Category Archives: Cruise Destinations

Port of Call Spotlight: Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya is the name given to a tourist region of coastline in the Quintana Roo region of Mexico bordering the Caribbean Sea, located just north of Belize. Costa Maya is a unique cruise port in that the port area and pier was built entirely to cater to visitors. Unlike other cruise ports where you typically leave the port immediately upon arriving, you may find yourself wanting to spend the whole day in port in Costa Maya! Though there’s plenty to do beyond the port as well.

Costa Maya’s port was rebuilt after a hurricane in 2007 making it feel fresh and new. The port was built to reflect a small Mexican village and is full of shops, dining options, and even a large pool with a swim-up bar. There’s also a dolphin interaction experience and an adventure park nearby.

The adventure park, called the Lost Mayan Kingdom, is a great option for families or thrill seekers as it has a number of waterslides, zip lines, river tubing, and a pool and cenote to swim in.

The area around Costa Maya port was originally a fishing village and its small town, Mahahual, is still there and makes for a great way to spend your day. You can take a shore excursion to get there or take a quick taxi ride (just a few minutes) from the pier. In Mahahual you’ll find more shops and a gorgeous beach with lounge chairs you can rent.

Mahahual is also a great place to rent some snorkeling equipment and swim around in the water to view sea life as Costa Maya is adjacent to part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest reef in the world. You can also do a snorkeling shore excursion that will take you on a boat to a prime snorkeling spot on the reef.

While a big draw of Costa Maya is the water – from the sea to pools to water slides – that’s not all there is to do for adventure seekers. Those who want to see how ancient civilizations lived will be excited to know there is a shore excursion to Chacchoben Ruins, a lesser known, but still important ancient Mayan site in Mexico.

Celebrity Edge is Celebrity Cruises' newest ship.
Celebrity Edge: the newest ship from Celebrity Cruises

The other thing that makes Costa Maya such an alluring cruise destination is that it is one of the ports of call the Celebrity Edge (Celebrity Cruises newest cruise ship) will be making when it begins sailing at the end of 2018. One of the itineraries Celebrity Edge will offer is a 7-night Western Caribbean sailing that is scheduled to stop in Key West, Florida; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman. You can visit even more ports of call and make your vacation a 14-night one by booking back-to-back sailings that includes Celebrity Edge’s other itinerary for the Eastern Caribbean and also visit San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

To find out more about Celebrity Edge, including its innovative Infinite Veranda staterooms and the industry-first Magic Carpet, a cantilevered terrace that “floats” between the decks serving as both a waiting lounge for tender boats while in port and a unique oceanview restaurant experience in the evenings, click here.

To book your Celebrity Edge or other Celebrity Cruises sailing to Costa Maya, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

What to Know About a Celebrity Cruises Vacation Package

Cruisetours, City Stays, and Explorations with Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises offers several different types of vacation packages depending how much time you have, where you want to go, and how guided you’d like your trip to be. But they all have one thing in common: a fabulous stay on land followed (or occasionally following) a modern luxury cruise at sea.

Here’s what you can expect on each of Celebrity’s vacation packages:

Cruisetours

Tour Director on the Wilderness Express, part of a Celebrity Cruises Cruisetour.
Train ride through Alaska’s interior.

Celebrity Cruises offers Cruisetours as part of its Alaska sailings. A Cruisetour combines a cruise with a small-group tour, which means you’ll spend your days on land with an expertly put together itinerary and a guide to make sure everything goes smoothly – plus plenty of free time to explore on your own.

As the U.S.A’s biggest state, Alaska has a lot to offer travelers, and a Cruisetour lets you explore both the coastal and interior regions of Alaska, or you can opt for a Cruisetour itinerary that lets you explore more of the large country to Alaska’s south: Canada.

Cruisetour Through Inland Alaska

You’ll take a train into the wilderness of Alaska and explore national parks, towering glaciers, and stay in rustic and luxurious lodges. A highlight for many exploring the interior of Alaska is a visit to Denali, home to America’s highest mountain peak.

Cruisetour Through the Canadian Rockies

When you add on a Canadian Rockies tour to your Alaska cruise departing from Vancouver, you’ll spend time touring some of Canada’s most spectacular cities, including Vancouver, Jasper, Banff, and Calgary, with some nature exploration thrown in. You can also choose a Cruisetour itinerary for the Canadian Rockies that puts more of a focus on some of Canada’s gorgeous national parks instead of cities.

To read more about Cruisetours, click here.

Also, a bonus for west coasters – these Cruisetours are often very easy to get to thanks to affordable flights up and down the west coast!

City Stays

Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

For those who want a less intensive land stay before or after their cruise that still lets them have the chance to get an in-depth experience of one particular destination, a City Stay through Celebrity Cruises is an ideal option. A City Stay is offered in nearly all of Celebrity Cruises’ embarkation ports; in other words, the city where your cruise begins.

City Stays takes out the guess work and research for you about where to stay and sites to see you can’t miss because Celebrity Cruises has already figured it out for you.

You’ll stay for three nights in an ideally situated high-end hotel that includes breakfast. During your stay you’ll also get to take part in a fully guided day tour around the city with a destination expert who will tell you just about everything you could possibly want to know about the city you’re visiting and show you its top sites. You’ll also have an evening city tour option that includes a farewell dinner.

In addition to your tours and hotel stay, you’ll find convenience abounds on your City Stay since your hotel will have a Celebrity Cruises hospitality desk to assist you with any needs you may have. You’ll also have transfers to the hotel from the airport and then onto your ship when the City Stay portion of your vacation package ends, making for an even more relaxing, stress-free time.

A small sample of cities you can do a City Stay in before your cruise includes: Athens, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Rome, Singapore, and Sydney. Click here to see all the cities and read more about City Stays with Celebrity Cruises.

Celebrity Explorations

Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland
Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland

Like Cruisetours and City Stays, Celebrity Explorations itineraries let you see the world by both land and sea, making for a unique and memorable vacation. However, the Explorations differ a bit by taking places in a location completely different from where your cruise will be. You’ll fly to one place for an in-depth vacation on land, and then hop on another plane to get to your cruise in Europe. Where can you visit as part of the land portion of your Celebrity Explorations package? Iceland for hot springs and Northern Lights chasing or Tanzania for an African Safari.

During your Celebrity Explorations vacation, expert guides and cultural excursions will give you an in-depth view of what makes the place you’re visiting so special. With Celebrity Cruises Explorations you can also be assured that you’ll be traveling in luxury, whether going from port to port on a cruise ship or spending the night in an opulent hotel. To find out what else you can expect and to learn more about what you’ll see in Iceland or Tanzania, read our blog post all about Celebrity Explorations.

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

Evenings Around the World with Celebrity Cruises

If you think cruising means missing out on the nightlife of a destination, think again. Celebrity Cruises offers overnights in ports of call all around the world on many of its itineraries. From catching the sunset in the Mediterranean to watching the Caribbean spark a party atmosphere after twilight and more incredible experiences, you’ll see a different side of the destination you’re sailing through thanks to overnights. You have many ways to spend your nighttime hours in port thanks to Celebrity Cruises’ Evenings Around the World shore excursions.

Evenings Around the World are unique shore excursions that aim to show you the best parts of the nightlife and culture of a place after the sun goes down. Like with Celebrity Cruises’ other shore excursions, you’ll be effortlessly picked up from the ship and transported to your activity. If your ship isn’t staying the whole night, but is leaving late at night, you’ll also be guaranteed to get back to the ship before it departs for the next port.

Enjoy a night in port with Celebrity Cruises and its Evenings Around the World shore excursions.
Enjoy a night in port with Celebrity Cruises and its Evenings Around the World.

Here are just some of the types of experiences you can have while enjoying a night in port with Celebrity Cruises.

Evening with Fado and Folklore

Fado is a traditional form of music in Portugal that is often focused on lyrics and melodies with a sense of melancholy. It’s something you don’t want to miss while in port in Lisbon, but since most performances are in the evening that can make it hard to see if only in Lisbon for a day. Luckily, Celebrity Cruises does overnights in Lisbon and the Evening with Fado and Folklore excursion will ensure you experience this special local music along with a folkloric dance performance.

Slip Away to Harbor Nights

While in Bermuda, you’ll take a boat ride to Bermuda’s Harbor Night Street Festival where you’ll get to take part in a fun and exciting evening market. Browse stalls selling local crafts and souvenirs. Take in live entertainment and then try some local delicacies at the festival’s food court. This is also a great shore excursion for families since there is an area just for kids at the festival.

Dinner on the River Seine

Watch Paris go from day to night on a shore excursion that transports you around the city during both times of day on this thorough shore excursion. You’ll travel around the city during the day, getting a tour of some of its main sites. You’ll also journey through the nearby countryside of Normandy and the Seine Valley. Then in the evening, you’ll board a river boat for a leisurely dinner cruise along the River Seine.

Keep Greek Tradition Alive

Take part in the culture of Greece on this shore excursion, which whisks you away to a neighborhood that sits high above the city of Athens and where you’ll have a night of fun that will delight all the senses. Along with gorgeous views of Athens in the evening, your night will consist of an olive oil tasting followed by traditional music and dance entertainment while you enjoy a meal of delicious Greek cuisine.

Europe and the Caribbean aren’t the only places you can find overnights in port while sailing the seas with Celebrity Cruises. To see all Evenings Around the World and Celebrity’s other shore excursions and itineraries, click here, and start planning your dream experiences abroad.

Embarkation Spotlight, Fort Lauderdale: What to Do Before or After Your Celebrity Edge Cruise

If you love tropical cruises or are dreaming of going on one, Fort Lauderdale is a name you should familiarize yourself with since this Florida coastal city is a major hub for cruise ships departing to the Caribbean.

Making this embarkation port, called Port Everglades, even more exciting is the fact that Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship, Celebrity Edge, will be sailing out of Fort Lauderdale on Caribbean itineraries starting in December 2018.

Celebrity Edge has a sleek, modern design with a focus on bringing the outside elements in. This is done with infinity veranda suites, a chic pool deck with panoramic views of the sea, and al fresco dining options, along with many other innovative features. One of these includes the industry-first Magic Carpet, a cantilevered terrace that “floats” between the decks serving as both a waiting lounge for tender boats while in port and a unique oceanview restaurant experience in the evenings. To learn more about the Celebrity Edge and its luxurious features (including some amazing two-story suites with plunge pools), click here.

Another plus of sailing on the Celebrity Edge is getting the opportunity to spend time in beautiful Fort Lauderdale. Here are a few options for experiencing the city before or after your cruise.

Top Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

Las Olas Boulevard: There’s always something fun or exciting to do along Las Olas Boulevard, a palm tree lined street that stretches through Fort Lauderdale right to the beach. Las Olas Boulevard is home to boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and many different nightlife options.

Bonnet House Museum: Those who like seeing homes of the past will enjoy a visit to Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. Bonnet House was built in the early 20th century and is full of artwork. The garden is also a big draw for visitors as it is an example of a native barrier island habitat.

Intracoastal Waterway: Fort Lauderdale is home to a series of waterways that gives it the nickname “Venice of America.” A boat ride along the waterways will take you along scenic natural spots and impressive mansions and yachts.

Stranahan House Museum: The Stranahan House Museum is another historic site in Fort Lauderdale that dates back to 1901. It originally served as a trading post and community hall. Later on, the owner lived upstairs and rented out the bottom for restaurants. The home was restored in 1984 and today you can tour it to see it as it was designed in the early 1900s.

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale: Riverwalk is located in downtown Fort Lauderdale and is a scenic path that takes you along the side of New River past restaurants, historic sites, the marina, and more.

Fort Lauderdale Beaches: Fort Lauderdale has 23 miles of beaches that make for a relaxing place to sit and soak up the sun or partake in fun games or water sports. Some of its famous beaches to check out are Deerfield Beach, Hollywood Beach, Pompano Beach, and the aptly named Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Fort Lauderdale Shore Excursions with Airport Transfers

Celebrity Cruises makes it easy to explore Fort Lauderdale after your Celebrity Edge cruise thanks to shore excursions that drop you off at the airport after a fun day exploring or lounging at the beach.

Fort Lauderdale Land and Sea with Airport Transfer

Get a taste of Fort Lauderdale in more ways than on on a Land and Sea tour. You’ll be taken through the cultural center of Fort Lauderdale where you’ll see the Riverwalk, Las Olas Boulevard, and the Art and Science District. Then you’ll depart on a relaxing Mississippi paddle-wheel style boat through Fort Lauderdale’s unique Intracoastal Waterway. This excursion also includes an airport transfer to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Everglades Airboat Ride

Glide across the calm, sometimes eerie water of Everglades National Park on an airboat as your guide regales you with the history of the Everglades and points out alligators and other wildlife along the way. This shore excursion also drops you off at Miami International Airport.

 

Margaritaville Resort with Airport Drop Off

Get some beach time in before your vacation ends with the Margaritaville Resort shore excursion that drops you off via water taxi at the Margaritaville Resort, which has a prime location on Hollywood Beach and its famous boardwalk. After your day at the beach you’ll be dropped off at either the Fort Lauderdale or Miami airport.

Book Your Celebrity Edge Cruise Today

Celebrity Edge’s first sailing will depart December 16, 2018, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which will also serve as Celebrity Edge’s homeport. Celebrity Edge will offer two different itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. One will be an Eastern Caribbean cruise that visits San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The other itinerary option sails around the Western Caribbean and stops in Key West, Florida; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman. You can visit all ports of call and make your vacation a 14-night one by booking back-to-back sailings.

Bookings are already open for Celebrity Edge, and you can secure your vacation on this innovative ship by visiting www.CelebrityCruises.com/Edge or by speaking with your travel agent. And stay tuned for more Celebrity Edge in the coming years – three sister ships to the Celebrity Edge will be debuting in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Last Minute Trips for the Holiday Weekend and Summer

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.

Paso Robles

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.

Carlsbad

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.

Palm Springs/Desert

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.

Pacific Grove

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.

Alaska

Celebrity Solstice in Alaska
Celebrity Solstice in Alaska

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:

Mediterranean

Oia, Santorini
Oia, Santorini

Cobblestoned towns, sun-dappled beaches, fresh seafood…what more could you want? Check out these Mediterranean itineraries and start dreaming:

Caribbean

Family Time on a Caribbean Beach
Family Time on a Caribbean Beach

If it’s strictly sun and sand you’re after (with a good dose of gorgeous tropical views), it’s hard to beat the Caribbean. Try one of these fun and relaxing Caribbean itineraries:

To see more destinations and itineraries for a luxurious and exciting summer cruise this summer, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Port of Call Spotlight: San Juan, Puerto Rico

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

Colorful Building in Old 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

Celebrity Cruises sailing past a fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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 BikeExplore 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:

Marine Park Snorkeling: Explore the underwater world off the shores of San Juan at Escambron Marine Park.

Wild & Scenic Rainforest Nature Walk to River Adventure: Take an exciting hike through Puerto Rico’s famous El Yunque National Rainforest and learn about its flora and fauna plus see the Mameyes River, where you can go for a swim.

Carabali Horseback Ride: Travel through the El Yunque National Rainforest by horseback.

Chef’s Market Discoveries – Casa Bacardi, Flavors of San Juan, and Private Dinner: Tour the famous Bacardi rum factory and sample delectable Puerto Rican and Cuban cuisine.

To browse all of Celebrity Cruises’ San Juan shore excursions, click here.

Port of Call Spotlight: Rome, Italy

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:

Colosseum

Colosseum in Rome
Colosseum

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.

Roman Forum

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.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain

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

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

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

Cafe in Rome

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:

Bracciano Lake and Wine Tasting
Italian Countryside and Olive Oil Taste
River Rafting Down the Tiber
Behind the Scenes Vatican Tour
Rome Highlights with Colosseum Underground Tour

To book your cruise to Rome, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com and search for your ideal Mediterranean itinerary, or speak with your travel agent.

It’s Not Too Late to Book Your Alaska Cruise

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.

Hike glaciers and do other exciting activities in Alaska.
Hike glaciers and do other exciting activities in 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

Couple on balcony sailing onboard Celebrity Cruises
Enjoy views of Alaska from your own veranda.

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.

AquaClass Stateroom with Veranda that includes spa perks
AquaClass Stateroom with Veranda that includes spa perks.

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.

Celebrity Cruises Penthouse Suite
Penthouse Suite with Butler

To read about all the suite options on board Celebrity Cruises, read our helpful article, Celebrity Cruises Suites: Which One is Perfect for You?

Ships and Itineraries for Alaska in 2017

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

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

Celebrity Solstice in Alaska
Award-Winning Celebrity Solstice in 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

Visit Juneau during an Alaska cruise.
Visit Juneau during an Alaska cruise.

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

Cruising by Hubbard Glacier in Alaska
Celebrity Millennium by Hubbard Glacier

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.

Port of Call Spotlight: Athens, Greece

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

Acropolis

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.

Acropolis Museum

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 Neighborhood

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.

Excursions You Won’t Want to Miss During a Baltic Cruise

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.

Helsinki, Finland

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, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

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, Denmark

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.

Oslo, Norway

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.