Cruise lines are making waves out there with news of ship deployments. Here are some tips about a sampling of interesting itineraries — near and far — this year and next:
· Princess Cruises – Sapphire Princess has launched an inaugural season from its new summer homeport of Shanghai. During the season, which runs through August, the line will carry approximately 70,000 guests on 24 cruises with itineraries ranging from three to five days. The voyages will visit famous cities in South Korea and Japan, including Seoul (Incheon), Busan, Jeju Island, Fukuoka (Hakata), Kagoshima, Okinawa and Nagasaki. The ship features a Princess Class experience with cultural, culinary, entertainment, and inspirational programs including the World Leaders Dinner, Tai Chi at sea, ballroom dancing, Ocean View Hot Pot dinner option, “Princess Night” stateroom amenities, a large selection of movies, and a variety of Chinese satellite TV channels. A variety of traditional Chinese dishes will also be offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 116,000-ton Sapphire Princess carries 2,670 guests and, at 952 feet long, has 18 decks and 28 premium suites, with more than half of the ship’s staterooms featuring private balconies. The ship also includes five pools, a casino, duty-free shops, fitness center and spa, sports deck, children’s and teen’s centers, library, internet café, art gallery and a golf putting course, among other features. Info: www.princess.com.
· Disney Cruise Line – In the fall of 2015, Disney Cruise Line is returning to popular destinations and homeports for limited-time engagements. Highlights include two Hawaii cruises, a return to the West Coast with departures from San Diego and a Galveston, Texas homecoming. For Hawaii, two special 10-night cruises are scheduled in September of 2015. The Disney Wonder will sail
through the Hawaiian Islands, where guests can experience the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu, see the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui, take in the tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai and, on Hawaii Island – the Big Island, explore the natural wonders of the world¹s most active volcano. Info: www.disneycruise.com.
· Silversea Cruises – Silversea Cruises has opened its entire voyage program for 2015. In total, the company's eight ships will offer a worldwide schedule of 276 voyages, visiting more than 700 destinations (including 71 that are new) on seven continents. Among the novel destinations are 21 new ports of call including in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, inaugural calls in Huelva, San Antonio (Ibiza), and Alcúdia (Mallorca), Spain; Rethymnon (Crete) and Igoumenitsa, Greece; Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy; and Amasra, Turkey. In Asia and the Pacific, new ports include Haikou, China; Hambantota, Sri Lanka; Bintulu, Malaysia; Savusavu, Fiji; Lifou Island, New Caledonia; and the Philippines' Bohol Island, Boracay Island, Busuanga Island, and Hundred Islands. Africa and the Indian Ocean offer inaugural visits to Luanda, Angola and Mahajanga, Madagascar. And in the Americas, first-time calls include Norfolk, Virginia; Morehead City, North Carolina; and Falmouth, Jamaica. The line’s expedition cruises will feature 50 new destinations. The line’s newest ship, Silver Discoverer explores the South Pacific, the Russian Far East, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia, including its Kimberley Coast. Info: www.silversea.com.
· Holland America – From winter 2014 through spring 2015, Holland America Line will have two ships exploring the Far East. The 1,432-passengerms Volendam will sail a series of 14- to 17-day cruises and non-repeating itineraries, while the 1,404-passenger Rotterdam takes a 90-day “Passage to the Far East” journey. All of the cruises feature exotic ports of call with extended and overnight stays at some of Asia’s most iconic cities. New this year, Volendam will sail three 14-day “Asian Adventure” cruises roundtrip from Singapore. Departing Dec. 22, 2014, and Feb. 2 and March 16, 2015, the ship calls at ports in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar. Overnight stays at Singapore and Thilawa (Rangoon), Myanmar are scheduled, as well as an extended port call at Port Kelang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia. Other itinerary highlights for the Volendam also include a series of 14-day “Far East Discovery” cruises between Singapore and Hong Kong, China. Guests can embark Jan. 5 and 19, Feb. 16, March 2 or 30. The itinerary calls at Koh Samui, Thailand; Sihanoukville, Cambodia (with a late departure); several ports in Vietnam including late departures from Nha Trang and Halong Bay; and an overnight call at Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand. The Asia Adventure and Far East Discovery itineraries can be combined for a 28-day Collectors’ Voyage departing Dec. 22, 2014, and Feb. 2 and March 16, 2015. Fares for the 14-day Asian Adventure and Far East Discovery cruises begin at $1,699, and the 28-day Collectors’ Voyages begin at $3,049, per person, double occupancy. Info: www.hollandamerica.com.
· Cunard Line –With an eye towards the company’s 175th anniversary in 2015, Cunard has announced its 2015-2016 voyages. The program includes 15 commemorative cruises and events that will pay homage to Cunard’s significant historical moments, as well as voyages in the Mediterranean and iconic adventures around the world. Cunard will kick off its milestone anniversary with 15 sailings aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. To start the celebrations, all three Queens will meet in Southampton on 3 May 2015. This Cunard Royal Rendezvous will be followed by a “Liverpool Salute” with the unprecedented sight of all three Queens together on 25 May at the Line’s birthplace – the first time the entire fleet will have been together on the River Mersey. Voyage options include, on Queen Mary 2, an Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing & British Isles, 10 May 2015 – 17 days, New York to Southampton. Fares start from $3,348. Info: www.cunard.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun