Cruise Critic Live: We Chat with Celebrity about Suites, Spas and Signature Sailings

January 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

Celebrity Luninae

Ready to splurge? Celebrity Cruises has set the bar high when it comes to "modern luxury" on a mainstream cruise ship, and will announce even more innovations in the next two weeks. We’re looking forward to getting the lowdown on Suites, Spas and Signature Sailings from Jo Rzymowska, managing director of Celebrity Cruises U.K. & Ireland, on Cruise Critic Live! next week.

We caught up with Jo ahead of the chat to quiz her about some of the new features onboard Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships – and to find out more about her love of all things ABBA…

We’re looking forward to hearing more about the new perks that are being unveiled to passengers who book in suites. What more can you tell us at this stage?

Jo Rzymowska: We’ve just announced the new Luminae restaurant, a restaurant dedicated to our Suite Class guests (pictured). The menu will be different each day, with each dish only appearing once per two-week cruise holiday. Suite Class rolls out on our ships from April this year, and exclusive new benefits include the suites-only restaurant using world-class ingredients, a luxurious VIP lounge and private chauffeur service. Essentially, the newly launched Suite Class is designed to delight guests and add even more luxury to suite life onboard.

Celebrity has a big emphasis on destinations. Can you tell us what are the stand-out ports for 2015-16?

JR: I’d say: 100th Anniversary of Anzac Day (in Gallipoli, Turkey), Cannes International Film Festival, Redentore Festival in Venice, he British Open Championships at St. Andrews and the Rio Carnival.

Read on for the full interview

    Hot on the Forums: Do You Take Steps to Avoid the Elevator?

    January 23, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

    ship stairs

    I was interested to see that a piece on elevator etiquette was up there with other hot topics on Cruise Critic’s annual review of the most popular stories and blogs of 2014. On one of my first cruises, I quickly realized that taking the elevator from point A to point B was not exactly smooth sailing.

    First, the elevator stopped at each and every deck. Some passengers held the door while having lengthy discussions on whether or not this was where they wanted to get out. Add in the pushing and shoving after shore excursions, and I decided only to take the elevator when absolutely necessary (high heels for a formal evening).

    The article on elevator manners attracted plenty of comments from Cruise Critic members. On the other side of the coin, there are lots of cruisers who always take the stairs and have never pushed an elevator button at sea.

    Cruising climbers sound off

      Cruise Critic at the New York Times Travel Show

      January 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

      Cruise Critic at the New York Times Travel Show

      Looking for some cruise inspiration? There’s no better place to check out all the cruise lines in one place – and grab a few glossy brochures –  than the New York Times Travel Show. Held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City this upcoming weekend, the show features exhibition booths, giveaways, book signings and a full line-up of travel seminars.

      Besides walking the exhibition floor, you’ll be able to meet Cruise Critic editors at a Sunday panel, The Best Cruise for You at the Best Price. The panel, which runs from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m., features Cruise Critic Editor-in-Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown, Managing Editor Colleen McDaniel and News Editor Dori Saltzman, as well as Lillian Africano, cruise editor of JAX FAX.  

      Other speakers at the show include travel experts Arthur and Pauline Frommer, editors from the New York Times Travel section, and CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

      The show is open to the public Saturday January 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday January 25 from 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $17 for adults, with children 18 and under admitted free.  More information is at

      *Not sure what a travel show entails? Check out Nine Tips to Get the Most out of a Travel Show, posted our sister site, Independent Traveler.

      *Got a question for the Cruise Critic team? Ask it in the comments below.

        Steal of the Week: Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice

        January 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

        Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
        THE DEAL: Norwegian Cruise Line is offering their choose-your-own-bonus promotion through the end of January. Book an outside cabin or higher, for five days or longer, and qualify for bonuses such as the Ultimate Dining Package, the Ultimate Beverage Package, or up to $300 to spend onboard.
        WHAT WE LOVE: Choice continues with this Norwegian offer, and being able to pick two of the three might be your incentive to book that Europe or Hawaii sailing. Splurging on a suite or the Haven? Automatically receive all three offers. All of the offers combined are a $2,000 value, so if you like to eat and drink, the packages are a great way to save on additional onboard expenditures.
        WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: This deal ends soon, and if you’re looking to book cheaply, you’ll need to shell out for at least an oceanview cabin and a cruise over five days to qualify for any of the bonus amenities. If you were considering booking such a cruise anyway, then it’s a great time to book. As we say with any choose-your-own-bonus deal, if the bonuses don’t add up to a good value for your or your family, (you would hardly touch the beverage package or you’re not a huge fan of the specialty restaurants) then perhaps your money is better spent on the aspects of a cruise you enjoy.
        HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
        Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
        * Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ‘em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
        * Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

          Cruising For Life? Pick Your Ship!

          January 21, 2015 | By | 24 Comments

          The endless sea - photo courtesy of Korpithas/Shutterstock

          Here at Cruise Critic, we’ve been mildly obsessed with the story of “Mama Lee” — Lee Wachtstetter — the 86-year-old former Florida resident who has lived onboard Crystal Serenity for nearly seven years.

          Selling your possessions and hitting the high seas, in high Crystal Cruises style no less, is a dream that few people will ever be able to follow. In the original Asbury Park Press story, Wachtsetter estimated that it cost her $164,000 a year, a figure that includes a single-occupancy stateroom, regular and specialty restaurant meals with wine at lunch and dinner, gratuities, entertainment and stops at ports around the world.

          Sounds great, right? We polled our staff to see what ships they would pick for an extended sojourn at sea — and why. What are your choices? Tell us in the comments!

          Read on for our editors’ picks

            Wanderlust Wednesday: Toes in the Sand

            January 21, 2015 | By | No Comments

            Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda - photo courtesy of havoc315/Cruise Critic Forums

            Every Wednesday, we’ll be taking you on a journey around the world to some of the most interesting places our members have trekked, swum or merely witnessed from afar while cruising.

            Whether these photos inspire you to plan a relaxing escape or walk on the wild side, we hope they ignite your senses and give you ideas for your next cruising adventure. If you have a photo you’d love to share, send it to us at or post it in our member photo gallery. Feel free to send us your Twitter or Instagram handle. Maybe you’ll get a shout-out next #WanderlustWednesday!

            There are so many reasons to love Bermuda, and the beaches are one of them. Pink sands and crystal-clear waters offer cruisers plenty of opportunities to play or stray, whether calling in Hamilton, King’s Wharf or St. George’s. Horseshoe Bay — shown in this beautiful shot taken by Cruise Critic member havoc315 — is one of our favorites and a great option for active types in Hamilton. What’s your favorite Bermuda beach?

            Find interesting places to visit based on region.


            Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.


            Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

              21 Signs You’re a Cruise Addict

              January 20, 2015 | By | 63 Comments

              cruise ship

              Anyone can say they’re addicted to cruising. It’s easy to get hooked after one week of basking in the sun and fresh salty air, hopping around exotic lands without a worry in the world. But it takes a special set of credentials to actually bear the label.

              Cruise addicts are fully aware — and accepting — of their condition. We’re not talking about the guy with the Royal Caribbean tattoo or the family with a Carnival funnel on their minivan (you’re welcome for that idea). Most cruise addicts like to keep a low profile.

              To determine how much of a cruise addict you really are, we’ve made a list of 21 obvious warning signs. How many apply to you?

              1. You basically work to fund your next cruise

              2. Your smartphone and/or computer wallpaper is a cruise ship or destination

              Read on for the full list of symptoms

                Member Review of the Week: The Cruise That Keeps on Giving

                January 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

                photo courtesy of photomatz/Shutterstock

                Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member coba57’s recent Mexican Riviera cruise aboard Norwegian Star.

                Overall Impression: Mazatlan was back on the itinerary. So coba57 and his wife couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to the Mexican Riviera as suite passengers on Norwegian Star. Minus a few hiccups, their fourth cruise on the ship reminded them why it was worth doing it again.

                Onboard Highlight: All the perks of being a suite passenger — not to mention the familiar faces of some of their favorite crewmembers.

                Port Highlight: Mazatlan, especially since they missed calling there last time.

                Don’t Miss: Moderno Churrascaria, Norwegian’s Brazilian steakhouse.

                Watch Out For: The food in the buffet — which was the only exception to their dining experience.

                More: Read coba57’s full review for more details about their onboard experience.

                For their efforts, coba57, ElleZ, Kondur and tbmrt receive Cruise Critic logo items.

                Read more reviews or write your own cruise review

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