Crystal Cruises Takes Guests to Downton Abbey

Are you obsessed with Downton Abbey, the British drama about an Earl, his family, their house servants, their lives, life challenges and loves during the early 1900s?  Do you close your eyes and picture yourself moseying through the lavish Edwardian mansion and park nestled in the lush North Yorkshire landscape?  If you answered yes, then you need to know about a very special land program presented by Crystal Cruises.

On July 8th 2015, the Crystal Symphony will set sail from Reykjavik, Iceland, on an 18-night North Cape and Arctic Circle voyage, which concludes in Dover, England. Offered as a post cruise land package, guests will have the chance to enjoy a two- night “English Countryside & Highclere Castle” that takes guests to the sites and set of this popular PBS television series!

Guests begin their tour with a visit to Berkshire’s Basildon Park, which is used as the Grantham family’s London house. There is a stop at the Swan Inn, the infamous spot where Lady Sybil and Branson the chauffer elope, and a lovely lunch with period-costumed hosts at Byfleet Manor, known as the Dowager Countess’ home.

There will be plenty for guests to see and do in … READ MORE...

Riding the Alaska Railroad with Celebrity Cruises

A Celebrity cruise to Alaska offers travelers a glimpse of our beautiful 49th state and its stunning landscape. However, many amazing vistas are well inland and impossible to reach without a pre or post land tour. When you incorporate a Celebrity cruise tour that includes a ride on the Alaska Railroad, the trip becomes a once in a lifetime experience! The Alaska railroad portion of Celebrity’s cruise tours utilize the 350 miles of track between Fairbanks and Anchorage, which may include stops at Talkeetna and Denali National Park, depending on the tour selected (and there are many to choose from that vary in length and price).

What is it about the lore and romance of a train ride? Many travelers have said that riding the rails was the highlight of their Alaska cruise tour! Onboard rail guides provide expert commentary calling attention to worthy landmarks along the way, pointing out wildlife, and entertaining passengers with history and folklore.  The scenery is picture perfect; mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. At one point the train passes within 46 miles of the summit of Mt. McKinley. Between Talkeetna and Denali National Park the train crosses over Hurricane Gulch on a bridge that … READ MORE...

Alaska Cruise Webinar hosted by Celebrity Cruises

Alaska Cruises

The entire team at Direct Line Cruises is thrilled to partner with Celebrity Cruises to talk about one of our favorite cruise destinations; Alaska.  That’s right, on October 15th, we will be conducting two online webinar sessions focusing on Celebrity Alaska cruise vacations.  You may choose between the 11 AM EST or 7 PM EST sessions.  But, just make sure you attend at least one because we will be discussing all 2015 Celebrity Alaska cruise itineraries, cruise tours and many other Alaska insider tips.

Oh, and did I forget to mention FREE prizes and cruise savings?  All listeners of our Alaska webinar on 10/15/14 will be eligible to receive EXCLUSIVE savings off their future Alaska cruise reservation with Direct Line Cruises.  In addition, a few lucky listeners will be randomly selected to win some incredible prizes.  All you have to do is register and listen.  It’s that simple!

So, what are you waiting for?  CLICK HERE and register today for this educational and fun Alaska Cruise Webinar.… READ MORE...

“We Will Rock You” on the Anthem of the Seas

“We Will Rock You”, a show based on the songs of the British rock group Queen, will be the musical aboard Royal Caribbean’s new Anthem of the Seas. The show was a huge hit in London, where it played to sell-out crowds for 12 years, and is now in its first national U.S. tour.

The musical showcases Queen’s biggest hits and it hard not to sing along to “Another One Bites the Dust”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Are the Champions”, “We Will Rock You” and my favorite, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

A live Queen concert exuded a theatrical atmosphere with outrageous special effects and costumes.  “We Will Rock You” delivers the same experience! It will definitely be something to look forward to on the Anthem of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, the second ship in the Quantum family, will debut in the spring of 2015. She will arrive and begin sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey that fall.

 … READ MORE...

Celebrity Cruise Line “Signature Event Sailings”

Every year all around the world there are extraordinary events and festivals that are renowned for their exclusive ambience and memorable status.  Don’t you wonder what it takes to get hold of a ticket or to get your name on the VIP list for one of these iconic gatherings?  The answer is as simple as booking a Celebrity Cruise Line “Signature Event Sailing”.

The Celebrity “Signature Event” sailings for 2015 through 2016 include:

*Anzac Day, the 100th Anniversary Commemoration in Turkey:  12-night Turkey and Greece cruise departing on April 22, 2015, on Celebrity Constellation

*Cannes Film Festival: 10-night Mediterranean cruise, departing on May 11, 2015, from Barcelona on Celebrity Equinox.

*Redentore Festival in Venice: 14-night Turkey and Black Sea cruise, departing on July 5, 2015, from Istanbul, visiting Venice during the historic Redentore Festival on Celebrity Constellation.

*The British Open in Edinburgh: 12-night British Isle cruise departing on July 15, 2015, from Amsterdam on Celebrity Silhouette .

*Carnival in Rio de Janeiro: Celebrity Infinity sets off on a 14-night South America and Rio Carnival cruise, departing on January 31, 2016, from Buenos Aires.

*Chinese New Year in Hong Kong:  14-night Chinese New Year cruise, departing on January 31, … READ MORE...

Quantum of the Seas ; A Ship With Beauty and Brains

We knew she was a beauty, and now we find out she’s got brains too!  Introducing Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, the first “smart” cruise ship! How smart is she? She’s the most technologically advanced ship ever to sail. What will that mean to her guests?

Passengers can move from sidewalk to shipboard in 10 minutes!  Now, when guests do their online guest registration they may also complete the check-in process by uploading their photo ID’s. They will then be issued a digital boarding pass, which allows them to skip the check-in process at the pier!

Luggage will  be ticketed with an RFID tag, which allows guests to track their bags from drop-off to cabin delivery.

03B connectivity focuses satellite beams on the Quantum of the Seas as she sails giving guests lightning speed Internet connections.  They can Skype, stream video, and share photos faster and at a less expensive rate than they have on any other.

The enhanced Cruise Planner allows Quantum guests to schedule shows, meals, spa treatments and shore excursions in advance so they can start enjoying their vacation the minute they step onboard. The new downloadable app, Royal iQ combined with the RFID WOW … READ MORE...

Cruising to Québec

Have you always dreamed of experiencing the charm of Paris, but the thought of “crossing the pond” has squelched any hope of you doing so?  If so, you may want to consider cruising to Canada and New England. A stop in Québec City allows cruisers to discover a little bit of French flavor in North America!

Old Québec exudes European charm! The Upper Town is perched on cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River providing views of the countryside for many miles beyond. The castle-like hotel, Château Frontenac was built by the Canadian Pacific railroad at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and has dominated the city’s skyline ever since.  Old Québec is a walking city and nothing is as enjoyable as wandering the cobblestone streets of the Petit-Champlain district, the oldest neighborhood in North America. It’s a great place to shop, eat and people watch. Cafe tables overflow on the streets and flowers are everywhere, much like a Parisian neighborhood. There are lovely boutiques and cute shops, many which specialize in maple products. Ride in horse-drawn carriages, stroll by centuries-old architecture, enjoy street entertainers, singers, and artists, particularly at Old Québec’s open-air art gallery, Rue du Trésor.… READ MORE...

Chocolate Journeys with Princess Cruises

Chocolate and cruise vacations are two of my favorite things (not sure of the order ranking))! One has very little to do with the other…until recently. Princess Cruises has just introduced Chocolate Journeys, a rich and delicious chocolate experience onboard its fleet of 18 ships! The brand new program will offer guests a variety of opportunities to taste the inspired creations crafted by one of the world’s foremost experts in chocolate, Norman Love.

For anyone who does not recognize the name Norman Love (he is a regular guest judge on Food Network Challenge series), let me just say that the man is a master chocolatier of international acclaim! In fact, a highly respected consumer ratings magazine recognized his company, Norman Love Confections, numerous times as the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation! So then, what does this new partnership with Princess Cruises offer guests onboard?

The experience begins with the “chocolate love pops” that are served with your favorite drink at the Captain’s Cocktail Reception.  Doesn’t that sound better then piggies in a blanket? A very special chocolate drink menu has been developed too.  The “S’more Chocolate” is made with vanilla vodka, a grand marnier spiked marshmallow and crushed … READ MORE...

Norwegian Cruise Lines Adds An All-Inclusive Package

Cruising has always been pretty close to an all-inclusive vacation experience with accommodations, food, and entertainment all incorporated in the cruise fare. Imagine how convenient it would be if a cruise was truly comprehensive and you could step onboard knowing your credit card would not be charged another cent!  Well, for a limited time only, Norwegian Cruise Line will offer an all-inclusive package on all 2015 sailings (a few exclusions apply) for new reservations made from August 4th through August 29th!

So exactly what is offered in the new Norwegian Cruise Line all-inclusive package, how much does it cost, and will guests find it worth their while?  The price of the all–inclusive package added to a 7-night cruise is $899 per person but guests then receives 10% off the cruise fare! For those booking the more costly cabins such as mini suites, suites and the Haven, this savings may actually make up a good portion of the all-inclusive package price!  It also includes gratuities, which is something you would likely pay anyway, so it’s nice to get that expense out of the way.

In addition, the package includes the Ultimate Dining package, something that I’m a … READ MORE...

Norwegian Cruise Line Debuts Dining Enhancements

Cruise ship dining has changed considerably in the last 10 years.  Passengers have so many wonderful options when it comes to the dining venues and gastronomy available onboard: French, Italian, Asian, Brazilian, steakhouses, sushi bars and seafood restaurants are all represented.  Conversely, with the addition of all these great choices which by the way, require a dining surcharge, many guests have returned from their cruise saying that the food served in the main dining rooms at no additional charge is not what it should be!

Whether or not this was a “hot topic” on Norwegian Cruise Line’s post cruise guest satisfaction surveys, guests sailing with NCL this summer and beyond can look forward to more choices in their ship’s complimentary dining venues. New regionally focused dinner menus will debut, meaning choices will vary by ship itinerary and will change each evening of the sailing. Popular traditional dishes (think prime rib or rack of lamb) will share the menu with current dining trends and exciting new dishes ( care to try mojito shrimp ceviche?). There will also be more seafood options available such as grouper, barramundi, sushi and crab dishes.  In addition, the menus will include a wine pairing recommendation and … READ MORE...