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FreshCruiser blog features tips, news and insight to make the most out of a family vacation without sacrificing luxury & a healthy lifestyle. Focus on fun, active, & healthy travel. Enjoy!

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Enjoy all the tips, news, insight, and advice on luxury family travel that highlights fun, active, and healthy vacations. Explore how to make the most out of your family vacation without sacrificing luxury.

FreshCruiser.com opens readers’ eyes to new adventures and calms any fears of traveling with children. With a special focus on family cruising, the website includes tips to staying active, eating well, and taking advantage of all the opportunities while on a family vacation.

Entries in review (3)


Capture the Spirit of Aloha at the Te Au Moana Luau in Maui

When on vacation with family, we find ourselves in a constant state of attempting to find that perfect blend of family fun while somehow finding ways to expose the little ones to the local vibe and culture of the destination.

While in Hawaii, the children naturally gravitate to the exciting pools, the beautiful beaches, and the mouth-watering shave ice.  But, how can you find an activity that will be enjoyed by everyone big and small alike that allows your family to surround yourself in the true “Spirit of Aloha?”

The luau has been a Hawaiian custom going back many generations.  It is, in my opinion, the quintessential Hawaiian celebration that is a MUST do activity while in Hawaii.  Sure, the luau is touristy.  Sure, it may even be a bit cheesy at times.  But, in the end, there is no better way to celebrate your family togetherness in a setting that will leave you and your children knowing that you are on the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

I have enjoyed being part of many Hawaiian luaus spread across multiple islands.  No two luau’s are the same – they all have their own character and flavor.  Most recently, my family and I took part in the Te Au Moana Luau on the island of Maui.

The setting of the Te Au Moana Luau truly was spectacular.  Set on the grounds of the newly renovated Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, just a short walk from the Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, and Andaz properties, the Luau green is set perfectly within the gorgeous palm trees and tiki torches overlooking the sparkling water of the Pacific Ocean.

Upon check-in, all guests are greeted with a Hawaiian flower Lei and then shown to their seat.  Before dinner is served, there are different stations allowing the guests to participate in local Hawaiian customs.  My kids absolutely loved this part as they were able to participate in arts and crafts, get a temporary Hawaiian style tattoo, and flowers pinned to their hair.

It was then time to remove the pig (or piggy as my kids like to call it) from the pit. I thought that my kids would have been a little uneasy watching this part, but, to my surprise, they were intrigued by it! 

After our table was called, we made our way to the buffet.  We found the food to be delicious.  The salad with papaya seed dressing, seafood, poultry, and of course the traditional pork and poi along with many other selections were a big hit.  My 4 year-old went back up to refill his plate with even more pork and poi!  He must have some Hawaiian DNA in there…


As the sun set below the Pacific casting the most gorgeous Hawaiian sunset across the sky, the performers in their spectacular traditional attire danced, sang, and of course, Hula’d across the stage, leaving the audience, especially my kids with a permanent smile from ear to ear.  The host did a perfect job in extending the local warmth to everyone by telling stories of the past and by explaining the how the local traditions are seen through the various performances.  

One of the highlights of the luau for me was watching both my kids stand up and hula along with the show – they were captivated by the performers.  Accompanying the dancers and singers was a live band playing traditional Hawaiian music and melodies. 

As darkness fell over the luau grounds, the fire dancers left my children in awe as they spun and threw their torches in the air.  When the show wrapped up, my family all new exactly where we were – we were on vacation in beautiful Hawaii.

The Te Au Moana Luau truly is a wonderful way to experience the warmth and beauty of the Hawaiian culture in a way that will keep your entire family happily engaged making it a can’t miss event while on your vacation in Maui.

FreshCruiser Tips for the Te Au Moana Luau

  • Plan to see the luau towards the beginning of your vacation.  There is no better way to kick off your trip. 
  • Book early, before you leave on your vacation – the luau will often sell out.  Keep in mind, the luau is only 4 times each week, so plan accordingly.
  • Arrive a little early to get in line. The seats are first come first serve.  After checking in, you are escorted to the best available open seat.
  • This luau has a 4:30pm start time, which works well for families with younger kids.

Flavors Unite! Review of Qsine on Celebrity Cruises

Qsine, Specialty Restaurant

Dining at the specialty restaurant, Qsine®, on the Celebrity Millennium was one of the culinary highlights of my recent cruise.  I will go into more details but the presentation of the food alone is worth the visit, let alone how delicious it tasted.  I have to admit that when I was looking up the specialty restaurants on Celebrity Cruises’ website for the Celebrity Millennium, I thought that Qsine sounded gimmicky with a confused identity.  I convinced my husband to go as I like to try new things and it sure did not disappoint!

About Qsine

Celebrity Cruises describes Qsine:

"Qsine® offers a culinary journey that delivers elements of surprise and delight. Our James Beard featured Master Chef created Qsine to give you something you've never experienced before—on land or at sea. Leave any preconceived notions behind. Dig in and try new things. It's time your palate got a wakeup call. Our iPad® menus make your dining experience even more fun and interactive."

In all of Celebrity Cruises’ marketing material, it pushes the fact that your menu is an iPad, which you order directly from.  I’m typically on some type of electronic device throughout most of my day so this part didn’t sound “fun and interactive”; but rather, annoying. Why couldn’t I just give my order to the waiter?  To my surprise however, I quickly found out it was only one small aspect of the restaurant and was fun just clicking a button to send the order to the kitchen.  The friendly Brazilian waiter stopped back often as we went through the menu to answer our questions along with giving us recommendations.

Every dish that came out had its own unique presentation and flavors.  You can travel around the world while dining here.   We had the opportunity to meet the chef, Jean-Pierre, who really enjoyed cooking all types of dishes from around the world and sharing them with guests.

Dishes Worth Trying

Fresh Market Salad

There were definitely some dishes that were stand-outs for me.  The Qsine Greens is described as a “Fresh Market Salad with Arugula, Radicchio, Frisée, Watercress, Spinach, Pomegranate Emulsion, Crispy Goat Cheese Crumble”.  I didn’t think much of it when I saw it on the menu, but was really happy that I ordered it.  The warm goat cheese pattie combined with the pomegranate emulsion provided a crispy yet sweet and creamy taste.  The dressing provided on the side allows you to customize the taste to your preference.


The Treseviche dish included three types of cerviche served with a side of French fries to cleanse your palate and provide a little saltiness to help cut the citrus-ness of the dish.  With each taste, I tried to figure out which one I liked the best and I couldn’t decide as they were all exceptional.  The flavor combinations were matched perfectly to each type of seafood.

Treseviche included:

  • Tiger Shrimp & Bay Scallops with Lemon Juice, Tequila, Cilantro, Tomato & Jalapeño Oil
  • Salmon with Yuzu Citrus, Cucumber, Vodka & Basil
  • Sea Bass with Lime, Red Onion, Choclo, Avocado & EXVOO

Slider Party

In addition, I would recommend ordering the Slider Party.  The dish comes with one slider per person, which comes out of the kitchen on a grill pan with cheddar cheese on top surrounded by a medley of burger fixings. 

The burger was just the right size, juicy, and still piping hot and served with a side of French fries….what could beat that?!

Painter's Mignon

Stand-outs for presentation included the Painter's Mignon which was a Filet Mignon with a variety of sides, served in little jars.  The sides included mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and a demi glace sauce. The presentation was unexpectedly refreshing for what’s normally considered a “fancy dish”. 

Sushi Lollipops

In addition, the Sushi Lollipops including, “Nigiri Sushi, Soy Center, Wasabi Mayo & Pickled Ginger-Radish Salad” was sushi presented in a fun way and was even more fun to eat!

Tips for Ordering

Disco Shrimp

The portions are meant to share and some are larger than others.  If there is just two of you, read the different dishes carefully and what comes in each one as if it lists 10 items, you may want to pass to try more items as that alone could fill you up. I definitely decided to try as much as I could.

After a good number of dishes came out, the waiter came to inform us that we were only half-way through what we had ordered on the iPad to see if we wanted the food to keep coming.  His timing was perfect as we were getting full.  We decided on one more dish to try and that would be it as we still wanted to leave room for dessert.  

Dessert Menu

The way that the dessert menu is presented is distinctive and memorable in a puzzle cube. 

We enjoyed the tombstone cake, which was rich and fabulous, and the silver bullet, which was filled with two types of sorbet.

Additional Highlights

The service was outstanding, even a step above the typical dining room experience.
Another aspect I liked about this restaurant is that I enjoy going for tapas and getting to try new things when I’m on land. However, my husband and I are always looking at the price and trying to add things up in our heads.  Part of the fun of this restaurant was ordering what you felt like versus trying to find the cheaper or more filling items on the menu. My only regret was that we didn’t go back again to try the items we didn’t order and to have some of our favorite dishes again.

Where to find Qsine

Qsine is available on the following ships in the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet: Celebrity Eclipse®, Celebrity Infinity®, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Summit®, Celebrity Millennium®, Celebrity Reflection.

FreshCruiser Tip: Qsine is definitely a splurge if you’re trying to eat healthy while cruising. To help with this, start your day off with a visit to the fitness room and eat a healthy breakfast and lunch which will let you splurge a little more at dinner.


Fresh Cuisine for me! Review of Blu on Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises Specialty Restaurant Blu ReviewPhoto Credit: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises recently announced the completion of the revitalization for the final Millennium Class ship, Celebrity Millennium. The $140-million "Solsticizing" of its Millennium Class ships added features that cruisers enjoy about Celebrity’s Solstice Class ships. The four Millennium Class ships completed the transformation over the course of a three week dry dock period. The ships now have one of my favorite aspects of cruising with Celebrity, the specialty dining restaurant, Blu.

Dining at Blu
Celebrity Cruises describes the restaurant:

“If the concept of "spa restaurant" causes you or your significant other to think you'll never see a steak or a rich dessert on the menu that is definitely not the case. The cuisine at Blu is simply an imaginative way of preparing popular dishes without fussiness or pretense. Tender steak is served with a flavorful truffle vinaigrette instead of a heavy béarnaise."

Blu is only available to guests staying in the AquaClass category of staterooms (Suite guests upon availability). The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner every day.


Celebrity Cruises Specialty Restaurant Blu Fresh Salad CourseSample Salad course at Blu

The modern feel to Blu’s décor transcends to fresh foods and even the actual dishes they use, which offers a sleek presentation.  You forget that you’re on a cruise ship and feel like you’re out at a contemporary restaurant. Celebrity Cruises refers to Blu’s food as “clean cuisine" and this feeling of “clean” is also very visible in the décor.  The use of white as the main color with hints of blues contributes to the overall feel you get while dining there.

Celebrity Cruises Specialty Restaurant Blu AppetizerSample Appetizer at Blu

Blu offers gourmet meals in innovative ways. I enjoyed trying new foods while dining there. The food didn’t taste mass produced but prepared just for me.  In addition to bread and butter on the table every night, you also received 3 tiny bowls that had hummus, vegetables, and ranch dressing in them as a snack while waiting for your meal. There was a steak on the menu the first night of the cruise we were on. My husband ordered it and raved about how delicious it tasted.  It was a key point of conversation over the next week as other cruisers’ first experience at Blu was just as memorable and kept them coming back each night.

Overall, I’m happy to see Celebrity Cruises expand this concept of fresh and “clean” food to additional boats in its fleet. I hope to see this theme continue to options in the main dining room as well as on other cruise lines.  Blu proves that a well-prepared meal using fresh and healthy ingredients can taste even better than one prepared with lots of butter, cream, and oil.

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