Top Cruise Itineraries for 2014

St. Bart’s is one of several Caribbean ports of call on Oceania Cruises’ new 12-day “Holiday in the Tropics” itinerary for 2014

St. Bart’s is one of several Caribbean ports of call on Oceania Cruises’ new 12-day “Holiday in the Tropics” itinerary for 2014
 

As more sparkling new ships are delivered, cruise lines simply have bigger fleets—and more options for positioning their tonnage across the globe. What’s ahead for ocean cruise itineraries? Here’s a global sampling of some of the new 2014 offerings.

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In Search of Komodo Dragons: Clients might come face-to-face with a real dragon on Komodo Island or view a fire dance performance in Bali during the new 14-day Indonesian Discovery itinerary operated by Holland America Line roundtrip from Singapore. Rotterdam will sail a series of these cruises and Volendam will offer one departure. Port calls include Jakarta; Semarang (Java); Lembar (Lombok); Komodo Island; Makassar (Sulawesi); Probolinggo and Surabaya (Java), as well as an overnight stay at Bali. Departure dates are January 6, February 14 and 28, and March 14.

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Holidays in the Tropics: A new 12-day “Holidays in the Tropics” itinerary, operated by Oceania CruisesRiviera, departs December 23, 2014, from Miami. Port calls include St. Bart’s, Antigua, Barbados and other destinations. What’s to do? Guests might board a semi-submersible craft to explore St. Bart’s undersea world, or enjoy a champagne and lobster feast on a catamaran tour in Antigua. Guests will also have the opportunity to visit the Balata Botanical Gardens near Fort-de-France, Martinique or look back to the Caribbean of yore at the 17th-century Sunbury House in Barbados. 

Valencia and Cagliari: Norwegian Jade sails a new 11-day, port-intensive western Mediterranean roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia) in 2014. This Norwegian Cruise Line sailing has just one sea day and the added perk of a few unusual ports including Cagliari, Sardinia. Norwegian’s “Best of Sardinia” shore excursion includes lunch and takes guests to the “museum village” of San Sperate; Barumini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and Cagliari. It starts at $169 per person. Other port calls are at Florence/Pisa (Livorno); Monte Carlo, Monaco; Provence (Toulon), France; Barcelona and Valencia, Spain; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily; and Naples, Italy. 

Star Flyer is moving back to the Mediterranean, opening up a host of new opportunities for Star Clippers in Europe
 
Star Flyer is moving back to the Mediterranean, opening up a host of new opportunities for Star Clippers in Europe

Whales in the Sea of Cortes: For nature or small-ship enthusiasts, Un-Cruise Adventures offers new weeklong Sea of Cortez whale-watching cruises round-trip from San Jose del Cabo in Baja, Mexico. Between April and June, the 64-guest Safari Voyager sails the “Cousteau’s Aquarium of the World” itinerary with Loreto and La Paz port calls. Clients might see, and possibly snorkel alongside, whale sharks. The itinerary includes Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, remote island hiking, a mule ride with a ranchero, and snorkeling with sea lions. Also, between January 4 and March 29, a new Un-Cruise “Baja’s Whale Bounty” itinerary visits Bahia Magdalena to see gray whales and their calves.

Italy for Easter: On April 11, Azamara Club Cruises’  Azamara Quest will sail an 11-night “Mediterranean Easter” itinerary, giving guests an overnight at Civitavecchia, the gateway to Rome, with the opportunity to attend Palm Sunday mass in Vatican City. On Easter, guests will awaken in Livorno, with two full days for exploring Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Tuscany. The ship will also arrive in Trapani, Sicily, on Good Friday, just in time for viewing the Procession of the Mysteries’ floats. 

This voyage also includes a Sorrento overnight, a visit in Siracusa to the catacombs of St. John and Ortygia and a Valletta, Malta call. A complimentary, line-hosted “AzAmazing Evening” is planned ashore for guests in Naples on April 14. Singers, actors, musicians and an acrobatic pizza maker will bring old Naples to life during “Piedigrotta” at Agrumeto Gardens. Cruisers will taste fresh baked goods, mozzarella, pizza, olives, desserts and limoncello. 

South America In-Depth: For 2014 and 2015, Seabourn Cruise Line has introduced Extended Explorations, “linked” itineraries that allow guests to explore in depth, and at greater savings, during 28- to 116-day voyages. The 41-day “South America and Antarctic Exploration” on Seabourn Quest departs November 9, 2014, from Manaus, Brazil. It sails the Amazon River and along the Brazilian coast, before heading to Uruguay, Argentina, the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, Antarctica, the Chilean fjords, Patagonia, and Chile’s lakes and volcanoes region, before ending in Valparaiso.

Natural & Man-Made Wonders: Mixing archaeology and eco-travel is a new “Natural & Man-Made Wonders of the World” cruise-tour offered by Voyages to Antiquity, departing North America on December 19. Guests spend two nights in a hotel in Athens and tour classical sites before boarding Aegean Odyssey for a cruise to the Greek island of Crete, where they’ll visit the Minoan palace of Knossos.

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Then the ship sails to the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea. Guests will visit the Pyramids at Giza and explore the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, Egypt. Aegean Odyssey will then sail to Mahe in the Seychelles and to Mombasa, Kenya, where guests will disembark for a three-day safari at East Africa’s game parks. Then it’s a night in Nairobi before heading home. 

Sunshine at Port Canaveral: Beginning in April 2014, the newly refreshed Carnival Sunshine will offer six different five- to eight-day itineraries from Port Canaveral, FL. For example, the Carnival Cruise Lines’ ship, which received $155 million in updates this year, will sail an eight-day southern Caribbean itinerary with extended stops at Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk; departures are May 2 and 30, August 23, October 4, and December 6. In addition, an eight-day eastern Caribbean itinerary calls at Sint Maarten, Tortola, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. Departures are May 17, September 5, October 17, and December 19.

Un-Cruise Adventures’ “Cousteau’s Aquarium of the World” includes activities in Baja such as remote island hiking and snorkeling with sea lions

Un-Cruise Adventures’ “Cousteau’s Aquarium of the World” includes activities in Baja such as remote island hiking and snorkeling with sea lions 

 

70 Years AFTER D-Day: Cherbourg, France’s historic claim to cruising fame is that Titanic sailed from here in 1912. But another historic event is near, as World War II veterans and history buffs arrive to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings on Normandy’s beaches. On June 3, Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Journey sails on an 11-night “Memories of World War II” cruise, with a Cherbourg call on June 6, exactly 70 years from D-Day. Guests will venture to the beaches, museums, cemeteries and bunkers. Other calls include Guernsey, Channel Islands; Honfleur and Boulogne-sur-Mer, France; Dover, UK; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Hamburg, Germany.

Back to the South Pacific: Seven Seas Mariner will head to the South Pacific for the first time in five years on a 34-night voyage from Miami to Papeete, French Polynesia, departing November 3. New ports of call on this Regent Seven Seas Cruises voyage include: Corinto, Nicaragua; Nawiliwili (Kauai); Kahului (Maui); and Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, and Fakarava (French Polynesia). The ship also sails an 18-night Papeete to Auckland, New Zealand, voyage on December 18, as well as several other voyages within the South Pacific. 

Unfurled in the Med: Sailing line Star Clippers offers several new European itineraries because Star Flyer is moving back to the Mediterranean. In July and August, the ship will sail seven-night, roundtrip Palma de Mallorca voyages with calls at La Sabina and Ibiza, Balearic Islands; Valencia and Sant Carles de la Rapita, Spain; Mahon, Menorca, and Pollenca, Mallorca. In May, June and August 2014, Star Flyer also will operate a seven-night voyage roundtrip from Monte Carlo. Port calls are at Calvi, Figari Beach/Bonifacio Corsica; Costa Smeralda, Sardinia; and Portoferraio, Elba, Lerici, and Rapallo, Italy.

Arctic Sterns and Musk Ox: Departing August 21, Compagnie du Ponant’s Le Boreal will operate a 14-night “Greenland Coast—East to West” voyage from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Kangerlussuaq, an area that’s home to musk ox, reindeer, arctic foxes and eagles. Le Boreal will sail through the world’s largest National Park, cross the Denmark Strait, pass through the fjords of eastern Greenland’s coast, along Cape Farewell and to Disko Bay on western Greenland’s coast. A voyage highlight? Guests will see the Arctic sterns’ migration; these small, red-beaked marine birds cross vast expanses of water in a journey that lasts up to four months and covers 22,000 miles. 

‘LOVE BOAT’ Starter Cruises: Short cruises are a good way to entice clients to “try” cruising. Princess Cruises’ first-ever series of shorter cruises debuted this fall and continues into early 2014. These three- to five-day sailings are designed to give guests a quick break, or as a way to sample the Princess experience. In the Caribbean, clients might book a four- or five-day sailing on Ruby Princess from Port Everglades, FL. The ship calls at one to three ports—including Grand Cayman, Grand Turk, Cozumel or others—depending on sailing date. On the West Coast, Princess also has new short cruises on Golden Princess.

Back-to-Back Europe, No Repeating Ports: Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Silhouette will introduce new seven-night Mediterranean itineraries. These Celebrity Cruises’ voyages are port intensive, with only one day at sea per week and no repeating ports on back-to-back sailings. Celebrity Silhouette will sail roundtrip from Venice to either the Greek Isles or to Greece and Turkey. 

Celebrity Equinox offers seven-night itineraries beginning and ending in two different ports and visiting a wide array of destinations including Nice, France; Ajaccio, Corsica; Venice, Amalfi Coast (Salerno), Sardinia, Sicily and Genoa, Italy; Zadar, Croatia; Katakolon and Athens, Greece; Ephesus and Istanbul, Turkey; Barcelona, Spain, and more.

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