Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip.
Acapulco, Mexico will no longer be a stop on Holland America Line cruises through 2018 due to security concerns. Over the past few months, there have been several drug- and gang-related acts of violence in this Mexican resort city, though no tourists have been harmed. What does this mean for you? If you take a cruise to the Panama Canal or South America, your itinerary might change slightly, and although the line isn’t offering refunds, it has said affected cruises will stop at alternate cities in Mexico. No other cruise lines have pulled the city from their itineraries at this time. If you're still interested in visiting, you can book a 14-day Panama Canal cruise that calls on Acapulco for $999 on Norwegian Cruise Line.
Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises is adding even more value to their all-inclusive cruises by bringing Broadway talent on board. The line announced a new partnership with Tony-winning Broadway producer Kevin McCollum, who, over his 25-year career has produced hits like In the Heights, Avenue Q,Rent, Motown: The Musical, and Something Rotten! In addition to bringing guest singers, dancers, choreographers, and designers onboard, McCollum will give lectures and hold Q & A sessions. The partnership, which debuts this summer on select sailings of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, adds incredible value to the cruise, especially since tickets to Broadway can cost $100 to $300 — and these entertainment productions are included in your fare.
Booking shore excursions through your cruise line can get pricey, which is why we’re excited about new digital travel company GoBe.com that lets you book trips on your own, at sometimes much lower costs. (We’ve seen a $59 snorkeling excursion with lunch in Cozumel on GoBe, for example, while the same excursion can cost up to $75 on a cruise line.) The online booking tool offers tours in 97 countries and 896 cities, with everything from kayaking in Alaska to touring Rome by private helicopter. Though the company is meant for all types of travelers, it’s an especially useful tool for cruisers (which is no surprise, since GoBe is an independent division of Royal Caribbean cruise line’s parent company). As soon as you launch the website, it even asks, “Are you a cruise traveler?” You can then search cruise schedules and itineraries based on your cruise line, ship, and sailing date to see what tours fit into your trip, and book your own excursions with expert local guides.
Another way booking shore excursions is changing? One line, Holland America, is now helping you create your own DIY adventures. The line is adding destination-focused lounges to its ships to help passengers plan their own excursions. The new space, called Explorations Central, will have tools including interactive maps and personalized guides. That’s pretty big, considering cruise lines usually want passengers to book their own excursions.