Celebrity Cruises adds ‘SPE Certified’ to culinary dishes

In what Celebrity Cruises says is another “culinary first,” they have partnered with SPE Certified to “expand its healthy dining options with scientifically-grounded, third-party validation of their merits.” SPE (Latin for Sanitas Per Escam, or “Health Through Food”) Certified is a certification and consulting program aimed at enhancing nutrition without compromising taste. Using criteria such as seasonality, sourcing, sustainability and ideal portion size, every dish they certify is low in salt and saturated fats and meet other …

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Tanja, martini master on the Azamara Quest

If you are ever on the Azamara Quest, and love a good martini (and who doesn’t?), you should go straight-away to the Casino Luxe Bar on deck 5 and see Tanja from Macedonia. Besides being a true martini master, her friendly, accommodating service creates a relaxing, glad-you-are-here experience. One of the specialties there is the “Martini Flight” — a sampler of five different martinis for $15. Of course we had to try it. It added to the …

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Getaway to feature magic experience

Two news items from Norwegian… IT’S MAGIC. Guests aboard Norwegian Getaway,debuting February, 2014, will be guaranteed a magical time, thanks to the Illusionarium. Called the first of its kind at sea, the dining/entertainment experience “will envelope guests in the fascinating world of magic, inviting them to experience the astonishing illusions of world-class magicians and supernatural special effects,” according to Norwegian. The result of a collaboration between Norwegian and Broadway director/choreographer Patricia Wilcox, Tony Award winning scenic designer David Gallo and veteran …

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Sin City Comedy will be new entertainment on Celebrity ships

Sin City is coming to Celebrity — “Sin City Comedy” that is. The acclaimed Las Vegas show, described as “edgy, funny and a little bit sexy,” debuts as a new late night entertainment option on Reflection and Silhouette, then move to Solstice in May. The Planet Hollywood show is a two-time winner of the “Best of Las Vegas” award. Because the shows contain adult content, they are restricted to guests age 18 and older.

Cunard decides to ease up the dress codes on its three Queens

The Telegraph is reporting that Cunard is relaxing their famous dress code. Quoting the article: “The British-American cruise line, known for its long-standing commitment to formal dress codes, has refined its evening wear options of ‘formal’, ‘semi-formal’, and ‘elegant casual’ to simply ‘formal’ and ‘informal’.” They say the new relaxed measures will take effect in April. I can just hear Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey reacting to the news: “Has the world gone mad?” Somehow I doubt …

Read moreCunard decides to ease up the dress codes on its three Queens

Our final days at sea, we travel a different path but there is lots to entertain us

ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY ELEVEN – It is our next to last day at sea, and the captain has plotted us a new course. As he explained it, storm swells have caused havoc up and down the Atlantic, and affected a number of cruise ships in the region, including Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, which was buffeted by both high winds and waves. To skirt those issues, we will be returning to Miami via the Old …

Read moreOur final days at sea, we travel a different path but there is lots to entertain us

We had a glorious day in St. Thomas, but came away empty-handed from our shopping foray

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY TEN – While we still feel the disappointment of missing Virgin Gorda, it is a glorious (and calm) day dockside in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. High swells forced a change in our final port of call, and we had evidence of those on the way over last night with some major rocking (not coming from the disco dance floor, either). If we needed further evidence of the unruly seas, while …

Read moreWe had a glorious day in St. Thomas, but came away empty-handed from our shopping foray

St. Barts is your destination for high end shopping; however, we pull out early to head to St.Maarten

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY EIGHT – You don’t have to be rich and famous to come to St. Barts (or St. Barths, or Saint Barthelemy – you’ll see all variations of the name), but definitely being the former will help. This way station for the jet set features the highest of high end shopping (in the market for a Louis Vuitton hammock?) set amid its charming Swedish and French roots. We were originally scheduled …

Read moreSt. Barts is your destination for high end shopping; however, we pull out early to head to St.Maarten

It’s smart to take a tour or have a game plan if you want to explore the small island of Nevis

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY SEVEN – It’s early Friday morning and we are anchored off the small island of Nevis (pronounced KNEE-vis). Nearby is its larger counterpart, St. Kitts. The waters here are very still and quiet, and of course, deeply blue. The forecast is hot and sunny; with more hot and sunny into the foreseeable future. One note from yesterday: As we departed Dominica, one of those beautiful Caribbean sunsets was in the …

Read moreIt’s smart to take a tour or have a game plan if you want to explore the small island of Nevis

We enjoyed the botanical garden and waterfalls on the ‘nature island of’ Dominica

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY SIX – We awakened this morning dockside at Roseau on the island of Dominica, “the nature island of the Caribbean.” Sandwiched between Guadeloupe and Martinique, this former British colony, independent since 1978, is almost 300 square miles in size, much of it dense rainforest. We are here just for the day, so we opted for a three-hour tour to take a look at the place where just over 70,000 people …

Read moreWe enjoyed the botanical garden and waterfalls on the ‘nature island of’ Dominica

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