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"Wow." That was the initial reaction by Cate, our 5-year-old granddaughter, to seeing the Grand Celebration for the first time.
She could hardly contain her excitement as we prepared to board at the Port of Palm Beach. This was Cate's first cruise, and she couldn't wait to be on the ship. (We had already talked about how this was a ship, not a boat).
PORT OF PALM BEACH_ As a band played and media, dignitaries and invited guests looked on, the Grand Classica made its debut appearance at the Port of Palm Beach April 13. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, which launched its first cruise in early 2015, now has two ships -- Grand Classica and Grand Celebration -- offering daily trips to Freeport, Grand Bahama.
COMPLETE COVERAGE HERE.
Exploring St. Thomas
Actress and avid traveler Shay Mitchell explores St. Thomas. She is Royal Caribbean's "Adventurist," the adventure adviser and storyteller for Royal Caribbean International.
Miami New Drama continues its groundbreaking season with Kristoffer Diaz’s potent political satire The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, a body-slamming take on racism, stereotypes and a battle for the American soul set in the flamboyant world of pro wrestling. READ MORE.
When it comes to triggering memories, they say smell is the most powerful of the senses. Respondents to a recent Carnival Cruise Line survey agree: 95 percent said smells evoke vacation memories, while 56 percent were motivated by smell to plan a vacation. READ MORE.
Miami Among Top 10 Graffiti Cities
Bombing Science -- which specializes in showcasing graffiti art and supplies -- is out with its list of top 99 cities around the world for graffiti art. Coming in at number 10 is Miami.
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.
At first, before the move, I made fun of the town we were moving to, Cornville. Cornville Arizona! I started off saying “we live just outside of Sedona”. That sounded more mystic and trendy. Even when you read about Senator John McCain’s ranch, news would never say Cornville. But that’s exactly where McCain’s ranch is, Cornville, just like me.
With over 40 articles published over the last two years, we have been major cheerleaders for Brightline since the day it was announced. And why not? The notion of traveling from West Palm to Miami without the hassle and and near-death experiences of an I95 commute by car is a dream come true. When service officially started in May, we decided it was time to give it a go.
Carol and I had started on a two-day trip from Yosemite to Grand Canyon National Park when we first heard the words “Hurricane Harvey” uttered. READ MORE.
MIAMI – When Carnival Vista launched, it made cruising history by having the first onboard brewery at sea. Carnival's newest ship, Horizon, will make some history of its own with a new dining concept that combines an onboard brewery and full service restaurant. READ MORE.
When I started writing about cruising for The Palm Beach Post six years ago, Vance Gulliksen was one of the first people in the industry I met. The senior PR manager for Carnival Cruise Lines was not only professional and efficient, but also a lot of fun to be around. I asked Vance to tell us a little about himself and what must be one of the best jobs going. -- Gerry Barker
Located in the Southern Cascade mountain range in Oregon is a park with the deepest lake in the United States. Crater Lake is almost 2,000 feet deep, and the park gave us an interesting time in the two full days we spent there. Crater Lake National Park has its central attraction – the lake itself – in the center of the park. The round lake is about 6 miles long by about 5 miles wide, with a surface area of about 20 square miles. A loop road circles the lake and presents the visitor with beautiful views of the lake or the surrounding countryside. The raw beauty of this lake is this park’s primary drawing. READ MORE.
McKINNEY, TEXAS _ On a recent Thanksgiving trip to the Lone Star State, we discovered "Home for the Holidays," a 37-year tradition set in this city's historic district. By way of reference, McKinney is located some 40 miles north of Dallas, with a population edging close to 200,000. Just spend a few minutes in the 165-year-old commercial historic downtown district and you'll be instantly in the holiday mood. READ MORE.
Every year, for the last 45 years, an area south of Kerrville, Texas becomes a gathering site for aspiring songwriters from all over the nation, and a few foreign countries. For 18 days, singers and songwriters gather at the Quiet Valley Ranch to share songs, perform around campfires, and listen to singers not many people have heard of – yet. The Kerrville Folk Festival applies a very wide definition to “Folk” music, including blues, bluegrass, country, rock, and other acts that often defy categories. READ MORE.
Bahamas on Carnival Liberty
Imagine attending a party with 3,700 guests, and 1,100 hosts. That's just what we did aboard Carnival Liberty on a 5-day cruise from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas. Besides making our first visit to Freeport, and our first departure from Port Canaveral, we wanted to sample first-hand how Liberty stacks up to Carnival's "Fun Ship" motto. Please join us through this daily diary as originally reported on All Things Cruise. READ MORE.
Director and producer Ken Burns has called national parks “America’s Best Idea”. If that is true, then Yellowstone is the first example of that idea. 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.