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Casting a watchful eye on the world's weather around the clock is a tall order, and James Van Fleet is the meteorologist for the job – the first of its kind in the cruise industry. Royal Caribbean’s Chief Meteorologist develops forecasts for the cruise line’s fleet of 24 ships. Translating technical data into digestable information is second nature for Van Fleet, who’s a veteran TV meteorologist with more than two decades of experience. With his guidance, captains have the added support to continue making informed decisions and delivering the best possible vacation experience for the cruise line’s guests. WATCH THE VIDEO.
ABOARD CARNIVAL VISTA IN MIAMI _ What better way to celebrate American Craft Beer Week than -- what else? -- brew a new craft beer. READ MORE.
The theatrical possibilities of the AquaTheater, the distinct high diving, acrobatic performance space introduced by Royal Caribbean with the Oasis class of ships, have breathtaking limits. Two 10-meter high platforms and the hydraulic-floored pool, the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea, below will serve as podiums for high-diving, hair-raising aerobatics that AquaTheater audiences have come to love. SEE MORE.
DR. SEUSS WATERWORKS COMING
(Press Release)_ Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a vibrant water park inspired by the whimsical world and words of the legendary children’s author. The 3,934-passenger vessel is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018.
Located on Deck 12, Carnival Horizon’s Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will offer two distinctly different slides each promising their own splash-tastic fun. READ MORE.
RETIRE ON A CRUISE SHIP
A global team of successful real estate development; maritime; marketing; sales and financial services executives announced the launch of ItsAfloat (www.itsAfloat.com) the “popular priced” cruise ship living ownership option, which up to now has remained a virtually untapped market segment in the growing passenger cruise ship industry.
Azamara Quest Arrives in Cuba
Azamara Quest arrived at Cuba’s Sierra Maestra terminal for the first time Friday, March 27. The ship sailed down the Bahía de la Habana alongside Havana’s famous El Malecón providing guests magnificent views of the local shoreline before turning alongside Cuba’s Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro through the Canal de Entrada to dock.
“Azamara takes pride in bringing guests to new and remarkable destinations and we’re especially proud to be the first RCCL brand to bring our guests to Cuba, a magical country with such inner beauty. We’ve put together memorable land experiences for our guests to connect to the local people on this first visit to the island nation, a country rich in history, culture, education and the arts.” said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “Today’s ceremony demonstrates our commitment to Cuba and our eagerness to help guests discover the many aspects of Cuba by connecting guests to the people and places that make the country so vibrant and full of rich history.”
'Horizon' Adds Bermuda
(Press Release)_MIAMI – Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the new Carnival Horizon will offer a series of four-day Bermuda cruises from New York in spring and summer 2018, part of the ship’s inaugural season that includes previously announced voyages to Europe from Barcelona and the Caribbean from New York and Miami.
The four-day “long weekend” cruises will depart Thursdays and feature a full-day visit to Bermuda where guests can relax on the island’s legendary pink beaches, enjoy snorkeling, kayaking and other water sports, and visit historical landmarks such as Royal Naval Dockyard and Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere. Five four-day Bermuda cruises will be offered, departing May 24, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13, 2018.
Including the five Bermuda sailings aboard Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line will offer 18 different voyages to the island in 2017-18 departing from five convenient East Coast homeports, including Baltimore, Charleston, New York, Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale.
AZAMARA HEADING FOR HAVANA
(Press Release) _ American travelers have long imagined what it would be like to salsa, mambo and rumba the night away in Havana’s many clubs or sit down for an authentic Ropa Vieja (shredded beef) and Moros y Cristianos (rice and beans). The tide has turned as Azamara Club Cruises, the boutique cruise line owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and known for its premier destination-immersive voyages allowing guests to stay longer and experience more, introduces a voyage visiting Havana, Cuba.
The Azamara Quest will do a Miami, Florida roundtrip departing on March 21, 2017 for a 13-night Azaleas, Bourbon Street and Havana voyage in the Caribbean making Azamara one of the first American luxury cruise lines to visit Havana. The voyage will include visits to Key West, Florida, Tampa, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana (2 overnights), Cozumel, Mexico and an overnight stay in Havana, Cuba.
Devoted to bringing its guests to ‘bucket list’ destinations, Azamara is building Havana into an existing 2017 itinerary. In time, the line looks to also add additional ports of call in Cuba into several of its itineraries.
As part of the line’s Land Discovery offerings, guests will have a selection of experiences to choose from while in Havana that will bring to life meaningful and engaging interactions with local Cuban residents. Land Discovery tour highlights in Havana will include:
· Hemingway’s Havana: Explore the literary connections between Cuba and the late American novelist Ernest Hemingway on a dynamic four-hour tour that offers the chance to see where he lived, fished, dined and sipped his favorite cocktails.
· Old Havana City Sightseeing: Havana’s city-center is jam-packed with timeworn fortresses, government buildings, historic squares, notable cemeteries and an artisan market. Sights include visits to Morro Castle, La Cabaña, El Capitolio and more.
· Best of Havana 8-hour Tour: Come along for a full-day, all-encompassing trip through bustling Havana, as you spend eight hours exploring the city’s sprawling cemetery, notable square, artsy neighborhood, artisan market, literary connections and enjoy an authentic Cuban meal.
The line’s Cuba voyage will be available for booking on Friday, December 9 in our Call Center, or on www.AzamaraClubCruises.com as of Saturday, December 10.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN APPROVED
TO BEGIN CUBA SERVICE
(Press Release) _ Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that the Cuban government has granted approval for the company to begin cruises to Cuba. The company said it plans to announce its first Florida-Cuba itineraries in the near future.
"Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Our discussions with our travel partners indicate that Cuba is a destination that appeals to a new generation of travelers."
Two RCL lines, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, will provide guests with travel directly to Cuba for the purpose of providing people-to-people exchanges between guests and Cuban citizens and other travel permitted by current U.S. regulations.
The cruise itineraries will comply with U.S. Department of Treasury rules that permit travel companies to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in people-to-people activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Carnival Cruises to Havana
June 29. That's a date that Terry Thornton, Carnival Cruise Line's Senior VP of Fleet Deployment, has had circled on his calendar for a long time.
That's the day Carnival Paradise departs Tampa for Havana, Cuba, the first of 12 scheduled departures to the Caribbean destination that's been off-limits to Americans for half a century.
"It's been a long process," said Thornton, "a learning experience for both the Cuban government and Carnival. Good things take time, but they're worth it." READ MORE.
Lights - camera - action! With the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood premiere, Carnival Cruise Lines unveiled its state-of-the-art rehearsal complex, Carnival Studios, today in Davie, Florida.
Pet-friendly in Melbourne Beach
MELBOURNE BEACH_ We were on a mission: Find an ocean-front getaway that was not too far and pet-friendly. Sounds easy. It wasn't. Our first stop was Google. Google led us to TripAdvisor. And TripAdvisor led us to ... the Ocean Pines Motel in Melbourne Beach.
Located on S. Highway A1A, it's definitely old-school Florida: A tourist court with six, kitchen-equipped, one and two-bedroom units. But what it may lack in pizazz it more than makes up in friendly and inviting. And the location is a knockout -- mere steps away from one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida.
UP, UP AND AWAY!
ALBUQUERQUE_Does the sight of over a hundred hot air balloons lifting off at once stir your heart? Do you long for the sight of a dozen hot air balloons rising together in a desert mountain sunrise? Does the notion of getting up at 3:15 in the morning to see all this make your pulse race? If you can answer a resounding “YES!” to two of these, and a “. . .uhhh . . . I don’t know about that . . .” to a third – then the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta might be just the thing for you. READ MORE.
Holiday Cruise to the Caribbean
What better way to celebrate the holidays than on a cruise? So when we had the opportunity to board Oceania Riviera for its "Sunny Celebrations" voyage to the West Indies, we started packing our bags. Our starting point was the Port of Miami. Over the next 12 days, we visited seven different ports and enjoyed five-star food and service on Riviera. Please join us as we recapture our experience in this photo diary. Welcome aboard!
Hiking in Bear Country
When you hike a trail in Yellowstone or Glacier National Park, you may need to share your trail with indigenous park wildlife. The wildlife that causes the greatest concern for most hikers is charismatic megafauna. This modern term includes deer, elk, moose, bison and bear. Of these species, the two that cause the most concern and outright consternation are Ursus Arctos Horriblilis, the grizzly bear, or Ursus americanus, the American black bear.
Touring Carnival Vista
PORT OF MIAMI _ Carnival Vista, the newest and biggest ship in Carnival's fleet, is finally home. Launched May 1, she came across the Atlantic and cruised out of New York before arriving here, where she'll journey to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
Touring Azamara Quest
PORT OF MIAMI _ Gleaming, shiny and newly refurbished, Azamara Quest is docked here at Terminal B, preparing to depart for the West Indies and ready for her close-up. A group of travel agents and invited media are here early to view what's new and improved. Quest, along with her sister ship, Journey, both received makeovers earflier this year. Together, the two ships comprise Azamara Club Cruises, since 2007 the "up-market" brand of parent company, Royal Caribbean. READ MORE.
ABOARD HARMONY OF THE SEAS_ Let's establish one thing right up front: Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas really is the world's largest cruise ship. That was verified by Captain Gus Andersson, who told a group of assembled media Harmony is "30 centimeters longer" than her sister ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, and "a little bit wider."
Besides bragging rights, it's just that much more room to show off her "wow" factor, which this ship has in abundance.
READ OUR REVIEW.
Call us crazy, but when we travel to New York, we take the train.
We admit it's not for everybody. Like if you have an important business meeting you don't want to miss. Or have to get from Point A to Point B by the fastest means possible. In either case, it's probably not for you.
But if you have the time to spare, want to relax while someone else does the driving, like to see this great country up close and personal, want to meet interesting people along the way -- Amtrak may just be the ticket.
NEW YORK -- If your visit to New York is a short one, where you stay is a big deal. You want to be close to the things you want to see and do. For us, 50 Central Park South does quite nicely, which also happens to be the address of the storied Ritz-Carlton Central Park.
The location is hard to beat. Across the street from Central Park, a few steps from Fifth Avenue, walking distance to Rockefeller Center. Not to mention all the niceties that the Ritz is known for, particularly the personal attention to its guests.
NEW YORK -- My love of cupcakes goes back to the days of my mother making them from the recipe printed on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa box.
Not only did she bother making cupcakes from scratch, she whipped-up Minute Fudge Frosting to top them.
I still use that frosting recipe, mostly for brownies, and it takes longer than a minute. Yes, you boil it for a minute, then you let it rest, then you beat it to the perfect consistency. If you miss that critical point in the process, the frosting will either be too sticky to harden, or gets too hard to enjoy.
All this brings me to Magnolia Bakery in New York City.
THE DALI MUSEUM
ST. PETERSBURG -- Did you ever take a road trip and have the desire to find a gigantic, outdoor mustache?
Did you ever write down a very special wish, and then have no place to hang it? Did you ever wish you could experience something Disney without going to a theme park? Did you ever meet someone who wanted to leave their corporate job to find something more personally fulfilling?So many questions, but we found the answers to these questions, and more, when we decided it was time to roll out of the Palm Beaches for a road trip.
There we were, on the Gulf side of the peninsula, and we had the opportunity to sit down for an enlightening interview at the world-famous Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
HOTEL ZAMORA'S ROOFTOP 360.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Looking for the perfect place to relax, unwind and admire a surround view of the Gulf? Head for Rooftop 360 at the Hotel Zamora.
The first new hotel built on St. Pete Beach in over 20 years, and recently rated the second-best hotel in Florida by Conde Nast Traveler readers, we made it a "must see" on a recent trip to the area. Located down the street from the famous "Big Pink" hotel - the Don Se Sar -- it boasts classic Mediterranean styling inside and out.
KIMPTON'S VERO BEACH HOTEL AND SPA. Kimpton’s Vero Beach Hotel and Spa describes itself as “boutique luxury meets miles of soft white sand.” Right, both times. Located in Vero Beach, a town of more than 15,000 on Florida’s Treasure Coast, sometimes called “the Hamptons of Florida,” it offers visitors a rare combination of upscale accommodations, beautiful seaside vistas, warm and friendly staff and here’s the bonus: It’s pet-friendly.
Read our review in New York Lifestyles Magazine.
A CRUISE ON THE AZAMARA QUEST. The size is just right if you seek a more intimate, personalized setting for your cruise vacation. You can pretty much get to any place you want to go in short order. It isn’t adults only; children are certainly welcome. But it clearly caters to adults, which is a positive for several we spoke with. As noted earlier, there was one child on this voyage and outside the pool and ice cream, not a whole lot kids would find interesting.
Read our review in New York Lifestyles Magazine.