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.
Can you believe this? Oceania Cruises will offer a whopping 90 new itineraries in 2016 to catch the attention of even the most seasoned cruisers. The ships will call at 20 new ports, two of which especially caught my attention: Piombino in Italy and Akureyri in Iceland. Piombino is a little-visited destination on the Italian Riviera, and calling here means the opportunity to explore its 13th century castle and the stunning Tuscany countryside. Iceland is the latest must-see destination, and near Akureyri passengers can view the famous Goðafoss (pictured). And we're not the only ones who are excited -- the new journeys, along voyages for the new Sirena ship next spring, led to Oceania's single biggest booking day in history.
Speaking of which, here's how highly people are anticipating Seabourn's new ship, the 604-passenger Seabourn Encore: It doesn't launch for another two years, but the inaugural voyage sold out just two days after reservations opened on March 3. (It's a nine-night voyage from Singapore to exotic ports in Asia, where cruising is on the rise.)
Forget what you think you know about Carnival Cruise Line. In a departure from its typical weeklong cruise itineraries -- and its party reputation -- this cruise line just took the wraps off Carnival Journeys, a new collection of 28 longer voyages that will call at uncommon ports and focus on cultural immersion more than Carnival has ever done before. The itineraries will span eight to 14 nights, venturing to 40 destinations like Tobago, Grenada, Martinique, and Bonaire. Onboard, expect all sorts of regional music, travel-minded classes like digital photography, or even deep culinary dives involving onboard demonstrations and onshore market strolls with local chefs. The debut journey sails for nine nights on October 4, from New Orleans to San Juan, and start at $549 per person.
It must be immersion week in the world of cruise. For cruisers looking to cross the Galapagos off their bucket list, Silversea Expeditions' luxury voyages to the land of the giant tortoise now all include air-and-land packages. We reported on the all-suite Silver Galapagos when it first finished its renovation in October, but the package means two pre-cruise nights in Quito, a tour of the Ecuador capital, and all transfers. A cruise departing May 2 offers rates from $6,750 per person.
And now, something for the kids: Up to two youngsters can sail free on tall ship adventure line Star Clippers when two adults pay full fare on certain seven-night Mediterranean cruises this summer. Families of four can choose to stay in one or two cabins, and Star Clippers sweetens the deal further with a $250 airfare credit for each adult sailing in a family cabin. With the offer, a family of three can cruise on Star Flyer, roundtrip from Palma de Mallorca August 8, at the rate of $2,650 for the cabin.