Where in the World Wednesday: September 27, 2017

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

Clue

A famous Benedictine Monk, the youngest of seven children, was born in this small town in the mid 1600s. He made a name for himself by greatly improving the quality of local wine. He worked as a cellar master caring for the medieval monastery’s food, ale and wine. Today his name is synonymous with the finest wine. In addition to wine, this town prides itself in producing quality pig trotters, also known as pig’s feet.

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Sainte-Menehould, Champagne, France

Sainte-Menehould is a commune in the Champagne province located in north-eastern France, about 115 miles east of Paris. Sainte-Menehould is the birthplace of French Benedictine Monk Dom Pérignon. The famous champagne Dom Pérignon is named for him. The remains of the monastery where he spent his adult life is now the property of the winery that produces Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon.

Cruise Port of Call Spotlight: Sitka, Alaska

Things to Do in Sitka, Alaska During a Cruise

Sitka is a small port town located in southeast Alaska on an outer island just slightly southwest of Alaska’s capital city of Juneau. Sitka is known for its beauty – thick spruce forests line the perimeter of the coast and the water of the calm Sitka Sound glimmers under the vast Alaskan sky.

For animal lovers, Sitka is an especially exceptional port of call since it provides many opportunities to get up close to a variety of animals.

Sitka’s History

Sitka has an interesting historical aspect as well. It was controlled by Russia until the mid-1800s and you’ll see Russian influence in the architecture of the city center and through performances by local dancers and artists that pay homage to Russian culture. Long before Russia and America ever made its mark in Sitka, though, the land served as the home for the Tlingit clan. You can still find an incredible array of Tlingit culture in Sitka today, including hand-carved totem poles and traditional clan houses.

Top Sitka Things to Do: Easy to Do via Shore Excursions

Here are some ideas on what you can do during a day in port in Sitka with Celebrity Cruises.

Wilderness Sea Kayaking Adventure

This excursion gets you out onto the water in a thrilling way. You’ll start your day with a boat ride to a base camp and during the boat ride, you may even see whales and other sea creatures.

Once at the base camp, you’ll get situated in a two-person kayak and paddle off to explore a protected cove located near Sitka. Breathe in the fresh air and take in the scenery while you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife both under and above the sea.

Alaska Raptor Center and Cultural Discovery

See one of Alaska’s most coveted residents, the bald eagle, and learn about the cultural background of Sitka on this in-depth excursion.

You’ll first take a motor coach ride along a scenic roadway during which you can take in the rugged scenery before arriving at the Alaska Raptor Center, a sanctuary that is home to a number of bald eagles. You’ll tour the facility and learn about the rescue and rehabilitation side of the sanctuary, plus have time to tour the flight center and outside deck habitat area. After learning much more about these amazing birds, you’ll head onto the Sitka National Historical Park.

Sitka National Historical Park is on the land where the 1804 “Battle of Sitka” was fought between Russian settlers and the Tlingit clan. Today, you can see many historical and cultural sights in the park, including totem poles and carving rooms along with other cultural exhibits.

Next you’ll head to a folk dance and song performance before ending your day in downtown Sitka at St. Michael’s Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church which is home to impressive Icon Artwork from the 16th century.

Sea Otters, Raptors, and Bears Oh My

This tour also takes you to the Alaska Raptor Center, but eagles aren’t the only native Alaska wildlife you’ll see during your day in Sitka if you opt for the Sea Otters, Raptors, and Bears Oh My shore excursion. You’ll also get the fun adventure of boarding a catamaran cruise and taking it around Sitka Sound, where you’ll likely see sea otters frolicking in the water. You also may see whales, seals, porpoises, and sea lions. During the cruise you’ll also learn about Alaska’s water ecosystem from a naturalist guide.

Back on land, you’ll be introduced to the Alaskan brown bear at the Fortress of the Bear rescue center. You’ll learn interesting facts about the Alaskan brown bear while viewing orphaned bears from the observation deck.

Sitka Salmon Sportfishing

Sitka Sound is home to a large number of salmon and sportfishing is a fun pastime to do while in port. You’ll take off in a sportfish cruiser to a prime fishing spot where you can try and reel in a fish. You can either catch and release the fish, or opt to have it professionally processed and shipped back to your home to enjoy eating after your trip.

To book your Alaska cruise to Sitka, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Where in the World Wednesday: September 20, 2017

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

Word Clue

This port city is located on the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the largest metropolitan areas in its country. It gets its name from the stone reefs found by the city’s shores.

Its Historic Center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts over 20 museums, nearly 40 art galleries and 2 Orchestra houses.

Due to the city’s proximity to the equator, the weather is generally warm. Here you will find numerous islands, rivers, waterways and bridges that intersect with the city and which gave it the nickname of the “Venice” of its country. There is an absence of extreme temperatures here with a cool breeze from trade winds.

Picture Clue

Photo by TravelingOtter (via Flickr)

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Recife, Brazil

Recife, pronounced (‘heh-see-fee’), is located in northeast Brazil and is the capital of Pernambuco. Recife is known for an exciting nightlife and cultural scene plus its yearly Carnaval. Recife is a coastal city and gets its name from the recifes (reefs) located offshore from the city. Recife is also located close to the historic town of Olinda. The historic center of Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese.

4 Reasons to Cruise this Fall

Missed Your Chance to Cruise this Summer? Here’s why a Fall Cruise Should Be on Your Radar

Summertime means peak travel time for lots of people, but if you missed out on a summer vacation this year, don’t fret. You still have time for an incredible cruise vacation before the year is over and here’s why a fall cruise may be even better, including great deals.

Weather is Still Nice, But Not Blisteringly Hot

Visit Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy during a Europe summer cruise.

The weather in the summer months can be incredibly hot in some cruise regions, particularly in the Mediterranean region of Europe. If you’re not one for sweating out your shore excursions, take a fall cruise during which you should still encounter decent weather, but with much milder temperatures.

Popular Destinations are Not as Crowded

The fall cruise season will take you around the world during what’s known as shoulder season in the tourism industry. Shoulder season refers to the couple of months immediately before or after the summer season when the weather is still nice and tourism is still often in full swing, but on a much smaller scale. Since not as many people are able to travel during shoulder season – or prefer not to if they desire hot weather – there are fewer crowds in popular tourist destinations, meaning more space for you to explore your surroundings.

Canada and New England Fall Cruises

You don’t have to travel far for a memorable cruise vacation. Head to the east coast of America and embark on a fall foliage cruise. The northeast region of the United States and southeast area of Canada is known for its incredible leaf colors in autumn. Shades of crimson, gold, and orange dazzle locals and travelers alike every year. Leaf chasers will get lots of opportunities to see a variety of fall foliage views on the cruise thanks to ports of call in Cape Liberty, New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Quebec City, Quebec. In addition to spotting lovely leaves, you’ll also get the chance to explore these historic and beautiful towns.

Great Fall Cruise Deals

Couple on balcony sailing onboard Celebrity Cruises

The shoulder season aspect of the fall travel season means it’s also possible to find great deals due to demand not being as high.

Also, Celebrity Cruises currently has the World is Open Sale going on for a limited time. This sale lets cruisers who book oceanview staterooms or higher accommodation categories pick two free perks to enhance their cruise vacation. Plus, additional guests beyond the first two in your room save 50% on their cruise fares. This makes it a great time to finally plan that trip you’ve been talking about doing with friends or family members.

The perks you can choose from include:

  • Free Classic Beverage Package (which includes alcoholic drinks!)
  • Free Unlimited Wi-Fi (stay connected and upload all those amazing vacation pictures you’ll be taking to Instagram and Facebook!)
  • $150 to Spend Onboard (you can use it toward spa treatments, specialty restaurants, shore excursions, and much more)
  • Prepaid Tips (save on the daily recommended gratuity while on board)

Do all these perks sound great to you? Book a Suite Class accommodation and the first two guests get all four perks, with an upgrade to a Premium Beverage Package. Plus, any additional guests in your suite will still save the 50% off their cruise fare.

Ready to take advantage of this special offer and book your fall cruise? Visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Where in the World Wednesday: September 13, 2017

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

Word Clue

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is ideal for adventurous travelers. It has excellent skiing in the winter and incredible mountain climbing and base jumping in the summer. Located just two hours from one of the most famous port cities in the world, this park is known for its meadow basins, deep valleys, and mountaintop views. Each July, this mountain range hosts a one-day bicycle race over seven of its mountain passes. The largest city near the park has approximately 100,000 year round residents and was discovered nearly 800 years ago. A famous, well preserved mummy was found here and is showcased in the local museum.

Picture Clue

Image by Jon Shave (via Flickr)

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Bolzano, Valle d’Isarco, Dolomites, Italy

Located two hours from Venice in Northeastern Italy in the eastern section of the northern Italian Alps, the Dolomites encompass three Italian provinces: Trento, Bolzano, and Belluno. Located within this area are a variety of both bustling cities and tiny towns. Bolzano is the largest city in the region and was founded more than 800 years ago. Ötzi the Iceman is a well preserved mummy found in Bolzano and is Europe’s oldest known natural mummy. Celebrity Cruises visits the region on numerous Venice itineraries from May through October.

Italian Dreaming: Top Shore Excursions in Italy

Italy is one of the countries on a Mediterranean cruise that people dream about visiting. A cruise makes it easy to visit several of Italy’s most popular destinations all on one trip. Here are some of the most loved ports to visit and excellent shore excursions to do while visiting these beloved Italian ports.

Portofino: The Jewel of Italy’s Northern Coast

The harbor hugging town of Portofino is iconic for its candy colored beauty. But soaking in the views isn’t all there is to do there. On the Portofino, Rapallo, and St. Margherita: the Three Pearls of Paradise Gulf shore excursion you will visit a castle, historic church, delicious café, three different town centers each with its own charm, and incredible scenic viewpoints.

Another place to head while in Portofino is the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This small coastal area gets its name from the five tiny towns that dot it as Cinque Terre means Five Lands. Each of the five towns has its own ambiance and unique look and layout. You can visit the five towns via car, but most people start in Riomaggiore, the southern most town, and hike or take the train to each of the next four towns. Those who don’t want to deal with crowds and logistics can opt for the convenient Cinque Terre shore excursion that escorts you to the towns via coach, boat, and foot.

Venice: Explore the City Built on Water

Venice Shore Excursions

Part of the allure of Venice is getting lost in its myriad of streets. For cruise passengers on a strict timeframe, wandering aimlessly may not be the smartest way to spend your day in Venice. That’s where the Secret Venice Walking Tour shore excursion comes in. You’ll be escorted down alluring side streets and through hidden passages as you explore lesser visited plazas and sites before making your way to the famous Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, and St. Mark’s Square.

If arts and crafts are more your thing, head to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano. The rhythmic names are home to some impressive art forms. In Murano you’ll find skilled glass blowers doing demonstrations and selling their wares. The famous Murano glass makes for a great souvenir and you can find creations of the glass that range from jewelry to vases to even clocks. In Burano, you’ll learn about the history of lace making in the area and can shop for some beautiful lace pieces, while also exploring Burano’s colorful streets.

And no visit to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride. Take in the sights of Venice as you drift along its waterways while being sung to on the Evening Gondola Serenade shore excursion.

Naples: Port of Call for Beauty and Ancient Worlds

Capri, Italy Shore Excursions

There are so many places you can visit while your ship is docked in Naples since it’s close to favorite destinations like the Amalfi Coast, the island of Capri, and the ancient site of Pompeii.

If you can’t make up your mind which to visit while in port, see them all on the Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii shore excursion. You’ll take a boat ride to Capri where you’ll board the funicular to head up the island’s hillside to Capri Town to explore and shop. You’ll then head back to the mainland and be escorted on a drive down the Amalfi Coast to gorgeous Sorrento, a famous resort town of pink and orange hued buildings seemingly stacked on top of each other along the side of a hill overlooking the Bay of Naples. Next, you’ll be taken to Pompeii where you’ll learn about the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that preserved this city in ash thousands of years ago.

Livorno: Gateway to Famous Architecture and a Famous Countryside

When you’re in port in Livorno, you are within easy driving distance to Florence and Pisa. Experience both the Renaissance vibe of Florence’s architecture and the famous tower of Pisa on the Exclusive Pisa and Florence shore excursion.

If country ambiance is more your thing, spend your time in port in Livorno amid the beauty of Tuscany on the Tuscan Countryside San Gimignano and Volterra shore excursion. You’ll get the chance to visit these hilltop towns and take in the medieval architecture and sites of San Gimignano and see the beautiful Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra. During the shore excursion you’ll also get the opportunity to visit a local farmhouse to try some Tuscan cuisine.

Rome: Can’t Miss Historical Sites

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
St. Peter’s Basilica

You’ll arrive for your time in Rome in the city of Civitavecchia, which is the gateway port to Rome for cruisers. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s hard to see a lot of Rome’s main sites in a day as well since there are so many of them! Still, those who want to maximize their time in the city and see as much as possible will be impressed with the Exclusive, Best of Rome shore excursion. You’ll visit the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Which shore excursion would you most want to go on? You can do so on a European cruise with Celebrity Cruises. Visit www.CelebrityCruises.com to find your perfect itinerary or speak with your travel agent.

A Note About Hurricane Irma and How We’re Helping

A note from Scott Clifton, Director of Market Sales at Celebrity Cruises:

I am very proud to work for a company who cares so much about its employees. Yesterday, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises) arranged for a delivery of water to every employee in South Florida. A much appreciated gesture given how water is in such short supply and many stores are sold out.

Then, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (RCL) closed all our South Florida offices for the next four days to permit our employees to prepare their homes for Irma’s arrival and prepare to evacuate if necessary.

And if that wasn’t enough, RCL dedicated one of our 2,500 guest ships to be a floating hotel for any employee and up to seven of their family members needing to escape Irma. The ship will depart at noon tomorrow and return to the Port of Miami once the storm has passed. The company could have charged our employees, and many would have paid, but instead RCL is providing this employee evacuation cruise completely free of charge.

Hoping that all employees, travel partners and guests in Irma’s path remain safe during this dangerous hurricane.

Where in the World Wednesday: September 6, 2017

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

This coastal tourist town of just 14,000 residents is known for its beautiful beaches and mother of pearl. Each year this city hosts a pearl festival celebrating its multicultural heritage. This city was attacked four times during World War II. Racial segregation was common here until the 1970s. An undersea telegraph cable was laid from a nudist beach here, connecting this city to the rest of the world. The beach now bares its name.

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Broome, Australia

Broome, located in Western Australia, is a place a beat apart from the rest of Australia. Broome is bordered by the Indian Ocean and Kimberley Wilderness, the latter of which is a vast expansion of the Australian Outback. Broome is also famous for its pearling industry, particularly the mother of pearl, which got its start in the late 1800s.

Why Celebrity Cruises Sails to Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord

Celebrity Cruises strives to visit the best areas of a destination. In Alaska, that means being very selective about which glaciers to visit. Glacier Bay is often considered the most well-known glacier area in Alaska, but Celebrity Cruises doesn’t sail to it. Why? Because we think our passengers will be much more impressed and have a more memorable time seeing Sawyer Glacier (via Tracy Arm Fjord) and Hubbard Glacier. Here’s what makes these towering glaciers stand out from others.

Tracy Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier: Alaska’s Premier Fjord with Iceberg Galores

Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord
Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord

Sawyer Glacier is accessed via Tracy Arm Fjord, which is located about 45 minutes south of Juneau. The 23-miles Tracy Arm Fjord route itself is full of natural wonders and gorgeous sights, with Sawyer Glacier being the pinnacle view.

When cruising with Celebrity, you’ll visit Sawyer Glacier on board the Celebrity Solstice, the first of Celebrity’s award-winning Solstice-class of ships, which will have you navigating the waters of Alaska in stylish comfort while offering plenty of viewing platforms to see the rugged scenery you’ll be passing. Some ships go just inside Tracy Arm Fjord and then offer shore excursions to get closer to Sawyer Glacier, but Celebrity Solstice sails up as far as possible.

The icebergs by Sawyer Glacier are formed from underwater calving by Sawyer Glacier and are the most impressive in Alaska. You’ll pass hundreds as your ship makes its way to Sawyer Glacier along Tracy Arm Fjord. However, it’s often the above water calving at Sawyer Glacier that people come to gawk at.

Calving occurs when large sections of ice breaks off from the glacier. When that happens above sea level it makes for a jaw-dropping spectacle as massive pieces of white-blue ice separate from the main glacier and fall into the sea below. It’s not only an incredible sight to behold – and one that happens regularly at Sawyer Glacier — but it’s also a remarkable thing to hear. The noise made by the calving is referred to as “white thunder” which gives you a sense for just how loud it can be! The largest chunks also create huge wakes in the water after they fall.

To make sure all passengers get prime viewing of the glacier, the captain of Celebrity Solstice pivots the ship so that balconies on the left, and then on the right, have a perfect view of the glacier and calving.

You’ll also witness a multitude of waterfalls as you make your way through Tracy Arm Fjord. How many waterfalls you’ll see glistening in the daylight depends on the amount of recent rainfall.

As for wildlife, you’ll likely see a variety of animals. Celebrity Solstice crosses the bar to Tracy Arm Fjord at sunrise and often there are whales that can be spotted at the entrance. Bald eagles make their nests along Tracy Arm Fjord, which you’re more likely to see from May through July. Also from May through July you’ll get the chance to see harbor seal pups and their mothers hanging out in the water and on glaciers. When the tide goes out along Tracy Arm Fjord you’ll get the opportunity to witness animals coming down to feed on the sea critters left behind on land; you also may even see bears feeding along the mud flats.

In the event that too much ice is along Tracy Arm Fjord and prevents the cruise ship from navigating it,  Celebrity Solstice visits Dawes Glacier via Endicott Arm instead of Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glacier. Like Tracy Arm Fjord, Endicott Arm is also part of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. And like Sawyer Glacier, Dawes Glacier is mightily impressive.

Dawes Glacier is roughly the same size as South Sawyer Glacier (the part of Sawyer Glacier that cruise ships typically visit) and also has consistent calving that often involves large pieces of ice crashing into the frigid water below. Getting to Dawes Glacier exposes cruise passengers to the sheer beauty of narrow fjord cruising with the ultimate reward of seeing a tidewater glacier that still produces awe-inspiring iceberg formations that are hard to find anywhere else in southeast Alaska.

Here are some other reasons visiting Sawyer Glacier or Dawes Glacier on board Celebrity Solstice is such a memorable experience:

-Naturalist and ocean scientist Brent Nixon provides informative, expert commentary throughout the transit of the fjord and also provides six or seven captivating talks on Alaska’s history, diverse wildlife, glaciers, and more during the duration of your cruise.

-Weather permitting, you can watch the spectacular calving from the helipad on board, which has a prime viewing location on the front of the ship. While you gaze at the glacier, Celebrity Cruises butlers bring out hot chocolate for you to sip. How cozy does that sound?

-There are sections of the fjord that are quiet zones, so no announcements are allowed to be made so passengers can enjoy the beauty of Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness area in silence.

Whether you end up sailing to Sawyer Glacier or Dawes Glacier, you won’t be disappointed in the wild, frozen landscape that awaits you.

Hubbard Glacier: The Giant Galloping Glacier

Cruising by Hubbard Glacier in Alaska
Celebrity Millennium by Hubbard Glacier

If the calving at Sawyer Glacier sounds exciting, then you’ll definitely want an itinerary that visits Hubbard Glacier, located in Disenchantment Bay between Seward and Skagway.

Hubbard Glacier is an advancing tidal glacier, which means it is moving toward the Gulf of Alaska through Disenchantment Bay, and it is the largest tidal glacier in North America – it is as large as Rhode Island! This also means it has some truly impressive calving as glaciers calve more when they are advancing (as opposed to the ones in Glacier Bay, which are receding). Hubbard Glacier calves about every 15 minutes and at times, sheets of ice as large as 10 or 15 stories tall will break off with a thunderous crack and cascade into the sea right in front of your eyes.

Nicknamed the Galloping Glacier for how fast it’s advancing (about 33 meters a day), Hubbard Glacier is a highlight for many cruisers and is actually the biggest glacier you can see from from a cruise ship. When visiting Hubbard Glacier with Celebrity Cruises, you will spend about 90 minutes at the face of Hubbard Glacier and the ship will rotate during her time at Hubbard Glacier, providing every guest from both side of the ship’s outer decks and private verandas spectacular viewing opportunities.

Though Hubbard Glacier is the highlight, the journey to get to it through Disenchantment Bay is also memorable since nine of the sixteen tallest peaks in North America are visible on approach to Hubbard Glacier. These peaks are part of the Wrangell St. Elias mountain range, which includes the famous Mount Fairweather. From Disenchantment Bay, Mount Fairweather is even more visible than from Glacier Bay.

You can visit Hubbard Glacier with Celebrity Cruises on board Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Infinity, and Celebrity Millennium.

Here are some other “cool” facts about Hubbard Glacier:

-It takes about 400 years for ice to traverse the length of the glacier.

-Hubbard contains enough ice that it could cover all of the Los Angeles Basin in six feet of ice.

-Hubbard Glacier is 76 miles long and spans six to seven miles wide and 25 to 30 stories tall at its face.

Ready to Go?

If you’re still not swayed that Hubbard Glacier and Sawyer Glacier are the glaciers you want to see while cruising Alaska, here are some more reasons Glacier Bay is worth skipping when visiting Alaska with limited time:

-Glacier Bay is a National Park so it has restrictions on announcements and activities.

-It take six hours to get up the bay to see two glaciers, both of which are receding and will likely have little to no calving while you’re there.

-Johns Hopkins Glacier is off limits to park visitors during the summer months, so you miss great wildlife viewing.

-In the 1920s, Glacier Bay was full of ice, however, 60 miles of ice have melted in the last 10 years so there is not much left to see now.

To summarize, Glacier Bay just isn’t what it was 25 to 30 years ago, due to the fact that most glaciers in Glacier Bay are now “hanging” glaciers, which have long since receded far back into the mountainside. People still associate Glacier Bay with Inside Passage cruising due to its history, but travelers in the know seek out the wonders of Hubbard Glacier, Sawyer Glacier, and Dawes Glacier.

A view of Hubbard Glacier.
Sailing by Hubbard Glacier during an Alaska cruise.

Alright, so now are you ready to book your cruise to see these iconic glaciers and fjords? Then visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent. Due to the limited length of the Alaska cruise season (May through September), popular sailing dates and the best cabins book up quickly so don’t delay if you’re ready to see these iconic glaciers up close.