Do It Here, Then Do It There: Last Minute Memorial Day Getaways on the West Coast and Last Minute Summer Cruises
If it has suddenly dawned on you that Memorial Day Weekend is just a couple weekends away and you have no plans yet, fear not! Here are some last minute Memorial Day weekend getaways you can quickly plan and get to if you live on the West Coast.
Instead of heading straight to Napa or the Santa Ynez Valley like most Californians looking for wine tasting do with a long weekend, consider a trip to less-visited Paso Robles. It may not have the sophisticated glamour of Napa Valley or the Hollywood clout of Santa Ynez Valley, but Paso Robles still packs in some beautiful scenery and award-winning wines within its vineyard-filled valley. Go there now before it hits the mainstream in terms of popular wine regions.
San Diego is great for a long weekend getaway, but if you’re trying to book a last minute vacation there for Memorial Day weekend, you may find it’s expensive and booked up. Instead look slightly north to the city of Carlsbad, located about 35 miles north of downtown San Diego. Carlsbad is located right on the coast and has wide, sandy beaches plus a cute downtown area referred to as the Village with plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars to pop into. Carlsbad is also home to Legoland, making it a hit for family getaways.
When all else fails, looks east to Palm Springs and its neighboring city of Palm Desert. Memorial Day Weekend is sunny, yet hasn’t usually hit the triple digit heat that summer will be bringing to the inland desert region. Full of hotels, condos, and houses to rent, you should still be able to score some decent last minute accommodation in Palm Springs, even for a holiday weekend. If you want some more excitement than just lounging by the pool, be sure to pack your hiking shoes as Palm Springs is a short drive from Joshua Tree National Park.
Monterey and Carmel may get all the fame, but if you’re banging your head on the keyboard trying to find last minute accommodation for those two tony cities, look to their neighbor: Pacific Grove. This small city has its own charm with a tiny downtown area that has restaurants and cafes and a plethora of hotels that may still have some last minute availability for Memorial Day Weekend — plus it’s a super short drive to the sights of Monterey and Carmel.
Olympic National Park
This massive national park in western Washington has a number of towns on its border where you can stay — from the lovely lakeside calm of Quinault to the bustling seaside city of Port Angeles – meaning you’ll have more luck trying to find a last minute accommodation. Or you can go the rugged route for Memorial Day weekend and check for available campsites. From rain forests to waterfalls to foliage-heavy hiking trails, there is plenty to do in Olympic National Park to fill a long weekend.
Last Minute Summer Cruises — It’s Time to Book Your Dream Summer Vacation
Once Memorial Day weekend is over, it means summer is just around the corner and that means…summer vacation time! Luckily, it’s not too late to book a summer cruise, even if it’s a last-minute vacation decision for you! Here are some ideas for where to cruise this summer.
Explore America’s last frontier with a cruise that lets you experience both sea views and beautiful port towns. Here are a couple itineraries that are great for west coasters due to the ease of getting to the embarkation port:
The Caribbean is mostly known for aquamarine water, sandy beaches, and a laidback beach vibe. But many islands in the Caribbean have much more than just surf and sand, and Puerto Rico is one of those islands. A cruise stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico lets you see one of the Caribbean’s most vibrant cities, while still being in close proximity to that gorgeous water and beautiful beaches. Read on for a guide of what to do while spending the day in San Juan.
The Old Town Area of San Juan
A jaunt around the neighborhood of Old San Juan is always a great way to spend some time while in San Juan. This lovely area of the city features cobblestoned streets framed by colorful buildings in nearly every shade of the rainbow. Thickly branched trees stretch up toward rooftops along sidewalks, and white framed windows and doors add to the lovely appeal of Old San Juan’s aesthetics.
While in Old San Juan, make a stop at one of its top attractions, which include:
La Cassa Blanca: A one-time fortress that also served as the home of Ponce de Leon.
Paseo la Princesa and Raíces Fountain: If you have time, take a lovely stroll along the boulevard of Paseo la Princesa. If short on time, at least check out Raíces Fountain, the famous fountain structure at the end of Paseo la Princesa.
Cathedral of San Juan Bautista: The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is a good stop in Old San Juan for history or architect buffs as it is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas.
The Fortresses of San Juan
Bordering each end of Old San Juan are towering forts built on impressive bluffs overlooking the sea. Visiting these former military forts are one of the most popular things to do in San Juan. Here are the two forts to visit, and during a day in San Juan, you easily have time to visit both if you wish, or just choose one to visit and make time for the beach, too!
Castillo San Felipe del Morro
This is the original fortress built in San Juan in the 16th century. It stands formidably at the northwest end of the city and was constructed to defend inhabitants against intruders. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has a striking appearance high above the city, enhanced by the massive and bright green grassy area in front of it. You can walk around the grounds both in and out of the fortress walls and take in views of the ocean and surrounding landscape from each of the fort’s six levels.
Castillo San Cristóbal Fort
Built in the 1700s, Castillo San Cristóbal faces the northeast and provided a high vantage point right on the ocean for watching for intruding ships. Like Castillo San Felipe del Morro, it was used as an actual military fort as recently as World War II, and today it is open to visitors who can explore its scenic lookout points and dark underground tunnels.
The Beaches Near San Juan
You have to head a little bit out of Old San Juan to find the beaches Puerto Rico is famous for. Luckily, Celebrity Cruises makes it easy for you by offering excursions that take you straight from the ship port to a beach in comfortable transportation. Some of the excursions even stop at other historical sites, too, making for a fun, hassle-free day exploring San Juan.
San Juan City and Beaches by Bike: Explore the island of Puerto Rico on a 12-mile bike ride tour that takes you through Old San Juan and past historic sites and then to a beach park for some lovely views of the sea.
Deluxe Beach Break at VIVO Beach Club: Have a blissfully relaxing day on this shore excursion which gets you access to a luxurious beach club, where you can switch between a large pool area or a sandy beach next to the sea with lounge chairs and easy access to drinks and delicious cuisine.
Other Excursions to Do in Puerto Rico
A cruise stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, gives you the opportunity to partake in many other fun and engaging shore excursions. Here are some other top options:
Rome, Italy is one of the most iconic cities you can visit on a Mediterranean cruise. The scenery is gorgeous, many of the popular tourist sites are historical wonders, and the culture is alluring. Visiting Rome on a cruise can feel daunting, though, since the ship doesn’t dock right in Rome and it can be hard to narrow down exactly how you want to spend the day in such a large, vibrant city. Here is a breakdown of the top things you need to know about cruising to Rome, which will help ensure you have a fun and memorable time in port.
The Port for Rome: Civitavecchia
To visit Rome, your ship will actually pull into port in the city of Civitavecchia on the western coast of Italy. It is located about 50 miles northwest from Rome. To get to Rome from Civitavecchia, you can take a bus, train, or car rental. Depending where your ship docks, it can be a bit of a trek just to leave the port area to get to your transportation. A shore excursion that includes just transportation to and from Rome, or transportation plus a tour in the city is an easy and hassle-free way to get into Rome from your cruise ship.
Things to Do in Rome
If it’s your first time in Rome, here are a few things to see that you likely won’t want to miss:
The Colosseum is impressive to behold since it’s massive and still in fairly good condition considering it was built in the first century. The structure once housed gruesome gladiator battles as entertainment for the king and his subjects. The stories of the Colosseum are often fascinating to hear, and touring the Colosseum with a good guide can elevate your experience thanks to the expert knowledge you’ll receive compared to just wandering around the grounds on your own.
The Roman Forum is a large area dotted with many ancient buildings and ruins. It once served as the political center of ancient Rome. Within its borders you can see the well-preserved Arch of Constantine and the Tempo di Guilio Cesar, where Julius Caesar was cremated, plus many other important buildings from that era.
This is one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome, located in a charming square (that is also adjacent to some delicious gelato shops). The baroque fountain depicts a scene featuring Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. According to legend, you will return to Rome someday if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain.
Vatican City is a city-state located within Rome that serves as the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church. The two most popular things to do in Vatican City are to visit St. Peter’s Basilica and tour the Vatican Museums, the highlight for the latter being the opportunity to see the famed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo.
Italian Coffee and Fashion
While in Rome, you’ll also likely want a bit of leisure time to visit a café and sip one of Italy’s famous cappuccinos (which Italians typically only do in the morning, but hey – if it’s your only time in Rome and you aren’t able to order that cappuccino until the afternoon, go for it!). Rome also may not be as famous for style as the Italian city of Milan to the north, but it still has plenty of shopping boutiques and famous brand names lining its streets. Most shore excursions allow a bit of free time; if it’s important to you, just make sure the one you’re looking at has as much free time as you desire.
A Taste of Rome is a Celebrity Cruises shore excursion that visits all the above sites plus has free time.
Depending on your interests – or if it’s your second or subsequent time in Rome and you want to see some new sites from what’s above – you also may enjoy one of these unique activities while your ship is in port in Civitavecchia:
The birds are starting to chirp, the days are getting longer, and the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds more each day as rain and snow subside. Yes, summer is just around the corner. Which may have you thinking of your summer vacation in addition to shorts and tank tops if you haven’t planned it yet. And this summer you may want to start thinking about heading north for your vacation to a destination that can only be easily visited in summer (and its shoulder months) via cruise. The destination? Beautiful Alaska.
Luckily, you still have time to get your last minute Alaska cruise planned and booked for this summer. Celebrity Cruises offers a number of Alaska itineraries and there is still space available for YOU – including the coveted veranda stateroom.
Top Staterooms and Suites for Alaska Cruises
Veranda staterooms are popular for Alaska cruises because it gives you a private space just your own to soak in the crisp, fresh air while you get a front row seat to the glaciers, mountains, wildlife, and other scenery your ship is sailing past.
The opulent suites on board also have verandas and often other perks, like exclusive access to Luminae Restaurant and Michael’s Club. Some even have butler service.
So which ships will be sailing to Alaska this summer on which you can relax in one of these veranda staterooms or suites? You have several to choose from. Best of all for West Coast residents, they depart from west coast ports of call: Seattle, Washington; British Columbia, Vancouver; and Seward, Alaska.
Celebrity Solstice is the first ship that debuted as part of Celebrity Cruises’ iconic Solstice-class of ships, which feature the popular real grass, open air Lawn Club. Celebrity Solstice also has a Hot Glass Show, a variety of specialty restaurants, modern staterooms and suites, Canyon Ranch SpaClub, and many other amenities that will elevate your cruise into something truly special.
Celebrity Solstice offers an Alaska Tracy Arm Fjord Cruise itinerary that is especially convenient for west coasters as it departs from Seattle. It visits Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, plus sails through the Alaska Inside Passage, before returning to Seattle. This itinerary has many departure dates available throughout the summer. There’s also a departure date in September that ends in Vancouver instead of Seattle for those who want to check out this iconic British Columbia city.
Seattle departures to Alaska also include a 9-night Ultimate Alaska Cruise itinerary that departs from Seattle on May 17 and includes the above mentioned ports of call plus Hubbard Glacier and Sitka, Alaska.
Celebrity Infinity is part of the Millennium Class of ships and offers a relaxing and chic ambiance that offers more modern luxury than ever after its extensive makeover in October 2015. Celebrity Infinity will be offering Hubbard Glacier Cruises this June out of Vancouver. You’ll visit Ketchikan and Juneau in Alaska, sail by Hubbard Glacier, and then either visit Icy Strait Point or Sitka, Alaska, depending on your itinerary, before sailing the Inside Passage back to Vancouver.
Celebrity Millennium is also part of the Millennium class as her name suggests and also got a stunning new makeover in 2016. Alaska sailings on Celebrity Millennium include a 7-night Northern Glacier Cruise and 7-Night Southern Glacier Cruise, plus a 5-night itinerary for those short on vacation time that departs in May.
The Northern and Southern Glacier cruises have ports of call in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Point Strait, plus sail along the Inside Passage. Depending on which one you choose, you’ll either start your cruise journey in Vancouver and end it in Seward (Northern) or depart from Seward and end your cruise in Vancouver (Southern). There are several departure dates for both directions.
There’s also one 7-night sailing date in September that goes roundtrip from Vancouver.
Sailings are filling up fast for Alaska cruise departures this summer with Celebrity Cruises so if you read about one that sounds like the perfect fit for you, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com to find the latest deals and to book your dream Alaska vacation, or speak with your travel agent.
Athens, Greece, is a vibrant metropolis city that is home to some of the world’s most amazing ancient wonders. During a Mediterranean cruise, you can marvel at these sights while in port in Athens. Here is what to expect when cruising to Athens and some tips on how to spend your day.
Where Your Ship Docks
When visiting Athens via cruise, your ship will dock in the city of Piraeus, which is only about seven miles from Athen’s top things to do. Piraeus has restaurants and shops, but you won’t want to spend much time there; the true allure of this port of call lies less than ten miles away.
Getting From Piraeus to Athens
Though you may have a bit of a hike to get to it depending where along the harbor your cruise ship docks, the metro station in Piraeus is quite doable to walk to, and from there it’s just a 20-minute metro ride into the city center of Athens. However, if you want to make things easier on yourself getting into Athens, consider a shore excursion. Celebrity Cruises has a large variety of excursions to do while in port in Athens, and you’ll be met by your tour guide right by the ship and taken into Athens on a comfortable, air-conditioned bus where you’ll begin exploring sites old and new.
Things to Do in Athens
The big must-do in Athens is the Acropolis, built in the 5th century. This is a large site with many ancient structures that you’d be wise to do on a guided tour. Unless you’re very knowledgeable in your Greek history, once you’re up there and standing amid the Parthenon and other structures, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re looking at. There isn’t much in terms of information boards and to fully appreciate walking around where Plato and Socrates did, you’ll want an expert regaling you with stories and facts while you wander the grounds.
Shore Excursion Ideas for Seeing the Acropolis: If you want some free time to explore Athens on your own, the Explore Athens and Ancient Acropolis excursion is just four hours and takes you to tour the Acropolis, plus you’ll see some other famous sites on your drive through Athens to get there. If you’d like your whole day to be effortlessly handled for you, check out the Taste of Athens shore excursion, a 7-hour excursion which visits the Acropolis and some of Athens other top sites.
Want to soak up even more Acropolis knowledge? Head to the Acropolis Museum after you leave the actual site of the Acropolis. Here you’ll see the actual statues of the women holding up the Erechtheion Temple at the Acropolis. (The ones displayed at the Acropolis are replicas.) You’ll also see many other statues and historical artifacts that have been found at the Acropolis during excavations.
Temple of the Olympian Zeus
Believed to have been constructed in the 2nd century, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus is still impressive to behold despite the fact that it’s number of columns have now dwindled to 15 of what was once over 100. Adding to its allure is the fact that it’s in the middle of a large park surrounded by busy roads. It’s like you’re stepping from bustling, modern society back in time the second you step through the gate to enter the park from the street.
Arch of Hadrian (also referred to as Hadrian’s Gate)
This arched structure dates back to the 2nd century and was constructed in honor of Hadrian visiting Athens. It signifies the gateway between the old and new towns of Athens. Look for the inscription on it and come to your own assumptions about what the words mean – scholars haven’t been able to ever come to a conclusion.
Plaka is considered Athen’s “Old Town” and is chock-full of charming pathways, eclectic shops, and charming cafes with lovely outdoor seating. There are also historical sites sprinkled all around Plaka that you’ll come across so keep your eyes peeled for them.
If you love shopping, head to Monastiraki Flea Market, which is located adjacent to the Plaka neighborhood and has some great deals to be found.
These are just some of the many sites you can see in Athens. If you’re ready to book your Mediterranean cruise so you can explore this iconic city, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.
The Baltic Sea is an enclave of the Atlantic Ocean that boasts an enviable geographical location thanks to the many beautiful and exciting countries bordering its deep blue edges. The Baltic Sea is large enough that cruise ships can easily sail along it and these cruises take passengers to the countries of Scandinavia and northern Europe. On Celebrity Cruises, itineraries that sail along the Baltic Sea are often titled as Scandinavia and Russia cruises, though they typically visit other countries as well.
To find out just what you can do while in port during a cruise sailing the Baltic Sea, we’ve rounded up some of the best shore excursions to do in some of the Baltic’s most popular ports. For each city, one excursion is listed that gives you an overview tour of the city and its top sites, and then another excursion that is a bit more unique or specialized.
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg, Russia is the second largest city in Russia and is known for its fascinating architecture (particularly the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood) and vibrant cultural activities ranging from art to ballet to music. Here are two shore excursions that will help you experience the sites, sounds, and culture of St. Petersburg.
Walking Tour and Visit to the Spilled Blood Church: If you want to see a broad range of St. Petersburg with an emphasis on the city’s famous church, then this is the tour for you. In addition to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, you’ll get a tour of Mikhailovsky Castle and see some of St. Petersburg’s other top sites.
VIP Mariinsky Ballet and Backstage Pass: St. Petersburg is known for its ballet and this special shore excursion lets you fully experience what goes into a world-class ballet performance. You and a very limited number of others on the tour will get a tour of the backstage area, which is generally closed to the general public. You’ll then get the chance to watch an evening performance with newfound knowledge of the workings of the ballet and Mariinsky Theater.
With a happening design district, myriad of boutiques, and delicious food scene, Helsinki blends modern with history among its art-nouveau buildings and bustling city scene. Helsinki is also surrounded by beautiful scenery and you can explore the city and the countryside in different ways during a shore excursion; here are two to look into.
Finnish Countryside Home Visit and Helsinki Highlights:See some of Helsinki’s top sites from your comfortable coach transportation as you drive outside of town to a traditional Finnish farm village called Sipoo. Dating back to the 14th century, Sipoo is full of Finnish charm and you’ll get to experience it firsthand when a local family gives you a tour of their farm and explains the rural lifestyle in Finland.
Helsinki By Bike: Explore Helsinki like a local – via bicycle. And not just any bicycle; you’ll be cruising around Helsinki exploring sites on a Jopo, which is a gearless bicycle that became popular in Helsinki in the 1960s and ‘70s and is once again popular today. You’ll feel like one of the cool kids cruising around town on your Jopo.
Tallinn (Muuga), Estonia
Your ship will dock in the port of Muuga, the gateway to the alluring city of Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is off the radar of many European travelers and you’ll be glad you got the chance to visit this city as soon as you glimpse the terracotta-colored roofs of its historic Old Town, which is still amazingly preserved from when it served as a center for the Hanseatic League in the 13th century. Here are two shore excursions to consider for Tallinn.
Tallinn – City of Contrasts: This well thought out city tour gives you both a taste of Tallinn as it is today and how it was in centuries past. You’ll explore both the Old Town and suburbs of Tallinn during a combination of coach and walking tour. You’ll also visit Viimsi Open Air Museum and have a special coffee break during your excursion.
Medieval Rakvere and Tallinn: Explore Old Town where you’ll see some of Tallinn’s best sites and make your way up to viewing platforms for stunning photo ops. Next you’ll travel to the ruins of Rakvere Castle, where you’ll learn more about Estonia during Medieval times, and and also get lunch and a vodka tasting in the castle’s courtyard.
Stockholm has a gorgeous vantage point against the Baltic Sea, with its land spreading out over 14 islands. While in Stockholm, you can explore these different islands that make up the city and see both trendy shops and historic palaces and buildings. Here are two shore excursions that give you different views of Stockholm.
Stockholm Beauty by Land and Water: You’ll explore Stockholm both by foot and by boat on this shore excursion which takes you all over the city. Walk around Old Town, the shopping district, and Stockholm’s business district, before boarding a canal boat for a scenic cruise past lovely neighborhoods and urban gardens.
Historic Rooftop Tour: Elevate yourself and your experience in Stockholm with this adrenaline inducing shore excursion that lets you see Stockholm from new heights. You’ll start atop the Parliament Building, where you’ll be hooked into a safety harness that lets you safely walk along the rooftops of Stockholm, taking in incredible views. Once you’re back on solid ground, you’ll get a walking tour of Gamla Stan, one of Stockholm’s oldest and most beloved areas.
Berlin (Rostock), Germany
Rostock is a pretty port town with colorful buildings lining its streets. Though Rostock itself is visually appealing, the main allure of stopping in this port during a Baltic cruise is the chance to visit nearby Berlin. The journey is two hours by train or around two and half hours by bus, but it’s worth it to see the historic sites of Berlin. Here are two top shore excursions to check out for your time there.
Berlin from All Sides (By Train): This shore excursion swiftly takes you from Rostock to Berlin via a comfortable and scenic train ride through the German countryside. Once you’re in Berlin, you’ll explore some of the city’s most famous sites, including the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie. In addition, you’ll partake in a river cruise and a traditional German lunch. (A similar shore excursion is also offered with a coach transportation option instead of train.)
Amazing Rostock with Microbrewery: Been to Berlin before? Then stay in Rostock! On this shore excursion you’ll get a tour of Rostock during which you’ll learn about historic universities and churches and see other sites Rostock is known for. During your tour, you’ll also stop at a microbrewery and hear how German beer is made and get to sample some brews.
Copenhagen is a thriving metropolis and port city that has a bit of everything for travelers, from an exciting food and beer scene to gorgeous buildings and parks to a thrilling history, that includes Vikings. Here are two shore excursions that will show you a broad range of all that Copenhagen has to offer.
City Sightseeing with Dragor Village:You’ll get nature and culture on this tour, which takes you on a tour to Copenhagen’s best sites, like the beautiful Tivoli Gardens and the home of the Royal family called Amalienborg Palace. In addition to city life, you’ll get to see a quieter side of the landscape around Copenhagen thanks to a visit to Dragor, a farming village that dates back to the 16th century.
Copenhagen by Kayak: Get your heart rate up with this fun way to explore Copenhagen. You’ll learn about the canals and waterways of Copenhagen and then get to hop in your kayak to explore them and the sights surrounding the waterways.
In Oslo, you’ll be kissing the Baltic Sea good-bye as you enter the Skagerrak Strait, which connects to the North Sea. Though technically not on the Baltic Sea, Oslo is part of many Baltic Sea cruise itineraries so you’ll want to know what excursions you can do while in Oslo. Here are two top picks.
Oslo City Walk and Ice Bar: Experience the city first hand on a walking tour around some of its prominent areas with a knowledgeable guide. After your walk, you’ll get to cool down in Oslo’s Ice Bar where everything from the walls to the bartop to the chairs are made out of ice. Cool indeed.
Hadeland Glass Works and Viking Ships:Learn about Oslo’s culture and history during this unique shore excursion, during which you’ll tour the Viking Ship Museum and visit a glassblowing shop to watch glassblowers create their masterpieces. You’ll also see some of Oslo’s other major sites like Akershus Castle when driving through the city.
Your Scandinavia and Russia cruise itinerary through the Baltic Sea also may travel further into the North Sea, visiting ports of call such as Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Southampton, London. To see all of these thrilling Northern Europe cruise itineraries sailing along the Baltic Sea with Celebrity Cruises, click here.
Exciting news for those dreaming of traveling to Ireland! Celebrity Cruises will be offering a mini season out of Dublin, Ireland, in 2018. The Celebrity Eclipse will sail out of Dublin from April through June of 2018 and will be the first major cruise line in the world to homeport out of Dublin. To celebrate this momentous occasion, here is a Port of Call Spotlight highlighting five must-do things in Dublin. Skip to the bottom to learn more about the itineraries happening during this Dublin cruise mini season.
Trinity College’s Old Library and the Book of Kells
Books, books, and more books is what you’ll find at Trinity College’s incredible Old Library – and some impressive architecture. The arched frames and gilded accents make the library seem almost magical, but the reality is that this long, beautiful library is full of historical manuscripts and timeless books.
Adjacent to the library is the exhibit for the Book of Kells, a manuscript which dates back to the 8th century. You’ll walk through an information room that tells you about the history of the book before getting to a smaller room that houses this impressive piece of craftsmanship.
Those who want to learn more about Ireland’s history and the country’s road to independence will want to spend some time at Dublin Castle. In addition to being home to luxurious State Apartments and museums housing Irish artifacts and other remnants of Irish history, Dublin Castle also has the remains of a Viking fort and a symbolic Statue of Lady Justice on its premises. Dublin Castle was also the site where Michael Collins ceremoniously took the keys to Ireland. An excellent way to learn about the history located within this site is to take a guided tour there.
St. Stephen’s Green is a 22-acre park located in the heart of Dublin’s city center. It has gorgeous walking trails winding through large trees and around scenic ponds. Park benches and sculptures of historic figures like James Joyce dot the park and provide a peaceful ambiance for a leisurely stroll or conversation with travel partners away from the hustle and bustle of the city. When you’re done at the park, you can exit to the north where you’ll be right across from Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s main shopping streets.
You can’t go to Dublin without seeing Guinness everywhere. The country’s famous stout is crafted to perfection in its Dublin-based St James’ Gate Brewery, and you can find out more about how this beloved beer is made at the nearby Guinness Storehouse.
The Guinness Storehouse isn’t just a tutorial on beer making, though. There are also special beer tasting experiences, culinary options, and live music happening throughout the day. A highlight of most people’s visit, however, is visiting the Gravity Bar on the top level for a pint of Guinness and 360-degree views of Dublin.
This lively area of Dublin is the place to head for nightlife, and is a fun place to spend the evening if you have an overnight in Dublin. However, visiting during the day will also give you an opportunity to see the character of the colorful buildings and the chance to grab a pint in one of its many pubs without battling the masses for a seat.
The pubs of Temple Bar often host live music so check if there are shows happening while you’ll be there. A pint of Guinness and some Irish music is a quintessential and memorable way to spend some time in Ireland!
Feeling overwhelmed by all the sight-seeing options in Dublin? Make it easy on yourself and sign up for the Dublin Walking Tour and Pub shore excursion, during which you’ll get to see the historic and nature sides of Dublin plus enjoy a pint of frothy Guinness.
Dublin Cruise Itineraries
Cruise itineraries out of Dublin will include a 10-night Ireland and Iceland sailing calling at Belfast, Northern Ireland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; and Cork, Ireland. There will also be an 8-night Norwegian Fjords itinerary offered during the mini-season.
In Dublin, Celebrity Cruises will be offering a brand new Celebrity City Stay. Guests can opt to start their vacation a little earlier and enjoy three nights in a luxury hotel, enriching fully-guided tours, and a farewell dinner on their last night in the city before embarking on their cruise vacation.
To book your 2018 Dublin homeport cruise or other Celebrity Cruises vacation the makes a port of call in Dublin, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.
Thinking of journeying from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic for a Caribbean cruise, but not sure what islands to visit? We’re here to help. Here are some Caribbean islands you may love traveling to based off of your favorite west coast regions.
Southern California Lover? Explore Jamaica
Love the fun vibe in southern California where you may find yourself lounging on the beach one day, hiking the next day, and then partying it up in a cosmopolitan city like San Diego or LA that weekend? Then you’ll like visiting Jamaica where you can spend the day visiting Jamaica’s fun and scenic beaches or getting out into nature, such as a hike to Dunn’s River Falls or tubing through the White River Valley. Then there’s Jamaica’s vibrant cities. Depending where your cruise ship docks, you can explore the culture of Ocho Rios, Falmouth, or Montego Bay. San Diego is also known for its craft beer culture and you can take a break from walking city streets to sip on a Red Stripe, Jamaica’s local brewery, while on the island.
If you love jetting off to Hawaii every chance you get and are especially enthralled with the lushly green, mountainous landscape of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, then don’t discount the Caribbean islands, particularly St. Lucia. As soon as your ship pulls up to St. Lucia, you’ll see why it’s so special from a natural wonder perspective. Two tall green peaks jut up from the center of the island. These volcanic peaks are St. Lucia’s famous Pitons and they are incredible to behold. While in port, you can even hike part of those peaks. If you prefer seeing nature from the comfort of a beach lounge chair, head to Reduit Beach and take turns looking behind you to the jungle landscape and in front of you to the aquamarine ripples of the sea.
Love Exploring Seattle and the Eastside? Spend Time in St. Maarten / St. Martin
Visiting Seattle often doesn’t mean just visiting Seattle (though there is plenty to do in the Emerald City). You can also head east across Lake Washington to visit another downtown area: picturesque Bellevue. And while you’re on the Eastside, head into the Cascade Mountains and see roaring waterfalls and snow-tipped peaks. If you love the two atmospheres of the Seattle and Eastside areas, you’ll like the dichotomy of St. Maarten / St. Martin, the smallest island to be inhabited by two nations: French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten. It’s easy to cross between the two sides and no matter which part of the island you’re on, you’ll find lots of friendly locals and gorgeous beaches. Each side of the island definitely has a different feel though, reflective of its home country – with a good dose of Caribbean charm thrown in. Head inland and you’ll find nature walks and ziplines over treetop canopies.
Dream of Central Coast California? Try Aruba
Arid climate, rugged coastline, and wineries characterize much of Central California. If you love visiting this region, consider a cruise that visits Aruba. Of all the islands in the Caribbean, Aruba averages one of the lowest rainfall amounts. This makes the island a bit different from other Caribbean islands – you’ll find less of the lush green scenery and instead see striking views of mahogany-rimmed rock and sand dunes — plus plenty of sandy beaches. The north end of the island is home to more secluded beaches which are mesmerizing with cliffy shoreline and big waves, while Palm Beach a bit farther south provides a more traditional beach for a day lying in the sun. Oranjestad (where your ship will pull into port) is a fun town to explore and though you won’t find wineries, you will find rum shops in town and the Palmera Rum Factory just outside of town, which you can tour.
Enjoy the Ease of Catalina Island? Visit the Bahamas
If you like Catalina Island because it’s easy to get to for a quick weekend away from southern California, then your Caribbean cruise island of choice may be the Bahamas. Yes, you’ll still have to fly to Florida, but once you’re there it’s a quick trip to get down to the Bahamas. Celebrity Cruises is launching new 3-night cruises to the Bahamas in 2018, which leave from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and stop in Nassau, Bahamas. While there, you can wander the streets framed by candy-colored buildings and do some shopping, or partake in a number of fun and exciting water sports.
To book your Caribbean cruise with port stops at your dream islands, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.
Thinking of visiting Europe this year? Here’s why you most definitely should book that trip and why a cruise is the way to visit the beautiful and diverse continent of Europe in 2017.
Overnight Time in Some of Europe’s Top Ports
Cruising around Europe is one of the most relaxing ways to explore a variety of European countries in one trip. Only unpack once and enjoy entertainment and a luxuriously appointed stateroom while you travel between cities. And while spending the day in some of the most intriguing cities in Europe is wonderful, some travelers are also curious to see the nightlife. That’s where Celebrity Cruises’ overnight ports come in.
Experience the dynamic vibe that Europe offers after night falls – visit a wine bar, eat dinner at a local diner, go dancing, walk around and see your favorite sites illuminated against the night sky. Then head back to the ship to sleep in your comfortable bed before waking up to explore more in the morning before your ship departs. Whatever you do during your night in port, you’ll be glad you got to experience this other view of European culture and that your Celebrity cruise made it so easy to do so. To browse Europe cruise itineraries and see which port cities have overnights, click here.
Hot Countries in Europe for 2017
“Hot” as in countries that travelers in the know are clamoring to go to in 2017. A cruise will take you to some of these:
Lisbon, Portugal: Lonely Planet named Lisbon as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2017, a big reason for which is its museums like the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and Museu Colecção Berardo.
Finland: Pretty much all the travel publications are touting 2017 as the year to go to Finland since 2017 is Finland’s centenary and the country will be celebrating with festive events throughout the year. Neighbors Sweden and Norway also made Conde Nast Traveler’s 2017 list along with Finland. (Hint: you can visit all three on a Baltic cruise with Celebrity Cruises!)
Athens, Greece: Conde Nast Traveler named Athens as one of its top 17 places to go in 2017 because of the city’s recent revitalization in modern arts facilities, such as the state of the art Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, where you’ll find the National Library of Greece, the National Opera, and a beautiful park that happens to be Athens’ largest. The National Museum of Art also recently reopened.
Croatia: Conde Nast Traveler also said you should get yourself to the Croatian coast in 2017, and for good reason. Tourism continues to increase in the country, but it’s still relatively calm compared to its neighbor across the Adriatic: Italy. Cruise to Dubrovnik and Split and admire Croatia’s incredible beauty.
Malaga, Spain: Malaga is located along the southern coast of Spain and is known for its long, gorgeous beaches. But its Malaga’s museums that landed it on Travel and Leisure’s Best Places to Travel in 2017 list. From Picasso to private collections and more, the museum scene in Malaga is exciting, interesting, and growing.
Signature Cruises: Unique European Itineraries
Celebrity Cruises offers Signature Cruises every year that take place around special events and there are some exciting ones coming up in Europe in 2017, particularly if you’re a sports fan.
The French Open: Sail from Southampton, England, on June 4, 2017 and visit Paris (during your overnight in the port of Le Havre) right in time for the French Open where you can attend tennis matches and soak in the atmosphere. You’ll also visit St. Peter Port in the Channel Islands; Cherbourg, France; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Glasgow, Scotland; Liverpool, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Cork, Ireland, before returning to Southampton.
The British Open: On the British Isles and the Open cruise itinerary departing July 18, 2017, you’ll depart from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and visit the Channel Islands; Liverpool, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; Cork, Ireland; and Zeebrugge, Belgium. While in port in Liverpool (where you’ll stay overnight), you can travel north to Southport to take in some of the golf excitement happening at the British Open. During your cruise you can also schedule tee times on golf greens located in the cities you’ll be visiting.
Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Travel around the British Isles on this cruise that features a stop in Edinburgh during the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo festival. This cruise itinerary, which departs August 11, 2017, from Amsterdam, also visits Inverness, Scotland; Liverpool, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Cork, Ireland; Zeebrugge, Belgium; and Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Good Exchange Rate
Need one more reason to travel to Europe in 2017 besides awesome destinations? The exchange rate for the Euro and other European currencies have been trending well against the dollar. Take advantage of your time in port by doing some souvenir shopping or picking up the latest European fashions, or treat yourself to a decadent lunch or exquisite glass of wine while in port and know you’re getting a pretty good deal on it compared to what your dollar would have paid for a few years ago.
Celebrity Cruises is excitedly announcing its cruise schedule for 2018 and 2019. New sailings are continuing to be released and right now the tally stands at: 283 destinations in 77 countries across the world, including new ports of call, plus over 188 exciting overnights in 41 cities and 28 double overnight stays in seven different ports. To give you a taste of just how incredible these upcoming sailings are, here are six different itineraries departing in 2018 or 2019. Read them and start dreaming about which one you most want to sail on.
Carnaval in Rio
Experience the thrilling wonder of one of the largest festivals in the world at Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. On the South America Celebrity Cruises sailing departing February 27, 2019, you’ll leave from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and travel to four different ports. One of those ports is Rio and you’ll be able to purchase tickets to attend the festival during your three days in port there. The other ports where you’ll spend a day are Montevideo, Urugay, and Buzios and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
If you watched a roundup of New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world this past New Year’s after the ball dropped, then you were probably pretty wowed by the firework spectacle in Dubai, which is set from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and magnificently fills up the sky with bursts of color. The Celebrity Constellation will take you there on its New Year’s Eve itinerary that departs December 22, 2018. You’ll have three relaxing days at sea before before spending a few days exploring New Mangalore, Goa, and Bombay, India, before traveling onto Dubai, where you’ll ring in 2019 in style. After the New Year, you’ll cruise to Sir Bani Yas, UAE, where you’ll spend the day before heading back to Dubai to end your cruise.
Hey West Coasters, don’t miss out on the new exciting sailing in 2018 that takes you through the Panama Canal and around Central America and leaves from easy-to-get-to San Diego, California. There’s nothing quite like sailing through the lock system of the Panama Canal and seeing it in action right from the ship. Start planning this epic cruise now, which you can also do in modern luxury thanks to Celebrity Infinity’s September 9, 2018 sailing. When not traveling through the Panama Canal, you’ll travel aboard the comfortable ship to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Colon, Panama, before ending your cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
If you’ve always been intrigued by the lantern lightings and festivals in Asia, but aren’t sure how to attend one, you’re in luck: just hop on Celebrity Cruises’ February 18, 2018 sailing onboard the Celebrity Millennium. You’ll travel around Southeast Asia for 14 nights, during which you’ll get the chance to experience the Pingxi Lantern Festival while in Taipei, Taiwan. The festival celebrates the first full moon of the Chinese New Year by releasing thousands of lanterns into the sky, each holding someone’s wish. It is a truly awe-inspiring site to see the brightly glowing lanterns illuminated against the nighttime sky. Your cruise departs from Singapore, and in addition to Taipei, you’ll also stop in Ko Samui and Bankgok in Thailand, and Ho Chi Minh and Hue Danang in Vietnam, before ending your cruise in Hong Kong.
New Zealand is high on many people’s lists to travel to and there is a huge variety of things to see and do on the island. The Celebrity Solstice cruise departing January 17, 2019, has an itinerary that lets you experience a lot of it. On the 14-night itinerary you’ll take off from the vibrant city of Auckland, New Zealand, and travel around both the North and South Island of the country as you stop at Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Akaroa, Dunedin, Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound, and the majestic Milford Sound, before traveling onto Tasmania. Your time in Tasmania will be special as you’ll stay overnight in the city of Hobart, giving you extra time to explore this small island just south of mainland Australia’s east coast. You’ll finish your cruise in Sydney, Australia, where you can do a post-cruise vacation there to easily explore the iconic city.
Have limited vacation time? Then you’ll love that this popular itinerary is coming back in 2018 and 2019: 4- and 5-night Bahamas sailings departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Get away for a blissful respite in the gorgeous and laidback port town of Nassau in the the Bahamas. While there, snorkel through the coral reefs of the Bahamas, walk around the candy-colored buildings downtown, taste rum, go jet skiing, or take your pick from a multitude of other adventurous or relaxing activities.