Tag-Archive for » Celebrity Millennium «

Answering The Big Question About Sunset is a Sunset is a Sunset — or is it?

So here’s a question for you. Do you think “a sunset is a sunset is a sunset?” If you don’t, you may find these sunset photos interesting, as we have from a variety of cruises in different parts of the world…

1-Hawaii MakahaYou never quite know what you’ll see when the sun’s setting in the South Pacific, and the contrast of the clouds off the coast of Hawaii can be typical.

2-SFAny cruise ship leaving San Francisco late in the day can deliver this view (if it’s not raining) as you prepare to slip under the Golden Gate Bridge.

3-SunsetThis was the result of repeated attempts (no motor drive here) to catch the sun as it dipped below the ocean’s horizon…did we make it?

4-SunsetThe reflection of the setting sun is always speelbinding, as it was for us, off the coast of South America from the appropriately named Norwegian Sun.

5-Puntarenas-MillThis could be any ocean scene at sundown, so you’ll just have to take our word that it was near Puntarenas, Costa Rica, from, the Celebrity Millennium.

6-Sunset-GuatThis photo from the port of Puerto Quetzal, Guatamela, made it into our archives even though we hadn’t even begun writing about cruising!

7-HawaiiMany cruises visit Hawaii long enough to disembark and enjoy the sun from the shore, enabling the ever-present palm trees to help frame the shot.

Friday File: AmaDara, A River Intro

While we’re far from experts on river cruising, our trip on AmaWaterways’ new ship (the AmaDara) quickly brought the similarities with — and differences from — ocean cruise ships into focus. Because everything is much smaller, even though river cruises are less modest in price they are more modest in the size of, well, everything — except service, of course, because the crew-to-passenger ratio is so much better. When you spend a week on a river ship, chances are if you don’t know everybody you will at least have a nodding recognition. From our week in Southeast Asia, today’s pictures will give you an idea of what it’s like on board…

AmaDara is one of the bigger (higher) ships on rivers and it comfortably carries 164 passengers.


Five entertainers who entertain only when the ship is in a port, in an all-purpose room on the ship.

The Pool

That is THE pool…the only one, so clearly river cruisers don’t expect to get bronzed by the pool.


Yes, there is a gym and what you see of it here is pretty much what you get — yet it’s rarely busy.


While ocean ships devote rooms for Wi-Fi, the AmaDara’s Internet connections come from here.


Every ship has one lifesaver, at least, and fortunately for all it’s almost always just a decoration.


Our stateroom…a little larger and more plush than a comparable category on the ocean.


This comparative photo shows you what a suite — of which there are few — looks like.


Some things don’t change when you’re on any kind of cruise ship: room stewards’ creativity.

In the news…

• P&O's Pacific Eden to be christened, sail maiden voyage, this weekend
• Vancouver, Boston latest ports to report banner years with crusing

Today at portsandbows.com: Australia — very much a cruising hotspot

Celebrity Millennium
8 nights
May 12, 2016
Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Anchorage
Inside: $619
Cost per day: $77

Selfie Stick, Bans Both Growing

Selfie StickSometimes, the latest growing trends bring out the worst in people.

Enter the selfie stick.

On some of our recent cruises, we’ve noticed. How can you not? Especially when travelling, because if there’s ever a good reason to use a selfie stick — and we’re not certain there is — it’s when travelling. As an aside, we’re not sure it’s a totally bad idea because we have hundreds of pictures in exotic places where it appears one of us stayed home.

The selfie stick, as surely everyone knows, is that pole with a smartphone (or perhaps camera) on the end. They are growing in both number and degree of annoyance, or so it seems. A cleverly written and fascinating story published online at Travel Weekly last week — here’s the link — is enlightening, entertaining and thoughtful. We had no idea the banning of selfie sticks was growing at close to the same pace as the use of the dreaded “arm extenders”, although probably like you we have seen people rolling their eyes whenever a selfie stick appears.

While it’s all travel that is a selfie target, obviously that includes cruising. You can be trying to watch whales surface from a small boat in the waters of Alaska, and have your view scarred by the stick. You can be trying to cross a dangerously busy street in Asia, and somebody’s trying to catch the unbelievable traffic moment that you’re attempting to survive.

There are too many of them now to think they’ll ever go away but, like so many things in life, we can only hope purveyors will learn to use them more responsibly and with a certain degree of courtesy.

Photo: Courtesy of camera-at-home (Wikimedia Commons)

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean Ltd. applauded for its sexual assault prevention procedures
• Second straight perfect health inspection score for Holland America Noordam
• More luxury for Queens and Princess Grill customers on Cunard's Queen Mary 2

Today at portsandbows.com: Great way to 'wine' on the Koningsdam in 2016

Celebrity Millennium
5 nights
January 31, 2016
Singapore (return): Penang, Langkawi, Phuket
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $89

Princess's Diamond In The Wilderness

LodgeDENALI, Alaska — Of the five lodges that Princess Cruises operates in Alaska, the one on the doorstep of Denali National Park has the size, the reputation and the history that a flagship hotel — or a flagship anything — should have.

At 656 rooms, it is the biggest of the five lodges with which Princess cruise passengers have become familiar. 

At 656 rooms, it is the biggest hotel in Alaska.

The lodge at Denali is a destination. From it, you drive only three miles to see the sights of the park. From it, you drive only three miles to board the train for a nine-hour trip to Whittier, the Princess port in Alaska. 

It’s a village unto itself, with shops and restaurants and attractions just moments from your room. It’s a busy place — occupancy is over 90 per cent May to September — and, Bonnie Westlundlike many Alaska tourist stops, it’s a temporary home to a younger demographic of tourist.

“In 1987 [the year the lodge first opened], the average visitor age was 76 years,” says Bonnie Westlund, the resort’s General Manager. “Now it’s 62. We’re now seeing more and more multi-generational families visit.”

In its early years, the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge was a victim of the Curse of Good Friday. On the anniversary of the great earthquake (1964) and the Exxon Valdez oil spill (1989), a fire broke out Good Friday in 1996. It was a major blaze, burning the core of the property, yet the lodge was virtually re-built, opening in time for the annual spring season just six weeks later.

“I’m told they were literally moving furniture in as guests were arriving,” says Westlund.

Across the highway from what locals call Glitter Gulch — a ragtag collection of shops and hangouts that in other locations might be called a strip mall, the classy Denali Princess stretches almost the entire length of the “gulch.” Sitting high above the Susitna River, its Susitnaspectacular vistas on the other side do not include Mount McKinley, which is visible from the park, and give it the look and feel of a five-star cabin in the woods.

The signature restaurant is the King Salmon…no imagination necessary to know what that featured menu item is. There’s also a nightly dinner show at the Music of Denali Theater, built to replace (temporarily) the burned-out kitchen from the 1996 fire and now where Base CampVillageyoung performers double as waiters before singing in a musical, Alaska-style. And a third, pub-style eatery called Base Camp Bar & Grill overlooks the river.

The lodge is a “base camp” for atypical wilderness ventures, from aggressive hiking to helicopter rides to nearby (25 minutes) glaciers, but more than anything it is the entree to the national park.

Princess passengers can plan cruisetours so that they stay three or four days in what is — considering that you’re in the middle of the “last frontier” — a glorious contradiction.

When you’re managing a place like this, that contradiction can be explained by the need for WiFi:

“People tend to forget that we’re in the middle of nowhere,” laughs Bonnie Westlund. “They think the Internet grows on trees!”

In the wilderness, almost everything does.

In the news…

• Natalie Cole on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 for jazz club in October
• AIDA ships to offer flat rates to Internet customers

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Celebrity Millennium
7 nights
July 10, 2015
Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Vancouver
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64

Friday File: Food More Than A Thought

Food is such a focal point of cruising, for at least two reasons. One is that the quality and/or amount of food consumed justifies the cost of the cruise. The other is that cruise lines traditionally have special events for food lovers — sometimes at an extra cost (specialty restaurants) and sometimes free. The photos today give you a taste (ahem) of a little of both those options from our cruises…

1-Millenium-Andrew Harris

Staff often gets personally involved — as Celebrity Hotel Director Andrew Harris did here on the Millennium,


Kids love all things Seuss, including the most unusual ice sculpture we’ve seen, on Carnival Freedom's Seuss at Sea.

3-Riviera-Kathryn K

Cookin’ with Chef Kathryn Kelly on Oceania ships is an experience worth the modest cost.

Crown-chef's table

Radishes never looked so appetizing as during this Chef’s Table experience on the Crown Princess.

5-Epic-Teppenyaki Michael-1

At Teppanyaki on the Norwegian Epic, Michael from the Philippines was so quick his hands were a blur.

6-Eclipse-elegant tea

What’s ‘elegant tea at sea?’ This is what it looks like on the Celebrity Eclipse — and it tastes better.

In the news…

• Carnival's 'fathom' designed for cruisers who wish to participate in 'social impact travel'
• Celebrity Infinity returns to Nanaino (Vancouver Island) for first time in four years
• Vietnam's six-day 'cruise of a lifetime' to visit disputed reefs and islands

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival unveils its '10th brand'

Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas
3 nights
November 14, 2015
Port Canaveral (return): Nassau, CocoCay
Inside: $381.50
Cost per day: $127

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