14 5 / 2013
5 Fruit Carvings that will Blow Your Mind
Carved fruit and vegetables have become a staple on cruises, where talented chefs wow passengers with new designs, recognizable characters and intricate details. They’re amazing, and they go way beyond just cucumber roses and carrot fish nets. Check out these impressive examples our own members have spotted:
Onboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, chefs created this display of Shrek and his friends, carved out of watermelon, oranges, melon and blueberries.
Image courtesy of Cruiseline.com member Lyndyguy75
2. A Bird of Prey
This elaborate bird was carved out of watermelon and displayed on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Spirit.
Image courtesy of Cruiseline.com member Mikeomni1
This band of bunnies was made out of oranges, mangoes, pineapples grapes, and lemon peels, and spotted on a buffet aboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2.
Image courtesy of Cruiseline.com member Angie
4. A Couple of Pirates
Check out the swashbuckling, one-eyed pirate (and his pretty girlfriend), both of which were carved out of watermelon — along with a “Welcome Aboard” sign — for the Welcome Banquet on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.
Image courtesy of Cruiseline.com member Shatzie
This seafaring warrior, who has grapes for eyes, was carved out of watermelon and adorned the buffet on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.
Image courtesy of Cruiseline.com member GTVCruiser
09 5 / 2013
6 Questions for Geoffrey Zakarian About Cruising & His New Restaurant on Norwegian Breakaway
Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian is bringing fine dining to the open waters by launching a seafood restaurant aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian. To top it off, he’s giving cruisers two other options to choose from: casual seafood favorites served at Ocean Blue during the day, and The Raw Bar (oysters and wine) nearby. We pressed him to tell us his favorite dish (and threw in some questions about travel), and here’s what he had to say:
Have you ever been on a cruise?
No! I can’t wait!
Do you have a cruise planned?
I [sailed] on the Breakaway on May 8. Not only is this my first cruise but an inaugural one — I feel like I won the lottery.
Where do you like to travel?
I’m an avid golfer so I love to play golf in Bermuda — great weather, great courses.
What dish would you order from the menu at Ocean Blue? Why?
Dover Sole. It’s my favorite type of fish to eat, hands down. We fly it in from Holland specifically for Ocean Blue via one of my trusted importers. The simplicity and classic preparation makes this one of the most elegant dishes on the menu.
What two flavors do you think compliment each other most perfectly?
Well … can I say three? We are serving a stunning drink on board called “The Gold Rush” — it marries Bourbon, lemon and honey. The flavors work expertly together.
What inspired you to become a chef?
My time traveling trough France when I was in college — I fell in love with the art of hospitality. I would save up all week to splurge on [a meal in a] Michelin-starred restaurant just so I could learn and see how it all worked.
07 5 / 2013
Ice Sculptures at Sea That Wowed Us
There’s nothing quite like seeing something beautiful sculpted from frozen water. On cruise ships, ice carvers often chisel right on the deck where spectators can watch; later, these same works of art often end up as centerpieces on buffet tables. Here are a few sculptures we loved:
1. A master ice sculptor carving a fish on the Carnival Triumph. Image courtesy of Cruiseline.com member CruisinDiva
2. Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas buffet table, adorned with another icy fish.
Image courtesy of Cruiseline.com member michelle.sousa
3. This unicorn was spotted hanging out on the deck of the Carnival Conquest.
Image courtesy of Rita & Bob
3. Ice carvers on Celebrity Equinox with their creations: a swan and a fish.
Image courtesy of Corviar Owner
03 5 / 2013
The Cake Boss Loves Cruising (Hates Sightseeing!)
I sat down with Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s “Cake Boss,” this week at the ribbon cutting ceremony of his new bakery in Times Square, Cake Boss Café. Buddy is further expanding his family business onto the Norwegian Breakaway, which launches May 8, so I asked him some questions about everyone’s favorite topic: vacation.
Have you ever been on a cruise?
Yes! I’ve been on three cruises in my life. The last cruise I went on was about ten years ago. I have sailed with Norwegian and Princess, and all the cruises were around the Caribbean.
What was your favorite port?
Grand Cayman. I remember going to this little secluded beach, and it was beautiful. The water was to die for.
Where do you typically like to travel?
We usually go to Aruba or Italy. I’m an easy guy – as long as you say I don’t have to work and I can relax and eat good and go to the beach, I’m happy. I’m not a sightseer. When I’m on vacation, odds are I ain’t sightseeing because this is my break from always going at 100 miles an hour.
Are you doing a cake for the ship launch on May 8?
Oh yeah. We’re doing a huge cake, and I’ll be there at launch!
How often will you be sailing on the Breakaway yourself?
I’m going on a cruise on May 10, and probably about two times a year after that.
Will Breakaway passengers be able to order cakes as innovative as the ones you make on “Cake Boss?”
Definitely. For a special occasion, you can preorder a Cake Boss cake. We’ll make it in my factory and have it delivered to the ship.
Who will be making the cakes when you are not onboard?
There will always be somebody on my team onboard. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to be on a cruise? Sure it’s a little work, but it’s also a little pleasure!
01 5 / 2013
Most Mouthwatering Cocktails at Sea
There’s nothing quite like sipping on a refreshing drink (preferably adorned with an orange wedge or toothpick umbrella) while lounging in the sun to make you feel like you’re truly on a vacation. Here are our five favorite concoctions to order on a cruise:
The Drink: Coral Reef
The Line: Silversea Cruises
The Ingredients: Plymouth gin, St. Germain, Aperol, club soda, lemon twist.
The Something Special: This drink was named by a guest who admired its luminous orange color and said it was just like coral.
The Drink: The Fun Ship
The Line: Carnival Cruise Line
The Ingredients: Amaretto, dark rum, vodka, apricot brandy, and fruit punch, garnished with an orange wedge.
The Something Special: It comes in a souvenir glass.
The Drink: The Beverly Hills Iced Tea
The Line: Princess Cruises
The Ingredients: Vodka, rum, tequila, orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and sparkling wine.
The Something Special: This variation on the traditional Long Island Iced Tea is made with top-shelf liquors and includes champagne instead of the traditional final ingredient, sparkling water.
The Drink: Raspberry Fizz
The Line: Princess Cruises
The Ingredients: Raspberry vodka, raspberry liqueur, lemon juice, raspberries and soda water.
The Something Special: The lemon and raspberries used in the drinks are fresh.
The Drink: The Dutch Heritage
The Line: Holland America
The Ingredients: Vodka, orange liqueur and Aperol (an Italian aperitif), served in a martini glass.
The Something Special: Holland America began featuring this drink in April 2013 to celebrate its 140th anniversary.
The Drink: Negroni
The Line: Holland America
The Ingredients: Americano (espresso and water) with splashes of gin and vermouth.
The Something Special: Count Camillo Negroni invented this cocktail in 1919 in Florence, Italy, when he asked his bartender to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin rather than the normal soda water.
The Drink: The Gold Rush
The Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
The Ingredients: Bourbon, lemon juice and honey.
The Something Special: Geoffrey Zakarian, Food Network star and Iron Chef, launching Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian on the Norwegian Breakaway, chose bourbon, lemon and honey as his favorite flavor combination.
What’s your favorite drink to order on a cruise? Tell us in the comments below!
24 4 / 2013
5 Hot Features on Norwegian Breakaway
Based out of New York City year-round, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship (scheduled to be christened by the Rockettes on May 8) has everyone talking about its most notable features — and it’s not a short list! Check out five of our favorites:
5. The Waterfront
This quarter-mile-long open-air boardwalk at sea features eight outdoor dining and lounging options.
4. Sports Complex
A massive three-story sports complex, it includes the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole ocean-themed miniature golf course, a basketball court, a rock climbing wall, a bungee trampoline, and the Spider Web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage.
3. The Aqua ParkNorwegian’s biggest water park has five multi-story water slides and several “firsts” at sea, including the Free Fall (two side-by-side slides on which cruisers stand up and the floor drops out, propelling them into a loop) and The Whip (two side-by-side twister slides that plunge cruisers into a spiral race). Statues of Nickelodeon™ characters such as SpongeBob and Squidward surround the kids’ area, spouting water.
2. Carlo’s (Cake Boss) Bake Shop
Master baker Buddy Valastro, star of the popular TLC television shows “Cake Boss” and “Next Great Baker” will be debuting his first bakery at sea — Carlo’s Bake Shop. Known for complicated and unusual cake designs, cruisers onboard the Breakaway will be able to pre-order custom-designed confections for special occasions. For those who’d like to try their own hand at decorating cakes, the bakery will offer classes.
1. Rock of AgesThis five-time Tony Award-nominated musical will bring big bands and big hair to the open seas. The 1980s setting of Rock of Ages inspired other elements of the cruise, too; fireworks set to popular hits from the decade will accompany the 1980s-themed deck party on the last night of each sailing.
Read more about what we love on Norwegian Cruise Line here.
Nickelodeon and all related characters are trademarks of Viacom Inc.
22 4 / 2013
How to Survive Formal Night on a Cruise
Today’s blog post is by Judi Cuervo. Judi Cuervo began her freelance cruise writing in 1998 with Porthole Cruise Magazine and since then her work has appeared in a number of regional, national, Canadian, U.K. and Australian publications. A New York City native who met her husband Michael aboard Holland America Line’s Statendam and was married aboard Celebrity’s Galaxy, Judi is Associate Director/Client Services at a major book publishing company.
Formal night. A nod to tradition that conjures up images of yesteryear, ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finery, elegantly sipping champagne at the Captain’s Table. There’s no question that this ritual still exists alongside the most modern innovations at sea. But should it?
From all indications, those ladies and gentlemen of yesteryear spent their daylight hours whiling their way through sleepy shipboard days. Knitting in the salon, perhaps, or walking on deck. I’m fairly certain they weren’t scaling rock-climbing walls, boxing, biking or spending an afternoon consuming endless rum-infused Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost van Dyke.
Cruisers today are too darn exhausted to dress up, particularly if formal attire is required the evening of a day in port. Still, as courteous shipmates, most of us endure it. We throw ourselves into the shower, drag out our party dresses and make the most of it.
Don’t allow this seagoing tradition to put a damper on your shipboard holiday! Instead, consider the following formal cheats and sneaks:
- Before dusting off the bustle of your 15-year-old bridesmaid gown or investing in outfits that might only be worn again should you be invited to a Presidential Inaugural Ball, consider building your attire around a pair of black pants. A glittery shirt, a tank top topped by a fringy shawl, a pair of heels and you’re ready to pose with the captain, ladies.
- Gentlemen can forego the tux in favor of a dark suit or, if bringing the tux (or renting one onboard), feel free to ditch the bow tie and wear, instead, a loosely-knotted black or silver necktie. The more rebellious may even opt for sneakers as their formal footwear, but best to keep them black.
- Love formal night glam? If a hairstyling, manicure, pedicure and lime & ginger salt glow are part of your plans, make your spa reservations immediately upon boarding! Appointments for formal night pampering book up quick as a blink with even the most jaded passengers suddenly craving a complicated up-do.
- Do you really have to stand in line to shake hands at the captain’s cocktail party? If you want to avoid the lines yet score the free booze and hors d’oeurvres, simply enter through the theater’s side door.
- The same applies to photo ops. On formal night, photographers are lurking around every bend, cameras at the ready to capture the ravishing you (and yours) in a posed formal portrait, alongside a big Disneyesque red chicken, aboard a faux ship deck, or beside a scantily-clad bellydancer. Tell them you’re on a secret assignment for the government and can’t be photographed and, should that fail, use the other staircase or entry.
- If flip-flops are your idea of dressing up, scout out the more casual cruise lines and forego formal night entirely. Windstar, Norwegian Cruise Line, SeaDream Yacht Club and Clipper Cruise Lines are just a few that offer nearly-barefoot holidays at sea. No tux, tie or fancy gowns required. Ever.
- Remember the feeling of forbidden freedom that cutting class gave you in high school? Re-live it, even on the most premium cruise line, by skipping formal night altogether. Rent a movie, get comfy and spend the evening in bed or on your veranda. Best of all, you can still look forward to a gourmet dinner since most cruise lines will, during mealtimes, cheerfully deliver to your cabin or suite the dishes that appear on that night’s dinner menu. Some will even serve them course by course, even if you’re wearing feetie pajamas.
18 4 / 2013
Tips for Staying Healthy on Your Cruise
Given the thousands of cruise voyages going out every year, the percentage of sailings that are affected by a virus is relatively low. It is, however, better to do your research and stay safe.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) periodically inspects cruise ships and assigns them a “health score.” Click here for the advanced search: Enter the ship(s) you are considering and see their scores and inspection details. You want to look for ships that have a score of 85 and above.
Once you’ve selected your ship and are on the water, here are a few simple tips to stay healthy:
- If you are not feeling well, don’t go on a cruise. You may infect others.
- Just like on land – wash your hands frequently! Have fun on the slot machines, but definitely wash your hands afterward. An easy way to do this is to carry a small tube of hand sanitizer, or use the numerous hand sanitizer stations on the ships themselves.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything that you think will make you sick. If you have any dietary restrictions, make sure you follow them on board.
- Be honest. Some passengers fail to report their symptoms because they don’t want to be quarantined and miss trips and sights, and that’s how the virus spreads. Get to the ship’s medical staff ASAP and follow their recommendations on how to address the illness.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid public bathrooms. Your cabin is only a moment away.
Do you have any other tips or suggestions? Tell us in the comments below!
16 4 / 2013
6 Coolest Features on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas
In this morning’s press conference in New York, Royal Caribbean International revealed some of the incredible features of Quantum of the Seas, debuting in the Fall of 2014. Here are some of our favorites:
6. Larger cruise cabins.
On average, Quantum of the Seas will have 9% larger cruise cabins than Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships.
5. Virtual balconies.
Every room on Quantum of the Seas has a view, with the introduction of Virtual Balcony staterooms. LCD screens that span one wall of each interior cabin bring real-time views of the ocean to its occupants.
4. Two70° three deck-high room at the stern.
Two70° is a three-level room named for its 270-degree panoramic sea views through vast, floor-to-ceiling glass walls spanning almost three decks at the stern of the ship. By day, it’s a comfortable space for guests to sit back and relax. In the evening, it transforms into an entertainment venue.
3. Bumper cars.
For the first time at sea, Quantum of the Seas will feature bumper cars in the SeaPlex sports and entertainment center.
2. Sky diving.
RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving experience at sea, creates a controlled simulated environment where adrenaline junkies can experience the exhilaration of skydiving.
1. North Star.
North Star, a jewel-shaped glass pod inspired by the London Eye observation carousel, takes passengers 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver magnificent 360-degree views.
Which feature is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!
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11 4 / 2013
9 Most Impressive Towel Animals at Sea
The towel-animal-making talents of cabin stewards never cease to amaze me. We’ve seen them all — from elephants to flying birds to creatures we can’t quite identify, and we have to admit, they’re impressive. Here are nine of our favorites from our very own members:
5. The sad rabbit.