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7 Holiday Cruising Highlights

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Summer is quickly coming to an end, and that means autumn and winter cruises are on the horizon.  This also means that Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s voyages are coming up! Cruise Lines International Association has put together seven highlights of winter travel, and why now is the best time to book.

1. Celebrate in the Sunshine

In December, Paul Gauguin is offering a 7-night Tahiti & Society Islands Voyage where guests can explore the best of the South Pacific – stopping in Huahine, Bora Bora, and Moorea.  Travelers will spend a relaxing day on Motu Mahana, the line’s private islet with white-sand beaches, a barbecue lunch, drinks served in coconuts, and a floating lagoon bar.

Travelers aboard Crystal Cruises can celebrate the holidays in a variety of destinations, including the West Indies, Vienna, Bora Bora, and more – complete with multi-faith celebrations onboard.  The line’s 16-day South African Holidays cruise sails roundtrip from Cape Town, marking the line’s first holiday cruise in Africa.  Guests can enjoy safaris in South Africa and Mozambique, while authentic village feasts and visits highlight the rich culture in the region.

MSC Cruises’ upcoming ship MSC Seaside will be christened in Miami in December, and will offer unique Caribbean winter cruises.  The vessel was designed with a beach condo in mind, and will connect guests to the sea with a 360 degree outdoor promenade, two glass-floor catwalks, and glass elevators with beautiful ocean views.

2. Seaside Celebrations

Over the holiday season, Uniworld river cruises will offer a variety of festive journeys.  The line’s special Holiday Season Cruises allow guests to visit multiple countries and cities during the most magical time of year.  Beginning late November, Uniworld offers seven holiday-themed cruises that travel through Germany, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, and France.  Of course, visits to different Christmas markets are on the agenda.

Disney Cruise Line celebrates the Christmas season each year with their Very Merrytime Cruises, which begin in early November aboard all four ships.  During these voyages, events include “Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic” in the atrium, “Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball” featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” as well as themed activities, carolers, holiday crafts, and a special “Deck the Deck Holiday Party.”  There is a three-deck tall Christmas tree i the atrium, “snow” flurries, Christmas island music, and even a decked-out tree on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.

Azamara Club Cruises brings guests to the other side of the world for the holidays with a sailing from western to southern Australia aboard Azamara Quest.  Guests enjoy a Christmas feast at sea, followed by a New Year’s Eve air show and Harbour of Light Parade in Sydney Harbour.  When the clock strikes midnight, fireworks explode over the bridge and Sydney Opera House for a once-in-a-lifetime memory.

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3. Christmas Market Magic

Guests aboard Tauck’s Christmas Markets Along the Rhine cruise will experience the season’s magic from Cologne, Germany to Basel, Switzerland in an intimate setting.  Enjoy guided visits to traditional Christmas markets, walking tours of market towns, visits to Old Town Heidelberg and Heidelberg Castle, a traditional German lunch in Heidelberg, and traditional storytelling in Strasbourg.

Travelers looking for a shorter trip to the markets can hop on Cunard’s Bruges Short Break Getaway aboard Queen Elizabeth for a three-day holiday.  Guests can explore Bruges and its famous Christmas market filled with traditional gifts, chocolates, and the scent of waffles wafting through the air.  Cruisers can also take advantage of the wooden chalets that surround an ice rink on the cobbles of Grote Market for a unique experience.

4. Special Guests

Seabourn offers a variety of special guests and speakers aboard their ships with the Seabourn Conversations series.  For example, Steve Wozniak – designer of the hardware, circuit board designs, and operating system for the Apple I personal computer – will be hosting a conversation aboard Seabourn Quest in December for tech-loving travelers.  Fashion-minded cruisers will enjoy a December evening with celebrity stylist and TV personality Brad Goreski on Seabourn Sojourn, and those looking to learn a bit of etiquette can listen in on a conversation with Grant Harold, Britain’s Official Etiquette Expert.

5. Holiday Family Fun

Carnival Cruise Line ships are decked out during the holiday season, and feature Santa Claus with gifts for the kids, Midnight Mass, and a special Christmas Day menu with roasted turkey and pecan pie.  Kids will love special guest the Grinch, who, as part of the Seuss at Sea program, will make special appearances for photos, participate in the Christmas show, and join kids doing fun themed activities.

6. Experts at the Helm

In January 2018, cruisers on Windstar Cruises’ President’s Cruise to the Best of the Philippines and Borneo with Windstar President John Delaney, will enjoy a bit of a homecoming for much of the ship’s Philippines-born crew.  Guests will be able to explore the country alongside those who love and know it best, while also getting a chance to spend time with Windstar’s president.  Travelers will visit islands and beaches like Palawan and Boracay, as well as Hundred Islands National Park.  A visit to Brunei will take guests inside one of the richest countries in the world, affording a look at some of the largest and most beautiful mosques in Asia.

7. Deals and Discounts

To help guests experience the holiday season for less, AmaWaterways is currently offering up to $1,500 off per stateroom now through September 30 for select Christmas Markets departure dates.  These discounted voyages include trips to the Christmas markets on the Rhine or Danube, cruises from Budapest to Amsterdam, and more.

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Princess Cruises Wants You To ‘Flee the Freeze’

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Princess Cruises is offering a special opportunity for travelers to “Flee the Freeze” as temperatures dip below zero throughout the United States. On 7, 8, 10, and 14-day sailings to the Caribbean this year, New Jersey residents can take advantage of up to 32 percent off cruise fares and $32 in onboard spending money per person. (32 degrees being the freezing point, get it?)

Escape the winter chill and hit the sun-drenched Caribbean beaches this year. Sample cruises include:

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  • 7-day Eastern Caribbean – inside cabin $599 per person
  • 7-day Western Caribbean – inside cabin $599 per person
  • 8-day Southern Caribbean – inside cabin $649 per person
  • 10-day Eastern Caribbean Voyager – inside cabin $849 per person

Fares are based on double occupancy. The offer is combinable with the current Anniversary Sale promotion, where guests can earn up to $300 in onboard spending money. The “Flee the Freeze” offer is running now through January 22, 2018.

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Royal Caribbean Wants You to Find Your Adventure Personality

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With the winter blues in full swing – and half of the northeast region covered in snow (not an actual calculation) – many travelers are dreaming of where they want to vacation next. Royal Caribbean has teamed up with the international authority on personality research, Myers-Briggs, to create a convenient way for travelers to navigate the possibilities for their next adventure from beginning to end.

The easy, 13-question quiz draws on The Myers-Briggs Company’s knowledge of personality types, and assess a person’s motivations and interpersonal needs that most affect their travel preferences. Once complete, quiz-takers receive a unique description of who they are as a traveler and suggested destinations and activities that might suit them.

The Adventure Personality quiz will be available all throughout what is known as “Wave Season” in the cruise industry, where potential guests are busy planning warm vacations and the best offers are available for the year ahead. To find your adventure personality, visit myadventurepersonality.com.

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Fate of the Carnival Triumph Revealed

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With Carnival Cruise Line execs routinely speaking about reducing the size of their fleet and little known about the Carnival Triumph’s future itineraries, some fans worried the ship might be on its way out. But fans of the Triumph can relax, as it was announced today that the ship will be sailing a variety of itineraries from three different ports… including a 2019 stay in New York City.

Carnival Triumph Hits Numerous Ports

The Triumph, which joined the fleet in 1999, will take on an exciting new slate of sailings during the 2019-20 season, immediately after undergoing a major refurbishment that will see her receiving a variety of new venues to compliment the ones she already has, which include the always-popular Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Tequila Bar and Alchemy Bar. The new itineraries will see her sailing from New York, Fort Lauderdale and Norfolk.

Exciting News For New York Homeporters

Perhaps most exciting to New Yorkers will be the return of shorter voyages from the port. The Carnival Triumph will sail four-day cruises to Bermuda in 2019 — being billed as “long weekends” — on May 23, June 20, July 18, August 15 and September 12. For those wanting to trade The Big Apple for Bermuda a few days longer, the ship will sail a six-day Bermuda trip on June 24, 2019. That trip will include a two-night stay in Bermuda. And on June 24, 2019, the Triumph will sail an 8-day cruise out of NYC that will include two nights on Bermuda and a visit to Grand Turk.

View Carnival Triumph Deck Plans

For those wanting to go North instead of South, Carnival will also offer three 7-day cruises — departing on September 22, September 29 and October 6 of 2019 — visiting New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

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Finally, the New York City sailings will offer 8- and 10-day options, as well as a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise departing May 27, 2019, and visiting the Panama Canal, Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica and Half Moon Cay.

Details On Triumph’s Florida Visit

(photo: Port Everglades)

The Carnival Triumph will also sail out of Fort Lauderdale in 2019, doing 4- and 5-day cruises in April before heading to New York, and then picking up these itineraries again from November 2019 (after completing her Big Apple trips) until April 2020. In fact, at this point, Carnival is the only cruise line slated to offer a short-cruise itinerary from Fort Lauderdale, which should prove wildly appealing to the ever-growing population of people looking to take a cruise, but not necessarily having a week or more to commit. The 4-day sailings will depart on Thursdays and visit Nassau as well as either Half Moon or Princess Cay. The 5-day trips will depart on Mondays and swing by Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

Triumph’s Trip To Norfolk

Finally, the Carnival Triumph will also sail 5- and 6-day cruises to the Bahamas out of Norfolk, Virginia during May and October of 2019.

“We’re delighted to offer this unique schedule on Carnival Triumph,” says Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy of the ship’s port-hopping slate of itineraries. “With such an array of cruise choices, vacationers have the opportunity to enjoy short, value-packed getaways to tropical destinations [or] longer-length departures visiting spectacular ports of call!”

Will you sail Carnival Triumph out of New York City?

Featured photo Carnival Cruise Line 

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