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CELEBRITY CRUISES UNVEILS ITS FIRST EVER TWO-BEDROOM SUITE

New Celebrity Reflection to offer five Signatures Suites of 441-square-feet with floor to ceiling windows

Set to sail in the fall of 2012, Celebrity Cruises fifth member of the Solstice class, Celebrity Reflection, will offer a two-bedroom suite for the first time. Located in a private area of the ship’s 14th deck, Celebrity Reflection’s five Signature Suites each offer a 441-square-foot stateroom area and 118-square foot veranda, with floor-to-ceiling windows and veranda doors, all designed to maximize the views of the sea. Celebrity’s Signature Suites each can accommodate up to four guests, and will offer the 24/7 butler service.
The entire area – including the new Reflection Suite – features cardkey access exclusively for guests booked in the elite group of suites, such that a family or group of up to 26 guests traveling together can enjoy a private, six-suite modern luxury vacation experience.

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Get Ready for the Labour Day Winter Cruise Sale

Antigua, the Caribbean: the perfect break

Why go . . .

So picture-perfect are its white beaches, striking sunsets and lush landscape   that Antigua is almost a cliché of a Caribbean escape. The sunshine, sands   and rum punches are all well-known perks of the area, but the island offers   much more.

A colonial past and an array of action-packed activities – from deep-sea   diving to zip-wiring through the rainforests (www.antiguarainforest.com)   – make this a destination to please sun-worshippers, thrill-seekers, and   those looking for something a little more high-minded. There’s much more to   do than just flop on a lounger, clutching a pina colada (although no one   would blame you for doing that and only that). Add to all this the laid-back   locals who constantly instruct you to “relax” and tap into your “inner   Caribbean”… well, it’s not difficult to see the attractions of Antigua.

When to go . . .

Antigua is at its most bustling from the middle of December to the middle of   April, when there’s less rain and humidity. This is also when prices are at   their highest. Book now for November, when the hurricane season is over and   prices are a little more palatable.

Spend the morning…

On the beach. The warm sea and white sands make a tempting combination.   Antigua has more than 300 beaches – among the most popular are Fort James   near St Johns, and Deep Bay. Galley Bay, also nearby, is a must for surfers.   The beaches in the hilly south-west are less developed, but beautiful;   Rendezvous Bay has some especially quiet beaches, which are well worth the   effort to get there.

Have lunch at…

One of the cafés overlooking English Harbour. Cloggy’s at the Antigua Yacht   Club  is popular; booking is advised. With a view over   Falmouth Harbour, and a seasonal, Mediterranean-inspired menu, this is a   perfect spot to relax and refuel.

Spend the afternoon…

Back on the beach – and it’s now time to really slow down. With a good lunch   and a mid-afternoon cocktail, you’ll finally feel the last of any stresses   and strains leaving you. A snooze in a hammock – hung, of course, between   coconut trees – could well be in order.

Have dinner at…

Curtain Bluff’s outdoor restaurant, the Tamarind Tree, which has a seasonal   menu that changes every night – but local fish, fruits and some healthy   options are regulars. A different band entertains each night. For residents   of the hotel, all food and drink (bar wines from the cellar) is included in   your room rate.

Spend the next day…

At English Harbour, to discover more about Antigua’s chequered colonial past.   On one side of the water, Nelson’s Dockyard contains enough artefacts,   sights and attractions to entertain you for most of the day (open 8am to   6pm, www.nationalparksantigua.com).   The only remaining Georgian dockyard in the world, it was the headquarters   of the British Leeward Islands fleet. Start at the naval yard museum, in   what was the Naval Officer’s House.

Built in 1855, this offers a fascinating insight into the seafaring history of   the island. Treasures include a number of items belonging to Nelson,   including his telescope. Nelson arrived in the Caribbean in 1784, aged 26,   as the Captain of HMS Boreas, and the head of a squadron of ships. Ordered   to enforce shipping laws (the Navigation Act prevented the trade of goods   using foreign or American ships) and develop local naval facilities, young   Nelson had a thoroughly miserable time and his three years in Antigua were   spent largely onboard his ship.

A 10-minute walk (not for the faint-hearted, as it’s quite rocky) from the   main Nelson’s Dockyard gets you to Fort Berkeley (built in 1704), which   guards the entrance to the harbour. Now luxury, not empire, reigns supreme;   the International Boat Show, which takes place here in November and   December, is the biggest boating show in the world.

Have lunch at…

Johnny Coconat overlooking English Harbour. Named after its charming Italian host, Nat, it   serves fresh Italian food, including a home-made ravioli with a different   filling each day. The artisan pizzas are a highlight.

Avoid…

The shopping streets of the capital St John’s. Tat galore, and little else.

For more information…

Go to the Antiguan tourist board wesbite, www.antigua-barbuda.org.

Top Five Family Friendly Cruise Lines

An independent cruise comparison website has released the top five family friendly cruise ships for those families who are considering embarking on a cruise.

Danielle Fear, Managing Director of http://www.CruiseCompare.co.uk has used her expertise along with feedback received via the websites social networking following of over 45,000 people, to reveal the top five most family friendly cruise ships available.

Royal Caribbean – Oasis and Allure of the Seas:

Joint world’s biggest cruise ships both Allure and Oasis are bound to get everyone’s pulses racing. There is no abundance of things to do whilst onboard and family here is the key word. You will find Zip Line’s, The DreamWorks Experience, full size carousel, ice rink, a huge youth zone which includes an H20 water park type area for kids of all ages, amazing tropical gardens and some fantastic places to dine or even just grab an ice cream. In all you have over 225,000 tons of family friendly cruise ship at your disposal. Whilst onboard you really will have the time of your life.

Carnival Cruise Line – Carnival Magic:

One of Carnival’s newest ships the Carnival Magic is sure to keep everyone happy no matter how long the stay onboard and I am certain the children will really find the water park truly “magical”. Yes Carnival Magic has her very own huge water park onboard where you will find not one but two huge water slides. There are designated clubs for each age group and a rather lovely little outdoor area for the toddler in your life. Carnival Magic also boasts her own sweet shop, amazing stage shows and various exciting places where the family can dine together.

P&O Cruises – Ventura:

Ventura is joint largest ship within the P&O Cruises fleet. First introduced back in April 2008 she has a favourite place in the hearts of many who have sailed on her. Ventura really is family aimed and inspired. Weighing in at 116,000 Ton she is packed to the rivets with family fun and entertainment. Onboard you will find a one of a kind circus school, some of the best youth programmes at sea, dinner with Noddy and Mr Bump from the Mr Men series and a selection of both outdoor and indoor swimming pools and sports courts.

Disney Cruise Line – Disney Fantasy:

I think in this instance the name of this ship really does say it all, the Disney Fantasy, and she is just that! This ship is not only aimed at the youngster in every age but she is so full of exciting things to see and do it can prove difficult to know where to even begin.  The ship has swimming pools, themed staterooms, themed dining venues and not one but two dazzling theatres showing both live shows and even 3D movies. Although full of excitement we think one of the best features for kids of all ages (including the adult ones) has to be the AquaDuck, this is a fully transparent tube water slide that starts on Deck 12 Aft, takes you off, off the side of the ship, through the forward funnel and down 4 decks into a lazy river.

Norwegian Cruise Line – Norwegian Epic:

The newest ship in the NCL fleet is the Norwegian Epic and she is crammed full of amazing features and even has her very own Ice Bar.  Norwegian Epic is a ship full of firsts and certainly will never see you left with a dull moment.  One of her best features has to be the Spiegel Tent – Cirque Dreams and Dinner. This really is a dining experience with a difference. Whilst you enjoy your five star cuisines you can also be entertained by amazing acrobatics and the chance to join in if you wish too. You can also find onboard the line’s first ever waterpark at sea, amazing kids club facilities, video arcade, sports complex and the Epic theatre which can accommodate 681 persons.