can create their own teddy bears or other stuffed animals. They can be found in malls in the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, France and the United Kingdom…and by next summer you will be able to find Build-A-Bear Workshops fleetwide aboard all 25 Carnival ships!

Carnival Cruises are synonymous with family fun, so the exclusive partnership with Build-A-Bear Workshop is a natural fit! Guests can select among several different types of furry friends to stuff, dress and accessorize. Each critter comes with its own "birth certificate" with its name and date he or she was created, as well as a logo drawstring bag.  Additionally, the stuffed animals have their own "voice" via a recordable sound chip with kids recording their own special message. The end result is a one-of-a-kind creation and a very special souvenir of their Carnival Cruise vacation!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Become a Winemaker Onboard the Holland America Koningsdam

All cruise lines offer wine tasting seminars, but did you know that if you cruise aboard Holland America’s new Koningsdam, guests are given the opportunity to become winemakers! That’s right, you can blend your own wine at the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea!

Koningsdam will feature a new venue called BLEND – an intimate wine tasting setting that will host up to 10 guests at a time. The program will operate in collaboration with Chateau Ste. Michelle, the oldest winery in Washington State. The ship’s wine expert will lead participants in a blending session to create their own blend of red wine from a selection of five single-vineyard Chateau St. Michelle wines.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What Can a Butler Do For You On Your Next Cruise?

I have only been acquainted with two butlers in my lifetime; Alfred, the tall, gray haired, bespectacled gentleman in the employ of Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) and the loyal and devoted Mr. Carson of Downton Abby.  So when I see various cruise lines including the services of a butler when booking one of their luxurious suites, (CelebrityCruises offers butler service when booking the Reflection, Penthouse, Royal, Signature, Sky and Celebrity Suites), it’s rather intriguing…and intimidating! If I have a butler, what am I supposed to do with him?

I am told that a dutiful and diligent butler generally picks up where the cabin steward leaves off (CelebrityCruises offers European-style butler service).  Maybe it’s easier to think of him or her (yes, her) as your personal assistant! There are many services a butler can provide that will make your cruise vacation all the more extraordinary. All you need to do is ask!  

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Strolling Along the Halifax Waterfront

Halifax, the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, is a delightful port of call on a Canada / New England cruise! And there’s no better way to spend an afternoon then a stroll along the waterfront boardwalk.  This charming foot path is always buzzing with people and activities! It

stretches along the waterfront for 10 city blocks from the Casino Nova Scotia to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. You can meander from one end to another in under half an hour, but with all there is to see and do, it may take you the entire day to fully explore all it has to offer! 

The north end of the boardwalk starts at Casino Nova Scotia. The casino has 650 slots and table games as well as several drinking and dining facilities.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The New Norwegian Dawn

Are you considering a Bermuda cruise out of the northeast this year? Your timing couldn’t be better because the Norwegian Dawn has just returned to the city of Boston after a month long refurb and let me tell you, she’s looking GREAT!  This was by no means a quick cosmetic face-lift. The ship was actually brought down to the steel in many places and rebuilt!

What I love most about Norwegian Cruise Line is the many dining choices and two new restaurants were added to the Dawn.  O’Sheehans’s Bar & Grill has been added…every NCL ship should have O’Sheehans!  It’s great pub food and open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks. The second restaurant is a new-to-the-fleet, upscale Mexican restaurant called Los Lobos Cantina.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cruising From Miami

In 2015 nearly 4.9 million passengers embarked on their cruise through the Port of Miami.  No wonder it is known worldwide as the "Cruise Capital of the World!" You too may one day pass cruising from Miami, and if you find yourself with some hours to kill before or after your cruise, allow me to make a few suggestions as to how you can spend your time.

Everyone has heard of South Beach. Clear blue water, white sand beaches, gourmet restaurants, trendy art galleries and a buzzing nightlife…the options are limitless! You can spend the whole day shopping at boutiques, relaxing at an opulent spa or just strolling along Ocean Drive admiring the iconic Art Deco architecture. Or rent some beach chairs at Lummus Park, which runs roughly from Sixth Street to 14th Street. Here you'll find white sand, beautiful water, volleyball nets and lots of people-watching opportunities.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Harmony of the Sea’s Ultimate Abyss

Pretty scary looking,huh? The Ultimate Abyss on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas is
more than 150 feet above sea level!  It offers side-by-side slides that send guests whooshing down and around at a rate of 9 miles per hour. Yikes! Guests launch from a glass platform on deck 16 and have time for a quick prayer and one last look at the Boardwalk 10 decks below before climbing onto a mat and taking the plunge down to deck 6! There’s LED lights and graffiti artwork designed to create a starry night and spontaneous audio effects within each tunnel that create a multi-sensory thrill for daring guests. I can tell you now, I am not a daring guest!

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is currently sailing out of Barcelona and Civitavecchia.  In November of 2016 she will sail to the Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale

Monday, June 06, 2016

Refurbishment of Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas is due for a refurbishment in November 2016 and this is what we are hearing...

So much enthusiasm was generated when it was revealed that Liberty of the Seas was going to be refitted with water slides during its dry dock, you just knew Royal Caribbean would try to add this feature to their other ships. Harmony of the Seas was then built with the two racing water slides, Cyclone and Typhoon, and now they will be added to the Adventure of the Seas! Guests will speedily snake guests above the ship's Flowrider surf simulator, another new addition.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cruising to Cuba

Cuba may only be 90 miles from Florida but up until recently it was as difficult for an American to visit there, as it would be to visit the moon!  The embargo placed on Cuba by the United States in 1962 actually made it illegal for Americans to visit the island; no
American tourist should be contributing to Cuba’s economy!  Fast forward to today. Although the embargo has not yet been totally lifted, it has been modified, allowing restricted visitation by American citizens.

CarnivalCruise Line has already commenced sailings to Cuba aboard its new Fathom brand focusing on “voluntourism”. And Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, recently indicated that the cruise line could move into the Cuban market as early as late July. I find this all very exciting and would like to book myself on a cruise to Cuba sooner, rather than later.  Here’s why:

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Culinary Arts Centers Aboard Holland America Ships

I am an avid cruiser and enjoy trying new foods when I'm onboard! At home I love watching the Food Channel and probably spend way too many hours “pinning” recipes and tearing out pages from gourmet magazine (so it’s not from lack of effort or interest that I’m a terrible cook!). Now I know there are  many cruisers out there that also share an enthusiasm for cooking, so I wanted to be sure that you all know about the Culinary Arts Center available on all Holland America ships.

The Culinary Arts Centers, presented by Food & Wine magazine, can best be described as a set resembling the sophisticated kitchens of your favorite chefs on television cooking programs. The venues feature a rotating schedule of activities daily including cooking shows, wine tastings, mixology demonstrations, hands-on themed cooking classes for both adults and kids, and regionally inspired workshops.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Compelling Reasons For Considering Bermuda

Have you made your cruise vacation plans for this spring or summer? Still undecided as to where to go? There are some pretty compelling reasons for considering Bermuda!

The Zika Virus is still making the news and, understandably, there may be concerns about traveling to areas where the virus has been transmitted. However, the Aedes mosquito, which is the most common species to transmit the virus, is not found in Bermuda, so cruisers to the island do not need to be concerned about Zika in Bermuda.

Monday, May 02, 2016

"Overnight Adventures" by Azamara Club Cruises

I have traveled to Europe many times, sometimes cruising and sometimes as a land-based trip. Although each mode has advantages and disadvantages over the other, I must say, it’s a common misconception that travelers cannot immerse themselves fully in a destination if they return to a cruise ship every night! That argument is really no longer valid now that cruise lines like Azamara Club Cruises are so very focused on destination immersion.  

Azamara provides guests with longer stays in port, more overnights and night touring options. In addition, the cruise line has expanded the possibilities of immersion even further with their new “Overnight Adventures”! Mid-voyage cruisers actually leave the ship to spend two or three days visiting cities and places that require extra time to truly be appreciated.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Royal Caribbean’s Voom Internet Plans

I think it’s naïve to think that any person, regardless of age, would willingly “live off the grid”, “disconnect”, “go offline”, or whatever you want to call living without an internet connection - even if it’s only for a week cruise vacation! Thank goodness the cruise lines realize this and are working hard to ensure guests as well as staff can connect quickly and affordably when at sea.

Voom is Royal Caribbean's high speed internet service that provides guests with the kind of high-speed connections they are used to on land. I bought a Voom package on a recent Royal Caribbean cruise and was very pleased with the speed, but I was only using it for checking Email and I-messaging.

Royal Caribbean has now announced it will offer two types of service; Voom Surf Voyage which provides internet service for basic web browsing, email and social media and Voom Surf & Stream that will also support video streaming (full support for all internet activities).

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rhapsody of the Seas Sails into Cape Liberty in 2017

A new Royal Caribbean ship will be sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey in 2017…well, not “new” new ship, but new in the sense that it will be her first time sailing out of this northeast port.  The 1,998-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas will be joining Anthem of the Seas, marking the first time that two Royal Caribbean ships will be sailing from Cape Liberty.

Rhapsody of the Seas is a Vision class ship that was built in 1997, but don’t let her age deter you from trying her out! In 2012 she went through a complete bow to stern renovation with additional refurbishment planned before she arrives in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Glaciers of Southeast Alaska

If you have been looking into an Alaska cruise you may have noticed that each one includes a visit to a tidewater glacier (a tidewater glacier flows far enough to reach out into the ocean), and quite frankly, that’s one of the highlights of an Alaska cruise! Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, or Tracy Arm…is one better than another? Here’s what you need to know.

Glacier Bay is a protected national park spread across 3.2 million acres of southeast Alaska, It is
home to more than 50 named glaciers, countless seabirds, otters and humpback whales. It is quite common to see seals sunbathing on ice chunks. Cruise ships spend most of a day in Glacier Bay, where passengers will visit several tidewater glaciers and explore inlets carved by the ice. Most ships head up the West Arm, towards the Margerie Glacier, an impressive glacier, which is advancing 12 to 14 feet a day and calves frequently.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride Of America

The unique thing about Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride ofAmerica is that it’s the only ship that sails year-round from Honolulu on seven-day intra-Hawaii cruises. There are no
multiple days at sea as the ship makes its way down from California or Ensenada, which makes many Hawaii cruises exceedingly long. This distinctive itinerary offers nearly 100 hours of port time and visits all of Hawaii's main islands!

Still, even if you are drawn to this exceptional itinerary, nobody wants to cruise aboard a tired and dated ship!  Well no worries here, because Pride of America has recently returned to service after a three and half week dry dock where she received ship-wide enhancements!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Carnival LIVE 2016

Taking the stage on Carnival LIVE sailings in early 2016 will be music legends Gladys Knight, Journey, KC & The Sunshine Band and Trace Adkins, plus comedienne Kathy Griffin. In addition, Carnival has just announced that they have added country star Sam Hunt, plus comedians Chris Tucker and Jim Gaffigan to their lineup.

Chris Tucker is an award-winning actor and comedian best known for his starring role as Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour films. He became a favorite on HBO Def Comedy Jam and starred in the 1995 cult classic Friday and 2013 Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Azamara Club Cruises’ Private Journeys

Shore excursions are such an important part of cruising.  In last weeks blog I talked about the different ways you can explore in a port; a couple of different types of group tours, private tours, and even taxi tours.While it can be worthwhile booking any of these tours, for a seasoned traveler it can get boring seeing a new city in the same old fashion.  Others seek something totally unique or off the beaten path while in port. Or there are those that just want a private tour arranged by the cruise line for themselves and their traveling companions.  If any of those scenarios speak to you, than Azamara Club Cruises’ “Private Journeys” may be a perfect fit!
Private Journeys allows guests to design any tour they can imagine, or customize any of Azamara’s standard Land Discoveries tours or signature tours. What makes this program so noteworthy is that Azamara has a team of “Destination Insiders”, seasoned world travelers with years of experience sailing aboard their ships, available to assist passengers with creating a perfect tour itinerary. Each team member has been specially selected for his or her unique perspectives on exclusive travel experiences and attentive guest service. Their insightful knowledge of their destinations ensures that every Private Journeys is an unforgettable exploration of culture, tailored just for that guest!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Choosing Your Shore Excursions

Today’s cruise ships are amazing resorts at sea. They have stunning staterooms, delectable dining, extraordinary entertainment and an abundance of amenities.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what each ship has to offer that we forget that these floating cities actually dock in foreign lands!
Yes, eventually these ships pull into port, quite often a different port every day. And how you choose to spend your time on shore is entirely up to you. Every traveler has a different comfort level when it comes to exploring an unfamiliar island or city. Here is what you need to know about choosing a shore excursion.

Group Shore Excursions: You can book an excursion as part of a group by booking with the cruise line or with an independent shore excursion company. There are benefits to booking ship-sponsored day trips.  They are a great comfort to those that get nervous in foreign lands.  Plus, you are guaranteed that the tour provider is licensed and insured. But the biggest reason people cite as why they book excursions through the cruise line is the comfort in knowing that the ship won't depart without them!  Of course you may have to contend with being a part of a large group if you book directly with the cruise line, (although some lines are now offering options that limit the number of participants). Not to mention how frustrating it can be waiting for the dawdlers in a large group…and believe me, there are ALWAYS dawdlers! Cruise line shore excursions can be expensive too.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Celebrity Suite Class...That's Luxury!

Have you been thinking about a cruise but are turned off by the thought of a small, mundane cabin?  Or maybe you were looking for a more up upscale, exclusive experience?  Take a
look at Celebrity Cruises’ Suite Class. 

Celebrity has several different suites to choose from, each one beautiful and unique. The Sky Suite, the Celebrity Suite, Royal Suite and Penthouse Suite are available fleet-wide. The Signature Suite and the Reflection Suite can be found exclusively on the Celebrity Reflection. They’re all large and luxurious with sweeping views of the ocean, and if that is not enough, they come with amenities that make them worth every penny!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Princess Cruises' Alaska Enrichment Programs

Alaska is one of the most beautiful, exciting and adventurous cruise destinations you can choose.  A Princess Cruises’ Alaskan voyage makes that even better by including exclusive onboard enrichment programs that broaden your understanding of the region’s history with fun, interactive experience that the whole family will enjoy!

Puppies in the Piazza Playing with sled dog puppies on a cruise ship is probably the last thing one would ever imagine doing!  But on a Princess cruise guests can meet some of Skagway's newest sled dogs onboard in the Piazza. Feel free to take “selfies” with the pups and meet their dog handlers who will be training them for a life of dog mushing. Unfortunately, taking puppies home is prohibited!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Celebrity Signature Sailing Takes a Look at Shakespeare

If you’ve never heard of a Celebrity Signature Cruise you may be missing out on something truly special.  These are select Celebrity cruises that offer unique shore excursions and onboard activities that highlight a person, place or world event.  For example, the April 23, 2016 Celebrity Silhouette is a Scandinavia Signature Sailing highlighting Shakespeare.

Known throughout the world, the works of William Shakespeare have been performed in countless hamlets, villages and cities for more than 400 years. On this cruise guests will visit Kronborg Castle in Denmark…the actual castle that Shakespeare set Hamlet in! 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Royal Caribbean’s Eat - Play - Drink

One of the many innovations that made Royal Caribbean Oasis-class cruise ships so revolutionary was the design of the Neighborhood staterooms. These balcony cabins are unique in that the view from the cabin’s veranda is of either the lush, beautiful “Central Park” area or of the colorful, spirited “Boardwalk” area. As if that isn’t reason enough to want to snag one of these cabins on your next cruise, Royal Caribbean has added some nice complimentary amenities!

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Bahamas Without the Beach

So many Caribbean cruise itineraries include Nassau, Bahamas as a port of call.  It’s not surprising, considering its beautiful beaches and great shopping! However, if you’re looking for something a bit different to do on your stop in the Bahamas let me make a few suggestions.

Chocolate Factory:  Graycliff Chocolatier is a tasty destination located on the Graycliff Hotel’s historic property (dates back to the 18th century) in downtown Nassau. From fully interactive experiences to delicious tasting tours to a fun and playful children’s tour with Captain Choco, Graycliff Chocolatier offers a number of ways to experience chocolate like never before! Learn how cacao beans are processed to create the final chocolate product and the importance of fair trade and organic farming. After the short tour, you are assigned a station at the worktable with a cup of liquid chocolate straight from the small vat, and a plate of goodies to choose from to make your own yummy concoctions.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Let Harmony of the Sea’s Entertain You

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas will be the cruise line's third Oasis class cruise ship, launching in the spring of 2016. The first two Oasis class ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, made waves in the cruise industry when they debuted in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and are by far the largest cruise ships currently afloat. But Harmony will measure 227,000 tons, eclipsing its sisters by more than 1,700 tons!  So how do you keep a record 5,400+ passengers entertained for seven days?  Easy!

I love a good musical so I was excited to hear that the Harmony’s Royal Theater is home to two headline shows.  The first I’ve mentioned briefly before, “Grease”.  I love this show, a story about teens in the 50's. Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fall in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they're now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance despite their differences? Well, you know the answer to that! And who doesn’t love singing along to "Summer Nights”?

The second show is a Royal Caribbean original production.Columbus, the Musical!” recounts the imagined history of Marvin Columbus, Christopher's fictional, down on his luck, distant cousin! Royal Caribbean says the story was created in the spirit of "Spamalot”.  If it is half as funny as the Monty Python parody then I’m sure they’ll have a winner on their hands with this!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Things I Love About The Norwegian Escape

There is no denying that one of the best perks of my job is the opportunity it gives me to cruise, particularly the chance to experience many of the new ships! Somebody once asked me if because of that, do they tend to all blur together and lose their uniqueness? Absolutely not!  I was recently aboard the new Norwegian Escape and I can’t stop talking about all her! Here are some things I love about her.

What I love about all the newer Norwegian Cruise Line ships, including the Escape is the Waterfront. The idea behind the Waterfront is to connect the inside area of the ship to the outside by adding open air entry ways and seating areas for bars and restaurants.  What’s more romantic than dining under the stars with the sound of the ocean lapping softly against the side of the ship? Just thinking about how lovely it was to dine al fresco makes me want to immediately book another cruise!

When I cruise I’m all about eating where and when its right for me, and freestyle dining lets me do just that! I love the fact that the Escape had so many choices…all my favorites and some new places that were incredible.  I can’t say enough about Jose Garces’ places. The Iron Chef is one of the leading chefs and restaurateurs in the country and his onboard restaurant, Bayamo, which showcases seafood with a Latin twist did not disappoint. However, Pincho Tapas Bar was the best!  I absolutely loved the yummy small plate dishes that brought back wonderful memories of eating my way through Spain!