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2 yummy tiki drink recipes from a Celebrity mixologist

Second of a two-part series. Also see:

On my Caribbean sailing aboard Celebrity Equinox that ended last week, I had the chance to interview two of the ship's top mixologists — both of whom whipped up some of their favorite tiki cocktail recipes for Cruiseable's readers.  (To confess: They whipped up the drinks, not just the recipes!) 

Tips on dining, wine & beverages

At the Sunset Bar on the 15th deck — probably our favorite venue on the ship — Marko Ivanovic of Montenegro crafted two classic tiki drinks as the ship returned from its sunny sojourn to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. So here are two great tiki cocktail recipes to help you cool off during a tropical getaway ... or anytime. 

'Cruising is back!' — Q&A with Celebrity Equinox’s hotel director

Now that the cruise sector is bouncing back from the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, I sat down last week with Celebrity Cruises hotel director Andrea Muege during my first sailng on Celebrity Equinox.

We discussed her role, the ship itself and the state of cruising today — including how remarkable it is that the cruise experience hasn't been compromised in light of the restrictions seen in other travel sectors. 

Following is the conversation between Cruiseable editor in chief JD Lasica and Andrea Muege, Celebrity Equinox's hotel director. 

Q&A with Celebrity Equinox's hotel director

Can you tell us what the hotel director does on a cruise ship?

Sure. The job entails looking after the largest division on the ship. That includes everything from food and beverage, housekeeping and finance to IT, the spa and all the revenue departments. I'm doing everything with this amazing team except driving the ship.

3 tiki cocktail recipes from a Celebrity Cruises master mixologist

First of a two-part series

On my just-completed nine-day Caribbean sailing aboard the glorious Celebrity Equinox, I got to spend two afternoons with two of the ship's top mixologists — both of whom were kind enough to share some of their favorite tiki cocktail recipes. 

Tips on dining, wine & beverages

The first bartender, Daniil Razinkov of Russia, regaled us at the World Class Bar on board with the backstories of these three classic drinks and his own twist on each recipe. Given Cruiseable's tradition of sharing our favorite drink recipes from the mixologists we meet on tropical sailings (see below), let's begin with these three great tiki cocktail recipes you can make at home ... or clip and save for your next sailing. No paper umbrellas required.

Lotus Spa: Try a massage with bamboo, hot stones — or chocolate

One of the things that repeat cruisers learn on larger ships such as Ruby Princess is that one of the first things you do on the first day of your cruise is head over and make a spa reservation, because they fill up fast. No surprise, given the number of people you see walking around with blissed-out expressions. 

Articles on travel well-being

Here's my Q&A with Aretha Hunter-Morgan, the spa director on Ruby Princess, conducted in the foyer of the ship's Lotus Spa near the end of an idyllic sailing along the Mexican Riviera. 

Tell us a little about your background in cruising.

Aretha Hunter-Morgan: Well, I’ve been on Princess ships for over 15 years. I started first as a nail technician, then I worked on my leadership skills and eventually became a spa manager. I’ve been a spa manager for the last five years. I love it.

 Just so I’m clear, what is the relationship between Princess and Steiner?

At Steiner we branch out to all the cruise lines,  we own spas pretty much in all the cruise lines. So the spa is owned by Steiner and everything else is owned by the cruise line.  

8 Caribbean drink recipes from a master mixologist

A few months back, staffer Gemma Price gave us 5 rum cocktail recipes born in the Caribbean. And while rum rules in this region, it's not the only game in town.

Tips on dining, wine & beverages

On my recent sailing on Silver Spirit, I cornered the top mixologist on the ship, Zak Zlatko of Macedonia, and asked him to whip up some cocktail concoctions that would be fitting for all the ports on our itinerary (plus not-far-away Bermuda) — including a few original recipes. My cruise mates and I can personally attest that all of these are worth a try. 

Here are 8 Caribbean drink recipes from a master mixologist.

4 classic Caribbean cocktail recipes

Whenever I take a Caribbean cruise, I ask to be pointed to the ship's top mixologist to see if she or he can whip up some drinks that go perfectly with our particular itinerary. For example, bartender Zak Zlatko of Silver Spirit concocted these 8 Caribbean drink recipes.

Tips on dining, wine & beverages

During a weeklong “Classic Caribbean” itinerary on Wind Surf — port stops included St. Maarten, Barbuda, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Barts — I spent an hour with mixologist Maria Lawag in the ship's Compass Rose bar. 

You've no doubt heard of most of these drinks, so here are four classic Caribbean cocktail recipes to keep the tropical vibe going after you return home!

How a cruise ship runs: A talk with Viking Star's chief engineer

What does it take to run a modern-day cruise ship? During my recent 10-day cruise aboard Viking Star from Istanbul to Venice, I spent some time in the crew quarters talking with the ship's chief engineer, Peter Nilsson. 

In this series:

Here's the final part of our series, in which Nilsson discusses water purification, the ship's propulsion, environmental issues and other matters he's responsible for. 

Behind the scenes with the crew of Viking Star

Earlier this year we started a tradition of interviewing crew members aboard cruise ships, in an effort to help demystify the important work that cruise ship personnel perform and to spotlight the diverse voices in their ranks.

In 2015 in Behind the scenes with the crew of Celebrity Infinity, I interviewed the ship captain, hotel director, head of housekeeping, director of food and beverages, a waiter and a stateroom attendant. 

In my cruise aboard Viking Star, which ended on Thanksgiving morning in Venice, I interviewed six more crew members, and we'll roll them out over the course of the next few weeks. (I'll also be reviewing the ship.) 

Life aboard a cruise ship: Interviews with the crew of Celebrity Infinity

During Celebrity Infinity's port visit to San Francisco in late May, I was given access to six crew members to ask them questions about their daily routine, activities, inside tips, favorite ports and the like.

They were gracious in sharing their first-hand experiences, giving Cruiseable a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to work on a cruise ship as a waiter, a room attendant, the ship captain, the hotel director, and the heads of housekeeping and food and beverage.

We're running this as a four-part series. Here's part 1, Behind the scenes with the crew of Celebrity Infinity, with Q&As with St. Elmore G. Moore, stateroom attendant, and Mila Miroschnychenko, head of housekeeping.

Here's an excerpt from my interview with Moore: 

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love meeting people. Whenever I meet guests, it feels like heaven. It uplifts me like I can touch the sky.

In a typical day, how many rooms do you make up?

For me and my assistant, we have about 26 rooms. We start around 8 o’clock in the morning and finish around noontime.

Are you the guys who make up those little towel animals? Tell us about that tradition.

When you go and leave for your dinner, you come back and there is a little bunny on your bed, waiting. You didn’t expect that. It's very creative and makes the guests feel very happy. I had an experience one time, I made an elephant for a guest and she comes up to me crying. She said, “You don’t know how that makes me feel. At home, I have all different types of stuffed elephants and here you are making me one more.” She was literally shedding tears of happiness.

Where do you like to go when the ship is in port?

If the ship is in the Caribbean, I like to go ashore and eat some local food. My food, so to speak. In Alaska, I like to go to KFC and have fried chicken.

Do you have a favorite port?

In Alaska, I like Juneau. You don’t have to walk too far, everything is right there.

For the complete article and photos, see Behind the scenes with the crew of Celebrity Infinity,.

Behind the scenes with the crew of Celebrity Infinity

For me, a highlight of any cruise is getting to know the backstories of some of the crew members, who frequently come from lots of interesting places around the world. Often, if you're lucky, you'll find yourself aboard a floating mini-United Nations.

That was the case last week when Cruiseable was given a tour of Celebrity Infinity, whose crew members hail from 16 different countries. I got to sit down with Celebrity Infinity's hotel director, a stateroom attendant, a waiter, the food and beverage director and the head of housekeeping. Our Q&A’s touched on everything from a crew member with a saint's name to the popular onboard competition Dancing with the Officers. I also spent time on the bridge and did a short video interview with the ship's captain.

In this series:

Q&A: Stateroom attendant

St. Elmore G. Moore, stateroom attendant:
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableSt. Elmore G. Moore, stateroom attendant on Celebrity Infinity.

What's your name?

St. Elmore G. Moore, or St. Elmo for short.

There must be a story behind your name.

My mother, she has eight kids. She said she gave me this name because in the hospital there was something different when I arrived. I was so quiet, that even when the doctor tried to make me cry, I just kept smiling. She looked up and said, “Just call him St. Elmo.”

Where are you from?

St. Vincent in the eastern Caribbean.

What’s your job on the ship, and for how long?

I have been a stateroom attendant for the past six years now.

Q&A with the captain of Norwegian Jade

On my Western Caribbean cruise last month, I got to spend a half hour on the bridge with the captain of Norwegian Jade while we were docked in Harvest Caye, Belize.

Q & A with a cruise ship captain

We spotted Capt. Ingar Kjellin on multiple occasions in addition to hearing his announcements throughout the sailing. In our chat he covered topics such as Norway's tradition with the sea, a helicopter rescue of an ill passenger on our cruise and the time he saw the “green flash.” Here's my question-and-answer with the captain of Norwegian Jade.

Where are you from?

I’m from a little town east of Olso in Norway called Halden.

Have you always wanted to be a ship captain? How did you break into the business?

For me, I’ve known since I was 10 years old that I wanted to go to sea. In Norway, you go to sea because you love it. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life.

Ask the Captain of ms Oosterdam

This is another in a series of articles about my July 2017 sailing on Oosterdamt. Also see:

Whenever I take a cruise, I go out of the way to meet the captain and sometimes do a one-on-one photo shoot and interview. In the case of my Alaska cruise aboard Holland America's ms Oosterdam two weeks ago, I got to meet Capt. Robert Jan Kan and took a few shots of him on deck.

It turned out that I didn't need to interview the captain because the passengers on board did a great job during the once-per-cruise Ask the Captain event. Here's the Q&A. 

Can you tell us about the captain’s duties in a typical day? 

There’s a lot of paperwork involved, there are maybe 150 emails in my in-box. There are the arrivals in the morning and the departures in the afternoon to oversee. In the mornings we have our meetings with the various departments on board. We have our trainings and exercises. Sometimes the unexpected happens. You may have a medical disembark while you’re at sea.

A talk with the captain of Wind Surf (video)

The sails go up as Wind Surf departs from Barbuda in the Caribbean.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe sails go up as Wind Surf departs from Barbuda in the Caribbean.
This is part 4 in a series about our March-April 2017 sailing on Windstar's Wind Surf. Also see:

On our Caribbean cruise aboard the sleek Wind Surf, which ended 10 days ago, one of the highlights came when I spent a few minutes chatting up the ship's captain on the bridge. Capt. Pedro Pinto, who hails from Portugal, has risen through the ranks of Windstar Cruises over the past four years to helm the cruise line's flagship.

Windstar is the only cruise line I know of with an “open bridge” policy, which allows guests to wander up to the bridge and interact with the captain and crew when the ship is at sea. It's a great way to connect passengers with the people running the ship and as a way to demystify some of the cruise experience. 

Here's my 7-minute video interview with Wind Surf Capt. Pedro Pinto, which I edited for brevity: 

A few quick highlights of our conversation and a few photos from our cruise:

• On Windstar's open bridge policy: "This becomes like a small family," Pinto says, with frequent interactions between crew members and passengers.  

• The size of the Windstar flagship, with 300 guests, is a big selling point of Wind Surf (her sister ships are even smaller). "It's really like a group of friends sailing around the world," Pinto says. 

• What kind of passengers does Windstar attract? Those who prefer a calm atmosphere with open decks and high quality service and dining, rather than the crowds and frenetic atmosphere found on larger ships, he says. 

• Pinto does get to leave the ship while in port. His favorite destinations are Norway, Iceland and the culture- and history-rich seaports of the Mediterranean. 

Wind Surf Capt. Pedro Pinto with a few of his executive officers greet the ship's guests.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableWind Surf Capt. Pedro Pinto with a few of his executive officers greet the ship's guests.

Some more photos from the bridge

We were happy to see deck cadets like Lottie making their way up the ranks on Wind Surf. (Click to enlarge.)
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableWe were happy to see deck cadets like Lottie making their way up the ranks on Wind Surf. (Click to enlarge.)


The control panel on the bridge of Wind Surf, featuring hydraulic motors and more.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe control panel on the bridge of Wind Surf, featuring hydraulic motors and more. (Click to enlarge.)


A Transas Marine navigation unit on Wind Surf.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableA Transas Marine navigation unit on Wind Surf. (Click to enlarge.)


The Furuno MU231, a multi-purpose marine LCD radar unit on the bridge of Wind Surf.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe Furuno MU231, a multi-purpose marine LCD radar unit on the bridge of Wind Surf. (Click to enlarge.)


A conversation with Westerdam's cruise director

There's still a little bit of mystery about key members of a modern cruise ship crew and what they do. The cruise director, in particular, is the public face of the cruise line brand, but apart from hearing occasional PA announcements, a lot of passengers don't always have a keen appreciation for the important role the cruise director plays in making a cruise pop for its guests.

Top entertainment on a cruise ship

On my sailing aboard Holland America's Westerdam earlier this month, I pulled aside the ship's cruise director, Erin Duffey, for a quick 6-minute video interview (with my iPhone 7). Erin details what goes into the job of a cruise director, how she interacts with passengers, what goes into a typical day and how she works with the event manager to optimize the ship's entertainment offerings. 

Erin was fun to talk with, and her passion for her role and her focus on delighting the ship's guests was just infectious. A couple of highlights:

“Basically I'm the face and voice of the ship. I bring on all of the shows, I'm always walking around public venues to make sure events are 5-star quality and I basically serve as the brand ambassador to Holland America.”

“At noon I'm up on the bridge, and the captain will give all the navigational and weather information, and I highlight what's happening from noon to night.”

By the way, Westerdam is undergoing an extensive refurbishment in April and will be setting sail again in a month with some great new enhancements. 

Related articles

On the bridge with the captain of Ruby Princess

On my recent cruise on Ruby Princess, I was invited onto the bridge and got to interview the ship captain, Craig Street, who told our group about navigating a modern cruise ship, spying the launch of an ICBM missile and the time he piloted a Princess ship that rescued a passenger who jumped overboard.

A behind-the-scenes talk with the Viking Star's captain

During my recent 10-day cruise aboard Viking Star from Istanbul to Venice, I interviewed six of the ship's crew members. (And here's my review of Viking Star.)

In this series:

Here's part 5 of our series: my 5-minute video interview with Atle Knutsen, captain of the Viking Star

A talk with the general manager of Viking's new ocean ships

During my 10-day cruise aboard Viking Star from Istanbul to Venice in November 2015, I interviewed six of the ship's crew members. (And here's my review of Viking Star.)

In this series:

Here's part 4 of our series: my Q&A with Karl Eckl, general manager of Viking Ocean Cruises' Viking Star, who is moving to Viking Sea this month to help oversee its launch in April.

What do you do on Viking Star?

I am the launch general manager and corporate general manager. And I'll be overseeing the launch of the new ocean ships. 

Meet the entertaining cruise director of Viking Star

During my 10-day cruise aboard Viking Star from Istanbul to Venice in November 2015, I interviewed six of the ship's crew members. (And here's my review of Viking Star.)

Top entertainment on a cruise ship

Here's my Q&A with Aaron Syfert, Viking Star's cruise director. We chatted for about 20 minutes in the Living Room of Viking Star.

Tell us about your role on Viking Star.

I'm the cruise director. And I think a better title would be director of entertainment. It’s any type of aspects of entertainment, any types of events, guests — anything we come up with for special occasions, holidays. That falls under my department.

Viking Star Explorers Desk: Ready for anything

This month Cruiseable is running a six-part series with crew members of Viking Star, following my just-ended cruise. About 95 percent of the passengers come from the United States, while there are 19 nationalities among the crew members of Viking Star.

Here's part two of our series, with the ship's guest services manager. 

In this series:

Q&A: Guest services manager Martha Hanley

You're the guest services manager on Viking Star — tell me about your job.

Basically, what I do is I look after Explorers Desk, which is your traditional reception desk. The reason we call it the Explorers Desk is because we also take care of shore excursions. So it is basically a one-size-fits-all reception desk where we handle shore excursions and any other challenges or requests from our guests. 

Behind the scenes with Celebrity Infinity's hotel director

This is part four of a four-part series, Behind the scenes with Celebrity Infinity crew members. Also see:

Q&A: Hotel director of Celebrity Infinity

What's your name?

Marios Georgiadis.

Where are you from?

Cyprus. Nicosia, the capital.

What's your job on Celebrity Infinity?

My job is hotel director, overseeing hotel operations on the ship.

A lot of people don’t know that a cruise ship has a hotel director. What goes into that job?

Normally when you tell guests that you are the hotel director, they think you take care of their rooms, but it's basically the equivalent of a general manager of a hotel on land, making sure we have a smooth operation and that the team is delivering great service to our guests. Also, monitoring revenue and the budget.

Who do you oversee here, in what areas?

The biggest one is food and beverage, and after that is housekeeping. The cleanliness of the ship, the public areas. There's the onboard marketing and revenue areas, the spa, shops, art, the loyalty program. We also sell cruises on board for those wanting to book their next vacation with us.