Cruise Tracker: Ocean & River Packages, A Shiny New Terminal, and More

by  Donna Tunney | Nov 4, 2014
Cruise in the ocean
Cruise in the ocean / Vladimir_Timofeev/iStock

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on ocean and river combo itineraries, a new East Coast cruise terminal, and more.  

Can't decide between a river cruise and an ocean cruise? With Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Explorations, you don't have to. In 2015, the packages are combining ocean sailings on a Celebrity ship with river journeys on Amras Cruises, a river line in Europe. Eleven pairings will offer vacationers the opportunity to explore Europe by way of four rivers -- the Danube, Rhine, Rhône, and Seine -- and then by sea onboard a Celebrity cruise in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey, and other destinations. The trips range from 16 to 24 nights, with fares including both cruises, round-trip air, one- or two-night hotel stays, airport transfers, a beverage package on the ocean cruise, and more. Fares start at $7,499 per person, depending on itinerary.

There's a shiny new cruise terminal on the East Coast -- great for Northerners who hate that connecting flight to Florida. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises) has dedicated its new cruise terminal at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. The new facility was built adjacent to an existing terminal that opened 10 years ago and will officially welcome cruisers for the first time when RCI's new ship, the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas, arrives on November 10. The 16-deck ship just embarked guests in Southampton, England and is now plowing across the Atlantic. Once in Cape Liberty, it'll offer winter-season Bahamas and Caribbean cruises, priced from $1,479 per person, before repositioning to Shanghai next May.

If you ever need some help with travel troubleshooting or even planning your cruise vacation, there's now a new resource for information. The federal Department of Transportation has launched a new cruise-dedicated page with links for consumer assistance, vessel safety, and cruise line reporting statistics. Most notably, the page points travelers to safety data by the U.S. Coast Guard, which is responsible for cruise ship safety, and to the Federal Maritime Commission, the agency that outlines cruise passenger rights and helps with financial disputes.

Luxury cruise line Seabourn takes pampering on the seas to a whole new level with its Caviar in the Surf beach barbecue. Coming back to the Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend at Caribbean ports of call this winter, it's one of the most opulent practices in upscale cruising, where uniformed staff members plunge into the turquoise water and invite guests to wade in and enjoy champagne and caviar at a surfboard bar. The coming season also brings the ships' last sailings under the Seabourn name, since both vessels will be sold to Windstar Cruises next spring. (A third ship, Seabourn Pride, has already transitioned to Windstar; in the meantime, Seabourn already has a new 602-passenger ship on order.) Starting in mid-November the Spirit and Legend will each offer seven- and 14-day sailings between St. Maarten and Barbados, and St. Maarten and Aruba, respectively. The Legend will also cruise round-trip from St. Thomas. Fares for seven-day cruises start at $1,999 per person.

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