Where in the World is Cruise Critic?

July 28, 2014 | By | No Comments

Chris Gray Faust on map
Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
(Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
Ship: Celebrity Summit
Where: Bermuda
Who: Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor
Why There? The July 27 voyage marks the first of Celebrity’s branded “Top Chef” cruises, where “cheftestants” from the popular Bravo reality TV competition are onboard for cooking classes, private dinners and “quick fire” challenges. Other changes have also recently come to Summit, including a new buffet serving concept, as well as Canyon Ranch’s branded spa. In addition, Celebrity Summit is one of several cruise ships that now spends three days in port at Bermuda, and we’ll be looking into some of the best ways to spend an extended time on the island.
We Can’t Wait: Although this cruise falls during Cup Match – a two-day national holiday dedicated to cricket – I’m looking forward to having more time than usual to explore what the island has to offer. This cruise will also mark the first time that I’ve sailed in an aft cabin, and I’m interested in seeing whether Concierge Club privileges are worth the extra price. As a Top Chef fan, I can’t wait to have dinner with chef Spike Mendolsohn, one of the shows’s more outspoken contestants.

    Cruise Critic Live! Chat Cruise Destinations with Azamara’s Larry Pimentel

    July 25, 2014 | By | No Comments

    Azamara ship in Kotor, Montenegro
    Every week on Cruise Critic Live, held Thursdays at 3 p.m. Eastern time, we take a look at all the things to love about cruising, from favorite destinations to amazing dining experiences. We give you the inside scoop on the newest ships at sea and on the rivers. We also welcome outside experts to take questions, including cruise line execs and newsmakers.
    Next Thursday, we’ll be joined by special guest Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. Larry is a social media guru who loves nothing more than talking about cruise destinations and immersion. Who says you can’t see with world from a cruise ship? Along with our Cruise Critic editors, Larry will dispel that rumor. A night at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco? Check. Historic Ephesus at dusk? Check. We’ll discuss it all. Larry will answer your questions about cruise destinations, Azamara and luxury experience. If you follow Larry on social media, you know he isn’t shy, so don’t miss a chance to get the real scoop directly from him. Join us at 3 p.m. July 31.
    If you didn’t join us last week, you missed out on info like this, live from the Douro River in Portugal.

    Fear not! You can check out our AmaWaterways chat — and all our previous chats — online here.

      Hot on the Forums: Formal Fashion Dos – and Don’ts

      July 25, 2014 | By | 16 Comments

      There’s a fine line on dress-up night at sea between the right to individual expression and a wardrobe disaster the wearer’s friends or partner should really have helped prevent. But should we really judge what other people wear?
      Well, we’re only human (and secretly, not always very nice) and we do judge, as some of us enjoy nothing more than snickering at other people’s outfits.
      On the Cruise Critic boards, members are talking about various outrageous outfits including UPNYguy who writes: “Last year on Veendam while sailing a Canada/NE coastal cruise, a … woman … was wearing an open, ladder back style dress. The ladder back continued down her backside TO her rump. Every step she took, the ladder back moved up and down.”
      Then there are the eccentric dressers; member Boytjie recalls: “On the QM2 on a formal night: a gentleman in a white tuxedo… and some kind of animal tail sticking out from his behind.”
      Read on to find out about more wardrobe, erm, malfunctions.

        Come Sail Away: Top 10 Sailaway Song Requests

        July 24, 2014 | By | 2 Comments

        Sailaway party on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas
        There’s no question the songs played at sailaway can set the tone for your cruise. A few weeks ago, we shuddered at the thought of leaving port with the Titanic theme, “My Heart Will Go On,” ringing in our ears. Not that we’re superstitious…..but why take a chance?
        You, our readers, weighed in with some of your top song suggestions, many of which would happily get us up on our feet if the DJ played them. As a bonus, almost all of them have some sort of nautical connection – save for the top choice, Pharrell Williams’ crowd-pleaser “Happy.” Maybe we could persuade the versatile musician to trade in that mountie hat for a captain’s cap?
        Which of these songs floats your boat? Tell us in the comments! 
        1. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
        2. “Come Sail Away” by Styx
        Read on for more.

          Steal of the Week: 17-Night British Isles Cruise from $2,099

          July 24, 2014 | By | No Comments

          piggy bank british isles
          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: Princess Cruises is offering a 17-night British Isles cruise onboard Royal Princess, sailing from Copenhagen to New York on September 10, 2014. Prices start from $2,099 per person, for an inside cabin.
          WHAT WE LOVE: British Isles itineraries are magical (no, really) — from tales of fairy forests to castle ruins, lake monsters and legends — it’s a part of the world with rich history and colorful stories. Your itinerary will be pretty evenly split between sea days and port days ensuring time to explore one of Princess’ newest ships, and to explore ashore with time to breathe in between. See Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia — eight countries in two and a half weeks. A balcony is attainable for $2,699.
          WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Port taxes and fees are not included in your fare and will add an additional $215 per person. Your itinerary ends in the States but requires a flight to Copenhagen for embarkation — not a cheap place to stay overnight if you’re looking to book a hotel pre-cruise. Royal Princess is new with plenty of amenities, but if you’re a stickler for space, cabins run a tad small with even smaller balconies. Cruising at the start of autumn, your days could be cool and sunny or chilly and rainy — weather is unpredictable here so be prepared for either.
          HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on this deal (including that pesky fine print), click here.
          You can 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.

            Cruise Clothing Contest: Win a $500 Gift Card from Fresh Produce

            July 23, 2014 | By | 167 Comments

            Fresh Produce Staple Maxi Dress
            Here at Cruise Critic, we’re always looking for onboard outfits that are as cute as they are functional. Which is why we’re pleased to announce this giveaway from Fresh Produce, a U.S. company that specializes in colorful and coastal-inspired clothes for women and kids.
            To win a $500 gift card to use at Fresh Produce, let us know what’s the one piece of clothing that you’d never leave home without, by telling us in the comments. We’ll draw a winner at random on August 6. Use the gift card to purchase a Staple Maxi Dress (seen above), a Paradise Tunic or the Twin Peaks Edge Dress.
            (Note: The contest is only available to US residents. For more rules, click here).
            Here are some of our staff’s favorite cruise clothing:
            When I hear “go-to” item, I think versatility. I’m a fairly light packer, but I never leave for a cruise without my taupe wedges. They’re the most versatile shoes I have and a lifesaver in the evenings; I can pair them with almost any dress. The extra room in my suitcase is also a plus. – Gina Kramer, Associate Editor
            When packing for a cruise, I have two mantras. One is to layer – plan that an outfit you wear at breakfast can go seamlessly to the beach and even to a nice restaurant in port. To be that versatile, layering a super-casual article of clothing, with one slightly more elegant piece (usually a jacket, sweater or long linen blouse) really keeps things simple. For evenings, I pack what I dub “the uniform,” which typically consists of a few pairs of black slacks and mix and match cotton sweaters. Since most ships have resort casual policies at night, this approach really works.
            Beyond the mantras, there’s one also must-have: For the past 15 years now, my Fresh Produce Legacy jersey shorts always come along (I’ve got ‘em in blue, black, white, teal, and pink and as they ultimately get worn out, I pick up a new pair in St. Thomas, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, among other spots). They’re super comfortable, reasonably respectable, and the style never, ever changes. – Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
            Read on for more.

              Wanderlust Wednesday: Ahoy, Tivoli Gardens!

              July 23, 2014 | By | No Comments

              Pirate ship restaurant in lake
              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 photos@cruisecritic.com or post it in our member photo gallery.
              Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is a fairy tale (and foodie mecca) for all ages. One of the most unique dining options — as shown in this beautiful photo snapped by Cruise Critic member, USTWORCREW, while cruising through Denmark — is Pirateriet, an incarnation of Frigate Sct Georg 3. Steak and shrimp skewers, anyone?
              Find interesting places to visit based on region.
              Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.
              Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

                Member Review of the Week: Comparing the Sisters

                July 22, 2014 | By | No Comments

                Floater in water by beach
                Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, one of which is showcased as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member polkadots‘s recent cruise to the Eastern Caribbean aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.
                Overall Impression: Applying everything they knew about last year’s cruise on Oasis of the Seas, polkadots and her husband prepared to sail aboard its sister ship. The couple booked all their shows in advance and were able to put together an itinerary of dinner times and shows, based on how they wanted to spend their time.
                Read on for highlights, tips and more.
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