Tag Archives: celebrity cruises

This Week in Travel News

Delta begins flights Portland to London nonstop next May!

Starting May 26, Delta Airlines will operate a Portland to London nonstop flight! The PDX-LHR will fly Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, departing 5pm arriving at 10:50am the next day. The return London to Portland operates Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Monday, departing 12:30pm arriving at 3:15pm. Airplanes will land at Terminal 4 in Heathrow.

Alaska Airlines launches new nonstop Portland to Newark from November

From November 10 Alaska will fly a daily nonstop Portland to Newark flight.This new PDX to EWR route continues the airline’s expansion of its Portland hub which includes other recently added destinations such as Minneapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Orlando; Omaha, Nebraska; and Atlanta. “We thank the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their efforts to increase competition in the New York metro area,” said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of capacity planning. “Since 2015, Alaska has launched 28 new routes from our West Coast hubs and focus cities. With our new expanded service to Newark, we continue to grow our West Coast footprint by offering our valued customers more nonstop flights to popular business and leisure destinations.” 

Travel + Leisure Says Paul Gauguin Cruises The #1 Midsize-Ship Ocean Cruise Line”

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is pleased to announce that the line was awarded “#1 Midsize-Ship Ocean Cruise Line” by readers in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016. The annual readers’ survey reveals favorite cities, hotels, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, airports, and more. Cruise ships are rated in categories of cabins/facilities, restaurants/food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities, and value. In 2015, Paul Gauguin Cruises was voted by readers “#2 Small-Ship Ocean Cruise Line” in the Travel + Leisure 2015 World’s Best Awards. The line was also voted “#1 Small-Ship Cruise Line” and “#1 Small-Ship Cruise Line for Families” by readers in the Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards. More recently, Paul Gauguin Cruises was awarded #2 in the category of “Top Small Cruise Lines” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards and recognized on the publication’s 2016 “Gold List.” 

United Airlines, TSA To Modernize Airport Screening Experience At Hub Cities

As part of a joint initiative with TSA to improve the overall screening experience for customers, United will install state-of-the-art, automated security lanes, add permanent TSA Precheck® enrollment centers at convenient locations and redesign security checkpoints at several of the airline’s most-frequented hub airports. United will debut the automated lanes at Newark Liberty International Airport this fall. When United, in collaboration with the TSA, completes the installation, the entire centralized security checkpoint at Terminal C in Newark Liberty will feature 17 automated lanes.

Seabourn Launches South Pole Treks

Seabourn is introducing pre-cruise excursions to the South Pole with select ‘Antarctica & Patagonia’ itineraries during the 2016/17 season. Travelers bound for the White Continent aboard Seabourn Quest can extend their adventure with two new packages that also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The packages are ‘Polar Quest & Patagonia’ and ‘Polar Quest, Tierra del Fuego & Iguazu Falls.’ Both include stays at Union Glacier Camp in the southern Ellsworth Mountains, one of a few private seasonally occupied camps in Antarctica. Operated by land-based tour operator Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions, the full-service camp offers spacious, double-occupancy sleeping tents; freshly prepared gourmet cuisine; and a spectacular setting for activities from scenic excursions to technical climbs and ski tours. The 14-night ‘Polar Quest & Patagonia’ includes a trans-Antarctic flight and landing at the South Pole and an exploration of UNESCO World Heritage Site Torres del Paine National Park in southernmost Chile. Participants can choose from a variety of included excursions providing daily opportunities to explore the various environments, including blue ice pools, raw glacial moraines and abundant wildlife, from guanacos to Andean condors. Departures in December and January. 

Celebrity Equinox To Leave The Med In 2017

Celebrity Cruises will enter a competitive year-round Caribbean market in 2017 as the company has pulled the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox out of the Western Mediterranean for the 2017 summer. Instead, the ship will sail a variety of itineraries from Miami, including seven-night cruises in June, July and August with Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries offered. Beginning next April, the 2,850-passenger ship will offer a total of 24 cruises from its new homeport, including seven-night itineraries between June and August, and 10- and 11-night itineraries throughout the rest of the year. In addition to a year-round presence in the Caribbean, Celebrity will debut a new family program with an array of new enrichment options for kids. “Summer Camp at Sea” will include activities such as video creation, cooking classes and marine biology lessons. The new “Taste of the Caribbean” program will feature complimentary activities like cooking and mixology demos, rum and reggae parties on the Lawn Club, and brunch and bubbles. Foodies can even splurge on more exclusive experiences such as a fresh pasta and mozzarella making class with lunch in Tuscan Grille, and a five-course tasting dinner with Celebrity chefs.

Port Everglades Cruise Terminal Adds BorderXpress Kiosks

Port Everglades and its cruise line partners have announced the opening of two BorderXpress Automated Passport Control kiosks at the Florida cruise terminal. As part of a three-month pilot program, officials from Port Everglades, the United States Customs and Border Protection agency and the Vancouver Airport Authority have added the BorderXpress kiosks to increase passenger processing rates following cruises. The self-service BorderXpress kiosks will be available to users at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing area at Port Everglades, and will feature on-screen instructions to speed up the customs declaration process. 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

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Cruise Ship Debut: Celebrity Reflection

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Juneau, Tracy Arm Fjord, & Skagway

This week the Willamette Intl Travel blog is following our agent Wailana as she sails on Celebrity Cruises’ Infinity up to Alaska. Read on for her day-to-day schedule, trip insights, and insider details. Today, we take a look at Juneau, the Tracy Arm Fjord, Sawyer Glacier and Skagway.

Monday, 3 September 2012 – Juneau, AK 

The morning of Labor Day, the ship’s navigational team took us on a detour through Tracy Arm Fjord. Their progress was slow and cautious, as the ship glided past bits of glacier and ice officially known as “bergie bits” and growlers. Fog clung to the summits of the surrounding mountains like ghosts, and the air was silent and still.

Most of the passengers rose early to watch the advance, stationing themselves in the Constellation Lounge or outside on Deck 11. The crew stood on standby with blankets, hot chocolate and Bailey’s. Brent Nixon, the onboard naturalist, spoke through the ship’s speaker on glaciers, fjords, and the proper use of the word gull.

At the end of this long corridor, we finally arrived at Sawyer Glacier. It looked like a massive, pouring river had just frozen in the middle of its course. I recommend heading down to Trellis Restaurant for brunch for magnificent views of the glacier and the ship’s departure with your coffee.

Disembarkation Time: 4.00pm

We arrived on land in Juneau around 4pm, later than scheduled due to some technical difficulties with some of the tender boats. The ship parked in the Taiya Inlet—at 1 mile down, the Taiya is the deepest fjord in North America.

Alaska’s capital is larger than it first appears, curving around shores and stretching from a modest downtown into countryside, farmland and fields. As there was limited daylight and the clouds were attempting to rid us of more, we ran over to the shuttle terminal and caught a bus to Mendenhall Glacier (16$ and 30 minutes roundtrip). A quiet and muted tow due to her heavy rain, the main draw of Juneau is definitely her radiant and stunning glaciers—and conveniently, Mendenhall is not too far from the cruise ship dock.

More than a mile across, dramatically flowing into a dark, silted lake, Mendenhall is just at the very edge of Juneau’s enormous ice field. If you have time, definitely take the 15-minute hike in to see the nearby waterfall. This path takes you to a peaceful sandbar, with splendid views of the lake, berg babies in the shape of a wolf’s head, and the glacier’s teeth itself. Stand below the roar of the falls, caress the waters and gray sand in your palm, and if you have binoculars, you can just make out the jagged, cobalt crystals in Mendenhall’s slopes.

Cast off time: 10.00 PM

Tuesday, 4 September 2012 – Skagway, AK

Disembarkation Time: 9.30am

The ship arrived in Skagway very early, but most guests disembarked after breakfast. The town is gorgeous and charming with its encircling mountains, ample sunlight, and a delightful shady heritage. As a major town on the edge of Alaska’s gold fields, Skagway was for years the final resting home for pioneers seeking to strike rich and sluice their way out of poverty and misery. With the gold gone, the town now thrives on tourism and the colorful stories and backgrounds of their ancestors. Skagway is very proud of its rough history, a fact readily apparent in its ubiquitous retail stores and historical landmarks.

The first strip of town is mostly shopping—jewelry, taffy, postcards, smoked salmon, popcorn, fur robes, and whatnot curiosities. I recommend picking up a few maps from the visitor’s center to orient yourself. We enjoyed lunch at the Skagway Brewing Company, pretty decent fare, but for a real delicious bagel and smoothie pop into the tasty Glacier coffeehouse on 3rd street.

If you need to stretch your legs a bit, get a little farther out of town, where there’s an array of nature hikes and historical sights. For long-distance adventures, take the White Pass and Yukon Railroad up for spectacular views into the Yukon, and glimpse the old railroad bridge that is still one of the world’s greatest engineering marvels.

For day hikers, there are plenty of trails just outside of town—one will take you to Icy Lake and Upper Reid Falls, another to Sturgill’s Landing and the remains of an ancient sawmill, and yet another to one of Skagway’s token graveyards. Gold Rush Cemetery is more than 100 years old and burial home to the town’s star villain and hero—Jefferson Smith and Frank Reid, respectively.

It was early afternoon when we finally boarded the ship. Just before dinner, we curled up on the veranda to watch sun set on the Chilkat Range as we sailed on. I would heartily recommend this to anyone who loves the sight of soaring mountains, glaciers, clusters of forests, and snow-capped, auburn peaks.

Cast off time: 5.45 PM

 

Willamette Intl Travel regularly books clients on Celebrity and other cruises. Join us on Friday to hear more about Wailana’s experiences onboard the Infinity, or call WIT at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com to book a cruise today!

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