Friday, March 27, 2015

CELEBRITY EXTENDS 'TOP CHEF' PROGRAM

More news from Celebrity:

"Celebrity Cruises and Bravo Media have extended the popular 'Top Chef at Sea' program through 2016, and will offer 'Top Chef' fans and food lovers the opportunity to vacation with a new lineup of cheftestants on the exclusive 'Top Chef Signature Sailing' in 2015. Setting sail November 14 onboard Celebrity Reflection, the one-of-a-kind Eastern Caribbean cruise vacation will give guests an up-close-and-personal culinary experience with six former 'Top Chef' competitors, including:

IT'S OFFICIAL: CARNIVAL ADDING 9 NEW SHIPS

The rumors about the new Carnival ships had it almost right. Instead of 10, Carnival announced it will be adding nine new ships to its fleet. Here's the official release:

"Carnival, the world's largest travel and leisure company, today signed two strategic memorandums of agreement that will add a total of nine new cruise ships to the company's industry-leading fleet over a four-year period from 2019 - 2022. The shipbuilding agreements, which include options for additional ship builds in the coming years, are subject to several conditions, including satisfactory financing.

"Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A and German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will each build new ships based on Carnival Corporation's next-generation ship designs, which will produce the most efficient ships in the company's history. The new ships are expected to serve established cruise markets in North America and Europe, as well as newer markets, including China. Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and guests it will serve, and support the company's overall goal of exceeding guest expectations and further elevating every aspect of the guest experience.

"Fincantieri, the world's largest cruise ship building company, will develop and construct five ships at its shipyards in Monfalcone and Marghera, Italy.

"Meyer Werft, a leading global shipbuilder founded in Germany in 1795, will build its four ships at its shipyards in Papenburg,Germany, and Turku, Finland. Now in its seventh generation of family ownership, Meyer Werft has become well known for constructing large, modern and sophisticated cruise ships, including 39 luxury ships the company has built for its customers around the world."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

RUMOR CENTRAL: 10 NEW SHIPS FOR CARNIVAL?

Various sources are reporting Carnival will soon announce 10 new ships. What have you heard?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CELEBRITY ROLLING OUT 18 NEW SHOWS

"It's showtime!" That's the word around Celebrity Cruises these days, as the cruise line prepares to unveil 18 shows in 18 months – all in partnership with some of today's biggest recording artists and awarding-winning theatrical and television productions. Here's more from the release:

"The 18 leading-edge shows, created exclusively for Celebrity, feature elements of drama, dance, comedy, musical theater and concert-style performances – blended in a way that has never been seen before at sea. Shows will include Elyria, an energetic, late-night production, where guests are transported to a witty, mischievous, dreamlike world. The new production will launch onboard Celebrity Constellation in April. iMagic, available onboard Celebrity Summit, is a modern luxury interpretation of the wonder of illusions, innovative, groundbreaking and uses incredible technology such as holograms, lasers and iPads, to tell the story.

"Celebrity has attracted and collaborated with some of the best names in entertainment to produce the 18 shows. These include William Baker, who has created and directed global tours and music videos for some of the biggest names in popular music; and Steve Anderson, a musical director, producer and writer for world-renowned artists.

"Celebrity will offer up to 10 engaging entertainment experiences on every ship. Side Show is an interactive and vintage circus theme party. Reigning Rocks will blend the elegance of royalty with the glam of Brit Pop, and Night of the Dragon will feature the delicate beauty of Asian culture mixed with pop music, resulting in a high-energy celebration of culture.

"All entertainment is created and perfected at 'The Studio,' Celebrity's production headquarters inside a newly built, 130,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility – a unique partnership between Florida International University (FIU) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), Celebrity's parent company. Located on the FIU Biscayne Bay campus, the production and rehearsal facility, which can accommodate more than 460 cast members at one time, was officially opened Friday, March 20."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CUNARD TIMELINE CELEBRATES 175 YEARS


As part of Cunard's 175th anniversary year, they have put together a timeline video that showcases key moments from its illustrious past, including "Charles Dickens declaiming his 1842 cabin as a ‘profoundly preposterous box,’ to Cunard’s carriage of all the horses which charged with the Light Brigade in 1853, to the first time that the monarch’s wife is heard on the radio when Queen Mary was launched in 1934. The five minute video also explores Cunard’s impact on key moments in world history: From Cunard’s small ship, Carpathia, and her rescue of the survivors from the White Star Line’s Titanic, to Sir Winston Churchill’s words of esteem in thanking Cunard for the troops carried on Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, which, in his words, helped shorten World War II by at least a year."

Friday, March 13, 2015

'ANTHEM' HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Royal Caribbean's second Quantum-class ship, Anthem of the Seas, has left the building. Literally. Take the journey with her in this newest video:





Thursday, March 12, 2015

10 STUNNING HOTEL VIEWS

Atlantis, The Palm - in Dubai (TripAdvisor)
In real estate it's "location, location, location."

For hotel rooms, it's "view, view, view."

The list-builders at TripAdvisor are busy again, this time with their "10 stunning hotel views." Not sure anyone will argue that these don't qualify. -- Gerry

Saturday, March 7, 2015

PALM BEACH ZOO OPENS NEW TIGER HABITAT



Zoo guests gather for the official "untying"
(All photos by Cruising Squared")
Saturday was a special day at the Palm Beach Zoo. Thanks to the generosity of donors like Braman Motorcars, the zoo's four Malayan tigers have a lot more room to roam. The official ribbon "untying" was held for the expanded tiger habitat, which encompasses 13,000 square feet. Guests were each given a tiger mask and a group picture was taken in an attempt to break a world record for tiger mask wearing. Of course we joined in.

It's amazing to see these magnificent animals up close, especially since the number of these endangered tigers remaining in the wild is estimated at 250. 



The ribbon is untied


Catherine Barker wears a tiger mask
A Malayan tiger roams the new habitat


Below is more information about the exhibit from the Palm Beach Zoo website.





"The Zoo’s tiger habitat expansion doubled the size of the original exhibit as well as the amount of behind-the-scenes space for tiger housing. This project is financially supported through a multi-year commitment from corporate sponsor Braman Motorcars Palm Beach & Jupiter. The company’s sponsorship has helped continue the Zoo’s commitment to providing high quality care for its tigers.

"The habitat expansion has allowed the Zoo to make tiger history by housing four adult tigers all at once, a feat that was not possible before the new habitat was built."

DO YOU KNOW THESE BEAUTIFUL PLACES?

Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands, South Pacific (TripAdvisor)
TripAdvisor is taunting us again with their list of "10 amazingly beautiful places you may not know." Just what we need -- more entries for our bucket list! -- Gerry

Thursday, March 5, 2015

'CARNIVAL JOURNEYS' LAUNCHING THIS FALL

One of the major appeals of cruising is discovering new places and new cultures. Both of those are highlighted in a new initiative from Carnival called "Carnival Journeys."

Described as a "unique collection of nine- to 15-day seagoing adventures that kick off this fall," it will feature ports throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii and Mexico, "along with unique shipboard experiences created especially for this one-of-a-kind cruise program."

Here is more from the release:

"Carnival Journeys is designed to provide guests with exciting new itinerary choices that will feature less traveled, more exotic ports of call. Carnival Journeys itineraries have been specifically designed for guests who are looking for a longer cruise vacation that will provide the opportunity to visit a wide variety of great destinations and more time to fully enjoy all of the features and facilities available on a selection of the line’s newest and most innovative ships. Carnival Journeys cruises will also include exciting shipboard activities to provide a truly unique Carnival vacation experience.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SKYDIVING AT SEA ABOARD 'ANTHEM'

If you are a thrill-seeker, how about skydiving on your cruise without a parachute? Welcome to Anthem of the Seas' RipChord, the virtual skydiving experience from iFLY. Passengers get a 15-minute orientation before entering a 150-mph vertical wind tunnel. If it feels like you are floating on air, that's because you are floating on air. Check it out: