Where in the World Wednesday: December 28, 2016

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

Picture Clue

Photo courtesy of Roger W via Flickr.

Word Clue

This volcanic island is completely encircled by shallow reefs. Here you will find a blue cat and will experience the island’s incredible biodiversity, with 183 different species of fish, 54 varieties of coral, and 60 types of sea sponges. The island also has hundreds of unexpected residents – goats, who roam the shoreline.

While this island’s official language is French, many street signs here are in Swedish, reminders of the island’s time under Swedish rule. Interestingly, you’ll find aluminum cans hanging from hooks at nearly every beach. These unique contraptions are simply meant as ashtrays to protect the island’s beaches. Here you’ll also find one of the shortest runways in the world. You have to fly over a relatively large hill to land over the beach on a very short runway. Wind gusts can be quite strong, creating turbulence during landing.

Where in the World is This Destination?

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Saint-Barthélemy (St. Barts in English and often abbreviated as Saint-Barth in French)

St. Barts is a Caribbean island located 22 miles southeast of St. Maarten (40 minute ferry), 39 miles north of St. Kitts, and 150 miles east of Puerto Rico. Christopher Columbus discovered this island in 1493 and named it after his brother, Bartolomeo. Today there are 10,000 year round residents and St. Barts remains quaint, with no building on the island allowed to be taller than two stories. You’ll enjoy delicious French cuisine, beautiful beaches and great diving and snorkeling spots.

Why You Should Cruise to a New Country in 2017 (or Several!)

Itching to explore a new area of the world? Here are four reasons why 2017 is a great year to explore a new country (or several) with some specific country recommendations to check out in the new year.

Strong Dollar

Celebrity Equinox in Santorini
Celebrity Equinox in Santorini, Greece

The dollar has been trending strong against currency around the world. The Euro (€) is one such currency so if you’ve been thinking about a European cruise now is the time to book and go. Right now it’s about $1.05 to €1 (which is five to 10 cents cheaper than it was even this past summer – that can add up quickly in savings when you’re exploring port cities during a cruise!). You can check current exchange rates here.

Cruising is an even more economical way to experience Europe. While onboard you’ll know that your main expenses like meals and accommodation are already covered, giving you budget peace of mind. Plus, book your cruise using Celebrity Cruises’ Go Big, Go Better, Go Best pricing and you’ll make your cruise even more all-inclusive meaning no monetary surprises at the end of your cruise since drink, spa, and even specialty meals can end up being included in the price of your cruise.

South Pacific Cruises to New Zealand

Dunedin, New Zealand

Lord of the Rings helped put New Zealand on the map back in the early aughts and it has been increasing in popularity ever since. New Zealand still holds its laidback charm even with the surplus of tourists and you should get there before even more people realize this remarkably beautiful country should be on their bucket list.

Even during busy travel times, there are areas of New Zealand where you’ll find the landscape to be blissfully devoid of crowds while you hike and bike along forested trails, trudge up glaciers, sip wine amid vast vineyards, kayak or ferry across majestic bays, and yes – visit Hobbiton for all your Lord of the Rings fans.

Coastal Canada

Cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia

Lonely Planet recently named Canada the best place to travel in 2017. Canada is home to gorgeous, rugged landscape and vibrant cities, including some beautiful coastal ones. You can visit a couple of Canada’s most popular west coast cities on an Alaska cruise: Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia. Both cities offer cosmopolitan activities along with nature-filled adventures.

Plus, if cruising to Canada, you’ll get to continue on to Alaska after soaking up the scenery in Canada, where you’ll encounter glaciers, wildlife, small coastal mountain towns and a myriad of other nature-filled adventures.

Learn More About Other Cultures

Bicyclist in Amsterdam
Bicyclist in Amsterdam

Traveling helps to broaden your horizons and feel more connected to the world and the people in it. In a day and age where it’s easy to have world news and stories and pictures from around the globe at your fingertips, it’s still beneficial to go out and see other countries and cultures with your own five senses.

Taste the cuisine, feel the textures of local textiles in markets, smell the air, hear the sounds of a bustling city or peaceful natural setting, and look at all the beauty around you and the people that make each part of the world special.

Whether you’ve been to 50 countries, or you’ve never been out of your home country before, never stop exploring — make 2017 the year you visit a new country…or several! Visiting more than one country in a single vacation isn’t hard to do on a cruise. Through shore excursions and onboard lectures you’ll learn about the cultures of the countries you’re visiting and you can even add on pre- and post-cruise multi-day adventures in the port city in which your cruise begins or ends.

Book Your 2017 Cruise Today

Are you ready to find a new country to explore this year? Start browsing all the destinations Celebrity Cruises goes at www.CelebrityCruises.com. Then call us or speak with your travel agent to book your cruise.

Have a happy, travel-filled New Year!

Where in the World Wednesday: December 21, 2016

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

Picture Clue

Photo courtesy of Lime Salt Chile via Flickr.

Word Clue

This area came into being over 12 million years ago when tectonic forces ripped this region from the continent, creating the peninsula we see today. The narrow sea is home to more than 900 islands, comprising a unique and rich ecosystem. In addition to a wide range of endemic creatures, this sea features many migratory species including humpback and blue whales (this is one of the largest whale breeding grounds in the world), Humboldt squid, and leatherback sea turtles. Here you will also find an abundance of sardines, anchovies, and tuna.

In this UNESCO World Heritage Site you will also find a wide variety of birds, including Blue Footed Boobies. These birds are easily recognizable with their bright blue feet, a sexually selected trait. Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female. The female is slightly larger than the male and can measure up to 35 inches long with a wingspan of up to five feet. It is truly amazing watching these incredible birds catch fish and squid, as they plunge dive at incredibly fast speeds, from heights of up to 100 feet.

Where in the World is This Destination?

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Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

The Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) is the body of water that separates Baja California from mainland Mexico. The Gulf is thought to be one of the most diverse seas on the planet, and it is home to more than 5,000 species and over a million people. Baja California is one of the longest peninsulas in the world, second only to the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia.

Where in the World Wednesday: December 14, 2016

Can you guess where in the world this destination is based off of the clues below?

Picture Clue

Photo by Michael Sean Gallagher via Flickr.

Word Clue

This country was originally settled by Phoenicians in the 10th century BC and now has a population of just under 11 million. This country boasts more than 1,000 miles of pristine coastline but also has a dense forest and vast desert. Over 98% of its residents are Muslim, and while Arabic is it’s official language, French is also widely spoken. Here you will find the well preserved remains of one of the greatest cities in preindustrial history, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where in the World is This Destination?

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Tunis, Tunisia

The Republic of Tunisia is an Arab Maghreb country located in Northern Africa. Tunisia is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Sahara Desert (bigger than the total area of Australia and almost as large as the continental United States) to the south.

 

Home of the ancient city of Carthage, Tunisia was once an important player in the Mediterranean, thanks to its location in the center of North Africa, close to vital shipping routes. The Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and French realized its strategic significance, making it a hub for control over the region.

 

West Coast Christmas Markets & Christmas Celebrations at Sea

Ready for some holiday magic? Christmas markets are a great way to do so and you don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to experience one. Here are two ways to have some Christmas entertainment fun close to home on the west coast and while sailing the sea on a cruise.

San Francisco Christmas Fair

One way to experience the magic of Christmas on the west coast of the USA is to step back in time at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. You’ll feel like you’re in London…in the 19th century. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is pretty much exactly like it sounds like: a Christmas festival reminiscent of a Charles Dickens novel. You’ll encounter actors dressed in traditional Victorian garb as you walk down lamplit lanes decorated to reflect a London street from many Christmas’ past. Stop at the different stalls to browse holiday gifts or buy roasted chestnuts. There are also many different performances, including old-fashioned dance and music, plus entertainment created for children.

The annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair takes place in San Francisco’s Cow Palace Exhibition Halls and runs from the weekend after Thanksgiving to mid-December. You can purchase tickets here.

Vancouver’s Christmas Market

Just north of the USA/Canada border, you’ll find the British Columbia city of Vancouver. During the month of December, a portion of downtown Vancouver is turned into a winter wonderland reminiscent of what you might expect to see in Europe. Wooden stalls line the festival, filled with delicious holiday treats and gifts.

There is also a photo op with Santa Claus, live music, and a massive Christmas tree. Also, don’t miss stopping by one of the huts serving traditional Glühwein, a festive mulled wine. The Vancouver Christmas Market is at the Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver and you can get tickets to it here.

You can also find some Christmas cheer in Stanley Park (Vancouver’s gorgeous waterside and wooded park) at Bright Nights. Holiday animation and characters are on display and there is also a train ride you can go on around the park.

Christmas at Sea with Celebrity Cruises

When it comes to Christmas, most people who celebrate the holiday are used to spending it at home or at a relative’s house. While traditions and family time are usually wonderful, you may sometimes find yourself wondering what a non-traditional Christmas looks like, such as one spent at sea. At Celebrity Cruises, we don’t have to wonder; we strive to provide a festive and fun Christmas at sea for our guests who cruise with us over the holiday. Here’s what you’ll find when cruising over Christmas — just be prepared that you may be spending some time on the phone convincing your relatives to join you on a cruise for Christmas next year (though if you want to keep it to yourself and escape the relatives next year, we won’t tell!).

Celebrity Cruises Christmas Decorations

It’s not Christmas without a Christmas tree and on Celebrity Cruises you’ll find numerous adorned Christmas trees onboard when sailing during the holiday. You’ll come across garlands, gingerbread houses, reindeer statues, poinsettias, and other Christmas decor as well when exploring the ship.

Though not technically a decoration, kids will also love the ambiance of being around a white bearded jolly fellow: Santa Claus, who is onboard Celebrity Cruises’ Christmas sailings and even hands out gifts.

Christmas at Sea Dining

Christmas at home can mean hours upon hours of food prep followed by more hours of cleanup in order to have a successful Christmas meal. When sailing on Celebrity over Christmas you just need to dress up in your favorite holiday outfit and show up at the main dining hall for a Christmas feast served to you. After dinner, enjoy a special holiday drink at one of the bars and lounges onboard.

There will also be onboard holiday-themed entertainment and activities like caroling and crafts onboard Celebrity Christmas cruises. To find out more and to book your Christmas cruise, visit www.celebritycruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Where in the World Wednesday: December 7, 2016

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

Picture Clue

Photo courtesy of Robyn Jay via Flickr.

Word Clue

There are more than 600,000 feral camels in this area, with thousands surrounding this ancient rock formation. This sandstone structure was formed more than 550 million years ago and symbolism on the rock indicates human inhabitance dating back at least 5,000 years.

This famous rock is located within a National Park, yet nearly 300 miles from the nearest city. Temperatures in this area can reach 116°F and rainfall is so rare that when it does rain, beautiful waterfalls pour over the rock creating a spectacular site. Try to guess the name of the rock formation as well as name of the National Park.

Where in the World is This Destination?

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Uluru (also called Ayers Rock) in Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru is one of Australia’s most recognizable natural landmarks, located in Australia’s Northern Territory, nearly 300 miles from the nearest city of Alice Springs.

A definite not-to-miss activity here is the Sounds of Silence dinner, set outside at the base of Uluru under the magnificent star-filled outback sky. An exert astronomer guides you in locating the Southern Cross, the signs of the zodiac, the Milky Way, as well as planets and galaxies that are visible due to the exceptional clarity of the atmosphere.

Port of Call Spotlight: Los Angeles

The southern California city of Los Angeles (LA) is a massive metropolis, a surfer beach town, a vibrant cultural center, a natural wonderland, and…a cruise port. Many people don’t realize you can visit Los Angeles on a cruise and it’s a great way to experience the city without having the deal with LAX (Los Angeles’ huge airport) or the epic traffic LA is famous for.

You can visit Los Angeles during a Celebrity Cruises Pacific Coastal cruise. Many of the cruise itineraries for this cruise route include a stop in Los Angeles and some even start or end in LA, meaning you can add a couple more days in LA before or after being on the ship.

Where the Cruise Ship Docks

Your cruise ship will pull into port in San Pedro, which is located in an industrial area of California just south of LA near Long Beach.

What to Do While in Port in Los Angeles

Hollywood

It’s hard to think of LA without picturing your favorite celebrities. If learning more about tinsel town excites you when you think about visiting Los Angeles, then don’t visit the parts of LA where movie magic happens. Top picks include:

  • Universal Studios – you can visit actual working film studios at this amusement park, and — if you’re lucky — during the tour you might even spot a celebrity. In addition, you’ll see movie memorabilia from some of your favorite films and go on some movie-inspired rides.
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame – Find the stars with your favorite celebrity’s names on it, then go and check out the handprints and footprints in front of TCL Chinese Theatre. This iconic movie theater has also been the location of many movie premieres so imagine you’re walking down your own red carpet while there.

LA Beaches

Los Angeles is home to some quintessential southern California beaches. If you want the full LA beach experience, head to one of these beaches:

  • Venice Beach – This beach has beautiful sand and beautiful people — and some interesting characters that make it a great place for people watching. Meander down the boardwalk, check out the nearby surf shops, or find a space of sand to lie on.
  • Santa Monica – If you like some classic entertainment with your beach going experience, spend your day in the LA community of Santa Monica, where you can walk down sandy beaches or ride on roller coasters and play carnival-style games on the Santa Monica Pier.
  • Malibu – The beaches here are rugged and less crowded than down south. Head to the pier for a picturesque walk or marvel at the coastal rock structures at El Matador Beach.

Hiking in Los Angeles

Los Angeles isn’t just glitz, glam, and skyscrapers. It is also home to some gorgeous natural landscapes and hiking trails. If you’d like to get your heart rate up while in port in LA, consider a hiking adventure. Check out this article for tips on hiking one of the top trails in LA.

Art and Culture

Los Angeles is home to a variety of museums and cultural centers. Some of the must-see ones include:

  • The Getty Center – Not only is the Getty Center home to an impressive art collection, it also has incredible architecture and an expansive manicured garden to walk through.
  • Griffith Observatory – The Griffith Observatory is home to a neat planetarium that draws in space enthusiasts, but is also one of the best places to go for views of LA. From its Mount Hollywood location, you can see the Hollywood Sign and downtown LA.
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County – Love dinosaurs? How about insects and rocks? You’ll find all that and much more to be mesmerized by and learn about at this informative LA museum.

Book Your Trip to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a massive metropolitan and while these are some of the top things you can do in the city, they’re far from the only things. There’s something for everyone in LA and you can experience it while in port in Los Angeles on a Celebrity Cruises vacation. To book your Celebrity cruise to LA, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.