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Travel Blog

Latest Cruise news articles

Silver Spirit will take guests to Antarctica or southern Africa as part of the new Couture Collection.

Silversea introduces high-end immersive experiences

October 10, 2017

Wow! Today luxury cruise line Silversea announced a new chapter in luxury cruising with its 2018 Couture Collection, an exclusive series of ocean and land adventures custom-designed for discerning and adventurous travelers.

The offering includes nine pre- and post-cruise land programs of five to 11 days in length designed to provide authentic and immersive travel experiences in the most remote and untouched regions of the Earth.

The Internet Cafe on Carnival Fascination — and dozens of other ships — may be getting faster Internet in the near future.

Carnival Corp. ships to get faster Internet

September 28, 2017

One of my editors took an Alaska cruise this summer and was bummed out about the excruciatingly slow and sometimes non-existent, Internet service on the ship.  So he did what many of us do, went to port in search of cyber cafes to do his business and posting.

Slow Internet service on ships has caused me to be less than ladylike as I try to file articles and photos while watching that little circle spin around and around or get the dreaded "Internet Connection Not Available."

Viking Sun is nearly identical to sister ship Viking Star, shown in Norway.

Viking takes possession of Viking Sun

September 25, 2017

Viking today announced it took delivery of Viking Sun, the company’s fourth ocean ship. The delivery ceremony took place when the ship was presented at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy.

On Oct. 4, 2017, Viking Sun will set sail on her maiden voyage, sailing from Venice through the Adriatic and Ionian seas. In early November, Viking Sun will cross the Atlantic to sail fall itineraries. On Dec. 15, the ship will embark on Viking’s first-ever word cruise. Over the course of 141 days, Viking Sun will journey around the world, visiting 35 countries and 66 ports, before the itinerary ends in London on May 5, 2018. In 2019, Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe on a recently announced second world cruise, which spans 128-days, five continents, 21 countries and 44 ports with 10 port overnights.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of Seas, launched 14 months ago, is the world's largest cruise ship.

World's 10 largest cruise ships (infographic)

August 30, 2017

What are the world's largest cruise ships? Whether you measure by gross metric tonnage (a measure of volume, not weight) or number of passengers, you'll come up with a similar top 10 list.

Cruiseable's Ship Discovery Tool lets you sort more than 400 ships by size (largest, smallest), age, ratings, passenger to crew ratio and roominess index. But for a quick at-a-glance look at the big ships as well as a summary of highlights, it's hard to beat this infographic from Nature’s Water, providers of water treatment systems in Ireland. Feel free to download and share (and click the infographic to enlarge it).

Here are the World's 10 Largest Cruise Ships:

The Explorations Central hub is new to Westerdam, offering destination immersion with interactive screens.

Cruise lines ramp up their offerings

August 21, 2017

In between taking careful peeks at the solar eclipse today, you may want to try to find time to check out some new offerings from the major cruise lines. Look for ocean cruises with winemakers, a South Seas sailing to a new destination, river cruises along the Mekong, a preview of a venue on 2018's Celebrity Edge that changes throughout the day and more. 

New itineraries

The northern lights dance over a hillside village in Norway as seen from a cruise ship on the coast.
Mike TaylorThe northern lights dance over a hillside village in Norway as seen from a cruise ship on the coast.

Viking Sky chases the Northern lights

Oh, those Northern Lights, always a lure for cruisers who love to chase romance in the sky. Viking Ocean Cruises is delivering with a new ocean cruise itinerary that allows guests the rare opportunity to explore the far north during Norway’s winter — peak time for those majestic illuminations that slash across the night sky. Come January 2019, the 13-day “In Search of the Northern Lights” itinerary will begin sailing between London and Bergen on the 930-passenger Viking Sky.

It's Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and dancers take on the colors of the rainforest.

Silversea’s new Silver Muse to do Grand South America Voyage

August 18, 2017

One of my most fantastic experiences was a cruise that included three wet and wild days at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Carnival (or Carnaval) in Rio is surreal. It is one nonstop party where even Rio's infamous pickpockets take time off.

Well, you can indulge in the wild wonders of Carnival in Rio on Silversea's new, enchanting Silver Muse, which is heading south from Ft. Lauderdale on a 69-day Grand Voyage on Jan. 3, 2018 (which is coming up soon, believe it or not).

Viking is the lead sponsor of the Ballet Sun Valley international festival, which runs Aug. 21-24.

Viking Cruises’ summer of cultural programming

August 9, 2017

Viking Cruises on Tuesday announced it has expanded its portfolio of partnerships with premier cultural institutions, with a summer season of events around the country. Viking has signed on to sponsor the United States tour of the acclaimed English boys choir, Libera, and the Ballet Sun Valley international festival this summer. The company has also extended its sponsorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl for the fifth consecutive season.

These new partnerships build on Viking’s commitment to drive cultural insight and personal enrichment, with current partners that include National Geographic’s “Genius,” PBS’ Masterpiece, TED, The Metropolitan Opera, BBC, Highclere Castle, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Oslo’s Munch Museum and St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, among others. 

Oosterdam at dusk during a sailaway out of Port Tampa Bay.

Drone video of Oosterdam in Tampa Bay

July 26, 2017

Here's a 2 1/2-minute drone video of Holland America's Oosterdam — which I just sailed on last week in Alaska — during a sailaway out of Port Tampa Bay for a Western Caribbean cruise. Some "crazy beautiful footage" of the ship leaving at dusk, as the videography team put it. 

The drone gets closer to the ship than in most cruise ship videos I've seen. The music chosen wouldn't be my first choice. But overall, short and sweet. 

My iPhone settings on Oosterdam: Turned off Airplane Mode (left) and chose Wi-Fi > Oosterdam-Guest (center) but later discovered that a new Carrier setting appeared (right), which overrode my Wi-Fi choice without my knowledge.

Are maritime carriers hijacking your smartphone when you're on a cruise ship?

July 24, 2017

Over the years I've heard plenty of horror stories about travelers returning from cruises only to be hit by a jaw-dropping — and unexpectedly ginormous — cellular phone bill.

It's why I make every attempt to NEVER turn on cellular service on while aboard a cruise ship.

In March I spent a week aboard Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf on an otherwise splendid sailing in the Caribbean. During the trip I received a single text from AT&T informing me that I was nearing my data capacity for the month and, if it was exceeded, there would be a $20 fee for additional data usage. (I had purchased the ship's Passport Plan, which covers Wi-Fi but not cellular.) I had used my iPhone 7 on land during the trip and probably forgot to toggle the setting back to Airplane Mode when reboarding the ship a couple of times. In any case, I didn't intentionally use my iPhone on board Wind Surf for even a moment. That is, I uploaded no photos or video, texted no one, called no one. 

So imagine my surprise when my AT&T bill arrived with an overage charge of $1,825!

Fan favorites Yve Evans and Allan Vaché, who will be on board the next JazzFest at Sea.

MSC Divina to host 14th annual JazzFest at Sea

July 11, 2017

If you dig jazz and love to cruise, you might want to consider booking a cabin on MSC Divina for the 14th Annual JazzFest at Sea. The 11-night, jam-packed voyage that spotlights jazz of the 1920s and 1940s leaves from Miami on Jan. 3, 2018 for the Southern Caribbean with stops in Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts, Barbados and more.

Some of the great legends of genre that will be on board include tenor saxophonists Houston Person and Harry Allen, Warren Vaché, Allan Vaché, Rossano Sportiello, Butch Miles, Bill Allred, Johnny Varro, Howard Alden, Duke Heitger, Danny Coots, Frank Tate, Mark Shane, Mike Pittsley and Charlie Silva. Vocalists include Rebecca Kilgore, Banu Gibson and Yve Evans.

Best new cruise ships arriving in 2016

July 9, 2017

From via

2016 promises to be an exciting year for the cruise industry with several new builds coming out, including the largest cruise ship ever built.  Here is a rundown of the six best new ocean cruise ships arriving in 2016 (in alphabetical order).
Walter Christen's insight:

Wow.  Six new ships for 2016.  A banner year for new cruise ships.  Here is my take.

Carnival Vista - Will be the largest ship in the Carnival fleet with numerous innovations to keep even the most seasoned cruiser entertained.

Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas - 3rd Oasis class ship for Royal Caribbean.  I love this size ship (large) and have been on the Allure and Oasis.  Will be on the Oasis for the second time early in 2016.

Holland America ms Koningsdam - Will be the largest ship for Holland America with many innovations to entice a younger audience.

Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas - 3rd Quantum class ship for Royal Caribbean.  Being a technology nut, I really want to take a cruise on one of these ships.  Sorry to hear that this newest will be headed to the China market.

Regent Cruise Lines Seven Seas Explorer - From everything I have seen, this ship will be the epitome of luxury.

Viking Cruises Viking Sea - 2nd ship for the new Viking Ocean cruise line.  Viking Star is the first.  I really like the looks of the infinity pool and the thermal suite with snow room.

Launched in 2015, AmaWaterways' AmaDara takes up to 124 passengers on voyages up the Mekong River.

AmaWaterways adds new Mekong cruises for 2018-19

July 7, 2017

AmaWaterways will offer more river cruise opportunities in Vietnam and Cambodia for 2018, the award-winning river cruise company has announced.

The AmaDara will sail either up or downriver along the Mekong River for seven nights, tacking on pre- and post-cruise land extension options.

“We are pleased to offer our guests more opportunities to experience the unique authenticity of the Mekong and the villages that line the riverbanks,” Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways, said in a statement. 

2018-19 Southeast Asia itineraries are as follows: