Thursday, August 28, 2014

Crystal Invites Travelers To Sleep In Without Missing The Adventure

The need to choose between catching up on much needed sleep and embarking on a great adventure while on vacation is no more. This fall, in an industry first, Crystal Cruises will debut new Crystal Adventures planned especially for late-risers, offering the same enriching experiences in the worlds most stunning and significant destinations, beginning later in the day. With the lines acclaimed excursions typically departing the ship within 30-60 minutes of docking or tendering  as early as 8 a.m.  the new Late-Risers Adventures will begin closer to 11 a.m. or noon, depending on the itinerary. The start times are designed to complement the lines Late-Risers Breakfasts, served from 10-11:30 a.m. on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. There are so many distinctly different types of travelers, each with their own idea of the perfect vacation. The Late-Risers Adventures allow guests who prefer more sleep in the morning, are perhaps still adjusting to a time change, or simply like to enjoy a long, leisurely breakfast, to keep their preferred schedule without missing out on any of the insightful, expertly crafted Crystal Adventures in a select destination.  The new, later excursions will be offered beginning with Crystal Serenitys September 19 Boston-Qubec sailing, and on Crystal Symphonys September 27 Hamburg-Lisbon sailing. Examples of adventures with later start times include:   A glimpse into the eclectic culture of Oporto, Portugal, including the elaborate Cathedral of Oporto  once a Gothic church, now an important Baroque structure, and the 19th-century Stock Exchange Palace, blending Arab and European influences, plus a visit to a port wine cellar for tasting among the oak casts and barrels.  Taking in Amsterdams most notable sites from some of the 100 canals within the city, including the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and countless gabled houses, merchants mansions and centuries-old carillon-crowned churches.  Such famed Boston highlights as the Navy Yard, home to Old Ironsides, the worlds oldest commissioned naval ship afloat; Boston Common, Americas oldest public park; the Freedom Trail and the pre-Revolutionary Old State House.
The Late-Risers tours will be available on select Crystal itineraries throughout the world, which range from 5-108 days and sail through the Mediterranean, Western Europe, British Isles, Scandinavia/Baltic & Russia, North Cape & Arctic Circle, Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, South America, Antarctica, New England/Canada, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and an indulgent annual World Cruise.  Crystals passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more Worlds Best awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history. 
For more information and exclusive rates on Crystal as well as making a reservation, contact at 800-775-1884 or email at

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quantum to use wrist bands instead of key cards

Guests on Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas will be issued wristbands with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in place of the standard issue key cards, which will be used for cabin access, payment and other traditional key card functions. The wristbands can also be used to navigate the ship.  Another eye-catching technology will be a robotic bartender which will tend a new venue, the Bionic Bar. Guests will place orders via tablets and then watch the robotic bartenders mix their cocktails. Quantum will also use RFID to enable guests to track their baggage in real time after they drop it off before the cruise, and after they deliver it to housekeeping on departing the ship. In addition, guests will be able to generate their boarding documents online and upload a photo ID to get digital boarding credentials that will shorten the check-in process. The process will go from sidewalk to ship in 10 minutes and eliminate the traditional check-in counter and the associated lines. 

Quantum is also scheduled to be the second ship to fully utilize the O3B satellite system for telecommunications access, which is expected to dramatically increase Internet speeds. The extra connectivity will enable the Quantum to offer a live global video gaming suite in its new SeaPlex activities area.  The O3B system has been in testing on the Oasis of the Seas and is expected to be fully deployed first on the Allure of the Seas by October. 
For more information and to make reservations for the Quantum of the Seas or any Royal Caribbean ship, contact for exclusive rates and offers at

Friday, August 22, 2014

How You Can Learn To Cook On A Cruise

Yes, its true, there is a lot of food on cruises, from the endless buffets, numerous restaurants and round-the-clock room service. But these days, cruise ship food is increasingly about quality, not just quantity. And now, cruise ships are taking America’s new love affair with food to a new level — they’re teaching us how to source, prep and cook  through onboard cooking classes or tours that teach how to prepare cuisine found in the destination.
Here are some cruise lines that will help you learn how to cook.

Chef Kathryn Kelly takes Oceania guests on a food-focused tour to a produce market. You know that Oceania Cruises is dedicated to teaching its guests all about food  the company has a director of culinary enrichment and a fully equipped, dedicated cooking studio with 12 stations on its two newest ships, the Riviera and Marina. The companys self-proclaimed title as the cruise line for foodies is well-deserved. The upper-premium line also offers Culinary Discovery Tours, which take small groups of passengers to a food market, farm or vineyard and then to a shoreside cooking school to learn how to prepare the local ingredients. Sometimes the class continues in the onboard Bon Appétit Culinary Center. The food-focused tours are a hit with guests, and now Oceania is expanding the program with new culinary outings in St. Lucia and Antigua. The new tours will be offered during the Holidays in the Tropics sailing that departs Miami on Dec. 23 and on two Island Paradise voyages in early 2015.  In St. Lucia, the new tour will visit a private estate situated on the grounds of a former sugar cane plantation to explore its expansive herb garden and learn how to cook with them in a class inside the grand house. On the return drive to the pier, guests will stop at the open-air Castries Market to check out locally grown fruits, vegetables and spices.
In Antigua, guests will walk through the local market in downtown St. Johns with the culinary center chef, who will show them local fruits such as breadfruit, mangoes, soursop and dasheen. Afterwards, theyll head for the Villas at Sunset Lane boutique hotel and cooking school to help Chef Jacquie prepare lunch.  With our new tours in St. Lucia and Antigua, guests spend time in the kitchen with local culinary experts learning about the spices, fruits, vegetables and cooking customs that have influenced Caribbean cuisine for centuries, said Kathryn Kelly, Oceanias director of culinary enrichment. Our goal is for guests to leave the tour with new culinary skills, satisfied taste buds and a deeper appreciation for the vibrant culinary traditions found in the Caribbean.

Crystal Cruises
This luxury line offers an array of classes and shore excursions that focus on food and drink, visiting traditional homes, farms, chateaus, Michelin-starred restaurants and markets. For example, in Honningsvg, Norway, guests ate King crab just pulled from the North Cape waters! In Dublin, Ireland, the line offered a “Seafood Master Class at the Cliff Townhouse restaurant, which includes a lesson followed by a three-course lunch.  All of Crystals culinary Experiences of Discovery voyages include hands-on cooking classes, demonstrations, wine tastings, mixology lessons, and a guest chef dinner in the Crystal Dining Room. This year, each culinary-themed cruise features an optional guest chef-created dinner for 12 to 14 guests in Crystals Vintage Room. The seven courses feature the flavors of the region and are paired with wines. During holidays and summers, there are galley tours and classes in cookie baking or pizza marking just for kids.

Silversea Cruises

On select voyages, luxury line Silversea offers a cooking school at sea called LEcole des Chefs by Relais & Chteaux. Hosted by Chef and culinary trainer David Bilsland, the program includes classes on board or at Relais & Châteaux properties, wine tastings, market tours and cooking competitions.

For more information on These Cruise Lines and the Culinary programs, contact which has exclusive rates and programs to clients interested.  Email 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cruise Sales Abound!

The cruise deals keep on coming, especially if you act fast and can get away this fall, although some deals are good beyond that. has received numerous Exclusive Offers, so many that they are unable to post everyone in the weekly newsletter.  All of them are available on their website. is recommending to contact them with the specific cruise line and general date a person is interested in.  They can then get the right promotion.

Here are a few of the hottest offers currently available.

Royal Caribbean launched a Wow Sale offering $50 to $200-per-stateroom shipboard credit and a $50 deposit on cruises through spring 2016 booked through Aug. 20. What’s more, the Wow Sale can be combined with several other current promotions  for example, the Bahamas Upgrade offers an ocean-view stateroom for the price of an inside on three- and four-night voyages departing from Miami and Port Canaveral Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 if booked by Aug. 31.  Another current promotion is the Choose Your Wow valid on departures on or after Oct. 15 when booked by Sept. 15. The choices are second guest at 50 percent off, third and fourth guests in a stateroom sail free, or save up to $1,000 per stateroom when booking flights with the ChoiceAir program. All offers are only applicable for new bookings during their promotion window. With these promotions, has available a coupon booklet for discounts on board the ship valued at over $300.00, plus additional onboard spending credits up to $500.00 per booking.

Princess Cruises just extended its Great Getaways sale that offers up to 40 percent savings on short cruises to the Caribbean and West Coast, as well as some newly added cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Mexico. Many options also include a shipboard credit. Booking deadline is now Aug. 28.  For example, fares start at $169 on three-day Golden Princess cruises from Los Angeles to Ensenada on Nov. 17 and Nov. 30 these departures also come with $25 onboard spending credit. Balcony cabins start at $279.  In the Caribbean, the seven-day cruise on the Ruby Princess departing Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 29 is priced from $549 for an interior cabin and $899 for balconies. It visits Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.  With these promotions, has available additional onboard spending credits up to $500.00 per booking.

The American Queen Steamboat Company offers half-price fares on two October departures booked by Aug. 31. Full payment is required at time of booking. The nine-day sailing from St. Louis to Jeffersonville, Ind., departing Oct. 10 is priced from $2,549, as is the Oct. 17 departure from Jeffersonville to Nashville.

Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal, Norwegian Cruise, Oceania, and Regency also are providing through exclusive rates and many amenities not available elsewhere.

Contact at 800-775-1884 or email them at

Monday, August 11, 2014

How Will Bermuda Solve Its Dockyard Queue Problem?

Bermuda tourism officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of the winding lines of tourists and long delays that developed at the Dockyard cruise ship pier earlier this week following the less-than-smooth launch of a new shuttle service. Officials blamed confusion over the new mini-buses, which are designed to shuttle visitors from the Dockyard area to a popular local beach, for the snaking lines of angry tourists that emerged soon after two large cruise ships docked at the port Wednesday. The new service was launched in late July by Bermuda in partnership with the West End Development Corp. The shuttles are intended as an alternative to public buses whose routes which currently include Horseshoe Bay beach. Instead, it appears the price discrepancy between the services (reportedly $15 for a 24-hour public bus pass that includes ferry access versus $16 for a shuttle from the Dockyard to Horseshoe Bay), or a lack of information about the option, or perhaps both, led many cruise ship visitors to opt for public buses. In turn, long lines and delays formed as public buses were hopelessly crowded, according to local media reports. On Friday, Bermuda tourism minister Shawn Crockwell acknowledged the delays, which impacted guests arriving aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Breakaway and Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Summitt. He said the situation was the exception rather than the norm.The Ministry wishes to acknowledge the transport concerns in Dockyard which have caused undue frustration for our visitors, he said in a statement. During the week, our cruise ship visitors were getting confused about the various transportation options and the majority of visitors chose to take the public buses, not realizing that there were shuttle buses available.We have now ensured that our visitors are very clear about their options regarding the various modes of transportation out of Dockyard, said Crockwell. Communication has been sent directly to each ship that visits. In addition, signage has been placed at each terminal and throughout the ground transportation area.He continued, "I must stress that this situation was an exception rather than the norm and our Ministry is confident that the new service will prove to be successful as WEDCo. and the Ministry collectively address and resolve any identified gaps and potential issues with the new service."Bermuda has struggled with local transportation issues in recent years. Public buses and ferries are often heavily utilized by tourists leading to delays and complaints from local residents. Crockwell earlier this year sought to introduce what would be the territorys first new public bus schedule since 1998.This Ministry has moved forward with on-the-ground measures to correct our recent transportation issues in Dockyard. We have been focusing on solutions and do believe that we have the matter in hand, said Crockwell."Steps are in place now to ensure that the shuttle bus service is better utilized and that there are as little transportation disruptions as possible. The Ministry will closely monitor the situation for further corrective actions if necessary."Efforts to better inform commuters of the various transportation options available are underway which should alleviate the current situation, added Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority.