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Royal Caribbean’s Zumba Cruise

Until our daughter-in-law Frances announced she was going to become an accredited Zumba instructor, this was a word that may never have crossed our lips. Zumba, not Zumbainstructor. We may have thought it was the name of a Greek restaurant or the latest battle cry used by kids as they loaded the newest war game on their Xboxes.

Now we know better.

Zumba is everywhere, even on cruise ships. Next year, Royal Caribbean will have its Zumba Cruise on Independence of the Seas. It’s five days of zumba-ing at sea, disembarking in Falmouth, Jamaica, and on “Zumba Island” — formerly known as the cruise line’s private port in Labadee, Haiti.

There will be 300 Zumba-theme classes in five days. There will be 130 celebrity instructors to teach passengers how to squat, mambo, hip-hop, lunge and salsa with the best of them. Independence of the SeasOne of the instructors will be “Beto” Perez, the Colombian creator of Zumba and one of The Three Albertos who founded the craze about 20 years ago (the others are Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion).

If you think those numbers are high, then you should also know there are 15 million people who take Zumba classes in 185 countries at 140,000 gymnasiums, fitness centers or wherever else groups can gather to be guided through the exercise(s).

The ship leaves Fort Lauderdale on January 30, and this is likely just the beginning.

What does “Zumba” mean? Whatever you want it to mean…except a Greek restaurant or a war cry on Xbox.

In the news…

• Million people in Liverpool for Cunard's three Queens on Monday
• Celebrity Eclipse first Solstice Class ship with 'World Class Bar'
• Disney to return to New York for five cruises in October 2016

Today at portsandbows.com: Christening the Viking Star

Carnival Elation
5 nights
August 22, 2015
New Orleans (return): Cozumel, Merida
Inside: $309
Cost per day: $61
www.carnival.com

Cruise For Football Fan With Heart

While everybody’s talking about deflated footballs, in advance of the Super Bowl, are you interested in a tale of inflated sportsmanship?

If so, read on…

After the Seattle Seahawks won their trip to Phoenix for Sunday’s big game, one of their fans (PJ LeDorze) noticed a disconsolate Green Bay Packers fan outside Seattle’s 171144CenturyLink Field. It should be mentioned that all Packers fans were disconsolate after the Seahawks’ incredible comeback, but most of them were not so visible.

LeDorze was wearing a Seahawks jersey. He felt badly for the “opposition” so he gave the jersey to the young Green Bay fan. In Seattle, this is called the “spirit of the 12s” because Seahawks fans are all considered the team’s 12th player.

And now, LeDorze has two tickets for the Sail with the 12s Seahawks Fan Cruise on the Crown Princess in June. The ship spends a week going from Seattle to Alaska and back, and with Seahawks players and ex-players on board for chalk talks, meet-and-greets and all kinds of “spirit of the 12s” events, it doesn’t get much better for one of their fans.

Especially LeDorze.

"I've never been on a cruise,” he told Princess Cruises. “I’ve never been to Alaska. This is unbelievable!"

His gesture was a fatherly thing to do for a young football fan experiencing such a low. Fittingly, the Crown Princess sail on Father’s Day.

Today at portsandbows.com: Features of the Carnival Vista

Celebrity Constellation
5 nights
March 2, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Cozumel, Key West
Inside: $329
Cost per day: $65
www.celebritycruises.com

Rockers to perform…on Cunard?

You know you’re getting old when it catches your attention that Crosby, Stills and Nash are going to be performing…because they’re getting old (Crosby 73, Stills 70, Nash 72). What really makes you feel that way is that they’re performing on ships from the fleet of Cunard, the most staid and proper cruise line of all.

Who has moved the dial the most is open to debate, but the gap between three-quarters of the rebellious and arguably most anti-establishment band of the ‘60s and the ultra-CSNestablishment ships of Sir Samuel Cunard has been bridged. By time, for sure, but also by clientele.

The Cunard customers of today remember Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from their youth, and while these rockers can still rock, they also have become mellow enough to attract a crowd that’s far more sedate than the ones they played to 45 years ago. Their last album, Looking Forward, is suitable evidence — and it’s 15 years old!

And after all, Graham is a member of the Order of the British Empire.

Indeed.

CSN will board the Queen Mary 2 on September 4 for her one-week cruise from Southampton to New York. The group will perform three times while crossing the Atlantic, and answer questions from and give autographs to their aging groupies. Whether the three Grammy Award-winning artists will dress in tuxes for dinner remains to be seen. Without Neil Young, there is perhaps a chance it could happen.

It is, after all, a long way from Woodstock.

Today at portsandbows.com: The Windstar expansion

Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas
7 nights
May 15, 2015
Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Anchorage  
Inside: $595
Cost per day: $85
www.royalcaribbean.com

A Mark Spitz Experience For Windstar

Mark SpitzBefore Michael Phelps, there was Mark Spitz.

Seven swimming gold medals at an Olympics the world almost wished had never happened…Munich, 1972. At the Games where 11 men of his faith perished at the hands of terrorists, Spitz set world records in all his events, an achievement which surely would have dominated Munich.

Spitz parlayed his fame into becoming a motivational speaker. An actor on TV and in the movies. An ongoing spokesman for any number of products. A real-estate tycoon of sorts.

And now, an exclusive host with an exclusive cruise line.

Spitz is the first celebrity host Windstar Cruises has signed up for its “Private Event” program. In two weeks, shortly before his 65th birthday, he’ll be in the Caribbean on a Windstar ship, entertaining and educating the Wind Surf’s 310 guests. It’s the launch of an itinerary called Yachtsman’s Caribbean.

The 7-day cruise begins, and ends, at Philipsburg, St. Maarten. It takes in ports none of the world’s big ships can get close to, such as Prickly Pear Beach in the British Virgin Islands and the site of his signature event. He’ll conduct swimming classes for guests who want to improve their (you name it) stroke. He’ll do a lecture on the Wind Surf. He’llWind Surfdine with some guests. And he’ll just be there, being Mark Spitz, for passengers who want to rub shoulders with a great Olympian.

Michael Phelps, not long retired and still dabbling with the idea of a comeback, might take note.

Forty years down the road…

Today at portsandbows.com: Greatest of all luxury ships?

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
February 28, 2015
San Juan (return): St. Croix, St. Kitts, Roseau, Grenada, St. Thomas
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64
www.celebritycruises.com

Cruise: Double Meaning For Seahawks

Packers logoWhen the Seattle Seahawks try (again) to cruise past the Green Bay Packers (they’ve Seahawks logonever beaten Green Bay in the playoffs) next Sunday in the hope of winning the Super Bowl (again), the cheering section will include anybody remotely connected to Princess Cruises.

The cruise line has scored a touchdown of its own by convincing the Seahawks  or some of them — to go on a cruise. It will be to Alaska on the Crown Princess for a week in June, Crownwhich is as good a time as any to see the 49th state, and if the Seahawks step on the ship as defending Super Bowl champions, the Crown Princess will be as crowded as CenturyLink Field on any given Sunday after Labor Day.

For Princess, the risk was low. There wasn’t anything in the Seahawks’ season that indicated they wouldn’t be playing football as one of the final four teams, which pretty much guarantees a sellout on the ship. Besides, there is such a rabid following in the Pacific Northwest that filling 3,080 beds on the Crown Princess should be no problem.

The people in them will get to be up-close with some of their football heroes. It’s being called Sail With the Seahawks — A Cruise for the 12s, and anybody who watches football 12th playerknows that 12 stands for the fans…the 12th man, so to speak. And speaking will be part of what Seahawks’ personnel do, while meeting and greeting their 12th player, participating in Q-and-A chalk talks and generally hanging out with the passengers.

There will be activities that may not include players, such as Tailgate Parties, Movies Under The Stars and trivia contests. But for people wanting to OD on the Seahawks, this is a natural.

Princess has been the “official” cruise line of the Seahawks since September, so doing something like this was also a natural, and there will surely be more of it with other cruise lines and other teams. 

This cruise is seven days return from Seattle, of course, embarking June 20. You might think Princess would jack up the prices for something this special and while starting prices are higher than the same cruise on the same ship two weeks earlier, it’s only $100 more.

And $100 would only get them a down payment on getting into Sunday’s game.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Norwegian Epic
7 nights
February 1, 2015
Miami (return): Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.ncl.com

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