You may have read about our experiences on Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship. We didn't make it to the Perfect Storm water slides, but it's definitely on our list for next time. Take a look:
Happy Hour at the Marriott Singer Island is one of our longtime favorite haunts. On Friday night, it included a very talented guitar performer on the patio, whose Latin and jazz-infused rhythms took the chill out of the air and put it in our martinis, where it belonged. We didn't catch his name, but he's good. Take a quick listen ...
UPDATE: "The Annual Book Sale was a tremendous success - we raised over $4,400 for the Library. Many thanks to all of our members who worked so tirelessly setting up and selling books and a very special thank you to Boy Scout Troop #155 and Scout Master Kevin Van Dyke for coming to our aid on the last day of the sale. They helped purchasers get their books out to their cars on a somewhat rainy day and stayed to help us pack up the books that were left. We also have 7 new members who joined during the course of the Book Sale. We appreciate your support." -- Patty Sullivan
Patty Sullivan, president of the Friends of the North Palm Beach Library, reports the first day of their Annual Book Sale was "incredible. We sold $1,693 worth of books today but there are still hundreds of books left. We have a very large selection of hard cover fiction and large print fiction as well as non-fiction, CDs and children's books. We are also selling the last of the oak card catalogues ($150 or best offer), a podium and two magazine racks. They are located in the lobby of the Library if you would like to come and see them and make an offer. "
The sale continues at the library today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1-4:30 pm, with all proceeds supporting the library. On Sunday, "everything that is left will be sold for the incredible price of 10 cents a book! "
If you like cruising on a smaller scale, Azamara is one of your best options. The focus is on enriching experiences, and here is news that takes that to the next level:
(Press Release) _ MIAMI, FL January 25, 2017 - Azamara Club Cruises today is unveiling some exciting news. The up-market cruise line of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. specializing in Destination Immersion®, will enhance its brand deliverable and better align guest experiences with the demand of today’s affluent traveler by evolving the brand to an even stronger position: Stay Longer. Experience More.
“Within this evolved positioning, there are two powerful guest deliverables.” says Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “The first is we're shifting from enabling our guests to immerse themselves in the destination, to delivering over one thousand new and existing destination experiences for guests to select from in over 70 countries.” Continues Pimentel: “These experiences provide the second powerful deliverable: One-to-one human connection. Our land product will be curated to ensure guests get to connect in a personalized and unique way with the people in the destinations they visit. This may occur through people to people interaction, cultural experiences, enjoying local food and beverages, music, events and so on.”
Azamara's enhanced brand position continues to be grounded in Destination Immersion and still includes the brand’s signature longer stays and more overnights, but will now go well beyond that. It is comprised of three pillars that collectively will provide an extraordinary experience on land and at sea:
1) Immersive Itineraries
2) Cruise Global, Connect Local destination experiences
3) Boutique Hotels at Sea
Azamara Club Cruises pioneered Longer Stays and More Overnights. With its two ships Azamara Journey® and Azamara Quest®, the focus on these extended stays and authentic local experiences are evolving. This evolution includes the scheduling of increasingly immersive itineraries that offer guests the opportunity to visit the destinations at night when many destinations come alive. Over 250 overnight and late night stays (8 pm or later) in port are featured every year, which makes roughly 50% of all Azamara port calls offer a nighttime experience in the destination. Through the brand’s Destination Immersion programming, curated itineraries bring the ships to exotic and marquee ports, and because of the ships’ intimate sizes are able to dock close to town centers. Over 50% of the line’s ports are ports larger ships can’t visit. Furthermore, the brand will deliver experiences in 200+ ports worldwide in 2017 and 2018, 35 of which Azamara will be visiting for the first time.
An expanded palette of World Events and Themed Voyages are offered, including Monaco Grand Prix, the World Cup, British Open, the Venice Redentore Festival, as well as Wine and Yoga themed voyages with more to come. Another new product is Azamara’s Country Intensive Voyages, which will allow guests to travel deeper and experience more of a given country, as the majority of the destinations are concentrated in one country such as Japan, Italy, Spain, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, Croatia and more.
Cruise Global, Connect Local
As part of the unveiling, the brand is also announcing Cruise Global, Connect Local - a series of land programs that are designed to deliver personalized and authentic experiences. By day... and by night!
This umbrella program includes land programs ranging from a variety of shore excursion groupings such as Nights Local for nightlife experiences be it the theater, a local pub, or a cultural performance, or Meet Local, which are immersive cultural experiences that offer people to people connections at the homes, farms and villas of local families. Cruise Global, Connect Local also includes Stay Local, which offers overland tours during the voyage and pre- and post-voyage experiences. For guests who want to create their own experiences, the brand offers Customize Local where personalized excursions are designed around guests’ individual preferences and desires.
The brands popular and locally immersive, complimentary AzAmazing Evenings® Events will continue to bring the destinations’ local culture to life.
Azamara itineraries seldom repeat ports, so guests can make the most of their time spent traveling the world while getting an immersive look into a variety of destinations, all on one trip. Combining these varied voyages with unparalleled Destination Immersion offerings allows Azamara to deliver on its Cruise Global, Connect Local promise. A few experiences include:
· Cruise Global, Bike Local – Join a bike tour and cycle past iconic landmarks and local must-visit establishments on one of Azamara’s branded bicycles. When in The Netherlands, cruise on land past several villages and dykes dotted with traditional Dutch windmills.
· Cruise Global, Taste Local – Azamara’s guests can satisfy their hunger for local cuisine and culture with food and beverage experiences featuring markets, restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries. Join an Azamara chef to shop for ingredients to a delicious meal, and the sommelier for the best local wine or brew to accompany the meal for an unforgettable dinner when back onboard.
· Cruise Global, Celebrate Local – Attend iconic world events for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Watch as Formula One cars zip through the streets of Monte-Carlo during the Monaco Grand Prix. Stop in Venice for Festa del Redentore. Arrive in Cannes just in time for the Cannes Film Festival, where guests can be a part of the action and brush shoulders with worldwide celebrities. The British Open, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and New Year’s in Sydney, Australia are just a few of the other world events guests can plan to attend on an Azamara voyage.
· Cruise Global, Eco Local – An immersion into local rainforests, jungles and woodlands ripe with vegetation and fauna, while leaving no footprints behind on these wildlife and wilderness tours.
· Cruise Global, Golf Local – Golfers can bring their clubs and tee off with Azamara Club Cruises and PerryGolfTM, the leader in luxury golf vacations, at some of the world’s most legendary courses in Northern Europe, the Arabian Gulf, the Mediterranean, and Australia. Featured courses include the Doha Golf Club, The International, Royal County Down, Cork Golf Club, and several others you’ll recognize from past and future PGA events.
Boutique Hotels at Sea
Azamara’s smaller, up-market and intimate ships, which were completely reimagined and remodeled in 2016, now feature contemporary and elegant design. Known for their authentic, friendly and personalized service the line is also announcing a new hallmark - the brand’s destination focused programming onboard, ranging from local culinary and beverage selections, to travel movies, lecturers and panel discussions on destinations and other relevant topics, as well as entertainment. Of great value to the brand’s guests are the many inclusive amenities from gratuities and select standard spirits, international beers and wines, to bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees & teas, English butler service for suite guests and more.
Azamara is more than a cruise line; it's the brand that delivers a rich destination experience worldwide by staying longer and allowing guests to experience more.
For more information, travelers can call their travel professional, dial 1-877-999-9553, or visit our website. Connect with Azamara on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and follow President and CEO @LarryPimentel on Twitter. Travel agent professionals can access more information and make reservations at www.CruisingPower.com.
(Press Release) _Love the ocean, craft food, local art and great music? Join Loggerhead Marinelife Center on March 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Palm Beach County’s largest ocean conservation festival, TurtleFest 2017 – Together We Can!
This free, ocean-inspired festival, located at LMC and the surrounding Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach, anticipates over 10,000 people throughout the day to celebrate and learn about ocean conservation and the simple steps everyone can take to keep our oceans clean and beautiful.
Because the event is so large, it requires many hardworking and dedicated volunteers for the day, and LMC will need more volunteers than ever this year to help make TurtleFest spectacular.
TurtleFest will feature local vendors and art, games, conservation activities, live music, craft food and beer, up close interactions with the Center’s sea turtle patients and more. And for the first time, LMC will host beach clean-ups in various locations on the morning of TurtleFest, and will eliminate single-use items at the festival. Guests can also pledge a conservation-minded life at the virtual pledge wall in the festival’s Conservation & Media Tent.
Volunteers can choose a four and a half-hour shift in the morning or afternoon and will receive a free meal and TurtleFest t-shirt. Those interested in volunteering in a variety of capacities can fill out an online application at www.marinelife.org/turtlefest or email Caitlin Sampson, volunteer coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center is also looking for artists to exhibit at the festival and vendors to sell eco-friendly, coastal-inspired merchandise. Visit www.marinelife.org/turtlefest or email Amanda Moore, marketing & communications coordinator, at email@example.com to participate as a vendor this year.
Carnival's newest ship, Carnival Horizon, is taking shape and will be ready to start cruising in 2018. Here is the latest on where she'll cruise and more about the ship in this new press release:
MIAMI (Jan. 24, 2017) – For the inaugural season of its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, debuting in April 2018, Carnival Cruise Line has assembled a wide array of exciting and diverse itineraries featuring breathtaking destinations throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Horizon will offer many of the hugely popular indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options that debuted on Carnival Vista, currently the line’s newest ship.
Among those is a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a water tube slide called Kaleid-o-slide. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins offering exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropical-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.
A variety of unique dining and bar concepts and spectacular outdoor spaces found only on Carnival Horizon will be offered and revealed in the near future.
“Carnival Vista delivered the next generation of ship for our brand with new, never-before-seen features at sea. From our amazing SkyRide and the WaterWorks aqua park to first IMAX Theatre on a cruise ship, Carnival Vista has offered our guests a brand new view of fun. With Carnival Horizon, we continue to expand those themes to provide guests of all ages with the ultimate fun vacation with Carnival!” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
Port-Intensive European Cruises Round-Trip from Barcelona
Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean voyage operating round-trip from Barcelona and calling at Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Naples (Capri and Pompeii), Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Messina (Sicily), Italy; Valletta, Malta; and Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy – the first of four round-trip departures from this Spanish port. Carnival Horizon will also operate two seven-day cruises departing April 15 and 22, 2018, and featuring Cagliari (Sardinia), Naples (Capri and Pompeii), Rome (Civitavecchia), Livorno, and Marseilles, and a 10-day voyage departing April 29, 2018, with stops at Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples (Capri and Pompeii), Dubrovnik, Corfu and Messina (Sicily).
14-Day Transatlantic Crossing from Barcelona to New York
Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day transatlantic crossing departing Barcelona May 9 and arriving in New York on May 23, 2018. Five stunning European and Canadian ports will be featured: Malaga, Spain; Gibraltar; Lisbon, Portugal; and Vigo, Spain – Carnival’s first visit to the centuries-old seaside town – along with a stop at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Eight-Day Caribbean Cruises from the Big Apple
After arriving in New York, Carnival Horizon will offer an exciting summer schedule of eight-day Caribbean cruises operating round-trip from the Big Apple and featuring visits to Grand Turk; San Juan; and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic). Departure dates include May 28, June 5, 13 and 25, July 3, 11, 23 and 31, Aug. 8, 20 and 28, and Sept. 5, 2018. Additional departures from New York in summer 2018 are being planned and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Year-Round Six- and Eight-Day Caribbean Voyages from Miami
Carnival Horizon will then shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Prior to the start-up of this program, Carnival Horizon will offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.
On its new Miami-based schedule, six-day cruises will depart Sundays, calling at Ocho Rios; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel. Two different eight-day itineraries will be offered with departures on Saturdays – one featuring Grand Turk; La Romana (Dominican Republic); Curacao; and Aruba; and the other visiting Grand Turk; San Juan; St. Kitts; and St. Maarten.
Ever thought about running away and joining the circus? Too late -- the circus is going away. But how about the next best thing: Work on a cruise ship? The lure of the sea, of traveling the world, meeting interesting people and experiencing new cultures -- kind of beats the old 9-5, doesn't it? In this video from Royal Caribbean, these cruise ship workers tell their own reasons:
Related Coverage: Brightline Unveils BrightBlue
(Press Release) _ Brightline, the only privately-funded express passenger rail system in the country, announced on Jan. 20 that its first trainset, BrightBlue, has begun initial testing on its nine-mile test track. The test track testing began yesterday and will continue for several weeks.
Comprised of two locomotive and four coaches, the BrightBlue train is approximately 500 feet long. It will traverse the test track from Park Place in West Palm Beach to Central Boulevard in Lantana, periodically stopping between grade crossings (traffic impacts are not anticipated). The extensive testing protocol will cover three general areas: dynamic testing of the rolling stock, system integration tests between the train and railway infrastructure and a series of tests required by the Federal Railroad Administration.
There will not be any passengers onboard while test track testing is underway. The train will operate under all Federal Railroad Administration regulations. During the testing, Brightline will utilize 45,000 pounds of sand to simulate passengers, baggage and supplies.
“The start of dynamic testing for our first trainset brings us another step closer to the launch of our express, inter-city service this summer,” said Michael Reininger, president of Brightline. “We expect this trainset, built with the most advanced equipment, will perform very well during the initial testing phase.”
Safety is Brightline’s number one priority. BrightBlue will continue operating under the Train Horn Rule during this testing phase. Motorists and pedestrians should adhere to all safety rules and regulations while approaching at-grade railroad crossings. Brightline has placed signage at the grade crossings along the test track alerting motorists and pedestrians to be aware of the train.
If you love to cruise like we do, here's another great feature on Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships: A retractable roof over the pool area. Rain or shine, there's a lounge chair waiting just for you. Check out the video:
Is it too early to think about Valentine's Day? Not at the Marriott Singer Island Resort and Spa. Here's what they have planned:
"On Feb. 14, Executive Chef Gustavo Calderon will prepare a romantic three-course meal at 3800 Ocean, followed by an impressive dessert display created by Executive Pastry Chef and Food Network star Brittani Szczecina. The meal will begin with an amuse bouche of Lobster Mac and Cheese Bites with a Tarragon Remoulade. For the first course, diners may choose from a variety of dishes, including Peppercorn Crusted Beef Carpaccio; Black Truffle Risotto; Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese; and Pan Roasted Sea Scallops. Second course selections will include, Porcini and Lobster Agnolotti; Prosciutto-Wrapped Free Range Chicken Breast; Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb; and Pan Seared Yellowtail Snapper. Valentine’s Day dinner is $95 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 561-340-1795."
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"