Monday, April 25, 2011
1. The sheer size of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas topped the list of the most exciting recent cruise ship innovations. With 16 decks and 2,700 staterooms that can accommodate 6,360 guests, the Allure is massive. But, a groundbreaking design that divides the ship’s public spaces into seven distinct neighborhoods makes the ship feel welcoming, not overwhelming.
2. The “Studio” staterooms on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic are compact, but have a contemporary, comfortable design (and price) that’s perfect for solo cruisers. Guests in the ship’s 128 studios also have access to their own gathering space, the Studio Lounge.
3. The Allure of the Seas’ partnership with DreamWorks’ Animation SKG places the film studio’s beloved characters – including Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots from Shrek – around the ship to meet and greet passengers, lead deck parades and attend special events.
4. (tie) Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse features the iLounge, where guests can try out iPods and accessories and use MacBook workstations to check their e-mail.
4. (tie) On the NCL Epic, incredible entertainment is provided by the famed Blue Man Group and the Second City comedy troupe.
6. The Eclipse features a new dining experience, Qsine, which puts a fun, gourmet twist on traditional comfort foods. It’s an interactive experience, with touch screen menus, spring rolls served on actual springs, and “do-it-yourself” dishes like make-it-yourself guacamole.
7. Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam pays tribute to New York City through its multi-million-dollar art collection. You’ll see New York’s Hudson River and famous skyline in the prints that line the corridors; the atrium chandelier is actually an abstract sculpture of Manhattan’s skyline; and, don’t miss the “big apple” metal sculpture on deck.
To experience some of these cruise ship innovations for yourself, contact a Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Early start to a long day: the flight from Chicago to Beijing was 13 ½ hours long. We had sunshine in the windows during the entire trip, but lost a day… The Flight took us over Fairbanks Alaska and over Siberia. We did see Mt McKinley…
|4 Star Rated Facility in Forbidden City|
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
An island of stunning natural beauty, Tahiti is a gateway to cruises of French Polynesia and the rest of the South Pacific. Tahiti is often the starting point for cruises that call on island destinations like Bora Bora, Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands and more.
If your schedule allows, it’s worth spending some additional time in Tahiti before or after your cruise. The island is formed by two volcanic peaks connected by a slender isthmus. The northern portion is Tahiti Nui (“big Tahiti”) and the southern is Tahiti Iti (“small Tahiti”). Tahiti Nui includes the port of Papeete, which feels like a bit of Paris transported to the South Pacific. You’ll find charming sidewalk cafés along the main boulevard, a bustling market, and chic boutiques selling wines, crafts and the famous Tahitian black pearls. Before you buy, you may want to educate yourself by visiting the Robert Wan Pearl museum, dedicated to one jewel – the pearl, of course.
Tahiti Iti is more sparsely populated, and a drive along the coastal road offers views of waterfalls, caves and archeological sites where you can see petroglyphs and the remains of sacred temples.
Everywhere you go on Tahiti, you’ll see the gorgeous views that inspired artists and writers like Paul Gaugin and James Norman Hall, author of Mutiny on the Bounty. There are a variety of beaches to enjoy, some covered with soft black volcanic sand.
Dining in Tahiti is a delight, with fresh seafood often prepared with French flair. Choose a romantic fine-dining restaurant beside the water, or visit one of Papeete’s food carts for a serving of the Tahitian specialty poisson cru – raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk. Papeete has a lively nightlife scene, and you may be lucky enough to see the famous otea, the classic Tahitian dance that features fast hip-shaking to the rhythm of pounding drums.
To learn more about how you can combine time in Tahiti with a cruise of the South Pacific, talk with your personal cruise expert.