Friday, March 17, 2017

Celebrity 2018 Europe Deployment


Europe Grand Mediterranean Tour reintroduced with TWO options 

  • Constellation in summer of 2018, three 7-night back-to-back sailings create a round-trip vacation from Venice, Rome, or Barcelona, with only 1 repeat port (Rome) 16 cities, 6 countries, 2 overnight stays (Ibiza & Barcelona), 21 days 

  • Reflection in summer of 2018, two back-to-back sailings (10-night Eastern Mediterranean and 11-night Western Mediterranean) round-trip from Rome with 1 repeat port (Rome) 15 cities, 6 countries, 1 overnight stay (Barcelona), 21 days 

Celebrity Silhouette will move to Southampton (replacing Eclipse)

  • NEW TO BRAND World Cup Signature Event Sailing to Russia 
    • Double overnight stay in St. Petersburg with VIP treatment and tickets to 3rd place match in St. Petersburg and final match in Moscow 
  • Norwegian Fjords sailings 
  • Scandinavian /Russia sailings 
  • Western Mediterranean /Canaries & Azores sailings

On this St. Patrick's Day, we thought we'd feature the Dublin sailings here.  For additional details about European sailings this year or next, visit our website.

Celebrity Eclipse will move to Amsterdam (replacing Solstice)
after several round-trip cruises from Dublin, Ireland

  • NEW TO BRAND, first major cruise line to call Dublin a homeport with round- trip sailings, including MORE Iceland sailings,including stops in Belfast, N. Ireland; Reykjavik and Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick, Scotland; and Cork, Ireland. 
  • NEW TO BRAND, Dublin City Stay including: • 3 nights in a 4-star, luxury hotel, including breakfasts • Full day, fully-guided City Highlights Tour, including lunch • Half day, fully-guided Evening City Tour, including a farewell dinner • Celebrity Cruises Hospitality Desk in your hotel • All transfers
  • Shore Excursions – NEW TO BRAND, [info to come]
We think the following itineraries will be very popular, so we suggest booking early.

15 Nights Azores & Ireland Transatlantic 2018: Apr 15 Miami, Florida; Ponta Delgada, Azores (Overnight); Cork (Cobh), Ireland; Waterford (Dunmore East), Ireland; Dublin, Ireland (Overnight) 

click images to enlarge
10 Nights Ireland & Iceland 2018: Apr 30; May 10 Dublin, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Reykjavik, Iceland (Overnight); Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; Cork (Cobh), Ireland; Dublin, Ireland 

8 Nights Norwegian Fjords 2018: May 20 Dublin, Ireland; Bergen, Norway; Flam, Norway; Geiranger, Norway; Alesund, Norway; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland 

10 Nights Ireland & Iceland 2018: May 28 Dublin, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Reykjavik, Iceland (Overnight); Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; Cork (Cobh), Ireland; Dublin, Ireland 

12 Nights British Isles & French Open 2018: Jun 7 Dublin, Ireland; Paris (Le Havre), France (Overnight); Liverpool, England; Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Waterford (Dunmore East), Ireland; Cork (Cobh), Ireland; St. Peter Port, Channel Isl; Amsterdam, Netherlands


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Happy St Patrick's Day 2017

                              Happy Saint Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years.

On St. Patrick's Day, which falls in the middle of the Christian Lenten season, Irish families would go to church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. The Irish would dance, drink and feast on the traditional Irish Bacon and Cabbage. Lenten regulations about not eating meat were waived if necessary so that the traditional meal could be eaten.  They are waived again this year in Chicago.

Here in the United States, St. Patrick's Day has become a celebration for not only the Irish, but for all. There are parades and celebrations which include green beer. The Chicago River is dyed green each year in honor of the event.

Watch as the world turns green ...
Other Related Blog Posts on Ireland:
Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland's greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland's greatest treasures.

Blarney Castle (64 photos)
We've cruised to Ireland several times.  The collage above is made up of several images from a visit to Blarney Castle.   This is one of the favorite stops of visitors to the Cobh, Ireland area. Why not plan a cruise that includes Ireland, and kiss the Blarney stone for good luck?  We leave you with this Irish Blessing on this St. Patrick's Day.

 May you always have...
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Celebrity Edge Revealed

Courtesy Celebrity Cruises - Artist Rendering Celebrity Edge  Magic Carpet 

Celebrity Edge

"A Ship Designed to Depart from the Expected". 

Sailing Fall 2018

Travel partners got a glimpse at Celebrity Edge today.  The new class of ships, the first introduced to the Celebrity fleet since 2007,  is the industry's first ship to be designed in 3D.  Celebrity has teamed up with top designers, including internationally renowned interior designer Kelly Hoppen MBE of Kelly Hoppen Interiors and visionary architect Tom Wright of WKK. American designer Nate Berkus serves as Celebrity Edge's design ambassador, to bring this ship to life.

Magic Carpet

Pictured above, the Magic Carpet is designed with comfortable seating, a full bar, and space for live music performances, so it truly is a destination itself. This spectacular space opens to several decks and transforms into a new and exciting venue depending on which deck it’s positioned. Yes that's right - Magic Carpet travels 13 stories high and rests on decks 2, 5, 14, 16

 “Celebrity Edge is one of the most exciting, innovative and transformational ships I have ever been involved with,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The new features and refined design will establish a new baseline for ships from here on out.”


The most transformational aspect of our stateroom design is the introduction of the Edge Stateroom with Infinite VerandaSM. These incredible rooms take our standard veranda stateroom and, with the touch of a button, blur—even erase—the boundaries between inside and outside living space. Your entire living space becomes the veranda, letting you walk right out to the water’s edge. This brilliant innovation gives you luxurious open air access to the sea, whenever you wish.

Built at the STX shipyards in Saint-Nazaire, France, Celebrity Edge will be the first in a four-ship order that will enter service between Fall, 2018 and 2022. Celebrity Edge will receive her first sister-ship, Celebrity Beyond, in the spring of 2020. The names of the remaining two cruise ships have not been announced yet.

"Our guests don't want to just skim the world like a magazine – they want to feel a human connection with it," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Every element of Celebrity Edge is meant to make that connection intense and unforgettable. Our new class of ship will allow guests to experience their journeys with the uniqueness and sophistication that marks the rest of their lives."

Celebrity's Modern Luxury is taken to a new level with Celebrity Edge.  It will be the standard for all cruise lines to follow going forward.   "Edge" is an appropriate name in our opinion.    Celebrity Cruises has taken cruising "Over the Edge" with this design.   More will be revealed over the year, but view this video for an inside look into the future of cruising.  

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here: 

Celebrity Cruises Reveals Celebrity Edge, A Ship Designed to Transform Expectations


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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Husky Sledding in Tromso

click images to enlarge
Dog Sledding in Tromsø   Hurtigruten Land Excursion

Prior to our voyage we studied the optional excursions for each port. One excursion on our must do list was Dog Sledding which was offered twice during our voyage.

The first option was in Tromsø and the second was in Kirkenes. We also wanted to see the Russian Border, which made our choice simple. We'd couldn't do both excursions in Kirkenes, so we picked the first option in Tromsø.

An unforgettable ride through the Arctic wilderness

Meet the Dogs

We arrived at the base camp for our husky adventure, where we were greeted by playful Alaskan Huskies.  Some were inside their houses while others were outside and even on top of them.  They were barking and doing anything they could to get our attention.

Next we were divided into two groups.  Those that needed warmer clothes or boots were led to a changing facility.   Proper attire for the sledding adventure includes layers of warm clothing, boots, hat and gloves.  Coming from Chicago, we didn't lack warm winter gear, so we were led off to the dog sleds as part of the first group to ride.

Let the Adventure Begin

Our musher greeted us and had us sit down in the sled.  I sat in back with my husband in front.  The team of ten huskies were ready and anxious to get started.  The lead musher started her sled with us right behind.   The remaining teams of huskies fell in line behind us as we started over the snow packed trail.    We were about to embark on one of the most remarkable hours of our lives as our sled glided over the winter terrain.  Instead of trying to put it into words, just watch this video.

The weather was chilly, but the blanket kept us warm. Towards the end of the ride, there was a gentle snow falling.  This video was captured using an iPhone.  Additional images can be found on our Shutterfly page.   Those were taken using our Nikon digital SLR.   We protected the lens with a plastic guard which we bought shortly after booking this cruise.

We spent time with the dogs after our ride and then went into the hut for some hot drinks and dessert.

Now it's your turn:  Located 30 minutes outside Tromsø, Kvaløya you can visit more than 250 huskies and puppies, and learn more about the skills of Husky dog sledding.
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Huskies Dog Sledding

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

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Harstad to Tromso

click images to enlarge

During the night our Hurtigruten ship navigated the narrow Raftsund strait. Day 5 of our voyage began with a stop in Harstad, situated on Hinnøya, the largest island in Norway. It is the third largest city in Northern Norway, and an important center of commerce for the entire region.

Harstad has a sheltered location and a good harbor. Forests, mountains, fjords, islands, and miles of trails offer unforgettable outdoor experiences all year round. Terraced buildings lead up from the harbor, against a backdrop of forests and mountains. Just outside town lies Trondenes Church, the world's northernmost medieval church, dating back to the 13th century.

Since we were only docking there for just over an hour, we decided to take some pictures and then have breakfast.  From here we continued via Finnsnes to Tromsø for a prolonged stay.

After breakfast there was a DVD  video shown in Panorama Lounge on Deck G: Tromso, the Gateway to the Arctic.  We spent a lot of time in this lounge during the cruise - we were able to plug our PC in and work on our pictures.


Fisheries and agriculture add character to this small town in sheltered waters south of Tromsø 

Finnsnes is a small town located on the mainland in the municipality of Lenvik. Several small boroughs surround Finnsnes, forming one large urban area. It is an important hub for transportation both on land and sea. Tromsø and Harstad can be reached within a little more than an hour by speedboat.

There are several attractions in Finnsnes and for tourists this is the reference point when sightseeing in the region.

Finnsnes has become known as the gateway to Senja - also known as the island of adventure, and "Norway in miniature" with mountains and fjords, small communities, hospitality and go-ahead spirit - and all kinds of weather.

Vesteralen only made a brief stop at this port, so we didn't get off the ship.  Instead, we went for lunch after taking pictures of the town.  Next stop:  extended stay in Tromsø
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Harstad - Finnsnes

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