Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney -- ShermansTravel’s cruise expert -- has all the latest news. Check back every week for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.
Asia is calling.
Silversea Cruises expanded its inclusive amenities on all of its 2016 Asia cruises. Seventeen itineraries aboard the 382-guest Silver Shadow now feature free Silver Shore Select excursions, free roundtrip economy airfare with transfers, a two-night pre-cruise hotel stay, and a free WiFi package. Hotel stays are offered at the five-star Shangri-La in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Tokyo, depending on the departure port. Cruisers who want to fly in style can upgrade to business class with an add-on starting at $1,999 for transoceanic flights each way. Cruise fares begin at $4,550 per person, double occupancy.
Viking Sea gets floated out.
Viking Ocean Cruises' second ship, the 930-passenger Viking Sea, was “floated out” from its Italian shipyard. The float out means that the ship was moved to a berth on the water and is now in its final stages of construction. Viking Sea will launch in early 2016, and is the second of three ocean-going ships in the Viking fleet. The first, Viking Star, was christened a month ago in Bergen, Norway. Like its sister ship, Viking Sea will sport Scandinavian décor, five cabin categories, a spa, an infinity pool, and several dining venues. The line's third ship, Viking Sky, will launch in 2017.
Dan Rather and Steve Forbes to set sail.
Journalist Dan Rather, Forbes Media chairman Steve Forbes, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will sail aboard Seabourn Cruises as guest lecturers later this year and in 2016. It's part of the luxury line's Seabourn Conversations program, offering onboard enrichment and special entertainment. Rather will sail aboard Seabourn Odyssey's 20-day Panama Canal cruise in March 2016; find Wozniak on the 20-day Holiday Panama Canal cruise this December; and Forbes will join a segment of the ship's 77-day Pacific Realm Exploration in January 2016.
Cunard to host music royalty.
Natalie Cole, the daughter of vocal legend and trailblazer Nat King Cole, will headline Cunard's first Blue Note jazz-themed cruise during the Queen Mary 2's October 29 transatlantic sailing from New York to Southampton. Blue Note’s 75th anniversary supergroup, Our Point of View, as well as a Q&A with Blue Note president Don Was, will also be featured on the 2,650-guest voyage. Fares are from $999 per person, based on double occupancy.
Holland America is heading to base camp.
Cruisers who book a Holland America Line cruise tour to Alaska's Denali National Park next summer will find that a new entertainment venue has been added to the McKinley Chalet Resort, where the line's cruise tour passengers stay during the land leg of the trip. Called Base Camp, the now-under-construction complex will have a restaurant, saloon, shops, and an amphitheater. Holland America’s Land+Sea Journeys combine a three- to seven-night Alaska cruise with a one-, two- or three-night stay at Denali National Park. Rates are from $1,499 per person, double occupancy.