How to Spend a Day in Amsterdam

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With its elaborate facades and captivating canals, Amsterdam’s charm draws travelers from all around the world. It is a city filled with beauty, art, food, and rich culture – truly offering something for every type of traveler to enjoy. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to spend a day in this pretty city:

 

Visit the Rijksmuseum. Whether you’re an art aficionado or you can’t tell the difference between a child’s splatter paint and a Pollock, a visit to the famed Rijksmuseum is certainly worth your while. This museum is home to some of the world’s most spectacular paintings from renowned Dutch artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, a collection of Delft pottery, a library that houses extensive documentation of art history, and other stunning exhibits that help you understand and appreciate the Dutch people and their past.

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Take a canal cruise. A trip to Amsterdam is not complete without cruising through the canals and under the arched bridges that connect the city. Get an up-close view of the decorative homes and storefronts that give the city much of it’s character. For a more romantic experience, cruise at night when the buildings and bridges are illuminated.

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Try Poffertjes! These miniature pancakes, traditionally served with butter and powdered sugar, are a Dutch favorite and can be found at pancake houses throughout the city, as well as at street vendor booths during national holiday celebrations and festivals.

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Rent a bike. Did you know that more than 75% of Amsterdam’s population owns and rides a bicycle every day? There are more than 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam, making it far and away Europe’s biggest cycling city. For the most authentic way to see the sites, find a bike to rent (or borrow the bikes from your Avalon ship) but proceed with caution… these guys are skilled cyclists!

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Visit Keukenhof Gardens. If you are paying a visit to Amsterdam in the spring, you can’t miss the perfectly planted rows of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in Keukenhof. Each year, more than 7 million flowers bloom here, all arranged in stunning rows and designs and turning the garden into a true work of art. The flowers are only in bloom for about 8 weeks – try to visit between late March and late May.

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Visit Zaanse Schans. Just outside of Amsterdam, you’ll find the most charming and well-preserved Dutch town of Zaanse Schans. Here you will see traditional windmills, cheese shops, bakeries and wooden clog workshops – all that your Dutch dreams are made of!

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Carnival Fascination To Undergo Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock Prior to Resuming Year-Round Service From San Juan In February 2018

 

Carnival Fascination will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that will add a variety of popular food and beverage innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, Cherry on Top sweets shop, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and a Bonsai Sushi Express venue.

The spaces will be added during a two-week dry dock taking place Feb. 4-17, 2018, in Freeport, The Bahamas, prior to the ship resuming its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning Feb. 18, 2018.   Carnival Fascination is currently being chartered to FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

“We can’t wait for our guests to experience these exciting new features aboard Carnival Fascination when she returns to her year-round homeport of San Juan early next year,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, adding that other Carnival ships began visiting San Juan as a port of call Nov. 30.

The new F&B options aboard Carnival Fascination include:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.
  • Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.
  • Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.
  • Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These new options complement popular attractions like a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide, Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and myriad entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games.

Carnival Fascination’s year-round schedule from San Juan encompasses week-long sailings to five Caribbean islands:  St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com. For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL.

Carnival can also be found on: FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

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A Frenchman in Málaga: The Confluence of Culture and Cuisine

By Damien LaCroix, General Manager

Any city that combines magnificent beaches, Moorish cathedrals, some of the best museums in Europe and happens to be the birthplace of Picasso, must be a favorite of mine. The heart of the famed
Costa del Sol, Málaga is, of course, famed for its beaches, ramparts and cathedrals.

It also boasts some of Spain’s best dining, and progressive art as well. I recommend you start off by visiting the Centre Pompidou – I needed to see the sister of the one in Paris – or the Contemporary Art Center. You also won’t want to miss the Museo Picasso and if you can, the Interactive Music Museum.

All of the culture, as well as the walking, is bound to make you hungry. As a Frenchman from Lyon,
dining is a very important part of every day. If you want a magnificent seaside experience, try Restaurante
Toro – Muelle Uno with its million dollar views and great Spanish seafood. If you want to go off the beaten
path in the city center, try El Tapeo de Cervantes. The tapas here are some of the best you’ll find, or you
might try a local specialty such as wild boar in sweet Málaga wine sauce with a rustic tomato pancake.

While Málaga exhibits a new-world vibe, you’ll be smitten with the blending of old architecture and new. Be certain to take in all of the Moorish influences and how the city so beautifully integrates contemporary architecture alongside it. Málaga exemplifies the best of Spain – cuisine, culture, history, and jaw-dropping vistas.

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Carnival Cruise Line Pops #OpenFun, Bringing Island Warmth to Chilly New York City in a ‘Scent-Sational’ Way

 

With winter approaching, now is the time for consumers to start thinking about an escape from the cold and begin planning their next Caribbean vacation.

To celebrate the Caribbean’s stunning island destinations and promote the launch of its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line captured and canned real island air from tropical ports of call and invited New Yorkers to stop and smell the tropics with a truly unique and “scent-sational” experience that took place in Manhattan’s Greeley Square Park.

Carnival brought the magic of a Caribbean cruise to the mainland with an interactive and immersive pop-up activation, featuring a heated tent, a steel drum band, and scents from the islands piped throughout the air.

The event’s centerpiece was a vending machine dispensing the chance to win a Carnival cruise and free cans of real island air infused with natural scents unique to each destination. Featured scents included Wild Banana Orchid from Grand Cayman, Puerto Rican Coffee from San Juan, Sugarcane Rum from St. Kitts, Island Coconut from Cozumel, and Ocean Breeze from the sea – all representing the places that Carnival Horizon will be visiting during her Caribbean itineraries.

Carnival designed this activation to give consumers a “whiff” of their next vacation after a recent survey conducted by the cruise line found that 95% of Americans agree that scent can trigger vacation memories and 56% agree that a particular scent has motivated them to plan a vacation.

In conjunction with the New York City promotion, Carnival is hosting a national sweepstakes on its social channels (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) through Dec. 16 that asks people to share what scent inspires them to vacation using the hashtag #OpenFun for a chance to win a cruise on the line’s newest ship.

“As winter is fast approaching, now is the time to start thinking about your next vacation,” said Stephanie Esposito, director of digital marketing for Carnival Cruise Line. “Our #OpenFun campaign is designed to promote travel to the Caribbean – the world’s most popular cruising region – by encouraging consumers to stop and smell the tropics, get a ‘scents’ of what a cruise experience might be like, and maybe win a cruise vacation,” she added.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Horizon will offer unique features like the first-ever Dr. Seuss-themed water park, the new Smokehouse Brewhouse with traditional downhome BBQ favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri along with brewed-on-board craft beers at an onboard brewery, and the line’s first teppanyaki dining venue.

Other innovations include a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, and a suspended ropes course that’s part of the fun-filled SportSquare open-air recreation area.  A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins offering exclusive privileges at the Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropical-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.

Following its inaugural European season, Carnival Horizon will launch a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean voyages from New York before repositioning to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning in September 2018.

To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com. For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL. Carnival can also be found on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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French Polynesia for Foodies: New Culinary Discovery Tours

This winter, join Marina, the most luxurious and amenity-laden ship sailing Tahitian waters, for a true epicurean adventure in French Polynesia. The only ship in the South Pacific with immersive chef-designed Culinary Discovery Tours™ that bring you an insider’s look at local cuisine, Marina also offers hands-on cooking classes at our state-of-the-art onboard Culinary Center. An array of unique gourmet dining options on board, featuring hundreds of flavorful dishes prepared à la minute include traditional French Polynesian dishes, fresh island fare and special Chef’s Market Dinners, bringing the culinary experience full-circle.

When you go ashore on one of our unique Culinary Discovery Tours™, you enjoy the chance to immerse yourself in the local food scene and learn all about regional cooking secrets. From exotic island markets to agricultural traditions and recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, our adventures in French Polynesia invite you to connect with the culture through the lens of cuisine and discover the heart of each fascinating destination.

Featured South Pacific Culinary Discovery Tours


Bora Bora, French Polynesia Gourmet Dinner at St. Regis Bora Bora
As the sun sets on the Pearl of the Pacific, cruise to the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, where a cocktail party awaits you on the open-air terrace of one of Bora Bora’s most exclusive restaurants, Lagoon by Jean-Georges. Meet your host for the evening and enjoy a sumptuous 5-course meal, where exotic meets Occidental cuisine. Afterward, learn the secrets of this delicious local cuisine. A souvenir, signed menu, and special recipe card will serve as mementos of this exclusive experience.

Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia Traditional Polynesian Culinary Experience
Enjoy an authentic, once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience in Nuku Hiva during which you will travel back in time to immerse yourself in traditional Polynesian culture and ancient cooking techniques. Explore local taro and manioc plantations as well as a nearby honey farm, and learn how these beautiful agricultural traditions have been preserved throughout the years. Learn about the traditional underground oven used in the South Pacific during a memorable cooking demonstration and savor a traditional Polynesian lunch accompanied by carefree island music.

Raiatea, French Polynesia Culinary Secrets of the Sacred Island
Discover a unique side of Raiatea – the “Sacred Island” – as you learn the secrets of authentic Polynesian food. Stroll through a picturesque market with your expert guide and learn the essentials of locally grown tropical fruits and vegetables. Discover age-old methods and regional secrets for preparing savory indigenous dishes, and enjoy the opportunity to assist during an entertaining cooking demonstration at the beautiful Raiatea Lodge Hotel. Crown the day’s exploration with a memorable Polynesian dining experience featuring traditional dishes prepared à la minute.

Come join us on a Culinary Discovery Tour to taste the true flavors of the South Pacific!

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