Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm quoted in the Wall Street Journal!

I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch today on how traveling to the Mediterranean could save your life. Elizabeth O'Brien's piece called "Save Your Life: Eat tomatoes and mozzarella" discusses the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

Well, who better than I to discuss the pleasures of eating one's way through Europe to fully experience a destination and to appreciate the culture more deeply? Recipes have always been my favorite souvenirs that I continue to share with friends and family.


 I can almost still taste the seafood paella after my cooking lesson in Valencia, Spain this past April.


Enjoying white asparagus with hollandaise sauce at a darling bistro was a highlight of my Spring 2012 trip to Paris.


The bouillabaisse in Marseille was as amazing as the view of the old harbor from the outdoor cafe - a delicious break during a Mediterranean cruise in 2010.

Is it corny to say that I truly believe in the transformative power of travel?  With each mouthful, we absorb the culture and let it nourish us. The new tastes we enjoy and the new places we explore become a part of us. These moments, these experiences do change us, enrich us and make us better. And healthier too!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Norwegian Breakaway review, inaugural cruise

Sailing on the inaugural cruise of Norwegian Cruise Line's brand-new ship, the Norwegian Breakaway was super fun! Here is my review of this mega-ship. Click here for my Slideshow.

Everyone will be excited about the top deck features (and with good reason):
Aqua Park with 5 multi-story water slides
Ropes course with zip line and walk-the-plank experience
Bungee Trampoline and Spider Web Climbing Cage
Sports Complex with Rock Climbing Wall, Miniature Golf course, Basketball court, etc...


     

But for me, the most exciting feature of the Norwegian Breakaway was the entertainment. Finally, a cruise ship with some serious nightlife options! Do make reservations online before your cruise.
THREE Broadway shows:
-Rock of Ages The Musical
-Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasy from Cirque Productions
-Burn the Floor is 'the ultimate ballroom sensation'
Fireworks show each week with 80's Dance Party
Second City comedy at Headliners
Fat Cats Blues Club
Howl at the Moon, dueling piano show
2 dance clubs (Bliss Ultra Lounge is indoors and Spice H20 is an open air space up on Deck 15)
9 other bar/lounges, including an Ice Bar (don't worry, you don't need to pack your parka because they provide arctic hooded capes)
The Rockettes are the ship's godmothers and on the first week of the month, several Rockettes will be on-board performing and offering fitness/dance classes.

    

Kids of all ages will love the ship too. Splash Academy for children 3-12 offers lots of fun activities, including a circus academy. The Under 2 Zoo is a nursery for babies between 6 months and two years old (a parent must remain present). Teens have their own club called Entourage (no adults allowed). The Arcade was a fun mix of new video games that I've never heard of before, classic games like Guitar Hero and retro games like air hockey. Lots of shooting, driving, flying, riding motorcycles, etc. Also, pirates.

Kid's Aqua Park with Nickelodeon characters

The dining options were absurdly extensive also: 27 different venues! It'll be hard enough for you to choose on a 7-night itinerary, but a two-nighter was too short indeed. FYI- Eleven of those options are complimentary, but the rest have extra charges. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian offers three venues: Ocean Blue Seafood Restaurant is open for dinner, Ocean Blue on the Waterfront serves lobster rolls al fresco for lunch, and The Raw Bar shucks oysters and more late into the evening. Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro opened a Carlo's Bake Shop on-board (pre-order cakes for celebrations at sea). Specialty restaurants also include Teppanyaki, Sushi, Italian, French, Brazilian, Steakhouse, etc.

        

I approve of the staterooms. I liked the decor of my Mid-Ship Balcony stateroom (Room 14820, Category BA). The Deck 14 location was not my favorite (Deck 15 extends beyond Deck 14 and you could hear folks playing on the Sports Deck above). The showers in the Spa Balconies are significantly better.

Two sections on the ship are unique and special:
*The Haven: a ship-within-a-ship offering a peaceful, full-service retreat. All Haven guests have 24-hour Butler service, access to the private lounge, pool, sundeck and The Haven Restaurant.
*The Studios: designed and priced for solo travelers with an exclusive lounge with cafe and bar.


The Haven pool and sundeck with retractable roof

Studios are 100 square feet

The ship will be sailing from NYC year-round, offering 7-night Bermuda cruises all summer, in the Fall she switches to 7-night Florida and Bahamas cruises. In the winter, she offers a few 12-night Caribbean itineraries before the Bermuda season resumes.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR TZELL CLIENTS Book in May and you will be WINED AND DINED –a free bottle of wine, plus Dinner for 2 at the Italian restaurant. This offer is fleet wide and exclusive to TZELL, offer expires May 31.