Holland America Line’s MS NIEUW AMSTERDAM Named 2011 Ship of the Year

March 4th, 2011 by admin
MS Nieuw Amsterdam

Holland America Line's MS Nieuw Amsterdam

Holland America Line’s latest addition to the fleet, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, was voted Ship of the Year for 2011 by members of the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society (WOCLS).

The award was announced in the February issue of Ocean & Cruise News, the society’s 16-page monthly publication. “In order for a ship to become our ‘Ship of the Year,’ it takes an exceptional consistency of high marks in each of the grading categories,” wrote Thomas Cassidy, editor of Ocean and Cruise News. “Our congratulations go to Holland America Line and the crew of the Nieuw Amsterdam on delivering the highest degree of passenger satisfaction to our members.”

“Nieuw Amsterdam quickly has become a guest favorite since it debuted, and knowing that our ship stood out and was recognized by the most experienced and dedicated cruisers is a true honor,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “With each new ship we introduce more innovative features, amenities and partnerships that enable us continually to add value to our product and brand, and our guests truly appreciate that.”

One hundred fifty-one ships from all major cruise lines were rated in the survey, which is based on passenger satisfaction in categories ranging from culinary and service to itineraries and shipboard activities and entertainment. From 1982, when Ship of the Year surveys began, Holland America Line ships have received top honors ten times — more than any other cruise company’s ships.

The World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society was founded in 1980 and is considered to be the oldest and largest cruise organization of its kind. WOCLS is composed of more than 7,500 experienced cruisers who take, on average, two cruises each year.

(source: Holland America Line)

Fortresses, Bulwarks and Mosques: Valletta, Malta

February 27th, 2011 by admin

Valletta, Malta

Fortresses, Bulwarks and Mosques in Valletta, Malta ©Jana Jones


February 25th, 2011 by admin

Celebrity Millennium

© Jana Jones Celebrity Millennium at Puerto Mont, Chile

The dining experience has always been central to a Celebrity Cruises vacation, and the line has proven it once again with its latest culinary introductions: an authentic, world-class high tea experience called “Champagne High Tea,” and industry-first premium kosher meals.

“We know how precious consumers’ vacation time is, and we’re committed to offering an exceptional dining experience to make those rare vacations even more special,” said Celebrity’s Vice President of Culinary Operations Jacques Van Staden. “Our Champagne High Tea is designed in the tradition of the most highly regarded afternoon tea experiences in the world.”

Celebrity’s Champagne High Tea takes place once on every seven-night sailing, and at least twice on an eight-night or longer cruise. Held in Celebrity’s highly acclaimed, elegant specialty restaurants, amidst live music performed by a string quartet, the event’s delectable selections include premium Forte’ teas; Lavazza coffees, including espressos, lattes and cappuccino; savory sandwiches and desserts – including pastries, scones, truffles and pate de fruit – all served on Wedgewood china and in Riedel Crystal.

Celebrity’s Champagne High Tea cover charge of $25 per person – an exceptional value when compared with land-based high tea experiences – includes all culinary selections and a glass of champagne. Reservations for Celebrity’s Champagne High Tea can be made onboard by dialing the ship’s “dining reservation” number. The experience – in addition to the line’s longtime, complimentary tea service in the main dining room – is offered across the Celebrity fleet, with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition, the line’s megayacht sailing year-round in the Galapagos Islands.

Meanwhile, for guests interested in kosher meals, Celebrity has introduced another industry first: premium kosher meals, offered as an option amidst the brand’s vast array of other dining selections. Among Celebrity’s premium kosher entrees are herb-roasted salmon, BBQ quartered chicken, beef brisket, citrus-glazed chicken breast, and citrus-glazed tilapia, while breakfast items include traditional lox and bagels, Belgian waffles, wild mushroom omelettes, or pancakes. Kosher wines and champagne also are available, with Celebrity’s highly skilled sommeliers poised to offer recommendations.

All selections are Glatt Kosher certified and made from scratch in kosher kitchens under the strict supervision of the O.U. and USDA. Celebrity’s premium kosher meals are available for a fee, and the line’s more limited, complimentary kosher selections will continue to be offered.

Vacationers interested in kosher meals are asked to notify Celebrity of their interest 60 days in advance of departure. Guests participating in the premium kosher program then can make their specific menu selections for each day onboard, 24 hours in advance of dining.

Guests with bookings on any Celebrity vacation are invited to submit requests for kosher meals or any special dietary needs in advance of their cruise, by contacting SpecialNeeds@celebrity.com, or calling 1-800-722-5242, ext. 34492.

Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “X” is the mark of the world’s top-rated premium cruise line, with spacious, stylish interiors; dining experiences elevated to an art form; personalized service, with a guest-to-staff ratio of nearly 2:1; unexpected, trendsetting onboard activities, all designed to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers’ precious time. Celebrity sails to Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Galapagos Islands. Celebrity also offers immersive cruisetour experiences in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South America. One of the fastest-growing major cruise lines, Celebrity’s fleet currently consists of 10 ships, with two additional Solstice Class ships scheduled to join the fleet: Celebrity Silhouette in July 2011, and Celebrity Reflection in Fall 2012. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit www.celebritycruises.com.

(source: Celebrity Cruises)

Learn About Wine and Wealth Management on Windstar Cruises’ WIND SURF

February 24th, 2011 by admin

Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations, offers guests the opportunity to learn about wine from David Gianulias and Todd Rustman, founders of Napa Valley’s Levendi Winery, along with wealth management on Wind Surf’s May 8, 2011 Barcelona to Rome voyage.


The Gianulias family has a strong Greek tradition of private winemaking dating back centuries. In ancient Greece, wine was vital to both culture and community. Today, Mediterranean communities still hold wine in the highest regard.  Since 1926, Levendi has developed ultra-premium Napa Valley vintages.  Aboard Wind Surf, Gianulias and Rustman will lecture on the winemaking process and conduct a wine tasting. For more information on Levendi Winery, please visit www.levendiwinery.com

In addition to winemaking at Levendi, Rustman is co-founder of GR Capital Asset Management, a financial management firm based in Newport Beach, Calif.  Rustman will conduct a lecture on wealth management during the sailing.  For more information on GR Capital Asset Management, please visit www.gr-cam.com.

Wind Surf’s 7-day Barcelona to Rome sailing departs May 8, 2011, and visits the ports of Palma de Mallorca, Spain; St. Tropez, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Portofino, Italy; and Livorno, Italy. Cruise fares from $2,499 per person, double occupancy.


Wind Surf accommodates 312 guests, offering deluxe, oceanview staterooms that include beds with luxury linens and mattresses, a flat-screen TV and DVD player, Bose SoundDock speakers for Apple iPods, waffle-weave robes with slippers and sumptuous L’Occitane products. Suites also include an extra bath, TV and sitting area. Wind Surf recently introduced new spa suites which include all the amenities of a suite along with luxurious microfiber linens, spa robes, an orchid flower arrangement, specialty pillow menu, daily fresh fruit platter, O SPA London products, WindSpa spa experiences and events as well as unlimited Pilates and Yoga classes.  Bridge Suites offer everything in a suite along with the additional luxury of a spacious private living room and relaxing whirlpool spa. Guests enjoy culinary wonders in Wind Surf’s The Restaurant, Degrees, Le Marché and Candles.  Wind Surf also features a lounge, Yacht Club, WindSpa, casino, three bars, two pools, two hot tubs, a shop, photo gallery and watersports platform.

(source:  Vanessa Bloy, Windstar Cruises)

The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica Certified Green Globe

February 24th, 2011 by admin


Green Globe Certification announces The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica has been certified for its sustainable operations and management as well as its continued environmental conservation efforts. Green Globe is the leading certification program for environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility in the travel and tourism industry worldwide.

‘The Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort have displayed an incredible dedication in embracing environmentally-conscious practices and continually searching for new sustainable initiatives to be implemented on property,’ said General Manager, Mr Tony Mira.


 ‘This achievement would not be possible without their extraordinary commitment and enthusiasm for creating a greener environment for our guests and Jamaica. This certification further exemplifies the hotel’s commitment of working towards a more sustainable future by protecting and preserving our island’s natural resources,’ added Mr Mira.

About The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica

To be awarded Green Globe certification, the resort implemented a variety of green practices in their daily operations, such as reusing linens, waste reduction, increasing energy efficiency, environmental education and community outreach. Over the course of two years, sufficient data was provided demonstrating consistent and ongoing green initiatives, from utilizing recycled paper to planting an herb garden for use by the culinary department. Sustainable efforts were overseen by The Ritz-Carlton Environmental Action Conservation Team (REACT), who educates all departments on environmental practices designed to minimize the hotel’s carbon footprint.

Mr Guido Bauer, CEO Green Globe Certification said, ‘We welcome The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, into the elite community of Green Globe certified resorts. And especially, we wish to congratulate our local Caribbean representatives and consultants, particularly Ms Wendy Walker-Drakes, for diligently working on the ground to complete the significant work of documenting the resorts sustainability achievements.’ 

Located on 5,000 picture-perfect acres in Jamaica’s exclusive Rose Hall, the 427-room AAA Five Diamond Resort offers the seclusion of a beachfront hideaway, complete with an 18-hole championship golf course, and an additional 36 holes of Championship Golf within the Rose Hall Resort Area. Complemented by a full service Spa, a variety of water sports and recreational activities, the resort boasts five dining outlets and more than 25,000 square feet of meeting and reception space. Conveniently located just 15 minutes from Sangster International Airport, The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort has brought luxury to the island nation and established itself as one of the Caribbean’s best values.

SEE:  DWIGHT BROWN’S review of Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall


 (source: Travel Mole)