Category Archives: Celebrity Cruises

Travel News: October is National Cruise Month!

Aerial Celebrity EclipseCelebrity Eclipse - Celebrity Cruises

October is the National Cruise Month!

October is National Cruise Month, with loads of opportunities to save on your next cruise. Looking for a last-minute romantic getaway? Want to take the kids on a fun sail-a-way? Cruises are hassle-free, relaxing, diverse way to see many places and do many activities in a short span of time. This month, most major cruise lines are offering major discounts and/or added benefits if booked and deposit paid the month of October. Over 5,000 cruise lines and travel agencies are participating! Our agents at Willamette Intl Travel can answer all your questions and help find a cruise that’s right for you and your loved ones. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

Snapshots from National Cruise Month

  • Professional racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make an appearance on the first official Nascar-themed Cruise, with Norwegian.
  • Disney Cruise Line Taps Broadway Talent for Frozen the Musical.
  • Lip Sync Battle coming to Carnival cruise ships.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines Turning 50 with Special Anniversary Cruises!
  • PLUS: This new super yacht looks like a UFO on the water

Solarium - Deck 10 ForwardCelebrity Infinity - Celebrity Cruises

Latest Reports on Hurricane Matthew from Friday

At 500 am this morning Matthew is about 40 miles east southeast of Cape Canaveral or about 90 miles southeast of Daytona Beach. Maximum sustained winds are 120 mph and the storm is moving north northwest at 13 mph. Minimum central pressure is 938 mb. A turn toward the north is expected tonight or Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will be moving near or over the east coast of the Florida peninsula through tonight, and near or over the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday.Matthew is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to be a category 3 hurricane as it moves near the coast of Florida today. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles.

buenos-aires-51497_1280.jpg

Tourism in Argentina Expected To Increase Thanks To A New VAT Refund

With a view of boosting tourism in Argentina and revitalizing the local hospitality sector, the government presented the official plan for a VAT refund on accommodation services for tourists coming from overseas. Under the new system, foreigners will pay a lower fee for accommodation services in the country. In other words, through this reform, the cost of renting a hotel room in Argentina will be cheaper for visitors. The refund will be automatic and will be given directly to the card that pays for the services and, according to official information, the measure will cover the entire supply chain of the hospitality sector.

IcelandAir To Offer Nonstop Service To Reykjavik From Tampa

IcelandAir will offer nonstop service to Reykjavik from Tampa International Airport beginning Sept. 7, 2017. Reykjavik is Iceland’s city and capital. The service will be twice a week. This will be the fourth international carrier in its growing lineup of carriers. The IcelandAir announcement comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of Lufthansa’s nonstop flight to and from Frankfurt at Tampa International Airport, which began last September. IcelandAir offers flights to 39 cities in 16 countries, including 18 destinations in the United States. The new flight to Tampa will be the carrier’s second to Florida. IcelandAir also offers service to Orlando International Airport. IcelandAir is known for its stopover program, which encourages travelers from Europe or North America to “stop over” in Iceland on transatlantic flights for up to seven nights at no additional cost. The carrier’s main hub is at Keflavik International Airport, where it offers connections to dozens of destinations around the world.

LOT To Launch Los Angeles Flights

Polish airline LOT will connect Warsaw with the US West Coast from April, 2017. Although as yet there has been no official announcement, Business Traveller can reveal that Warsaw-based LOT will launch a four times a week non-stop service between Warsaw and Los Angeles on April 4. The flight will be operated by a three-class B787 configured for business, premium economy and economy. LOT would appear to be following in the footsteps of Vienna-based Austrian Airlines who recently announced that it too would launch flights to the US West Coast this coming April. Austrian Airlines will be providing the only non-stop link between Central Europe and Los Angeles while LOT will operate the only non-stop link to the US West Coast)from a city in the former Eastern Europe. Flight time is 12 hours, 20 mins for Warsaw-Los Angeles and 11 hours, 20 mins for Los Angeles-Warsaw.

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 19.37.12.png

KLM Runs Pilot Project With Artificial Intelligence
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is taking the next step in social servicing by testing artificial intelligence (AI) to help answer customer questions. When an agent needs to answer an incoming question, he or she gets a proposed answer through AI, which is trained on more than 60,000 KLM questions and answers. The agent decides whether the proposed answer is the right answer to the question, adjusts it if necessary and sends it across the appropriate social media channel. The system learns based on what the agent does, and becomes smarter in real time. KLM receives around 100,000 mentions per week via social media and this number is still growing. A dedicated team of 235 social media service agents personally engages in 15,000 conversations. The DigitalGenius AI system is integrated directly into KLM’s Customer Relationship Management tool, and provides a layer of deep learning and artificial intelligence to service agents in real time.

Holland America Bans Smoking On All Its Cruise Ship Balconies
Beginning January 2017, Holland America cruise line will ban smoking on all cabin balconies. No smoking of any kind will be permitted on any stateroom verandah. A “smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is already not permitted in any stateroom. The new policy has been announced to better align with guest wishes and health concerns.” Holland America is the last major U.S. cruise line to enact the smoking ban; the most recent line to do so was Norwegian Cruise Line in November 2014. Royal Caribbean announced its smoking ban three years ago, followed by Carnival Cruise Line in July 2014. Holland America’s no-smoking-on-balconies ban will roll out fleetwide over five months on a staggered schedule.

Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruises, News, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Un-Cruise, UniWorld, Viking Cruises, Windstar Cruises

This Week in Travel News: Celebrity in the Caribbean this Summer

Celebrity in the Caribbean during Summer

Reminder for Caribbean 2017 summer season: Celebrity is keeping the Celebrity Equinox in the Caribbean all summer (Aug-Sept)! This is the first time in 6 years that Celebrity will have a ship in the Caribbean during summer. Instead of the traditional deployment of 5 ships to Europe, they are deploying 4. This is huge good news for honeymooners, families and couples as there is always a shortage of good ships and good cruise lines for the season in Caribbean. 

A Small Fire Caused The Outage That Shut Delta Down

Flights operations returned to normal yesterday for Delta Air Lines after a power outage caused more than 2,000 cancellations this week and numerous delays. Company officials said the problem was caused by a small fire at the carrier’s Atlanta technology center, which blew up a transformer and cut power to company servers. The outage began Monday and led the carrier to scrap about 1,000 flights. Cancellations affected about 800 flights Tuesday and another 300 Wednesday, and caused numerous delays. Delta is asking anyone who wishes to apply for a $200 compensation as a result of a delayed flight of more than 3 hours to do so on their website: www.delta.com/wecare

Disney To Drop Main Street Electrical Parade At Disney World

The Main Street Electrical Parade will end at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on October 9. It willbe packed up and sent to the Disneyland early next year for a “limited engagement.” The original Main Street Electrical Parade debuted in 1972 at Disneyland. Disney did not say what would replace the Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom.

Hainan Airlines Announces First-Ever Nonstop Service Between China And Las Vegas

Hainan Airlines has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation to launch an historic new route connecting Las Vegas to Beijing, the first-ever nonstop flight between Las Vegas and Mainland China. The service will begin December 2, 2016 and will initially operate Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Hainan is a new member of the Alaska mileage program.

Angkor Wat And UNESCO World Heritage Wants To Stop Smoking, Littering, And Taking Topless Selfies.

Ticket prices to enter the Cambodian Historical Site are going up significantly come February, with a single-day pass rising from $20 to $37 per person, 3-day tickets increasing from $40 to $62, and a one-week ticket price ticking up from $60 to $72. Two dollars from every ticket sale will go to the Kantha Bopha Foundation, which runs children’s hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Travelers are also being asked to cover their shoulders and knees at all time while visiting Angkor, which is still an important and active site for Buddhists, and anyone whose clothing doesn’t meet the standard will not be allowed to enter.This is similar to other dress codes at holy sites around the world, from the Hagia Sophia to the Vatican. 

Condor Airlines To Add Nonstop Flights Between US and Germany

Condor Airlines is increasing its flights between the US and Germany with plans to add 10 nonstop flights by 2017 and expand service to 11 total US destinations. And PDX is getting out Condor nonstop back May 3: Three times a Week! The airline announced it will add transatlantic flights to New Orleans and San Diego next summer. Other highlights include year-round nonstop flights from Seattle to Condor’s hub in Frankfurt later this year and twice weekly flights from Las Vegas to Munich beginning May 2017. 

Italian Coastguards Fining Those Who Save Spots On Beaches Overnight

The Guardian reports that the Italian coastguards are implementing a fine for tourists that are trying to secure their favorite spot by leaving their gear on the beach overnight. The Coastguard says it has had enough. Authorities from the coasts of Tuscany to Sardinia are cracking down on holidaymakers who seek to reserve prime beach territory by leaving their gear out overnight, with those responsible facing fines of €200. The forces behind operation Safe Sea say the use of deckchairs and umbrellas by tourists who want to stake optimal spots is widespread and unfair to others who follow the rules. Last Saturday, the Livorno coastguard seized 37 deck and beach chairs, 30 umbrellas, towels and even some bathing suits, according to a report in La Repubblica. 

Eurostar And Virgin East Coast To strike

Eurostar staff have voted for strike action that will take place over two weekends in August totaling 7 days of strikes as follows: Four days of strike action from 0001 Hours on Friday 12th August 2016 until 2359 hours on Monday 15th August 2016. Three days of strike action from 0001 hours on Saturday 27th August 2016 until 2359 hours on Monday 29th August 2016.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, News

Where in the World is your WIT Agent? Caribbean on Celebrity

Where in the World is your WIT Agent? Why, sailing on a Celebrity Cruise, of course! WIT Agent Nancy has hit the high seas once again, this time returning to the lovely Caribbean!

Yesterday she boarded the Celebrity Silhouette in Fort Lauderdale, heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico. On Thursday she’ll be in Basseterre, St. Kitts, and the day after in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, retracing her steps on the research trip she took in 2012. But this time she’ll be sailing with her husband and two other couples. Nancy just couldn’t wait to share the Caribbean with friends and family!

SI Porch_25022012_0044F

For a complete overview of San Juan, click here for our previous post.

The Celebrity Silhouette was launched in 2011 as part of Celebrity’s exclusive Solstice-class fleet. The ship sails the Mediterranean in the summer months and offer weekly cruises from Fort Lauderdale in the winter. These premium ships are the largest of the cruise line, with elegant, modern lines and uncomplicated colors. The Silhouette boasts 13 passenger decks, 3 pools, 11 bars and 4 specialty restaurants, just some among an extensive list of entertainment and dining options. The ship also hosts a unique Lawn Club, a half-acre of grass on the ship stern, topped with private cabanas that are available for rental.

SIExteriorWaterHi-Res

Ship Stats

Crew Members = 1,253

Entered Service = 2011

Gross Tons = 122,000

Length = 1,033 feet

Number of Cabins = 1,425

Passenger Capacity = 2,850

Width = 121 feet

Did you Know?

The letter “X” on Celebrity Cruises ships is the Greek letter “Chi,” which stands for Chandris, the group who founded the cruiseline in 1988.

Want to hear more about Celebrity and the Caribbean? Call Nancy when she’s back next week! Nancy has sailed on countless cruises over the years, and many of those have been on Celebrity. She loves to talk cruise!

CEL_Labadee Coaster 049

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, Our Travel Agents, Travel by Ship, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?

123 Go! Discount with Celebrity Cruises is Back!

Yes! Back again by popular demand, Celebrity Cruises is excited to feature its 123Go! sale–and better than ever!

Book ONE of 450 cruises sailing from February 2014 to March 2015, and choose from three options:

  1. Free Classic Beverage Packages: Pair your meals with the perfect beverage by choosing the Beverage Package Offer–a value of $88* per day, gratuities covered. Receive Classic Beverage Packages for two, including water, soda, coffee, wine, and spirits.
  2. Free Gratuities: Relax knowing your tips are covered when you choose the Free Gratuities Offer–a value of up to $30* per day. Receive pre-paid gratuities for two.
  3. Onboard Credit Offer: Receive up to $300* to spend almost any way you like—specialty dining reservations, spa treatments, shore excursions, etc. The choice is yours! Receive $100 for 3- to 5-night sailings, $200 for 6- to 9-night sailings, and $300 for 10-night or more sailings.

Have you sailed with Celebrity before? No matter which offer you choose, Captain’s Club members enjoy 50% reduced deposits* AND 25 bonus Club Points if booked by Dec 31, 2013. *Prices are per person, cruise only, for stateroom category 08 and based on double occupancy. Special limits do apply.

Traveling with your kids in one cabin? The third and fourth guest in your stateroom gets two additional benefits:

– Free Beverage Package: receive a classic non-alcoholic beverage package, valued at $16.10 per day per person, beverage gratuities included. A 12-night sailing has a total value of more than $193 per person. This package is upgradeable to include spirits & wine for a fee.

– Free Internet Package: receive a 38-minute internet package for each additional guest in your stateroom, a value of $24.95 per person

PLUS when you book a 2014 Europe sailing, you can choose TWO of these three offers for an even more amazing vacation value.

Available for a limited time only: book by February 28, 2014! Call Willamette Intl Travel to book your cruise 1-800-821-0401 or to inquire. Several of our agents have sailed with Celebrity and are happy to share their insider tips!

Aerial Celebrity EclipseCelebrity Eclipse - Celebrity Cruises

Want to check out the cruise line? For some interactive videos on Celebrity Cruises, check out our Celebrity webpage.

Willamette Intl Travel can also handle your airfare, transfers, pre- and post-cruise hotels/travel, and shore excursions!

Sailed with Celebrity Cruises before? Captain’s Club members earn an additional $500 onboard credit when booking a suite on any sailing departing June-September 2013.

courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, Europe, SALES, Travel by Ship, Vendors, Videos, Where in the World is the WIT Client?

Cruise Ship Debut: Celebrity Reflection

A

This past season we saw the debut of the Celebrity Reflection, the last of five solstice class ships built for the Celebrity cruise line fleet. At nearly 126,000 gross tons, the ship is larger than any other solstice ships— with an additional deck that allows for 72 extra cabins.

G

The vessel is equipped with a number of new and improved facilities, including an expansive library, a half-acre lawn, and the Hideaway, a quiet area for relaxation and reading. The Alcove, a cabana-style private retreat, is available for rent and can accommodate up to four guests. The Reflection maintains its famous specialty restaurants, Murano, Tuscan Grille and Qsine, and introduces the new and unique Lawn Club Grill, an outdoor interactive grill venue with high-end burgers and pizzas. Other additions include the Kasbah-themed Sunset Bar and the Molecular Bar, offering tasty artisanal cocktails chilled with liquid nitrogen.

F

The Reflection has thirty-four new AquaClass suites, complete with your favorite spa and suite amenities, 79-square-foot verandas, and access to the exclusive restaurant Blu. The ship is home to the fleet’s first 2-bedroom suite, a whopping 1636 square foot apartment. The Reflection Suite is located in an exclusive area accessible only to those guests possessing a special SeaPass card. The room comes with European-style butler service, a bathroom with a sea view, and a special customizable mattress.

B

The Reflection made its debut on a 9-night inaugural cruise through Northern Europe in the Fall. Western Hemisphere sailings from Miami will begin in January in time for the winter season.

For a terrific virtual photo tour throughout the ship, click here.

Did you know? Jovanka Goronjic, who joined Celebrity Cruises’ AquaSpa staff in 2009 as a massage therapist, was recently named one of the ship’s four godmothers. With support from the cruise line, Jovanka arranged time off to help her mother fight breast cancer. In tribute to the cause, Jovanka donated her hair for wigs for cancer patients. She will soon be transferring to the Reflection as the ship’s AquaSpa Manager. Said Jovanka when she found out about her new godmotherly status: “I was delighted, thrilled, emotional, and proud, all at the same time.”

CELEBRITY SALE: Celebrity and Willamette Intl Travel are partnering up for a sale! Book a select sailing between Jan 7-27 and you could receive a number of special offers. Email now if you’re interested and we’ll send you the full details when they come in!

Eager to take a closer look at the new Celebrity Reflection? We can book a vacation for you and your family! Several of our agents have sailed with Celebrity Cruises and would love to share our tips and tricks with you. Call us at 503.224.0180.

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, Travel by Ship

Photos from the Alaskan Cruise are up!

As some of you may have followed last week, WIT agent Wailana recently set out on Celebrity Cruises’ week itinerary up to Alaska. She spent time in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, and acquired firsthand experience of services and venues onboard the Infinity ship. Check out her  photos from that trip, up in the Gallery section or linked here.

Feel free to browse through the pictures and even comment! We appreciate your feedback!

Willamette Intl Travel has booked clients on countless Celebrity itineraries and other cruise lines. Interested to hear more? Email Wailana at wailanak@wittravel.com about the ship Infinity or info@wittravel.com for more information on cruises on offer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alaska, Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, North America, Our Travel Agents, Travel by Ship, USA, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?

South, Sunsets, Seattle!

This week WIT agent Wailana is concluding her days aboard Celebrity Cruises’ Infinity up to Alaska. Today, we take a look at Victoria and the ship herself.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012 – At Sea

Another day “at sea” is a terrific opportunity to explore the ship’ services. Besides the onboard spa, fitness center and pools, there are ample activities all around the ship, including:

–       bingo night

–       basketball h.o.r.s.e. tournament

–       watercolor art class

–       presentations by a qualified cultural historian and naturalist

–       music trivia

–       wine tasting

–       and much more

As one of the last days onboard, there was a festive air throughout the ship. The gift shop held sales and the lounges specials and events. Photographers shot scenes of impeccably dressed guests against the backdrop of a fiery sunset.

I took advantage of this day to explore Michael’s Club, the shipboard equivalent to a pub. You can sip on a beer from their worldwide selection, enjoying the lounge with its muted lighting, tasty edibles and live music. I was once again impressed with the general unpretentiousness and high standard of food and service. It was also English-themed trivia night, a hilarious event as the etymology of the word soccer came into question.

Thursday, 6 September 2012 – Victoria, BC

The morning began with a crew talent show and cooking contest. This was a great chance to see all 900+ crew members on stage at once, some of them displaying incredible feats of magic, dance, song, comedy and theatre. It was also a terrific opportunity for the passengers to show our appreciation of the hard work behind the scenes.

After, it was on to late lunch. My number one recommendation on any Celebrity ship is to try one of the specialty restaurants onboard. It’s not that the regular restaurants are inadequate–on the contrary, the main dining area Trellis is a culinary delight each seating—but the attention to detail, quality of ingredients, and presentation are up a whole new level. After the entertainment of the A.M., we headed down to the SS United States, the specialty restaurant focusing on French cuisine. The setting had a very clean and 1950’s ship interior, complete with Jazz lounge music, white polished décor, and porthole windows with wooden panels. You can order courses paired with wine or à la carte and just sample from an array of delicious and masterfully prepared appetizers. The peak of the dinner was the jaw-dropping desserts—but those, readers, I’ll let you discover for yourselves.

Specialty Restaurants: Blu (Aquaclass only), SS United States, Qsine

Disembarkation Time: 6.30 pm

Arrival into Victoria was perfectly timed for the afternoon. The sun sinks down over the harbor and bathes the waters in blue and gold. It’s a lovely 30-minute walk or brief shuttle ride into the heart of downtown. In the summer, street performers line the docks just below the capitol building—jugglers, musicians, traders. I would advise cruise passengers to spend their charming, lamp lit evening in Victoria eating out at one of the yummy restaurants in Old Town.

Embarkation Time: 11.30pm

Conclusion

In the end, cruises are luxury resorts set against beautiful backgrounds. They are opportunities to enjoy some fine entertainment, cuisine, and accommodations. Your activities are designed with a demographic in mind, which changes depending on the route. It is important to remember that, with less than 12 hours in any port of call, less focus is given to the destination and more to onboard experience.

With this in mind, Celebrity Cruises stands out as a luxury cruise line. The service is what makes this ship exceptional. The staff was friendly, amusing, approachable, relatable and accommodating. I am not surprised that the Infinity has the highest rated crew in the entire fleet.

Willamette Intl Travel regularly books clients on Celebrity and other cruises. Call WIT at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com to book a cruise today!

P.S. Wailana’s photographs from the cruise will be appearing on the blog next week, so stay tuned!

1 Comment

Filed under Alaska, Canada, Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, North America, Our Travel Agents, Travel by Ship, USA, Vendors, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?