Friday, June 24, 2016

Port Everglades Pilots Two Passport Control Programs

This is great news that should speed up debarkation from cruise ships—I used one of the Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks (as pictured here) earlier this year in the Atlanta airport and was quite impressed with the efficiency it provided.

Broward County's Port Everglades and its cruise line partners, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, are working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to launch two pilot programs this summer—Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks and Mobile Passport Control (MPC)—that are designed to expedite secure entry into the United States following a cruise vacation. Port Everglades is the first U.S. cruise port to test these programs, although they are currently available in many U.S. airports and for cruise passenger preclearance in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Both programs are designed to streamline the traveler inspection process and enable CBP officers to focus more on the inspection and less on administrative functions.

"We are working closely with CBP to improve guest service and make the debark process more efficient without compromising safety and security," said Port Everglades Deputy Port Director Glenn Wiltshire. "We have high hopes for both programs, and are evaluating the efficiency, staff time and costs involved during this three-month pilot program."

APC kiosks allow passengers to provide their travel documents and customs declaration forms prior to speaking to a CBP officer.

The MPC program is the first Smartphone app authorized to expedite a traveler's entry process into the United States. This first-of-its-kind app was developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America in partnerships with CBP. The app allows U.S. citizens debarking a cruise ship to complete their Customs declaration using their phones, expediting their clearance process in the terminal.

In addition, CBP's Global Entry program, which gives preferential processing to those guests who are Global Entry card holders, has been available at Port Everglades since summer 2015.

Located in the second largest county in Florida, Broward County's Port Everglades is consistently ranked as one of the three busiest cruise ports in the world with more than 3.7 million passengers in 2015. Nine cruise lines, one ferry and more than 40 cruise ships sail from the South Florida seaport including: Balearia's Bahamas Express (ferry), Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn and Silversea Cruises. The Port's wide-ranging fleet of cruise ships provides guests with an array of cruise vacation choices from the sunny Greater Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Dania Beach area. View details on the latest cruise offerings at porteverglades.net.

Image Courtesy Port Everglades

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Princess Cruises Announces Sip & Sail Promotion

Princess Cruises has announced a thirst-quenching deal with the Sip & Sail cruise promotion offering free all-inclusive beverages, plus an early booking bonus offer of free specialty dining for bookings made before July 5, 2016. More than 350 cruise vacations for Summer 2017 to Spring 2018 are on sale to destinations around the globe.

In addition to great fares, Sip & Sail includes unprecedented offers to sweeten the deal. Guests booking a balcony, mini-suite, or suite staterooms will receive a free All-Inclusive Beverage Package for two people. Plus, reduced fares as well as free Unlimited Soda & More Packages for third and fourth guests.

The All-Inclusive Beverage Package includes any individual beverage item such as soda, juices, shakes and floats, bottled water, cocktails, spirits, wines, beers, specialty coffees and tea, up to $10 retail value, purchased at all bars, public lounges, and dining venues. Additionally, full bottles of wine below $100 retail can be purchased in the bars, dining room, or in stateroom at 40% discount from the menu price.

Guests can also book and receive these offers with a special reduced deposit of only $100 per person for first through fourth guests in a stateroom.

Examples of Sip & Sail cruise deals include:
• Mediterranean cruise—7 days: $1,749 balcony stateroom; $2,049 mini-suite stateroom
• Japan cruise—8 days: $2,269 balcony stateroom; $2,649 mini-suite stateroom
• Alaska cruise—7 days: $1,399 balcony stateroom; $1,599 mini-suite stateroom
• Alaska Land & Sea Vacation—11 nights: $2,474 balcony stateroom; $2,674 mini-suite stateroom
• Caribbean cruise—7 days: $1,299 balcony stateroom; $1,549 mini-suite stateroom
• Mexico & California Coast cruise—7 days: $999 balcony stateroom; $1,199 mini-suite stateroom
More information about the Sip & Sail cruise sale is available at princess.com/cruisedeals.

All prices are per person based on double occupancy. The “Sip & Sail” cruise deal runs from 12:00 a.m. PDT on June 21 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on August 31, 2016 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Bermuda.


Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

SeaDream Yacht Club Highlights 2016 Fall Med Sailings

“It’s yachting, not cruising”
SeaDream Yacht Club is offering spectacular voyages in the Mediterranean Sea for this fall. Showcasing the most picturesque yachting ports of the French & Italian Riviera on 7-day sailings, each itinerary pairs the ultimate yachting experience with the most scenic backdrops in the world. Whether exploring the wine regions exclusive to the Mediterranean or simply taking in the world-class service and cuisine of the yacht, guests can extend the summer vacation season with these early fall voyages on SeaDream I beginning Oct 1.

“These Mediterranean voyages intimately transport our guests to some of the world’s most beautiful and exclusive ports and harbors,” says SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “Through our creative excursions onshore and highly personalized service onboard, we pride ourselves in offering our guests with the ultimate yachting experience.”

October is the ideal time to travel as summer temperatures have cooled and crowds have thinned, creating perfect conditions for outdoor walks and tours. With the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea, the SeaDream Spa ensures complete rejuvenation for its guests.

At each port of call, guests can choose from a variety of activities including hiking through the Mediterranean flora to Santa Margherita while in Portofino, shopping with the Chef in Sorrento or St. Tropez and even driving a Ferrari in Monte Carlo. An additional highlight for the 2016 fall season will be the popular crew-led shore excursions available in numerous ports which many of the yacht’s staff call home. These walks and bike rides take guests off the beaten path to explore the sights and sounds of historic European seaside villages.

Below is a listing of SeaDream’s 2016 fall itineraries onboard SeaDream I:
• Civitavecchia (Rome) to Cannes, departing Oct 1-8, 2016. Seven days including boutique ports of Porto Ercole, Livorno (Florence), Portovenere, Portofino, Monte Carlo, and St. Tropez.
• Cannes to Civitavecchia (Rome),departing Oct– 22, 2016. Seven days including ports of Monte Carlo overnight, Portofino, Portovenere, Livorno (for Florence), Portoferraio, and Porto Ercole.
• Civitavecchia (Rome) to Cannes, departing Oct 22–29, 2016. Seven days including ports of Sorrento, Capri, Bonifacio & Calvi on the island of Corsica, and St. Tropez.
• Cannes to Malaga, departing Oct 29–Nov 5, 2016. Seven days calling on ports of St. Tropez overnight, Cassis, Port Vendres, Barcelona, Valencia, and Cartagena.
The inclusive fares includes ocean view accommodations, gourmet meals, gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner, open-bar, and much more.

Image Courtesy SeaDream Yacht Club

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Norwegian Dawn Has Set Sail For Bermuda As A New Ship

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn sailed into her seasonal homeport of Boston last weekend as an essentially new vessel, following a month-long dry dock where she received enhancements to every part of the onboard experience, from two brand new restaurants and three new bars and lounges, updated design and décor in all public spaces, to a refurbishment of all staterooms including a complete makeover of the ship’s signature Garden Villas, some of the largest suites at sea.

Norwegian Dawn’s extensive renovation is a part of The Norwegian Edge™ program, a $400 million investment that sets a new standard of excellence for the Norwegian brand, encompassing the entire guest experience.

“As with each of the ship refurbishments in the Norwegian Edge program, this was not your average dry dock,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief operating officer. “Norwegian Dawn was brought down to the steel in many spaces and rebuilt to evoke the look and feel of the newest Norwegian ships, allowing guests sailing on her to enjoy all of the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian offers, along with a more premium experience from bow to stern.”

Norwegian Dawn’s guests will have several new restaurants, bars and lounges to enjoy after the ship’s refurbishment. A new concept for the Norwegian fleet, Los Lobos Cantina is an upscale Mexican restaurant that offers a modern take on traditional favorites like guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole and hand crafted margaritas, all available à la carte. Los Lobos Cantina will open on July 1. A guest favorite, O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill has made its debut on Norwegian Dawn and features signature sports bar décor while offering favorite pub fare and beers on tap. Wine lovers now have a chance to sip and savor their favorite vintages at The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar as the former Pearly King Pub has been completely transformed into a modern, upscale wine bar offering tastings and engaging educational events. Sugarcane Mojito Bar will serve up more than 15 varieties of mojitos in a modern lounge area on Deck 13 adjacent to the new location for Moderno Churrascaria. Finally, Spinnaker Lounge was transformed into the Bliss Lounge, offering a larger space for guests to relax and enjoy a cocktail, with refinished bar fronts, new contemporary accents, furniture and carpeting.

The dining experience onboard Norwegian Dawn will be further enhanced with extensive renovations to all of the existing complimentary dining venues. The Venetian and Aqua both feature a completely new look, with enhancements including new wall coverings, carpet and hardwood flooring, entry signage, artwork, ceiling finishes, reupholstered furniture, lighting, and window treatments. Bamboo Asian Restaurant also has undergone a complete refurbishment with fresh carpet and hardwood flooring, new furniture including tables, barstools and chairs, updated artwork throughout the space, new decorative and architectural lighting, along with window treatments and wall finishes. The Garden Café has undergone a redesign with new layout for smoother service that features upgraded flooring, artwork, decorative lighting, wall finishes, signage and furniture.

Specialty restaurants also have a new upscale look and feel throughout the ship. Le Bistro and La Cucina have exchanged locations, with each space presenting a premium dining experience that is brought to life with new décor including updated carpet, furniture, decorative lighting and signage. Moderno Churrascaria is in a new location on Deck 13 adjacent to Sugarcane Mojito Bar and features all new décor, furniture, window treatments, wall coverings and artwork that evokes the restaurant’s Brazilian theme. Teppanyaki restaurant was completely renovated and doubled in size with two additional tables, new flooring and décor and the addition of a divider between Bamboo and Teppanyaki for a more private experience. Cagney’s Steakhouse showcases a modern look with new décor, furniture, updated artwork, new carpet, wall finishes, decorative lighting and modified, more open layout where guests can enjoy Certified Angus Beef® steaks and those delectable truffle fries.

The ship’s existing bars and lounges also offer a fresh experience, with Gatsby’s Champagne Bar debuting with brand new furniture, flooring, decorative lighting, artwork, window treatments and an art deco-inspired chandelier. The Cigar Bar features new tile flooring, draperies, furniture, plus an enhanced new humidor.

Every stateroom on the ship was enhanced during this renovation, receiving new carpets, bedding, drapery, artwork, flat screen TVs and furniture. The dry dock also allowed for a complete makeover of the ship’s two Garden Villas, now featuring a more clean and modern look with brand new flooring and furniture inside and out, new ceilings, lighting, bedding, décor and 42” flat screen TVs.

As with the recent enhancements to several other Norwegian ships, Norwegian Dawn’s public spaces, elevators and restrooms were refreshed from top to bottom to receive an updated look with new contemporary design, as well as new lighting, flooring, wall coverings and wall sconces to give the full ship that “new ship” look and feel.

The ship’s Atrium features a new modern and clean look with plush carpet and new lighting, chic furniture and a new lounge seating area, as well as enhancements to the Guest Services reception desks. Tides, a brand new shopping venue offering a wide selection of fine jewelry, was added to the Atrium. The ship’s existing shopping venue Ports O’Call has been renamed Tradewinds and received a complete makeover with new finishes, lighting and flooring, as did the ship’s Library. Norwegian Dawn also offers guests easier ways to view and purchase mementos of their cruise vacation with an upgraded Photo Gallery featuring new individual digital monitors and larger photo display panels, along with sleek furniture and tile flooring.

The ship’s pool deck was completely refurbished to create a brighter and livelier atmosphere for sun-seekers with new decking and new white awnings to give the open deck a sleek, yacht-like feel. Additionally, the main pool deck received new exterior showers, upgraded pool loungers, and a fresh look to all exterior corridors. The Bimini Bar overlooking the main pool deck was completely refurbished and now features a completely new design and look. Kids and kids at heart sailing aboard Norwegian Dawn can now enjoy an upgraded Entourage teen space and video arcade with built-in entertainment areas, new carpeting and wall finishes and new modern furniture.

Entertainment venues such as the Dawn Casino and Stardust Theater were also touched by this extensive renovation. The Dawn Club Casino now incites an air of excitement with more colorful signage, new artwork, wall finishes, carpets, bar tops and a more luxurious and exclusive VIP area. Guests sailing aboard Norwegian Dawn will now be able to enjoy headlining shows Band on the Run, Showdown and Elements in a refreshed Stardust Theater with reupholstered and re-cushioned seating, as well as new carpets and drapery throughout the expansive theater.

Guests looking to unwind after enjoying all that the new Norwegian Dawn has to offer can do so in the completely redesigned Mandara Spa and Pulse Fitness Center, offering state-of-the-art Techno Gym equipment. The Mandara Spa received a new look and layout—elevating the spa experience with refreshed sleek décor, updated treatment rooms and newly added spaces including a barber shop, nail salon, spa pool and eight heated loungers in the luxurious thermal suite.

Norwegian Dawn will sail from Boston to Bermuda each week through October, spending three nights in port, and from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean—including a call at Harvest Caye, Belize, the Caribbean’s premier resort-style port of call—during the winter season, beginning in November.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Monday, June 20, 2016

Consider A Pre- Or Post-Cruise Stay In Orlando

Are you planning a summer cruise this year?

Families considering a summer cruise out of Florida may wish to consider a pre- or post-cruise stay in Orlando. Georgina Cruz's did and they discovered that the city knows a trick or two when it comes to new attractions: it keeps revealing them, one after another, like the bunnies that come out of a magician’s top hat. Take a look at the new attractions the Cruz family enjoyed this summer during their Stay In Orlando.

You might be surprised. It's not all Disney.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Star Pride Re-enters Windstar Cruises’ Fleet After Renovation

Star Pride has re-entered the Windstar Cruises fleet following the 212-guest yacht’s scheduled $4.5 million transformation, including a complete renovation of two exclusive Owner’s Suites featuring enhancements to an expansive private deck that commands a sweeping ocean view over the yacht’s bow. Also included were nautically-inspired remodeling of public spaces, dining venues, and more throughout.

“We are extremely pleased with the extensive yacht refurbishment of Star Pride and are excited to be welcoming guests aboard in Windstar’s private yacht style as the Mediterranean cruise season gets under way,” remarked Andrew N. Todd, president and chief executive officer of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, parent company of Windstar Cruises.

The 2016 Star Pride $4.5 million transformation builds on earlier renovations now matching all guest accommodations and features of sister yachts, Star Breeze and Star Legend. Total investment in refurbishing the three yachts is over $21.5 million dollars in the last two years.

Star Pride 2016 Transformation Highlights:
Suite Upgrades: Two Owner’s Suites were completely rebuilt with a new indoor-outdoor floor plan and interior design featuring new linens, towels, furnishings, windows and drapery. Guests staying in one of the two exclusive suites will enjoy a new, extended private deck area with spectacular views over the bow of the ship.
In addition, all luxurious guest suites on the yacht received stylish new coffee tables, and new flat screen televisions. Comfortable sofa beds were added in the living rooms of 12 select suites now offering triple accommodations.

Public Spaces: All guest stairways and hallways were redone in Windstar blues and earth tones, conveying a unified nautical theme throughout the elegant yacht. New carpets and tile flooring were also added to stairwells and all indoor public spaces.
• The Lounge: the former entertainment lounge now includes new flooring, lighting, sound system, and furniture. The newly created elegant ambiance makes the show lounge an amenable space for entertainment, meetings and small gatherings.
• Veranda: the restaurant in the aft of the yacht expands its outdoor seating to a new courtyard area, complete with a succulent garden wall.
• Star Deck: the top outdoor deck expanded by four feet on each side, giving additional space for guests to relax on deck chairs. The Star Deck also offers a new counter-current pool and whirlpool.
• Library: the Library has been updated with softer colors, new furnishings and new artwork.
• Star Screening Room: the space transformed from a card room to an intimate screening room where guests can watch the latest movies and play video games.
• Fitness Center: the new gym layout includes new flooring, wall coverings and window treatments for a cooler and more refreshing wellness atmosphere.

Dining Venues: AmphorA Restaurant, the main dining room on board, completes its redesign with new flooring, wall coverings, lighting and seating layout. A new public bathroom was added adjacent to the entrance. Veranda restaurant has opened up a 180 degree view of the ocean by adding sliding glass doors and an aft glass wind screen. Veranda also offers expanded outdoor seating in the new courtyard which is complete with a virtual garden wall.
Star Pride was the first of three elegant all-suite yachts to join Windstar’s fleet in the last two years, now at a total of six yachts, including sister yachts Star Breeze and Star Legend, as well as the classic Windstar sailing yachts Wind Surf, Wind Star, and Wind Spirit. Windstar yachts offer guests the chance to travel to 150 international destinations, small secluded ports, hidden harbors and iconic cities, all in Windstar’s signature private yacht style, immersing guests in local cultures around the world offering a vacation experience truly 180 degrees from ordinary.

Image Courtesy Windstar Cruises

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Holland America Line Collaborates with Top Sushi Chef, Andy Matsuda

Already a delight in Tamarind, the Asian-fusion restaurants on board Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, and ms Eurodam, sushi is about to get even better. Whether it's a California roll or a more exotic sushi creation, the premium line’s shipboard chefs are learning from the best in a collaboration with renowned Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda, of the Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles. Not only will Matsuda share his knowledge and train the shipboard chefs to ensure that the cruise line’s staff is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques, but four of his signature rolls will be featured on the dinner menu at Tamarind.

“Sushi is extremely popular with our guests, and creating it is an art form that requires specific skills, techniques and in-depth training,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are excited to collaborate with an expert of Chef Matsuda’s caliber to ensure that our chefs are creating the most exceptional sushi at sea. Anyone who enjoys sushi is going to be very impressed by the presentation and flavors in his creations.”

Matsuda’s four signature rolls to be featured on Tamarind’s dinner menu are a Tempura Lobster Roll with lobster tail, unagi sauce, avocado and asparagus; Nigiri Seared Salmon with green olives and capers; Dragon Roll with tempura shrimp, unagi sauce, avocado and asparagus; and Nigiri Tuna Zuke with yuzu-flavored tuna and guacamole sauce. The Asian-fusion Tamarind restaurant also serves sushi selections on the full dinner menu. Selections feature Spider Roll with soft shell crab tempura, California Roll, Tsutsumi Roll with snapper and avocado, Spicy Tuna Roll, Veggie Rainbow Roll, Volcano Roll with sesame-marinated salmon and Thai chilis, and Nigiri sushi with tuna, salmon and ebi shrimp. Tamarind on ms Koningsdam also features a sushi counter with eight seats where guests can enjoy watching the chefs prepare the fresh sushi.

The Japanese-born chef brings more than 35 years of sushi-making experience and 15 years of teaching to the premium cruise line, and he began his collaboration and training aboard the line’s newest ship, ms Koningsdam. At Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals from all over the world about sushi and Japanese cuisine. More than 1,300 graduates of the institute have gone on to careers in sushi restaurants or have become restaurateurs themselves.

Matsuda learned the joy of cooking at his family’s Japanese restaurant when he was a child, and he went on to have an apprenticeship at Genpachi, one of the most famous restaurants in Osaka, Japan, before bringing his sushi skills to Los Angeles. Following a battle with cancer he sought a deeper understanding of the relationship between food, health, people and the environment, which he then parlayed into becoming one of the world’s foremost sushi experts. Mastuda joins Holland America Line’s elite list of food and beverage collaborators who are the leading authorities in their fields.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Silversea Introduces New Galapagos Itineraries

Starting March 25, 2017, luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea will alternate two exciting new 7-night Galápagos itineraries approved by the Galápagos National Park Service. The 100-guest, all-suite Silver Galapagos will operate both itineraries sailing Saturday to Saturday, with San Cristóbal as a new arrival or departure port for guests.

The new north central itinerary departs Baltra for San Cristóbal with a newly added circumnavigation of Isla Daphne Grande (a.k.a. Daphne Major). The voyage also explores Bahía Darwin and El Barranco in Genovesa; Galapaguera Cerro Colorado and Punta Pitt in San Cristóbal; Bahía Gardner (a.k.a. Gardner Bay) and Punta Suarez in Española; El Edén, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz; as well as Bahía Sullivan, Seymour Norte, Rábida, and Plazas Sur.

Departing from San Cristóbal for Baltra, the new western itinerary is enhanced by such new points of interest as Cerro Dragón and Playa Las Bachas in Santa Cruz and a circumnavigation of Roca León Dormido (a.k.a. Kicker Rock). The balance of the itinerary includes Punta Vicente Roca, Caleta Tagus and Bahía Elizabeth in Isabela; Post Office Bay, Islote Champion and Punta Cormorant in Floreana; Los Gemelos, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz; Bartolomé, Playa Espumilla, and Punta Espinoza.

"These new itineraries will continue to highlight the amazing scenery and wildlife of the Galápagos," said Mark Conroy, Silversea's managing director for the Americas. "For the first time, Silver Galapagos will circumnavigate iconic Kicker Rock and Daphne Major, both spectacular settings for spotting an array of exotic birds. And nature lovers will appreciate the chance to witness beautiful flamingos and sea turtles at Las Bachas Beach, also a new destination."

Silver Galapagos expedition cruises offer adventurous travelers the life-enriching chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea's guests will experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colorful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin's famous finches. Aboard ship, guests enjoy such Silversea hallmarks as the pampering attention of a butler, gourmet cuisine, complimentary wines and spirits served throughout the ship, and free Wi-Fi.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line Adds Features & Amenities at Private Island

Norwegian Cruise Line has shared details of the new experience that awaits guests at the company’s 250-acre private island oasis, Great Stirrup Cay. As the first cruise line to acquire a private island in 1977, Norwegian Cruise Line has invested in several significant updates throughout the years in order to continually enhance the amenities at Great Stirrup Cay, located in the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. Now, as a part of Norwegian’s $400 million investment program The Norwegian Edge™, the cruise line is revolutionizing the destination now through summer 2017 to provide new luxurious amenities, new adventure activities, enhanced and expanded dining options that, together, will present an upgraded atmosphere for guests visiting the island.

Island Experiences
As with previous investments, Norwegian is again focusing on the top to bottom details of the private island experience at Great Stirrup Cay, providing larger scale new restaurants and amenities, as well as numerous smaller details to raise the bar on the island experience even higher. Great Stirrup Cay’s 10 acre beach will soon feature a new half mile oceanside boardwalk that will span the length of the shore with more than 100,000 square feet of pathway, offering easy access to the white sand beaches, as well as access to new shaded areas with benches for relaxation. Just adjacent to the beach, guests looking for a more active island experience can visit the new half-acre entertainment and activity complex, featuring a stage for live music, games and entertainers; basketball and volleyball courts, complete with bleachers; ping-pong tables; and a shaded picnic area where families can play board games or relax together. A new air-conditioned reception area will serve as the central hub for family-fun where guests can plan their day, reserve activities, rent board games, and have access to expansive changing rooms.

Guests seeking heart-pumping adventure will soon be able to enjoy a new zip line course featuring more than 1,000 feet of zip line, allowing guests a bird’s eye view of the island and the sea as they soar through the air. The island’s two parallel zip lines offer the chance for some friendly competition and high-flying races. Those who prefer to take to the sea for exploration can snorkel through the island’s new mystical underwater sculpture garden. Using a waterproof map as a guide, adventure seekers can discover nautical creatures that tell tales of the deep from beneath the sea.

From the many new shaded lounge and picnic spaces, to more than $1 million in new landscaping throughout the island, to new restrooms and lockers at the tender marina, guests will find a whole new experience by January 2017.

Dining
All dining and bar venues will be updated island-wide, adding new resort-style decking, shaded areas, high-top seating at all bars and family-style seating that will add 50 percent more seating capacity at all dining outlets.

A new complimentary taco bar, Abaco Taco, will be added near the island’s entertainment hub, where guests can create their own favorite tacos. The island’s 8,500-square foot buffet will be redesigned to provide faster and more efficient service for guests, and the deck surrounding the buffet will be expanded so guests can enjoy their lunch at new seating areas. The center of the island will feature a shaded lounge area with modern chic furniture and bar service, for guests who want to enjoy paradise in style.

Building on the brand’s exclusive partnership with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Great Stirrup Cay will also feature a LandShark Bar & Grill. Inspired by the traditional beach bars of the Atlantic Coast, LandShark Bar & Grill offers the perfect mix of casual dining, free-flowing drinks and fun with panoramic ocean views and indoor and outdoor seating. Menu items will be available à la carte.

Exclusive Lagoon Retreat
Guests seeking the ultimate island luxury will experience a retreat like no other at Great Stirrup Cay’s exclusive lagoon enclave, beginning in Summer 2017. This private area of Great Stirrup Cay features a secluded, pristine beach; oceanview restaurant; a posh Mandara Spa; sheltered family area; and 22 air-conditioned private villas available for reservations, ranging in size from studios to two-bedrooms. The lagoon will be available on a complimentary basis to The Haven and Suite guests, along with guests who purchase an on-island Mandara Spa service. In addition, a limited amount of passes to the Lagoon will available for purchase on each sailing.

The Lagoon experience begins as guests are welcomed by staff at a modern, air-conditioned reception area complete with beach chic décor that features floor to ceiling windows overlooking the area’s expansive private beaches. From the reception building, guests can reserve activities, rent equipment, or relax in the shade on the outdoor terrace or an additional shaded seating area nearby that can be accessed by the lagoon bridge. The center of the lagoon will feature a floating swim up bar for guests to enjoy their favorite cocktails without ever having to leave the water. Both children and parents will enjoy a shallow, partitioned family beach area along with grassy areas for active play, swing sets, and picnic tables. Those guests celebrating a special occasion or traveling in a large group can reserve an expansive, well-appointed private room for private functions of up to 75 guests, with food and beverage service available. Guests looking to refresh and recharge during their private island getaway can indulge in the full range of treatments offered at the lagoon’s luxurious Mandara Spa, with four treatment rooms offering signature spa services.

Guests who purchase a reservation for one of Great Stirrup Cay’s luxury beach villas will enjoy a completely pampered experience from ship to shore, as they will be whisked away by one of several air-conditioned shuttles running from the tender marina to the lagoon reception area. Studio villas feature an outdoor terrace, private bathroom and living/dining area, and can accommodate two to four guests. One bedroom villas accommodate four to six guests and feature a bedroom, private bathroom, living and dining areas and outdoor terrace with a hot tub. The ultimate island escape, Great Stirrup Cay’s two bedroom villas can accommodate up to 10 guests and feature two bedrooms, two private bathrooms, living and dining areas, and an expansive outdoor terrace with a dining area and hot tub.

Exclusively for guests of the lagoon retreat, the two-story Silver Palm restaurant will offer complimentary dining in a stunning setting, with both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a rooftop terrace overlooking the area’s expansive ocean views. All luxury beach villas will also include food and beverage service for guests who wish to enjoy refreshments in the privacy of their villa.

Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy all areas of the newly-renovated Great Stirrup Cay on a number of Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries available in 2017.

Great Stirrup Cay Photo © CruiseDiva.com

Monday, June 13, 2016

Adventure of the Seas The Next Royal Caribbean Ship To Undergo Revitalization

In the continuing process of upgrading their fleet, Royal Caribbean International will debut an array of all-new thrills and enhancements onboard Adventure of the Seas this November, including new dual racer waterslides—Cyclone and Typhoon, the popular FlowRider surf simulator, and a children’s aquapark, Splashaway Bay. Additionally, guests will find a new lineup of culinary and entertainment venues with Izumi Japanese Cuisine, the brand’s signature steakhouse—Chops Grille, and Boleros Latin Lounge. The ship also will receive more than 100 new staterooms, a refresh of all existing staterooms, and a brand new Suites Lounge for the luxury traveler.

The reinvented Adventure is Royal Caribbean’s fifth ship to undergo revitalization, and at $61 million this will be the brand’s largest investment yet. The massive project will introduce some of the trademark innovations the cruise line is known for, bringing the best of Royal Caribbean onboard.

“We are thrilled to debut an array of new enhancements to one of our guest’s most beloved ships,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The name Adventure says it all; this ship is packed with action, featuring a mix of signature features and innovations, including thrilling new waterslides and VOOM, the fastest internet at sea.”

Other features offered on the Voyager-class ship include the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, three pools including the adults-only Solarium, a rock climbing wall, basketball court, Windjammer Café, Johnny Rockets and the three-story Main Dining Room. Adventure also delivers popular entertainment options, with complimentary Broadway-style entertainment in the main theater, ice-skating shows in Studio B, and the lively Royal Promenade with its parties, parades, dance and shopping outlets.

Adventure of the Seas offers vacationers a chance to explore the Caribbean even deeper with itineraries, sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the most sought-after spots in the Southern Caribbean, including Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; St. Johns, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.