Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.
A whole new cruise brand is coming soon. And it’s social-conscious.
This isn’t the type of news you receive every day. But Carnival Corp. — the parent of popular cruise lines such as Princess, Holland America, and Carnival — is launching a new brand called fathom, which will essentially introduce voluntourism via cruising. Setting sail as early as 2016, trips aboard the 170-guest MV Adonia from Miami to the Dominican Republic gives cruisers the chance to participate in a range of services, like assisting Dominican school teachers or building water filters for use by the local community.
A six-night cruise will start from $1,540 per person.
Say goodbye to solo fees!
Good news for single cruisers: You’ll be able to waive the single supplement on any 2015 or 2016 cruise with luxury river line AmaWaterways, in select cabins — so long as you book by July 31. You’ll be able to choose from trips in Europe, Africa, and Asia — Ama ships hold solo traveler get-togethers at the start of each cruise, so there’s every chance of making new friends. Fares cover guided shore excursions, beer and wine with lunch and dinner, and the use of ships’ bicycles in some destinations.
Call for promo availability and details; a seven-night Paris and Normandy cruise this summer costs about $3,500 per person, depending on departure date.
All Antarctica all the time.
This cool destination is heating up. Due to traveler demand, Norway-based expedition line Hurtigruten is tripling its guest capacity for Antarctica, by adding a second ship there for the 2016-2017 season. The 674-passenger Midnatsol will join Hurtigruten’s 200-guest Fram, departing from Punta Arenas in the Chilean Patagonia and sailing to destinations like the Chilean fjords, the Magellan Strait, and Cape Horn. 14- to 17-night sailings will depart from October 2016 to March 2017.
From $5,999 to $6,666 per person based on double occupancy.
Silversea Expeditions has also unveiled four new Shackleton Centenary itineraries to Antarctica, in honor of the 100th anniversary of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. (His U.K. ship was trapped in ice on the way to Antarctica in 1915.) The 17-night voyages aboard Silver Explorer will follow in Shackleton’s footsteps — allowing guests to explore on foot or by Zodiac the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Elephant Island, and the Antarctic Peninsula — but will of course return travelers to safety back to Ushuaia.
From $30,350 per person for November 14, 2015 departure; other sailings depart January 3, February 2, and December 22 of 2016.
Azamara is getting a major makeover.
Looking for a splurge-worthy, special occasion sailing? Azamara Club Cruises — an upscale, all-inclusive line known for its cultural enrichment programs at sea and its onshore excursions — might be the ticket. Early next year, its two 686-guest ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, will be redone bow to stern. If upgraded technology, services, and amenities appeal to you, watch this column for upcoming details.