Reflection BathroomLast week, the Eiffel Tower unveiled see-through glass floor panels on its first level as part of the popular French attraction’s 125th anniversary. The new glass walkways, which cost $38 million, offer a dramatic view of the 187-foot drop from the first level to the ground (the tower as a whole is 1,063 feet) and have become a mecca for tourists looking for the ultimate selfie.

The Eiffel Tower is picking up on long-time trend: adding glass architecture to give travelers a view that will take their breaths away. Here, our five favorite spots to get a “clear” view.

Chicago’s Willis Tower Skydeck

At 1,353 feet up, “The Ledge” gives 1.5 million annual visitors a chance to see the city of Chicago (and four different states) from 103 floors up.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Located at the Grand Canyon West’s Eagle Point, the Skywalk lets visitors walk on a glass walkway nearly 4,000 feet above the floor of the Grand Canyon.

Santa Catalina Island’s Glass-Bottom Boats 

Catalina is famous for its glass-bottomed boat tours, which offer passengers an underwater perspective of the island’s marine life. Available night and day, tours takes advantage of the island’s crystal clear water to show visitors the colorful swarms of fish, kelp forests and aquatic plants located around Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve and other locales.

The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort

Guests at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort offers guest multiple opportunities to see the water below them. The King Water Villa, for example, features a glass desk, which has been set over glass panels, to give the impression that it is “floating over the water below.” But what’s most impressive is the resort’s all-glass undersea restaurant—the only one of its kind in the world.

Celebrity Reflection Shower

Where’s the best view from Celebrity Cruises’ passenger ship Reflection? It’s not where you might think. Reflection’s top suite offers a cantilevered glass shower that juts out from the 14th deck of the vessel, giving its occupant a 360-degree view of the sea.

Reader, where’s your favorite place to see “clearly”?

CEL_PuertoRico_SanJuan_5With the understanding that knowledge is power, Celebrity teamed up with one of the world’s most influential travel brands, Travel + Leisure, to create a group of savvy travel and lifestyle experts who offer insights on everything from the destinations that Celebrity visits, to the modern luxury vacation experiences they provide. Celebrity’s Global Insiders uncover unique and memorable experiences in key destinations on all seven continents. 

Puerto Rico, one of the largest islands in the Eastern Caribbean, boasts a stunningly varied landscape comprised of mountaintops, underground caves, coral reefs, white-sand beaches and an enormous rain forest that supplies fresh water to most of the island. At the same time San Juan, the capital of the commonwealth, is a big city with a bustling business district, glitzy resorts and is one of the most stunning examples of colonial living in the Western world.

Here’s how our Celebrity Global Insiders recommend spending your time when docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

MARC MURPHY CroppedMarc Murphy (Executive Chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants)

Whether you choose to spend your time relaxing on the beach or getting the perfect handmade Panama Hat at Olé (105 Calle Fortaleza), make sure to try these San Juan favorites. Start the day off right with a coffee and a breakfast Mallorca (fluffy bread stuffed with Ham and dusted in powdered sugar) at the classic La Bombonera. For lunch or dinner (maybe both!) take a bite of a mofonogo, a fried plantain dish that is the mainstay of local Puerto Rican cuisine. Some favorite spots to sample this tasty dish are Café del Angel or El Jibarito. Read More

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is the well-known Mexican holiday that serves to honors the deceased. Elaborate culinary dishes and having plenty to drink are key to the many parties, which are so integral to this annual celebration that blends indigenous Aztec rituals with Catholicism, which was brought to Mexico by the Spanish conquistadores.

In Mexico, the festivities take over much of the country, as family members and friends gather at cemeteries to honor their dead relatives. Cruisers stopping by Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Valleta, Mexico in the weeks after Halloween should keep their eyes peels for omnipresent calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls) designs, which feature on everything including candy, parade masks, and storefront window displays. Though they may see a little macabre at first, the skeleton and skull imagery is actually used as a reassuring reminder to everyone involved that death is a natural part of life, and even those that are long gone will always be a part our communities if we remember them and honor their memories.

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Courtesy: Bravo

Courtesy: Bravo

This past year, we launched four “Top Chef”-themed signature sailings—with the final adventure setting sail November 15—and are gearing up for more adventures down the line.

In the meantime, we’re eagerly anticipating the premiere of the twelfth season of “Top Chef” on Bravo, which airs tonight, October 15th. For the first time, the show will be set in the historic port city of Boston and features a new recurring judge—former cheftestat Richard Blais—who will be offering his support (and critiques) to the new season’s competing chefs. Some other “firsts” for the long-running show include a competition on the field underneath the Green Monster, the first “Top Chef” food festival and the first fan appreciation challenge. Read More

Goop HomepageReady for a little more “Goop” in your life?

Earlier last week, Goop, the digital lifestyle media company founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, announced that it was branching into e-commerce and had hired Lisa Gersh, the former CEO and president of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to run the company. To start, the site will offer Goop-branded goods and continue collaborating with A-list designers—like Michael Kors—to sell site-exclusive collections (Goop currently premieres one exclusive limited edition collaboration and an edit of its favorite brand weekly.) Eventually, according to Reuters, Goop “will launch its own label, stretching into apparel—starting with basic wardrobe staples—beauty and home.”

Founded in 2008 by Paltrow—who is Celebrity’s AXESS cover subject for 2014, Goop is clearly growing up beyond its roots as a newsletter-turned-website. Read More

How to Pair Beer With Food

Funky Buddha Brewery

When Steve Hindy founded Brooklyn Lager in 1988, it was not to rave reviews—people did not like the brew’s darker pour and more bitter taste. Today, however, that same recipe is considered to be an entry-level craft beer that paved the way for the ever-growing craft beer industry. Indeed, the craft beer movement has proven to be phenomenally successful and grown from an independent, hipster “scene” into a main-staple of the food and beverage industry.

With the craft beer industry booming, brewers are looking for increasingly complex and delicious ways to produce the tastiest beers on the market. In the case of South Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery—which is partnering with Celebrity Cruises for a Brew Cruise next March—this means mixing up mouth-watering beers like Sweet Potato Casserole (“a big, rich, sticky beer full of sweet potato and marshmallow flavor”), Pip’s Pumpkin Porter (“slightly roasty with flavors of pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie”), and Don’t Tell Reece Peanut Butter Cup Brown Ale (a “big brown ale” with “waves of peanut butter and a chocolate layer”).

Given how many strongly flavored beers the brewery produces, John Linn, Funky Buddha Brewery’s Brand Director, is chock-full of advice on how to best pair beers with food.

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Caribbean Food

It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are just around the corner—meaning that our yearly sprint through dozens of holiday meals and parties is on our doorstep as well. However, while attending holiday events can be occasions of great cheer and joy, actually throwing a party is another story.

One of the easiest ways to put together a stress-free meal for your closest family and friends, according to Oceanview Café Executive Sous Chef Singh Deoraj, is to host a high-end buffet.

“People love the freedom of choice at a buffet,” she says “And if you’re expecting a lot of people, it’s easier on the host.”

“People love the freedom of choice at a buffet,” says Singh Deoraj, Executive Sous Chef, Oceanview Cafe. “And if you’re expecting a lot of people, it’s easier on the host.”

Here are Deoraj’s tips for serving a crowd and making them all happy with your own buffet at home:

1. Begin by deciding the theme for the buffet; that will guide your menu choices.

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Ai With Wind

Alcatraz Island, home to one of America’s most notorious prisons, is an unlikely space to host an art exhibit. However, the now closed penitentiary, located off the coast of San Francisco, is being perfectly utilized by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei for his latest show, “@Large.” Running through April 26, 2015, Ai’s latest project is designed to send a message about freedom of expression and human rights. Broken down into several exhibits scattered all around Alcatraz Island, “@Large” spotlights those that have been imprisoned or exiled for their beliefs, highlighting 20th- and 21st-century figureheads, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Russian rockers Pussy Riot, and Chelsea Manning, the United States Army soldier who was convicted of leaking classified documents to the public.

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BCRF quote-01Since 1985, October has been internationally known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During October, organizations focused on the disease rally supporters to increase awareness and raise funds for research, treatment, and care. In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to its participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors, and in 1993, Evelyn Lauder founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) which established the pink ribbon as its symbol. Today, the color pink has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness—particularly during October.

According to BCRF, over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 40,000 will die. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of death among women. Read More

54 Bistro Vegetable Panini

It’s the butt of many jokes these days but almost every food movement and dish does indeed now seem to have it’s own official “day,” and the ‘trend’ runs from the sublime to the ridiculous—Turkey-Neck Soup Day? March 30; Chocolate-Covered Insects Day? October 15.

However, one of the food-related holiday that has slightly more heft and history to it is World Vegetarian Day, on October 1. Created by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) in 1977 as “an annual celebration to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism,” the ‘holiday’ has been endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union and marks the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month.

In honor of World Vegetarian Day, here are two of our guests’ favorite meat-free recipes that we serve at the Aqua Spa Cafe.

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