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.
It almost sounds too good to be true, but Royal Caribbean International has been quietly offering free WiFi on its new Quantum of the Seas. For the past few weeks, the cruise line has been testing how much usage its new satellite Internet system, O3b, can take. No promises that this will continue -- Royal Caribbean usually charges 65 cents per minute or $10-$15 per day. But for now, if you're sailing the ship in the near future, you can prepare for some onboard Instagramming.
Some seriously cool celebrities are taking to the high seas. Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, and other residents of Arendelle will sail aboard Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder and Disney Magic on "Frozen"-themed cruises in Alaska and Northern Europe this summer. All ages can meet the characters, learn traditional Scandinavian dances, enjoy Nordic cuisine, and sign up for movie-themed excursions. The special “Frozen” cocktails are just for adults, obviously. Rates are based on departure date; in early July, six-night Alaska cruises start from $1,757, while 11-night sailings in Europe begin at $4,488.
More good news for solo cruisers: Mayflower Tours is waiving the single supplement charge for solo cruisers on its 11-day Legendary Blue Danube River Cruise on its May 4 and September 27 departures. This represents a savings of up to $2,159 off the regular single fare -- but reservations must be made by February 14. You'll drop anchor at five countries between Germany and Hungary, after spending two nights in Prague. Must call or email for exact pricing.
If you're craving something exotic, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has unveiled three off-the-beaten-path cruises that sail along the Ganges, Amazon, and Mekong Rivers. Travelers can head deep into the heart of India's countryside, search for pink river dolphins on small tributaries, and visit little-known islands (respectively). Each itinerary also includes a land stay, and rates vary from $6,295 to $8,595 depending on the destination.
Ready to think about summer and fall? Holland America Line is back with 39 cruises exploring the Northeast this May through October, with New England clam bakes, locally brewed beer, and Canadian live performers on tap. We especially recommend a sail during the peak of foliage season, when the 2,104-guest Eurodam embarks on special sailings between New York and Québec City, and between Québec City and Fort Lauderdale.