Where in the World Wednesday: November 30, 2016

Can you guess where in the world this destination is from the clues below?

Picture Clue

Lisbon, Portugal

Word Clue

This city, built on seven hills, is older than Beijing, Singapore, London, Paris and even Rome. Home to its own wine region, this country supports 70% of the world’s wine production. This vibrant city boasts a history of culture, architectural character, and great food and wine.

Where in the World is this Destination?

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Lisbon (Lisboa), Portugal

Lisbon (pronounced liz-ben) is the capital of Portugal and home to 600,000 residents (2.8 million in the metropolitan area), 98% of who speak Portuguese, the official language of Portugal. According to most estimates, Lisbon is more than four centuries older than Rome and is the second oldest European capital after Athens. Lisbon was settled by the Phoenicians around 1200 B.C. The country of Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer and home to the Douro River Valley wine region producing grapes for world famous Port wine in addition to many other grape varietals such as Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca.

5 “not to miss” sites in Lisbon include:

1) Tram 28 – What cable cars are to San Francisco and red double-decker buses are to London, trams are to Lisbon. Tram 28 in particular.

2) Palácio da Pena in Sintra – an amazing palace located just 18 miles from Lisbon.

3) Castelo de São Jorge– a medieval castle that overlooks Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon

4) Day trip to Cascais (kush-kaish)– a 45-minute train ride west of Lisbon.

5) Wine Bar do Castelo – a great wine bar in Lisbon. As you walk up the cobblestone street to Castelo de São Jorge, Wine Bar do Castelo is on the left hand side near the top of the hill. Great Portuguese wine flights and fabulous charcuterie including an assortment of local cheeses. Owner and wine guru Rui Costa is incredibly knowledgeable about the wines of Portugal.

Celebrity Cruises visits Porto and Lisbon on numerous Mediterranean and Spain/Portugal sailings.

Where in the World Wednesday: November 23, 2016

Can you guess where in the world this destination is from the clues below?

Image Clue

Photo courtesy of Bjarki Sigursveinsson via Flickr.
Photo courtesy of Bjarki Sigursveinsson via Flickr.

Word Clue

This town is one of its country’s best-kept secrets. Located in the Northwest portion of the country, isolation has preserved the region in relatively unspoiled wilderness. This area, first settled in the 9th century, is regarded as a destination of excellence, and the ideal place for spotting birds, fox, and other unique fauna in their natural habitats. This town is the capital of its region, but not the capital of its country, and has a population of 2,600 people. Fishing is the main industry and the local folk museum features the oldest house in this country, built in 1786. Stroll through the narrow streets with their modest wooden 19th century houses and breathe in the town’s history. Downtown has a variety of stores, cafés, and restaurants. The area features a botanical garden, school of music, sea kayaking, and horseback riding. It’s easy to get around on foot or rental bike.

Where in the World is this Destination?

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Ísafjörður, Iceland

Celebrity Cruises visits Ísafjörður, Akureyi (Iceland’s second largest city known for its cool café scene and bustling nightlife) and the capital city of Reykjavik on Arctic Circle and Ireland/Iceland sailings. Ísafjörður is one of Iceland’s northernmost cities, perfectly situated to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) during the winter months. Ísafjörður is one of a few select European cities to earn the EDEN certification (European Destination of Excellence) promoting sustainable tourism. A bit of an ironic fact is that Iceland is greener than Greenland and Greenland is icier than Iceland.

Wine Regions You Can Visit with Celebrity Cruises

A Quick Guide to the Top Wine Regions Celebrity Cruises Sails to — Plus Onboard Wine Fun

Celebrity Cruises sails all around the world to beautiful and historic destinations, touching upon an array of cultures and ways of life. One type of place that encompasses a high degree of beauty and culture are wine regions. Luckily for wine-loving travelers, Celebrity Cruises visits many wine regions around the world plus offers wine experiences on board its fleet of contemporary ships.

Tuscany

This is the wine region dreams are made of, and many travelers daydream about visiting the vineyards of Tuscany some day. On select Mediterranean cruise itineraries, you can visit Tuscany’s wineries while in port in Livorno (the gateway to Pisa and Florence and other northern regions of Tuscany). Take a Tuscany wine tasting shore excursion and you’ll be transported past green sun-dappled hills and Tuscan villas as you’re transported to vineyards and wineries that have been around for generations and where you’ll taste some of the region’s famous full-bodied reds and intricate whites.

Napa Valley

Napa is less than two hours from the port of San Francisco. What does this mean for cruisers on Pacific Coastal cruises? An easy getaway to the sprawling grape-dotted land of Napa Valley. Napa is known for its opulent estates and luxurious tasting rooms. There are hundreds of wineries in Napa Valley and at the myriad of tasting rooms, you can sample some of Napa’s most famous wines: Cabernet, Merlot, and Chardonnay – but expect to see a number of other favorite and obscure varietals while tasting in the region. An especially easy-going and unique way to see the region and experience its wines is on the Napa Valley Wine Train shore excursion. Been there, done that when it comes to Napa Valley? You can also go wine tasting in Sonoma Valley while in port in San Francisco.

Santa Ynez Valley

Another wine region you can visit on a Pacific Coastal cruise is Santa Ynez Valley, which the port city of Santa Barbara is nestled against. Santa Ynez Valley was made famous in the movie Sideways, though wine buffs in the know always coveted the region for its spicy Pinot Noir and buttery Chardonnay. Experience them for yourself on a wine tasting shore excursion through Santa Ynez Valley.

Santorini

Wine tasting in Santorini.
Wine tasting shore excursion in Santorini.

Santorini’s volcanic soil fosters a distinct earthy tasting wine. Though the wine region is small – after all, the Greek isle itself isn’t very big – it spreads out beautifully in the valley on the other side of the island from the caldera. Several wineries with tasting rooms are on the island and offer many opportunities for tasting, whether you hit up one while exploring the island on your own with a rental vehicle, or opting for a multi-winery shore excursion that makes it effortless to visit a few Santorini wineries in one day.

Barossa Valley

While visiting Adelaide, Australia, you can venture to Barossa Valley, known for its red grape varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (the Australian spelling of Syrah) and white varietals of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Shiraz is the highlight of the region, though. Taste the many different types of Shiraz (and other types of wine) at the many wineries that dot the landscape.

Marlborough

While in port in Picton on New Zealand’s picturesque South Island, you can visit the lovely wine region of Marlborough, which was a major player in putting New Zealand wine on the map. Country roads crisscross past laidback tasting rooms with rolling mountains in the background. While partaking in a wine tasting shore excursion, you’ll be able to visit some of the best wineries in the region, while sipping the Marlborough region’s famous Sauvignon Blanc. It addition to that varietal, Marlborough is known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Dalmatia

Experience the up-and-coming wines of Croatia while in port in Dubrovnik on a Celebrity Cruises’ shore excursion that lets you taste the Peljesac wine of Croatia while exploring the beauty of the Dalmatian coast.

Provence

Oh, Provence — if you’re aware of this region in the south of France, it’s hard not to have visions of vineyards and quaint little towns dance through your head upon thinking of it. While in port in Marseille, Nice, or Provence, you can visit the lovely wineries surrounding Provence and taste some of France’s famous wines.

Madeira Island

While in port in Funchal, Portugal, visit Madeira Island where you can explore its historic sites and stop at one of its local wineries for a sample of Madeira wine, known for its unique heating process that gives the wine a distance taste.

Casablanca Valley

South America is also home to an exquisite wine region you can visit on a Celebrity cruise. While in port in Valparaiso, Chile, travel to the vineyards of Casablanca Valley, where you can taste some of the region’s most coveted wine while taking in the beauty of the Chilean countryside.

Wine Tasting Experiences on the Ship

Wine tasting experience on board Celebrity Cruises.
Wine tasting on board Celebrity Cruises.

While sailing to these incredible wine regions, you can also sample wines from all around the world on board your Celebrity Cruises ship. From wine tasting 101 classes to food and wine pairing experiences to expert sommeliers who can assist you with choosing the perfect wine for your dinner, there are many ways to experience wine while sailing with Celebrity Cruises.

To book your wine tasting cruise, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Where in the World Wednesday: November 16, 2016

Can you guess where in the world this destination is from the clues below?

Image Clue

Photo courtesy of emmapidduck via Flickr.
Photo courtesy of emmapidduck via Flickr.

Word Clue

One of seven islands in its archipelago, some believe this to be the lost city of Atlantis, first mentioned in Plato’s dialogues Timaeus and Critias written in 360 BC. This medieval walled city is one of the most densely populated and smallest national capitals in the world. Residents of this UNESCO World Heritage site are predominantly Catholic and this island’s exports include pacific salmon and coconut. This port city boasts of being one of the best natural deep-water harbors in the world. There are many endemic species that exist here, yet there are no mountains or rivers on this island.

Where in the World is This Destination?

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Valletta, Xlokk, Malta

The island of Malta is a southern European country in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 30 miles south of Sicily, 175 miles east of Tunisia and 200 miles north of Libya. The capital of Malta is Valletta, the smallest capital in the European Union and one of the smallest in the world. Malta is a favored tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including nine UNESCO World Heritage sites. Nine of Celebrity Cruises’ twelve ships are registered in Valletta and Malta is featured on many of Celebrity’s Mediterranean itineraries.

Shore Excursions You Can’t Miss During a Mediterranean Cruise

Ready to start planning your Mediterranean cruise itinerary? Here are the shore excursions you can’t miss doing during a Mediterranean cruise.

Beach Time

There are so many beautiful and historic sites to see and things to do around the Mediterranean, that the beach may actually become an afterthought during your cruise. Make sure to make time for beach lounging on at least one port of call though, since experiencing the sun chairs and ambiance along with swimming in clear, salty water is a quintessential Mediterranean pastime. Be sure to pack water shoes, though, as most beaches in the Mediterranean are rocky instead of sandy. Celebrity Cruises provides shore excursions to beaches, some of which also stop at lookout points or historic sites on the way to and from the beach. Some examples include:

Beach Transfer in Corsica
Beach Transfer in Mykonos
Italian Beach and Pisa

Wine Tasting

Learn more about wine around the world on a wine related shore excursion.

The Mediterranean is home to some incredible wine regions. From well-known wine wonderlands like Provence and Tuscany to smaller, under-the-radar vineyards in Santorini and Croatia, there is no shortage of wineries to visit while sailing around the Mediterranean Sea. Make visiting those wineries easier by booking a wine tasting shore excursion. Here are some examples:

Dalmatian Coastline and Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting in Tuscany
Santorini’s Wine Culture

Active Adventures

Experience the nature side of the Mediterranean by getting right into it. Go hiking through woods and along coastal paths, set off on small sailboats around islands, go kayaking in search of wildlife and beaches, take off biking, and more. Here are some of the adventurous shore excursions you can do in port:

Croatian Adventure in Dubrovnik
Lucca by Bike
Volcano Hike in Santorini

Foodie Fun

Love trying foods around the world? Then you’ll love a food-focused shore excursion. Choose an excursion that takes you on a tour of some of the best eateries in a city, during which a guide will explain the cultural significance of what you’re eating. You can also do special dinners while in port, where you eat in someone’s home or at a special historic site. In addition, select cruise itineraries include Chef Market Discoveries with the chef on board; you go around the city with the chef to look for ingredients and learn about the local cuisine. These shore excursions often include cooking lessons and tastings as well and even a special dinner back on board the ship. Here are a couple you can do:

Santorini: Culinary Journey to Canava Village and Private Dinner
Venice: Rialto Market, Chocolatier, and Private Dinner

Historic City Tours

Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

The Mediterranean is home to some breathtaking cities that have a deep, varied history. Learn about that history more in-depth by taking part in a shore excursion while in port. Your expert guide will lead you to the top sites of the city while regaling you with historic tales and how it plays a part in the city today. Some city tours include:

Athens City Sights
Architecture and More in Barcelona
Ancient Split and Game of Thrones Experience
A Taste of Florence

Celebrity Exclusives

Celebrity Exclusives are special, unique shore excursions you can do around the world that show you a different side of a destination. In the Mediterranean, you can go truffle hunting, traverse the sky in a hot air balloon, drive a Ferrari, and more. See all Celebrity Exclusives here.

To book your Celebrity Cruises Mediterranean cruise, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Where in the World Wednesday: November 9, 2016

Can you guess where in the world this destination is from the clues below?

Image Clue

Photo courtesy of L.C. Nøttaasen via Flickr.
Photo courtesy of L.C. Nøttaasen via Flickr.

Word Clue

It was here that naked men participated in a stade. Married women were prohibited from watching under penalty of death and the winner of the stade was presented with an olive branch. Today, this scenic seaside town has a population of 3,000 and is your typical small village cruise port. Its small beach draws swimmers and sand castle builders. However, drive just 40 miles and you will be transported back thousands of years in history. En route you travel through fertile valleys where strawberries, watermelons, tomatoes, wheat and corn fill the fields. Behind them rise groves of olive trees. The rich soil also suits grapes, as white wine is produced here.

Where in the World is this Destination?

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Katakolon, Greece

Katakolon, pronounced Ka-talk-o-lon, is just 40 miles from ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games. The ancient Olympics were held in honor of Zeus. Athletes competed nude, a practice which was said to encourage aesthetic appreciation of the male body, and to be a tribute to the gods. Interestingly, the word gymnasium comes from the ancient Greek word ‘gymnos’ meaning naked.

In the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2016 Olympic athletes competed in 42 different sports, but ancient Olympics started with only one, the stade race, in 776 B.C., for which athletes would just run the length of the stadium. Then came the diaulos, in which athletes would do that twice. A long distance race was later added, and eventually, javelin, discus, and long jump, said to have been accompanied by flute music. There were equestrian events like chariot racing, wrestling, boxing, and a wrestling-boxing hybrid called pankration. While no eye-gauging or biting was allowed, strangulation was fair game.

Travel Tips from a Celebrity Cruises Director

Over 35 Travel Tips to Make Your Next Vacation Easier

Ready for some travel tips from a travel expert? Scott Clifton is the Celebrity Cruises Director of Market Sales West, and not only is he a west coast resident, but he’s also a frequent traveler. He has visited over 50 countries on six continents and is a two million air miler. He definitely knows his travel stuff and today he’s sharing some of his top travel tips with you.

MONEY TRAVEL TIPS

ATM Cards

A four digit PIN is required for use of your ATM card overseas. Many European countries won’t accept anything longer than four digits.

Getting Cash

Get cash from an ATM and the airport rather than from a Currency Exchange booth. Exchange rates and fees are much better at an ATM.

Foreign Currency Conversion

Check with your credit card company in advance as to whether they charge foreign currency conversion fees. These can total several hundred dollars. Many credit cards (including American Express Platinum) do not charge foreign currency conversion fees.

Credit Cards

Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards. Find out your four-digit code as you’ll likely need to enter the code when using the chip.

Also, make sure you have your credit card company’s “call collect” number. 800 toll free numbers don’t work overseas.

Cash is King

Keep a few personal checks and/or cash in your wallet. Some areas don’t accept credit cards or give you a break for paying with cash or check. Some merchants add 3% to your purchase if you pay with a credit card.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to advise your bank and credit card companies when you’re traveling outside the US. If you don’t, they may put a hold on your ATM and credit cards. 

SECURITY & HEALTH TRAVEL TIPS

Passports

Take pictures of your passport and email them to yourself. That way, if your passport is stolen you can still access a photo from any public computer. If your passport gets stolen or lost you want to be sure that you can still get back into the country, or be able to prove your citizenship.

Very important: Be absolutely sure you have a full 6 months expiration remaining on your passport from the day of your return. Even one day short of 6 months and you will be denied boarding on your flight or cruise ship.

Luggage

Take a photo of your luggage and email it to yourself. That way, if your luggage is lost/misplaced by the airline you can simply show or email them a photo of your luggage.

Insurance

Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier before your trip. Double check and make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, ask your medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, you may want to add extra coverage.

Medicine

Scott always carries an eye mask and earplugs in his medicine bag because you never know what your hotel room is going to be like. Other good medications to bring on your vacation include Sudafed, Advil, NyQuil, Imodium A-D, Rolaids, and a handful of other key medications.

Note from Scott: Yes, even the most historic European neighborhood has a drugstore. But do you want to be running around Germany late at night, trying to translate “diarrhea”? I was just in Amsterdam with my wife and had a terrible cold the night before my flight home. Over the counter cold medicines like Sudafed and Benadryl require a prescription in The Netherlands. If you’re heading to developing countries, stocking up on the right drugs is even more important. Many travelers fill a prescription in advance for the antibiotic ciprofloxacin and bring it with them just in case.

Travel Alerts

It’s a good idea to check the State Department’s travel warnings and alerts. It’s also smart to print out the address and contact information of the local embassy.

Cell Phones

Activate your phone’s global capabilities. There’s usually a charge for doing this, but it is much less than the roaming charges you’ll get if you don’t. Simply set up your cell phone to avoid international data roaming. Many business travelers have an international calling and data plan. But infrequent travelers don’t. The biggest costs can come from transmitting data overseas.

TIPPING GUIDELINES

Do you have more dollars than sense? Tipping is a practice heavily rooted in cultural context. In reality it can get pretty complex.  In some places you could get the recipient fired while in other cases be showered with praise. Here’s some advice on the what, where, and when to tip.

France Tipping

At hotels, tip €1 per bag and €1 to €2 per day for a housekeeper. At restaurants, the words “service compris” mean that no tip is required. But most locals leave about 10 percent in coins. Tipping at bars is not expected. Tour guides expect about €25 per person per day. A separate driver should get about half that amount. Give €10 for a private airport transfer and a euro or two for a taxi driver depending on how helpful they are.

Italy Tipping

At hotels, tip porters €5 and housekeepers €1 to €2 per night. At restaurants, leave as close to 10% as possible, but no more (in cash – as a tip cannot be added to your credit card charge). Cabbies can keep the change while you should tip drivers €20 for a private tour. Tipping gondoliers and vaporettos (water taxis) isn’t customary. You should also insist if your tip is first refused – it’s a common demurral in Italy.

United Kingdom Tipping

At hotels, tip porters £1 to £2 per bag and £1 to £2 pounds per night for housekeepers. For taxis, tip 10% or less and tipping is optional on guided boat tours on the Thames (although they will ask). At restaurants, service is often included.  If not, tip 10% to 15%.

Note from Scott: Not only is tipping in pubs not customary, but I had a Brit shout at me “don’t start that!” when I tossed my change on the bar.

Greece Tipping

At hotels, tip porters €1 per bag and housekeepers €1 per day. No tip is expected by taxi drivers but if you round up the fare they will be ecstatic. Tip private tour drivers €20 per day. At restaurants round up to the fives (so €25 for a €22 meal).

Scandinavia Tipping

Tipping here is fairly formalized. Either the service charge is included in the bill or tipping isn’t done. Taxi drivers don’t expect tips and even porters and coatroom attendants have fixed fees and don’t expect anything extra. 

Australia/New Zealand Tipping

Be discreet and prepared to have your tip refused, especially in New Zealand where people are particularly reserved. At hotels, tip one Australia or New Zealand dollar (depending which country you are in) per bag and $1 to $2 per night for housekeeping. At restaurants, tip 10% to 15% to the waiter. Also tip 10% for cab drivers, $5 to $10 for a bus tour guide, $20 per day for a private driver, and 10% to 15% for spa treatments.

China

The law of the land and the rule at many hotels is no tipping. Fine hotels add 10% to 20% service fee. Most tour guides earn commission from shops they take you to, so tipping is not advised. Places where tips are suggested include massage houses (10 to 30 yuan per massage) except in hotel spas where tip is included. Tip luggage porters (10 yuan per bag).

Japan Tipping

Tipping is not customary in Japan. If you decide to leave a tip, place the money in an envelope and leave it behind in your room. Do not give the tip to anyone in-person as that is considered rude. Expect to have your tip refused. For a tour guide leave 2,500 to 5,000 yen in an envelope. To tip a taxi driver round up, but it will frequently be refused.  Waiters also frequently refuse tips.

Thailand Tipping

Tip bathroom attendants about 20 baht. At hotels, tip 40 baht per bag to the porter, but nothing is expected for housekeeping. Round up for taxi or tuk tuk drivers (usually 20 baht). Also, when hailing taxis, it is common to keep your hand horizontal, fingers facing down.  Holding your hand with fingers up or above your head is considered rude. Tip 300 to 500 baht per person per day for tour guides (who tip the driver so don’t worry about them). In all restaurants, it is customary to leave behind any loose change in coins as a tip. In more upscale restaurants, with professional wait staff who provide excellent service, a larger tip of 5% to 10% is quite common. Bring $2 USD bills as they really open doors in Thailand (and Cambodia). They see them so infrequently that it will be very much appreciated and considered good luck because of their rarity. 

Mexico Tipping

At hotels, tip about 20 to 40 pesos per bag and 40 to 80 pesos per night for the housekeeper. Tip 10% to 15% at restaurants in cash.

Brazil Tipping

At hotels, $2 per bag and $2 a day for the housekeeper. Concierge will not expect a tip. No tip is required at restaurants, but 10% is routinely included in the bill for “service.” Round up for taxi drivers and $20 to $50 for a full day tour.

TOURING THE DESTINATION TIPS

Paris Tip

Wondering where to watch the sunset in Paris? Few buildings in Paris have rooftop bars, but the Holiday Inn at 4 Rue Danton does. Take one of the tables to the right of the elevator (they face west) so you can watch the sunset over medieval Paris with the Eiffel Tower and Sacre-Couer beyond. Turn to the left to watch the light fade over Notre-Dame.

Amsterdam Tip

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is introducing a new timed ticketing system to reduce queues outside one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors who book online will be given a 15-minute entry window.

Vatican City Tip

Order your Vatican tickets online before arriving in Rome.

Panama Canal Tip

Take a Virtual Tour or live view of the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal Authority has produced an informative video demonstrating how the new Post-Panamax locks operate since the June 26, 2016 opening of the new locks. If you know the date friends and family will be transiting the locks (either original or new locks) you can use the site’s live video feed to watch their ship transit the Panama Canal!

London Tip

London is an expensive city. Use www.smartertravel.com for a list of free attractions including many museums. This site works for many cities throughout Europe.

OTHER TRAVEL TIPS

Home Surveillance

Consider installing a Ring video doorbell at your front door. If someone comes to your door you will receive a video “ring” wherever you are in the world, even in flight, as long as you have WiFi. You can answer the door and just say you’re on the phone and can’t come to the door. They will never know you are overseas!

Trusted Traveler Programs

Enroll in trusted traveler programs. Global Entry truly expedited time spent in US Customs when arriving back in the US. You simply use an automated kiosk to self process yourself back into the US. It’s fast, easy and convenient. The expedited program is offered by the US Customs and Border Protection (CDP). Cost is $100 and includes TSA Pre-Check (expedited airport security line for domestic travel.) No more removing your shoes, laptop, or liquids! There is approximately a 6-month waiting list for the required face-to-face interview and finger printing. Visit global www.entry.gov for complete details.

Hotel Business Cards

Note from Scott: The first thing I do when arriving at a hotel overseas is take a business card from the front desk. That way, if I ever get lost, I have the name and address of the hotel in the local language. Large populations around the world speak English, but having something in a local language that I can show locals and taxi drivers is an extra bit of insurance.

E-Cigarettes

E-Cigarettes are now banned by the US Department of Transportation from all carry-on and checked luggage. Samsung Galaxy 7 phones are also banned from all carry-on and  checked luggage.

Train Travel Tip

There is a new train operating between Marseille, France and both Genoa and Milan in Italy. The train operates 3 times a day. Also new this year is a Scandinavia Eurail Pass (formerly a Regional Pass) and a new high speed train service between Madrid and Granada.

Electronics Tips

Bring a charger adapter. Countries have different size plugs and voltage. So if you want to use your iPod, make sure you can charge it.

Note from Scott: Check the voltage of your electronics. From my own experience I know that nothing is worse than having an adapter and still not being able to use a blow-dryer or a straightener because the voltage isn’t high enough for that country.

Google Maps

If you usually rely on your cell phone to get around and don’t want to add a data plan to your phone while abroad, you can still jury-rig a crude version. Using the Wi-Fi in your hotel, plot out a few routes you plan to walk that day. Then take a screenshot of those maps. You can later find the photo, zoom in, and follow the path. It’s not ideal, but it’s a work-around.

Hopefully these great travel tips help to make your next vacation go more smoothly. Happy travels!

 

How to Get the Best Cruise Deals + Season of Savings

Everyone likes a deal, including west coasters. Here are some ways to get a deal on your next cruise, plus one special offer going on right now that you don’t want to miss.

Book a Cruise That Departs Close to Home

There are numerous cruises that depart from west coast USA ports, which you can read more about here. Choose one of these cruises and you’ll automatically be getting a better deal than non-west coasters because you won’t have to pay for airfare, or your airfare will likely be quite inexpensive if it’s just an hour flight to get to your embarkation port (such as flying from LAX to Seattle for an Alaska cruise, or San Francisco to San Diego for a Panama Canal cruise).

Take Advantage of ChoiceAir

If you are flying far for your cruise, make sure to look into Celebrity Cruises’ ChoiceAir program when booking. Not only can ChoiceAir flights save you money off the total price of your vacation, but it also gives you peace of mind since you’ll be assisted to get on other flights if yours is delayed for any reason — this helps ensure you get to your ship on time.

Talk to Your Local Travel Agent

A travel agent will know about special regional offers going on for the cruise on which you want to sail away. They also may be able to get you access to bonus amenities you otherwise wouldn’t know about.

Book a Last-Minute Cruise

Last-minute cruise deals can sometimes be found depending on the itinerary and exactly how last-minute it is (don’t wait until two days before a cruise departs and expect to get on one).

However, there are benefits to planning ahead if you know there’s a particular cruise you want to go on. These benefits often include better choice of stateroom, better airfare (particularly true for west coasters who want to fly to Europe for a Mediterranean or Baltic cruise), and more time to plan out your activities to do in port and on the ship. Plus, one more reason to book ahead for that cruise you’ve been eyeing right now is the…

Season of Savings Event

Book now through November 30, 2016, with Celebrity Cruises and take advantage of the Season of Savings Event. This special offer can save you up to $400 on your cruise and can be applied to nearly every sailing Celebrity’s currently offering. Here’s the amount you can save per person (based on double occupancy) depending on which stateroom you stay in:

  • Suite Class Stateroom: Save $400
  • Concierge Class and Aqua Class Staterooms: Save $300
  • Ocean View and Veranda Staterooms: Save $200
  • Inside Staterooms: Save $100

These are some of the best savings you’ll find all year on Celebrity Cruises! You’ll also get additional free perks if you book an ocean view stateroom or higher that could be a Classic Beverage Package (that includes alcoholic drinks), Unlimited Internet package, prepaid gratuities, or $300 to spend on board – best of all, you get to choose which perk you want plus some stateroom categories get multiple perks.

To learn more about the Season of Savings Event and start browsing destinations you could be vacationing in soon, click here or speak with your travel agent.

Where in the World Wednesday: November 2, 2016

Can you guess where in the world this destination is from the clues below?

Picture Clue

Photo courtesy of Matt Sims via Flickr.
Photo courtesy of Matt Sims via Flickr.

Word Clue

This beach, which in the past has been ranked #1 in the world, has been inhabited for more than 1,500 years. Royalty lived in the area during the 16th century. Today this town has a population of less than 40,000 residents and many celebrities live here. There are three islands within easy kayak distance from shore, two of which are bird sanctuaries. The town is named after the two lagoons/two currents that run through the bay.

Where in the World is this Destination?

Scroll down to find out!

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Kailua Town/Lanikai Beach

Kailua Town and Lanikai Beach are located in the Ko’olaupoko District on the island of O’ahu in Hawai’i.  In the Hawaiian language, Kailua means “two seas” or “two currents”.  One of the many things that make Kailua special is its world famous beaches, Kailua Beach on the winward coast of Kailua Bay and Lanikai Beach. With soft white sand and calm waters, Kailua Beach has been named in past years the world’s best beach. Flat Island and the Mokulua Islands (Moku Nui and Moku Iki) are an easy paddle from shore by kayak. Two of these three islands are bird sanctuaries.

 

Luminae Restaurant and Why West Coasters Will Love It

Learn About the Exclusive Luminae Restaurant on Celebrity Cruises + Other Suite Class Perks

West Coasters in general are dedicated foodies and love trying new restaurants and foods. At Celebrity Cruises, we also like experimenting with new flavors and introducing innovative dining experiences. Luminae is one our newest restaurants and has been rolled out to all our ships (with the exception of the Xpedition Class) and it comes with an air of exclusivity. After all, let’s face it, knowing you’re one of a small group of people to try a popular, hard-to-get-into restaurant always makes the dining experience feel a bit more special.

However, most of those type of restaurant outings are sporadic or even once-in-a-lifetime type dining experiences. At Luminae, you can eat there for every meal of your cruise if you’d like. So how is that exclusive? Because Luminae is only available to guests staying in one of Celebrity Cruises’ Suite Class accommodations. Here’s why this stateroom upgrade is so worth it both because of Luminae and other perks.

Luminae Restaurant Perks

Luminae onboard Celebrity Cruises
Luminae on board Celebrity Cruises

Luminae is located in its own special section of the ship and you must scan your suite room key in order to access it. Upon entering the light-filled room, you’ll be enveloped in soothing golds and creams while the outdoor scene unfolds before you thanks to large picture windows. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at Luminae for your convenience – and gastronomical delight – each day.

The food at Luminae consists of modern cuisine with an eclectic twist. Surprise your tastebuds with one of your favorite entrees that will be a bit different – in a good way – than you may be used to. The chefs at Luminae are inspired by cuisine from all over the world, meaning you’ll constantly have new tastes to try with new menus daily. Also, the menu items at Luminae are exclusive to Luminae and aren’t served in any of the other restaurants on board. You might feast on côte de boeuf  with Béarnaise sauce one night and Alaskan halibut with baby bok choy and sesame sticky rice another night.

Suite Class Perks

Staying in a Suite Class stateroom on Celebrity Cruises comes with some extraordinary benefits. You’ll get your own personal butler who can help you unpack, deliver cappuccino or snacks (or a full meal) to your room, shine your shoes, and a myriad of other helpful tasks that will elevate your cruise to a truly relaxing, blissful vacation.

Michael's Club
Michael’s Club

In addition to dining at Luminae, you’ll also gain access to Michael’s Club, an exclusive lounge on Celebrity Cruises to which suite guests have access. Michael’s Club has a luxurious vibe with comfortable chairs in a reading area and an inviting bar. Order a craft beer, sip a glass of wine or try one of the high-end liquors served. There are also pre-dinner tapas served each evening in Michael’s Club. In addition to drinks and good eats, you can arrange your next shore excursion or dinner reservation with the helpful concierge who is available for your convenience in Michael’s Club.

Celebrity Cruises Penthouse Suite
Penthouse Suite with butler

The suites themselves are spectacular, with spacious living areas and verandas – some which even have whirlpools. To learn more about the different types of suites and which one is perfect for you, read our suite blog post.

Other Perks – the Best

Also, if you book a suite, you get all four perks as part of our Go Big, Go Better, Go Best pricing, which enables you to choose certain amenities and onboard packages to be included in your cruise fare depending on then pricepoint you’d like to pay. These perks are:

  • Free Beverage Package (Includes Alcoholic Drinks)
  • Included Gratuities
  • $300 to Spend On Board
  • Unlimited Internet Package

Typically you decide how much you want to pay depending if you want one perk (go! big), two perks (go! better), or four perks (go! best),  but if you stay in a suite, you automatically get all four perks. It’s an amazing value. Find out how you can also currently save $800 with the Season of Savings Event by clicking here.

Plus, you’ll get that all-meal access to Luminae we were discussing – though you may find yourself also wanting to try some of the other specialty restaurants on board. The dining experience on Celebrity is one you don’t want to miss, and with a suite stay you truly have the opportunity to experience it all.

Find your perfect itinerary and book your Suite Class stateroom on a Celebrity Cruises sailing by visiting www.CelebrityCruises.com or speaking with your travel agent.