Southern California 2015 Winter Events Featuring Celebrity Cruises

Meet Celebrity Cruises at these food and wine events across SoCal

Celebrity Cruises SoCal is excited for 2015! We’re going to be at a number of events around southern California throughout the course of the year. Here are some coming up in the first quarter of 2015, many of which are related to two of our favorite things: Food and Wine. Check out which ones sound most exciting for you and then get your tickets and stop by to say hi to us! Bristol Farms Wine Event: January 17, February 7 Bristol Farms is a southern California-based food retailer that specializes in high-quality food. You can buy gourmet ingredients or opt for pre-made specialty food offerings like sushi, soup and deli sandwiches. Bristol Farms stores also have excellent wine selections, and this year Celebrity Cruises SoCal will be partnering up with them for a wine event that features wine served onboard our ships. Stop by and try some of the excellent vintages we’ll be featuring. We’ll be at the Newport Beach location on January 17 and the South Pasadena location on February 7.

Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show: February 21 – 22 Start dreaming of your next vacation at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show which features destinations and travel brands from all over the world, plus will have famous travel personalities speaking during the show including Rick Steves and Samantha Brown. Celebrity Cruises SoCal will be there and we’ll have giveaways and more at our booth with plenty of opportunities to learn about the world of cruising. Purchase tickets here.

OC Restaurant Week Launch Party: February 28 OC Restaurant Week gives locals and visitors to Orange County the opportunity to try new restaurants or go back to old favorites at a fraction of the cost of what it would normally cost to dine there thanks to four tiers of prix-fixe menu options ranging from $20 to $50. The popular foodie week is March 1 through March 7 and begins with a launch party in Huntington Beach at the Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel, on February 28, which will give attendees a taste of multiple restaurants. Celebrity Cruises SoCal will also be there pouring wine that we serve onboard our ships. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, click here.

Palm Desert Food and Wine: March 27 – March 29 The Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival is a culinary event that features chefs from all over the country who will serve and do demonstrations of their cuisine. The event also has wineries and breweries pouring their creations. Celebrity Cruises will be at the Grand Tasting events, during which attendees have the chance to try a variety of cuisine and drinks, with a focus on restaurants in the Coachella Valley. Celebrity Cruises will also be there providing tastings that reflect what we serve during a Celebrity cruise. Tickets can be purchased here.

Why You Should Book Your Next Celebrity Cruise Now

Now is the time to book your next Celebrity cruise before the New Year begins. Why now you ask? Read on and we’ll share tips on why you won’t want to delay planning your cruise.

123go All-Inclusive Deal

Right now for a limited time, you can book a Celebrity cruise and take advantage of the 123go All-Inclusive offer. This special is similar to the 123go deal we’ve had in the past, which offers cruisers their choice of three offers: free gratuities, a free beverage package (that includes alcoholic drinks), or up to $300 to spend onboard. (Travelers sailing to Europe get to pick two.) With the 123go All-Inclusive deal, you don’t have to choose – you get all three offers if you book a Concierge Class stateroom or higher. You’ll be cruising in luxury while saving tons thanks to the now all-inclusive nature of your vacation.

The Best Staterooms Go Quickly

Travelers tend to love to book their vacations after the New Year. They’ve had a chance to discuss travel plans with family over the holidays and now that the craziness of the holidays is over, they’re ready to book. By booking your vacation in December, you’ll be ahead of the vacation planning craze and will get a better selection of staterooms, ensuring you get the category and location on the ship that you desire. You can also begin reserving shore excursions and dining in specialty restaurants onboard – the most popular of which fill up quickly.

New Galapagos Itineraries Just Released

Bookings for 2017 Galapagos cruises just opened up this month. Celebrity Cruises offers one of the best vacation opportunities to the Galapagos and the sailings fill up years in advance. With a small ship experience on the Celebrity Xpedition, you’ll cruise to the Galapagos in Modern Luxury while seeing and interacting with the nature and wildlife the destination is known for.

Start looking through Celebrity Cruises itineraries and begin dreaming of your next cruise. Then call us at 1-800-647-2251 to take advantage of these reasons to book your cruise now.

Where to Take the Relatives to Eat in SoCal

Where to Take the Relatives to Eat in SoCal The holiday season is upon us. For many people in southern California that means welcoming out of town guests into your home. Between holiday dinners and baking cookies you may not be in the mood to do much more cooking, so treat those friends or family members to one of the top SoCal restaurants that visitors will love. Not every area of the country has such a diverse and memorable culinary scene and it’s easy to forget how spoiled we are by great food living in southern California. Your guests won’t forget either, especially if you take them to one of these eateries.

Orange County: The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon

Treat your guests to one of the best restaurants in the OC at the Ranch Restaurant and then show them that California is more than just surf and sand by going to the adjacent saloon afterward, which has great cocktails and fun line dancing. The Ranch serves hearty American cuisine with many of the ingredients coming from the Ranch’s very own ranch in the Santa Ana Mountains as well as other local farms. The food is excellently prepared and overseen by Executive Chef Michael Rossi, the 2014 Golden Chef Award winner at the Golden Foodies. In addition, you can choose a bottle of wine from the Ranch’s massive wine cellar to complement your meal. Address: 1025 E. Ball Room, Anaheim Phone: 714-817-4200

Los Angeles County: Malibu Farm Pier Café

Get away from the hustle and bustle of LA city life and head to Malibu to show your guests the rugged side of southern California. In addition to cliffs, rocky shoreline and the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu also has a lovely pier to walk down from which you can take in great views of Malibu’s scenery. At the end of the pier is Malibu Farm Pier Café, a country chic restaurant that provides excellent ocean views and serves up farm to table cuisine, most of which comes straight from its very own farm in the backcountry of Malibu. Address: 23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu Phone: 310-456-1112

San Diego County: Marine Room

Marine Room is worth the drive south if you live in Orange County or Los Angeles. With a gourmet menu that changes with the seasons, the food is exquisite, but the real draw for this La Jolla-based restaurant – especially for those who don’t live by the ocean – are the large picture windows on the side of the dining area that look straight out onto the ocean. You’re practically eye level with the sand and during high tide the waves begin crashing against the window for a truly unique and aquatic dining experience. Address: 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla Phone: 858-459-7222 Remember to make reservations beforehand when available, especially if dining with a large group. Then get ready to make those out of towners happy – and who knows, maybe they’ll be so euphoric from their meal at one of these top southern California restaurants that they’ll pick up the tab!

Guide to OC’s Best Beach Cities

Looking for a day getaway in Orange County? Choose from one of Orange County’s best beach cities, which we’ve compiled with a top tip of what to do. Live in Orange County? Pretend to be a tourist for the day.

Newport Beach

Though made internationally famous by The O.C. television show, the allure of Newport Beach is nothing new to those who live in Southern California. Newport Beach has the largest recreational harbor on the west coast and it caters to surfers, swimmers, boaters, fishermen, paddle boarders and more. On land along the harbor, you’ll find a fun carnival boardwalk area teeming with rides, games, and delicious snacks like funnel cakes.

Must-Do Activity: A sunset boat cruise from the harbor is a fun way to appreciate the beauty of Newport Beach and gives you a good glimpse of the impressive oceanfront mansions that line the harbor. Welcome to the OC, indeed.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is an artsy little coastal city that has an air of sophistication while still managing to be incredibly laidback. Dozens of art galleries can be found in the downtown area of Laguna Beach alongside gourmet eateries and fashionable shops. Downtown Laguna Beach also borders the ocean with a clean beach area and calmer waves than you’ll find at many other southern California beaches, making it a prime place for a swim.

Must-Do Activity:  Do an art walk along the ocean. Wyland, Miranda Galleries, Village Gallery, Pacific Edge Gallery and several others all line the coast highway and are within walking distance of each other.

San Clemente

When San Clemente first came to fruition in the 1920s it was designed after a Spanish village and parts of that aesthetic still exist in the city today. Unlike some of its coastal SoCal neighbors, San Clemente feels unpretentious and has an air of an old beach town that time forgot. Though don’t worry – you’ll still find excellent restaurants and shops here, alongside San Clemente’s gorgeous coastline.

Must-Do Activity: Go for a stroll down San Clemente Pier and stop for a bowl of clam chowder in Fisherman Restaurant located at the start of the pier.

What’s your favorite Orange County Beach City? 

Best Ways to Experience Nature in SoCal

Southern California has a variety of ways to experience nature and thanks to warm temperatures with sunshine nearly every day of the year, there are plenty of opportunities to spend a day in nature. Here are some of the best ways to experience nature in SoCal.

Hit the Beach

Rocky shoreline in La Jolla.
Rocky shoreline in La Jolla.

In the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, visit the La Jolla Cove, where you can lie on little pockets of sand or stay upright as you walk around the tide pools and look for crabs, fish, and octopus. For some rugged coastline where you may be able to find a peaceful spot amongst rocks, head to the beaches of Malibu – particularly El Matador Beach – and watch the waves crash against the sand. In Orange County, Laguna Beach has pristine beaches with more active ones right by the downtown center and more low-key beaches located to the north and south of the downtown.

Sink Beneath the Waves

If you want to experience life under the sea, southern California is also home to a few great scuba diving spots. Swim around with reef sharks at the La Jolla Cove, explore Wreck Alley located about a mile off the coast of San Diego, or experience the surprisingly clear water surrounding Catalina Island where the high visibility means you have the chance to see a lot of sealife.

Go On a Hike

Solstice Canyon Hike in Malibu
Solstice Canyon Hike in Malibu

Southern California is a lot more than just beaches and salt water. Many hiking trails exist where locals and visitors can get off the grid and get a workout while taking in gorgeous scenery. The Solstice Canyon Hike in Malibu is takes you through the Santa Monica Mountains where you’ll navigate your way through fauna and foliage to gorgeous waterfalls, all while catching the occasional glimpse of the sparkling ocean in the distance. Hike Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in Del Mar, which has a number of different hiking trails for all levels on a cliffside right next to the ocean. Torrey Pines is home to a number of different trees and plants plus is home to a variety of birds and reptiles and you may even see a bobcat, fox, or coyote.

If you’d also like to experience nature elsewhere in the world, consider an Alaska cruise or Mediterranean Sea cruise, which provide ample opportunities through shore excursions to experience nature while you’re in port. For more information on these cruises, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal or call us at 1-800-647-2251.

Best Celebrity Cruises Snorkeling Shore Excursions Outside the Caribbean

When it comes to time in the ocean during a cruise, snorkeling is a fun shore excursion that practically everyone can enjoy. Unlike scuba diving, which requires hours of training and certification, snorkeling can be done after just a quick tutorial and even those who aren’t strong swimmers can enjoy it as you can wear life jackets or go snorkeling where it’s shallow.

At Celebrity Cruises, we get that snorkeling is a memorable activity many of our cruisers want to experience so we work with top tour operators to provide snorkeling shore excursions to our guests that put a focus on fun and safety in some of the most beautiful locales in the world. Most people think of the Caribbean when they think of snorkeling during a cruise, but we snorkeling shore excursions in Europe and Alaska, too, for an unforgettable time in port. Here are three of our best snorkeling shore excursions you can do on one of our cruises to Europe or Alaska.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a walled city in Croatia that juts into the Adriatic Sea in a splendor of old stones and red roofs. Just like the city’s perimeter, you can also get into the water during a day in port in Dubrovnik thanks to the Dubrovnik Riviera Snorkeling Adventure. The sea off the coast of Dubrovnik is known for being some of the best snorkeling in the Mediterranean thanks to clear water and vibrant sealife, and after a short boat ride from the Croatia coast you’ll get to experience this firsthand. You’ll snorkel for 90 minutes, followed by lunch on the boat.

Ibiza

When in port in Ibiza, a gorgeous and exciting island of Spain, do some snorkeling and kayaking on your shore excursion. The turquoise waters surrounding the water are calm with high visibility and on the Kayaking and Snorkeling the Beach in Ibiza shore excursion, you’ll get to kick around in the water as you snorkel past colorful fish and coral or glide above them on a kayak. Though you’ll be commencing your excursion from the beach, there is a support boat on which you can take a break from snorkeling and kayaking, making for a relaxing – yet still active – day.

Ketchikan

This snorkel excursion isn’t for the faint of heart as you’ll be submerging yourself into the chilly waters off the coast of Ketchikan, Alaska. Don’t fear the cold too much, though; the Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure shore excursion provides you with a 7mm wetsuit complete with boots and gloves for the excursion to keep you warm as you explore a side of the wildlife not often seen by visitors to Alaska. After you acquaint yourself with fish, sea stars, sea urchins and other sealife in the underwater kelp forest, you’ll head back to Mountain Point for a hot drink.

To find a cruise that visits one of these snorkeling destinations, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal.

 

This Holiday Give the Gift of a Celebrity All-Inclusive Cruise

Give the Gift of Memories, Not Things

Give someone the world this holiday season.
Give someone the world this holiday season.

Buying someone the latest electronic or fashion item may be a big hit with the recipient at first, but eventually technology moves on and jewelry and clothing goes out of style, as does most “things” you can purchase someone. Instead, give the gift of memories that will last a lifetime. Gifting someone with a cruise vacation gives them a gift of relaxation, new sights and sounds, experiencing a different culture, and being pampered with onboard amenities. It’s a present that they’ll never forget.

It’s a Present for You, Too

This can be a gift for yourself as well if you’re planning on going on the cruise with the person you’re gifting it, too. Give the gift of a romantic vacation for you and your significant other or some family bonding time for yourself and your son or daughter. Give them a gift they’ll love that you get to enjoy, too.

A Gift That Keeps on Giving

Your loved ones will “open” their all-inclusive cruise gift on the holiday, but won’t use it right away, giving them the fun of anticipating a big trip coming up. That doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the gift before the cruise departs, though. They can start researching things to do in port, book shore excursions, and make reservations to dine at specialty restaurants onboard.

How to Make it All-Inclusive

This is an important one. Making your cruise gift all-inclusive elevates your gift by saving the person you’re giving it to money onboard. Celebrity Cruises offers many ways to make a cruise all-inclusive. Air packages are available with the cruise as are pre- and post-cruise hotel stays and city tours. In addition, if the person you’re giving the gift to enjoys indulging in a few libations during a vacation, upgrade the cruise gift with a Celebrity Cruises beverage package that gets them unlimited alcoholic drinks plus some non-alcoholic drinks like soda and specialty coffee.

Upgrade your cruise gift with a beverage package.
Upgrade your cruise gift with a beverage package.

Purchase your gift now to take advantage of the 123go offer, which makes it easy to make your cruise gift all-inclusive by providing you with your choice of three amenities to add onto your cruise: up to $300 credit to spend onboard, free gratuities, or a classic beverage package. Right now, we also have the 123go All-Inclusive offer, which gives you all three amenities if you book a Concierge Class stateroom or higher. To find the perfect cruise itinerary for your holiday gift, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal or call us at 1-800-647-2251.

Port of Call Spotlight: Santorini

Enjoy a day in port in gorgeous Santorini, Greece.
Enjoy a day in port in gorgeous Santorini, Greece.

Santorini is a stunning Greek island known for its white and pastel colored buildings hugging the side of an impressive to behold caldera. The caldera is a cliff that was created after a volcano eruption thousands of years ago. The tip of the submerged volcano is visible from the towns along the caldera, providing an exquisite view. Elsewhere on the island, you’ll find beaches, vineyards, ancient ruins, and more. We’ve compiled some of the top things to do in Santorini during a day in port.

Thing to Do in Santorini

  • Wine Tasting – Santorini’s wine is quickly growing a name for itself as it gets a unique flavor from the volcanic soil it’s grown in. Try Santorini’s wine on a wine tasting shore excursion that takes you to some of Santorini’s top wineries where you’ll sip wine and enjoy the vineyard and island views in the process.
Wine tasting in Santorini.
Wine tasting in Santorini.
  • Take a Dip in Hot Springs – Venture off the main island of Santorini to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni where you can relax in mineral hot springs.
  • Hit the Beaches – Santorini’s volcanic makeup has created some visually interesting beaches including Perivolos Beach, which has black sand, and the aptly called Red Beach, which has a beach made up of tiny red-hued rocks and is located in a cove with massive red rocks behind it.
  • Walk Around Oia – Located on the northern end of the caldera, Oia is arguably Santorini’s most picturesque village with whitewashed buildings built into the side of the cliff. You’ll marvel they don’t tumble into the sea as you walk up and down the steps carved into the caldera as you explore the town of Oia – just remember to keep an eye out for donkeys making their way along the stairs as well. If your time in port allows for it, Oia is also considered the best place to watch Santorini’s famous sunset.
Oia, Santorini
Oia, Santorini
  • Shopping in Fira – Fira is Santorini’s main town and has many souvenir boutiques. Keep an eye out for jewelry made from the volcanic rock in Santorini.
  • Akrotiri – This site is home to the remains of the ancient Minoan town of Akrotiri, which was preserved after a volcanic eruption in 1450 BC buried the town.

Santorini is a popular port of call on many of Celebrity Cruises’ Mediterranean itineraries. Check them out and start planning your cruise vacation to Santorini today. Have some questions about our cruises? Call 1-800-647-2251.