A rendering of the Quantum of the Seas, by Royal Caribbean.

A rendering of the Quantum of the Seas, by Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean International today announced the introduction of the Quantum Experience Advisors program featuring a group of celebrity experts in fields such as design, sports & fitness, entertainment and others who will work hand-in-hand with Royal Caribbean’s internal teams to provide their expertise to help shape interior design, key amenities and activities on the Quantum-class.

Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas are set to debut in November 2014 and April 2015 respectively.

The Quantum Experience Advisors are lending their professional know-how to ensure every aspect of the guest experience has been maximized to the fullest extent.

The rest of the article is HERE.

Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day. We are back with Day 2 of our cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway, which is a full day at sea en route to Bermuda. Keep in mind, due to the extremely slow internet speed, we will be uploading most photos on Sunday, after we disembark. You will not be disappointed! Here are today’s thoughts and tips:

1. We had a wonderful day relaxing onboard, spending most of our time at Spice h2O, an adult-only deck/pool area, aft, deck 16. Chairs were easy to obtain, whether you desired shade or sunlight. This area not only protects you from young children, but also from high winds! It is close to all of the food venues on deck 15 (Garden Cafe buffet) as well as the adjacent Uptown Bar & Grill. And, it is where one of the Sabrett Hot Dog Carts is located!

2. I started the day, however, in the gym at 9:20am. It was packed. I took the tour on the first day, and did comment how small (for a ship this size) the gym is, but did not figure it would be so busy. It was still packed at 4:00pm! I truly am surpised with its size, considering it is based out of New York City. There are less older folks on board (than cruises out of Florida, for example), and as with any ship based out of the north, you would think there IS going to be greater amounts of indoor activity, and indoor use. On the flip side, the fitness centers are rarely overcrowded on the cruises out fo the south. And, on the newer megaliners (Oasis, Allure and NCL Epic) the gyms are huge!

3. I LOVE this ship, but I must mention, it DOES feel crowded. When compared to ships of similar size, hallways are narrower, buffet restaurant walking areas are tighter and the staterooms are smaller on average. The Oasis class of ships can hold about 1,500 more people (at capacity), but during my experiences, they never felt crowded.

4. Be sure the bring flip flops to the pool decks…the floor gets hot.

5. You must place you stateroom key in a slot (by the front door) to bring power into the room and for the lights to turn on. Be sure NOT to remove the key at night to shut the lights. Your electronic items will not charge up!

6. We had dinner in the Manhattan Room, one of the main dining rooms, tonight. It is a beautiful space, and has a dance floor. We enjoyed it and did not feel rushed. Since everyone has different taste buds, we are careful not to be food critics, but in our eyes, the stretch of good food continued today…no disappointments!

7. In our stateroom, the lavatory trash bin is INSIDE the door of the cabinet underneath the sink.

8. My wife was not disappointed with the service and quality of food at Wasabi Sushi Bar.

9. The DJ and staff was excellent at getting everyone involved with the Norwegian Night Out Dance Party at Spice h2O, 10:45pm. The dance floor was packed just 15 minutes into the event.

Thanks for stopping by! We will back again tomorrow with Day 3.

spa2Our recent poll revealed that “it’s about the ship” for many, which means you may not spend all of your time in the ports (if at all) when docked or anchored.  If you’ve always wanted to take advantage of the luxurious spa amenities aboard, but didn’t want to pony up the dough, port days may be the time to do so! Most cruise lines offer discounts for most (or all) spa activities and treatments on port days!

A couple of other things you can look into:

1. Many lines offer severely discounted specials for several spa amenities upon boarding for the first time.  Sort of an “early-bird” special. But act quickly, because the packages are usually limited.

2. Sometimes you can use the spa’s showers and steam rooms, even if you do not get a treatment!

See you all in the tropical rain forest room…Happy Cruising!!

MSC Divina rendering.

MSC Divina rendering.

Later this year, MSC will move to PortMiami for its Caribbean sailings.  MSC’s newest ship, the Divina, will call Miami its home beginning in the fall.  MSC signed a three-year deal with PortMiami.

The majority of MSC’s sailings take place overseas, and their presence in the U.S. is relatively light, compared to its competitors.  Figuring that many of you may be apprehensive about trying something new, we would like to share one of our follower’s experiences on the MSC line, just returning this past weekend:

We have just recently returned from a week cruise to the carribean (Antigua, San Juan and Nassau) on the MSC Poesia. I had read many bad reviews on cruise critic and was a little concerned prior to boarding the ship. I don’t know which ship those critics were on, but it wasn’t the Poesia. The ship itself is goregeous and spotless, the staff were courteous, especially our room attendant and dinner time servers. The cruise director and his staff were always getting cruisers involved with morning exercises and dance lessons, and the nightly shows were fabulous (very different from what you see on other lines). The costumes were elaborate. We had 2 opera singers, one torch singer, and gymnasts. We had late seating for dinner and went to the show at 7:30 p.m. which was very nice. Most ships have late seating diners eat first and then go to the shows at 10:00 p.m. or later. While it’s true that all announcements are made in 5 languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian and German), we didn’t feel it was a big issue (there was some criticism on cruisecritic. com about this). As a matter of fact, one day at lunch we sat with a husband and wife from the US who had lived in Italy, 2 sisters from Argentina and a husband and wife from Italy who didn’t speak English. We had the best time with these people. My husband spoke Spanish with the girls who then spoke Italian with the other couple and translated the Italian back into Spanish and then Leon would translate it into English for me. We highly recommend this ship.

To learn more about MSC Cruises in the U.S., click HERE.

Fitness Center on the NCL Epic.

HUGE Fitness Center on the NCL Epic.

I’ve often heard people say that they refuse to cruise because of all the food available and that they don’t want to miss a workout.  But, the dieting is usually the main excuse.  The truth is, a cruise can actually HELP somebody on a workout regimen, whether you are a hardcore bodybuilder, or just somebody looking to maintain your shape.  Even those of you looking to LOSE weight.

Whatever it is you are seeking to do, the best thing about a cruise is the most difficult aspect of maintaining a diet at home…food preparation.  On a cruise, you don’t have to prepare a thing…just seek it out or ask for it…as much as you want!  A cruise is perfect for several small meals a day, to keep your metabolism going…and it’s great for some quick protein right after a workout.  Just finish chest and biceps?  No problem, head up to the buffet area for some milk, or a piece of chicken (or some other protein).  Some of the

The spa cafe on the Allure of the Seas offered smoothies, protein shakes and healthy snacks and sandwiches.

The spa cafe on the Allure of the Seas offers smoothies, protein shakes and healthy snacks and sandwiches.

newer ships even have a health bar as part of their spa!  If you have the will power, a cruise certainly complements your workout diet and regimen!

If you are a “gym rat,” you won’t be disappointed by the options on today’s ships, including fitness centers that rival brick and mortar gyms in terms of size, equipment and group fitness options.  The size of the ship is also an ally; if you choose to do so, you can do a lot of walking!  Furthermore, don’t forget to skip the elevator rides and use the stairwells!