HongKong_992x558Celebrity guests traveling to Asia this month will no doubt get to experience Chinese New Year celebrations. The holiday, which is on February 19 this year, is honored in many countries with significant Chinese populations who help usher in the start of a new lunar year with a series of festivals, giant fireworks, traditional lion dances and big family meals. Also know as the Spring Festival, the celebration starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice. It ends 15 days later, when the moon is full.

It goes without saying that one of the best places to take in the holiday is Hong Kong, which kicks off the festivities with an elaborate parade filled with dazzling performers in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui on the 19th. (If you happen to miss the parade, all the floats will be on display at the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees.) The city then hosts a spectacular fireworks show over Victoria Harbor and an exciting series of horse races over the following two days; Hong Kong Disneyland also throws a themed party and sells exclusive gifts.

In addition to being overwhelmed with events, the Chinese New Year sees Hong Kong transform into a gorgeous gem of a city, decked out in “lucky” red and gold decorations. With 2015 being the Year of the Goat (or Sheep), the city will no doubt be dressed with countless displays of the animal, and the stores’ shelves will be stocked with goat-themed luxury merchandise for sale—Adidas, for example, released a trio of special Year of the Goats sneakers.

Celebrity guests eager to see Hong Kong in all its Chinese New Year glory should consider booking one of our new City Stay vacation packages, which let you start your vacation a few days prior to your cruise–an ideal opportunity to create a more immersive experience, with time to check out iconic Hong Kong sites like Victoria Peak, Aberdeen Fishing Village, Man Mo Temple and Sheung Wan Dried Food and Herbal Market.

For more information, check out Celebrity’s City Stay vacation packages.

Super Bowl, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, NFL, Sports, Shore Excursions, Celebrity CruisesCan’t wait for Super Bowl Sunday? You’re not alone. Millions of NFL fans eagerly await February 1, 2015 when the New England Patriots head of against current Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks, in an epic battle to be crowned champion of Super Bowl XLIX. Who’ll emerge victorious? We’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out. But for now, Celebrity can help you get your football fix with an array of shore excursions designed for sports fans that will quench your thirst for action and friendly competition.

Here are some of our top picks of the exciting, sports-focused shore excursions our specialists have crafted for the athletes, sports fans, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Yacht Racing

Do you have a passion for yacht racing? If so, then get ready for the ultimate sailing adventure in the Caribbean. The Ocean Racing Experience in tropical St. John’s, Antigua, has you set sail—aboard a sleek performance racing yacht—across the sparkling sapphire waters surrounding the island’s harbor. Under the tutelage of a professional crew, you’ll discover what it’s like to captain a vessel in an all-out ocean race. Now that’s action at its best!

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randi zuckerbergEven at sea, it can be hard for vacationers to completely shut off their electronic devices and relax completely. That’s why Celebrity is delighted to announce that it has partnered with digital trailblazer Randi Zuckerberg to create the Take Care of YourSelfie program, encouraging guests to embrace a tech-life balance that complements their lifestyle onboard and at home.

Celebrity just launched the first part of the campaign with five specially designed “Take Care of YourSelfie” spa treatments and services that will be available at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea onboard Celebrity’s ships beginning next month. Each of these experiences—which include an indulgent vitamin facial (fACEial Time), a specialized manicure (Texticure) and an invigorating mind-body workout (Control ALT Delight), a VOYA organic seaweed body wrap (Get wrAPPed), and a detoxifying ritual (InstaGlow)—are designed to help guests rejuvenate their bodies and help achieve a successful and thriving tech-life balance.

We recently spoke to Randi about her favorite spa treatments, her most recent vacation, and most important, how she pampers her selfie!

Celebrity Cruises: As a busy businesswoman and mom, when’s the last time you took care of your selfie?

Randi Zuckerberg: For me, taking care of your selfie means taking time to focus on what’s truly important in life, what makes you happy. For me, that’s my family. We just had a little boy in October and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to truly unplug, disconnect from work, and focus on being present with my new baby and family.

How do you personally balance the amount of technology in your life?

The fact that I can always be connected from the palm of my hand to anyone, anywhere in the world, is both a blessing and a challenge. Without this tech, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do—travel, give speeches, make television appearances—and be away from my family. Apps like Skype and FaceTime are magical. However, it’s easy to get so consumed with tech that we forget to put it away and focus on the people that truly matter. I make a concerted effort to put my gadgets away when I am around my sons so they don’t grow up feeling like they are competitive with a device for my attention. And when I’m out to dinner with my husband or a friend, I put the phone away and out of sight so I can give my undivided attention.

What are your favorite spa treatments and services?

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Bermuda, Bermuda Shore Excursions, Celebrity Cruises, Sunset, CatamaranThey say that a city comes alive after the sun goes down. And here at Celebrity Cruises®, we couldn’t agree more. While Bermuda’s remarkable rose-colored sands and vibrant culture offer plenty for cruise-goers to enjoy in the crisp light of day, this Caribbean hot spot offers a world of treasures that are best experienced after dark. Throw in a shimmering sunset, fantastic music, and phenomenal coastal views, and you’ve got yourself a nighttime adventure for the history books. So if you’re a creature of the night, then we invite you to experience Bermuda like never before. Check out these incredible shore excursions and discover the best of Bermuda after the sun sets.

 

Slip Away to Harbor Nights

No Bermuda vacation is truly complete without a touch of island pizzazz. This beautiful island knows how to party, and the residents are extending an invitation for you to join in the fun. As the name suggests, our Slip Away to Harbor Nights shore excursion will whisk you off into the Bermuda night scene so you can experience a night out on the town just like a local. On Wednesday nights, Bermuda kicks it into high gear on bustling Front Street and Celebrity Cruises has your ticket to the lively celebration. A few cocktails on a private motorboat cruise will set the mood just right before reaching the shore, where you’ll have free reign to soak up the live music, food, art, and late-night shopping. It’s the electricity of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street sprinkled with the laid-back flair of Key West’s Duvall Street. In other words, it’s a blast.

 

Bermuda Triangle Nightlife Glassbottom Cruise

Is your inner adventurer itching to be unleashed? We’ve got just the fix. There’s no better place to you quench your thirst for excitement than while uncovering the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. If you’re craving a different kind of spin on the Bermuda nightlife experience, our Bermuda Triangle Nightlife Glassbottom Cruise offers plenty of unexpected thrills as you venture into the quiet waters surrounding this mystifying region. At this point, you might be wondering how you’re going to see anything below water after dark? That’s the beauty of Bermuda, there’s always a surprise lurking around every corner. As you slip away from the shore, you’ll suddenly begin to notice the sea beneath you come alive with brilliant beams of light. Gaze in awe as the water illuminates with an array of exotic fish, vibrant coral, and intriguing marine life you never even imagined existed. You might even see a shipwreck or two in the famous triangle.

 

White Night Catamaran Sail

If a more intimate setting is what you crave, then sail into the sunset aboard Bermuda’s award-winning Rising Son II catamaran for the twilight cruise of a lifetime. Don your best white-hued ensemble with Bermuda shorts and knee high socks and get ready for a party like no other as you glide across the Great Sound of Bermuda. Sip on classic Caribbean Rum Swizzles, dance to the beat of festive island music beneath the stars, and surrender to the magnificent sight of the sun setting into the sparkling bay. Our White Night Catamaran Sail offers the perfect chance to experience the quintessential tropical night in Bermuda and embrace the island spirit.

 

There you have it. If you’re up for some after-dark excitement, then join us for a night of unexpected adventure and good old island fun in Bermuda.

luminae-carousel-food

If you’re traveling with Celebrity Cruises later this spring and suddenly have a hankering for caviar and crème fraîche, you’re in in luck. On Tuesday, Celebrity Cruises publicly unveiled its new Suite Class restaurant, Luminae, which will feature locally-sourced regional and seasonal ingredients inspired by Celebrity destination sites.

Inspired by the essence of light, exceptional food, wine and luxury, Luminae will feature dishes like a creamy black truffle risotto with fricassee of wild mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano, côte de bœuf with roasted root vegetables and béarnaise sauce, as well as mascarpone cheesecake and pistachio nougatine with yuzu brown butter and apricot sorbet.

“Everything about Luminae embodies an inspirational culinary journey for our guests. We want them to savor soulful, technique-driven cuisine, while enjoying warm and personalized service in a relaxed, stylish setting,” said John Suley, James Beard-featured Celebrity Cruises executive chef.

And if you like a particular day’s menu, definitely make time to enjoy it that same day—each of Luminae’s menu items will only be featured once during a two-week cruise vacation. Other special touches include table-side preparation of signature dishes and the daily presentation of a new delectable gourmet chocolates and desserts cart. Wine lovers can take heart in a selection of over 400 wine from around the world.

Offering complimentary breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, Luminae is a culinary experience of modern, eclectic cuisine and extraordinary service that will remind you (and your taste buds) that there’s no better way to vacation than as a Celebrity Cruises Suite Class guest.

For full details about new Suite Class restaurant Luminae, visit celebritycruises.com/luminae.

Top Five Caribbean Festivals

Cabanas 002With some of the world’s most visually stunning beaches, exotic wildlife, and tasty tropical cuisine, the Caribbean is an ideal vacation locale, especially to counteract the icy effects of winter.

However, the Caribbean is more than just crystal clear waters and drinks with little umbrellas in them. With over 700 islandsisletsreefs, and cays, the region is jam-packed with unique cultures and festivals, each highlighting a different part of each country’s historical and artistic legacy. Here are some of our favorites:

Sailing Week, Antigua (April 1 – May 1, 2015)

The very first Antigua Sailing Week took place in 1968, when some hoteliers tried to extend the winter season by creating a race to get tourists to stay longer. The event, which ended with a Lord Nelson Costume Ball, was such a success it’s now held every year, starting on the last Sunday in April. Nowadays, over 100 yachts (ranging in size from 24 feet to over 100 feet) race around the south coast of Antigua, and it’s sight for anyone, boating enthusiast or not, to behold.

Jazz & Arts Fest, St. Lucia (April 30 – May 10, 2015)

“The Voice” finalist Tessanne Chin, the Commodores, and more will be entertaining the denizens of St. Lucia during this year’s Jazz & Arts Fest. Running from April 30 to May 10, 2015, the annual event will showcase over 50 entertainers as they perform against the historic Pigeon Island National Landmark, as well as colorful celebrations of dance, fashion and fine arts.

Reggae SumFest, Jamaica (July 12 – 18, 2015)

Held every year during the third week of July, SumFest in Montego Bay, Jamaica is the premier event for hearing indigenous reggae music. It was started in 1993 by a group of businessmen looking to resurrect the cancelled reggae fest Sunsplash, and has since expanded into an international music festival that schedules the likes of Usher, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and more.

Crop Over, Barbados (August 2 – 3, 2015)

Barbados was once the world’s largest producer of sugar. Though the country has since scaled back its sugar operations, the old trade has left a sweet legacy: Crop Over. The annual summer festival dates back to the 1780s, when farmers touted their latest sugar cane harvest. Nowaways, locals and tourists alike celebrate with good food, music, art exhibitions and general entertainment. The festival ends with the Grand Kadooment, a carnivalesque parade set to calypso music.

Pirates Week, Cayman Islands (November 12 – 22, 2015)

Halloween has nothing on Pirates Week, the Cayman Islands’ 11-day festivals of all things peg-leg and parrots. The Caymans’ main national festival, the event always starts with a steel pan competition and kick-off party, and also features the crowning of a festival Queen, a street dance and food festival, fireworks, parades, and of course, a (staged) pirate invasion.

Anchorage_Anchorage_MuseumWhen most people think of Alaska, they think of its capital city of Anchorage. Not only does the South-Central city house almost half the state’s population, but it also hosts many of the events and natural phenomenon that most outsiders associate with Alaska, including the Aurora Borealis lights, the Iditarod dog sledding race, and wildlife sightings of moose, bears, whales and eagles.

All of those iconic city emblems will be out in full force this year, as Anchorage celebrates its 100th anniversary. Officially, the city won’t turn 100 until July 9, but the city has celebrations planned for the entire year—and Alaska-bound cruisers won’t want to miss out. (Check out our list of our top-five Alaska shore excursions).

A calendar of events is posted on the Anchorage Centennial website, with frequent updates being added. Unsurprisingly, the city has planned a series of lecture series and museum exhibits, but it’s also hosting a train show, talent competition, PrideFest, and the Miners and Trappers Ball. The theme of the celebratory ball all is Anchorage’s “Tent Cennial,” a nod to the city’s historic start as a “tent city” near the start of Ship Creek in 1914.

Also paying homage to Anchorage’s start as a “tent city” is the Chamber of Commerce, who will put on a two-day Tent City Festival. The event is expected to attract over 50,000 guests, and walk both locals and tourists through Anchorage’s history, including displays about the importance of the Alaska Railroad in the 1920s and oil and gas development in the 1970s.

Guests can stay updated with the Anchorage Centennial and connect with other interested parties on the event’s Facebook page.

Unusual, shore excursions, celebrity cruises, AlaskaWhat comes to mind when you think of Ketchikan, Alaska? Do you picture wild, open spaces where some of the world’s most unique creatures roam? Do you envision majestic, towering glaciers that glisten in surreal hues of blue and silver? If this is pretty much in line with your own take on Ketchikan, you’re not alone. Alaska’s southeasternmost city is renowned for its natural beauty and wildlife. But what if we told you there was another side to Ketchikan that not many are privy to?

Friends, we cordially invite you to cast aside any pre-conceived notions you may have of this vast and mysterious region, and welcome a different version of Ketchikan you would never fathom existed. Check out these three unusual shore excursions in Ketchikan and prepare to redefine your concept of “The Last Frontier”.

1) Snorkeling

Snorkeling? In Alaska? Definitely not your typical Alaskan pastime. Sounds strange, but some of the best experiences are, after all, the ones you least expect. With our Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure in Ketchikan, you’ll enjoy the rare opportunity to discover some of Alaska’s beautiful marine life up close and personal as you snorkel across the famed Inside Passage at Mountain Point. Right now you must be thinking: “It’s Alaska, the water’s freezing!” But never fear; not only will you be wearing a wetsuit, but temperatures actually reach a comfortable 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the mid-summer. Plus, you’ll warm up with a hot beverage after the experience. So come on in, the water’s fine. A spectacular undersea wonderland of sea stars, urchins, fish, and even underwater free diving rock walls awaits. Read More

An image from the opening of Law Library of Congress' 'Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor' exhibition, courtesy of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Facebook page.

An image from the opening of Law Library of Congress’ ‘Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor’ exhibition, courtesy of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Facebook page.

The Magna Carta, the charter and symbol of England’s liberties, will celebrate its 800th anniversary in 2015 and, consequentially, the country’s museums, historical societies and businesses have planned a year’s worth of events and activities to mark the occasion. Originally put forth by King John in 1215, the Magna Carta was meant to appease the country’s overtaxed barons. Instead, the King and the barons went to war, and revised versions of the document were reissued in 1216, 1217, and 1225. The Magna Carta has since influenced many great documents in history, including America’s Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Though King John originally signed the document in June of 1215, England is celebrating the document for a whole year, beginning with an exhibit at the British Library, held in collaboration with Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals between February 2 to 4. The event will bring together—for the first time—all four surviving copies of the Magna Carta. When the exhibit closes on the 5th, the four artifacts will be carefully transported to Parliament, where the display will continue.) The library has also commissioned “a large-scale artwork by a leading British artist” and has planned a series of public events.

Information about the hundreds of other events that are scheduled for the rest of the year can be found at the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary site. Top attractions include a specially-commissioned BBC documentary, a Magna Carta tourism trail, numerous legal lecture series, a masquerade ball, as well as an international commemoration event in June at Runnymede Meadows, where King John originally signed the document, with Queen Elizabeth II in attendance. The previously closed Lincoln Castle will also re-open with a new high-security underground vault, designed to the house and preserve the seminal document for centuries to come.

Unsurprisingly, there is also a slew of Magna Carta-themed merchandise available to buy, including cufflinks, umbrellas, and a decidedly historically-inaccurate USB drive.

If you plan on being in England this year, be sure to factor in some time to celebrate the country’s great historical milestone.

swarovski wearables

Swarovski wearables at CES 2015. Courtesy of @intlces Instagram.

Most of the buzz at this year’s the “Internet of Things”-themed Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place last week in Las Vegas, centered on the need for all 21st-century products to be connected to the Internet. Exhibitors like Samsung and Sony eagerly showed off new gadgets as well as upgraded older gadgets, like LG’s twin washing machine and a $1200 Sony Walkman, now equipped to play digital music.

Among all the big announcements about self-driving cars, WiFi-connected tea kettles and 3-D printers, exhibitors also debuted a number of nifty gadgets that would be incredibly fun or useful for travelers. First up is the Panasonic Lumix TZ70 travel camera, which boasts of an enhanced low-light performance and powerful optical zoom that makes it ideal for travelers. Globetrotters might also get a kick out of the FLIR ONE thermal camera, which can help you take “thermal” selfies—pictures based on the heat emanating from your body. Speaking of selfies, Lenovo’s new Xtension Selfie Flash is a small device you plug into your smartphone’s headphone jack to help brighten up your photos from the front.

Exercise aficionados determined to maintain their work out schedules while on vacation—but want to do so with style—are likely to love Swarovski’s new “Shine” activity trackers. Each piece—including the “Slake” bracelet and “Vio” pendant—not only features signature sparkle, but is embedded with expert tracking technology that measures steps, calories burned, distance and even sleep quality. Vacationers can also bring with them the Smart Mat, an intelligent yoga mat that tracks your usage and provides advice on how best to move between poses.

We’re also a fan of Sony’s racket sensor, a red, Bluetooth-connected nub that sends information about your swing to a smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately, the sensor is just a prototype for now, but tennis players looking to improve their backhand can hope.

What products from CES are you most interested in trying out?

 

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