All Aboard Foodies: Celebrity Cruises offers Top Chef at Sea Sailings in 2016

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Pack your apron and your appetite! Celebrity Cruises will once again be offering Bravo TV’s Emmy® Award-winning show, Top Chef, on most ships through June 2016 to a host of fabulous worldwide destinations. Gastronomes and fans of the popular series will be offered a variety of special culinary experiences with the line’s exclusive Top Chef at Sea program. These special cruises provide the perfect opportunity to hone your cooking skills, learn new ones and best of all, savor a variety of delicious food.

CEL_RF_KitchenSeveral special features and events may be enjoyed on Celebrity Cruises’ unique Top Chef at Sea theme cruises. Thrilling Quickfire Challenges – a highlight of the show – encourages guests to bring out their inner gourmet as they participate. Exciting and fun, entrants will shine in the spotlight as they test their kitchen aptitude for an unforgettable time.

Highlighting these sailings will be the chance to partake of exquisite dishes in the main dining room. Enhancing your cruise vacation will be an exclusive menu inspired by some of the most popular dishes from the show during a delicious Top Chef Night.

Bon vivants will be on cloud nine as they taste incredible fare during a dinner service showcasing scrumptious appetizers, soups, salads, amazing entrées and delightful desserts created by some of the show’s “cheftestants.” Wake up your tastebuds with a variety of mouthwatering creations that may be on your menu such as togarashi roasted carrots with cucumber, nori and sesame miso; gingerred mushrooms with pumpkin puree, jalapeno and slow-cooked egg. Ambrosial desserts may include an unforgettable ginger cake with salted caramel, puffed rice, cereal ice cream and thai foam.

Favorite classic selections are also offered for those who prefer more traditional meals. Always popular choices may include baked French onion soup with melted Gruyère cheese, broiled salmon and grilled chicken breasts. Timeless desserts that will delight your palate may be a rich New York cheese cake, apple pie a la mode and decadent chocolate cake.

Experience these incredible Top Chef culinary cruises while enjoying all the fabulous amenities that Celebrity Cruises is acclaimed for. In addition to the fabulous cuisine at a host of dining venues, there are spectacular accommodations, state-of-the-art spa and fitness centers, exciting shows and other entertainment choices, plus much more.

Bon Voyage and Bon Appetit!

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For more information on Celebrity Cruises, visit us at Cruise.com or call one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.

Holland America’s Beautiful ms Koningsdam Arriving in Spring 2016

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Exciting Highlights

 

• Music Walk™                                                                            • Rijksmuseum at Sea                            •  Culinary Arts Center

• New oceanview family staterooms                                  • New solo staterooms                           •   Sal de Mar restaurant

• First wine blending venue at sea                                      •  Two swimming pools

 

From an onboard museum to a Culinary Arts Center, a world renowned museum and the first wine-blending venue at sea, Holland America Line’s first ship in its Pinnacle-class, the 2,650-guest ms Koningsdam, will usher in a new era. She will debut in April 2016 with extraordinary new features and will be a perfect vacation choice for families, couples and solo cruisers. She was designed to reflect the line’s Dutch heritage, with light-filled spaces and beautiful interiors inspired by the curves of musical instruments.

At 99,500 tons, the elegant ms Koningsdam will also be the largest in the Holland America Line fleet – hence her Dutch name “koning” for king. During her inaugural year, this spectacular ship will offer itineraries in the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Between November 2016 and March 2017 she will sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean.

 

DIVERSE AMENITIES

 

Guests will be able to enjoy a myriad of amenities on the ms Koningsdam. Onboard ms Koningsdam is a foodie favorite, the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine® magazine. The setting includes a state-of-the-art show kitchen with individual cooking stations. Visiting celebrity chefs will present demonstrations, hands-on classes and more. There will be two swimming pools, including the Lido Pool, boasting three PoolAreawhirlpools and two levels of ultra-comfortable cushioned lounge chairs. There is also a large movie screen, movie nights guests may enjoy chair-side service from Gelato, New York Deli & Pizza and Dive-In for a fun family experience.

Art-lovers will be thrilled to visit the Rijksmuseum at Sea, the first of its kind on a cruise ship. Some of the most famous masterpieces from Amsterdam’s world-renowned museum highlighting Dutch history and culture will be showcased throughout the ship.

Wine enthusiasts are sure to delight at BLEND, by Chateau Ste. Michelle, the first wine blending venue at sea. Learn about and try your hand at mixing up to five wines and enjoying your creation during dinner or in your stateroom.

Guests will be able to find a comfortable chair at the Explorations Café, powered by The New York Times to relax with a book and enjoy custom-made espresso drinks and coffees.

The ship welcomes younger cruisers and will offer a Youth Program – the popular Club HAL® providing a vast selection of age appropriately exciting youth and teen activities for cruisers ages three to 17.

Leisure time may be spent picking up some new technical skills at the Digital Workshop powered by Windows.  Learn useful tips and tricks everyone can use from Microsoft-trained experts.  Fifty-minute sessions will be offered at the Digital Workshop throughout each cruise.

 

DELECTABLE DINING

 

Exceptional cuisine will be offered on ms Koningsdam. New-to-the-line dining venues include Sel de Mar, meaning “salt of the sea,” serving French seafood — some from local catches — in a classic brasserie setting. It will be located along the central promenade, along with the main dining room, Culinary Arts Center and the Pinnacle Grill, with its classic Pacific Northwest steaks and seafood. The lavish, two-deck, dining room has a Scandinavian ambiance and offers delicious international fare, views of the sea, and an impressive, two-story wine tower centerpiece.

Delightful Asian dishes will be served at the line’s popular Tamarind and sumptuous Italian specialties at Canaletto. The poolside Dive-In at the casual Terrace Grill is the place to go for gourmet burgers.

During the day, Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center offers cooking classes, demonstrations and workshops, including those by visiting celebrity chefs. Regionally inspired workshops enhance the cruise experience and classes for kids and teens will be available. Nutrient-rich microgreens grown onboard will also be used by chefs as well as ingredients from herb specialist Koppert Cress, in a partnership with the line.

Replacing the line’s usual Lido Restaurant will be the new Lido Market — a complimentary marketplace-style venue, where guests may order food to go and made-to-order selections from five theme stations. They are Breadboard, Wild Harvest, Homestead and Distant Lands. Offering a tip of the hat to Holland America Line’s heritage, the Grand Dutch Café offers Dutch-themed snacks and beverages. Complimentary 24-hour in-room dining is also available.

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ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Guests will be able to make themselves at home in a wide range of accommodations on the ms Koningsdam including comfortable inside cabins to spacious elegant suites.

Family Ocean View Staterooms are making their debut on the ship and can sleep up to five guests, plus offer two separate bathrooms. They were designed to offer a private haven of modern elegance and spaciousness with convenient bedside USB ports and frameless glass shower doors. Adding a light open feel are accents in lovely hues of lilac, persimmon and pistachio.

Ocean View Staterooms were designed for solo cruisers and will also be introduced on the ship. Elegant and comfortable, their homey ambiance is sure to be a hit.

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ENTERTAINMENT

 

Sensational new settings will raise the bar for onboard entertainment on ms Koningsdam. Live music will be presented nightly at Music Walk – the main theater with three stages. Lincoln Center Stage will offer chamber music each evening plus afternoon recitals during days at sea. Live musicians will rock the crowd at B.B. King’s Blues Club in the Queen Lounge, bringing the famous music of Memphis to sea while guests sip on Lucille and Rock Me Baby cocktails. A host of musicians, including two pianists, a guitarist and a DJ will bring down the house at Billboard Onboard. Surrounding the audience at the World Stage is a 270-degree LED projection screen, immersing them in panoramic visual performances and special sound effects. Take advantage of many opportunities to challenge Lady Luck in the casino, filled with favorite games.

Enjoy all of this and more on the resplendent ms Koningsdam beginning April of 2016.

 

For more information on the ms Koningsdam, visit us at Cruise.com or call one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.

Caribbean Cruises – Indulge in “The Six S’s”– Sun, Sand, Surf, Shop, Snorkel & Swim!

 

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Cure the “winter blues” with a fabulous Caribbean cruise. Perhaps you’re simply looking to enjoy some quality island time. Before you can say “pass me the lotion,” you could be getting pampered on a spectacular ship. Take advantage of the fabulous deals being offered and before you know it, you’ll be lounging on a sun-drenched beach with a gentle breeze, powdery sand and sparkling aquamarine water. Boasting an average daily high temperature of 78 degrees makes the Caribbean a popular vacation choice year-round — especially during the frigid winter months, when inviting beaches and warm weather beckon. It’s no wonder that couples, families and singles flock to these vibrant destinations.

Young lady relaxing in hammock on the sandy beachSail in delightful comfort and wake up in a different tropical paradise almost every day. Enjoy the many delightful onboard amenities, including a host of fabulous restaurants, including casual venues; rejuvenating spas offering relaxing treatments, state-of-the-art fitness centers, lots of fun activities for kids and teens in their own dedicated areas, plus much more. Choose from a variety of spacious accommodations, including those that are family-friendly. Many boast balconies which provide the ideal spot to enjoy the famous romantic Caribbean sunrises and sunsets.

Unique surprises await you as each island has a distinct cultural ambiance including English, Danish, Dutch, French, Spanish and African influences. While renowned for beautiful beaches and tropical climate, every destination in this region is special. Marvel at such breathtaking wonders as the Baths in Virgin Gorda and Bioluminescent (Mosquito) Bay, Puerto Rico. Take the family and explore centuries-old forts in St. Kitts, San Juan and Curaçao. Kids will be thrilled with winding staircases and hidden tunnels as your family creates lifetime memories.

Be as active or tranquil as you like. Stroll along romantic beaches and explore ancient ruins. Savor local cuisine, where seafood dominates most meals, including lobster, conch and bonito. Traditional Caribbean dishes vary, with favorites including coconut shrimp, jerk chicken and curries. Roti is a delicious tortilla-like wrap that is filled with curried shrimp, chickpeas or conch.  Creole dishes are served on the French islands of St. Barts, Martinique and St. Maarten.  Treat your palate to such beloved desserts on your cruise vacation as key lime pie, banana fritters and the famous Black or Caribbean Christmas cake, made with aged rum from famous local distilleries. You’ll be back again.

Two chairs on the tropical beachEnhance your Caribbean cruise with a myriad of diverse shore excursions in every port. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Visit Stingray City while on Grand Cayman Island and swim with these amazing creatures or view them from a glass bottom boat. Nature-lovers will enjoy a visit to the world-famous Cayman Turtle Farm. Captivate your senses as you zip-line through the tree-tops for an exhilarating thrill as you experience rain forests in a completely new way. Scaled-down courses, just for kids, are also offered in some places. Hikers will want to visit the El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico, home to some of the region’s most lush terrain and hundreds of animal species. Explore the famous Hato Caves in Curaçao, with beautiful limestone formations, charming pools and waterfalls. Adventure is yours when you go cave-tubing in Belize.

The Caribbean is also a shopper’s paradise, where you can find good values, including various duty-free items. The stores carry fine jewelry, native goods, bone china, perfume, watches, liquor, crystal and everything in between. Designer names are found throughout the islands. St. Lucia offers a wide variety of shops, boutiques and art galleries, while Curacao’s Harbor Duty-Free Zone in Willemstad is one of the largest in the Caribbean. Antigua’s Heritage Quay Shopping Center in St. John’s is a haven for buyers. Broad Street in Bridgetown, Barbados features many couture brands. St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands offers convenient duty-free shopping at the Havensight cruise ship pier. The Bahamas and St. Maarten also feature many high-end showrooms.

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Whichever cruise region you select, Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean, you are sure to be delighted by this spectacular and unique destination. Immerse yourself in island life on a Caribbean cruise and have “fun in the sun”.

To book your Caribbean Cruise, visit Cruise.com or contact one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.

Big and Beautiful – Spectacular New Ships of 2016!

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Be among the first of the lucky few to travel on exceptional cruise ships making their debuts in 2016. Reservations are already being taken for these much anticipated beauties. Cruise-lovers have much to celebrate this year, with a vast selection to choose from – including the world’s largest ship and thrills galore. Whether you prefer opulence, endless amusements or a combination, your ship will come in.

All boast fabulous culinary options, stunning accommodations, top-of-the line entertainment and other exciting offerings. With many experiencing the “winter doldrums” this time of year — think of these breathtaking new cruise ships that will transport you to your dream destinations. There will be a host of incredible amenities and activities depending on the ship you choose including huge water parks with multi-level water slides, chic bars and breweries, state-of-the-art fitness centers and even bumper cars. World famous spas and new celebrity chef-designed restaurants make cruising better than ever in 2016.

(In order of arrival):

MARCH

Sirena (Oceania Cruises)

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Meaning “mermaid” in Spanish, the elegant 30,277-ton, 684-guest Sirena will soon be welcomed into the fleet of upscale Oceania Cruises. She was newly designed to deliver a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Exquisite dining is always a highlight at the epicurean-oriented line’s acclaimed specialty restaurants, including the new Tuscan Steak. Enjoy a high level of personal attentive service with a high staff-to-guest ratio.

 

 

 

 

 

APRIL 

Ovation of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International)

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The third in the line’s acclaimed Quantum Class, the 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger Ovation of the Seas, provides the perfect way to see China. Like her sister ships, she features North Star, a capsule that rises 300 feet above the ship for unforgettable views, Two70, an innovative entertainment area, a sky-diving simulator, Bionic Bar, endless restaurants and lots more. Continue reading

How to Prepare for a Cruise – Making it Simple for Smooth Sailing

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This is an exiting time – you’re about to take a cruise! All you can think about is the incredible ship you will be on and all of the amazing amenities you will be enjoying. There will be a variety of different cuisines from around the world at a myriad of restaurants, rejuvenating treatments at the spa, stunning accommodations, total pampering during your vacation and much more. You can hardly wait for the day to arrive!

Regardless if it is your first or you have sailed many times, early preparation is one of the keys to a relaxed send off. Once you begin taking care of essentials — and the sooner the better — the more you can focus on your fabulous vacation and all of the wonderful destinations you will be visiting.Relaxing Passenger

You may think you are ready, but in all the excitement of “getting away,” it is easy to overlook important items and things to do. Spare yourself the last-minute rush and the “I wish I had” and begin your checklist at least one month prior to sailing. These easy steps will help you to have a stress-free experience before your cruise so that your journey is a breeze.

 

 

 

 

30 Days Prior to Sailing (or sooner)

  • Make sure you have a valid passport. It is a good idea to also make copies of it to bring with you (and keep in a separate place from the original), just in case it gets lost or misplaced. In addition, leave a copy with friends/family back home.
  • Check to see what other requirements may be needed for the destinations you will be visiting such as visas and vaccinations.
  • Check your paperwork thoroughly. This is the time to review all your documents and make sure names are spelled correctly and birth dates are accurate. If not, notify your Cruise.com agent immediately.
  • Travel Reserve your airline seats and review the baggage rules of your carrier so as not to incur extra fees or have any last-minute surprises.
  • Make special requests, such as diet needs, with your cruise sales agent.
  • Select what you want to see at your destinations and which shore excursions to take. Research what restaurants you may want to try and if reservations are needed. See which shops have the items you might like to purchase. Find out if special transportation arrangements may be needed.
  • Familiarize yourself with your cruise ship, know where your stateroom is, the elevators, stairways, restaurants, lounges, bars, spas, pool area and more. This will save you time onboard so you can start enjoying all the fun amenities.
  • If you prefer to have your luggage picked up and delivered to the ship, make arrangements now as sometimes this is done two weeks before the cruise for a fee. Some of the luxury lines also handle this for you.

 

21 Days Prior to Sailing (3 weeks)

  • Refill any prescription medications and keep a copy of the prescription with you. If you have a tendency toward getting motion sick, speak to your doctor about “the patch” or wrist bands. It is a good idea to carry these items onboard with you and not pack them.
  • Select your toiletries and keep in mind that when flying, you are allowed up to a quart-sized bag of liquids, gels, aerosol sprays, pastes and creams. (For more information, visit tsa.gov.)
  • Reserve airport transfers for your departure and return whether you are using a private driver, a limo company, friend or family member. If you’re using a shuttle service, allow extra time for them to pick up other people.
  • Make arrangements for pet care and make sure they have registered chips with your current phone number and contact information for their caretaker while you are away. Put any instructions in writing and make copies of vaccination certificates for the pet sitter. Advise your veterinarian there is a designated person who can act on your behalf while you’re away. If the person caring for your pets should have to make a decision on their behalf, you will need a legal power of attorney given to them.
  • Start reserving the things you want to see and do on your cruise, including shows, dining and shore excursions. If you are hoping to dine at a specific restaurant while in port, make sure you make reservations well in advance and preferably get an email confirmation.
  • Time to take out the luggage as anticipation grows for your upcoming cruise! Now is the time to make sure your suitcases are in traveling conditionand you can also freshen them up by putting a dryer sheet inside. Attach the cruise line luggage tags and tape a paper with your name and contact phone number inside your bags.Suitcase
  • Make sure you have completed your travel paperwork and have everything you need, such as your cruise e-documents. Once everything is filled out correctly make copies.
  • Keep a list with you of various passwords that you may need while cruising – from your bank account to Facebook. In addition, a separate list of contacts just in case you lose your cell phone is a great idea.

 

7 Days Prior to Sailing (1 week)

  • Start tracking the weather — where you are flying to and from. If no air is involved, just keep an eye on local weather and leave extra early for the port.
  • Time to pack if you haven’t already begun. It’s always advisable to bring layers of clothing, such as sweaters and light jackets depending on the itinerary. If you are going to the Caribbean or other balmy destination, make sure you pack your bathing suit in your carry-on. If your luggage is Relaxing onboard a Cruise Ship Balconynot delivered until later, you can still head to the pool and let the fun begin!
  • Go through your packing checklist and take out items not really necessary.

 

 

Departure Day!

  • Put those last few items in your suitcase.
  • Make certain you have everything you need in your carry-on: cash, credit cards, medication, jewelry, electronic devices, cruise documents and your passport! Change your email settings to the “out-of-office” reply, set your thermostat and your alarm system.Couple Beach Cruise Vacation

 

The time has come for your wonderful cruise and you are all prepared. Bon Voyage!

 

 

 

 

For more information on How to Prepare for a Cruise, visit us at Cruise.com or call one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.