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Archive for January, 2018

Veggie-Friendly Places at Each Port of Call

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Our next Holistic Holiday at Sea ships off on February 15 for a ten-day Caribbean experience like no other! If you’re anything like us, you’re extra excited about not having to worry about cooking for over a week. Plus, with all the great cooking demos onboard you’ll actually leave feeling inspired to try some new things out when you get back home.

While vegan food is offered on the cruise in both sit-down and buffet styles, depending on your preference, guests are on their own if they decide to disembark the ship and explore the ports of call. (If you signed up for one of the six special tours that included a vegan lunch or snack, then you’ll be all set.) Remember that there is a vegan section on the ship’s buffet line that is available until 3:30 p.m on port days.

To help you make the most of your time in town, we rounded up the names of several places where you can expect to find vegetarian and vegan options for each of our six ports of call. We tried to find spots that were within a short walk or cab drive of where the cruise ship will be docked. We recommend doing some research and taking notes on hours and locations before boarding the ship as there will be limited internet access once you’ve set sail. Got a favorite spot that we haven’t listed here? Reach out to us!

Miami, Florida

The elegant MSC Divina will depart and arrive at the Port of Miami on Thursday, February 15 and Sunday, February 25. Here are some restaurants available within a 30-minute drive of the Port.

Bunnie Cakes

2322 NE 2nd Ave

All-vegan bakery. Each cupcake comes decorated with an edible heart. Gluten-free options.

Choices Organic Cafe

2895 McFarlane Rd

Organic food that nourishes the body. Baked fries, smoothies, burgers, and make-your-own wraps and bowls.

Eden in Eden

1248 SW 22nd St

French style. Rediscover forgotten foods and flavors. Vegan and vegetarian organic salads, soups, quiches, crepes, appetizers, and desserts.

GLAM Vegan

3301 NE 1st Ave Suite 103-1

Fast-casual dining with international flair. GLAM stands for Green Living Animals Matter. Menu includes chana masala, spaghetti and meatless balls, and jackfruit “al pastor” tacos.

Manna Life Food

80 NE 2nd Ave

Superfood juice bar and plant-based cafe. Innovative items like superfood arepas and matcha cappuccinos.

Plant Miami

105 NE 24th St

Many whole/raw choices; Certified Kosher. Inspired by Miami’s tropical climate and broad cultural influences.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI (Sunday)

The Fruit Bowl

9400 Wheatley Center

Established in 1975, this shop specializes in fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world.

Love Livin

Pilgrim Terrace on Mafolie Hill

100% vegan restaurant featuring raw cuisine, smoothies, wines, and snacks, including gourmet popcorn. Please note this restaurant is typically closed on Sundays, but the owner said they would open for this day.

Nile Valley Restaurant

9 Norre Gade

Full-service vegan restaurant with homestyle meals and beverages.

Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis (Monday)

Ital Creations in Fari Organic Farm

Click on link above for directions

Vegan food booth at entrance to U-pick Fari Organic Farm, a quick cab drive from port. Specializes in moringa juice, veggie burgers, and fresh salads.

Lion of Judah Authentic Vital Food – Food Cart

Bay Road

Vegan food cart located along Bay Road facing the Robert L. Bradshaw’s Social Security Building.

Fort-de-France, Martinique (Tuesday)

La Saladier Bio

217-244 Zone de Gros la Jambette

About a 15-minute drive from the port, this salad shop offers guests build-your-own salads and a range of desserts.

Bridgetown, Barbados (Wednesday)

Shabba Cookshop

Deacons Rd

Located in an orange house, this restaurant is mostly vegan, but also has pescatarian and vegetarian options.

Roots Reggae Vegetarian Cafe

Cheapside Public Market, Cheapside Rd

Serves authentic Caribbean cuisine. Situated in a row of huts above Cheapside Market.

Vegan Cottage

Black Rock Main Rd

There’s no menu, but the owner brings you out a plate with a little bit of everything. Take Spring Garden Highway to Black Rock Main Road. Restaurant is about 200 yards down on the right.

Jenn Health & Beauty Cafe

BB11129, Lower Broad St

Casual dining featuring soups, stews, black eyed pea rice, fried plantains, and more.

Indian Grill

Highway 7

About 15 minutes in a cab from the port, this restaurant makes over a dozen different kinds of roti (both vegan and meat).

Juice Bar at ArtSplash Centre

Highway 7

A 16-minute drive from the port, this vegetarian friendly cafe offers salads, healthy bowls, smoothies, and juices.

Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe (Thursday)

Délices Nature

Rue Neil Armstrong

All-vegan, French-style cafe.

See you Soon!

Can’t wait until the cruise to enjoy a vegan meal? You shouldn’t have to! Enjoy a Valentine’s Day celebration with hosts Nanci Alexander and Dr. Neal Barnard of Physicians Committee at Sublime Restaurant & Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 14, 2018, from 5:30–7:30 pm. More information and ticket sales here.

We’ll see you on February 15!

Hurry! Reserve Your Spot by These Deadlines for 2018 Excursions

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Turtle Encounter in Bridgetown (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

On February 15, the MSC Divina will set sail for our 15th annual Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise, where vacation meets education on the Caribbean Sea. For this special anniversary cruise, we’re expanding the duration from seven days to ten, welcoming several new presenters to our lineup of experts in holistic wellness, nutrition, cooking, and fitness, and bringing guests to several new ports of call. Whether you’re dipping your toes in the plant-based lifestyle or have been following it for decades, we are very excited to welcome you aboard!

Our program of ship activities (viewable here) is just one part of the whole experience. While there will be plenty of lectures, workshops, boot camps, demonstrations, and time to mingle onboard, exotic ports of call have much adventure or relaxation waiting for guests off the boat, if they so desire. (There are always things to do on the ship if you aren’t feeling like disembarking that day!)

Excursions are pre-arranged experiences that take place at each of our six ports of call: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe; and Miami, Florida (where we start and end our journey). They range from easy and relaxing to more strenuous and active. The six excursions with a vegan lunch or snack (view here) must be reserved by January 12, 2018, and they must be prepaid. Requests for shore excursions other than the six with a vegan lunch (view here) must be submitted by February 7, 2018.

Here’s a sample of what’s available! Please note that we expect many excursions to book up quickly.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI

Saint John Island (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

The capital city of the United States Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie is known for its Danish colonial architecture and historic towers and forts.

Want to snorkel and sightsee? We’ve got the excursion for you. The St. John Beach Tour begins with a drive along St. Thomas’ lovely southeastern coastline, with views of Pillsbury Sound and Sir Francis Drake Channel. Hop on a boat to go to St. John and the town of Cruz Bay. In an open-air vehicle, your journey takes you up and over the pretty hills of St. John. At Trunk Bay, you’ll spend some time enjoying the beach (snorkel equipment is available).

The Castaway Girl Barefoot Sail & Snorkel excursion includes a ride on the ’65 Castaway Girl catamaran to Shipwreck Cove, Buck Island. Guests will be allotted an hour and a half at Shipwreck Cove, where experienced crew and instructors will help you find a variety of sea life near the shipwreck of the Catanza Sea, 25 feet below the surface.

On the Abi Beach Getaway, attendees will make their way to Abi Beach, accessible only by boat, which is situated on the site of a former 18th-century plantation. Upon arrival, guests will be briefed on all the on-site facilities and available activities. Take a closer look at the protected reef using snorkel equipment or lounge on your beach chair and relax.

Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis have been tourist destinations for at least 200 years, and were destinations for European nobility between the 19th and 20th centuries. Although it’s small in size, Basseterre doesn’t fall short on things to see and do.

The Sky Safari Zip Line excursion includes lines up to 1,400 feet in length and 25 stories above the ground. The experience includes five lines based at the Historic Wingfield Estate. You may even spot some monkeys frolicking among the wild fruit trees! Enjoy panoramic views of Brimstone Hill National Fortress, Old Road Village, former sugar estates, the Caribbean Sea and Mount Liamuiga, with its volcano crater ridge being the highest point in St. Kitts.

Scenic Railway Ride & Scenic Drive (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

Since 2003, the St. Kitts scenic railway train has been introducing visitors with the beauty of the island. Before then (starting in 1912), the line was used to transport sugarcane from the fields to the sugar mill in Basseterre. On the Scenic Railway Ride & Island Drive, visitors will have the opportunity to travel along the north-eastern coastline by rail, seeing spectacular views  of the water, cliffs, lush vegetation, villages, canyons, sugarcane fields, rainforest, and Mount Liamuiga in the distance.

Lace up your sneakers for the Basseterre Walking Tour where you’ll get to see the best of Basseterre on a leisurely guided walk through the city. Along the route are 19th-century St. George’s Anglican Church and the Basseterre Co-Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. Art enthusiasts will enjoy a stop at The Gallery to view works by artist Rosey Cameron Smith, known for her studies of the local monkeys (African Green Vervet) and her carnival figures.

Fort-de-France, Martinique

White beaches, coconut trees, and inland vegetation make for a picturesque visit to Fort-de-France, the capital of this French overseas territory.

Recently classified as one of the most important hotspots of biodiversity, Fort-de-France Bay is at the mouth of the Madame River. On the excursion Fort-de-France Bay Discovery with Vegan Snack, guests will board a sailing catamaran and cross the Flemist bay. One of the stops along the coast is at Bat Cave, well-known for its wide variety of marine and land wildlife, and Salomon Cape. Enjoy the beautiful beach of Anse d’Arlet village.

Waterfall from the Hiking & Peace of Mind Excursion (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

Travel through the rainforest to one of Martinique’s best rum distilleries on Folkloric Martinique & Rum Distillery Tour. Not only will this tour inform attendees on the process of making rum, but it will also please the taste buds. Sample the special rhum agricole, distilled only in Martinique and made using freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, rather than the conventional molasses.

Looking for a gentle hike? The Hiking & Peace of Mind outing will take you to the scenic Rue de la Fontaine Didier hiking trail with its lush rainforest vegetation, tropical trees, and abundance of wildlife—not to mention waterfalls! The hike ends at Absalon, where you’ll have time to rest and enjoy a drink on the banks of a small river.

Less than 20 minutes from the island’s capital Balata, you’ll find the Botanical Garden with more than 3,000 species of tropical plants and flowers. The Botanical Garden & Its Suspension Bridge excursion takes you to a replica of the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre before stopping at the Botanical Garden.

Bridgetown, Barbados

Visitors to Bridgetown appreciate its many colonial buildings, Parliament Building, and the statue of Lord Nelson in the National Heroes Square.

On Best of Barbados, enjoy a scenic drive in the countryside to St. John’s Parish Church, perched on a cliff 800 feet above sea level. Next is Orchid World, which sits on six acres of land and features beautiful outcrops of coral, rock gardens, shady gullies and ponds. The final stop is Sunbury House, which dates back to 1650 (a fire destroyed it in 1995, but it was restored and reopened by 1996).

George Washington House (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

If you’re a history buff, book the George Washington House & Garrison Tunnels excursion, which allows you to travel back in time through historic Bridgetown. Travel to the spectacular British colonial Garrison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site established in 1789. Visit the house that George Washington spent six weeks of his life in.

Snorkel and swim with majestic sea turtles in their natural habitat in Turtle Encounter, or treat yourself to a half day of exploring Barbados’ must-see attractions from the comfort of a restore jitney bus, once common on the island’s sugarcane plantation.

Pointe-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

Point-A-Pitre is known for its many small markets, such as the Central Market, the Flower Market, and the Keruland Port Market. There are also many natural sights. Journey to the famous La Grande Soufrière volcano and Carbet Waterfalls with three separate cascades on the Scenic Drive and Walk to Carbet Waterfalls.

Leave the ship and treat yourself to a tour of views on the Panoramic Tour to the Pointe Des Chateaux, an incredible rock formation located at the island’s easternmost tip. A scenic drive along the southern coastline will arrive in St. Anne, a fishing village noted for its lovely seafront promenade and local handicrafts. After a refreshing drink stop, you’ll continue to the Morne-à-L’Eau, a town curiously noted for its artistic cemetery, which represents the unique black-and-white architecture of the West Indies.

Snorkel in the coral reef of the Grand-Cul-de-Sac-Marin on the Passionate Sealife and Snorkeling excursion, or sail to the tiny Îlet du Gosier, which sits opposite Gosier town just out to sea. Since 2003, the uninhabited coral isle has been under the protection of the “Conservatoire du littoral,” a French coastal protection agency founded in 1975.

Miami, Florida

Miami (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

While your Holistic Holiday at Sea experience ends in Miami, the sightseeing can continue! Three special tours end at the Miami International Airport so you can have the fun of an outing without the hassle of finding transportation back to the airport.

Additionally, the Hop On Hop Off Miami City Tour For Disembarking Guests takes guests on one of three bus routes (Beach Loop, City Loop, or Uptown Loop). All routes end at the Big Bus Central Station at the Bayside Marketplace. There’s also a Grand Tour: Everglades & Best of Miami, which is a full-day excursion for those hoping to spend some extra time in South Florida before heading home.

Book Yours While Availability Lasts!

Book today as space is limited! Visit this main Excursions page for an overview, then check out these options (vegan lunch/snack, non-vegan lunch/snack), noting the codes, prices, and titles of the excursions you’re interested in. To complete the MSC shore excursions form, you will also need your reservation number, which can be found on your cruise invoice, where it is called your “booking number.” The ship is the MSC Divina and sailing date is February 15, 2018. Once you have chosen your tours and are ready to submit your request, please click here and complete the MSC shore excursions form. You will receive a confirmation from Lorraine Travel within seven days.

Having trouble submitting your excursion request form? Please call or email Anthony Castillo at Lorraine Travel: 305.446.4433 ext. 3023 or anthony@lorrainetravel.com. Lorraine Travel office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT.

Remember, you can only book one excursion per day, so pick your favorites and get ready for fun!

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