October 20, 2014

Cool Cocktails in the Caribbean

Cool Cocktails in the CaribbeanThere is something about the soft sands, sapphire waters and cool breezes of the Caribbean that goes perfectly with a fruity cocktail. When relaxing on a pristine beach in the warm Caribbean sunshine, even beer and wine drinkers may find themselves thinking, a cocktail with an umbrella in it sounds delightful!

The majority of the world’s rum is produced in the Caribbean, so many cocktails have been designed around this liquor. A product of sugar cane, rum has a sweetness that makes it the perfect complement to fruit juices. Some of the most popular drinks include:

Calypso Cooler: The secret to this cocktail is spiced rum combined with peach schnapps. Add orange juice and a splash of grenadine and serve over ice.

Paradise Quencher: This dark rum drink, typically served frozen, features an array of fruit juices: pineapple, passion fruit, cranberry and apricot.

Bahama Mama: With dark rum, light rum and the particularly potent 151-proof rum, this is the rummiest of rum drinks. There are many variations on this popular cocktail, but it typically includes coffee liqueur, pineapple juice and lemon juice, served on the rocks.

A Day at the Beach: For those who prefer vodka to rum, this sweet and fruity tropical drink makes the perfect alternative. It mixes vodka with peach schnapps and amaretto, plus orange and cranberry juice, and is served on the rocks.

Happily, all of these cocktails are available in the bars and lounges on Oceania Cruises’ ships, so you can also enjoy them on board as you cruise the Caribbean. If these drinks are a bit too sweet for you, then Oceania Cruises’ signature cocktail is the perfect alternative. Made with vodka instead of rum, the Big O Martini is not as sweet but still has the fruity spirit of Caribbean cocktails. The “O” stands for Oceania Cruises of course, but it could also stand for orange.

I confess that the Big O Martini is one of my favorite drinks, whether we’re cruising the Caribbean or the Baltic! Here is the recipe if you’d like to give it a try:

For each Big O Martini, fill a shaker with ice, 2 ½ ounces Grey Goose Orange Vodka, ½ ounce Cointreau, ½ ounce freshly squeezed orange juice, ½ ounce cranberry juice, and a splash (about ¼ ounce) of freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir and then strain into a martini glass, preferably chilled.

October 17, 2014

Limited Time Offer: Extend Your Stay with Exclusive $99 Hotel Special

Imagine that you’ve just enjoyed an unforgettable voyage sailing from New Zealand to French Polynesia, and as you sail towards Tahiti to disembark, you still have the pleasure of lingering another night in this enchanting part of the world. Now you can explore the captivating cities in which your itinerary begins or ends even more with our special limited time $99 hotel offer. Featuring both Beijing and Papeete, this special hotel offer is available on a number of our extraordinary South Pacific and Asia itineraries, highlighted below. 

Beijing: Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido

Crowne Plaza BeijingCrowne Plaza Beijing Lido is ideally located at Chaoyang district in the center of the Lido area, famous for its up-market residents, and renowned restaurants & bars. All of the hotel guestrooms feature oversized bathrooms, a flat-screen TV, satellite channels and high-speed Internet access. The Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido also features an onsite restaurant, Matrix which serves both Asian and western dishes; a bar and lounge to enjoy cocktails and nightly entertainment; an indoor heated pool; a fitness center and free Wi-Fi throughout. In addition, the hotel is only a 20 minutes’ drive from Beijing International Airport.

Crowne Plaza BeijingDuring your stay at Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido, easily explore other parts of the city with the nearby Metro and readily available taxis. Perhaps delve deeper into Beijing with a tour of the Forbidden City, and afterwards rent a rowboat to discover Beihai (North Lake) Park, once part of the emperors’ vast gardens. The next day, you might visit the National Museum of China or head to historical Nanluoguxiang in the Gulou (Drum and BellTower) district to explore its narrow streets filled with intriguing shops, galleries and cafés.

2-night stay for $99 per guest, including transfers and breakfast:

Post-Cruise: Nautica’s Asian Interlude, February 21, 2015

Pre-Cruise: Nautica’s Emperors & Empires, March 10, 2015

Book early; space is limited!

Papeete: Radisson Plaza Resort

Radisson Plaza ResortLinger in Tahiti longer at the tranquil Radisson Plaza Resort, located on the gorgeous half-mile long Lafayette Beach in historic Matavai Bay. The hotel offers upscale luxury, spectacular oceanfront views, unparalleled resort services and lush, tropical surroundings.  All rooms feature balconies with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, along with luxurious and contemporary furnishings. A full range of resort amenities is available, including a waterfront restaurant with nightly entertainment, an infinity swimming pool, an award-winning spa, convenient beach access, a fitness center, complimentary shuttle to Papeete city center and complimentary high-speed Internet access.

Radisson Plaza ResortWith its stunning location on historic Matavai Bay, this destination resort offers easy access to a wide range of activities and attractions, and endless possibilities for relaxation. Use your extra time to tour the ancient restored temple of Arahurahu Marae, visit the Paul Gaugin museum or discover the gorgeous island landscapes on an exciting safari. Or perhaps simply enjoy the Polynesian breeze on the glittering shore just beyond your hotel doors.

1-night stay for $99 per room, including transfers and breakfast:

Post Cruise: Marina’s Pacific Serenade, December 17, 2014

Post-Cruise: Marina’s South Pacific Marvels, February 28, 2015

Pre-Cruise: Marina’s Picturesque Polynesia, January 14, 2015

Pre-Cruise: Marina’s South Pacific Pearls, January 24, 2015

Book early; space is limited!

October 15, 2014

Spa Experience: Guest Shares How to Ease Jet Lag

Canyon Ranch SpaClubI’m so passionate about traveling but with long trips jet lag can be really frustrating. The destination is always worth it, but when you arrive you really just want to press a reset button and feel normal again. When I sail with Oceania Cruises, jet lag solutions are simple. On my last cruise in August from Venice to Rome, I knew I’d have a long flight from LA, so I pre-booked a special treatment at the onboard spa. The Canyon Ranch Spa has several types of treatments that actually help your body recover more quickly from jet lag – I chose the Revitalizing Ritual – it’s designed to reactivate sluggish circulation, boost energy, reduce swelling and encourage muscle relaxation.

Canyon Ranch Spa TerraceThe spa is completely relaxing and the service is incredible. Everyone I encountered was knowledgeable and friendly, and I started unwinding the moment I checked in with the front desk. The Revitalizing Ritual lasted about 80 minutes…and was worth every second. My massage started with smelling beautiful flower oils that helped my mind relax, erasing the frustrations of my long flight. Then I could actually feel the circulation in my legs being restored when my massage therapist applied sea algae and a warming gingergrass scrub. Next, she polished my skin and hydrated it with fragrant rose water. Then she began an energizing and therapeutic shiatsu massage with a special lime silk oil that completely loosened the knots in my neck and shoulders from the flight. By the end of the ritual I felt so relaxed I could feel myself melting into the massage table as she smoothed a plum cream on my skin.

After my Canyon Ranch treatment, I joined everyone on the Sun deck as we sailed away from Venice, feeling amazingly relaxed and energized – and completely ready to enjoy the memorable days ahead.

-Guest sailing on Riviera; August 15, 2014

On your next voyage, book one of these top Canyon Ranch SpaClub® treatments so you can slip into relaxed vacation mode right from day one.

1. Detoxifying Ritual - 80 minutes
Retreat into a ritual of steam and deep detox through a therapeutic transformation in this six-step healing massage ritual. Enjoy a refreshing cleanse of Moroccan mint tea and silt, followed by an invigorating scrub with a blend of coffee, olive stones and fresh lemons. Relax as you are wrapped in rich rhassoul clay to draw deep impurities out of the body. Recharge with quince and orange blossoms, and increase circulation with a Turkish massage using the curative essences of cardamom, jasmine, bergamot, amber and clove. Finally, enjoy a soothing layer of shea butter and figs to protect, heal and restore.

2. Organic Mermaid’s Purse Wrap - 50 minutes
Immediately notice rejuvenated skin with this hydrating and detoxifying treatment for tired, dry or dull skin. By stimulating blood flow, this nourishing wrap encourages the body to renew itself at the cellular level for long-term results.

3. Organic Liquid Seaweed Wrap - 50 minutes
This refreshing and detoxifying wrap features organic muslin soaked in pure seaweed extracts, cold-pressed within one hour of harvesting on the wild Northwest Coast of Ireland. Seaweed offers many nutritive and healing benefits, including detoxification, metabolism boosting and a natural anti-aging boost. This wrap delivers an immediate and noticeable plumping and toning of the skin, making your skin look refreshed and supple.

4. Euphoric Coffee Scrub - 50 minutes
Wake up with this invigorating scrub. Exfoliate, tone and come alive with a vitalizing scrub that blends coffee, black olive, crushed almond, neroli, orange and lemon peel and fresh lemon juice. Enjoy a soothing finish with a light application of cardamom oil.

5. Tension-Zone Massage - 50 minutes
Stiff shoulders and neck from a long flight? Let it all melt away this concentrated de-stresser. A full palette of sophisticated touch techniques reduces tension where it lives – your head, neck, shoulders and back. Sleep soundly and say goodbye to nagging headaches so you can fully embrace your vacation.

Canyon Stone Massage6. Canyon Stone Massage - 80 minutes
During this classic massage, your therapist uses smooth, rounded basalt stones that are gently heated to encourage relaxation. The weight and radiant heat of the stones, combined with a calming essential oil, penetrates muscle tissue and induces deep relaxation without overheating, persuading even the tightest muscles and knots to relax and unwind.

One final tip: if you select a Canyon Ranch massage, be sure to enhance it with a Peppermint Scalp Refresher. This awakening aromatherapy scalp treatment is perfect for banishing jet lag. The refreshing blend of essential oils on your scalp stimulates circulation from head to toe, and is both invigorating and relaxing. Finish off your afternoon at the spa by relaxing on the private Canyon Ranch Spa Terrace or stepping into the steam room to ease stiff joints.

For more details on Canyon Ranch SpaClub treatments, visit OceaniaCruises.com/ships/lifestyle and select the ship of your choice to view specific offerings. To make an appointment, simply call Canyon Ranch at 877-329-1924 up to 60 days prior to sailing. We look forward to welcoming you at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub on board your next voyage!

 

October 13, 2014

Off the Beaten Path in the Caribbean: 3 Unique Ports

Fort-de-France, MartiniqueIn the spirit of Columbus Day, we’re turning the spotlight on one of the regions that captivated the famed Italian explorer during the late 15th century, drawing him back again and again. Scattered across the Caribbean, the islands among this aquamarine sea remain enchanting and stunningly diverse. Port of Spain, pulsating with Creole culture and Carnival celebrations, feels worlds away from orderly and mellow Grand Cayman. Even Bonaire and Aruba – neighboring islands – couldn’t be more different, in both their landscapes and offerings.

The Caribbean  warm air and white sandy beaches  is much more than booming resorts and non-descript beaches. With lesser known destinations in the Caribbean, you can escape the crowds and enjoy an authentic taste of the region while fully embracing a tranquil island getaway. Explore these off-the-beaten-path Caribbean ports and discover a whole new side of this alluring region.

 

St. George’s, GrenadaSt. George’s, Grenada
Despite Grenada’s alluring beaches, a charming capital and verdant rainforests, the island remains serene and uncrowded. Often referred to as Spice Isle, Grenada is dotted with aromatic spice plantations that provide an enriching portal into the history of the island. St. George’s enchants you with its old handsome buildings, bustling spice markets, historic forts and lovely Carenage harbor. The island brims with secluded coves and beaches, inviting you to stroll, swim or simply soak up the sun. Further inland, you can explore the breathtaking Grand Etang Lake, a cobalt blue lake inside the crater of an extinct volcano. As one of the lushest Caribbean islands, Grenada is covered with picturesque tropical nature trails. Try Seven Sisters Falls or Annadale Falls, shrouded in misty ferns and abundant vegetation. To venture even further off the beaten track, take a ferry from the capital to neighboring Carriacou or Petit Martinique – the even quieter sister isles are sure to make you feel like you’ve truly escaped.

Insignia’s Traveling the Tropics, November 11, 2014
Insignia’s Caribbean Delights, November 30, 2014
Regatta’s Journey Through the Islands, April 11, 2015

 

Fort-de-France, MartiniqueFort-de-France, Martinique
Martinique enchants with good reason. Set amidst volcanic slopes and luxurious stretches of beach, the island blends Caribbean traditions with Gallic culture while its streets are rich with the best cosmopolitan indulgences of the region. This all makes for a very distinct and tempting Caribbean getaway. But the best part about this little French outpost? It still feels dreamy and unspoiled. Despite its sophisticated vibe, Martinique really still operates on island time. Celebrated by Francophiles, the street life exudes unmistakable style, and you’ll have plenty of choices for delicious French and Creole meals. As you wander the colorful lanes, you’ll also notice the proliferation of fine French offerings. Martinique’s natural beauty competes for your attention too, from its white sand beaches and dense tropical rain forests to the peaks of Mont Pelée. Go on a thrilling 4x4 adventure for a taste of La Palourde rainforest, or take a fascinating kayaking trip around one of Martinique’s beautiful islets filled with mangroves.

Insignia’s Caribbean Rhythms, December 7, 2014
Regatta’s Holidays in the Tropics, December 23, 2014

 

Kralendijk, BonaireKralendijk, Bonaire
One of the most intriguing islands of the Caribbean, Bonaire is one of the few Caribbean islands that still maintain that exciting “undiscovered” feel. The “B” of the ABC islands, Bonaire is refreshingly less developed than its neighbors – you won’t find any of the sprawling resorts common on Aruba and Curacao. Instead, you’ll find a quaint and walkable capital, friendly Dutch locals, sublime landscapes with windswept divi divi trees and breathtakingly pristine coral reefs. In fact, Bonaire’s biggest claim to fame is its world-class diving and snorkeling – its entire coastline is protected by the Bonaire National Marine Park – offering stunning coral reef just feet from the shore. Numerous dive sites flourish with vibrant staghorn and soft corals, anemones, sea sponges, parrotfish, angelfish, seahorses and more. For a taste of Bonaire’s wildlife, hike Washington-Slagbaai National Park – it’s brimming with cacti, iguanas and parrots and captivates with its gorgeous panoramas of the island. Go even farther off the beaten path with a day trip to the deserted paradise of Klein Bonaire, a tiny uninhabited island off the west coast. 

Riviera’s Sunny Getaways, November 29, 2014
Insignia’s Islands of Sunshine, January 10, 2015

October 8, 2014

Exotic South Pacific: Rare Flora & Fauna

Island ExplorationTiny dots in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, the South Pacific islands protect some of the most isolated habitats in the world. The island groups are also home to a number of endemic species, typically occurring in lesser numbers as you travel east since most species occurring in the region originated in Southeast Asia. Since these island groups encompass everything from low-lying coral atolls like Rangiroa to high volcanic islands like Fiji, the environments support a wide range of ecosystems – and make for exciting island explorations, both at sea and ashore.



Exotic Avian SpeciesFiji
With a colorful range of exotic avian species, Fiji is a birdwatcher’s paradise. About 27 endemic land and sea bird species inhabit Fiji, including the red-throated lorikeet, a critically endangered parrot, along with the Fiji goshawk, a raptor. Many of Fiji's iconic birds, such as the Kadavu parrot, Fiji petrel and pink-billed parrot finch are also threatened species. A sailing trip or a nature walk offers plenty of opportunities to witness the island’s unique population of birds. Also keep an eye out for the archipelago’s two native iguanas: the Fiji banded iguana and Fiji crested iguana.



Coral ReefWith one of the largest coral reef systems in the South Pacific, Fiji’s surrounding waters support a rich variety of sea creatures. The island offers the opportunity to witness everything from blue whales and bottlenose dolphins to humphead parrot fish and the endangered humphead wrasse, identified by its thick lips and prominent hump on the forehead. Fiji also serves as a refuge for several endangered turtles: the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtke and loggerhead turtle, which nest in Fiji from November through March. Snorkeling or cruising in a glass-bottom boat makes a great way to discover Fiji’s rare and colorful marine life.

Explore Fiji’s unique flora & fauna on one of these memorable voyages:

Marina’s South Pacific Pearls, January 24, 2015
Marina’s South Pacific Marvels, February, 28, 2015
Marina’s Paradise in the Pacific, January 25, 2016



Flowering PlantsThe Samoan Islands
Though lesser known than its iconic neighbors like Tahiti and Bora, both American Samoa and Samoa offer seascapes and mountains rivaling the best in the South Pacific. The islands offer ideal snorkeling with the surrounding sea hosting over 250 species of coral, including the unique boulder coral, which can grow to be over 15 feet high. The island group is also home to two native species of giant clams, growing to 12 – 15 inches in shell length. Endangered humpback whales are regularly spotted off the coast of the Samoa Islands during their migration to and from rich feeding areas around Antarctica.

This abundant diversity is found ashore too. The archipelago supports five distinct rainforest communities (lowland, montane, coast, ridge and cloud) which are home to over 500 kinds of flowering plants, 65 of which are colorful orchids. An unusual plant form, liana, a type of woody vine which attaches to trees and clings by tendrils, is quite common throughout the tropical rainforests of Samoa. You might also catch a glimpse of the endangered flying fox – a unique fruit bat with the wing span of a barn owl. Though tropical forests and mangroves on these islands are seriously threatened due to rapid population growth, conservation efforts are on the rise – about 15% of the 3 main islands are protected under the National Park of American Samoa.

Get a taste of the Samoan Islands’ rich biodiversity on one of these special voyages:

Marina’s Passage Down Under, January 24, 2015
Marina’s Pacific Splendors, February 12, 2015
Marina’s South Pacific Serenity, February 4, 2016