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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

Friday file: Cruise Port Entertainers

In many ports, especially in the Caribbean, locals provide entertainment for passengers as they disembark. There’s always a bucket nearby for anybody who wants to make a donation to these buskers by the sea but there is, of course, no obligation — and the reality is they provide a musical preview of their country’s customs. Here are some we’ve encountered and enjoyed…

Dom.RepLa Romana: Decked out in traditional Dominican Republic colors, this quartet was just as bright in talent.

AricaArica, Chile: In an outdoor mall close to the ship, this talented duo was singing…'The Piano Man' with no piano!

AcapulcoAcapulco: Mariachis are always an attraction in Mexico, even when their “fifth” member gets into the act. 

CartagenaCartagena: Colorful Colombian dancers on the deck of what was once a Spanish galleon and now tours the harbor.

FalmouthFalmouth: If ever an entertainer looked the part of the needy busker, it was this Jamaican at Dunn’s River Falls.

Labadee: The only thing wrong with this high-energy act beside Allure of the Seas was the intrusion of a passenger.

Today at portsandbows.com: Norwegian back to South America

Carnival Miracle
6 nights
November 1, 2015
Los Angeles (return): Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta
Inside: $469
Cost per day: $78

Friday File: Searching For Margaritaville

One of us is obsessed with the tequila-based drinks called margaritas…not drinking them, finding where they are. Like, in Margaritaville, homeland of Jimmy Buffett. As a concession to her, and at the risk of alienating you, below are some of the fruits of her labor (and you can be sure there are more to come!)…

Cayman IslandsMost Margaritavilles are in the south, because their creator wears shorts and no socks. This palatial one in the Cayman Islands may be the biggest she has found…so far.

Falmouth JamaicaYou have to look long and hard to find the Margaritaville connection with this work of art at the cruise port of Falmouth, Jamaica…unless you have a built-in Margaritaville magnet.

Grand TurkAt Grand Turk, Parrotheads ‘get’ the obvious connection on the signage above the front door, and if you don’t know what Parrotheads are chances are you haven’t read this far.

LabadeeThe obsessed photographer will even seek out people wearing Margaritaville shirts, like on the beach at Labadee. Little did this musician know he was a photo-op subject. 

New OrleansNew Orleans may be as close as Jimmy Buffett gets to landlubbing (except for concerts) and his fans will tell you he’s a perfect match for the French Quarter.

CozumelFinding Margaritaville in Mexico is easy, at least in Cozumel…after seeing this, the photo subject looked over at the bench and asked: “Where’s Jimmy?”

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Celebrity Constellation
13 nights
April 9, 2015
Fort Lauderdale, Funchal, Gibralter, Alicante, Rome
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $46

Reading The Writings Of Cruising 

Like you, we’re always on the prowl to read something interesting…especially if it’s about cruising. To that end, when we find the writings of others who we think might appeal to you, we pass it along.

Today is one of those days.

During our most recent cruise, we spent a few evenings enjoying the company of Tom Stieghorst, who writes regularly for Travel Weekly and — more importantly — is the father of two teenage daughters. They’re the subject of a clever column he wrote about taking his family on a cruise, and you can find it at www.travelweekly.com.

On our previous cruise, we visited Falmouth, Jamaica for the first time and a column in the Jamaica Observer by Michael Burke caught our eye this week. It’s worth reading even if you’re not interested in cruising, at www.jamaicaobserver.com.

Hopefully you’ll find them as interesting and/or entertaining as we did.

Today at portsandbows.com: The Norwegian purchase

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas
5 nights
October 27, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Nassau, Cozumel
Balcony: $554
Cost per day: $110

Dunn's River Falls: Been There… 


FALMOUTH, Jamaica — We knew that if we went to the most famous place in Jamaica bearing our name, and did what most people who go there do, that we’d be able to say triumphantly (yet one more time): “Been there, Dunn that.”

Dunns-signWe knew that if we did, indeed, climb Dunn’s River Falls (three and a half football fields long) it was entirely possible we’d spend the next three days in a horizontal position on Allure of the Seas, which isn’t a bad place to spend three days horizontally, or even vertically.

And we knew that skipping the journey up the Falls would bring into question our age, or at least our courage.

Everybody on our tour bus was going to cool off at this Jamaican hotspot because it’s the No. 1 tourist attraction in the country, or because it looked like fun, or because maybe they’d had a little too much rum, mon, and weren’t thinking straight.

We went because of our heritage.

Dunns-guideHow could somebody named Dunn go to Jamaica for the first time and not visit Dunn’s River Falls, a short bus ride from the port of Falmouth? Maybe we’d find a distance relative or, better yet, that we were entitled to some royalties that had accrued over the years in our name. Or at least a free drink.

All that really happened was that we spent a couple of pleasant, humid hours watching other people as they tried to make their way on the slippery rocks, wearing water-friendly shoes and holding hands with strangers who may or may not have been on their bus. It occurred to us that it might have been interesting, and certainly prettier, to observe the Falls if the rocks were not dripping with humanity but this, folks, is a tourist attraction in every sense of the word.

There are line-ups to pay $20 to get in, unless you’re on a shore excursion from a cruise ship, in which case your guide (thank you, Carsha Haye) knows how to get around the lines. There are places to eat and rink, there are the inevitable souvenir shops and there’s even a young Jamaican making a buck by using your camera Dunns-Dunnsto take your picture with the Falls as a back-drop (thank you, mon). And if you’re traversing the pools of water and not just watching, videos of your experience are recorded for sale (about $40).

Conservatively, this place handles thousands of tourists a day, every day, as long as there are no monsoons or hurricanes in the neighborhood. It’s a money machine for Jamaica and treated with the respect that all such money machines are treated. That means it’s clean, friendly and a happy place to visit.

Always by people who hope that when they reach the top of Dunn’s River Falls, they’d be able to raise their hands and say…

“Done that!”

Take it from us…saying “Dunn that” gets old after a while.

Today at portsandbows.com: River ship explosion continues

Celebrity Millennium
14 nights
September 28, 201
Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Jeju Island, Seoul, Tianjin, Shanghai
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $64


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