This Week in Cruise: New Ships, New Foodie Excursions for Europe

new AmaWaterways shipsFrom two new ships set to sail Europe's rivers in 2016 to a slate of new itineraries and shore excursions, this week in cruise news saw a host of announcements for Europe. Here's the latest. 

AmaWaterways announced plans to add two new ships to its European fleet in 2016: AmaViola and AmaStella.

The new ships will be the third and fourth vessels in their class, and will be equipped with connecting cabins aimed at groups and families traveling together. Room configurations include:

- 12 staterooms that can accommodate up to three family members each
- Six sets of adjoining cabins that can be connected via an internal doorway, accommodating families of up to five
- Four suites with convertible sofa-beds that can accommodate families of up to four

In order to meed growing demand for cabins with Twin or French Balconies, AmaWaterways has moved the fitness room and salon to the lower deck, allowing for more balcony staterooms and suites. 

In other river cruise news, CroisiEurope has teamed up with Delta to offer combined river cruise and international airfare packages. 

Guests can now make all of their reservations in one place by booking their river cruise, flights and airport-to-ship transfers through CroisiEurope’s North American call center. These new packages are available on select round-trip cruise itineraries to Paris, Vienna, Venice, Porto and Amsterdam.

Also for 2016, Adventures by Disney has added a new set of Europe trips to its recently-announced lineup of river cruise itineraries. 

The England and France Adventure itinerary will visit Paris, London and the English countryside, including stops at the Tower of London, a speedboat trip on the River Thames and an excursion to Windsor Castle over the course of eight days and seven nights. The new Danube River Cruise Adventure will offer guests the chance to tour castles in Slovakia, attend wine tastings in Austria and hike in Germany

In terms of shore excursions, Crystal Cruises has rolled out a slate of offerings in the Mediterranean aimed at foodies, with experiences that include cooking classes, wine tastings and pairings, farmer’s market tours and more.

For 2015, Queen Mary 2 will embark on a July 4 transatlantic voyage departing from Liverpool, England, to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Cunard Line.

The itinerary is meant to pay tribute to the original voyage made by the company's first flagship, Britannia, on July 4, 1840. This journey inaugurated the first scheduled mail and passenger service across the Atlantic, and Cunard will be celebrating the milestone in three cities which hold a special place in the company's past: Halifax, Boston and New York.

Queen Mary 2, Cunard's flagship, will depart Southampton on July 2, and then call on Liverpool. Following a fanfare and fireworks display, the ship will sail to North America with celebratory onboard and commemorative shoreside events scheduled for each port of call.

Finally, Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic kicked off its summer 2015 season this past week with a call at Geiranger, Norway, the fjord that inspired Disney’s Frozen.

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