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Dining Options Shine On Fall’s Wine, Dine & Music Cruise



Desert from Giovanni's Table.

Dessert from Giovanni’s Table.

By Nancy Schretter

Dining experiences and food quality are a very important part of the vacation experience for many cruise passengers. On November’s Wine, Dine & Music Cruise, guests will be able to sample some of the finest California Wine Country cuisine, wines from seven different wineries, and a variety of superb dining options available on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas. All of this bounty comes at an exceptional value as well, with seven-night cruise rates starting at $699 per person for an oceanview stateroom plus taxes and fees.

This inaugural full ship charter of the beautiful Brilliance of the Seas features special menus and food tastings by top chef John Ash, the “Father of Wine Country Cuisine,” and chef Catherine Venturini. John Ash is a world-famous chef, author, radio and television host, and cooking teacher. John is an adjunct instructor at the Culinary Institute of America and has been named “Cooking School Teacher of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Chef Catherine Venturini is the owner of Olive & Vine, a Sonoma-style restaurant in Glen Ellen, California. Catherine will be delighting foodie guests with her famed small plates and hors d’oeuvres.

Seven top flight California wineries will be onboard offering wine tasting opportunities hosted by either their winemaker or their wine club manager. These specially chosen wineries include Truett-Hurst, Dutcher Crossing, Sapphire Hill, Two Amigos, Robert Young, Flora Springs and Rodney Strong. In addition, mixologist Pam Bushling and Sommelier Deb Del Fiorentino will be educating guests as well. Wine, Dine & Music cruise guests can learn more about wine and spirits throughout their vacation at complimentary wine seminars and Introduction to Mixology classes. A one-day tour of several boutique wineries in Northern California can easily run $550 for a party of two. On the Wine, Dine & Music Cruise, guests can have a similar type of wine tasting experience included free of charge as part of their cruise.

In addition, guests receive a free special package that provides every stateroom with one bottle of wine per night from each of the seven wineries. If such a package was purchased separately on the Brilliance of the Seas, the price would be over $500 including gratuities. This special offering is free on the Wine, Dine & Music Cruise – providing even more value.

Entree from Giovanni's Table.

Entree from Giovanni’s Table.

Food-loving passengers will also be able to enjoy the many dining choices available onboard the Brilliance of the Seas. In addition to choosing from delectable dishes in the complimentary main dining room, guests can try out some of Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty dining venues including Giovanni’s Table, the pan-Asian cuisine of Izumi, and Chops Grille. On this Wine, Dine & Music Cruise, John Ash will be offering some of his special creations on the Chops Grille menu for added enjoyment. Casual dining options at Rita’s Cantina, the Park Café, Windjammer Café and Latte’tudes are also available to guests.

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Guests seeking an outstanding culinary experience may wish to book Royal Caribbean’s Chef’s Table special dinner on the Brilliance of the Seas. This is a highly limited specialty dining option for 16 guests or less, and an additional fee applies. Dinner includes a five-course gourmet menu with special wine pairings. Reservations are strongly recommended and guests must be 21 or older to participate.

The Wine, Dine & Music cruise departs Tampa on November 9, 2013 and visits Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Costa Maya on its week-long sailing. Oceanview cabins start at $699 per person and balcony staterooms start at $1099 per person, plus taxes and fees. All of the ship’s interior cabins are sold out at this time. Oceanview and balcony staterooms are booking quickly as well, so make your reservations soon. For more information, visit the cruise’s website at

Nancy Schretter is the Managing Editor of the Family Travel Network.

Photo credit: Nancy Schretter

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Cruise News

Princess Cruises Wants You To ‘Flee the Freeze’



Princess Cruises is offering a special opportunity for travelers to “Flee the Freeze” as temperatures dip below zero throughout the United States. On 7, 8, 10, and 14-day sailings to the Caribbean this year, New Jersey residents can take advantage of up to 32 percent off cruise fares and $32 in onboard spending money per person. (32 degrees being the freezing point, get it?)

Escape the winter chill and hit the sun-drenched Caribbean beaches this year. Sample cruises include:

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  • 7-day Eastern Caribbean – inside cabin $599 per person
  • 7-day Western Caribbean – inside cabin $599 per person
  • 8-day Southern Caribbean – inside cabin $649 per person
  • 10-day Eastern Caribbean Voyager – inside cabin $849 per person

Fares are based on double occupancy. The offer is combinable with the current Anniversary Sale promotion, where guests can earn up to $300 in onboard spending money. The “Flee the Freeze” offer is running now through January 22, 2018.

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Cruise News

Royal Caribbean Wants You to Find Your Adventure Personality



With the winter blues in full swing – and half of the northeast region covered in snow (not an actual calculation) – many travelers are dreaming of where they want to vacation next. Royal Caribbean has teamed up with the international authority on personality research, Myers-Briggs, to create a convenient way for travelers to navigate the possibilities for their next adventure from beginning to end.

The easy, 13-question quiz draws on The Myers-Briggs Company’s knowledge of personality types, and assess a person’s motivations and interpersonal needs that most affect their travel preferences. Once complete, quiz-takers receive a unique description of who they are as a traveler and suggested destinations and activities that might suit them.

The Adventure Personality quiz will be available all throughout what is known as “Wave Season” in the cruise industry, where potential guests are busy planning warm vacations and the best offers are available for the year ahead. To find your adventure personality, visit

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Carnival Cruise Line

Fate of the Carnival Triumph Revealed



With Carnival Cruise Line execs routinely speaking about reducing the size of their fleet and little known about the Carnival Triumph’s future itineraries, some fans worried the ship might be on its way out. But fans of the Triumph can relax, as it was announced today that the ship will be sailing a variety of itineraries from three different ports… including a 2019 stay in New York City.

Carnival Triumph Hits Numerous Ports

The Triumph, which joined the fleet in 1999, will take on an exciting new slate of sailings during the 2019-20 season, immediately after undergoing a major refurbishment that will see her receiving a variety of new venues to compliment the ones she already has, which include the always-popular Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Tequila Bar and Alchemy Bar. The new itineraries will see her sailing from New York, Fort Lauderdale and Norfolk.

Exciting News For New York Homeporters

Perhaps most exciting to New Yorkers will be the return of shorter voyages from the port. The Carnival Triumph will sail four-day cruises to Bermuda in 2019 — being billed as “long weekends” — on May 23, June 20, July 18, August 15 and September 12. For those wanting to trade The Big Apple for Bermuda a few days longer, the ship will sail a six-day Bermuda trip on June 24, 2019. That trip will include a two-night stay in Bermuda. And on June 24, 2019, the Triumph will sail an 8-day cruise out of NYC that will include two nights on Bermuda and a visit to Grand Turk.

View Carnival Triumph Deck Plans

For those wanting to go North instead of South, Carnival will also offer three 7-day cruises — departing on September 22, September 29 and October 6 of 2019 — visiting New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

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Finally, the New York City sailings will offer 8- and 10-day options, as well as a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise departing May 27, 2019, and visiting the Panama Canal, Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica and Half Moon Cay.

Details On Triumph’s Florida Visit

(photo: Port Everglades)

The Carnival Triumph will also sail out of Fort Lauderdale in 2019, doing 4- and 5-day cruises in April before heading to New York, and then picking up these itineraries again from November 2019 (after completing her Big Apple trips) until April 2020. In fact, at this point, Carnival is the only cruise line slated to offer a short-cruise itinerary from Fort Lauderdale, which should prove wildly appealing to the ever-growing population of people looking to take a cruise, but not necessarily having a week or more to commit. The 4-day sailings will depart on Thursdays and visit Nassau as well as either Half Moon or Princess Cay. The 5-day trips will depart on Mondays and swing by Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

Triumph’s Trip To Norfolk

Finally, the Carnival Triumph will also sail 5- and 6-day cruises to the Bahamas out of Norfolk, Virginia during May and October of 2019.

“We’re delighted to offer this unique schedule on Carnival Triumph,” says Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy of the ship’s port-hopping slate of itineraries. “With such an array of cruise choices, vacationers have the opportunity to enjoy short, value-packed getaways to tropical destinations [or] longer-length departures visiting spectacular ports of call!”

Will you sail Carnival Triumph out of New York City?

Featured photo Carnival Cruise Line 

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