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.
A crackdown on sneaking alcohol onboard.
Starting July 9, Carnival Cruise Line will no longer permit guests to bring bottled non-alcoholic beverages onboard during embarkation. It's an attempt to speed up embarkation, they say -- having to examine all bottled beverages, thanks to guests attempting to smuggle alcohol on board, causes delays. Guests will still be able to bring up to 12 unopened cans or cartons of non-alcoholic beverages, plus, per old policy, one bottle of unopened wine per person on embarkation day.
Starting October 2016, small ship line Un-Cruise Adventures is heading to Costa Rica and Panama . Weeklong sailings will be offered on the 64-guest Safari Voyager , visiting such places as Corcovado National Park and the Gulf of Panama Islands. A full Panama Canal transit is included in each voyage.
From $2,995 per person, based on double occupancy.
Update: Adventure by Disney's Danube River Cruises
Remember our April announcement that Disney is taking on river cruises, in partnership with luxury river line AmaWaterways? We just got a few more details, such as excursions that involve falconry and horse shows, marionette performances, and bicycling. Onboard, Junior Adventures include the likes of karaoke, movies, video and relay games, and life-size chess. Thanks to popular demand, two holiday cruises in December 2016 have been added to the schedule, too.
Rates vary; from $4,669 per person for adults and $4,439 for children.
Carnival Corp. -- parent company of lines like Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess, and Seabourn -- has signed a deal to build four ships able to carry up to 6,600 guests each. (That's about 300 more passengers than the biggest existing ships can currently accommodate.) Two of the new vessels will go to Europe-based Aida Cruises. Launch dates and who will receive the other two ships haven't been announced yet.
No more cruises to nowhere.
Cruises to nowhere, in which you sail out from the States for just a few nights of food and entertainment onboard before heading right back, has been a popular option for quick getaways. But starting in 2016, the Cruise Lines International Association (the regulatory arm of the cruise industry) is urging its cruise line members to adhere to U.S. regulations that prevent "foreign-flagged" cruise lines from operating cruises that don't call at a foreign port. In other words, if your ships aren't registered in the U.S. -- which very few are -- you must make a stop abroad.