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Did you know that it costs about $4 million to take out an ad in Times Square for a year? Or that Sir Elton John has played at Madison Square Garden 62 times? How about that Macy’s has the second largest shoe collection the world, with 300,000 pairs? For those interested in such things – and lots of other New York City and celebrity trivia – the TMZ Tour might be your favorite new Manhattan attraction. Read more
Don’t let the Carnival Cruise Line’s recent newsworthy items deter you from hitting the high seas. There are millions of cruises that sail each year without making the news. They have great customer service, activities for families, couples, and seniors, onboard entertainment, and unique ports around the world. Today we’ve rounded up the best of the best, from exotic international cruises to the always-popular beach destinations. Read more
If the winter solstice has you in a celestial state of mind, Celebrity’s set to host one cruise itinerary in 2012 that’s sure to be out of this world. Their 20-night South Pacific Solar Eclipse Cruise, aboard the 1,950-passenger Celebrity Millennium, is due to embark on November 2, 2012, from Honolulu en route to Sydney. Given that one of the best places to view the total solar eclipse will be from the southern Pacific Ocean, cruising is just about your best bet for viewing this cosmic phenomenon firsthand.
Come January, Princess Cruises will enforce a fleet-wide ban on smoking in passenger staterooms and on private balconies. The announcement comes following company research results showing that smokers comprise just a small minority of the line’s passengers, and that the majority of cruisers value having a smoke-free environment onboard. These new regulations echo popular concerns and regulation changes in many public places and businesses on terra firma and follows suit for several other major cruise lines: Holland America and Royal Caribbean will put the same regulations into effect on the same date, while Disney has never allowed smoking in its staterooms. Carnival launched smoke-free rooms in January of this year, while Celebrity ended smoking in cabins back in late 2009. Norwegian Cruise Line is the only major holdout – while they have kept all public areas smoke-free, smokers can still indulge cigarettes in their designated staterooms or on their private verandahs.
What do you think Cruise News readers? Is this a welcomed change or an unwelcomed jab at vacation freedoms?
I’ve had the pleasure of sailing aboard the Celebrity Equinox – the second installment (launched in August 2009) of Celebrity’s much-lauded “Solstice class” of ships (the flagship of the line, Celebrity Solstice, debuted in 2008; a total of five sister ships in all, with only slight color scheme and dining venue alterations, are set to be out on the market by 2012) – over the last week, and after seven days and nights of enjoying the high life on the high seas, I’m pleased to report that Celebrity’s latest endeavor truly lives up to the hype. The 2,850-passenger Equinox touts a modern and sophisticated design that affords all of the bells and whistles of big-ship sailing, yet allows for such excellent passenger flow (thanks to an intuitive layout and countless diversions) that the surprisingly intimate experience onboard is more akin to that found upon a luxury vessel just a fraction of its size – and better yet, is being offered at a fraction of the cost. Celebrity’s Solstice class has succeeded to raise the bar on the premium cruising market and I can confidently predict that it’s going to give the traditionally defined luxury cruise lines a real run for their money.
Tucked away on an unremarkable block in Chelsea, Mexican restaurant and bar, Las Chicas Locas (attached to but not affiliated with the Four Points by Sheraton), has kept a fairly low profile since opening in 2008. Sure, the occasional celebrity wanders in now and again – Tiger Woods (pre-infidelity), Derek Jeter, Anthony Mackie (I saw the latter two there myself on separate occasions) – but this often dubbed “neighborhood hangout” is headed towards stardom of its own. A new partnership with two-star Michelin Chef Christopher Lee, currently of Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, brings a redesigned menu á la Chef Lee, featuring creative yet affordable tapas-style Mexican fare, and a well-placed kitchen staff, including Executive Chef Kathryn Busch, intent on serving quality meals consistently. Read on for the scoop and the Sherman’s Travel free drink offer. Read more
It was only a few years ago that our our noses turned up (and stomachs too) at the thought of dining in a hotel restaurant. Lucky for all, the tables have turned as empty seats are now filled with guests who flock to make hotel dining reservations and to experience the celebrity chefs and talent. With hotel chefs ranking high among the best amenties, which stays (you may ask) also come with great dining? We’ve found a few to whet your appetite:
In the two years that Chef Jennifer Carroll, chef du cuisine for the 10 Arts Bistro and Lounge by Eric Ripert, was brought to the The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, she has already attracted a solid fanbase. A Philadelphia native, Chef Jennifer’s claim to fame may be as a Top Chef fiinalist last season, but now she’s known and celebrated at 10 Arts Bistro for her 5-course dinner menu and wine pairing. Dish highlights, which always feature seasonal and organic ingredients, include braised pork belly with melon and herb salad; coriander-encrusted Hiramasa with grilled ramps and lime oil; and spring vegetables in dill sauce—which will leave you scraping your plate for more. Guests looking for an other-worldly and gastronomical experience will do well to book the Dine and Unwind package. Promising something of a triple-threat: fabulous city sights, an exquisite hotel stay, and a memorable dining experience the package includes a 5-course dinner for two at 10 Arts and a continental breakfast led by Chef Jennifer. Prices start at $369 per night, exclusive of tax and hotel fee. Rate is based on double occupancy. Reservations are based upon availability and must be made in advance. For more information and to reserve this package, please call (215) 523-8000 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/Philadelphia.
Ever since the iPad’s launch, assorted hotels have been rolling out the gadget as an amenity in different forms. At these forward-looking spots, guests are reading the morning paper, previewing rooms before checking in, and booking massages, expeditions, and restaurants using the new gadget.
And now the iPad (and its ilk) have recently popped up at sea. Read more
Last week, the Oceania Marina successfully “floated out” of the shipyard in Genoa, Italy – marking a milestone in the designer ship’s construction. When Marina debuts in January 2011, it will feature a renowned Canyon Ranch Spa Club and lavish suites by New York-based Tocar Interior Design, as well as nine unique dining venues. Surprisingly, all the extra attention to detail isn’t being tacked on to the price tag – the 14-night inaugural cruise is priced from just $1,499 – including airfare!
In other sneak-preview news, the Celebrity Eclipse faced daylight on February 28 when she emerged from the shipyard in Papenburg, Germany – marking her first public appearance. Eclipse is the third ship in the Solstice class and will begin sailing from Southampton on April 26, followed by a series of cruises in the Canary Islands.
I recently had the pleasure of overnighting on St. Barts to review its jewel-box hotel, Eden Rock. (Ah, yes, I love my job.) While it’s hard to go wrong with accommodations on St. Barts – the island is filled with glitzy boutique hotels polished to perfection – the Eden Rock stands out from the gang for a few reasons.
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