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Top Chef at Sea Header Pic

Beginning in July of this year, you can step aboard select Celebrity Cruiseships and discover new ways to thrill your palate, master culinary skills, and take your vacation to the next tantalizing level!

For dedicated foodies, there are four Top Chef Signature Sailings, where you’ll be joined by some of the show’s most popular and talented chef’testants.  Rub shoulders with the chefs and sample some of their creations at special Meet & Eat gatherings (featuring hors d’oeuvres prepared from the chefs’ recipes) on vacations in Bermuda, Alaska, Europe, and the Caribbean.  With as many as four chefs per sailing, you’ll have the opportunity to get the low-down on what it was like to be on the show and find out what they have in store next.

http://www.creative.rccl.com/e-lite/CEL/14037258_Top_Chef_at_Sea/Top_Chef_Video.html

Four theme cruises:

• Celebrity Summit – July 27, 2014 – 7N Bermuda cruise

• Celebrity Solstice – August 15, 2014 – 7N Alaska cruise

• Celebrity Infinity – September 19, 2014 – 12N France & Iberian Discovery cruise

• Celebrity Reflection – November 15, 2014 – 7N Eastern Caribbean cruise

Programming on the cruises:

• Cooking demonstrations — at least two per sailing per chef — complimentary

• The show’s famous Quickfire challenges – at least two per sailing – complimentary

• Top Chef-inspired menu in the main restaurant once per cruise

• Private cooking classes – at least one per sailing per chef – for a fee (Price- COMING SOON)

• Chef-hosted specialty dining dinners – at least one per sailing per chef – for a fee (Price- COMING SOON)

• Other exclusive complimentary events

Contact me for further details at my website http://www.laurenliebert.com to book your next YUMMY vacation!

Top Chef Flyer for Celebrity

 

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Today I got the privilege to take a tour and inspect Princess Cruises renovated Grand Princess.  I sailed on her 11 years ago and I was looking forward to seeing her after Princess spent so much money to update her.   Overall, Princess Cruises…you have failed.

So what is the big deal about the removal of Skywalker’s lounge?  Passing off the extremely small One5 Nightclub as the solution…fails.  Perhaps a little sprucing up of the Princess Theater should have been placed into the budget?  It is small, dark and dingy!  Since we are talking about dingy…the kids club is sad.  Why would a kid want to spend 5 minutes in the small, dark and outdated play rooms?  Princess?!?!?  I think you forgot about the staterooms too!  With the exception of new sheets and a duvet, THEY LOOK TIRED AND WORN.  Don’t get me started on the old and dated tile in the bathrooms.  The only true upgrade to the rooms are the rather small and disappointing flat screen T.V.’s = fail!

I do have to admit that the new Atrium is quite lovely.  ****that’s all I got****

Alfredo's Pizzeria in the Atrium

Alfredo’s Pizzeria in the Atrium

I kept hearing today on how Princess Cruises is “Innovative.”  Huh?  10 years later, Princess is still hanging onto the “innovation” of having the “Movies Under the Stars.”  It’s a very large T.V.!  Whoopee Doo.  Then there’s the mention of “innovating” the concept of Anytime Dining.  Wrong – NCL did that first.  And, lastly the addition of specialty restaurants.  Yeah, every cruiseline has those.

Bottomline, there is reason Princess has not released a new ship in 5 years…They simply do not have the creative imagination to be truly “innovative” as their competitors in Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and even Royal Caribbean (The King of Innovation).   I saw a preview of the Royal Princess.  ****yawn****   The most exciting thing I learned today is that her God Mother will be HRH Dutchess of Cambridge – YAY Kate!

So Princess Cruises, continue to keep your die hard loyal to the end cruisers, I will be placing my client’s on cruiseships that really give them the full cruising experience for their money.

Celebrity Cruises has announced big changes yesterday in its two new Solstice-class ships: the “Celebrity Silhouette” (debuting late next year) and the “Celebrity Reflection” (arriving in 2012). 

The “Reflection” will actually grow in size by a meter in width and 4,000 more gross tons to make room for more cabins, a larger theater, and expanded restaurant space.  In the Lawn Club area on both ships, the Corning Class Museum and the glass-blowing demonstrations will be replaced by two new dining venues (the Lawn Club Grill specialty restaurant [$30 per person] and the Porch) and eight cabana alcoves (available for rent), plus hammocks and Adirondack chairs. 

Meanwhile, the popular Michael’s Club area will become a craft beer bar, and the Team Earth interactive exhibit will be replaced by The Hideaway (a quiet lounge area).

Without a doubt these are going to be spectacular ships, especially Reflection!

Don’t hesitate!!!  Contact me today to discuss your next cruising adventure.

Folks, I know it is hard to believe that I am speechless!  I actually had a moment here where I was a little faklempt (ahhh, Mike Myers those were the days…)

You ask why?  How can it be?  Will I live?  Who or what did this to me?

I have Azamara Cruises to thank for this moment, as should you!!!  They just released the most AMAZING special I have ever seen in the 6 years I have been in this business.  So here’s the low-down:

►   2-For-1 Savings and Gratuities Included.  (Get the hell out of here!!!!  50% off on European Sailings?!?!)

►   $500 Air Credit, per person.  (Seriously?!?!  I’m starting to get hot flashes here…)

►   $500 On-board Credit, per cabin.  (Spa treatments here I come!!!  Thanks, Azamara)

Are you still with me?  Please tell me you haven’t fainted, because I have more inclusive amenities:

►   Azamara’s preferred vintage red and white wine of the day poured at lunch & dinner.   (OMG!  I know you finally fainted, because I just picked myself off of the floor!)

►   Shuttle service to/from port communities, where available.  (Ok, so this is not that spectacular, but still cool)

►   English Butler for Club Suite guests.  I can hear it now…”Jenkins, a glass of champagne and a chocolate covered strawberry, please…”

Now that you are as excited as I am about this…CALL ME, E-MAIL ME, TALK TO ME AT THE SUPERMARKET, WHATEVER IT TAKES! (Yes, I will take your call at 3:00 a.m. if you are serious about booking).  DO NOT PASS THIS OFFER UP!!!

Last day to book is June 30, 2010.

Complimentary Wine Tasting!  Wine Pairing!  Jazz, Port, and Chocolate Tasting Seduction!  And, so much more!!!

I have exciting news for wine lovers – it’s the season to celebrate not only your fondness of wine, but also the seasonal harvesting of the grapes.  As such, Celebrity Cruises will be celebrating this year’s vintage with a variety of exclusive onboard events on select ships and sailings from November through mid-December, 2009.

Contact me today for booking details!

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So today I headed up to the Port of San Francisco, with a few of my favorite colleagues, to do a ship inspection of Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess.  The Sea Princess is doing 10 day round-trip Alaska sailings this summer from San Francisco.  She is 10 years old and I was expecting her to look rather tired.  Much to my surprise, her public areas did not reflect this.  However, she is in desperate need of updated mattresses, bedding and flat screen TV’s in the staterooms.  I was actually shocked on how tiny the TV’s were.  I know as a society we have become spoiled with our Mega Flat Screens, but frankly, I truly believe those were 10-inch monitors…

She holds 1,950 passengers and simply without the travelers on-board yet, it felt cramped with just the 200 or so agents, plus the staff.  I’ve been on plenty of other ships with the same capacity including other Princess ships and my preferred line – Celebrity Cruises are far more spacious than the Sea.

The spa was the most disappointing I have ever seen on a cruise ship!!!  It was dull, lifeless and very small.

Now let’s address what they refer to as the Grand Casino…There was NOTHING grand about this!  It was tiny!!!  I think it only had 30 slot machines?  A majority of the room was geared toward just plain seating.  Am I mistaken, but isn’t the casino on a ship a huge moneymaker for the cruiseline?

Sea Princess Casino

Truly the 2 things I was very pleased with were the size and layout of the mini-suites and the buffet area.  I’ve been on the Coral Princess twice in a mini-suite, in which they are just oversized staterooms.  However, on the Sea Princess, they are large, have wonderful flow between rooms and the bathrooms are the extremely beautiful.  The buffet area and dining room, I thought was a nice size, bright (surrounded by windows) & airy – perfect for Alaska!

Sea Princess Mini Suite

Finally, let’s discuss the food…We were invited for lunch in one of the main dining rooms…I almost would have preferred to eat their pizzeria.  The Shrimp with Melons was bland; the Chateaubriand was overcooked and tough.  The bread & chocolate soufflé were the only things that were worth eating.  If this is what they serve us, what in the world do they serve clients for 10 nights?

Now don’t get me wrong…I am a huge advocate for the 10/11 day roundtrip Alaska itinerary out of San Francisco.  I just think that Princess should put in place a much better ship than the Sea Princess.  When you look at the quality of the competitor’s ships, this cruise ship truly fails.  I highly recommend Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas or Serenade of the Seas (departing out of Seattle & Vancouver, respectively).  These ships were specifically designed for viewing the beauty of Alaska and are a far better value and cruising experience!

Contact me to discuss booking that last minute Alaska cruise for 2009 or locking in a stateroom for 2010 at 2009 rates on either RCCL or Celebrity!