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MSC to sail cruises from Cuba - Travel Weekly

MSC to sail cruises from Cuba
Travel Weekly
Shore excursions will be offered through Cubanacan, a Cuba-based travel group. MSC would become the largest cruise line offering cruises from Cuba.
Walter Christen's insight:

Cuba looks to be the next must see destination in the Caribbean.

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Introducing MSC Seaside – the ship that follows the sun

Introducing MSC Seaside – the ship that follows the sun | Cruise news |

Yesterday MSC Cruises marked an important milestone in the building of MSC Seaside with the celebration of the traditional maritime coin ceremony held at the Monfalcone shipyard in Italy.


As the first of the Seaside Class of ships, MSC Seaside has a revolutionary architectural design inspired by a beach condo concept, bringing guests and the sea closer as well as enhancing the beauty of the natural surroundings while at sea. Every element of the ship has been designed to enable guests to enjoy the outdoors in every aspect of their life onboard, from cabins and suites with outdoor spaces, eating and drinking al fresco through to outdoor fitness facilities and luxury cabanas for spa treatments in the fresh air.


MSC Seaside will be the first ship in the MSC Cruises’ fleet to be christened in the United States, sailing in the Caribbean year-round from the Port of Miami starting in December 2017. MSC Seaside will be the fifth MSC ship offering cruises in the Caribbean.

Walter Christen's insight:

I love the look of the new MSC Cruises Seaside cruise ship. The outdoor space concepts will definitely be a plus for cruising in the Caribbean. I look forward to see this new ship in person next December (2017).

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The best amenities on cruise ships revealed

The best amenities on cruise ships revealed | Cruise news |

Cruise ships have come a long way in the last decade as lines push the boundaries when it comes to size, capacity and thrilling amenities to appeal to a new generation of holidaymakers.

These days, passengers can spend time at sea in a lounge where they are served by robotic bartenders, in a spa where artificial snowflakes fall inside a snow room, or in a planetarium where they are taken on a virtual tour of outer space, and still fail to take advantage of everything on board.

From a cycling track suspended above the upper deck to a bar made of ice, these are some of the best amenities on cruise ships.


Walter Christen's insight:

For some the cruise ship can be a destination in itself. It is easy to see why when cruise ships have these new amenities.


SkyRide, Carnival Vista

The Ultimate Abyss, Harmony of the Seas

Snow Grotto, Viking Cruises

F1 Simulator, MSC Cruises

SeaWalk, Princess Cruises

Ice Bar, Norwegian Epic

The Lawn Club, Celebrity Cruises

North Star, Royal Caribbean

Vertigo, MSC Preziosa

Planetarium, Queen Mary 2

Private sauna, Viking Star

Snow Room, Norwegian Escape

Bionic Bar, Royal Caribbean


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Sailing to the top of the world on Norway's Hurtigruten

Sailing to the top of the world on Norway's Hurtigruten | Cruise news |

Like a Scandinavian version of Chile, Norway's dragon-tail coastline is long, rugged and packed with natural marvels.

Departing year-round from the southern city of Bergen, ships of Norway's Hurtigruten ("express route") service trace this dramatic seaboard north to the remote town of Kirkenes, way beyond the Arctic Circle.

The 2,500-nautical-mile (4,700 kilometers) return journey takes 11 days to complete.

Frequently situated in stunning locations, Norway's coastal cities, towns and villages are situated on fjords kept ice-free by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.

Walter Christen's insight:

A adventure cruise aboard Hurtigruten to the Norway coastline is definitely on my bucket list. Not only is the scenery stunning, but the region is seeped in tradition and culture.  

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MSC Divina returns to Miami

MSC Divina returns to Miami | Cruise news |

MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line, recently celebrated the arrival of MSC Divina – one of the company’s newest and most ultra-modern ships to Miami, where she will sail year-round to the Caribbean.

MSC Divina spent this past summer in the Mediterranean, following her inaugural Caribbean season sailing from Miami between November 2013 - April 2015. Her return to Miami marks a significant milestone for the company as it increases its focus on the North American market.

In addition, MSC Cruises announced that sales for its next-generation cruise ship MSC Seaside, will open on December 15th, two years ahead of her debut, in December 2017. MSC Seaside, which will join MSC Divina in sailing from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami, will be the first MSC Cruises’ ship to head directly to the U.S. from the shipyard, and be the first MSC Cruises’ ship to be christened in the U.S.

Walter Christen's insight:

MSC is doing a big push for it's share of the North America market. I have seen their ships while at ports of call on other cruises and always wanted to give MSC a try.

MSC is enhancing the MSC Divina to be trailered to the North American market. New shows and musical entertainment are planned. I an intrigued by the snow party with a snow cannon.

One thing my wife and I enjoy on cruises is wine tasting. MSC is adding to their wine blending classes to have "Boutique Winery Tasting" where you will be able to taste rare wines from award-winning boutique wineries.

I have put MSC higher on my list of cruise ships to sail on.

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The world’s best cruise lines

The world’s best cruise lines | Cruise news |

Nearly 23 million people will take a cruise in 2016, up from about 22.2 million this year, according to estimates from Cruise Market Watch, and they face some tough questions about what they want from a cruise line, whether it be luxury, romance, affordability or a trip to a specific destination.

On Tuesday, U.S. News & World Report released its rankings for the best cruise lines for a variety of travelers: Those on a budget, traveling with their family, looking for romance or luxury and those seeking to cruise the Caribbean or the Mediterranean.

The annual list uses expert ratings (30%), traveler ratings (50%) and health ratings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including sanitation scores (20%), to make final determinations. The list ranks 15 ocean cruise lines.

Walter Christen's insight:

Very interesting ranking from U.S. News & World Report. I like it because they also detail how they come up with their conclusions.

Best cruise line for budget travelers - Royal Caribbean 

Best cruise line for families - Disney Cruise Line

Best cruise line for luxury - Crystal Cruises

Best cruise line for romance - Crystal Cruises

Best Caribbean cruise line - Disney Cruise Line

Best Mediterranean cruise line - Regent Seven Seas

No real surprises here although I do not think you could go wrong with the second and third place winners.

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A trend? New Norwegian cruise ship is the latest with a 'snow room'

A trend? New Norwegian cruise ship is the latest with a 'snow room' | Cruise news |

ON BOARD THE NORWEGIAN ESCAPE -- It's the coolest new attraction at sea. Literally.

The new Norwegian Cruise Line ship debuting this weekend in Europe is home to a super-chilled "snow room" that is the first of its kind on a mass-market cruise ship catering to North Americans.

The frosty spa retreat on the Norwegian Escape is kept at a nippy 14 degrees Fahrenheit and boasts flurries of powdery snow descending from the ceiling. It's part of a sprawling thermal suite within the ship's Mandara Spa.

"It's very good for aches and pains," says Courtney Neumann, the spa manager on the Norwegian Escape, who recommends lounging in the thermal suite's super-heated sauna before entering the snow room. "The idea is to go from hot to cold, which makes your blood vessels constrict and dilate, which is extremely good for your immune system and blood circulation."

Walter Christen's insight:

What a interesting attraction on Norwegian's newest ship the Norwegian Escape.  My daughter brought this to my attention.  We moved from New York to Florida when she was little so the last time she saw snow she was 3 years old.

I would love to experience this "snow room" as long as they did not expect me to shovel it.

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Carnival Corp. Expands in Cozumel

Carnival Corp. Expands in Cozumel | Cruise news |

Carnival Corporation – the company that owns 10 different cruise brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard Line, and Princess Cruises – has invested more than $20 million to add a new berth at Puerta Maya, the company’s destination in Cozumel, Mexico.

Now, three ships can visit what’s already the Caribbean’s most popular cruise destination at the same time. In 2014, about 1.5 million passengers traveling on 25 different ships from six of Carnival Corporation’s cruise lines visited Puerta Maya – when only two berths were operating.

Walter Christen's insight:

I have been to Cozumel more time than I would like to count. I do remember last year seeing this new pier being built. It will be interesting to see how this added capacity will do for the local economy.

My favorite activity in Cozumel is to go snorkeling but the next cruise that I am going on that has a Cozumel stop, my wife and I will be taking a island tour.

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Another 'MasterChef' cruise in the works for 2016

Another 'MasterChef' cruise in the works for 2016 | Cruise news |

Organizers of the first MasterChef cruise, which took place less than a year ago, already have cooked up plans for another one.

Endemol Shine North America, which producers the hit cooking show, and events company Life Journeys say the second MasterChef cruise will kick off Nov. 6, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale. Fla.

The seven-night sailing to the Eastern Caribbean will take place on Holland America's 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam and include appearances by MasterChef Season 4 winner Luca Manfé and Season 5 runner-up Elizabeth Cauvel. Also on hand will be MasterChef Junior contestant Sean Le, and the winner of MasterChef Season 6 (who will be revealed on the show's Sept. 16 finale).

Walter Christen's insight:

If you are a fan of the cooking show MasterChef and are into food this cruise on the Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam this could be great fun.  The Eastern Caribbean itinerary is also nice.  Leaving Fort Lauderdale, ports of call will be Grand Turk (one of my favorites), San Juan, St Maarten and the Holland America private island Half Moon Cay.

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5 reasons to buy travel insurance for a cruise vacation

5 reasons to buy travel insurance for a cruise vacation | Cruise news |

We stress the importance of buying travel insurance, and you should not buy it from the cruise line or tour company you are dealing with. If they should go bankrupt, you have lost your insurance. This might sound unlikely, but we did have 21 companies declare bankruptcy the same day so it does happen. Use a third-party company.

Your cruise holiday is a voyage of a lifetime and we can help you protect your valuable investment.

Walter Christen's insight:

For all of the cruises I have been on with my family, We have always taken travel insurance.  It is relatively inexpensive and gives peace of mind when travelling.  That being said, I will also say that I have not had to use the travel insurance purchased but do know some people that had to.

One word of warning it to understand what is covered and what is not. There are different levels of policies that can be purchased and the cost depends upon what you want to have covered.

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Carnival to offer wide variety of Bermuda cruises in 2016 with nine different voyages between April and November

Carnival to offer wide variety of Bermuda cruises in 2016 with nine different voyages between April and November | Cruise news |

With its famous pink-sand beaches, turquoise waters and

picture-perfect weather, Bermuda is one of the most popular

destinations in cruising. And Carnival Cruise Line will provide

its guests with a variety of opportunities to visit the island

paradise in 2016 with 10 departures that feature at least one

overnight docked alongside at historic Kings Wharf.

From April through November 2016, guests can embark on

five different Carnival ships departing from six convenient

U.S. homeports offering itineraries ranging from five to eight

days making 2016 one of the cruise lines most robust

Bermuda programs ever.

Walter Christen's insight:

Bermuda is one of my favorite vacation spots. Many years ago my wife and I spent a week there (sadly it was not via a cruise).  I always wanted to cruise there but living in Florida, it seemed silly to have to fly north to take the cruise.  Carnival Cruise Line will have two sailings next year from Florida (Port Canaveral and Miami) in addition to other sailings from New York, Norfolk and Charleston.

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Best cruise ships of 2015

Best cruise ships of 2015 | Cruise news |

It’s time to plan your next cruise with our annual list of some of the best ships to set sail this year. We’ve pulled together a panel of experts — including Bill Panoff, publisher and editor-in-chief of Porthole Cruise Magazine; Jason Leppert, editor of; and Anne Campbell, editor of and — to help choose our coveted Travel’s Best Cruises 2015.

See what cruise lines were picked for specific categories such as Best Caribbean Cruise, Best Luxury Cruise, Best Mediterranean Cruise and Best Theme Cruise. And find out which cruise ship made our list for the second year in a row.

Walter Christen's insight:

Travel Channel reveals its list of the best cruise ships to set sail this year. Get detailed info on why each cruise ship made this list. This is a very nice list of cruises to get you started thinking about your perfect vacation.

My only beef: Carnival for best food? Guy's Burger Joint and the The BlueIguana Cantina aboard Carnival's Fun 2.0 ships are nice, but they really can't touch the fare at some of the higher-end cruise lines, including Regent Seven Seas, Oceania, Silversea, Celebrity Cruises and even Seabourn and Holland America.

Best Alaskan Cruise: Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Solstice

Best Caribbean Cruise: Sea Dream Yacht Club, Sea Dream I and Sea Dream II

Best European River Cruise: AmaWaterways, AmaCerto

Best Family Cruise: Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas

Best Hawaiian Cruise: Norwegian Cruise Line, Pride of America

Best Luxury Cruise: Seabourn Cruise Line, Seabourn Odyssey

Best Mediterranean Cruise: Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking Star

Best Mexican Cruise: Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Miracle

Unexpected Cruise for Food: Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Breeze

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Norwegian Escape's signature hull art comes to life with Guy Harvey

Norwegian Escape's signature hull art comes to life with Guy Harvey | Cruise news |

Famed marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey laid eyes upon his largest canvas to date for the first time this week – the hull artwork on the new Norwegian Escape, debuting this November in Miami.

Currently being built in Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Escape is Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the largest in the company’s history. Norwegian Escape represents an evolution of the line’s innovative history of providing guests with the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their ideal cruise holiday. The ship yard visit took place as Harvey’s artwork is now beginning to take shape, bringing to life his perspective of the spectacular Caribbean marine life on the expansive canvas of Norwegian Escape’s hull.

Spanning more than 300 metres in length from bow to stern, the custom-designed artwork features a scene of marine wildlife which blends two underwater seas seamlessly together. Featuring Harvey’s signature sailfish, the design also showcases key Caribbean sea life including sting rays, sea turtles, whale sharks and a variety of tropical fish. - See more at:

Walter Christen's insight:

This latest design on for the Norwegian Escape is stunning. Guy Harvey is not only one of the best wildlife artists, but is also a champion of ocean conservation

I also found it very interesting on how they do the hull painting. 

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The Best of Juneau

The Best of Juneau | Cruise news |

Majestic. Breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. Those are the first words that come to my mind when I think of Alaska. I’ve been lucky to have experienced two Alaskan cruises, and with each I was simply blown away by the scenery.

If there was one excursion that I’ve been on that highlighted Alaska’s great est assets it was the Best of Juneau — a full day of sightseeing with a visit to Mendenhall glacier, a whale-watching cruise and salmon bake.

This shore excursion was booked directly through Carnival Cruise Line which maximized our time while we were in the port of Juneau. I’m a big fan of booking through the cruise line because there’s never any waiting and there are guarantees you don’t get when booking independently, like getting back to the ship on time!

Walter Christen's insight:

Juneau Alaska is one of the best places on a Alaskan cruise to see the beautiful scenery and wildlife that is Alaska.

Stefanie Fauquet details her experiences while on a Carnival Cruise to Alaska and the full day "Best of Juneau" tour she took there.  

On this tour she was able to go to Mendenhall Glacier and also go on a “Whales Guaranteed” Wildlife Cruise.  She has some pretty spectacular pictures of the glacier, whales and sea lions.  The ending of the tour was also fitting, a salmon bake.

I have been on a Alaskan cruise, and do plan on going again.

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Celebrity Rolls out Near All-Inclusive Cruises - Cruise Industry News

Celebrity Rolls out Near All-Inclusive Cruises - Cruise Industry News | Cruise news |
Celebrity Cruises will be rolling out its Go Big, Go Better and Go Best program on Monday, July 6, making its cruises more inclusive for passengers who opt into the program when booking and making the...
Walter Christen's insight:

Celebrity Cruise Rolling out "Go Big" 

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Five myths you probably believe about small ship cruising

Five myths you probably believe about small ship cruising | Cruise news |

Some cruisers like the glitz, non-stop action and wealth of resort amenities found on big ships. Others prefer their vacations more low key, and for these folks small ships are the way to go. On small ships, whether sailing or motorized, you and a few dozen — or a few hundred — fellow passengers get an intimate experience, typically focused as much on destination as shipboard happenings.

Here are five popular myths about small ship cruises

There's no place to hide

The itineraries are only about adventure

You're roughing it

Small ships aren't for families

You'll get seasick

Walter Christen's insight:

Presented are some might good arguments for considering a small ship cruise. Small ship cruising are for the most part on the luxury end of the scale and I like the ability to go to ports of calls that the large ships cannot get to.

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MSC Cruises announces development of unique private island in the Caribbean

MSC Cruises announces development of unique private island in the Caribbean | Cruise news |

Throwing its hat into the ring of private Caribbean island destinations is MSC Cruises with the newly announced Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (rendered above) set to open in December 2017. The opening will coincide with the launch of the line’s upcoming MSC Seaside to be based year-round in the Caribbean, roundtrip from Miami, Florida. 

The project was officially launched yesterday on Dec. 16 in the Bahamian capital of Nassau where Prime Minister Perry Christie and MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago signed a 100-year lease agreement, allowing the line to occupy and develop the island. Vago said, “this is a natural progression for our company, which is growing very rapidly, and we are thrilled about providing this totally new experience for our guests in the Caribbean.”

MSC will invest approximately $200 million in the project to make the one-time sand-extraction station a world-class regional attraction. The cay will be developed over the next two years in conjunction with the Bahamian government and ecologists into a paradise with many fun experiences and 11,400 feet worth of fine beachfront. Plans include the planting of 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs and construction of a Bahamian village, restaurants, bars, shops and an arrival center and gazebo.

Walter Christen's insight:

MSC is doing a big push into the US market. Their private island plans look fantastic and will definitely be a great place for a port of call.

Also of note is that MSC has started taking reservations for their new Seaside class ship. The MSC Seaside, under construction in Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, is scheduled to debut in November of 2017. The 4,140-passenger vessel will be christened in December at Port  of Miami and will sail the Caribbean year-round.

MSC Cruises is definitely on my list of cruise lines I want to give a try.

Read more here:
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Coming to the high seas: A cruise for Def Leppard fans

Coming to the high seas: A cruise for Def Leppard fans | Cruise news |

Add Def Leppard to the list of rock bands hitting the high seas.

The English group will headline a four-night music cruise that kicks off in Miami on Jan. 21. The sailing will take place on MSC Cruises' 3,502-passenger MSC Divina.

Hysteria on the High Seas, as the voyage is called, is being billed as a "fantasy camp" for Def Leppard fans and will feature around-the-clock entertainment by Def Leppard as well as more than a dozen other performers including Tom Keifer; Eric Martin (Mr. Big); Ritchie Kotzen; and Kip Winger.

Walter Christen's insight:

If you are in to Def Leppard and the genre of music, this could be the cruise for you. MSC Cruises, MSC Divina will be sailing a 4 day Bahamas cruise on January 21st 2016 with this band and more than a dozen other groups.

Sounds like it will be a fun time.

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Best new cruise ships arriving in 2016

Best new cruise ships arriving in 2016 | Cruise news |
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.

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Carnival hosts first ship at Amber Cove port

Carnival hosts first ship at Amber Cove port | Cruise news |

Carnival Corporation has officially opened its new cruise port at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, welcoming the Victory as the first ship to dock.

The Amber Cove port is located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, and it will serve as a gateway to the exotic city of Puerto Plata. Victory arrived Tuesday morning with its nearly 3,000 passengers to help celebrate the new port.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, a cruise ship will regularly tour Puerto Plata's beautiful beaches and diverse historical landmarks. The cruise line has invested more than $85 million into the facility.

Walter Christen's insight:

On October 6th the Carnival Victory was the first ship to dock at this new ort in the Dominican Republic. The official ribbon cutting ceremony is slated for November 2nd.

From the list of excursions available and the amenities available at the port, this will be a great stop for cruise passengers on Carnival cruise ships.  In addition, The Carnival Fathom brand will be using this port for it's unique volunteerism cruises to the island.

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Envelope please ... the best cruise lines of 2015

Envelope please ... the best cruise lines of 2015 | Cruise news |

River cruises have become the rock stars of the cruise industry, so it’s no surprise to see a river cruise line’s first ocean vessel take home first prize in the latest cruise awards.

The industry site Cruise Critic announced today that the Viking Star is the Best New Ocean Ship in its 2015 Editors’ Choice Awards. The understated boutique hotel feel of the Viking Star is in contrast with last year’s flashier, high-tech Best New Ship winner, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas.

For the first time, Cruise Critic also released a separate set of river cruise awards, with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection taking home Best River Cruise Line and Best Shore Excursions, and Uniworld’s Maria Theresa winning Best New River Ship.

Walter Christen's insight:

Some of the catagories for 2015 include

Best new ocean ship - Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking Star (you have to love the infinity pool)

Best entertaiment - Royal Caribbean

Best suites - Royal Caribbean

Best for Families - Royal Caribbean (suprised this was not Disney Cruise Lines again)

Best standard cabins - MSC Cruises

Best inside cabins - Disney Cruise Line

Best value - Carnival Cruise Line

Best for luxury - Crystal Cruises

Best dining - Celebrity Cruises

Best Shore excursions - Azamara Club Cruises

Best nightlife - Norwegain Cruise Line

Best for romance - Winndstar Cruises

I can see no fault in the selectioms made for 2015.

Do you agree or disagree?

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Huge cruise terminal for Royal Caribbean is possibly on tap for Port of Miami

Huge cruise terminal for Royal Caribbean is possibly on tap for Port of Miami | Cruise news |

Is a new Port of Miami terminal to accommodate one of Royal Caribbean International’s largest mega-ships on the horizon? A proposal for just that is now making its way through the government approval process in South Florida.

The Miami Herald reported late last week that a deal is in the works between Miami-Dade County, FL, and Royal Caribbean, which has corporate headquarters at Port of Miami.

The line reportedly wants to finance and build a new cruise Terminal A, located in the northeastern section of the port; that area is now dedicated to cargo. The county says Royal Caribbean’s investment could total more than $100 million and double the number of its passengers sailing from Port of Miami.

Walter Christen's insight:

I see this as a win-win situation for both the Port of Miami and Royal Caribbean.  The port of Miami will see a 20% increase in cruise traffic, and Royal Caribbean will have a new terminal that they would be able to utilize for their mega sized Oasis class ships like the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas.

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Amber Cove, Carnival’s new port in the Dominican Republic, nears opening date

Amber Cove, Carnival’s new port in the Dominican Republic, nears opening date | Cruise news |

The new Amber Cove port on the north coast of the Dominican Republic is rapidly coming together a little more than a month before the first ship is scheduled to arrive on Oct. 6.

The port, being developed by Carnival Corp. and a local partner, already has a 1,280-foot pier, a bus and taxi staging area, cabanas and the finished shells of bars, restaurants and shops.

Landscaping is being planted and the interiors of the structures are ready for build-out.

Walter Christen's insight:

Carnival Cruise Line has been hard at work on their own private port on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. 44 tours have been designed for the area which will appeal to a wide range of cruise travelers.

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First look: The swanky suites on 'most luxurious cruise ship ever'

First look: The swanky suites on 'most luxurious cruise ship ever' | Cruise news |

What will the cabins be like on what's being billed as the most luxurious cruise ship ever? See for yourself with a scroll through the photo tour above, which offers a first look at the accommodations planned for luxury line Regent Seven Seas' next ship, Seven Seas Explorer.

USA TODAY on Tuesday got a sneak peak at mock-ups of the cabins planned for the 750-passenger vessel at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy where it is under construction.

Scheduled to debut in July 2016, the Seven Seas Explorer will have the highest ratio of space to passengers in the history of cruising, and Regent is promising to set a new benchmark in luxury cruising with the ship.

Walter Christen's insight:

Although the Regent Seven Seas new ship Explorer will not be setting sail until July 2016, the mock ups of the suites are outstanding.  This new luxury ship is all suites and I agree, will be setting a new benchmark in luxury cruising.

First sailings will be in the Mediterranean.

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William Shatner to headline 'Star Trek' cruise

William Shatner to headline 'Star Trek' cruise | Cruise news |

William Shatner will soon be taking fans where they've never gone before, to sea, hosting the first ever officially licensed Star Trek cruise.

Star Trek: The Cruise will embark January 9, 2017, on the Norwegian Pearl from Miami. The six-day cruise is part of the 50th anniversary celebration for the Star Trek franchise, which first hit the airwaves in 1966.

Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk, says on the cruise website that he's excited about the enterprise.

Walter Christen's insight:

Theme cruises are very popular and I suspect that this cruise will be a big hit. Additional stars from other Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine) will also be on hand for the cruise.

The Norwegian Pearl will leave out of Miami and visit Cozumel Cozumel, Nassau and Norwegian Cruise Line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay

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Holland America joins rewards war at sea amps up incentives to cruise

Holland America joins rewards war at sea amps up incentives to cruise | Cruise news |

Yesterday we wrote about MSC Cruises new Voyager Club that’s intended to reward repeat passengers with attractive perks. The Miami, Florida-based line is just one of many that are ramping up bonuses for loyalty and early bookings in a recent wave of rewards war at sea. Princess Cruises has always been a leader of the perks pack providing returning passengers with lots of benefits with each new booking. Now Holland America is fueling the competition with its Explore 4 Club paybacks that gives guests who book any category stateroom a free Signature Beverage Package valued at up to $1,400, free Pinnacle Grill dinner for two, reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom and 50 percent reduced deposits when booked by Oct. 31, 2015.

"We know that many travelers like to plan in advance, so we're offering some great incentives to entice them to book a cruise with us sooner," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "By making their reservations now, guests can also ensure a better selection of the itinerary and type of stateroom they prefer and receive a great value with all that's included."

Walter Christen's insight:

The perks available with the new Holland America Line Explore 4 Club do make it very enticing to book a cruise early on the cruise line.  Beverage packages, Pinnacle Grill dinner for 2, reduced deposits, and discounts for 3rd and 4th guests in the same stateroom are perks I would utilize.


With the perks available you can book early and have your pick of cabin's and amenities aboard.  Waiting for the last minute to book a cruise could mean you do not get to select the perfect cabin for you. 

Holland America has 15 ships to choose from and many different itineraries available.

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