Friday, June 19, 2015

SPECIAL MESSAGE TO OUR READERS

To our readers: After over three years and 900-plus posts, Cruising Squared is taking a break. You may see us on one of those beautiful Florida beaches, like the one below, teaching Cate how to throw a shell into the sea. Stay safe and to paraphrase one of our favorite British comedies, "CRUISE ON!"




Monday, June 8, 2015

SINGER ISLAND MARRIOTT FACEBOOK CONTEST

One of Cruising Squared's favorite happy hour haunts -- Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa -- has launched the Singer Island Discover Scuba Sweepstakes on Facebook. The winner and a guest will spend four days "dining, sunbathing and discovering sunken treasure at Singer Island, where spectacular shipwrecks and lush coral reefs attract divers year-round." Here are the details:

"The trip includes a four-day, three-night stay for two in a luxury suite, a personalized dinner at the hotel’s on-property restaurant 3800 Ocean, massage treatments at the resort spa, and an underwater day trip in the Atlantic to swim with reef life all around the island. Jim Abernathy Scuba Adventures, Palm Beach’s leading diving shop, will provide full equipment and an instructor-led dive excursion for those just getting their flippers wet, or arrange a two-tank dive for certified divers."

You can enter through July 17 by visiting the “Discover Scuba” tab on Palm Beach Marriott’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PalmBeachMarriott. You can earn a bonus entry by sharing on Twitter. And by sharing the sweepstakes with their Facebook network, they will receive a bonus entry for every friend that enters as well.

The travel prize is good through July 31, 2016, and subject to availability and blackout dates. Prize does not include transportation and entrants must be over the age of 21. Scuba participants must be at least 10 years of age.

And if drop by the bar at 3800, say hello to Jay and Holly. They have it going on. -- Gerry and Pam

Sunday, June 7, 2015

HISTORY OF CUNARD: 'AQUITANIA'

Here is another chapter in the history of Cunard, cdelebrating its 175th year in 2015.

From Cunard

In 1915 the British Government War Office requested that Mauretania and Aquitania be made available to transport three divisions of troops to the Mediterranean where the Allied armies were heavily involved in the ill-fated Gallipoli expedition.

Painted black (including her funnels) Aquitania left Liverpool on 18 May 1915 for Mudros with over 5,000 troops of the 13th Division. She left Liverpool again on 3 July, again with over 5,000 troops, including much of the 11th (Northern Division) and two days out Aquitania was fired upon by a submarine, possibly Austrian, but fortunately the torpedo missed by some fifty feet astern. Aquitania reached Mudros on 10 July. During the next three months she made a number of trooping voyages between Liverpool and Mudros and conveyed around 30,000 troops. The troops delighted in the “ample accommodations” found on Aquitania and recalled adequate breakfasts of porridge, eggs and bacon and a whole pint of coffee as well as sports and parades on deck being the order of the day.

CARNIVAL LAUNCHES fATHOM: SOCIAL IMPACT TRAVEL

This week Carnival added a new brand to its portfolio: fathom -- a new category they describe as "social impact travel." You might call it the "Peace Corps of the waves."

It will offer consumers "authentic, meaningful impact travel experiences to work alongside locals as they tackle community needs." The first destination will be the Dominican Republic, where "the average household income is approximately $6,000 a year and more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water."

Beginning in April 2016, fathom will embark on seven-day voyages from PortMiami aboard the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel. "Depending on their passions, interests and skills, travelers will have the opportunity to choose from a range of social impact activities and experiences both onboard and onshore."

Here are more details from Carnival:

AZAMARA SHIPS GETTING MAJOR UPGRADE

One of our favorite cruise lines -- Azamara -- is giving their two ships a major upgrade.

Here's the announcement:

"Azamara Club Cruises announced that its two ships – Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest – will undergo 'major upgrades' while in dry dock in early 2016, reinvigorating the onboard guest experience. The mid-size ships that accommodate up to 686 guests will be outfitted with new venues, public spaces and technologies to bring fresh services and amenities to guests. From bow to stern, there is no area on the line's ships that will be untouched. The upgrades include all staterooms and suites, dining, spa and entertainment.

The Azamara Journey will enter dry dock in January 2016 in the Bahamas, and the Azamara Quest in April 2016 in Singapore.

You can read about our trip on the Azamara Quest here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

'ANTHEM'S' REALLY BIG SHOWS

Passengers aboard Anthem of the Seas may be asking themselves, "Am I in Las Vegas or out to sea?" That's because of all the entertainment options aboard this Royal Caribbean ship. Here's a video that gives you a taste of what to expect, with a tip of the headline hat to Ed Sullivan:


Monday, May 25, 2015

CUNARD MARKS 175 YEARS AT LIVERPOOL

Today was truly a red letter day for Cunard. The three Queens, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, gathered in Liverpool to mark the cruise line's 175th anniversary. From Cunard:

"At midday on 25 May, Cunard’s current fleet will become the largest ships ever to sail in formation on the Mersey when all three Queens perform a meticulously planned series of manoeuvres to mark the company’s 175th anniversary and to salute Liverpool, its spiritual home, where the company began in 1840. The ships will perform a ‘river dance’ against the backdrop of Liverpool’s Three Graces, a world heritage site which includes the Cunard Building, the company’s headquarters from 1916-1967. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to gather on both sides of the river to watch."

Here's the video, and congratulations to Cunard. Here's a toast from Cruising Squared for another 175 years!


'CRUISE CONTROL' DETAILS SHIP RECORDS

This week the website ProPublica debuted a new site devoted to cruise ship health and safety records, Cruise Control. On it, users can search a "database of over 300 ships that make port in the U.S. You'll be able to see their health and safety records going back as far as 2010, as well as their current position and deck plans." Worth checking out.


FOOD TRUCK NIGHT AT THE PALM BEACH ZOO

This way to the tacos! (All Photos/Cruising Squared)
Cruising Squared made a return trip to the Palm Beach Zoo on Saturday May 24 for the Braman Motor Cars Food Trucks at the Zoo event. Not only was a chance to sample some of Palm Beach's best mobile meals (we opted for the tacos), but also an opportunity to view some animals up close and personal,including a cockatoo, a tortoise, a reptile and a python. If you haven't been, you should go. It's well done and both people and animal-friendly.And thanks to Braman for providing another memorable outing. -- Gerry and Pam



A lemur has his own private food truck


These lemurs are just waking up
This reptile says "Stop and be friendly."

And here's a cockatoo that knows what to do when the camera is rolling:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

'WORLD CLASS BAR' DEBUTS ON 'ECLIPSE'

World Class Bar on Eclipse  (Celebnrity)
Cruising Squared is always in search of the perfect cocktail. Somebody has to do it, right?

That search may soon lead us to the new World Class Bar aboard Celebrity Eclipse (where we fondly remember the French martinis from the launch party). Celebrity Cruises and Diageo Global Travel Americas have partnered to launch the world’s first permanent World Class Bar. It debuts on Eclipse, and will soon be a fixture on the four other Solstice-class ships.

Committed to delivering a high-end drink experience, it will featured exclusive drinks, such as:

· MYSTIC KETEL ONE – a unique ritual serve, this tropical cocktail is made with Ketel One Vodka. A specially designed kettle cools the mixture of strawberries, pineapple, aloe vera, lime juice, ginger liqueur and Ketel One and releases a vapor.

· ZACAPA OLD FASHIONED – rich Zacapa 23 Rum is mixed with angostura bitters and a dash of chocolate mole for a twist on one of the classics, as Zacapa elevates the “Old Fashioned” to the next level.

· CELEBRITY No. TEN – a refreshing cocktail made with unique Tanqueray no. Ten gin, fresh raspberries, a dash of bitters, lemon juice and crème de violette and topped off with ginger ale.

You can stop now ... you had us at vodka.  --Gerry


MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE KEY LIME FEST


We have found the best key lime pie anywhere in -- where else? -- the Florida Keys. If you too are a key lime fanatic, get ready for the annual Key Lime Festival. Here are the details from this delicious press release:

"Fans of sweet Key lime pie can salute the Florida Keys' signature dessert and the tiny fruit that inspired it Thursday through Saturday, July 2-4, during the annual Key Lime Festival. Events include a Key lime pie-eating contest, a wacky talent show and samplings of Keys-distilled rum flavored with the tangy lime.

"Believed to have originated in Key West in the late 1800s, Key lime pie was designated Florida's official pie in 2006 by the state legislature. Its primary ingredients are condensed milk, egg yolks and the juice of the tiny yellow Key lime, with the creamy filling typically nestled in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream or meringue.