Celebrity Equinox wows after extensive refurbishment

A half-acre of luxuriant green grass. A glass furnace where visitors are taught to make their own unique souvenirs. A 3D dining experience where four teeny chefs create special dishes on each tabletop and dinner plate. Can all of this be on a beautiful cruise ship? Yep, these and other attractions are drawing compliments for the recently renovated Celebrity Equinox. Although I had cruised on other Celebrity ships, including the celebrated Celebrity Edge, I had never been …

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Valencia, Spain: Hometown of famed architect Calatrava

With its glistening white and shiny glass, it looks like the legendary city of Atlantis floating on a sea of blue. Or it might be a gigantic eyeball in a basin of water. Or a flying saucer that has landed in the midst of a city pool. It could even be a helmet that some mammoth warrior dropped. The City of Arts and Sciences is a work of art itself and can make the imagination soar just …

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Rollin’ on the river … new American Harmony draws admiring looks on river voyage

With cameras and cellphones in their hands, people on shore watched as the new American Harmony cruise ship docked along the Louisiana shore at St. Francisville. And they weren’t disappointed. The ship’s unique bow opens like some mythical creature’s jaws from which a retractable gangway can be extended for bow landings virtually anywhere. Passengers then walk comfortably down the extended gangway. Standing ashore, I admired how the sleek ship with its eye-catching bow looks like something from …

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Astoria Cruise: Learning about special olive oil on Astoria cruise ship

Never know who you might meet on a cruise ship. Since seats aren’t assigned in the Astoria dining room, I was invited to sit next to a woman at dinner one evening. After introducing ourselves, I reached for the olive oil and fresh bread before our dinner menus arrived. The olive oil is delicious and I have been starting every dining room meal enjoying that tasty oil with the unusual name – ACAIA. The woman sitting next …

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Astoria Cruise: Santa Rosalia is home to ‘World Famous’ bakery

Like little kids with our noses pressed up against a confectionary window, we are visiting the century-old El Boleo bakery in Santa Rosalia, northern Baja California Sur, Mexico. As passengers on the Astoria, we have been fed to the gills with delicious food throughout our cruise. So you know we aren’t the least bit hungry. But smelling that delicious bread and pastries made us pull out pesos to buy some. Well worth it. No wonder El Boleo …

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Astoria Cruise: Exploring the Ship

At 72 years old, she is still an elegant beauty. Long after many cruise ships have ceased sailing the world’s oceans, the Astoria continues to entertain guests in comfortable fashion. As the world’s oldest cruise ship still sailing, the Astoria has cruised under many different names. Her original name, of course, was the Stockholm. Launched in 1948, the Stockholm has gone down in history as the ship that accidentally collided with the Andrea Doria on July 25, …

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Astoria Cruise: Visiting La Paz, the city of peace

Thanks to my high school English teacher Miss Frances Cappel, I knew the significance of the pearl sculpture on the beautiful malecon in La Paz, Mexico. I also knew a bit of the history of this Baja California Sur capital whose name means “The Peace.” For my first shore excursion stop on my Astoria cruise, I was looking forward to actually stepping foot in La Paz. My high school years are some decades in the past but …

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Astoria Cruise: Dining delights abound on Sea of Cortez cruise

Would I prefer Atlantic salmon with dill mousseline served with Zatar wild rice pilaf and sautéed spinach? Or maybe surf and turf with filet mignon with gorgonzola butter and grilled half lobster tail accompanied by Duchess potato, braised fennel and cabernet sauvignon sauce? But wait. There are two other main course choices and a vegetarian menu as well to make my decision even more difficult. Helping to give diners a visual of the choices on the Astoria …

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Astoria Cruise: Boarding the ship, finding my cabin

Some passengers don’t like taking a “tender” to go from ship to shore or vice versa on a cruise. It does take longer to board and ride in that small boat than it takes to just walk off a cruise ship. But many of the ports on our Sea of Cortez cruise don’t have docking facilities. When docking is not an option, ships will anchor in deeper water offshore and use smaller boats called tenders to transport …

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Astoria Cruise: Former Stockholm cruise ship now in ‘Farewell Season’ with Cruise & Maritime Voyages

The woman walking ahead of me on our way to the Astoria theater suddenly stopped and stared at a glass display case. “What is a bell from the old Stockholm ship doing on this boat?” she asked. The answer is quite simple. And definitely fascinating. The Astoria is the old Stockholm. And we are cruising aboard the historic ship on the Sea of Cortez. I boarded in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for a six-night cruise and will …

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