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.
Seeing massive, blue-white glaciers and spotting wildlife are the rewards of any Alaska voyage, but experiencing the Last Frontier becomes more immersive than ever on Princess Cruises this year. Its new North to Alaska! cultural program, for all Alaska itineraries this May through September, will give cruisers the chance to meet local Alaskans (including a real-life lumberjack), nosh on local food like king salmon and king crab, and enjoy a Klondike Festival and Midnight Sun deck parties.
Fares vary. Six-night sailings on Pacific Princess, for example, start from $599 per person in May and $799 in July.
Carnival Cruise Line is introducing a slew of first-at-sea innovations on the new Carnival Vista, set to launch in May 2016. For just a quick taste: there's a raft-riding water tube slide (Kaleid-O-Slide) and a 150-foot-high aerial cycling experience (SkyRide) for the daredevils, while an IMAX theater and cabana suites with private outdoor patios -- and hammocks -- will please the loungers. Our editor recently got a sneak peek in NYC, so stay tuned for a more in-depth review. Itinerary details will also come later; for now, we just know the ship will be in the Mediterranean in the summer before homeporting in New York.
Partnerships with celebrity chefs are all the rage on cruise ships -- think Jacques Pepin for Oceania Cruises and Guy Fieri for Carnival Cruise Line. Now, Norwegian Cruise Line has gotten into the game by forming an alliance Iron Chef Jose Garces. He’ll be bringing Latin dishes with a Cuban influence to a dining room and al fresco lounge on the Norwegian Escape debuting in November, alongside a Spanish tapas bar and a craft beer hall complete with a keg room, 24 draft beers on tap, and 50-plus bottled beers.
Inaugural season fares on seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailings start at $549 per person.
Cruisers of a certain age will be happy to hear that Grammy-winning band Crosby, Stills & Nash will sail aboard Cunard's luxury Queen Mary 2, where they'll perform during a nine-night transatlantic crossing from New York to Hamburg on September 4. The trio will perform three exclusive concerts and participate in a Q&A and autograph signing session.
Cruise fares start at $1,798 per person.