NCL Japan Cruises

Cruising to Japan: 11 Incredible Ports to Explore

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When you journey to Japan you will experience a land of culture, history and sites beyond your imagination. To ensure you see all you are meant to, read on to discover 11 incredible ports to explore when you sail Japan with Norwegian Cruise Lines

If you’re looking through Norwegian’s Asia cruises, you’ll find no shortage of beautiful and exotic ports, many of which are in Japan. In fact, you can even book a cruise that primarily explores some of Japan’s most iconic destinations. One option is a 13-day cruise from Yokohama. If you’re planning a cruise to Japan, here’s a look at 11 incredible ports in Japan you can’t miss.

1. Shimizu (Mount Fuji)
Shimizu is a popular port because it’s the gateway to Mount Fuji (pictured above), but it’s also one of Japan’s most beautiful ports. Here, you can visit Japan’s first sushi museum, check out the archeological site of Toro that dates back to 200 BC, or wander through a 650-year-old black pine forest. If you’re interested in regional specialties, you’ll find traditional wooden handicrafts, fabrics, and local eats like a sweet jellied confection known as yokan.

2. Kobe
Kobe, Japan, is famous for its iconic beef, but it’s also the gateway to the popular city of Osaka. Here you can visit Ikuta Shrine, one of Japan’s oldest shrines, and spend the rest of the day eating and drinking your way through one of Japan’s most beloved food destinations. Enjoy an endless amount of street foods, and don’t miss Kobe’s Nada District, which is the top sake-producing region in the county.

3. Kanazawa
Travelers who want to learn more about Japan’s Edo period, which lasted from 1603 to 1886, should book a cruise that stops in Kanazawa. This is the second-largest city to survive World War II intact. You can explore the old castle town, the Nagamachi samurai district, and teahouses in the geisha district. You’ll find no shortage of temples and museums, plus a historic market that dates back to 1721.

4. Sapporo
Sapporo is one of Japan’s youngest cities and was the host city for the 1972 Winter Olympics. World class skiing and the annual ice festival are two reasons people flock to Sapporo, especially in the winter months. From Sapporo, you can also visit other iconic destinations, such as Hokkaido, or mineral-rich hot springs like Noboribetsu.

5. Beppu
Beppu is famous for its countless hot springs. The most famous of these is Jigoku, or Hell Circuit, but you won’t be taking a dip here, as it’s only for admiring. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may be able to view thousands of cherry blossoms in the spring or the stunning leaves of autumn. For local food specialties, don’t miss stopping by the historic Tomonaga Panya. This bakery dates back to 1916, and its signature specialty is the wanchan (doggie) bun.

6. Sasebo
Sasebo was once an old fishing village, but it transitioned into a large naval port in the 19th century. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the wide range of outdoor activities here. Visit the zoological and tropical botanical gardens with over 1,200 plant species and 80 animal species. Love Dutch tulips? Huis Ten Bosch is a recreation of a 17th-century Dutch village, complete with its own tulip fields. For traditional Japanese fare, explore the Yorozu-cho District where you can find a fun market with fresh seafood, produce, and plenty of handmade pottery and clothing.

7. Hakodate
The best views in Hakodate are seen from atop Hakodate Mountain. You can take a scenic ride up the gondola to the observation deck and marvel at the views below. Don’t miss interesting Hakodate attractions like Fort Goryokaku, built in the shape of a star, or the Hakodate market. Be sure to eat local specialties like kaisen-don, a seafood rice bowl.

8. Sakaiminato
The western part of Japan is seafood heaven, and Sakaiminato is the main fishing port for this part of the country. If you’ve eaten succulent snow crab in Japan, it comes from the Sakai Port. Beautiful sculptures from local artist Shigeru Mizuki line Kitaro Road, and the city is famed for its “Yokai” bronze sculptures of Japanese folklore spirit monsters.

9. Kochi
Kochi is another fun Japanese port, especially if you want to experience a Japanese beach. Katsurahama Beach is beautiful and is home to the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial that honors the famous Japanese peace negotiator. Settlement in this area started in 1601, and you can visit the area surrounding the historic Kochi Castle. Don’t miss trying Katsuo no tataki, which is a type of tuna tataki.

10. Miyako-Jima
Okinawa is renowned for its natural beauty, and Miyako-Jima is a beautiful port in the Okinawa Prefecture. Visitors are blown away by the turquoise water and world-class snorkeling. After you’ve worked up an appetite in the water, be sure to try Okinawa soba, a local specialty.

11. Hiroshima
Hiroshima is an emotional port for many travelers. It’s a historically rich region, but also a solemn reminder of World War II. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where you’ll find numerous monuments to honor those who perished during the war. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Hiroshima is renowned for its local cuisine, including okonomiyaki, a crepe-like dish that some people refer to as Japanese pizza. It has vegetables, cabbage, and usually seafood. If you like oysters, don’t miss trying grilled oysters in Hiroshima either.

If your budget and vacation time allows, consider an East Asia cruise that primarily explores some of these ports in Japan. Many itineraries start or end in Tokyo, so you can add extra days to explore one of the world’s most dynamic cities on your own.

 

 

 

 

Original Blog Post can be found here

Pho Bo

Recipe: Vietnamese Pho Bo

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Pho Bo is a National dish with international influence easy enough to make all on your own.

A hearty noodle dish perfect for warming away shivers on a winter’s day, yet somehow refreshing enough to enjoy in summer, pho bo is the epitome of Vietnamese comfort food. Found on almost every street corner and simmered in nearly every home, its complex flavors vary from cook to cook but its pleasant blend of herbs, spices and unique textures never disappoints.

From Pot Au Feu to Pho Bo

Pho bo may be Vietnam’s widely popular national dish, but if the French hadn’t colonized the country in the late 19th century, it may never have come into existence! You see, before the French arrived, the Vietnamese did not use cattle as food. Cows were merely beasts of burden. However, the French were accustomed to using beef in their recipes. It is even said that the dish’s name, “pho,” may have been derived from the French word for fire, “feu,” as in pot au feu, leading many to believe the noodle dish is a Vietnamese adaptation of this similarly cooked French stew.

The Vietnamese Lo Mein

Noodles, ginger and anise may also have been introduced by the Chinese. Considered the Vietnamese answer to “lo mein,” the Vietnamese created pho bo with similar noodles and a combination of aromatic flavors that has delighted people across the world ever since.

Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or making a week’s worth of lunches, pho bo is a simply prepared dish worth the simmering time for maximum flavor.

Ingredients

2 lbs. 3 oz. Beef Bones
10½ Cup Water/beef stock (about 2 ½ cartons stock)
4 tsp. Fish Sauce
3 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
6 TBS and 2 tsp. Garlic
6 TBS and 2 tsp. Ginger
5 pcs Star Anise
2 pcs Cinnamon Sticks (broken into pieces)
1/3 Cup and 4¼ tsp. Onion
1/3 Cup and 4¼ tsp. Carrot
1/2 lb. raw eye of round, sirloin, London broil or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (1/16 inch thick; freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)

Preparation Method

Sauté the carrots and onion with the star anise, ginger, cinnamon and garlic. Caramelize nicely until golden brown, then add the water/beef stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Leave to cool, then strain off the stock. Add fish sauce, sugar and salt. Correct the seasoning to taste. Makes approximately 6 servings.

Condiments and Garnish for Soup

Thick Rice Noodles (Cooked)
Bean Sprouts
Long Leaves (Vietnamese Mint, Perilla Leaves)
Lime
Red Chili Finely Chopped
Lettuce (Iceberg)
Sweet Basil/Hot Basil
Lemongrass
Sliced Onion

Preparation Method with Beef

Mix all ingredients into the soup and stir together. Divide noodles among 6 serving bowls and top with sirloin. Pour hot broth over the top. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, and the flavors are infused. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili -garlic sauce on the side.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)

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This quintessential Thai chicken coconut soup is a deliciously aromatic accompaniment to any meal with an Asian flair or a complete meal on its own. This soup is served in Red Ginger, Oceania Cruises Asian restaurant on board, and you can learn this recipe and other Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese favorites from this restaurant during their “Most Requested Red Ginger” class at The Culinary Center on Marina and Riviera.

According to Chef Kathryn Kelly, Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment, Thai cuisine is best characterized as complex, balanced, fresh and spicy – and this classic chicken and coconut soup brings that description to life with fresh lemongrass, lime juice, coconut milk, Thai chilies and galangal – which is also known as Thai ginger and is in the ginger family, but the flavor is markedly more citrusy and earthy.

 

Serves 6

16 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass, mashed
1 cup coarsely chopped galangal
8 kaffir lime leaves
2 Thai chilies
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 cups straw mushroom pieces
18 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 3 to 5 limes
18 cilantro leaves

In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine the chicken stock, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and chilies and simmer until the stock reduces by half, about 1½ to 2 hours. Decrease the heat to low, add the chicken and poach to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C. Remove the chicken, let cool and shred. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Return the stock to the stockpot over medium heat, reheat the stock and add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Divide the shredded chicken, mushroom pieces and cherry tomatoes among 6 bowls. Just before serving, stir the lime juice into the stock, adjusting the amount to taste. Divide the stock among the bowls, garnish each with cilantro leaves and enjoy!

2020 Dates for the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection

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Award-winning small ship line Windstar Cruises, the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, today reveals six new cruises being added to the James Beard Foundation (JBF) Culinary Cruise Collection for 2020.

All sailings are led by James Beard Foundation-recognized guest chefs, sommeliers and beverage experts with a passion for their destination. The six diverse cruise offerings will explore locavore cuisine on a country-immersive Croatia cruise; get a flavor for the rugged north of Alaska; discover the hidden gems of France, Spain, and Portugal’s Atlantic coast; experience exotic cuisines of Indonesia and the Philippines; delight in the hidden harbors of the Caribbean; and introduce cruisers to the trend-setting foodie scene and wine regions of the U.S. West Coast. The six newly announced cruises are scheduled to sail from January through November 2020, and range in length from 7 to 14 days.

Together, Windstar and the James Beard Foundation are taking guests on epicurean adventures that deliver the best travel and cuisine experiences worldwide, by curating genuine local culinary encounters while drawing attention to the impactful work of the Beard Foundation network which celebrates food and advocates for food sustainability.

“Our exclusive partnership with the James Beard Foundation has allowed us to enrich our culinary experiences giving our guests unparalleled access to the most cutting edge and accomplished culinarians in the industry. Every evening, on every single sailing, our cruise guests enjoy destination-inspired JBF dishes created especially for Windstar by the James Beard guest chefs who have sailed with us. We have proudly hosted nearly three dozen chefs, sommeliers and beverage experts and counting. What is unique is that each one has a special connection to the places they are sailing, whether through food or family heritage, this creates powerful and inspiring personal experiences that our guests will never forget,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

Coinciding with this announcement, and as part of the unique travel-culinary alliance, Windstar sponsors the acclaimed James Beard Foundation Awards, the pinnacle of recognition in the culinary world, happening today at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, IL.

James Beard Foundation President Clare Reichenbach commented, “We are so pleased to have Windstar’s support of our mantra ‘good food for good’, which commits the James Beard Foundation to giving culinary professionals the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone. The JBF Culinary Cruise Collection shines a light on these chefs and wine experts and highlights the important role that food plays in the culture and economies of each of the ports where Windstar sails, the world round.”

A number of Windstar alumni guest chefs are attending the JBF Awards Gala including Chef Danielle Leoni of Breadfruit in Phoenix, AZ. who led guests on a Caribbean cruise adventure in January, and is a James Beard Foundation 2018 Fellow for the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program; also attending is acclaimed Chef Hugh Acheson of Empire State South, Five & Ten, and The National in Atlanta, GA. who headlined a 2017 European JBF Culinary Cruise and is nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Windstar’s Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn joins an exclusive club of chefs that have been invited to prepare a signature bite for the 1,000 plus guests attending the famed JBF Awards Gala. Chef Cockburn sails aboard each JBF cruise overseeing the culinary operations, and the dishes specially developed by the James Beard guest chefs are featured in Windstar’s restaurants each evening and enjoyed on every sailing. For the JBF Awards Gala, Chef Cockburn has developed a recipe inspired by Windstar’s forays into the alpine areas and glaciers of Alaska and will be serving up Seared Venison Loin & Alaskan Pine Spruce Salad with Nasturtium Pesto and Goat Buttermilk Dressing at the epicurean extravaganza.

Windstar also supports JBF’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. A number of the guest chefs who have sailed with Windstar are alumni of the prestigious camp, a part of the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs which are committed to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership.

Windstar’s JBF Culinary Cruise Collection Offers Authentic Culinary Experiences

The bespoke portfolio of nine total upcoming sailings in the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection embarking June 2019 through November 2020, are attracting food and wine enthusiasts seeking to fully immerse themselves in the culture, tastes, and flavors of regional cuisines where the ships sail. Each cruise features a James Beard chef, working alongside Windstar’s culinary team. The guest chef acts as an onboard culinary ambassador teaching first-hand tips and techniques during cooking demonstrations, leading “Shopping with the Chef” tours to local markets, and picking out fresh local ingredients to use in featured dishes at a wine-paired gala dinner for all on board to enjoy.

Similarly, the JBF sommelier/beverage expert accompanies tours to local wineries, leads on board tastings of regional wines and spirits, and works with the chefs to create one-of-a-kind pairing menus that celebrate the quaint, small ports that Windstar is renowned for visiting. Guests on board get to know these epicurean experts on a personal level, tasting the dishes and wines they recommend and hearing firsthand what stirs their passion for food, wine, and spirits. One-on-one interactions with the guest chef and sommelier/beverage expert are a given during memorable cruise moments like Windstar’s Signature Sail Away and Signature Deck Party, or on a culinary-focused shore excursion.

The names of the 2020 guest chefs, sommeliers, and beverage experts who are being tapped as the culinary cruise ambassadors will be announced in the coming weeks. Below are the dates and itineraries for the six newly announced 2020 additions to the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection:

  • January 25, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: The Spanish Main: Rise of the New World, Colón to San Juan, 7 days aboard Star Pride
  • May 5, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza, San Diego to Vancouver, 10 days aboard Star Breeze
  • June 8, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Alaskan Splendors, Vancouver to Seward (Anchorage), 11 days aboard Star Breeze
  • September 19, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Autumn on the Atlantic Coast, London to Lisbon, 10 days aboard Star Legend
  • October 16, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Quintessential Croatia, Venice to Venice, 8 days aboard Wind Surf
  • November 2, 2020 – James Beard Foundation: Windstar Crew Hometowns: Philippines & Indonesia, Hong Kong to Bali, 14 days cruise aboard Star Breeze

In addition, following is the super star line-up of award-winning chefs and celebrated sommeliers who will headline the three remaining 2019 JBF Culinary Cruise Collection sailings:

June 22, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: Yachtsman’s Harbors of the Rivieras, 8 days aboard Wind Surf

  • Chef & Restaurateur Jamie Leeds, JL Restaurant Group & Hank’s Oyster Bar in Washington, D.C.
  • Sommelier Jeff Strine, JL Restaurant Group & Hank’s Oyster Bar, and more) in Washington, D.C.

Chef and Restaurateur Jamie Leeds — a James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp Alumna and owner of JL Restaurant Group — will be seeking out the freshest French oysters and bringing guests on chef-led visits to lively markets to gather produce, herbs, fish, and more to showcase in cooking demonstrations and a gala evening meal on board. Alongside her will be Jeff Strine, who works closely with Jamie at JL Restaurant Group where he developed a thoughtful and concise wine program for Hank’s Oyster Bar’s seasonal seafood-focused menu.

Both love to travel and are excited to visit lesser-known wine regions and visits to smaller ports such as quaint Sanary-sur-Mer, France. This coastal jewel offers a wine tasting tour above the vineyards in the Provençal hilltop village of Le Castellet, followed by a visit to Domaine de Souviou for tasting the house wines and olive oils grown on the expansive 70-hectares property that is planted with 100-year-old olive trees and rows of vines, cypress trees, and lavender, a treat for all of the senses.

 

September 24, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza 10 days aboard Star Legend

  • Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen + Farm, Bovolo, and Black Pig Meat Co. in Sonoma County
  • Beverage Expert Michael Metzger of Distinguished Vineyards and Wine Partners

Award-winning Chef Duskie Estes is the perfect culinary guide for this first-ever Windstar sailing along the West Coast of America, as she was born in San Diego, raised in San Francisco, and spent eight years in Seattle working for JBF-awarded Restaurateur Tom Douglas before moving to Sonoma County, where she is celebrated as a chef and avid farmer/advocate for “snout to tail” cooking.

Providing wine pairings and insight will be Michael Metzger from Distinguished Vineyards, who works with the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Program as their sustainable wine partner and represents a collection of iconic wineries including the highly acclaimed Argyle Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, MacRostie Winery and Vineyards in Sonoma, and Markham Vineyards in Napa Valley.

As with all Windstar sailings, this first-ever West Coast cruise boasts a myriad of shore-side adventures including specially curated culinary shore excursions from vineyard visits, to food trucks and farmers’ markets. In Seattle, guests will enjoy a behind-the-scenes docent tour of the iconic Pike Place Market; after sailing up the Columbia River, the ship has a two-day overnight stay in James Beard’s native Oregon, where guests can enjoy an “Elevated Foodie Walking Tour” of the Portland culinary scene, or a brewery/cidery tasting tour. An all-day excursion to Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley allows guests to indulge in private tastings at three wineries in the region that put Pinot Noir on the U.S. map. In Sonoma, foodies will delight in a private cave tour with wine and cheese tasting at the Gloria Ferrer Winery, followed by lunch and an afternoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegars tasting at Figone Olive Oil & Production Mill.

Also of note, this U.S. West Coast itinerary is featured as one of the newly announced 2020 culinary cruises but sailing aboard Star Breeze, following her upcoming full ship renovation as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative. The May 5, 2020 itinerary will be a reverse version of the 2019 offering with similar culinary-focused shore excursions, but departing from San Diego, CA. and sailing to Vancouver, B.C. instead. Details on chef and beverage experts in 2020 will be announced soon.

October 14, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast, 8 days aboard Wind Surf

  • Chef Chris Pandel of Swift & Sons, Cold Storage, and Dutch & Doc’s in Chicago
  • Beverage Expert Marcello Cancelli of the Boka Group in Chicago

Chef Chris Pandel, a James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp Alumnus, has a love affair with Italy and Italian-American heritage, so who better to cruise with and explore the shores of Italy, Croatia, and Montenegro, discovering the charm of Venice, the magnificence of Rome, and the vast beauty of the Dalmatian Coast? While visiting the picturesque seaside resort of Rovinj, a top pick shore excursion lets guests tour the wine cellar of the Matosevic Family, Croatia’s most well-known wine producers.

Offering beautiful wine pairings on this cruise is Marcello Cancelli, a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers who is Area Wine Director for Chicago’s Boka Group, overseeing the wine programs at Swift & Sons, Momotaro, Bellemore, Girl & the Goat, and more. Cancelli will be demonstrating his passion and commitment to great wine and its rightful place alongside a meal.

 

For more information on Windstar’s partnership with the James Beard Foundation, find featured recipes, and view the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection visit: https://www.windstarcruises.com/why-windstar/james-beard-foundation/. To learn more about the Beard Foundation visit: https://www.jamesbeard.org/.

 

Windstar has garnered recent culinary awards, notably being named Best Small Cruise Ships for Dining in Cruise Critic’s 2019 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, and a 2019 Editor-in-Chief Award for Best Cruise Partnership as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation from Porthole Cruise Magazine. Windstar was also voted 2018 Best Small Ship Cruise Line by AFAR readers; scored a top spot as Best Small Ship in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and was named to the magazine’s prestigious Gold List for 2019; while Windstar’s flagship Wind Surf ranked #1 Midsize-Ship Ocean Cruise Lines in the 2018 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.

Unprecedented Entertainment Lineup In Store For Spectrum of the Seas

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Royal Caribbean Unveils Unprecedented Lineup of Entertainment on Spectrum of the Seas with awe-inspiring entertainment experiences for Guests of all Ages.

Shanghai, May 14, 2019 – Royal Caribbean International, the leading largest global luxury cruise ship line has pulled back the curtain on the entertainment lineup for its newest ship Spectrum of the Seas. The signature productions, developed in house by Royal Caribbean, the largest entertainment producer in the world, will feature unrivaled talent, immersive technology and unparalleled special effects to create spectacular entertainment experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

“Technology is the frontline of entertainment and we are pushing those boundaries on Spectrum of the Seas to create exceptional live performances in our theaters,” said Nick Weir, Senior Vice President, Entertainment, Royal Caribbean International. “We use advanced robotic programming and state-of-the-art digital and audio technology, alongside highly trained, world-class performers and aerialists to create an immersive story and unforgettable show for the whole family.”

Tech-Centered Entertainment in Two70

Two70 will feature next-generation entertainment that seamlessly fuses performance art and technology. With its signature Vistarama technology, which transforms the 270-degree panoramic windows into a projection surface that measures 135 feet wide and 22 feet tall, the iconic venue at the aft of the ship presents spectacular digital art, from iconic city skylines to larger-than-life waterfalls, that takes form in surprise and delight programming. In addition, a troupe of six, agile Roboscreens come to life in perfect sync with music, special effects and multi-talented live performers, to awe guests with stunningly visual shows that can only be seen while sailing onboard Spectrum.

  • The Silk Road, an original production created by Royal Caribbean International exclusively for Two70, will take center stage on Spectrum. The incredibly rich and diverse cultures, colors, music and visuals of this famous trade route will come to life as guests are taken on a mystical journey. Combined with world-class, state-of-the-art entertainment technology with the Vistarama and Roboscreens, the audience will be transported into this stunning chapter of human history.

 

Headlining the Main Theater

Seating 1,300 guests, the magnificent Royal Theater is home to Spectrum of the Seas’ two new production shows:

  • The Effectors introduces guests to four new superheroes with the power to change the world: Captain Coreo, the leader of the pack, has the power to control all forms of movement and motion; Lume, a sassy and dynamic super girl, has the ability to control light, laser and all things visual; Pixel is beautiful, sexy, enigmatic and the most mysterious one of the group who has the total control over video imagery and projection power; Reverb is the most unpredictable and hardest to control, whose power is enormous, as he can control sound and all things audio! The four superheroes unite their powers to fight the evil enemy, Crash, as he tries to stop the show and the world.
  • Showgirl! Present. Future. takes guests on the iconic journey of the ultimate entertainer – the Showgirl. Presented in the Royal Theater, the show combines next-generation choreography, incredible vocal performances, lavish costumes, and cutting-edge lighting and video effects to deliver an entertainment experience that will stimulate all senses.

 

With Royal Caribbean, the entertainment doesn’t end on stage. Spectrum offers guests a lineup of fully produced events, parties and activities.

  • Sky Pad – a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet.
  • Battle for Planet Z – an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure brings two teams of eight head-to-head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.
  • Expedition Two70 – test your adventuring skills in four fully immersive augmented reality games. Raise temples, blast ruins and more on your quest to recover ancient masks and complete your quest.
  • Star Moment – a lively and energetic karaoke venue where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars
  • SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea provides sports experiences from various parts of the world, including China’s national game – table tennis; American style basketball; roller skating originated from Holland; fencing, a popular sport with the upper class of Europe; and modern archery, originated in the UK. SeaPlex also will host new augmented reality walls and floors, providing guests with thrilling, high-tech interactive experiences.

“Entertainment is an important aspect of the vacation experience,” said by Dr. Zinan Liu, President for China and North Asia Pacific Region, Royal Caribbean International. “Royal Caribbean continues to push boundaries, not only in the cruise experience but in our entertainment as well. On Spectrum of the Seas we will launch three new shows simultaneously, plus a series of hi-tech games, interactive experiences and sports facilities, that will provide a distinctive vacation experience for our guests.”

Spectrum of the Seas was designed and built to deliver an unforgettable vacation experience for all guests. The first in the Quantum Ultra class of ships will boast Royal Caribbean International’s first private enclave for suite guests, new stateroom categories, innovative dining concepts, and stunning features and experiences – many of which have never before been seen at sea. Accommodating 4,246 guests at double occupancy and 1,551 international crew members, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she sails from Shanghai starting in June 2019.

Cuisine of Bea Tollman

Bea Tollman’s legacy of delicious cuisine

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Bea Tollman’s culinary career began in the kitchen of her and her husband’s first hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa—The Nugget. What started out as helping prepare starters and desserts turned into a passion for creating recipes that would become staple dishes for their guests. Since then, her traditional home cooking has dazzled guests for decades, becoming a cornerstone of Red Carnation Hotels and Uniworld River Cruises alike.

 

Oceania Cruises to Eliminate Plastic Water Bottles

Oceania Cruises To Eliminate Plastic Water Bottles

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Oceania Cruise to eliminate plastic water bottles in pioneering green initiative – Partnership with Vero Water will save more than three million plastic bottles per year.

Miami, FL, January 31, 2019 – Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, announced a ground-breaking sustainability initiative to eliminate millions of plastic water bottles per year through a new partnership with Vero Water. This pioneering green initiative is the newest facet of the brand’s OceaniaNEXT enhancements and the company’s larger Sail & Sustain environmental program.

“By introducing Vero Water to the Oceania Cruises experience, we are not only taking a quantum leap forward environmentally, we are providing our guests with the gold-standard of still and sparkling water,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises. As part of its OceaniaNEXT initiative, the line’s ships will be outfitted with Vero Water’s acclaimed still and sparkling water distillation systems starting in April. Installation of the Vero Water systems will ultimately eliminate an estimated three million plastic bottles per year.

The Who’s Who of the Hospitality World
Vero Water, is the world’s leading purveyor of premium water distillation systems and is used around the globe by leading luxury hospitality brands such as Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott, Kimpton, MGM Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt, Fisher Island Club, Sea Island, and at the crème de la crème of restaurants including James Beard Award-winning Saba New Orleans, Eleven Madison Park, Meadowood at Napa Valley, Farmhouse Inn, Saison, Tribeca Grill, Blue Hill, and too many others to name.

Vero Water’s environmentally friendly approach to great-tasting distilled water utilizes dishwasher-safe glass bottles which can be used over and over again, eliminating up to three million plastic bottles per year. Vero Water’s proprietary purification system which utilizes Nano-Filtration and five separate layers of filters delivers delicious, crisp, perfectly chilled water.

Vero Water Onboard and Ashore
Vero Water service will be implemented in two phases during the coming year. Phase One focuses on implementing the onboard water service in suites, staterooms, restaurants, lounges and bars which will start in April and is expected to be completed by mid-June. Phase Two will marry the Vero Water service with the guest experience ashore. All guests will be provided with their own re-useable Vero Water bottle which will be theirs to keep and to take home with them. This phase-in is expected to start in the second half of 2019.

Implementation Schedule
Riviera – April 2, 2019
Marina – April 19, 2019
Regatta – May 1, 2019
Sirena – May 19, 2019
Nautica – May 30, 2019
Insignia – June 19, 2019

 

 

About OceaniaNEXT
OceaniaNEXT is a sweeping array of dramatic enhancements so transformational, they are inspirational. The Regatta-Class re-inspiration is the first in a line of exciting announcements and enhancements to come in 2018, 2019, and beyond. This ambitious brand initiative will elevate every facet of the Oceania Cruises guest experience to new levels. From thoughtfully crafted new dining experiences and reimagined menus to the dramatic re-inspiration of the iconic Regatta-Class ships, guests will savor The Finest Cuisine at Sea™, be pampered aboard intimate and luxurious ships, and be enriched through in-depth destination exploration.

About Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises is the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line. The line’s six intimate and luxurious ships which carry only 684 or 1,250 guests offer an unrivaled vacation experience featuring the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe. Expertly crafted voyages aboard designer-inspired, intimate ships call on more than 450 ports across Europe, Alaska, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, New England-Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Tahiti and the South Pacific and epic 180-day Around the World Voyages.

About VERO WATER®
Vero Water is a healthy lifestyle choice for Inspired Living. VERO WATER® is a leading provider of luxury still and sparkling water to the hospitality industry and is served to over 50 million consumers a year in six countries and in the United States from coast-to-coast in over 40 states. Vero’s proprietary purification and bottling process enables hospitality and business clients to purify, chill, fill and serve Vero still and sparkling water on-premise and on-demand. Served perfectly chilled from a luxury branded bottle with every pour, Vero’s signature taste is pure and crisp – noted by a distinctively luxurious mouthfeel and a light and refreshing finish. A profile that cleanses the palate, enabling the taste of the food and drinks to be at the center of the dining experience. The exceptional water taste 01and quality, combined with the unparalleled level of concierge service provided to its clients, has propelled Vero Water into many of the most acclaimed restaurants worldwide, firmly establishing it as the water brand proudly served by the most demanding and successful chefs, restaurateurs and owner operators in the hospitality industry. verowater.com

About Sail & Sustain
We remain committed to being a responsible corporate citizen by fostering a culture of awareness and respect for our world’s resources. Our core company values extend beyond our ships and encourages the preservation of the precious natural resources that are integral to our success. Our ability to offer extraordinary guest experiences relies on the clean and healthy marine environment and well-being of the destinations we visit.

Diamond Princess Debuts New Upgrades

New Upgrades Debut Onboard Diamond Princess

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 559 0

Cruise Line Completes 14-Day Dry Dock in Singapore

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Feb. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Princess Cruises guests aboard Diamond Princess will now enjoy a refreshed onboard atmosphere following an extensive 14-day, multimillion dollar dry dock in Singapore, continuing Princess Cruises “Come Back New Promise” commitment focused on investing more than $450 million across the global fleet.

Enhanced offerings onboard Diamond Princess include:

Entertainment Upgrades – guests watching a movie, sporting event or concert on the outdoor Movies Under the Stars screen now enjoy updated 7.1 surround sound digital audio and pool deck LED lighting enhancements for a more vibrant colorful entertainment experience.

Casino – guests who enjoy gaming excitement will be surrounded by new carpet, light fixtures and new flat-screen TVs.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatment rooms have been upgraded and the latest in Precor fitness equipment is now available.

“Asia, and particularly Japan, is on many of our guests’ bucket list, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this hospitable island nation,” said Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises. “This is the seventh season Princess Cruises has offered home port voyages from Japan, and we are thrilled to provide guests with our enriched onboard features that bring Japanese culture and beauty to life while sailing this region.”

Further general refurbishments were also completed aboard Diamond Princess, including upgraded digital audio system for the Princess Theatre, Explorers Lounge and Club Fusion, as well as new furnishings in the Horizon Court.

In recent months, Diamond Princess also received product enhancements:

The Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Diamond Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus. The bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design and recently received the highest ranking for “Best Cruise Ship Beds” by Cruise Critic.

New Wine List – offering more wine-making regions, varietals and blends than ever before, a total of 142 wines from around the world were curated in partnership with Doug Frost, one of only four people in the world to hold both a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier title.

In addition to the new wine menu, six new beverage menus will be rolled out at The Sanctuary, Pool Deck, Wheelhouse, Crooners, and Explorer’s Lounge throughout 2019 onboard Diamond Princess.

Following the dry dock in Singapore, Diamond Princess will embark on a 12-night sailing to Phu My, Nha Trang, Hong Kong, Taipei, Osaka and Shimizu (Mount Fuji) before returning to Yokohama for her 2019 Japan cruise season featuring 60 departures on 40 unique itineraries, visiting 41 destinations in seven countries. Diamond Princess guests will enjoy the itineraries that take them to ports around Japan and Asian destinations visiting sites famous for beautiful spring flowers, summer festivals, as well as fall foliage.

Built in Japan, Diamond Princess features the Izumi Bath, the largest open-air Japanese bath at sea – an 8,800 sq. ft bath and garden complex, offering indoor and outdoor Japanese bathing experiences including steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs with spectacular ocean vistas. Guests can experience the full color and culture of the region onboard with Diamond’s distinctly Japanese offerings such as Kai Sushi, an authentic sushi bar, and traditional music and entertainment, all while enjoying the warm, welcoming service that is synonymous with Princess.

Lamararap Indonesia

Itinerary Spotlight: Explore Indonesia with Silversea

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 427 0

Immerse in culture and tradition during an amazing 31-day journey of discovery. Be transported by a patchwork of languages, stunning beauty and delicious cuisine in kaleidoscopic Indonesia. Then, embrace your inner explorer as you prepare for an intoxicating voyage of myth and magic in as da Gama and Magellan before you. A route less travelled by all but the curious, be prepared to be amazed.

31 Day Asia Cruise | 25 Ports 4 Countries
Yangon to Darwin March 05 2019 on board the Silver Discoverer

 

DAY 1 | YANGON, MYANMAR
The capital until 2006, Yangon (Rangoon) is Myanmar’s largest city and its commercial center. It is truly developing, and full of juxtapositions: new high-rises abut traditional Southeast Asian shophouses while down the street from a frozen yogurt bar, a sidewalk dentist goes to work. Yangon’s rich collection of colonial architecture is one of its biggest draws; The Strand and its surrounding side streets look today much as they did at the turn of the century, when Yangon—then Rangoon—was under British rule. Yangon’s most iconic sight is unquestionably the enormous gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, but what makes it worth visiting beyond that is the rich, vibrant life that spills out of people’s homes and onto the streets. Colorful and chaotic, Yangon is a feast for the senses. Grinning uniformed schoolchildren and preadolescent monks vie for sidewalk space as vendors hawk fried goods and longyi-wearing businessmen go off to work. On a street of Indian-run paint shops sits the country’s only synagogue, a 19th-century relic; blocks away rise the steeples of St. Mary’s Cathedral, another reminder of the city’s colonial past.

 

DAY 2 | DAY AT SEA
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

 

DAY 3 | PORT BLAIR, INDIA
The Andamans lie on the ancient trade routes between India and the Far East. They were known to mariners from as early as the 7th century. Among the first western visitors in the 13th century was Marco Polo, who wrote of the inhabitants as being “hostile people who would kill and eat any outsider that ventured onto the islands”. However, it was later established that cannibalism was not a practice in the islands. The islands were first settled by the British in the late 18th century when Captain Archibald Blair, on behalf of the British East India Company, founded a naval station on Chatham Island, now known as Port Blair. In 1858 a penal colony was established in Port Blair, used mainly to hold Indian freedom fighters. The clearing of jungle areas and reclaiming of swamps by these first convicts gradually helped to establish a settlement.

The growing population consisted mostly of convicts who, after they served their time, decided to stay and settle in the Andamans. During World War II, the islands were occupied by the Japanese, who incarcerated many Indians on the suspicion of being British spies. As a result the local tribes took up guerrilla activities against the Japanese. When India gained independence from Britain in 1947, the islands became part of the Indian Union.

 

DAY 4 | SOUTH CINQUE ISLAND (ANDAMAN ISLANDS), INDIA
South Cinque is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the Andaman Islands. A 1 km (0.6 mile) wide sand bar connects South Cinque to North Cinque Island and the two islands are sometimes referred to as being a single Cinque Island. The Cinque Island Wildlife Sanctuary is a specially designated National Park Area with many coral bommies fringing the island. South Cinque Island also belongs to the Mahatma Gandhi Marine Park where more than forty coral species have been recorded in an impressive example of the biodiversity of this region.

 

DAY 5 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 6 | SABANG PULAU WE, INDONESIA
Sabang is the largest city on the island of Weh or Pulau Weh. Weh is a small, active volcanic island, just northwest of Sumatra. It’s at the northern end of the Indonesian Archipelago and at one time, was a coal loading station for ships passing between Europe and Asia. Today, the island is known for its ecosystem and much of its surrounding sea and inland areas have been declared as wildlife protection areas by the Indonesian government. Pulau Weh attracts visitors seeking underwater diving, hiking through the volcanic mountains and relaxation by the beach. Those venturing into the city will see some of the remaining colonial buildings and the large trees that offer them shade. The island and city are virtually untouched by tourism and a sense of adventure when exploring ashore is needed.

 

DAY 7 | SIMEULUE ISLANDS (SUMATRA), INDONESIA
With some of the highest biodiversity of anywhere in the entire Asia-Pacific region, the small island group of Simeulue is as yet unspoiled and undeveloped. Located at the northern tip of Sumatra off the west coast, the islands are part of Aceh province. Several earthquakes have rocked this region in recent years; one in particular is reported to have raised part of the islands about 2 meters, or 6 feet, up out of the water. However, the door of discovery is still open for travelers keen to find pristine beaches, solitary local fishing boats colorfully floating on the blue sea, and stunning peninsulas with long peeling waves. The islands are also enriched with Islamic culture and friendly local people.

 

DAY 8 | NIAS ISLANDS, INDONESIA
The island of Nias is heavily green with thick tropical forests edging into the settlements along the narrow roads that skirt the island. The terrain is hilly, green, lush, with frequent steep river valleys draining water from the interior’s highlands, crossed by numerous bridges. From the air and from the ground, the sea around the island can appear murky from the runoff of all the rivers and the fertile soils they run through. Roughly 75% of the population is farmers and there are open-air markets selling fresh produce all along the roads. When school lets out at mid-day the narrow roads become clogged with kids in school uniforms heading home on foot and moped. Sections of the coastline are rough, jagged limestone reef rock. Areas of Nias were dramatically altered by the tsunami of 2004.

 

DAY 9 | PADANG SUMATRA FOR CUPEK, INDONESIA
Padang is part old port town, and part modern capital of West Sumatra. Dutch colonialists traded coffee and spices from the harbor starting in the 17th century. Driving out from Padang one can reach Cupek, a Minangkabau village in Sumatra’s interior. The ancestral homelands of the Minangkabau, devout Muslims, are centered in West Sumatra’s lush highlands and stretch as far as the seashore. They claim the world’s largest matrilineal society and ownership of a family’s property—their homes, rice paddies and the like—passes from mother to daughter. Crops like rice, cabbage, beans and the all-important chilies grow in abundance, and the Minangnese are known for their spicy, sumptuous cuisine.

 

DAY 10 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 11 | UJUNG KULON NATIONAL PARK, INDONESIA
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Ujung Kulon National Park rests at the southwestern tip of Java. The National Park includes the Ujung Kulon Peninsula that contains the largest remaining lowland rain forest on the Java plain, as well as the Natural Reserve of Krakatoa. Birds that flourish in these habitats include Asian Pied Hornbill, Caspian and Bridled Terns, as well as White-bellied Sea Eagles, Tiger Shrikes, Sunda Minivets, and Javan Kingfisher. Hundreds of barking deer can also be found in the dense tropical forest, along with macaques, monitor lizards and wild boars.

 

DAY 11 | ANAK KRAKATOA, INDONESIA
In the Sunda Strait of Indonesia lies an area that was witness to one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in historical times. Anak Krakatoa is a volcano that first emerged from the sea in 1930 and has grown continuously since the 1950s. The active nature of the volcano is the ultimate decider of whether or not a landing can be made on the black sand beaches of the island. Krakatoa’s active fumaroles, lava flows, beautifully colored rocks and the volcano itself are all stunning.

 

DAY 12 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 13 | KARIMUNJAWA (JAVA SEA), INDONESIA
This idyllic location, established in 1999 under Swedish management and ownership, is located on one of the 27 tropical islands in the Karimunjawa archipelago. Covered by coconut trees and surrounded by white sandy beaches, Menyawakan Island lies some 64 nautical miles off Java’s coast. This tranquil and secluded setting attracts discerning guests who appreciate the tropical and laid back ambiance.

 

DAY 14 | SUMENEP, INDONESIA
Sumenep is sleepy town located on the eastern side of the island of Madura. Sumenep and the surrounding areas are home to a number of traditional arts and crafts – among them the production of Keris (daggers), batik, woodcarving of the Karduluk style, and the Muang Sangkal dances. Sumenep is also known for timeworn villas and historic buildings including the Sumenep Great Mosque and the Palace (Keraton) of Sumenep. The island of Madura may be most famous for its bull races, which are opened with the performance of Saronen, a traditional Madurese music. These races started as a gesture of gratitude for abundant harvest and are now an important part of Madurese traditions.

 

DAY 15 | PROBOLINGGO (JAVA), INDONESIA
Probolinggo is a beautiful and enchanting city on the north coast of East Java, Indonesia. It is located on one of the major highways across Java, has a harbour filled with fishing vessels and is surrounded on the landward side by the Probolinggo Regency, but is not part of the regency. Probolinggo is home to the Javanese, Maduranese, Pendalungan (descents of Java and Maduranese) and Tenggerese, who still practice their centuries-old customs and traditions. Probolinggo is bordered by the imposing Mount Semeru, Bromo and Argopuro mountain group, and lined with lovely beaches to the north. Probolinggo’s volcanic, mineral-rich soil is highly fertile. The mountains surrounding Probolinggo City abound with lush, tropical foliage, spectacular panoramic vistas, and points of natural interests, history and culture. The motto of the city is ‘Bestari’, which is an acronym of bersih (cleanliness), sehat (healthy), tertib (orderly), aman (safe), rapi (neat), and indah (beautiful).

 

DAY 16 | BALI, INDONESIA
Bali really is as alluring as everyone says. This island, slightly bigger than Delaware, has it all: beaches, volcanoes, terraced rice fields, forests, renowned resorts, surfing, golf, and world-class dive sites. But what sets Bali apart from other nearby tropical destinations is Balinese tradition, and villagers dedicated to celebrating it. The hundreds of temples, dances, rituals, and crafts linked to their ancient Hindu faith aren’t a show for tourists, but a living, breathing culture in which visitors are warmly received by the Balinese, who cherish their own identities.

 

DAY 17 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 18 | KOMODO ISLAND, INDONESIA
Komodo, the volcanic island of giant lizards, lies 320 miles (515 kilometres) east of Bali. Komodo is 25 miles (40 kilometres) long and 12 miles (19 kilometres) wide; its parched hills ascend to a height of 2,410 feet (734 metres). Komodo is home to a small community of some 500 people who make their living primarily from fishing. The island’s centrepiece is Komodo National Park, where you will find the most tangible legacy left behind from the Jurassic Era. Komodo Island was little-known and the Komodo dragons were only a myth until pearl fishermen discovered the giant lizards in the early-1900s. Extinct almost everywhere else, the island attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world who come to see the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. Komodo National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

The Komodo dragon’s great bulk and weight are its most unique characteristics; even hatchlings average 20 inches (51 centimetres) in length. The adult male can reach 10 feet (3 metres) and weigh up to 330 pounds (150 kilos). Females attain only two-thirds of this size, and lay up to 30 eggs at a time. With their saw-like teeth, these fierce creatures are able to rip apart a deer, goat or wild pig. The animals have an uncanny sense of smell, and are considered among the world’s most intelligent reptiles. They are quite agile over short distances, and can move swiftly to capture their prey. The Indonesian Directorate of Nature Conservation (PPA) administers Komodo National Park. A park ranger must escort all visitors; independent exploration of the park is not permitted.

KOMODO ISLAND PINK BEACH
Pink Beach earned its name for the way the beach can appear to have a rosy hue in certain lights. The color comes from small flecks of red coral mixed in with the fine white reef sand. With a few trees along the beach for shade, this stretch of coast makes a fine place to relax or enjoy a snorkel or dive in the crystal clear waters. It is possible to spot a striped clown fish nestled among the protective tentacles of its sea anemone host, or to see a grouper lazily swimming by a flamboyant soft coral. The reef here is now protected by law and the maturing corals are a joy to behold.

 

DAY 19 | ENDE FLORES, INDONESIA
The town of Ende is found on the south coast of Flores, part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Ende is also the capital city of Indonesia’s Ende Regency. Unlike many other places in Indonesia, the town and the island are predominantly Roman Catholic as they were under Portuguese rule for some 300 years. Ende is the gateway to the Kelimutu National Park to see the three coloured lakes of Kelimutu. To get there one will have to drive through the Indonesian rainforest and eventually climb up to see the “Lake of Young Men and Maidens”, the “Bewitched Lake” and the “Lake of Old People” –all of which not only have different colours controlled by the changes in chemical conditions, but also a distinctive physical structure, and a unique geochemical and hydrothermal regime.

 

DAY 20 | LAMARARAP, INDONESIA
Lamararap is the region of the last two traditional whaling villages in Eastern Indonesia. Although slowly dying out, the ancient tradition of whaling is still the principal economic activity here – as proven by the many types of whalebone on display in the village. Whaling boats are made entirely of wood with wooden pegs and there is not a nail to be found. The boats’ sails are made of woven palm leaves. In an impressive feat of strength and skill, traditional whalers with harpoons leap off a long bowsprit and spear the whale while still holding the harpoon. Sometimes a demonstration of this process can be offered to Lamalera’s visitors. Whaling permeates life here with whale and boat patterns being prevalent in the village’s hand-woven ikat textiles.

 

DAY 21 | TAKPALA (KALABAHI), INDONESIA
Kalabahi is the capital and main seaport of Alor Island, the largest landmass in the Alor archipelago. Roughly 60,000 inhabitants call Kalabahi home and enjoy a wide variety of goods and services available here. Kalabahi has grown as a town in part because it is situated on some of the only level ground on the volcanic and rugged island of Alor. Inland from Kalabahi is the small traditional village of Takpala. The attractive rustic homes of the village are open and airy, and the Abui people living here harvest, dry, roast and grind their coffee by hand. The traditional dances and welcome ceremonies express a close-knit society cultivated in this tranquil setting.

 

DAY 22 | PULAU TELLANG, INDONESIA
Pulau Tellang is a tiny island of Indonesia, located just next to Pulau Maopara and part of the Moluccas province. Pulau Tellang is part of the small Barat Daya archipelago and stretches less than a mile across. The hilly terrain of the island was created by ancient volcanic activity; it reaches to a modest 600 feet in some places, which makes it a lovely spot to visit and hike to view its unique fauna and lush vegetation. The island lies on the southern edge of the Banda Sea, where visitors can take in beautiful sunsets as they rest on the pristine, rarely visited beach.

 

DAY 23 | BANDA NEIRA ISLAND, INDONESIA
Banda Neira is situated in a volcanic area and steam can occasionally be seen rising from the peak of neighboring Gunung Api. An eruption caused a lava flow here as recently as the 1980s. The town itself is historic and was wealthy in its heyday thanks to plentiful nutmeg, clove and pepper trees. The colonial buildings of Banda Neira are part of the charm of this administrative center of the Banda Islands; a group of ten small volcanic islands. The remains of two impressive Dutch forts are in various stages of restoration and are on UNESCO’s “Tentative List” to become a World Heritage Site along with the rest of the Banda Islands themselves.

 

DAY 24 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 25 | TRITON BAY, INDONESIA
In 2008, the Kaimana Regency declared a 6000 square kilometer (over 2,300 square mile) Marine Protected Area around the waters of Triton Bay. Conservation International maintains an office in Kaimana and a field station out in Triton Bay where visiting scientists can do their work studying the staggering marine biodiversity of the reserve. It is truly second to none, and the area offers everything from the tiniest pygmy seahorses, to large and graceful whale sharks. Triton Bay is known for its beautiful soft coral gardens as well as nesting green turtles, and a population of coastal Bryde’s whales.

 

DAY 25 | AIDUMA ISLAND, INDONESIA
On the southern coast of West Papua, Indonesia lies the small Aiduma Island, an oceanic paradise and a destination for divers and snorklers. Aiduma Island is described by locals as what Indonesia was like several decades ago, still unspoiled by commerce and traffic. The coast off of Aiduma Island is home to diverse and lovely soft coral forest, while locals live modestly in grass bungalows on shore. Below the surface of Aiduma’s aquamarine waters live technicolor coral reefs that are home to a beautiful array of reef fish, including schools of large blue-ring angelfish, clownfish, striped angelfish and lionfish. Above the surface, lucky visitors may see dolphins leaping as they travel the crystal seas.

 

DAY 26 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 27 & 28 | AGATS (ASMAT), INDONESIA (OVERNIGHT)
The Asmat is a region of nearly inaccessible forested wetland that has long sheltered Asmat tribes from outsiders. The village of Agats is the capital of the Asmat region. The homes, longhouses, shops, schools and religious centers of Agats are all located along elevated wooden boardwalks in the heart of a dense mangrove thicket. The Asmat Museum is a must-see. Here it is possible to dote over exceptional examples of the Asmat’s renowned and vibrant woodcarving traditions. Elaborate displays of ancestor poles, drums, body masks, shields, daggers, and skulls, are reminders that headhunting and cannibalism were practiced here until the 1970s.

 

DAY 29 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 30 | SANGLIAT DOL VILLAGE (YAMDENA ISLAND), INDONESIA
Located in the Maluku Province of Indonesia are the Tanimbar Islands, of which Yamdena is the largest. On the east coast of Yamdena, is the village of Sangliat Dol, which holds some of the best megalithic remains known in the area. A monumental stone staircase extends from the beach to the village and overlooks the sea. This and a large stone ship are some of the megalithic remains to be found here.

 

DAY 31 | DAY AT SEA

 

DAY 32 | DARWIN, AUSTRALIA
Darwin is Australia’s most colorful, and exotic, capital city. Surrounded on three sides by the turquoise waters of the Timor Sea, the streets are lined with tropical flowers and trees. Warm and dry in winter, hot and steamy in summer, it’s a relaxed and casual place, as well as a beguiling blend of tropical frontier outpost and Outback hardiness. Thanks to its close proximity to Southeast Asia and its multicultural population it also seems more like Asia than the rest of Australia. Darwin is a city that has always had to fight for its survival. The seductiveness of contemporary Darwin lifestyles belies a history of failed attempts that date from 1824 when Europeans attempted to establish an enclave in this harsh, unyielding climate. The original 1869 settlement, called Palmerston, was built on a parcel of mangrove wetlands and scrub forest that had changed little in 15 million years.

It was not until 1911, after it had already weathered the disastrous cyclones of 1878, 1882, and 1897, that the town was named after the scientist who had visited Australia’s shores aboard the Beagle in 1839. During World War II it was bombed more than 60 times, as the harbor full of warships was a prime target for the Japanese war planes. Then, on the night of Christmas Eve 1974, the city was almost completely destroyed by Cyclone Tracy, Australia’s greatest natural disaster. It’s a tribute to those who stayed and to those who have come to live here after Tracy that the rebuilt city now thrives as an administrative and commercial center for northern Australia. Old Darwin has been replaced by something of an edifice complex—such buildings as Parliament House and the Supreme Court all seem very grand for such a small city, especially one that prides itself on its casual, outdoor-centric lifestyle. Today Darwin is the best place from which to explore Australia’s Top End, with its wonders of Kakadu and the Kimberley region.

Crystal Cruises new getaways

Crystal Cruises Announces New Getaways For 2019

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 429 0

New six- to 16-day voyages offer expanded global choices for luxury travelers

MIAMI, November 26, 2018 – Further expanding its roster of luxury options for globetrotting guests in 2019, Crystal Cruises is unveiling nine new “Crystal Getaways” – abbreviated segments of existing longer voyages – in January, February, April and October of next year. The sailings, seven aboard Crystal Symphony and two aboard Crystal Serenity, range from six to 16 days, exploring South America, Australia and Indonesia, the North American Gulf Coast, South Pacific and New Zealand, and South Africa.

Both Crystal ships have recently undergone significant redesigns within the last year including enhanced butler-serviced penthouses and suites, open-seating dining with new restaurants, new entertainment venues and enhanced décor in public areas and lounges. Guests can enjoy these upgrades on the newly added Getaways sailings, which include:

Crystal Symphony

January 5: 6 days, New Orleans to Curaçao, Willemstad
January 11: 8 days, Curaçao, Willemstad to Recife, Brazil
January 11: 10 days, Curaçao, Willemstad to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
January 11: 13 days, Curaçao, Willemstad to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
January 24: 8 days, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Montevideo, Uruguay
April 14: 12 days, Cairns, Australia to Singapore
October 15: 10 days, Panama City, Panama to New Orleans
Crystal Serenity

January 20: 16 days, Honolulu to Auckland, New Zealand
February 28: 13 days, Port Louis, Mauritius to Cape Town, South Africa
Cruise fares for the new Crystal Getaways begin at $2,560 per suite, with Book Now Savings of up to $1,500 per suite available for bookings by December 31, 2018.