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Crushing Cruise News: The Molecular Bar Aboard Celebrity Cruises is Closing

March 30, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comment (1)

Thinking about cruising in 2015 or 2016? Then say hello to our cruise specialist, MaidenVoyage. As a travel agent who spends day in and day out booking cruises for curious travelers, she knows cruise lines and ships like the back of a muster drill script. Got a question about cruises? Even a stupid one? MaidenVoyage has heard and seen it all, so don't be shy. Send your cruise question to her!

I hate bad news. Last week, as I was trying to digest the information given to me and figure out why it was happening, Jaunted posted Janice's story about the Molecular Bar on the Celebrity Reflection. We must've been vibing.

It just so happens that the bad news I received (which TravelHopsGirl also mentioned in the comments section) is that the Molecular Bar is going bye-bye. I think I gasped in horror and shed a tear when I was told. Deep down in my heart I was hoping that Celebrity would put this gem on ALL of its ships, not just their Solstice Class. I was way wrong.

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Cruise Ship Bars are Becoming Cruise 'Hip' Bars on Celebrity Reflection

March 24, 2015 at 12:56 PM | by | Comment (1)

Most bars on cruise ships are pretty decent – you tend to have your champagne bar, martini bar, the big lounge with the live performers, and the nightclub, which is usually pretty empty but at least you can get some dance music every once in a while thrown in amongst the 60s nights.

But Celebrity Cruises has definitely upped the cool factor with a couple of bars that can be found on all Solstice class ships: yes, there’s the Martini Bar, but this one has an actual ice-top bar with ice-blue mood lighting, and there’s the Molecular Bar specializing in fancy foams and complex cocktails by award-winning mixologist Junior Merino. And then, unique to Celebrity Reflection, is the au courant pop-up nightclub concept.

Alexander Yepremian, the Reflection’s Cruise Director, had the brainiac idea to start a nightclub that would dock in a different bar each night at 10:30 p.m., with killer names like “Liquid” and “Indulgence.” On one particular night, this writer was having a glass of Pinot Noir at the club chair-rich Cellar Masters wine bar when crew started to move in carrying lights, sound equipment and cages large enough for cage dancers to shake their booty in. By the time I left, about an hour-and-a-half later, the DJ was throwing out some sweet sounds, the crowd was swaying and imbibing, and people were lined up outside on the red carpet waiting to get in.

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What It's Like Running a Hotel At Sea: Celebrity Reflection's Hotel Director Tells (Almost) All

March 18, 2015 at 10:45 AM | by | Comments (0)

Have you ever wondered what it's like to run a hotel at sea as compared to one on land? Well this is the kind of thing that occupies this writer’s brain so I took some time during my vacation aboard Celebrity Reflection to speak with the ship’s Hotel Director (because yes – they have that), Jamie Petts, to get the inside scoop.

Like a hotel GM, a ship’s Hotel Director oversees pretty much everything to do with running a regular hotel including F&B, housekeeping and guest services. But unlike a GM who also looks after revenue and bookings, Jamie’s concerns are more hands-on: getting 3,000 people off the boat and back on 25-minutes later, whether the tenders are working properly and if the pools can open on time due to rough seas.

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Celebrity Cruises Wants You to Take Care of 'YourSelfie' While Onboard

March 11, 2015 at 5:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

Relax. This story is not about Selfie Sticks.

With the ferociously brutal winter almost behind us, this contributor decided to take some desperately-needed recuperating time, not just for my hunched-over, heat-starved body but for my rattled, over-worked brain as well. I really needed to unplug both mind and spirit.

The only way to prevent me, however, from sneaking an illicit peek at my emails and “only answering a few” was to book a cruise where that privilege costs a pretty penny. Ergo, I found myself on Celebrity Cruises’ Reflection, their newest ship on the block.

Celebrity has keyed into a traveler's need to disconnect and so they teamed up with Randi Zuckerberg, former Facebook and current Editor-in-Chief of Dot Complicated, and big advocate of finding a tech-life balance. The two brands came up with a series of spa and wellness treatments that encourage you to Take Care of YourSelfie. Clever marketing name aside, I didn't need to be told twice.

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A Cruise Specialist Has a Few Quick Tips on Cruising Through Alaska

March 3, 2015 at 12:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

Thinking about cruising in 2015? Then say hello to our cruise specialist, MaidenVoyage. As a travel agent who spends day in and day out booking cruises for curious travelers, she knows cruise lines and ships like the back of a muster drill script. Got a question about cruises? Even a stupid one? MaidenVoyage has heard and seen it all, so don't be shy. Send your cruise question to her!

The one cruise request that I've been getting daily for the last few weeks is...Alaska. Y'all back in the Northeast just groaned, I'm sure. See, over here in the western U.S., where I'm based, we've had a mild winter. Besides, from here traveling to Alaska isn't an all day thing like going to Florida or the Caribbean or Europe.

So since the AK cruise season is upon us and since that just happens to be the last cruise we took (on the Celebrity Solstice), we thought we'd give you a Cruising Alaska 101 story. Grab your hats and gloves!

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Cruising to Chicago is Possible But It Will Cost Ya

February 24, 2015 at 12:46 PM | by | Comment (1)

As you sit dreaming of cruising right out of winter weather, a voyage to Chicago probably hasn’t entered your mind. But starting in July, Great Lakes Cruise Company will begin offering itineraries from Montreal to Chicago with the inaugural trip leaving Montreal on July 5 and porting in Chicago on July 14.

With only 105 state rooms, the ship, the M.S. Saint Laurent, is teeny tiny compared to typical cruise vessels due to Great Lakes size limitations. But this vacation won’t come at a teeny tiny price. The company says the price for the trip will range from $4,199 to $7,999 per person. Ouch.

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Cruising on a Disney Cruise Ship This Year? Here's What You Should Know

January 29, 2015 at 7:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Thinking about cruising in 2015? Then say hello to our cruise specialist, MaidenVoyage. As a travel agent who spends day in and day out booking cruises for curious travelers, she knows cruise lines and ships like the back of a muster drill script. Got a question about cruises? Even a stupid one? MaidenVoyage has heard and seen it all, so don't be shy. Send your cruise question to her!

Previously, I shared with you why the Disney Cruise Line is great for adults who sail without children. If that article persuaded you to book a Disney Cruise, then you can send a check for $500 to Jaunted.com, of which I'll take 20 percent. Kidding.

But if you are heading out on a Disney Cruise this spring or summer, here's what you need to prepare for. Much like visiting the Disney theme parks, sailing the ship of Mouse requires a bit of pre-planning.

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MSC Cruises' New App Lets You Tour Ships and More (No Dramamine Needed)

January 26, 2015 at 12:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

How you remotely toured a cruise ship in 1989: Go to the mall, find the temporary “ship deck” installation by the escalator, sidestep some inflatable Mylar palm trees and procure an informational pamphlet from a cruise line salesperson in a sailor hat.

How you remotely tour a cruise ship in 2015: Download an app.

Last week, MSC Cruises announced the launch of their mobile app that lets smartphone users, and prospective cruisers, take virtual tours of the fleet’s 12 ships. The free download lets you explore the nooks and crannies of each ship – from staterooms and restaurants to spas and theaters – while offering a litany of other features: like cruise itineraries, background info about destinations and ports, global positioning features that let you track the movements of the fleet, and even live onboard webcam feeds. (Which is really the cheapest way to travel, when you think about it.)

Overall it’s a pretty solid idea from MSC, which cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally throughout other worldwide waters. Download the app here to start cyber-surfing in preparation for your next cruise IRL.

[Image: msccruisesusa.com]

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How to Fight Seasickness While on a Cruise

January 15, 2015 at 6:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

The panacea

Travel sickness: we’ve all been there. Well, most of us, who don't have iron-clad stomachs have. And seasickness – which can strike even those who’ve never suffered travel sickness before – can ruin the fun of a carefully planned cruise.

So how do you cure seasickness? To find out, Jaunted dispatched me - its most lily-livered contributor, who has balance issues galore and once threw up on a car ferry crossing a tiny river in England - to the Azamara Journey, a cruise ship currently navigating some of the most treacherous waters in the world: the South Atlantic and Drake Passage, en route to Antarctica.

Seasickness is something you will have to deal with if you're traveling to Antarctica - there is no way of escaping these waters known, due to the low latitude, as the 'screaming sixties'. I have been sick for four days and counting, and I have tried various methods of recovery. Here’s how each one rated.

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3 Awesome Cruise Deals to Jump On During 'Wave Season'

January 13, 2015 at 1:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

Thinking about cruising in 2015? Then say hello to our new cruise specialist, MaidenVoyage. As a travel agent who spends day in and day out booking cruises for curious travelers, she knows cruise lines and ships like the back of a muster drill script. Got a question about cruises? Even a stupid one? MaidenVoyage has heard and seen it all, so don't be shy. Send your cruise question to her!

It's that time of year when everyone is resurfacing after the holidays, making "get fit" resolutions and dreaming of spring. But it's also that time of year when folks get to planning their vacations, either for this year or 2016 and 2017. (Ahem, guilty!) And if you're thinking about hitting a beach with crystal blue waters, you're in luck.

Right now, we are in the midst of cruising's WAVE SEASON, which lasts from January-March, and has some of the best cruise ship deals we will see all year.

Here are some of my favorite cruise deals along with some tips on how to ride the wave season for all it's worth:

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'The Love Boat' 2.0? New TV Comedy May Call a Cruise Ship Home

December 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

Cruise fans could soon have a new favorite TV show.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunners Matt Williams and David McFadzean are working on a cruise ship comedy, called Port of Miami, for NBC.

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Why Adults Take Disney Cruises..Even If They Don't Have Kids

December 3, 2014 at 2:41 PM | by | Comment (1)

Thinking about cruising in 2015? Then say hello to our new cruise specialist, MaidenVoyage. As a travel agent who spends day in and day out booking cruises for curious travelers, she knows cruise lines and ships like the back of a muster drill script. Got a question about cruises? Even a stupid one? MaidenVoyage has heard and seen it all, so don't be shy. Send your cruise question to her!

The one question that newbie cruisers and fellow members of the travel community ask me frequently is, "What's your favorite cruise line?" When I say that Disney Cruise Line is one on my list, I am most often met with the "But all of those kids...ugh." Then when I mention that I don't have kids, I get the "...are you crazy?!” No I am not, but thanks for asking. And since you wanted my opinion, I'm going to tell it like it is.

There are four ships in the fleet-- Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. And all are great for families. Obviously. But, Disney Cruise Line is equally as great for ADULTS without children, and here are some reasons why:

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