Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.
We promise you'll see the Northern Lights.
Norwegian expedition line Hurtigruten is so confident that guests will see the Northern Lights on its 11-night winter sailings along coastal Norway that it has pledged a free cruise to passengers who don't view the natural phenomenon. The cruises sail above the Arctic Circle, Bergen, and Kirkenes, and those who can't spot the Aurora borealis onboard will receive a free six-night voyage between October 2016 and March 2017.
Rates vary but start from around $1,400 per person for 11-night cruises.
Carnival Corp. -- the parent company of popular cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, and Princess -- is spending $33 million to build and operate a new cruise terminal at the port of Barcelona , an increasingly popular destination for cruise ships. The new facility will be used by seven Carnival brands that sail the Western Mediterranean, with construction slated to be complete in 2018. Fun fact: Barcelona had 764 cruise ship calls last year.
For the bucket list: A new luxe round-the-world cruise.
For the first time in six years, luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises will resume offering a 127-night world cruise in 2017. Departing on January 5 from Miami, the 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator will visit six continents, 31 countries, and more than 60 ports of call (including 29 UNESCO World Heritage Sites). Highlights include the Panama and Suez Canals, plus a circumnavigation that visits ports in Asia, the Middle East, India, and Europe.
From $54,999 per person.
The latest in Europe river cruises:
Scenic, an all-inclusive luxury river cruise line, is adding three new itineraries in 2016. A seven-night Iconic Danube cruise travels from Passau to Budapest; a 20-night Christmas Markets itinerary includes Paris and Prague; and a 20-night Gems of the Seine and Breathtaking Bordeaux sail combines two of France’s most popular regions.
From $3,245 for the Danube sailing; $8,410 for Christmas markets; and $10,700 for the Seine and Bordeaux.
Calling all Food Network fans:
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone -- of "Iron Chef" and "Apprentice" fame -- is designing new dishes for dining rooms across the Princess Fleet, along with a new specialty restaurant and a chef's table experience. The new menu items first will be offered in Golden Princess' main dining rooms this fall and roll out fleetwide by the end of the year. Chef Stone’s dedicated restaurant will debut in December aboard Emerald Princess, with other ships to follow, and the chef’s table experience will debut across the fleet beginning in early 2016.