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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Carnival Horizon - Teppanyaki Dining Concept

I'm excited about this and I know you will be too, Carnival Horizon will feature their first-ever teppanyaki dining concept!

Teppanyaki is a Japanese word that roughly translates to "grilling on an iron plate." It is a traditional Japanese cooking method that includes an entertaining performance by a Chef who prepares the food right in front of the guests on a flat grill.

The restaurant will be open for lunch on sea days and every evening for dinner. Guests can choose from many mouthwatering dishes such as Teppanyaki Shrimp with Soy Butter and Salsa Vinaigrette, and Pork Belly Yakitori with Sesame Asparagus for appetizers, entrees such as Lobster Tail with Yuzu Cream and Citrus Kosho, and Filet Mignon with Truffle Salt, Garlic Chips and Champagne Cognac Flambé, and all meals will end on sweet note with a Chocolate Bento Box with Green Tea Ice Cream.

Bonsai Teppanyaki is among many innovative venues and features that will be aboard the beautiful Carnival Horizon when it debuts in Europe in April 2018.

 Bonsai teppanyaki

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Introducing Carnival Playtime on Select Sailings, Sushi Added to 4 More Ships

Introducing 'Carnival Playtime' Featuring My Little Pony and Transformers

Carnival Playtime will be available on every three- and four-night sailing on the "Carnival Imagination" departing Long Beach from July 13 through September 17. 

Your kids will have a blast with fun activities and games inspired by the My Little Pony and Transformers TV and movie series, such as games like Rainbow Dash's cupcake toss, Knock out the Autobots and Target the Enemy, along with face-painting, prizes, music a movie screening, and more! 

They will also have the opportunity to meet some of their favorite My Little Pony and Transformers characters and take pictures with them! 
Click here for more information.

Sushi Lovers Rejoice! Sushi Pop-Up Venue Added to Four Ships

Bonsai Sushi has been such a popular venue on Carnival ships that they have decided to roll-out a pop-up style sushi venue on the Carnival Conquest, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Glory.

These stand-alone eateries are conveniently located on the Lido Deck of these four ships and offer a variety of fresh sushi, sashimi and rolls on an a la carte basis with prices ranging from $1.50 to $7.50.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Important Information about Cuba Travel with NCL

If you are booked, or are looking to book, a cruise to Cuba with NCL...  here is some helpful information!

You can travel to Cuba under the people-to-people authorized travel category under the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  

To do so, you must maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people.

You are required to self certify that your activities meet these requirements and also retain records of your activities for a period of 5 years. You must complete and send Norwegian your certification form within 30 days before your departure date. 

Norwegian gives you the option of fulfilling your OFAC requirements through their diverse selection of 

Tours must be booked no later than 3 days prior to sailing. Tour availability is not guaranteed on board. 

Benefits to pre-booking Havana excursions through Norwegian:

All tours are OFAC compliant
Priority disembarkation in Havana
Space confirmed prior to sailing

Learn more about their available Havana shore excursions. And for more information about your upcoming visit to Cuba, check out their FAQs

Monday, April 17, 2017

Symphony of the Seas - Fun Facts and Pics of the World's Largest Ship

The next Royal Caribbean ship will be a game changer!  The Symphony of the Seas is set to debut in Europe spring 2018 before moving to Miami in the fall.

The Symphony will become the world's largest cruise ship, spanning 16 guest decks and encompassing approximately 230,000 gross registered tons.

Here are some fun facts about the new ship and lots of photos:

The ship can hold up to 6780 guests

There will be 2175 cruise members onboard

215.5 feet wide, and 1,188 feet long

18 total decks with 24 guest elevators

4 bow thrusters, with 7,500 horsepower each

2,775 staterooms

The Ultimate Abyss: A 10 story slide

The Perfect Storm: Trio of water slides

Splashaway Bay: Kids water park

Seven distinct neighborhoods
Central Park, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place, and the Youth Zone

Dining options:
Complimentary: Main Dining Room, Mini Bites, Sorrento's, Boardwalk Dog House, Windjammer Marketplace, Park Cafe

Specialty restaurants: Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Izumi Japanese Cuisine, Johnny Rockets, Jamie's Italian Coastal Kitchen, Chops Grille, Cafe Promenade, Vitality Cafe, and Solarium Bistro

And we can't forget about the Aqua Theater, Rock Climbing Walls, FlowerRider surf simulator, AND they will have the fastest internet at sea with Voom!

Check out the pics!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Shrimp with Pan-Fried Noodles

Celebrity chef Martin Yan is the host of the award-winning television program Yan Can Cook, author of a dozen cookbooks and an acclaimed restaurateur. 
And, he has exclusively designed the onboard Chinese menus featured on Viking River Cruises China ships. 

He says that the key to preparing the perfect crispy noodle pancake is the swirling of the noodle in the pan, which keeps the noodles from sticking. They are a great accompaniment to a variety of stir-fry dishes such as black pepper beef, chicken and a variety of sautéed vegetables.


Noodle Pancakes:

  • 16 oz fresh Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 T vegetable oil


  • 1/2 C ketchup
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 T sweet chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 T curry powder


  • 1 T cooking oil
  • 1 T lemongrass, minced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 green & red bell peppers, cut into small chunks
  • 1 lb med raw shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • 1 T sesame oil


Noodle Pancakes:

Place noodles in a pot of boiling water and cool. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with sesame oil. Set aside. Heat a wide nonstick frying pan over medium heat and swirl 1 T of vegetable oil around to coat. Spread half of noodles evenly in pan. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until noodles are golden brown. Swirl pan a few times to prevent noodles from sticking. Keep warm in a 200°F (93°C) oven and repeat with remaining noodles. Makes 2 noodle pancakes.


Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.


Heat a large stir-fry pan over high heat; swirl vegetable oil around to coat. Add lemongrass, garlic and ginger stirring 15 seconds until fragrant. Add bell peppers and green onions; stir fry for 1 minute. Add shrimp and stir fry for about 2 minutes, until they begin to curl and turn pink. Add sauce and cook until it boils and thickens slightly. Add sesame oil and toss to coat. Serve over the pan-fried noodles.
  • Cook time: 8 minutes
  • Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

American "Constellation" Heads to West Coast

American Constellation
Heads to the West Coast

The brand new American Constellation is moving to the west coast in 2018. With a passenger capacity of only 175 guests, this ship can visit charming towns not accessible to larger vessels, and offers a comfortable and elegant way to explore the picturesque wilderness of Puget Sound and Alaska. 

Plus, American Constellation features modern décor and amenities, the largest staterooms in the industry, and private balconies in every room. 

Reservations for 2018 departures on board the American Constellation are now being accepted, 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Trends and Tips for Cruising with Kids

The cruise lines continue to ramp up family-friendly amenities and activities onboard their ships, so here's a look at just SOME of the trends, tips and developments for cruising with your kids and grand kids...

Embracing the Animal Kingdom!
Young kids LOVE seeing wild animals and marine life in their natural habitat... and that makes Alaska, central and South America, the Galapagos, Africa and other regions excellent destinations for your family travel and wildlife viewing opportunities.

For example, Paul Gauguin Cruises partners with the Wildlife Conservation Society and offers summertime programs for kids 7-17.  And Princess Cruises has interactive Discovery at Sea experiences based on Discovery's TV programs such as "Shark Week" and "Mythbusters."

More Family Accommodations:
Carnival Cruises Lines' "Carnival Vista" has the new Family Harbor suites with access to a family lounge.  Other perks include Camp Ocean (kids club), and the industry's first IMAX theater.

The Rise of Foodie Families:
Nowadays, kids love cooking classes and culinary events!  Crystal Cruises has cookie baking and pizza making within their Junior Activities program.

Enhanced Water Safety:
Last month, Royal Caribbean began adding certified lifeguards at all its pools.  You can also expect safety vests for kids, and emergency drills in the kids club.

Kids Clubs are Getting More Extensive:
Cruise lines have started partnering with well-known companies and characters... like DreamWorks Entertainment with Shrek and Madagascar on Royal Caribbean.  The youth programs are being revitalized and updated across the board with tons of activities, arts and crafts, and science-oriented programming.

When planning a cruise with your family, whether it's a family of four or a multi-generational cruise vacation spent together... there is something for kids of all ages to enjoy!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ocean Medallion Cruises - The Next Wave of Vacation Travel and ENTER TO WIN A FREE CRUISE

Be among the first to experience Ocean Medallion by Princess Cruises.

An Ocean Medallion vacation is more than just a cruise. It's an amplified experience with personalized service that gives you the extra time and freedom to discover and do more of what you love.

It's the size of a quarter and holds your digital identity, which means it knows who you are and what you like. Your Ocean Medallion is your key to opening experiences on board and can be worn as a wristband, pendant, clip or simply kept in your pocket.

A personal guide you can access anywhere — on your mobile devices, your stateroom TV and touchscreens throughout the ship. With Ocean Compass, you can order food and drinks right to
you and find your group on board.

• Streamlines the boarding process for an easy arrival
• Allows for hands-free stateroom entry (no more keycards!)
• Helps you locate friends and family on the ship
• Lets you shop without any swiping or signing
• Creates dining experiences based on what you love
• Opens up a world of interactive gaming and immersive           entertainment
• Enhances communication between guests and crew members for more tailored assistance

Each guest's personal information is encrypted and never stored on the Medallion. If guests prefer to opt out of the Ocean Medallion experience, they can do so while still enjoying an amazing vacation.


You could be one of the first guests to experience this next wave in vacation travel. From January through August 2017, each month, one lucky winner will receive a 4-day Caribbean cruise for two in a balcony stateroom on the Ocean Medallion preview sailing on Regal Princess.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The New Celebrity Edge is Going to Be Stunning!

We know that for modern adventurers, travel isn’t a spectator sport. It’s about being fully immersed in new destinations and cultures without sacrificing comfort and style. 

Celebrity Cruises gets this.  And now they’ve made the destination experience even more immersive, starting right on board.

From its unique outward-facing design to the industry-first Magic Carpet that reaches heights of 13 stories above sea level, Celebrity Edge breaks from traditional ship design. 

Edge Class pushes the boundaries of cruise ship architecture from bow to stern, and everywhere in between. From urban condo-inspired accommodations to the industry-first Magic Carpet, they’ve reinvented what’s possible on a Celebrity Cruises vacation.

They also carefully selected a team of the world’s best designers, based on their portfolios as well as their inexperience with cruise ships and cruising.

That’s right. They sought out designers who were new to the cruise industry, because they wanted to ensure every aspect of Celebrity Edge would be a departure from traditional thinking about cruising.

 Visionaries who would bring a completely fresh perspective to ship design—and it looks like they got exactly that with their team of renowned designers.

Kelly Hoppen, MBE - Accommodations
Tom Wright - Exterior Profile Design
Nate Berkus - Design Ambassador

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Greek Summer Salad with Grilled Halloumi

Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises - The most inclusive luxury experience!

From Culinary Arts Kitchen Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly...

Today, they are inspired by the warm Aegean weather of Greece and opting for a fresh Greek Summer Salad with Grilled Halloumi – a tasty addition to any meal. 
This salad is simple, but incredibly sublime!

If you are not familiar with Halloumi, it is a Cypriot firm, brined, slightly springy white cheese, traditionally made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk, although these days cow’s milk is also used. Its texture is similar to that of mozzarella or thick feta, except that it has a strong, salty flavor imbibed from the brine preserve. Cooking the Halloumi removes all its saltiness and empowers it with a creamy texture.
Since the cheese has a high melting point, it can be easily fried or grilled. .
Halloumi is generally served during the warmer months with watermelon, due to its refreshing qualities. It is an essential part of a Cyprus Meze and many a times it is offered as an accompaniment with cold beer. 
The cheese also tastes lovely when grilled, pan-fried or thinly sliced on a salad.

Greek Summer Salad with Grilled Halloumi 
Serves 2
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup 2-inch watermelon cubes
1 cup 2-inch cucumber cubes
6 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces halloumi, in ½-inch slices
4 paper-thin slices red onion, rings separated
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Greek

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the tomatoes, watermelon and cucumber with the basil. Heat a cast iron grill pan on high heat. When very hot, brush with the oil. Sear the halloumi slices on both sides, creating a black char mark on the surfaces. Plate the salad with the halloumi on the side and garnish with onion rings, extra virgin olive oil and oregano.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Introducing the "Symphony of the Seas"!

Get to know the Royal Caribbean's BOLDEST SHIP EVER!  

Sailing Europe in the Spring of 2018 and then on to the Caribbean in Fall of 2018

Click HERE to learn more and see the video!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Cruise Ships by Size

Although all ships share certain similarities, ship size very much matters when it comes to your overall cruise experience. 
In fact, the size of the ship—large, midsize, or small—affects pretty much every other aspect of the cruise: how many fellow passengers you'll share your vacation with, the onboard dining and entertainment options, the activities you'll be offered, and even the ports of call you can visit.

Accordingly, choosing the right ship can make or break your vacation, so consider your lifestyle and expectations carefully when making this important decision.

Large Ships

In general, bigger ships offer more room for onboard amenities and feature all the bells and whistles that modern passengers have come to associate with cruising. Given their cross-generational, something-for-everyone appeal and budget-friendly pricing, you're more likely to find a younger and family-oriented demographic represented aboard larger ships. At these veritable villages-at-sea, you should anticipate crowds at popular onboard spots like the pool decks or while tendering in port. Larger ships can only access the biggest ports, so expect itineraries that cover popular, well-trafficked ports like St. Thomas and St. Maarten in the Caribbean, and Barcelona and Civitavecchia in the Mediterranean.
Image result for quantum of the seas

Midsize Ships

For many cruisers, midsize ships provide a happy medium, combining some big-ship features with smaller-ship atmosphere (like fewer crowds and more intimate spaces). There's no lack of entertainment and features on these ships, but they don't usually have the extravagant facilities of the largest ships. Alternative dining is generally an option, and you can still expect ample nightlife, a casino, shows, and a spa. Some vessels in this category are refurbished older ships that offer particularly good value, while others afford a luxury experience all their own. Due to their size, these ships have room for a sizable staff, providing higher staff-to-passenger ratios than on larger ships. Midsize ships can go almost anywhere, and may include more exotic port calls than the largest ships do.

Small Ships

Smaller ships tend to excel at off-the-beaten-path itineraries since the vessels can comfortably access more intimate ports. Smaller ship size does not allow for a lot of onboard extras, but lines often splurge for more plush appointments in cabins and public spaces. Onboard atmosphere is more intimate, with fewer guests and more personalized staff attention, but that attention and exclusivity can come with a price. Intriguing itineraries are more often the focus of the voyage and often include some ports of call, such as St. Barts or Portofino, Italy, which are not suited for larger ships.

American Cruise Lines Reveals New Class of Modern Riverboats

American Cruise Lines has announced details for the first of a new class of five modern riverboats destined for America’s rivers. The first in the series is scheduled to begin service in 2018 and will carry 200 guests.

American Constellation, first of a new class of riverboats.

At 345 feet long, the new riverboat will combine the modern styling of a European riverboat with premium comfort, and will feature the largest staterooms on the United States’ rivers, with private balconies and hotel-size bathrooms.

“For over a decade, we have led the way with ship innovation in the United States and we continue to raise the bar with this new class of modern riverboats,” says Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “American Cruise Lines has consistently pursued its newbuild program, as it considers refurbished boats unable to meet the modern expectations of today’s river cruise passengers.”

Construction has already begun on the new modern riverboat at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland. In addition to the new class of modern riverboats, American Cruise Lines is building two additional cruise ships at Chesapeake Shipbuilding. American Constellation has a capacity of 170 passengers and is scheduled to begin cruising in May 2017, and its sister ship will begin cruising in 2018.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

How to Pronounce the Islands of the South Pacific

~ Destination Pronunciation Guide for the ms Paul Gauguin ~
The exotic cultures of the South Pacific islands are reflected in the beautiful languages spoken by the people who call them home.  This handy reference acquaints you with the names of the islands that the ms Paul Gauguin visits!
Bora Bora: BORE-ah BORE-ah
Motu Mahana: MOE-too ma-HAN-a
Taha'a: TAH-hah
Huahine: who-ah-HEE-nay
Papeete: pah-pee-EY-tey
Moorea: moh-ah-RAY-ah
Lautoka, Viti Levu: lah-oh-TOKE-ah, vee-tee LEH-voo
Malolo Island: mah-LOW-low
Suva, Viti Levu: SOO-vah, vee-tww LEH-voo
Savusavu, Vanua Levu: sah-voo-SAH-voo, VAHN-oo-ah LEH-voo
Nuku Hiva: noo-koo HEE-vah
Hiva Oa: hee-vah OH-ah
Tahuata: TAH-hu-a-ta
Fatu Hiva: fah-too HEE-vah
Port Vila, Efate: port VEE-lah, ah-Fah-tah
Tanna Island: TAH-nah
Noumea: noo-MAY-ah
Ile de Llfou: eel dih lee-FOO
Ile de Pins: eel dih PEH
Rangiroa: rain-geh-ROW-ah
Fakarava: fah-kah-RAH-vah
Aitutaki: eye-too-TAH-kee
Rarotonga: rare-eh-TONG-geh

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Five Things to Know About the Disney Magic!

Disney’s first cruise ship, the 1,754-passenger Disney Magic caters to children and parents alike with a splashy water slides, adults-only areas, and lots of Disney-level entertainment.

There’s Plenty to Keep Kids Happy

Saying this ship is family-focused is an understatement. As on any Disney vessel, the kid-centric activities are almost too many to count: There’s Pirate’s Night, when kids head to costume shop and salon Bippity Boppity Boutique to dress up like buccaneers for a pool-deck party featuring a fireworks and a pirate show. There’s the Oceaneer Club, where kids 3-12 get to train in S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters at the Marvel Avengers Academy. There’s also a Small World Nursery for infants, Edge lounge for tweens 11 to 14, and Vibe for teens. Bonus: even the inside staterooms have pullout couches and sleep up to four, and most cabins have an extra half bathroom, so you can shower while the kids brush their teeth.

It’s Parent-Friendly

When parents need a night alone, they head to Palo, the ship’s upscale adults-only Italian restaurant. After a dinner of butternut agnolotti and seared sea scallops, their next stop is After Hours, the adults-only district, home to O’Gills Pub, Keys piano bar, and Fathoms, an ocean-themed nightclub with a cocktail menu that include drinks like the Anenome and the Black Pearl.

Restaurants Are More Than a Meal

Most ships have one main dining room. The Disney Magic has three, which passengers rotate through during the voyage. (You’ll have the same table mates and waiter every night.)  At Animator’s Palate, shows are projected on screens and art turns from black and white to color on the walls; at the Three Caballeros-themed Carioca’s, passengers order Latin-inspired dishes like rum-marinated swordfish and black bean soup; and at upscale Lumiere’s, the menu is filled with French dishes named after Beauty and the Beast characters (“Mrs. Potts” French onion soup; “Gaston’s” escargots gratins). Or check out the buffet at Cabana’s, which has clamshell tables, Adirondack chairs, and a Finding Nemo mosaic on the wall.

There Are Water Slides

AquaDuck is no ordinary slide. After entering a chute behind the red smokestack, you’ll plunge through 212 feet of drops and curves, including a see-through stretch that extends over the side of the ship. After a few turns, kids can head to AquaLab to try the more sedate Twist ‘n’ Spout slide, splash in the Huey, Dewy, and Louie-themed pool, and play amid the water geysers and pouring paint cans. Goofy’s Family Pool is the main pool area, and Disney movies are broadcast on a 24-foot-wide screen there all day long. And when parents need a break from the clamor, they can retreat to the adults-only pool, Quiet Cove, which is flanked by two hot tubs, a bar, and a coffeehouse.

The Shows Are Spectacular

Disney knows how to put on a Broadway-caliber production. Choose between Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story and Disney Dreams, which features cameos from Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and Aladdin. Both happen at the huge Walt Disney Theater; the on-stage screen is also used for 3D movie showings.

Photos courtesy of Disney