Friday, October 31, 2014

'QUANTUM' MAKES ITS FIRST PORT CALL

As part of the continuing coverage of Quantum of the Seas coming out party, here's a video of the ship's arrival at its first port of call: Southampton, UK:

HAUNTED HOTELS AND SPOOKY IMAGES

The Stanley Hotel (TripAdvisor)
Today is Halloween, and TripAdvisor is out with their "10 Most Haunted Hotels" list. As you might expect, The Stanley Hotel in Colorado (inspiration for "The Shining") makes the list, but did you think a cruise ship would? That honor goes to the Queen Mary, now docked in Long Beach, CA. and used as a hotel, where "ghostly activity" has been reported.

Cruising Squared is in the "spirit" as well, judging from these artful photo mashups by Pam:




Happy Halloween to all! -- Gerry and Pam


Thursday, October 30, 2014

'QUANTUM' FUN FACTS

The long-awaited debut of Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas is now just weeks away. She is now in fact heading across the pond, as it were, from her stop in the UK. Below are some fun facts about Quantum:


Friday, October 24, 2014

'ESCAPE' TO FEATURE ICONIC MIAMI BAR

Miami's oldest bar has a new home -- on a cruise ship.

Norwegian announced this week Tobacco Road, closing after 102 years in business, will be featured on Norwegian Escape, their newest and largest ship.

Here's more from Norwegian:

"The acclaimed establishment, which was issued Miami’s very first liquor license, is closing its original location this week after 102 years in business. In an effort to preserve the tradition of this iconic Miami landmark, Tobacco Road and Norwegian Cruise Line partnered to bring the Tobacco Road experience onboard Norwegian Escape, which will begin sailing from Miami in November 2015.

"Located within 678 Ocean Place, the new location of the celebrated tavern will incorporate elements of the original Tobacco Road, including the iconic neon sign, memorabilia and photographs that will showcase the history of Miami through the lens of events and happenings at the bar over the past century.

"In addition to favorite beers and spirits, Tobacco Road Bar onboard Norwegian Escape will also feature a selection of cocktails created by Tobacco Road’s resident mixologist, Leo Holtzman. The delicious libations from Holtzman’s Cocktail Collection will include favorites like the Chili Mule, featuring ginger puree, Cointreau and vodka topped with a sliced serrano pepper; and the Gateway, a rum-based drink that incorporates yuzu juice, elderflower syrup and Prosecco.

"Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round home port of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on Nov. 14, 2015."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

EXERCISING YOUR OPTIONS ON 'QUANTUM'

For all of you who like to maintain an active lifestyle (i.e., lots of sweating) while on your cruise, Royal Caribbean gives you more ways than ever to "exercise" your options on Quantum of the Seas. That's the subject of this week's video:



DOGS AND MARTINIS? WE'RE THERE!

This news item caught our attention. Talk about your win-win:

"Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale will host the 9th annual Mutts and Martinis event, presented by Larry and Cathy Danielle, on Friday, Nov. 7, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Mutts and Martinis is Fort Lauderdale's largest outdoor, pet-friendly cocktail hour and aims to bring together the Downtown community and their favorite four-legged friends for a night of celebration and networking. Rain or shine, the event will be held along the Riverwalk at The Downtowner.

"For a $25 donation ($20 prepay online until Nov. 6), attendees of this Fido-friendly event will enjoy two complimentary drinks, appetizers, live music, a silent auction, a doggie fashion show and more! Proceeds benefit Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale and the Humane Society of Broward County.

"Event sponsors include: Larry and Cathy Danielle, The Downtowner, 1-800-PetMeds, Premier Beverage, JM Lexus, Finlandia Vodka, Barefoot Wine, Furry Paws, One Lucky Mutt, and our non-profit partner, The Humane Society of Broward County. Media sponsors include Go Riverwalk Magazine, Eye on South Florida, Big 105.9, and The Media Lab.

"To purchase tickets online, visit http://tinyurl.com/mbx85ft."

"For more information and vendor opportunities, contact the Event Manager, Cristina Hudson, at cristina@goriverwalk.com or 954.468.1541 ext. 205."


Friday, October 17, 2014

IN PRAISE OF INDOOR POOLS

The pool at the Le Parker Meridien  (Photo: Gerry)
There's a new list out on TripAdvisor for "The 10 most amazing indoor pools." While this pool didn't make the Top 10, the indoor pool atop the Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York has a pretty amazing view of Central Park. We took a dip during a recent stay there and we give it our four-pineapple rating for the best way to relax after a full day of shopping and sightseeing in the Big Apple. -- Gerry

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HOW TO ENGINEER A 360-DEGREE VIEW AT SEA

We're written about many of the "WOW" features aboard Quantum of the Seas, but one that stands out is the "North Star" -- the observation bubble that will give passengers unique, 360-degree views at sea. This week's video from Royal Caribbean offers a fascinating glimpse into the engineering that went into making it happen.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

AMTRAK SETS FALL SCENERY TOUR

Are you a leaf peeper? If so, here's news from Amtrak:

"Due to popular demand, the Amtrak Autumn Express is back and will operate on Saturday and Sunday, November 8 and 9, 2014. See fall scenery on a rare trip and travel through small towns and historic tunnels along a route that has not seen regular passenger service in decades.

"The trip begins at Philadelphia 30th Street Station and travels along the Schuylkill River and through the countryside. After a brief stop in Harrisburg, Pa., the train returns to Philadelphia via the towns of Hershey and Reading and through scenic Montgomery, Chester, Berks, Lebanon and Dauphin Counties. Highlights include some of the oldest train tunnels still in use, the Flat Rock Tunnel built 1836 - 1840, and the Black Rock Tunnel constructed in 1838. Special announcements will be made along the route highlighting key landmarks.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. Seating is limited. Tickets are $129 per adult. Up to two kids 2-12 years old ride for half price with each adult ticket. Ticketed passengers will receive a boxed lunch and souvenir tote bag."

PRINCESS CELEBRATES 50 YEARS AT SEA

Princess Cruises will mark their 50th anniversary in 2015, and they will be giving passengers plenty of ways to celebrate, as detailed in this news release:

Love Boat Disco Deck Party – To honor the iconic role The Love Boat played in the line’s history, a new Love Boat Disco Party will celebrate the beloved program by creating an exciting 70’s theme night with a few surprises. Movies Under the Stars will showcase video messages from the original Love Boat cast, special montages from the show, a Love Boat sing-a-long and show trivia, 70’s music videos and even a live kiss cam. The party will also feature a production number, a celebration of weddings and anniversaries of guests onboard, a photo opportunity with a Love Boat life ring and plenty of dancing with a party band.

CARNIVAL SETS CONCERT LINEUP FOR 2015

Carnival Cruise Lines has unveiled its new Carnival LIVE Concert Series roster for spring 2015. The lineup Journey, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Smokey Robinson, and Styx, coming back for their second time.

Concerts are held in the ship’s main theaters – which range in seating capacity from 900 to 1,300 – which guarantees guests an up close and personal experience.

Here's more from Carnival:

"Carnival LIVE voyages will originate in Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, and Jacksonville, Fla; Charleston, S.C.; and, for the first time, Galveston, Texas, the line’s second largest home port.

"The 2015 Carnival LIVE Concert Series kicks off next March and features one or more major artist each month, performing multiple shows on Carnival vessels docked in one of three ports of call: Cozumel, Nassau and a new port for the program, St. Thomas. Artists board the ship in port, perform in the main show lounge, and then debark following the concert.

· Journey kicks off the 2015 roster with two rock anthem-filled performances on March 18 and 19 in St. Thomas.

· The award-winning Little Big Town brings their unmistakable sound to “Fun Ships” in Nassau for three appearances on (March 30 and 31 and April 1).

· Guests “Cruisin’” to see Smokey Robinson sing timeless classics from his 50-year music career can catch the icon April 21, 22 and 23 in Cozumel.

· In May, country trio Rascal Flatts, one of the top-selling live artists in any genre, will perform a series of three shows for guests in Cozumel (May 5, 6 and 7).

· Rock fans are invited to “Come Sail Away” to see one of four Styx concerts to be performed in Nassau (June 16, 17, 18 and 20)."
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

'ANTHEM OF THE SEAS' BLOCK PARTY

When a shipyard is challenged to build two ships the size of Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas at the same time, creative solutions must be deployed. In the case of building Quantum's sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, the answer is like playing with Legos -- on a much bigger scale! Check out the video: