Category Archives: SoCal Life

Things to do in Southern California.

Do It Here, Then Do It There: Rooftop Pools in California & Pool Decks at Sea

One excellent thing about days upon days of sunshine in California is the ubiquity of pools. With so many pools dotting the landscape, it may be hard for a particular one to stand out, but this selection of rooftop pools in California don’t have any trouble with that. Read on to find out some of the best rooftop pools and lounges you can hang out in southern California, plus one innovative pool deck away from California that is coming soon and puts a whole new spin on ocean views.

Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego 

Enjoy skyline scenes of San Diego’s famous Gaslamp Quarter from the trendy pool chairs and lounges surrounding the large aquamarine pool at Float. Partake in blissful relaxation during the day and thumping beats and dancing around the pool at night. You’ll also find daytime dance parties (called Sunburn) on Saturdays during the spring and summer months.

The Rooftop by STK at Andaz San Diego

Andaz is another place to go in San Diego for relaxation during the day and DJ-spun beats at night, all around the shimmering rooftop pool. This sophisticated pool is also adjacent to a restaurant serving menu items with organic, local ingredients.

The London West Hollywood, Los Angeles

The rooftop pool at this swanky hotel in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles has a country club vibe and garden décor. Along with views of downtown LA and Beverly Hills, you’ll be able to enjoy poolside concierge service or rent a fancy cabana for the day.

Upstairs at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles

This hip rooftop bar has an urban feel and is located in the trendy Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The concrete pool is surrounded by lounge chairs boasting views of the LA skyline. Along with typical DJs on the event schedule for the pool, there are also live bands. Foodies will enjoy that Upstairs serves creative appetizers alongside specialty cocktails.

Presenting the Pool Deck on Celebrity Edge

Skylines and city views are great, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for looking at the sea. If that’s you, you may be interested in that aforementioned innovative pool with incredible ocean views…

In December 2018, a new cruise ship will sail its maiden voyage that is set to revitalize the cruise industry and what passengers expect from a cruise ship. That vessel? Celebrity Edge, the first ship in the Edge Class by Celebrity Cruises.

Celebrity Edge features many amazing features, including infinity veranda staterooms, a cantilevered dining experience on the side of the ship called the Magic Carpet, designer suites with plunge pools, rooftop gardens, top-notch entertainment, and a wide assortment of bar lounges and restaurants.

Oh, and one more thing – a stunning pool area.

Celebrity Edge’s main pool can be found on the aptly named Pool Deck. What makes this pool area so special is the amount of detail that has gone into making it modern and bringing the outside in. Feeling sunshine on your shoulders isn’t anything new while swimming on a cruise ship, but Celebrity Edge’s Pool Deck has panoramic windows positioned to make viewing the passing sea and land formations easy to take in. Plus, two raised hot tubs shaped like martini glasses give passengers another amazing vantage point for taking in those glistening ocean views.

The Pool Deck also has luxurious cabanas lining one side of it, which can be rented out. Lucky users of the cabanas will continue to have ocean views while lounging in comfort on poolside beds and couches and sipping cool drinks or ordering lunch and snacks.

Pool Deck Cabanas on Celebrity Edge
Pool Deck Cabanas on Celebrity Edge

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 and spectacular pools in the coming years – three sister ships to the Celebrity Edge will be debuting in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

 

 

Fall Activities in SoCal and While Cruising

Do It Here, Then Do It There…

The breeze is starting to have a crispness to it in Southern California and the ocean is beginning to cool back down…fall is here. Though it doesn’t always feel like autumn to those who grew up in colder climates, it’s still possible to find some fall fun in southern California. When you want some more seasonal experiences, head to these lovely-in-fall ports of call on a cruise.

Fall in SoCal

It’s all about the pumpkins this time of year. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie…so when wanting to get into a fall frame of mind, head to a pumpkin patch for some orange scenery and great photo ops. Some top SoCal pumpkin patches include:

Apples are another popular fall food. Go apple picking this autumn at Los Rios Ranch in Oak Glen. You’ll get a country feel with cider, hay rides, corn mazes, and — of course — apple picking.

If you need cooler weather for it to feel like fall so you can pull on those boots and cuddly sweaters, head to Big Bear Lake. Rent a kayak and paddle through the lake and look for trees that have started to change color — a rare occurrence in SoCal. For more fall color spotting while in Big Bear, take a hike through Aspen Grove.

Fall Colors While Cruising

You can also see some spectacular autumn colors and participate in fall festivities while cruising to New England or Europe this time of year.

New England and Canada

Celebrity Cruises offers Fall Foliage itineraries that stop in the scenic cities and towns of Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; Charlottetown, Prince Edwards Island; Sydney, Nova Scotia; and more. While in port, walk through town or go on a hike to take in all the gorgeous fall colors.

Europe

France: While visiting the south coast of France (typically docked in port in Marseille or Nice) visit the nearby vineyards to see fall colors prettily accent the rows of vines.

England: When visiting London, head into the Cotswolds for the day to see some pretty fall colors framing quaint cottages.

Belgium: To see a big city all alit in golden and crimson fall colors, head to the port city of Bruges where you can take a boat down the canal and admire the trees framing the water and nearby streets.

Germany: It’s not fall in Germany without Oktoberfest, and though you won’t be able to dock in Munich (the Bavarian city which made Oktoberfest famous) you can visit Rostock (gateway to Berlin) during your cruise. While there, take a seat at one of Germany’s famous beer gardens and try some of the lagers that make Oktoberfest a hit year after year.

To book your New England or Europe cruise, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal.

Experience Italian Cuisine in OC & in Italy on a Celebrity Cruise

Eat it Here, Then Eat it There…

Italian Restaurants Honored at the Golden Foodies in Orange County

Do you love Italian cuisine? Then you’re in good company if you live in SoCal. So popular is Italian food that it’s even one of the categories for the Golden Foodies Awards of Orange County.

Last year, the 2014 Golden Foodies nominees were Antonella Ristorante, Cucina Enoteca, and Mare Culinary Lounge (with Mare Culinary Lounge taking home the win). 2015 voting is underway – you can cast your vote here for your favorite Orange County restaurant, and then stay tuned for who the winner is when they’re announced on September 27 at the awards ceremony in Newport Beach — and Celebrity Cruises will see you there!

After you get your fill of Italian cuisine in Orange County, experience the tastes of Italy by going to the boot-shaped Italian country on a Celebrity cruise.

Celebrity Cruises Italy Ports of Call

Celebrity Cruises has many incredible ports of call throughout Italy that you can visit. Depending on your interests, you can choose an itinerary that just stops at one or two of them along with visiting other nearby countries, or do an itinerary that is predominately Italian ports of call. Here is a list of some of the most popular ports of call – and some of the dishes they’re known for that you can try while in port:

Livorno – This is the gateway port to Florence and Pisa. Visit the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa or the stunning Duomo in Florence, then dine on a streetside panini and savor the quality of bread you’ll find.

Naples – Known for its delicious Neapolitan pizza. From Naples, you can also visit the Amalfi Coast, Capri, or Pompeii while in port.

CivitavecchiaRome is just a brief train ride away from this port town, where you can see Rome’s many historic sites plus eat some Offal, a meat tradition that uses the part of meat that normally gets thrown out; the history of which goes back to the many slaughterhouses that were once in Rome. The Carbonara found in Rome is also excellent.

Venice – The city built on water has amazing canal views plus is known for its Baccala’ Mantecata (a mousse style way of preparing dried, salted cod) and many tasty gelato shops.

La Spezia – For those wanting to experience the wonder of Cinque Terre, La Spezia is a great starting off point for that adventure. Each of the five small towns is also known for its local produce and fish.

Messina – Experience the world of Sicily while in port in Messina and try the local spaghetti – it may typically be considered a simple dish, but your tastebuds won’t find anything simple about the spaghetti served in Sicily.

In addition to these ports of call, Celebrity has itineraries that visit Genoa, Ravenna, Salerno, Cagliari, and Catania.

Tuscan Grille Restaurant Onboard Celebrity Cruises
Tuscan Grille Restaurant Onboard Celebrity Cruises

You can also try some Italian cuisine when onboard your Celebrity cruise ship at the specialty restaurant, Tuscan Grille, which serves up family-style Italian dishes in a setting reminiscent of an elegant Tuscan farmhouse.

To plan your cruise to Italy, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal or speak with your local travel agent.

Eat Italian Cuisine at Home in OC, then Sail to Italy

If you want to be in Italian food heaven, dine on the cuisine in both Orange County and at sea.

Orange County Top Italian Restaurants

First…make sure you brush up on your Italian food eating skill by hitting up some of Orange County’s best Italian restaurants, including these gems:

Il Fornaio: This upscale Italian restaurant in Irvine provides a casual elegant dining ambiance with traditional dishes.

Cucina Enoteca: Inventive twists on Italian cuisine favorites await you at this lively eatery in Newport Beach.

Café Lucca: If you need a quick Italian bite, head to Café Luca in Orange for cheese, pastries, sandwiches and a delicious glass of wine.

Dine in Italy and at Sea

Second…book a cruise to Italy. With Celebrity Cruises you can choose from a variety of Mediterranean cruises that stop in numerous Italian ports of call. While in those ports, dine on some authentic Italian cuisine. Try pizza while in port in Naples, spaghetti Bolognese in Rome, Veal Parmesan in Florence, and Lasagna in Sicily. Plus some amazing Italian wines.

Back onboard the ship you can dine on more Italian in Celebrity Cruises’ Tuscan Grille restaurant. Tuscan Grille is a Italian-inspired steakhouse that blends traditional cuisine of Italy with contemporary influences crafted by creative chefs. For pasta, choose from penne primavera, mushroom ravioli, lobster linguine alfredo, and more. On the steak side of things there is grilled New York steak, Black Angus ribeye, and filet mignon to name a few.

The ambiance on Tuscan Grille is modern and warm with comfortable seating ideal whether you’re dining as a family or as a twosome. Tuscan Grille is onboard the following ships: Eclipse, Solstice, Silhouette, Constellation, Equinox, and Reflection.

To book your Celebrity cruise to Italy, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal or call your local travel agent.

Cocktails in SoCal, Cocktails Onboard Celebrity

Drink It Here, Then Drink It There

Southern California may be known for its craft beer scene and local wineries, but it also has some great cocktails in its midst.

Chilled Martini Onboard Celebrity Cruises

From the speakeasy inspired cocktails at Noble Experiment in San Diego to the creative craft cocktails at 320 Main in Seal Beach to rare liquor at the Chestnut Club in Santa Monica, the perfect cocktail to fit your mood isn’t far away in SoCal.

If you love cocktails, then you’ll also feel at home onboard Celebrity Cruises with its array of cocktails ranging from the simple to the extreme.

Martini Bar

Martini Bar & Crush

The Martini Bar & Crush on Celebrity Cruises is the place to be. With a frost-covered bar and a location close to the main dining room, it’s the place to meet and mingle with other cruisers and get a delicious cocktail. Choose from a massive menu of specialty martinis, ranging from tart to sweet to bitter, depending on your preference. You’ll also be impressed with the skills of the bartenders as they swirl, shake, and pour your drinks — sometimes more than one at a time!

Michael's Club

Michael’s Club

Michael’s Club is a private lounge onboard and is a good reason to book a suite when sailing with Celebrity Cruises as it’s exclusively for guests in Celebrity, Signature, Royal, Penthouse,  and Reflection Suites. Sip a premium whiskey on the rocks or have the bartender make you something special, all while enjoying a comfortable setting that is reminiscent of a great mansion library. There is also a large-screen TV and a concierge ready to help you make dinner reservations or help with anything else you may need in Michael’s Club.

Celebrity’s latest foray onto the cocktail scene is World Class Bar, which just debuted on Celebrity Eclipse and is in the process of being added to all the Solstice-Class ships. World Class-certified mixologists will create unique and innovative cocktails that will get your taste buds hopping.

Eat It Here, then Eat It There: Unconventional Restaurants in OC and at Sea

Eat it Here, Then Eat it There…

If you enjoy thinking outside of the box when it comes to your dining experiences, you don’t have to search too far in Orange County to find a unique, unconventional restaurant. From eating chicken drumsticks in a stadium while watching knights and horses spar in an arena at Medieval Times in Buena Park, to the line dancing adjacent fun of the Ranch Restaurant and Saloon in Anaheim,  you’ll have a fun, memorable time eating at OC’s unconventional restaurants. So why not take it one step further and have a unique dining experience at sea while cruising to exotic destinations?

Qsine Restaurant Onboard Celebrity Cruises
Qsine Restaurant Onboard Celebrity Cruises

Qsine Restaurant onboard Celebrity Cruises is truly unique – you won’t find anything quite like it on land or at sea. The menu and ambiance of Qsine was created by a James Beard featured Master Chef and it is a meal you won’t soon forget.

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Your dining experience at Qsine begins with an iPad. That’s right – you’ll have your own personal iPad to use during the meal to swipe and slide your way to figuring out what you want to order.

QSINE_SI_QsineiPad

When it comes to ordering at Qsine, keep an open mind. You may see items that you haven’t heard of before or see food pairings you never would have thought had any business being served together. You’ll soon find that your taste buds beg to differ. With inventive twists on favorite recipes and experimentation with different textures, the food you eat at Qsine is likely to be a fun surprise.

Strawberry Fields at Qsine
Strawberry Fields at Qsine

The presentation is also likely to get a surprised smile from you. Qsine doesn’t just stick to bowls and plates. Your meal might come out looking something like this:

Qsine 240212 0706R

The smaller portions of each dish at Qsine also means you get to try a wide range of tastes. It’s sure to be an adventure for your senses.

Qsine is onboard the following ships: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, and Celebrity Summit. To book a cruise on one of these cruise ships, contact your local travel agent or visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal.

Back on land, you can find more unique restaurants in Orange County by attending the Golden Foodies in September. For tickets to this exclusive event, click here.

Eat French Cuisine at Home in OC, then Sail to France

Eat it Here, Then Eat it There…

Orange County is home to a diverse range of cuisine that is inspired by flavors from all over the world. One worldly cuisine style that you can find in Orange County is French. It’s no secret that the French put an emphasis on high-quality cuisine and as a result, the signature dishes of France are often intricate culinary masterpieces.

Find French Cuisine in Orange County

When looking for authentic French cuisine in Orange County, two top places to head are Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa and Fig & Olive in Newport Beach. You can learn more about the French restaurants of Orange County plus the area’s other top restaurants at the Golden Foodies in September.

Experience Culinary Bliss in France

If you really want to experience the wonders of French cuisine, though, you should head to France. An easy way to do so is on a cruise. With Celebrity Cruises, you can stop in Le Havre, the gateway port to Paris, while on a Northern Europe cruise. There are even food-related shore excursions you can do while in port so you don’t miss out on any of the tastes of France.

Mediterranean cruises also will let you experience French cuisine when they stop in the south of France along the French Riviera in the gorgeous port cities of Nice, Marseille, and Cannes. You’ll be able to dine on fresh seafood prepared in traditional French sauces and spices, and try other popular French dishes like Coq au Vin and Pot-au-feu.

Celebrity Cruises’ French Restaurant

If you need more of a French cuisine fix once you’re back onboard your Celebrity Cruises ship, make a reservation to dine at Murano, an upscale specialty restaurant onboard Celebrity’s award-winning Solstice-class of ships that focuses on traditional French cuisine with contemporary twists.

To book your cruise to France, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal or talk to your local travel agent.

Tour Flower Fields in Carlsbad…and then in Holland

Do It Here, Then Do It There…

Love to see things in bloom? Visit flower fields close to home in Carlsbad and in the Netherlands during a European cruise.

Carlsbad Flower Fields

When you have spring fever in southern California and want to see some gorgeous flowers in bloom, you can easily do so. Just take a quick jaunt to Carlsbad, a coastal suburb located in North County San Diego. Every spring from March through May, rows upon rows of colorful flowers sprout on a wide hillside in Carlsbad overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You can view the flowers while driving by or even while shopping at the nearby Carlsbad Premium Outlets mall. To get up close and personal with the flowers, purchase an admission ticket to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, which lets you walk around the flowers and makes for a peaceful morning or afternoon. The flowers you’ll see are of the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus variety and they cover nearly fifty beautiful acres.

Cross the Sea for Some Tulips

If you want more flower delight found at flower fields that are famous across the world for their beauty, head to the Netherlands on a cruise. During a stop in port in Amsterdam, you can leave the city behind and tour some of the incredible fields of tulips that the Netherlands is known for. Millions upon millions of tulip bulbs burst into bloom each year, and the best place to see these expansive tulip fields is at the massive gardens of Keukenhof. You can easily get there on the Accessible Keukenhof shore excursion, which takes you to the garden and gives you several hours to tour the tulips and other flower varietals that can be found on its premises. After you are done exploring the garden, you will be conveniently transported back to your ship. To book your dream flower fields cruise to the Netherlands, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal or speak to your local travel agent.

Dine at Fig & Olive in OC and Luminae on Celebrity Cruises

Eat it Here, then Eat it There

If you love Fig and Olive at Fashion Island in Orange County, then you’ll love the fine dining exclusivity of Luminae onboard Celebrity Cruises, a suite-class restaurant that specializes in locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients.

Chic Dining in Orange County

If you live in southern California and haven’t dined at Fig and Olive yet, you should quickly get yourself over to Fashion Island in Newport Beach (in which Fig and Olive is located) and seat yourself at one of the restaurant’s elegant tables. While dining — which you can choose to do either indoors our outside on the patio — you’ll be surrounded by a French Riviera garden ambiance with olive trees and flowers planted all around.

The menu features some of the best dishes from the Mediterranean region with creative twists. Dine on Tuna Crudo from the raw bar, paella del mar or zucchini blossom and goat cheese ravioli from the pasta menu, or Provence roasted chicken or veal milanese from the poultry and meat menu.

It’s an upscale dining experience in one of California’s ritziest neighborhoods and you’ll feel like a million bucks while dining there — as will your tastebuds. Fig and Olive is located at 151 Newport Center Drive in the Fashion Island shopping complex. You can reach the restaurant for reservations or questions at 949-877-3005.

Luminae: Exclusive Gourmet Dining at Sea

Luminae onboard Celebrity Cruises
Luminae onboard Celebrity Cruises

Luminae is the latest restaurant onboard Celebrity Cruises’ fleet of ships and can be found on every single Celebrity ship…if you’re staying in a suite. That’s right, Luminae has an air of exclusivity as it is only available for dining to guests staying in Celebrity Cruises’ popular Suite Class of staterooms.

Dining at Luminae is a modern, sophisticated affair with white and gold decor on the tables and walls, and large picture windows highlighting the rippling ocean and passing scenery and providing an sunlit dining experience throughout the day. Luminae is complimentary for Suite Class guests who can choose to eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu at Luminae consists of gourmet cuisine with menu items you can’t find anywhere else onboard.

Sample entrees you can enjoy at Luminae include roasted lamb loin with Merguez sausage, marinated cucumber, and herb yogurt; Maine lobster tagliatelle with roasted artichokes, tomato and lemon confit, and bread crumbs; and Cote de Boeuf with roasted root vegetables and bearnaise sauce. Delicious appetizers and desserts can also be enjoyed.

To find the suite onboard Celebrity Cruises that is perfect for you, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com/socal or talk to you local travel agent.

Wine Taste in Temecula…then Sip Wine in France

 Do it Here, Then Do it There…

If you love wine tasting, then you’ll be glad to know there’s a fun place to do it close to home in southern California and a bucket list wine tasting experience overseas in France.

SoCal Vineyards and Fun in Temecula

Temecula is a burgeoning wine region in southern California. The hot days and cool nights create dynamic wines, especially of the sweeter white varietals.

Going wine tasting in Temecula can be a low key outing or an extravagant affair. Party buses are welcome at many of the tasting rooms and don’t be surprised to see birthday and bachelorette parties making the rounds. South Coast with its massive grounds and tasting room and Wilson Creek — home to a famous almond sparkling wine — are both good options for such a day. Your limo or party bus will depart for Temecula (drive times are around XX from Newport Beach and XX from Santa Monica) and you’ll have fun socializing onboard your transportation before arriving at the wineries. Be sure to pack snacks and plenty of water in the limo or party bus with you.

For a day that is more about the wine experience than the party, choose smaller wineries that don’t cater to groups as much. The views at Callaway are marvelous and an idyllic place to be sipping wine while the vintages at Danza del Sol are some of the best in the area.

Wine Tasting During a Mediterranean Cruise

Wine tasting in Temecula is a fun and close to home outing for southern Californians. Wine tasting in France, on the other hand, is a much more sophisticated and exotic affair — which is why you should not miss out on such a life experience if you love wine.

While wine tasting in France during a Mediterranean cruise, you’ll be privy to some incredible, world-class wines. The best time to go wine tasting during your cruise is when docked near Nice and Provence, of which the ports of Cannes, Villefranches, and Toulon provide easy access.

Arrange a group wine tasting tour that picks you up from port and provides a guide that will take you to a selection of wineries and provide you with the history and scope of the wineries, vineyards, and vintages you’ll be coming in contact with. You can also opt for a private Celebrity shore excursion where you’ll be provided with your own car and driver who will take you wherever you want to go, so you can wine taste on your own time frame and visit the wineries most appealing to you.

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As an added bonus, back onboard the ship during a Celebrity cruise, you’ll get the chance to sip wine from all over the world as part of the Celebrity Wine Experience.

Wine Taste Soon

Arrange that fun day trip to Temecula, then plan your dream wine tasting Mediterranean cruise to France by visiting www.CelebrityCruises.com/SoCal or talking to your local travel agent.