Tag Archives: Celebrity-Cruises

S.T.E.M PROGRAMMES AT SEA

Celebrity Cruises Offer S.T.E.M Programmes At Sea

CELEBRITY CRUISES OFFER FROST SCIENCE S.T.E.M PROGRAMMES AT SEA

This month sees the launch of a great new experience for kids and teens cruising onboard Celebrity Equinox. Budding scientists, mathematicians, engineers and tech savvy children with have the opportunity to take part in activities focused around S.T.E.M subjects. This is a result of a new partnership with Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

S.T.E.M Programmes at Sea follows after Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd donated $1.2 million to support ongoing programs at Frost Science earlier in the year. The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami, is a leading science museum. They are dedicated to “sharing the power of science, sparking wonder and investigation, and fuelling innovation for the future”.

First-At-Sea Activites

The first-at-sea activities will be a new addition to the current Camp at Sea on-board programme that provides children and teenagers with opportunities to uncover the world around them through a series of specially tailored activities.

The interactive programming focuses on two science topics – one on the identification of and solutions related to micro plastics and another on the importance and diversity of plankton to the Earth’s oceans and the environment, both designed to nurture the next generation of inventors and innovators.

The micro plastics activity looks at how plastic pollution breaks down over time in the water and how micro plastics form. Tasks for the children include identifying micro plastics, examining filtered samples with microscopes, gathering samples and determining how many micro plastics are in any given area. Activities related to the importance and diversity of plankton include identifying and discussing the form and function of plankton, collecting water samples and looking at live samples.

The newly relaunched Camp at Sea still continues to feature Celebrity Cruises favourites. Young guests can learn how to mix music and take part in the Scratch DJ tournament. Budding film directors can record their own movies using a Go Pro camera and screen the film to their family and friends with the iTake programme. No two cruises offer the same series of Camp at Sea programming, and the on-board youth teams can deliver fun learning across a diverse range of topics to suit the interests of each child on-board.

For more information or to book, call 0800 441 4054, visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk or talk to your travel agent.

Learn more at frostscience.org. Follow Frost Science on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @frostscience.

Related Topics: Celebrity Edge Raises The Bar in Entertainment

Celebrity Summit Is Better Than She’s Ever Been

Cruise News

Celebrity Summit has emerged from a dramatic revitalisation. This is part of a $500 million modernisation of the Celebrity fleet.

The bow to stern transformation started on 17 February in Freeport, Grand Bahama. It took a total of 31 days to complete.

  • Staterooms and suites completely redesigned with luxurious cashmere mattresses
  • Main Dining Room updated and modernised
  • Oceanview Cafe transformed into new open-concept
  • Sunset Bar reimagined
  • The Retreat Lounge is the NEW suite lounge formerly Michael’s Club
  • The Retreat Sundeck is a NEW exclusive hideaway for suite guests
  • Rendezvous Lounge updated
  • WiFi- improved connectivity and availability throughout the ship
  • Casino redesigned bar and state of the art machines installed
  • NEW – 30 additional staterooms added
  • Spa – redesigned with new features including a Turkish bath and salt therapy

Accommodation

Suites and staterooms have been updated.  With the main focus being guest comfort, Celebrity Cruises have introduced eXhale bedding, with luxurious cashmere mattresses.

Penthouse Suite – Living room Penthouse Suite – Living room – Deck 6 Aft

Penthouse Suite Cat. PS – Living room – Deck 6 Aft

Penthouse Suite Cat. PS – Bedroom – Room #6147 Deck 6 Aft Portside

State of the art fixtures and finishes, give bathrooms an upscale contemporary feel.

Penthouse Suite Cat. PS – Bathroom – Room #6148 Deck 6 Aft Starboard

Royal Suite Cat. RS – Livingroom – Room #6137 Deck 6 Aft Portside

Royal Suite Cat. RS – Living room – Deck 6 Aft

Royal Suite Cat. RS – Bedroom – Deck 6 Aft

Royal Suite Cat. RS – Bathroom – Deck 6 Aft Starboard

Celebrity Suite Cat. CS – Livingroom – Room #9098 Deck 9 Midship Starboard

Celebrity Suite Cat. CS – Balcony – Room #9098 Deck 9 Midship Starboard

Celebrity Suite Cat. CS – Livingroom – Room #9098 Deck 9 Midship Starboard

Celebrity Suite Cat. CS – Bathroom – Room #9098 Deck 9 Midship Starboard

Sky Suite Cat. S1 – Room #8117 Deck 8 Midship Portside

Sky Suite Cat. S1 – Bathroom – Room #8117 Deck 8 Midship Portside

Veranda Stateroom (Concierge Class) Cat. C3 – Room #9144 Deck 9 Aft Starboard

Veranda Stateroom (Concierge Class) Cat. C2 – Room #8135 Deck 8 Midship Portside

DINING

The main dining room has been transformed with updated fixtures. This includes an new ceiling design and more seating options.

Metropolitan Restaurant – Deck 4/5 Aft

Celebrity Cruises have introduced a new open concept in the Oceanview Cafe.

Oceanview Cafe – Deck 10 Aft

Bars and Lounges

The Sunset Bar has been refreshed to enhance guests experience and comfort whilst sipping a sunset cocktail or enjoying alfresco dining.

Oceanview Bar (Sunset Bar) – Deck 10 Aft

The reimagined Rendezvous Lounge will add more contemporary luxury to this popular meeting place for pre-dinner drinks and daily entertainment.

Rendezvous Lounge – Deck 4 Midship

Suite Guests

One of the new experiences onboard Celebrity Summit is an exclusive new sundeck called The Retreat. The open-air hideaway designed by Kelly Hoppen MBE, features a new hot tub, cabanas and luxurious sun loungers.

The Retreat Sun Deck – Deck 12 Forward

Suite guests can enjoy complimentary beverages, gourmet appetisers and dedicated concierge service in the Retreat Lounge, with 24-hour access.

The Retreat Lounge – Deck 12 Forward

Commenting on Celebrity Summit’s new look, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said; “Celebrity Summit is one of the most popular ships in the Celebrity Cruises fleet” and “is better than she’s ever been”.

Celebrity Summit is currently sailing from Puerto Rico to the Caribbean. In May she will relocate to Cape Liberty in New Jersey, sailing Bermuda and New England itineraries throughout the summer. In October 2019, she will return to Puerto Rico to resume her Caribbean sailings.

Search for cruises on Celebrity Summit.

Read more about Celebrity Cruises ship-wide Revolution

The Access Tour With A Difference

With the arrival of Celebrity Edge this week, the Celebrity Cruises have revealed another innovative move in the way guests can experience an ultimate behind-the-scenes tour.

The tour which is accessed by using a smart phone app, uses binaural audio, soundscaping, and 3-D augmented reality technology. Now if you are anything like me, you won’t have a clue what that means, so here’s a quick introduction.

Binaural audio is a recording method using two microphones. This creates a 3D sound giving the impression that the sound is happening around you. This is most effective when wearing headphones.

Soundscaping is when ambient noises are added creating an immersive environment.

If that’s not enough to excite you, the 3D augmented reality will get your attention.  Celebrity Cruises have already employed the technology in one of the Celebrity Edge restaurants, Le Grand Bistro. Here is a flavour of what this technology can do.

The eye-opening tour is narrated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, and Celebrity Cruises President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.  It showcases more than a dozen of Celebrity Edge’s most innovative spaces, including:

  • The Grand Plaza: Spanning three decks at the heart of the ship, this spectacular Italian piazza-inspired space acts as the epicenter of Celebrity Edge and the start of this innovative tour
  • Magic Carpet: This transformative venue is world’s first cantilevered, floating platform that reaches heights of 13 stories above sea level along the ship’s exterior
  • Resort Deck: Revolutionary in its vision, this outward-facing space offers endless ways for guests to enjoy the outdoors and connect with the sea
  • Rooftop Garden: A living, outdoor playscape offering everything from live concerts to dinner and movies under the stars
  • Eden: A unique venue where state-of-the-art design is fused with culinary and entertainment to excite guests’ every sense
  • Guests can also take a 360-degree peek at the Galley, the Bridge, the Engine Control Room, and the luxurious new Edge Launches

Guests can download the groundbreaking Celebrity Edge Access Tour app at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Celebrity Edge will make her first maiden voyage on December 9, 2018 and her inaugural season will be spent sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries for the Winter. In Spring 2019 she repositions to the Mediterranean sailing a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019.

Celebrity Edge‘s will be joined by Celebrity Apex in 2020, followed by two additional sister ships in 2021 and 2022.

Celebrity Transforms Galapagos Experience

After emerging from a seven-day makeover in Panama, the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition is surrounding guests in upgraded comforts as they explore the Galapagos Islands. It’s another bold step in THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, beyond the introduction of two industry-changing ships – Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Flora – and the $500 million modernisation of the rest of the brand’s fleet.

Scheduled to make its return to service on 23 September 2018, the revitalised Celebrity Xpedition will debut an array of enhancements across the 100-guest ship, such as redecorated staterooms, lounges and restaurants, and faster and more reliable Wi-Fi. All of which will compliment the natural beauty of the Galapagos, and allow guests to stay connected even as they disconnect.

“Our commitment to the Galapagos Islands has never been stronger, because we know, having sailed these awe-inspiring islands for so many years, what a life-changing experience it is to come here,” noted Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and ceo, Celebrity Cruises. “The upgrades we’re making to Celebrity Xpedition and the upcoming arrival of our new Celebrity Flora, the first ship designed specifically with the Galapagos Islands in mind, will transform the way our guests discover this amazing place and take our unrivalled Galapagos offerings to an entirely new level.”

THE BEST SHIP IN THE GALAPAGOS IS GETTING EVEN BETTER

As part of her modernisation, Celebrity Xpedition will undergo the following enhancements from bow to stern:

  • Suites and staterooms will be stunningly refreshed, adding new carpeting and balcony upgrades to a list of already impressive touches. This includes Celebrity Cruises’ eXhaleTM bedding to create a relaxing atmosphere after a long day’s adventure
  • All suite and stateroom doors will be outfitted with RFID lock technology, making it easier for guests to access their rooms
  • An upgrade to the shipboard IT systems, including the addition of an O3B satellite to improve the speed and reliability of the ship’s full-coverage Wi-Fi. The adjusted bandwidth will enhance both guest experience and crew efficiency
  • The Beagle Grill will be outfitted with new furniture and lighting so guests can enjoy an intimate dining experience under the sun and stars, and new ultra-modern culinary equipment to help bring the menus crafted by Celebrity’s Michelin-starred chef to life
  • In the Discovery Lounge, guests will find a new, state-of-the-art video wall, upgraded finishes and textiles, as well as a new dedicated DJ station to elevate the ambiance of this guest-favourite hangout
  • The Darwin Dining Room will receive similar design enhancements with new lighting, carpet and millwork
  • Water filtration system on every deck for guests to enjoy
  • Crew area enhancements including new mattresses with Celebrity’s eXhaleTM bedding, carpets, and Dayroom TV

Celebrity Xpedition will debut these enhanced suites, services and amenities in June 2019, to coincide with the arrival of the new Celebrity Flora. Suite guests will be equipped with marine binoculars to use on their cruise, as well as premium backpacks and rain ponchos that they can take back home with them. Whilst guests unwind in their suites on-board, stateroom attendants are on hand to help with their packing and unpacking, and are provided with full in-suite dinner service, upgraded premium bathrobes, luxurious Kuno bath products from Ecuador, and many more during their sailing.

FROM BUCKET LIST TO BOOK-IT LIST

With more than 14 years in the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Cruises remains the authority in the region, offering guests an unparalleled experience in this iconic archipelago of volcanic islands. It offers all-inclusive  holiday packages ranging from seven to 16 nights, each featuring an immersive seven-night cruise and seven certified naturalists on board.

The Heart and Soul of Celebrity Edge

Celebrity Cruises Unveils The Breathtaking Grand Plaza.

Welcome To The Grand Plaza

With only three months until the first official sailing of Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises have revealed the heart and soul of Celebrity Edge. The beating heart of the year’s most anticipated new ship will be The Grand Plaza,  a stunning venue that will shatter all expectations and break from traditional cruise ship thinking.

Chic Society

Mixing simplicity and modernity, The Grand Plaza takes inspiration from the glamorous days of transatlantic travel. At a time when cruise ships were at the heart of chic society, the centre of these ships were traditionally spectacular ballrooms, accented with dramatic staircases and ornate chandeliers. They were social places to meet, greet, dine, drink and dance. The Grand Plaza pays homage to these powerful historic spaces and reinterprets them for the 21st century.

The Grand Plaza truly is a grand space. At its centre, on Deck 3, guests will find the breathtaking next evolution of the always-buzzing Martini Bar, one of the most popular venues across Celebrity’s fleet.

A breathtaking chandelier-meets-art installation, immediately draws one’s eye from anywhere in the space. Below its atmospheric glow, the bar curves gracefully around to invite conversation and interaction with Celebrity’s talented flair bartenders who’ll impress guests with their gravity-defying skills.

Guests can choose from a wide variety of martinis, including the brand’s Bella Cera, which blends Chameleon cachaça, Bombay Sapphire gin, lime juice, Angostura bitters, and ginger beer; or try the Marmalade Smash, which fuses Bulleit bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, orange marmalade, and fresh ginger.

Adorning the edges of The Grand Plaza are intricately hand-stitched mesh screens, combining more than 13,500 pieces of metal, leather, and fabric.

In the morning, The Grand Plaza invites guests to enjoy a cappuccino and a croissant at either of the cafés. Guests can return to The Grand Plaza for afternoon tea or to indulge in a pre-dinner cocktail while enjoying unexpected pop-up performances. At nightfall, the energy transforms completely, and the space becomes the social epicenter of the ship, coming alive with live music.

The Heart and Soul Behind The Heart and Soul of Celebrity Edge

With the aspiration to completely transform the way guests connect to the world, Celebrity sought creative thinkers who were new to the cruise industry to ensure every aspect of Celebrity Edge would be a departure from traditional thinking about cruising.

Turning The Typical Into The Transformative

The Grand Plaza remains a highlight of Jouin Manku’s involvement in the design of Celebrity Edge, but their influence is also strikingly apparent in the Main Dining Atrium on Celebrity Edge, where they’ve taken the concept of a staircase and turned it into a work of art. Hanging three stories between the flights of stairs is yet another meaningful art installation known as The Pendulum. The Pendulum base moves ever so gently to the rhythms of the ocean to remind guests that they are indeed moving and connected to the sea, even when they cannot see it.

Celebrity Apex launches in Southampton in 2020

Second Edge Class ship, Celebrity Apex to launch in the UK

One of the world’s most hotly anticipated cruise ships, Celebrity Apex from Celebrity Cruises famed Edge Class series, will launch and be named in the UK ahead of calling Southampton home for its first ever cruises in April 2020.

The news provides a boom to the UK cruise industry in 2020 and will be the first time Celebrity Cruises will operate two ships from the UK’s favourite port with Celebrity Silhouette returning to Southampton for her third consecutive year.

Celebrity Silhouette (pictured) will be joined by Celebrity Apex in Southampton April 2020

Celebrity Apex is the second Edge-class ship from Celebrity Cruises – an innovative new class of ship that is set to revolutionise the industry and set a new benchmark for modern luxury travel.  Working with designers including Kelly Hoppen MBE, Patricia Urquiola, Jouin Manku, Celebrity Apex will feature all the signature spaces including the Magic Carpet and the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Balcony.

Ten Years On

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, explains:

“When Celebrity Apex launches in Southampton in 2020 it will be another incredible moment for our company and for the UK & Ireland market, especially as it will be ten years since we last named and operated a brand new ship from the UK. In 2010 Celebrity Eclipse changed the face of UK cruising with our modern luxury approach. Celebrity Apex will continue our tradition of reimagining what is expected from all aspects of a holiday at sea and elevate modern luxury cruising in ways never seen before.”

From left to right: Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises; and Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

More Suites Than Any Other Celebrity Cruises Ship

Boasting some of the most luxurious accommodations, the Edge-class of ships – including Celebrity Apex – has been built to offer the ultimate cruise experience – featuring more suites than any other Celebrity Cruises ship, including the twin-level Edge Villas with outdoor plunge pools. The two Iconic Suites will be the most spacious found anywhere in the fleet featuring over 2,500 square feet of space both indoors and out, plus 82 feet of wraparound glass windows giving uninterrupted views out to sea from the lounge, bedroom and dining room.

Culinary Offerings

From an exhilarating ‘Dinner on the Edge’ experience 16 decks above the ocean, to an immersive fusion of technology, animation and dining like nothing guests have ever experienced at sea, Celebrity Apex’s culinary offering boasts 29 world-class, palate-pleasing venues. This includes four main dining restaurants, one exclusive Suite Class and one exclusive AquaClass restaurant, and seven brand new specialty restaurants.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo adds:

“Our new Edge-class ships are design and architectural feats that bring a closer connection to both the ocean and the destinations visited with a unique outward facing design. Excitement for our newest ships continues to build and build, and I’m thrilled that this news about Celebrity Apex will ensure that enthusiasm reaches record levels.”

Currently being built at the Chantier de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France, Celebrity Apex will enjoy its official launch celebrations in Southampton, including the prestigious naming ceremony. Celebrity Apex will go on sale 29 November 2018.

Recommended Reading: Celebrity Cruises Brings Entire Fleet To The Edge

Celebrity Edge Transforms Youth Activities

Celebrity Edge inspires the next generation of explorers at sea

From tots speaking their first words to teens preparing to leap into university, Celebrity Cruises  is taking learning at sea to the next level for guests of all ages on its new transformational ship, Celebrity Edge.

Younger travellers will be truly spoilt for choice with the ship’s Camp at Sea programme. With over 500 activities to try out, don’t miss out on the chance to take part in the cruise line’s first youth coding experience at sea, create a holiday vlog using a Go Pro camera or master the music decks with a Scratch DJ tournament.

Those looking to become the next Albert Einstein, Bear Grylls or David Attenborough can harness their inner scientist, explorer and adventurer at Anturus Explorer Academy. Navigate the world like an explorer and uncover the Earth’s magnetic field, test out a homemade shelter with a special camp-out evening on the top deck, and test out those commentary skills at The Explorer Olympics. At the end of the sailing, children will graduate from the academy as an Explorer with their very own certificate and badge, and can put their training to good use after their holiday.

Free for all children on-board, the Anturus Explorer Academy sessions will not only help ignite the imaginations of young people, they also bring the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – to life outside the classroom.

Homeporting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Celebrity Cruises’ newest transformational ship, Celebrity Edge, will be making her first sailing in November 2018. Celebrity Edge will spend her inaugural season sailing, alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries before transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean, with a range of seven-to-11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2018.

Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “X” is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity Cruises can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers’ precious time.  This is the Celebrity Distinction. Celebrity Cruises’ 12 ships offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity Cruises also presents immersive cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of six cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Join Celebrity Cruises for a nine-night Western Mediterranean fly/cruise from £2,659 per person based on two people sharing an Oceanview stateroom. Both guests will receive a free Classic Drinks Package worth £450* per person, along with free soft drinks packages for additional guests.

Departing 10 August 2019, the price includes return flights from London Heathrow airport, transfers, and a nine-night cruise departing Rome (Civitavecchia, Italy), and calling at Naples (Italy), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Monte Carlo (Monaco), Santa Margherita (Italy) and Florence/Pisa (La Spezia, Italy), before returning to Rome for the flight home; meals and entertainment on-board the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.

*Subject to availability, prices depending on sailing length

Michael and Colin’s 15 Day Expedition to Stok Kangri

Michael & Colin are Climbing 6189m to raise funds for Reubens Retreat

Michael English at Everest Base Camp

Michael English (Celebrity Cruises) and Colin Jones (Royal Caribbean International) are setting out on an incredible expedition that will be the biggest mental and physical challenge the pair have ever faced. Michael and Colin’s 15 Day Expedition to Stok Kangri will be their personal best reaching the summit.

Their training started back in January and has included climbing Snowdon four times, Ben Nevis once, Winter Survival Training and 100km walk.  They are both now on final countdown to their summit attempt.

Colin Jones in Scotland

Fun fact

Snowdon 1089m v  Stok Kangri 6189m

“Provided we get the right weather and our acclimations goes to plans Team RCL UK will  summit Stok Kangri @ 6189m the morning 7th September and raise a Royal and Celebrity flag. This will be highest mountain climbed for Reuben.” said Michael.

Stok Kangri is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas, the journey to the summit is 15 days, their summit day will be a gruelling 14hrs to reach the summit.

Can you sponsor Team RCL?

If you are able to donate, you can do so on the pair’s Just Giving page

Michael said “Colin and myself would love it if you could share this on your Facebook and Twitter accounts to get as much sponsorship for Reuben’s Retreat as possible.

We will be posting while we are away and you can follow our journey via facebook/instragram. This is Celebrity Cruises chosen charity and one which is very personal to both of us and so many in the UK Travel Industry.”

Michael and Colin’s 15 Day Expedition to Stok Kangri

About Reubens Retreat

On Friday 31st August 2012 Reuben’s family Mike, Nicola and Isaac Graham said their final goodbye to their gorgeous 23 month old son and little brother during a beautiful ceremony in their home village of Mottram 11 miles from Manchester.

Photo Credit: reubensretreat.org

Reuben had suffered an ATRT which is Atypical terratoid rhabdoid tumour, it is a very rare and aggressive form of Cancerous tumour, only 4 to 5 children will be diagnosed with this tumour in the UK per year and there are very few symptoms.

Despite the devastating grief that comes when a quarter of your family is gone, his brave and inspirational parents have set up a charity in his name, they plan to have a retreat in the north west countryside for children with life limiting and life threatening illnesses, with a bereavement support and counselling centre for Mummy’s, Daddy’s and Siblings who have lost their precious children. A place where families can take in the rolling hills and countryside, a place of comfort, peace and tranquillity, a place where memories can be built.

(excerpt taken from reubensretreat.org)

Celebrity Edge Raises The Bar in Entertainment

Celebrity Edge is poised to raise the bar on entertainment as well as modern luxury travel.

On Celebrity Edge, guests will experience the brand’s most technologically advanced main theatre, the most production shows of any ship in the brand’s history, the largest cast of world-class performers on any premium cruise ship, and more entertainment venues than ever before.

Introducing an Immersive Theatre Experience

The Theatre on Celebrity Edge throws away the curtain altogether, immersing guests in an entertainment experience like no other. With four stage areas and three gigantic, moving projection screens, The Theatre offers an ever-changing canvas for the productions.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Theatre Entrance

The main stage extends into the audience creating a theatre-in-the-round. A rotating platform elevates almost seven feet above the stage to take performances to a whole new level. Two mesmerising rotating spiral staircases, 10 synchronised panoramic projection screens, 16 state-of-the-art video mapping laser projectors, aerial performance rigging, and more, the technology behind the scenes will, at times, steal the show.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Theatre

At The Theatre, guests can enjoy five new full production shows, including:

A Hot Summer Night’s Dream, the Shakespeare-inspired  show where light-hearted theatre meets extraordinary acrobatics;

The Jewelry Box, with its jaw-dropping technological feats;

Kaleidoscope, a high-energy music and dance extravaganza harnessing the stage’s state-of-the-art technology; and two shows as part of Celebrity Cruises’ new Headline Residency program –

Get Up, a dynamic pop concert produced by Black Skull Creative

The Purpose, an uplifting production designed to celebrate the inner self

Welcome To The Club

Brought to life once again in collaboration with the visionaries behind Celebrity Edge’s Eden – The Club on Celebrity Edge is a progressive space that changes its persona throughout the day and night.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Club Bar

During the day, The Club offers experiences such as the Funovation Laser Maze Challenge, the Drone Hunting laser obstacle course, and more.

At night, The Club undergoes yet another transformation. Undercover at The Club puts a contemporary spin on the Prohibition era with 20’s-inspired craft cocktails and an aerial saxophonist. The futuristic body scanner of Andromeda allows guests to become someone else for the evening. And Celebrity Cruises’ Hypno Cam Experience is a first-at-sea dance party featuring a high-tech camera that’s passed around to capture photos, which are instantly displayed on a giant LED screen.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Club

Never The Same Camp Twice

On Celebrity Edge, the brand takes its fully customisable Camp at Sea programme to the next level for younger travellers of all ages with more than 500 activities, including Celebrity Cruises’ first youth coding experience at sea, its innovative STEM programme, and two completely separate contemporary spaces, one for the kids and one for the teens.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Camp at Sea

Entertainment Everywhere

Celebrity Cruises has infused entertainment throughout the ship. At the Rooftop Garden, guests can enjoy experiences such as the Rooftop Concert Series and the Garden Cinema Series, the next evolution of the brand’s Taste of Film experience that’s an under-the-stars movie experience with live musical performances.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge The Rooftop

The iconic Eden will feature evolving entertainment as the space transforms from a “chillful” escape in the mornings to “playful” in the afternoons to “sinful” at night. Daytime experiences include Meditation at Eden and performances from sitar players to aerialists. As dusk falls, Eve at Eden begins. Developed in partnership with Variety Worldwide, this theatrical journey will indulge every sense and put guests at the centre of the experience, for a fusion of culinary exploration, performance art and nightlife – like nothing else at sea, or even on land.

Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge Eden

To learn more about the entertainment on Celebrity Edge, visit celebritycruises.co.uk/celebrity-edge/edge-entertainment/.

Celebrity Cruises Brings Entire Fleet To The Edge

Celebrity Cruises are calling their $500-million reimagining of the fleet The Celebrity Revolution. Set to transform the cruise industry the project, in partnership with more than 500 leading architects, designers, and engineers, is designed to bring the rest of the brand’s award-winning fleet to the Edge.

“REVOLUTIONARY” ACCOMMODATIONS

PHOTO CREDIT: CELEBRITY CRUISES – Redesigning accommodations.

When redesigning the accommodations, every detail was carefully thought through with guest comfort at the front of mind. Celebrity collaborated with renowned international hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) to transform the staterooms as part of THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION.

All staterooms will feature a fresh, chic design, rivalling the world’s best boutique hotels. They will also be fitted with Celebrity’s eXhale bedding featuring exclusive luxurious cashmere mattresses and RFID locks.

THE SUITE LIFE JUST GOT SWEETER

PHOTO CREDIT: CELEBRITY CRUISES – Kelly Hoppen, MBE adds her signature style to the Sky Suite.

Revolutionizing the brand’s award-winning ships gave Celebrity Cruises the opportunity to bring its already world-class suite experience on board Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, and Celebrity Summit to lavish new heights with the help of visionary designer Kelly Hoppen, MBE, who redesigned the Sky Suite. She will also infuse the Reflection Suite and Signature Suites, found today on Celebrity Reflection, and newly added to Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, and Celebrity Silhouette, with her signature style – a subtle, coordinated fusion of East meets West, with clean lines, neutral tones, and a warm, inviting opulence.

PHOTO CREDIT: CELEBRITY CRUISES – The Retreat Sundeck – Kelly Hoppen, MBE has created a chic, open-air hideaway with the feel of a high-end resort.

With Celebrity Edge, the brand introduced an exclusive new sanctuary for all Suite Class guests called The Retreat. And now, Celebrity Cruises is bringing its most luxurious experiences fleet-wide. Every ship will offer The Retreat Sundeck and The Retreat Lounge, both strikingly designed by Hoppen. In imagining The Retreat Sundeck, she has created a chic, open-air hideaway with the feel of a high-end resort, where guests can unwind on plush loungers, sip tantalising cocktails, and savour refreshing treats. At The Retreat Lounge (formerly Michael’s Club), Hoppen has designed a warm and sophisticated atmosphere.

PHOTO CREDIT: CELEBRITY CRUISES – The Retreat Sundeck – Kelly Hoppen, MBE has created a chic, open-air hideaway with the feel of a high-end resort.

PHOTO CREDIT: CELEBRITY CRUISES – The Retreat Sundeck – Kelly Hoppen, MBE has created a chic, open-air hideaway with the feel of a high-end resort.

“REVOLUTIONARY” CULINARY

Celebrity Cruises is always looking for new ways to open the world, not only through the places the brand visits, but through globally inspired culinary experience, as well.

Guest-favourite restaurant Qsine will be added across the fleet and completely renovated, now offering the brand’s virtual Le Petit Chef experience, created by the world-famous artists of Skullmapping and presented by TableMation exclusively for Celebrity Cruises. Oceanview Café will be redesigned with an open, airy, marketplace-inspired design offering guests island after island of international delicacies, while the already-stunning Main Restaurant will undergo a beautiful redesign, with new textures and new finishes added throughout.

EVERY DETAIL IS BEING TAKEN TO THE EDGE

PHOTO CREDIT: CELEBRITY CRUISES

Even more groundbreaking innovations are on the horizon with THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, including:

  • Expansion of the new SEA Thermal Suite – first introduced on Celebrity Edge – to offer an indulgent array of therapeutic spa experiences at sea
  • Exclusive new shopping experiences featuring sought-after brands and designers, such as Shinola, John Hardy, and Hublot, plus state-of-the-art digital photo galleries that make browsing vacation memories a snap
  • Elevated bars and lounges, including the newly reimagined Passport Bar and an expansion of Celebrity Cruises’ popular Gastrobar concept, serving more than 40 craft beers, creative cocktails, and gourmet comfort food
  • More exciting upgrades to public venues all throughout each ship, including The Hideaway, Team Earth, The Library, and more

CONSERVING OUR SEAS

Celebrity Cruises will be using advanced silicone-based paint to coat the underwater hull of the ships and their goal is to increase fuel efficiency on Celebrity Millennium Class ships by 20% and reduce emissions fleetwide.

The first “revolutionary” revitalisation will take place in 2019, beginning with Celebrity Millennium, and will continue across the fleet until 2023.

Timeline of The Celebrity Revolution

Ship Completion Dates
Celebrity Millennium® – 09/02/2019
Celebrity Summit® – 23/03/2019
Celebrity Equinox℠ – 25/05/2019
Celebrity Silhouette® – 24/01/2020
Celebrity Eclipse® – 01/04/2020
Celebrity Constellation® – 01/05/2020
Celebrity Infinity® – 14/11/2020
Celebrity Solstice® – 01/10/2021
Celebrity Reflection® – 02/02/2023

To learn more about THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk/revolution

Taste Of Edge – Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises have always been known for producing incredible onboard cuisine. The cruise line gave Londoners a preview of what can be expected in some of the 29 dining venues onboard their new ship, Celebrity Edge.

Michelin stared Chef, Cornelius Gallagher hosted the exclusive tastings at the foodies favourite Taste of London Festival in Regents Park last week. Dishes were perfectly paired with wines selected by Amelia Singer from the Wine Show.

I tried dishes from the Cosmopolitan Restaurant which is American inspired new cuisine. The starter of Grilled Carrot and Mozzarella Salad with smoked trout, fresh herbs and a delicious carrot vinaigrette was paired with Hugel Pinot Blanc from the Alsace region. It was a mouthwatering combination and the smoked trout gave a lively kick to the dish.

For main course it was the popular Grilled New York Strip Steak, served with roasted baby vegetables, parsnip puree, caramelised onions. The perfect pairing came with a Sonoma County Decoy, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Celebrity Cruises really have gone beyond borders with the dining offerings on their new class of ship. Check out the video below for more information.

Celebrity Edge will be larger than the Solstice Class ships at a size of 129,500 Gross Tonnes. At 1,004 feet long, 128 feet wide a draught of 27 feet, a cruising speed of 22 knots and a total of 4,694 horsepower, Celebrity Edge will have the capacity to carry a total of  3,373 guests.

Celebrity Edge will spend her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries before transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019.

Homeporting in Fort Lauderdale, FL., Celebrity Edge will be making her first sailing November 21, 2018, and will be joined by three sister ships in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Interview with Stacy Shaw – Virgin Voyages

“I do work pretty hard.

It’s just that I don’t usually notice because I’m having a good time.” Stacy Shaw

Stacy Shaw is the Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Virgin Voyages, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When Stacy and I met at the #Shiptease event in Genoa last year, I asked if she would answer some questions for my Cruise People series. Thankfully she agreed, so lets find out more about Stacy Shaw.

How did you come to work in the Cruise Industry and what was your first job?

After grad school, I moved from West Virginia to Florida… I was pretty tired of winter weather and wanted to be near my sister. We had been prepped by the Dean of Business & Economics, that it may take time to find a job. So I reached out to a recruiter as soon as I arrived, with the idea that I would wait tables for a while and enjoy some down time.

He sent me for an interview right away for an Accounting position that happened to be at a cruise line. I didn’t intend to start working in a office so quickly but it sounded pretty glamorous (the cruise line part), so I changed my plans. I lasted in that particular job for about six months before I got a little bored (sorry, Accountants) but it was the start to what would become a 23-year (and counting) career in travel and hospitality.

If you could have chosen anything else as a career what would it be?

I love animals so if I was better at science, I might have been a veterinarian. I always knew I would work in some sort of business, I just didn’t know what. Before I started in this industry, I had traveled to five states … never once out of my time zone.

I’ve now visited many states in all US times zones and more than 65 countries. I have found the education that comes from learning about other people and cultures invaluable and I think it made me a better person. I’m very happy with how things worked out!

Stacy with Boy George at the Virgin Voyages Shiptease

What makes Virgin Voyages stand out from other cruises?

People often ask which cruise line we will be most like and I find it impossible to answer that question. Our goal is to be unlike any other … to create a new category and be the only one in it. We’ve looked more to cool, hip hotel and land experiences for inspiration, so I think you’ll find it very easy to see what makes us stand out … when we can talk about that.

As VP of Sales and Business Development for Virgin Voyages, what is an average day like for you?

We’re a start-up so every day is pretty busy and very different. I try to learn something about Virgin or the other Virgin companies however and whenever I can. We have some great resources in the company who have worked for other Virgin brands, so I’m like a sponge around them. For now, we’ve been putting a strong foundation in place.

So I’ve been working on things like sales and distribution strategy, org charts and operating budgets … thinking about how we can be irresistible to our partners! I’ve also been working on finding a rock star leadership team in sales so there’s been a lot of Skype calls and interviews. We’re so fortunate to have a lot of interest when we post our gigs and we’re very focused on finding the perfect fit for every role.

What was your last holiday?

I tend to do more mini-holidays or weekend getaways than long vacations. I love exploring new places, most recently I went to Nashville for the weekend. It was great … the food, the nightlife, the music, the service, the people … I can’t wait until Virgin Hotels Nashville opens. I’m definitely going back.

I also did my first river cruise last year over New Years with a group of friends and loved that. Prague to Budapest on the Danube with AMA Waterways. We visited four countries that I hadn’t been to before (Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany and Austria) … all amazing. I would like to do another river cruise to the wine regions in France. And I love going to Spain any chance I get.

Have you got your next holiday booked and what/where is it?

I do. I’m going on a safari in South Africa with the same group of friends this summer. We’ll also spend a few days in Cape Town and visit some beautiful wineries. I did a safari in Kenya years ago but it was a site inspection with clients. Still, it was one of the most incredible trips I’ve ever taken but I’m very excited to do it again with people I love. That will be really special and a lot of fun.

Stacy hosts VIP Travel Partners at the Keel Laying Ceremony in Genoa.

Your job role must require organisation, focus and a lot of energy? Do you have any lifestyle / personal management tips you can give us?

I feel very lucky to be in an industry that I love and working for Virgin is a dream come true for me. It’s hard to think about what I do as “work”. I get paid to do the most amazing things and to think about ways that our company can make the world a better place. Don’t get me wrong, I do work pretty hard. It’s just that I don’t usually notice because I’m having a good time.

At Virgin Voyages, we’re creating something really special and I’m surrounded by the most creative, inspiring group of people. It’s hard not to be excited about anything I do in that environment. I would say the things that have helped me most in my career is a never-ending desire to learn, genuinely caring about the people involved with our business, always delivering on commitments, being respectful and a willingness to do whatever needs to be done without hesitation. Oh, and coffee, that helps a lot with focus and energy!

What are your hobbies?

I read and research a lot. More articles and historical info than novels … most everything online. I like to start my day with time to read (and drink coffee). I love learning new things and I like to understand a variety of viewpoints. Obviously, I love to travel and I do as much of that as I can. I’m interested in languages. I speak Spanish fairly well and know bits of Italian and French that I’ve picked up through travel. I find that people genuinely appreciate an attempt to speak to them in their language even if it isn’t perfect. I also enjoy trying local food and drinks wherever I am … always looking for a great restaurant.

Name one or more things on your bucket list.

Well, I think I’ve got the career and travel things covered. And I’ve met Richard Branson. So I guess the only thing left is an epic love story.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking their first cruise?

I would say take a voyage instead. 🙂

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The Big Debate – Should I Prepay Gratuities?

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on this one, so here is mine.

Would You Do It In A Hotel or Restaurant?

Would you? So why would you do it on a ship? Can you imagine calling a restaurant to make a reservation and they ask if you would like to prepay your gratuities? The same goes for a holiday booking. You wouldn’t pay extra if you were booking an all-inclusive holiday, would you? So why is it any different on a cruise ship?

Is It Cheaper To Prepay Gratuities or Give Cash Directly?

This depends on how many people are in your cabin and how old they are. If I am travelling with both of my kids, pre-paying gratuities seems like quite a lot of money for one adult and two children. In this case, I prefer to tip the stateroom attendant and waiters myself. Also, my kids won’t eat with me in the main dining room and there is a lot more work for the stateroom attendant with three of us in a room.

When I am travelling with just my son I tend to pre-pay gratuities, because I will use the dining room a lot more with him when it is just the two of us as I don’t have someone to help me watch him in the buffet area. I need to be able to sit down and watch him while the food is brought to us. I think generally when travelling as a single parent, you rely much more on the staff in all areas of the ship.

Who Gets The Tips?

Who knows! The staff aren’t allowed to talk about it, the cruise lines say it is shared out equally among the staff but I had one stateroom attendant tell me something quite interesting. He said that when they are guaranteed a minimum wage which factors in the anticipated prepaid gratuities. If that minimum is not met, then the cruise line has to make up the difference.

So, let’s suppose that no-one prepaid their gratuities, would the cruise line then have to dig deep and make up the wages? Would that then mean that the cash received directly by the staff would be extra money? I don’t know. I guess they have to declare it. But the truth is, the staff risk losing their jobs if they talk about it so I say that gratuities should be included in the price and we have the option of leaving an additional tip onboard if we wish.

Recommended Reading Essential WAVE Season Survival Guide

Cruise Line Winners of the Globe Travel Awards 2018

11 January 2018 – Grosvenor House, London

The Globe Travel Awards 2018 were celebrated in style at the Grosvenor House last night. With the Wave Season in full swing, the event gave the travel industry elite an opportunity to celebrate their achievements of 2017 and let their hair down for the night.

Lucy Huxley, Editor in Chief of the Travel Weekly Group was joined by comedian Harry Hill, to reveal the nights winners to an audience of over 1300 travel agents.

Three Wins For Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean and her sister brands, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, were winners in all of their categories.

Best Mainstream Cruise Company – Royal Caribbean International

Ben Bouldin, UK and Ireland Sales Director “This is the one award that we really cherish. It’s the most important one. It’s voted for by our agents, and the trade is critical to our success.”

Best Premium Cruise Company – Celebrity Cruises

Jo Rzymowska, Managing Director UK and Ireland “We never take it for granted to win this award. We have won it for many years now. It means so much every year. We try to make sure that we stay on top of our game.”

Best Specialist Cruise Company: Azamara Club Cruises

Richard Twynam, Managing Director UK and Ireland “This is the travel industry equivalent of scoring a hat trick at Wembley or winning Wimbledon or the British Grand Prix. It’s all about destination, and the trade clearly recognise that. The competition is amazing so to win it three times is amazing.”

Richard Twynham – Azamara Club Cruises Managing Director UK and Ireland

River Cruise Awards

Favourite River Cruise Company – Viking River Cruises
Viking Cruises added another award to their coveted collection. The company are sponsors for the incredible Ocean Liners: Speed and Style Exhibition at the V&A which opens on 3rd February 2018. Click here for more information.

Best River Cruise Company – Uniworld

Unique in many ways, Uniworld cater for families and teens whilst maintaining an outstanding level of quality and service. No two ships are the same, as each one has been cleverly decorated to be an extension of the region it calls home.

Favourite Ocean Cruise Company – P&O Cruises

With more ships operating from Southampton than any other cruise line, P & O will welcome a brand new ship in 2020. The yet to be named ship will be their largest vessel to date, with a guest capacity of up to 5,200.

The stunning Atrium onboard P & O Britannia

Best Luxury Cruise Company – Silversea

The all inclusive luxury cruise line offer one of the highest space-per-guest ratios of any luxury cruise accommodation, and are expecting delivery of their tenth ship, Silver Moon in 2020.

Best Insurance Provider – Holiday Extras

For the tenth year running, Holiday Extras have proved themselves to be ahead of the competition.

Howard Dove, Managing Director “We’re ecstatic. Just wow! Last year we launched our new medical plus product which provides a better integrated service for our customers. We’d like to thank all the agents who have supported us through this time”

Best Airline – Emirates

Winning both categories, Emirates were voted Best Premium Airline Service and Best Long-Haul Airline. I was certainly impressed when I visited the Business Class Lounge at Heathrow. Check out the photos of my day courtesy of Gold Medal here:  Tour of the Business Lounge and A380 at Heathrow

Travelling First Class with Emirates

Best Attraction (worldwide) – Walt Disney World Resort

Always a favourite with the young at heart, Walt Disney World Resort, Florida came out as the Best Worldwide Attraction. The recent revamp of Downtown Disney to the quaint and quirky Disney Springs has doubled the number of venues on offer as well as creating an additional 4,000 permanent jobs. Go Disney!

My kids with Tigger and Pooh at the Magic Kingdom

Outstanding Achievement Award – Steve Dunlop

Although I wasn’t at the awards in person, it was clear from the twittersphere that the travel industry LOVES this man. “not a dry eye in the house” said one tweet. You can read more about Steve in an interview I did with him for my Cruise People series. He didn’t even realise they were talking about him until the very end.

Steve Dunlop “I’m in shock. It’s the most amazing thing, extraordinary. I never expected anything like this, even when it was being read out. I only realised at the end when she said pictures followed by blonde locks.”

Photo by Steve Dunlop

Other highlights of the evening included appearances by DJ Trevor Nelson, a performance of Everybody’s Free by Rozalla and Giles Hawke, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways CEO, taking to the stage in a Badger costume.

Here is the full list of winners of the Globe Travel Awards 2018.

Penny Akam Unsung Hero Award, sponsored by Affordable Car Hire:
Lisa Read, Hays Travel

Innovation in Travel Award, sponsored by Travelport:
Zen3

Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by Avis:
Steve Dunlop

Consumer awards, sponsored by Mail Brands UK

Favourite Airline – British Airways
Favourite Hotel Chain – Hilton Hotels
Favourite Online Booking Platform – Booking.com
Favourite Ocean Cruise Company – P&O Cruises
Favourite Escorted Tour Operator – Kuoni
Favourite Short-Haul Operator – Jet2holidays
Favourite Ferry Company – P&O Ferries
Favourite UK Operator – Center Parcs
Favourite River Cruise Company – Viking River Cruises
Favourite Long-Haul Operator – British Airways Holidays

On the Water, sponsored by Traveltek

Best Ferry Company – P&O Ferries
Best Mainstream Cruise Company – Royal Caribbean International
Best Premium Cruise Company – Celebrity Cruises
Best Specialist Cruise Company – Azamara Club Cruises
Best River Cruise Company – Uniworld
Best Luxury Cruise Company – Silversea

Destination sector, sponsored by Travelzoo

Best Tourist Board – Visit California
Best All-Inclusive Resort Operator – Sandals
Best Hotel Chain (worldwide) – Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Best Attraction (worldwide) – Walt Disney World Resort

On the Move, sponsored by P&O Ferries

Best Rail Company – Great Rail Journeys
Best Mainstream Touring Company – Trafalgar
Best Premium Touring Service – Insight Vacations
Best Car Rental Company – Flexible Autos
Best Adventure Operator – G Adventures

Flying, sponsored by The Holiday Team

Best Short-Haul Airline – Jet2.com
Best Long-Haul Airline – Emirates
Best UK Airport – Manchester Airport
Best Premium Airline Service – Emirates


Long-haul, sponsored by Air Travel Guide

Best Long-Haul Operator (multi-destination) – Gold Medal
Best Long-Haul Specialist Operator – Wendy Wu Tours
Best Luxury Operator – Kuoni
Best Consolidator – Gold Medal

Short-haul, sponsored by Hurtigruten

Best Short-Haul Operator – Jet2holidays
Best Operator for Activities – Inghams
Best Accommodation-Only Provider – Super Break
Best Operator UK Holidays – Super Break

Serving the industry, sponsored by HolidayPirates

Best Add-Ons Provider – Attraction World
Best Technology Provider – Amadeus
Best Insurance Provider – Holiday Extras
Best Trade Sales Team – Attraction World
Best Trade-Friendly Brand – Jet2holidays

Cruise People – Marc Walker – Royal Caribbean

What’s Life Like For A Cruise Director?

I recently had the opportunity to meet Marc Walker who is currently the Cruise Director onboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. I’ve always thought it would be such a great job to do, but after speaking to Marc in person, I think I’ll stick to sipping cocktails by the pool while someone else does all the hardwork.

How long have you been a Cruise Director?

I was promoted to Cruise Director in January 2001 after being with the company for 4 years. This is my 22nd year with Royal Caribbean, 17 of them as Cruise Director.

How did you end up working onboard Royal Caribbean ships?

I was a DJ back in England, and when I worked at Butlin’s I met people who worked for Royal Caribbean. At that time there were only 12 ships in the fleet, and there was no no such thing as the internet. So it was purely word of mouth and sending resumes off. A juggler, who still works for us, told me to apply to Royal Caribbean as a DJ. I had never heard of Royal Caribbean, I said Royal who? This was in England and they weren’t even in England at that point, they were just sailing out of the Caribbean. So I got a job interview in London, I was offered the job as cruise staff which is what you do. You call bingo and you socialise, you start at the bottom. My first ship was the Viking Serenade in 19 July 1996.

1996 Marc’s first contract as cruise staff, with Fernando Castro on Viking Serenade

How long do you spend onboard the cruiseship at a time?

We usually do four months on two months off, but depending on business needs or if you have a holiday request it can be longer or shorter. I am doing four months on here then I am going to take only five days off, then I go to our bigger ship the Harmony of the Seas. At the end of the year I’ll be going to our brand new ship the Symphony of the Seas and will take the ship to Miami for the Inaugural Christening.

Do you get to see your family at all when you are working?

Never when I am working because my wife and two kids live in Florida. But they are going to be cruising at the end of November for a one off cruise. Lily will be in school and she is five, so she can only come a few times a year. But they usually have to wait until I get home, which will be January for five days.

I keep reading on social media that you are Roy ‘Catchphrase’ Walker’s son. Is this true? 

I’ve actually met Roy, he does a few comedy shows onboard. He is really nice but I am not related despite the same name.

What is the average Day In The Life for you when you are at work?

8 o’clock every morning my day starts, that’s seven days a week and I usually take a couple of hours off in the afternoon. We call it international nap time where crew members have to sleep for a couple of hours in the day. Then my shift starts again at 4pm until midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning. So 8am until about 1 or 2pm is paperwork and meetings, then the evening is shows, socialising, being out there.

Have you met any Celebrities onboard, and if so can you give us some names?

John Travolta came onboard once. We looked after him for 4 days. He is a really nice man. And Donny Osmond in 2004.

What is your favourite meal onboard?

I should eat salads but I don’t. On this ship I like the roasts because you don’t get them in America. So I go to the Windjammer and have my roasts whenever I can. And then when I go Stateside I just have to have the Mongolian stir fry.

What is your favourite port of call?

Geiranger Fjords.

Do you have any hobbies?

I do flight simulator. I have the joystick, the yoke and the foot pedals and I bring them with me. So I do transatlantic flights when I go to bed at night, and when I wake up I’m landing (laughs). Its very soothing. It sends me off.

Your job is very demanding. Do you have any tips you can share that help you stay energetic, healthy and in shape?

You have to pace yourself especially at my ripe old age of 46. It gets harder the older you get and the ships are getting bigger which is harder to handle, harder to manage. So it’s all in the mind. You can get so stressed out so quickly and it will kill your career. You just have to really take a step back, focus on what the most important things are and then keep everything in a waiting file, don’t do everything at once. But the most important thing is being out there with the guests. If you’ve got that covered then everything else will follow. But we have two jobs, we have administration and we have front of house. There’s no job like it, you have to be good at everything.

If you could do any other job, what would it be?

Television. I actually have a part time job with Home Shopping Network it’s QVC. So when I’m in Florida for a few weeks I tell them I’m coming and they give me a couple of shows. I love it because you are on live television to 97 million people.

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Cruise People – Michael English – Celebrity Cruises

Michael English Talks About The Importance of Teamwork and Communication

Celebrity Cruises recently scooped a massive four awards at this years TTG Awards Ceremony in London. Add this together with the industry buzz around the brand new Celebrity Edge, and I wanted to find out what life is like for the Celebrity Cruises Business Development Team at the moment. Here’s Michael English, Head of Business Development UK & Ireland to Summit up!

As Head of Business Development, what is an average day life for you?

The first thing is that no two days are ever same in my role.

I believe I have the best role in the sales team having so much variation. My role can include anything from dealing with our top producing accounts, working with our award winning sales team – to working on new initiatives to get more new guests to cruise with Celebrity Cruises.

Celebrity Cruises walked away with an incredible four TTG Awards this year. Luxury/Specialist Cruise Line of the Year, Ocean Cruise Line of the Year, Supplier Sales Team of the Year, Travel Company of the Year. Can you give an insight into what you believe drove the success of Celebrity to achieving so many awards?

First of all I must say a huge thank you to every trade partner who voted for Celebrity Cruises and the awards are a true reflection, recognition and direction that Celebrity Cruises are taking. Working with Travel Partners is vital to our success as we look to bring cruises holidays to a new groups of guests.

What was your last holiday?

I’m writing this on my flight down to Miami with my son, where we are spending the weekend catching up with friends and attending a couple of sporting events there.

It very important to me that I have the right balance between work and personal life – so this is Dad and son weekend in Miami.

How did it feel to win the CLIA Outstanding Contribution to the Cruise Industry award?

This was a huge surprise! It was a real honour to be presented with the award. To be recognised by your colleagues and travel industry partners is a very special award.

Your job role must require organisation, focus and a lot of energy. Do you have any lifestyle or management tips you can give us?

Listen – to what people are saying. God gave us two ears and one mouth not two mouths and one ear.

Communication – Is key to every solution.

What are your hobbies?

I’m on a quest to continue to climb various mountains summits. So far I have completed Snowdon, Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike, Kota Kinablua/ Kiimanjaro/ Island Peak Nepal/ Mont Blanc/ Machu Picchu/ and next one will be India highest summit.

Name one or more things on your bucket list.

Summit Everest and Sky Dive

To get the latest news on Celebrity Edge and find great offers go to celebritycruises.co.uk

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Richard Twynam – Azamara Club Cruises

In Pursuit of Richard Twynham

Find out how Azamara Club Cruises’ Managing Director Richard Twynam took 70 flights in a year and still managed to find time for exercise, family and golf.

How did you end up working in the Cruise Industry and what was your first job?

I applied for a job in the Sunday Times to be Managing Director of Virgin Holidays Cruises in 2010, which somehow I got.

If you could have chosen anything else as a career what would it be?

A Professional Golfer.

What makes Azamara Club Cruises stand out from other cruises?

We have a single minded focus on destination first.

As Managing Director of Azamara Club Cruises, what is an average day in the life for you?

What I like is that there is no average day if you like. But most Tuesdays are made up of one to ones with the sales folks in the morning, followed by trading meeting at lunchtime, followed by various internal meetings in the afternoon. Then there will be events to attend every week.

I travel a lot in my role throughout the UK, Europe and to HQ in Miami, so am on a plane most weeks, I did over 70 flights for work last year which was exceptional.

What was your last holiday?

A week in Crete with my family in May, and staycation with the family in September.

Have you got your next holiday booked and what/where is it?

A long Christmas break to visit our family in California!

Your job role must require organisation, focus and a lot of energy. Do you have any lifestyle/ personal management tips you can give us?

Key things for me are balance and I’ve learned this year the power of fitness too, thanks to my wife who is a yoga teacher.

So we have a couple of simple rules.

No tech upstairs at home.  No phones, no tv’s, no tablets. Bedtime is about switching off.

There is always time for exercise. We have 2 tiny children, so we have a trainer come to the house at 7am whilst the kids eat their breakfast!!

What are your hobbies?

Being a dad, golf when I can and keeping fit. We have a large garden so I love tinkering with that.

Name one or more things on your bucket list.

The Cook Islands and a drive across Canada.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking their first cruise?

It’s like any holiday, don’t over complicate it, keep it simple, choose your destination first, and then what type of cruise, and always use a travel professional that will sell you what is right for you.

To browse the beautiful itineraries Azamara Club Cruises have to offer, go to https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/

Cruise People – The Professionals

You Don’t Have To Be A Cruise Fanatic To Cruise

Dave, originally from Yorkshire, and his wife Lorraine, both have office based jobs in Surrey and love to travel. Last year they took their first cruise. I wanted to get their views on cruising for the first time and to see if it is something they would like to repeat.

When was your cruise? Which ship was it and where did you cruise too?

Our first cruise was to Norway, we cruised on Celebrity Eclipse and it was at the end of August 2016.

Celebrity Eclipse in the Norwegian Fjords

What made you book a cruise?

I have always wanted to cruise to the Fjords. It was for my 50th birthday, although I had to do all the booking so it wasn’t a surprise.

What did you like/dislike about your first cruise?

We went from Southampton.  What a great way to start a holiday. No queues, fast check in.  Within 2 hours or so from leaving our house, we were on board.

I liked the variety of things to do on board, the theatre was good although some of the acts were a bit cheesy.  I’m convinced that the the comedian on the first night was made of pure gorgonzola. The best act was a Freddie Mercury Tribute act, closely followed by a British singer from The Netherlands.

It was good to go to a show and then walk to dinner.  Its like living in a ‘happening’ city centre.

I enjoyed the fact that we visited loads of different towns in Norway. Some of the towns were so small that you had to book excursions, if you didn’t you would have been stuck in a small town (although they still had loads to do on board) but I don’t think you go to Norway to stay on board. The service and food were amazing.

As we were in a cold climate, nobody was using the outside space, this meant that at lunch time the buffet was packed.  We had to find a table first, then one at a time we went to get our food.  If we both went they would clear our tables as they thought we had left.  This is the only time we felt a bit packed in.

What is it that appeals to you about cruising?

Seeing different places, experiencing different things (with the excursions), and the quality of the food/service etc.  We are not dedicated cruises but will happily go on one but will also do a different style of holiday.

The Flam Railway

What is your next cruise? What are you most looking forward to?

We are doing the Alaskan cruise.  I am looking forward to the whale watching, glacier trip and zip wire excursions.  Life on board is quite good too, I enjoy the luxury.  I am also excited about the drive around Alaska which we are doing after the cruise.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying a cruise but is worried they will feel trapped on a crowded cruise ship?

Do you feel trapped when you go into your local town?  Well the cruise ship is like a small city.  Unless you go on a rowing boat you wont feel trapped.

Do you have an general cruise tips?
  • Yes, quite soon after you set off you will be called for a muster drill.  This is where you have to meet at a certain place and have a roll call.  Before you attend this go to the bar and get a big cocktail. Take the “things to do list that should be in your cabin). When the meeting has finished sit back and relax with your drink.  If you leave at the same time as everyone else it is like being herded like cattle, you also see people at their worst.  After you have finished your drink and read the ‘things to do list’ you can then leave at your leisure.
  • Use your ‘things to do sheet’ and plan your day/evening.
  • Dont be scared to complain.  We did an excursion that was rubbish.  We complained and they offered a partial refund.  We did not accept it and was then given a full refund and asked not to tell anyone else.  We told everyone!
  • The waiters all test the food at the beginning of their shift so when they recommend your meal they are not trying to get rid of food they are really giving you what they think is the best food on the menu.
  • The waiters hold quite a lot of power within the kitchens.  If they think a dish is not up to scratch they will not recommend it and the chefs will change the way it is cooked.
  • Take the recommended wine from the wine waiter also.
Do you have any tips for booking a cruise?

Shop around to get the best deal. Pick mid ship cabins to minimise sea sickness. On the Norway cruise it was good to see the fjords from the balcony.  We spent quite a lot of time cruising in places with good views.  If you are going around the Med then I would say an inside room would be best value as the weather is warm so you can see every thing from the decks.

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Cruise People – Jenny Elliott – Celebrity Cruises

Jenny Enjoys Helping People Find Their Dream Cruise

I first met Jenny in 2009 at a bmi cabin crew recruitment day, where I discovered her sweet nature and passion for travel, as we shared our nervousness and excitement at the time. We recognised each other two years later when our paths crossed again but this time it was at the Royal Caribbean office in Weybridge. Jenny now works solely for Celebrity Cruises and I wanted to find out what life is like for a Personal Cruise Specialist.

How did you come to work in the Cruise Industry and what was your first job?

I did a 2 year BTEC course in Travel and Tourism where I achieved a distinction! Straight from college I started working for First Choice in one of their travel shops and stayed there for 5 years. After that I decided to move onto selling Cruises. I worked for Teletext Cruises and then onto Royal Caribbean.

What is your job role and what do you enjoy about it?

I am a Personal Cruise Specialist for Celebrity Cruises. I enjoy talking to different people and helping them find their dream cruise. Some people have saved for a long time and need help with what to book. I have built up a good client database and have regular guests who always keep in touch, even when they are onboard.

Jenny receiving her award for Outstanding Customer Service

What is the most memorable event you have attended as a result of your job?

There have been a few but I would probably say the Emma Pontin Memorial Event onboard Eclipse sticks in my mind. She is the Godmother of Eclipse and sadly lost her life to breast cancer a couple of years ago. She was a real inspiration to me and when she passed it was very sad for all of us at Celebrity. We held a memorial onboard the ship in her honour and invited her family and friends along. We presented them with a special glass penguin that was made on the ship, as that was her favourite animal. You can see the penguin proudly standing next to her portrait on Deck 3.

What challenges do you face in your day to day job role?

The main challenge is availability. We try and encourage guests to book early to secure direct flights, or specific room configurations, such as adjoining rooms, midship locations or accessible rooms. But the closer we get to the date of departure, the harder it is to find guests exactly what they are looking for.  It is disappointing for both us and the guests, when there is no availability.

What was your last holiday?

In September I flew to Seattle and went on a 1 week Alaska cruise. The landscapes there are amazing and I’ll never forget flying over the Juneau Icefield in a seaplane, just a couple of hundred feet above a glacier. There is so much to see there I think you could easily spend 3 weeks visiting different places. I would do another Alaska cruise without hesitation.

Cruising in Alaska

Have you got your next holiday booked and what/where is it?

Currently my next holiday is a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords next September onboard Celebrity Silhouette. I have some friends coming with me as it is my 30th birthday next year. My parents are also coming as it is my Dad’s 70th. I have not been to the Fjords before so I am really looking forward to it. The pictures that I’ve seen from my guests look amazing!

What are your hobbies?

Cruising of course! I’ll try and do at least two cruises a year. I also enjoy going on country walks. I borrow two Wee-chons (Westie x Bichon Frise) from a neighbour and we walk through the fields. They love the outdoors. I like doing yoga to help me relax as working in the office can be stressful sometimes.

Name one or more things on your bucket list.

I’d love to cruise around New Zealand as it looks like a beautiful country. Alaska and the Norwegian Fjords were on my list but they are now ticked off.

If you could create your dream cruise what would it be? 

I’m happiest when I go away with my close friends. I also love sailing from Southampton because you don’t have to fly and have a couple of relaxing sea days before the ports begin. My dream room would be the reflection suite that has a cantilevered shower! Or one of the new edge villas that have a private plunge pool!

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking their first cruise?

Do it! You won’t regret it. I book so many people on their first ever cruise and everyone comes back raving about it and want to book another one straight away.

Check out the new ship coming from Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Edge

For the latest offers and promotions go to celebrity cruises.co.uk

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Cruise People – Ladies Who Lunch

Donna Stoneman Shares Personal Cruise Experiences and Valuable Tips

Although the Surrey mum of three, Donna Stoneman does not confess to be one of the Ladies Who Lunch, ironically the day I asked for her consent to use the title, she had just been to lunch with some friends! As someone who has cruised many times with different cruise lines to all sorts of destinations, Donna gives great insight to anyone who wants to book a cruise but doesn’t know where to begin.

When was your first cruise? Which ship was it and where did you cruise too?

It was an Eastern Caribbean Cruise, Christmas 2008 on the Independence of the Seas.

Onboard Independence of the Seas for New Years Eve

What made you book your first cruise?

It was something we’d wanted to try after a friend told us what a great time they’d had. We went with my three children and mother and father in law. We left on Boxing Day and flew to Miami. It was lovely to have some winter sun and we had a fantastic New Years Eve onboard.

What did you like/dislike about your first cruise?

With three generations holidaying together, trying to keep everybody happy can be quite tricky. However, the ship gave us all independent space to do what we wanted and we weren’t in each other’s pockets. The children were really happy with all the activities organised by Royal Caribbean, and the grandparents were happy to have us all together at dinner. There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about our first cruise, the Independence of the Seas was a new ship at the time, and we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday.

What is was your favourite cruise so far, and why?

Sailing from Venice around the Adriatic on Oceania Riviera in 2012. The ship was beautiful, we met lots of lovely people and the itinerary was fab. It was very port intensive but the ship was slightly smaller so we were able to dock in some lovely ports. The Adriatic coast is stunning and sailing into Montenegro is breathtaking.

Donna plays shuffleboard as they sailaway from Santorini on Oceania Riviera

What is it that appeals to you about cruising?
I’ve taken a lot of cruises as a single mum with kids. I always felt safe onboard on my own and, as you know, keeping kids entertained on your own is hard work – especially when you have such a wide age gap like mine. The kids were always happy and safe, which allowed me to have a relaxing time. 
One of the great things about cruising with Royal Caribbean is that their loyalty scheme recognises the credits for cruises the children have taken as youngsters. That stays with them for life.

I love the fact that you see several places without having to constantly pack, check in/out and the travelling is done when you’re asleep. We like to hire motorbikes which allows us to get around quickly. It’s lovely to come back to the air conditioned comfort of your cabin after exploring. Also, it’s great to dress up and have a fab evening, while someone else is taking the strain of getting you to your next destination.

Sailing away from the Hubbard Glacier onboard Celebrity Infinity.

How do you decide which cruises to take?

As life progresses, what we look for in a cruise changes. When the children were young it was about keeping them happy with bigger ships and full on entertainment. Now we prefer a bit more luxury and are highly influenced by the itinerary. We’ve done the Med so many times it’s not appealing anymore. We’ve tried several cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Crystal Cruises and Oceania Cruises and they all offer something different. We still haven’t found our perfect line so will just have to keep trying.

Do you have a bucket list of places you want to visit?

I’d like to do a South American Cruise and a Polynesian cruise

What’s the first thing you do when you step onboard a cruise?

Head to the bar! Explore the ship.

What was your last cruise and what did you like/dislike about it?

In July, We repeated our cruise from Venice down the Adriatic ending in Athens. Whilst the food was exceptional, we thought that the Riviera had lost a bit of its sparkle for us. There was also a lack of entertainment which spoilt it somewhat. It was full of Americans who are very keen to tour and the itinerary was port intensive so people went to bed early . This was quite an expensive cruise for us and we didn’t think it was value for money. We’d like to find a line which affords us some luxury with good food but also entertainment at night.

What is your next cruise? What are you most looking forward to?

We are going on Norwegian Getaway in November and will be sailing to Mexico and Honduras which we’ve not been to before. Entertainment is fab on NCL and we love Howl at the Moon.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying a cruise but is worried they will feel trapped on a crowded cruise ship?

I’ve been on some big ships but never felt crowded or herded.

Donna and Gary on a Mediterranean cruise onboard Norwegian Getaway in the Haven.

Do you have any tips for booking a cruise?

Upgrades – We don’t always spend a lot upgrading cabins. Sometimes its worth the price difference but I wouldn’t spend a lot upgrading if the only benefit is a larger cabin. Check which benefits are included with any upgrade and only pay extra if those benefits are worth it to you.

Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line is quite expensive but our cabin was no bigger. The main benefit was a butler we never saw, a seperate restaurant that we didn’t actually eat in and access to posh beach club, which we discovered we could have bought passes for without the need to upgrade to Haven.

I have been in a Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean. Benefits include access to the Concierge Lounge (which was a windowless room on Independence of the Seas that you didn’t want to spend much time in), but the best benefit for me was the separate sun bathing deck which negated the need to reserve a sun lounger at dawn.

We took Concierge the first time we sailed on Oceania but there was no main benefit to the extra price. So this time we had a basic cabin, but it had a huge balcony which to us was more important than a concierge we didn’t actually see.

On Celebrity we had an Aqua Class room but didn’t use the spa facilities so that wasn’t worth it. We ate in Blu once, which is the clean eating restaurant dedicated for Aqua Class guests, but next time we will use the price difference to buy a dining package.

Research – I use the internet to help me choose my cabin. I try to workout which side of the ship will get more sun in the first instance. I also dont want to be under an overhang from the deck above which are on some ships. We sailed on Regal Princess and discovered that two mini suites had balconies which extended over half of the bridge below and could have held a party of 50. It was fabulous. My bug bare is to be opposite a service door. Unfortunately deck plans don’t show their locations but to be on the safe side I only choose cabins with interiors opposite.

Loyalty – Some loyalty schemes are better than others. I’m now Diamond Plus with Royal Caribbean, and this affords me lots of benefits. I think they are one of the better loyalty schemes.

Fly/Cruise – If organising our own flights I feel safer to fly the day before – just to make sure I’m there in plenty of time. I took the children on a two week cruise on the Explorer in Christmas 2010 which sailed from New York. I thought it was silly to fly to New York City and not see any of it,  so we stayed for three nights before the cruise. When we eventually embarked it appeared that half the ship had missed flights because Heathrow was closed due to snow. The next dock they could embark was Barbados which was 5 days into the cruise.

Golden Gate Bridge – Donna enjoying her balcony onboard Celebrity Century.

It is a good idea to combine the flights and cruise with the same travel company and then it is their responsibility to get you on the ship. Sometimes, though, this can be expensive. I took the whole family (6 of us) on a Baltic cruise and the transfer from Copenhagen airport to the ship was £300 and it was only a 20/25 min journey. Not taking the transfer however would have broken the continuity and put the responsibility on us to getting to the ship in time. As we were flying in that morning I felt I had the choice of either pay the transfer or fly in the night before and put us all up in a hotel.

Gratuities/Tips – When we sailed on Seabourn I liked the fact that tips were not required or expected. With free style dining now you don’t have the same relationships with waiting staff that you used to when it was traditional dining.

Drinking Age – If you are travelling with 18 – 20 year olds, check drinking ages for each cruise line in advance as each one is different. I took two 20 year olds on a Baltic cruise with Princess and they weren’t allowed to drink. If we had sailed Royal Caribbean they could have done as their criteria is the drinking age of the country of departure ( which means its 21 if sailing form the states but 18 if Europe)

What would you say to someone who is considering booking their first cruise?

Try it – you’ll never look back!

After a day of rib riding in Oslo, Donna enjoys a sailaway drink on her mini suite balcony onboard Royal Princess.

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Latest Reveal for Celebrity Edge

Event planners looking for fun corporate event ideas or an unforgettable conference experience, should look no further than The Meeting Place onboard Celebrity Edge.

The latest reveal for the long awaited new class of ship from Celebrity Cruises, is a 1,970 square foot, state of the art meeting venue. The Meeting Place will be located centrally on the ship to allow guests to experience breathtaking views like no other venue at sea or on land.

“Of course, the most advanced ship we’ve ever designed would include the most exciting venues for get-togethers, including The Meeting Place,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service, Celebrity Cruises. “Imagine the spectacular conferences, trade shows, weddings, and reunions you can plan with the gorgeous Celebrity Edge as your setting and an ocean as your brilliant backdrop.”

If you want to make sure your event is a memorable one that stands out from the crowd, then Celebrity Edge is the place to be. If you are not familiar with what to expect onboard this ship watch the video below.

“When designing The Meeting Place we asked ourselves what would be more appealing; being subjected to lectures in a conference room, or socializing with colleagues in a hip lounge?’ The latter seemed obvious. Thus the flexibility and functionality of a ‘state of the art’ meeting space was designed for pleasure first,” said Scott Butler, AIA, Founding Partner, Wilson Butler Architects. “The word that defines The Meeting Place is ‘connected’. It facilitates guests getting connected to one another; to the latest technology and to the greatest new ideas. It also happens to connect to other venues on the ship that vastly expand the opportunities for groups.”

The Meeting Room Facilities

It is no surprise that Celebrity Edge uses innovative technology.  From wireless microphones to a mini sound board, an electronic whiteboard and a 98-inch LED screen at one end of the room and a 75-inch LED screen at the other.

The room can be set in a variety of layouts. A separate office space is provided for the event planners and the venue has its own pantry and dynamic bar to suit all catering needs.

The venue can transforms into a comfortable lounge area for networking, relaxing and mingling.

Booking enquiries for The Meeting Room onboard Celebrity Edge can be made through your Travel Agent or directly with Celebrity Cruises.