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Sandals has got some Wow to report, and the Caribbean has just gotten a lot better.Sandals over the waterCheck out the new Over The Water Suites that are going to change everything. From luxurious accommodations such as the Caribbean’s first Over-the-water Suites to unique dining concepts that bring you a taste of the world – Sandals is constantly innovating the Luxury Included® experience. Discover the latest amenities and accommodations at Sandals and learn why we are continuously voted the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company.

Link to the New Sandals Experience

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uss united states

NEW YORK – The deal announced here on Thursday was the one nobody expected – an attempt to restore the aged, rusting SS United States to a glamorous ocean liner and sail it across the world.

Luxury operator Crystal Cruises has signed an option agreement with the ship’s owner, the SS United States Conservancy, that its chief executive said could see the iconic vessel ferrying passengers to faraway ports as early as 2018, thus ending the liner’s two-decade docking in South Philadelphia.

The Washington-based conservancy had long sought to make the ship a floating hotel, museum and retail venue, a destination for tourists and ship lovers. But a new vision emerged after the conservancy issued a save-it-or-scrap-it deadline last fall, and a strong response came from Los-Angeles-based Crystal Cruises.

“It is our aspiration that the ship returns to the seas as America’s flagship one again,” Crystal CEO Edie Rodriguez told about a hundred people at a news conference here.

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The project’s cost, if successful, was estimated at more than $700 million.

The option agreement runs nine months when the cruise line will conduct a feasibility study, including extensive checks and surveys of the vessel. There’s no certainty of restoration. If any one factor might sink the deal, Rodriguez said, it would be environmental issues.

The ship is contaminated with cancer-causing PCBs, often found in old paint and insulation. Also challenging, she said, is making a 1952 liner both mechanically modern and compliant with current safety regulations.

Rodriguez noted the undertaking was huge, difficult, and perhaps unprecedented, but pledged, “Failure is not an option. . . . We’re ever the optimists.”

The announcement – on a stage flanked by flags and flowers – was made here at an appropriately seafaring setting: Pier 88, on the Hudson River, with the aircraft carrier Intrepid standing just across the way. Conservancy members, ship enthusiasts, and other supporters greeted the news with applause.

“The SS United States is ready to make history again,” said Susan Gibbs, the conservancy’s executive director and the granddaughter of naval architect William Francis Gibbs, who designed the ship. “Full speed ahead!”

Crystal Cruises will pay the $60,000-a-month cost of docking and maintaining the ship during the feasibility study – a big benefit to the conservancy, which operates in a constant search for money. The cruise company will pay no additional fees for now. At the end of nine months, if the decision is to go forward, further negotiations over money would take place.

“Together, we beat the odds,” Gibbs told those gathered at the pier. “Together we refused to give up.”

The announcement marked the first time a developer has formally, publicly signed on to the project. For years, plans and hopes for the ship have risen and fallen like the tides. Even under favorable circumstances, restoration remains an extremely complicated and costly endeavor, composed of business plans overlaid with historic preservation.

The conservancy announced in November that it had raised $600,000 to prevent the vessel from being junked. That money would have bought the group about 10 more months to reach a deal.

Its leaders have suggested New York as the best location for the ship. Plans to potentially place the liner in Philadelphia or Chester never materialized.

In its day, the S.S. United States was an ocean queen, longer than the Titanic, serving as a trans-Atlantic liner making its way from New York to ports in Europe. It was built in Newport News, Va., with steel from the Lukens company in Coatesville.

It was both liner and secret weapon: If needed, the United States could quickly be turned into a troop ship able to transport 15,000 soldiers up to 10,000 miles without refueling. The ship’s 1952 maiden voyage shattered the trans-Atlantic speed record, which it still holds. But in the 1960s, plane travel made liners outmoded.

When the United States docked in Newport News for an annual overhaul in 1969, it was taken from service. The ship was moved to Norfolk, sold, resold, put up for auction, towed to Turkey and to Ukraine, and finally to South Philadelphia in 1996. Its furniture and interior were long since stripped.

It seemed destined for scrap when its owner, Norwegian Cruise Line, offered it for sale in 2009. The conservancy was offered the first chance to buy but lacked the money. The next year, Philadelphia philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, until recently the owner of The Inquirer, said he would donate up to $5.8 million.

Today it floats at Pier 82, looming over Ikea and the big-box stores in the shopping center across the boulevard. It was unclear where remediation and renovation of the ship would occur, if undertaken. Eventually the ship would likely have New York as its home port, conservancy officials said.

Crystal Cruises takes customers to places all over the world. Rodriguez said the SS United States, if restored, would display the glamour it exhibited at the height of its run.

“This was the way to travel,” Rodriguez said. “We aim to make her that way again.”

jgammage@phillynews.com

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@JeffGammage
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160205_Report__Cruise_ship_company_in_deal_to_buy_SS_United_States.html#myyuIMwKpsUoh7EV.99

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Majesty-of-the-Seas,Free-In

Royal Caribbean International won’t retire Majesty of the Seas from its fleet in 2016 after all.

Instead, the cruise line plans to upgrade its oldest ship with new entertainment and dining options and move it from Miami to Port Canaveral for three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas.

Starting in May, passengers sailing on the revamped 2,767-passenger cruise ship also will get free and unlimited access to its high-speed Internet service Voom, Royal Caribbean said.

Voom is already available to passengers sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class and Quantum-class ships at a cost of $15 daily per device, but it will be offered free for the first time to cruisers aboard Majesty of the Seas next summer.

Other new features to be added include multiple waterslides, an enhanced casino, new Izumi Japanese and Sabor Taqueria Mexican eateries and the Chef’s Table, an exclusive restaurant hosted by the ship’s executive chef and Sommelier.

Entertainment additions will include Jacuzzis, a poolside movie screen and the Dreamworks Experience, which offers activities and entertainment with Shrek, Fiona and other characters from the animation studio’s popular movies.

“We are stepping up our game,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

Consumers can now book cruises for the ship’s inaugural Port Canaveral season, which will begin May 27, 2016.

Last November, Royal Caribbean announced that it would transfer Majesty of the Seas to Spanish cruise line Pullmantur Cruises, which is owned by its parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The ship is the last of Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign-class vehicles. Two others — Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas — were previously transferred to Pullmantur.

The 74,077-ton Majesty of the Seas sailed its maiden voyage April 26, 1992, and was built at Chantiers de L’Atlantique (now STX France) in St. Nazaire, Royal Caribbean said.

Enchantment of the Seas will replace Majesty of the Seas at PortMiami and will sail on short Caribbean itineraries, a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said Thursday.

Arlene Satchell, Sun Sentinel

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The Cruiser

We’ve all been there. That dreaded cruise hangover.  But on a cruise, the  captain is your designated driver, so why not live it up?  The only thing  you have to do is have a good time! Right? – but be smart!

Hangovers suck. It may cause you to miss an excursion, late for debarkation or just feel like crap the next day. Here are some tips crowdsourced from fellow cruises and professionals on how to avoid that dreaded cruise hangover.

Before You Drink

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It’s no secret that alcohol causes dehydration. Keep your body well hydrated before you head to the bar. Slam some extra waters before slamming the drinks.

2. Carb it up. Your body will metabolize alcohol based on what kind of food you eat. Eat a lot of protein, fats and carbs before ordering your first drink. This isn’t going to stop your hangover but will give your body nutrients before the big night.

3. Go (Port) Shopping. And make sure Gatorade is on that list. Gatorade is also known for its large number of electrolytes; consuming a bottle the next day can help your body regain its balance.

While You Drink

4. Stay clear. The darker liquors have more toxins and sugars in them. Try switching it up to a clear alcohol like Vodka. According to a study at Brown University,  bourbon contains 37 times more toxic compounds than vodka.

5. One to one ratio. Try matching an 8 oz. glass of water with every drink. It’ll keep the tissue around the brain hydrated and will assist in keeping you headache free the next day. This works wonders for me.

6. Avoid Champagne. “The carbon dioxide in carbonated beverages like champagne helps absorb the alcohol,” says Boris Tabakoff, a pharmacology professor at the University of Colorado. “You get a faster rate of absorption, higher blood alcohol levels – and brain levels – if you drink champagne as opposed to something non-carbonated.”

After You Drink

7. Take a multivitamin. This tip comes from a Harvard article. Those who drink may benefit the most from by getting extra Vitamin B, since alcohol moderately depletes our body’s store of it.

8. Water. This is a reoccurring theme. Our bodies are around 65% water. Alcohol is a diuretic (makes you pee) and purges water from our body. So it’s obvious that we must replenish the fluids we lose. So put that big bottle of expensive water bedside!

9. Go for a deck walk. Even though bright light is probably the last thing you want to see, did you know that oxygen increases the rate that alcohol is broke down? Fresh air also promotes metabolism and blood flow, so it’s good all around.

Final Thoughts

The only surefire way to avoid a hangover is to not drink, especially on the last night of your cruise. There’s nothing worse than having to disembark and travel with a hangover.

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV or the radio! The contents of this post are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

photo: Flickr

The post 9 Ways to Avoid a Cruise Hangover appeared first on Cruise Radio.

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There is a ship that provides blazing fast connectivity at sea to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. A ship that lets its guests download streaming music and videos from the cloud, Netflix, Hulu and more at speeds equal to those on land. A ship that lets you play Xbox Live with other gamers anywhere around the world. A ship where technology is there at every turn to make the guest experience richer than ever before. This isn’t a ship- it’s a Smartship. This is Quantum of the Seas SM. This changes everything.

Quantum smart ship

 

SMART

CONCIERGE

Via wearable and portable technology you can book shore excursions, make dinner reservations and more anywhere onboard the ship.

SMART

CONNECT

Blazing internet connectivity speeds let you post to Facebook, Tweet, stream Netflix, play Xbox Live with gamers worldwide and more.

SMART

EXPERIENCES

You’ll experience never before seen wonders at sea like Two70°SM featuring dancing robotic screens; virtual balconies; smart art and our Bionic Bar.

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Diamond Club

Recently Royal Caribbean began a new policy of offering complimentary drink vouchers per night to select levels of Crown and Anchor Society members to help offset congestion in its Diamond and Concierge lounges.

How does these new complimentary drink coupons work?

Three drink vouchers per day will be applied to each eligible Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members corresponding SeasPass card to be used to get a free drink at bars on the ship.

One drink may be redeemed at any one time.

Who is eligible for the drink coupons?

Guests who are Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members.

When can I use the drink coupons?

Between 4:30pm and 8:00pm

Which drinks are available with the coupons

Spirits

  • Bacardi Rum
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Tanqueray Gin
  • Finlandia Vodka
  • Dewar’s White Label Scotch Whiskey
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
  • Jose Cuervo Gold Tequilla
  • Courvoisier VS Cognac
  • Sandeman Port Wine

Wines by the glass

  • St. Martin Chardonnay
  • Zonin Pinot Grigio
  • Beringer White Zinfandel
  • St. Martin Cabernet Sauvignon
  • St. Martin Merlot

Beers

  • Budweiser
  • Miller Light
  • Amstel Light
  • Corona
  • Heineken

Can I still go to the Diamond Lounge if I use these coupons?

Yes, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members can continue to enjoy all the amenities in the Diamond Lounge.

Where can I not use the complimentary drink coupons?

Drink vouchers may not be redeemed in the dining room, specialty restaurants, room service or Windjammer.

Are the drink coupons available on all cruises?

Not yet. Royal Caribbean promises they will be rolled out by Fall 2014 but already a number of ships are offering it, including Navigator of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean has begun a new policy of offering complimentary drink vouchers per night to select levels of Crown and Anchor Society members to help offset congestion in its Diamond and Concierge lounges.

Emails are starting to go out to Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members who have an upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise booked to alert them about this new policy.

Diamond Coupons

The SeaPass card of each eligible Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club member will be loaded with three drink vouchers for each night of the sailing. Vouchers expire daily. Drinks vouchers are not valid in the main dining room, the Windjammer Café or in specialty restaurants.

It’s widely believed this new policy of offering drink vouchers is an attempt by Royal Caribbean to offset crowding in its Diamond and Concierge lounges.

This new policy will be rolled out to the entire fleet by Fall 2014.

Which ships are offering it right now is in flux, but we know that at the latest Freedom of the Seas will by July, Navigator of the Seas by September.

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Here is an article from Cruise Radio that we thought would be really helpful and we decided to share.

6 Things to Survive an Airport Layover

OCTOBER 17, 2013 BY  LEAVE A COMMENT

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This fall I’m going to be traveling an estimated 17,000 air miles. That’s a lot of airports, and flying out of Jacksonville, that’s a lot of layovers. There are a few things I pack to keep myself organize and entertained sane during an airport layover.

Here’s my list:

Gate Guru app. I won’t talk about an app unless I use it, and thanks to a US Air captain I’m hooked.  I am a big fan of Gate Guru. The folks at Trip Advisor developed it and it shows you what there is to eat (most importantly), local weather, a map of the airport, tips from other passengers, amenities, flights that are scheduled out of that airport and gate information. Pretty much it’s everything you need when you get to your destination in one little handy program. It’s truly brilliant. Check out Gate Guru here.

Power cord. You will be a hero when you roll into an airport (like Philly) with a power cord. They have just a few plugs in the main terminal areas. If someone is using one of the plugs, ask if you can plug your power strip in and invite them to use your power strip. Crisis averted.

Back up battery. You can get something that will cost you around $75 like an Mophie or a rechargeable unit from your local drug store or off Amazon. I use a power pack from Duracell that charges off my USB drive. It is good for a little over one charge and I charge it overnight after every use.

Notebook. I’m not talking about the Nichols Sparks novel, I’m referring to an actual little notebook. They come in handy for the folks whose mind that never shuts off (like mine) or for a to-do list when you get to your destination. Plus, as of now, we can’t use electronics — on take off, taxi or landing — so it gives you something to do if you don’t want to make mindless conversation with the stranger sitting next to you.

Gift Card. I always do my research when I am heading to an airport with a layover and pick up a gift card for a places that I will want to eat or get a coffee from. It helps because it makes me not want to buy a bunch of fatty airport food and keeps my budget under control. I keep the gift card in my backpack and don’t have to reach for my wallet. I get very paranoid when I pull my wallet out in airports. Not because of crime but because I’m clumsy and have dropped debit cards before.

These are just a few things I use in my arsenal of airport survival tools. What do you use when to help with layovers?

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