By Celece Seegmiller for The Spectrum Newspaper- August 28, 2016
Celebrity Cruises recently announced they were keeping their beautiful award-winning ship the Equinox in the Caribbean for the summer of 2017. Our office is very excited about this as several cruise lines send their ships to Alaska and Europe for the summer, leaving very limited inventory in the Caribbean, often resulting in high prices.
Instead of sailing off to Europe, the Equinox summer season will begin with a very unique 11 Night Jazz Fest and Caribbean Cruise. This fun itinerary begins on April 24th and sails roundtrip from Miami. Ports of call include Grand Bahama Island, Key West, Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico and two days to relax at sea. Of course, the highlight of this cruise is the two-night, three-day stay in New Orleans for the 48th Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
In 2016, more than 425,000 fans attended the festival over the course of seven days. Although entertainment for 2017 has not yet been announced, the 2016 schedule looked amazing. There were twelve tents and stages with continuous entertainment starting at 11:00 in the morning and continuing into the night. There was a wide variety of performers on the schedule including: Steely Dan, Neil Young, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Chris Botti, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, and more. Of course, there is more than exciting entertainment, the festival features some of the best in crafts, food, and Louisiana culture. If you have ever wanted to visit New Orleans and experience this incredible event, consider staying on your floating hotel in New Orelans and visiting the Caribbean.
After the Jazz Fest & Caribbean cruise, the Equinox will sail on a few extended Southern Caribbean itineraries and then continue to alternate between the Eastern and Western Caribbean throughout the summer.
According to Celebrity, it will be “The Most Distinctive Summer Camp at Sea”, for children and adults. In addition to offering new sailings onboard the Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Cruises is introducing the most unique “Summer Camp at Sea,” allowing children to enjoy a vacation that moves beyond purely entertainment, to also deliver enriching and inspiring activities. From offering an “Adventure through Science” program to becoming a director for the day and creating a short video onboard, children ages 3-17 have a range of one-of-a-kind educational activities at their fingertips.
Adults can partake in the excitement too with Celebrity Cruises’ newest culinary program. Celebrity is bringing a taste of the Caribbean to modern luxury travelers with its new Taste of the Caribbean program, which offers complimentary events for adults at sea. Events include a culinary demo with Celebrity featured chefs, mixology demos, the biggest wine tasting at sea, rum and reggae party on The Lawn Club and brunch and bubbles. Exclusive events are also available for a fee, including a fresh pasta and mozzarella making class and lunch in Tuscan Grille and an exclusive five-course tasting dinner with Celebrity chefs.
Adults looking to be fully immersed in the culinary indulgences can enjoy the Taste of the Caribbean Premium Package. This luxurious package gives guests a taste of all of the culinary, wine and cocktail indulgences available on the Celebrity Equinox. From the Chef Market Discovery excursion to a “Blendtique” wine blending class to a Riedel Wine comparison workshop, guests’ taste buds will be pampered throughout their sailing.
After personally sailing on the Equinox in May, I am thrilled about the new itineraries closer to home, and especially the Jazz Fest cruise in April. From a nice romantic Caribbean escape for two, to a multi-generational family reunion, Celebrity offers cruisers of all ages a wonderful summer vacation in 2017.
Special Offer: To celebrate their return to the Caribbean, for a limited time Celebrity is offering four free perks and qualifying upgrades on select 2017 sailings on Celebrity Equinox. Book by August 31st and receive up to four signature perks including: $150 onboard credit, unlimited internet package, premium beverage package and prepaid gratuities, per person. In addition, we have special group rates on the Jazz Fest sailing in April, call for details.