Shermanstravel Blog

Cruise

eurail austria pass

Eurail

It’s summertime, and for many that means that big family vacations are just around the corner. And if you’ve done some traveling with kids, whether yours or not, you know the extra head count can add up. Thankfully, there are tons of travel perks for families this season, from cruises to Broadway shows to theme parks. Here, some higher-ticket items that makes traveling with the kids a much easier — and even free.

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amawaterways river cruise vs ocean cruise

AmaWaterways

River cruising has been the fastest growing segment of travel for several years — but is it the perfect fit for you? Before you board a river cruise to sail through Europe, Asia, or other destinations with smaller ports that are well-suited for river cruising, consider these 10 differences between small ship and mega-ship sailing.

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water bottles

pixabay.com

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 crackdown on sneaking alcohol onboard.
Starting July 9, Carnival Cruise Line will no longer permit guests to bring bottled non-alcoholic beverages onboard during embarkation. It’s an attempt to speed up embarkation, they say — having to examine all bottled beverages, thanks to guests attempting to smuggle alcohol on board, causes delays. Guests will still be able to bring up to 12 unopened cans or cartons of non-alcoholic beverages, plus, per old policy, one bottle of unopened wine per person on embarkation day.

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Nobu on Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises

There are restaurants that consistently rank at the top of every nearly every critic’s list. The highest among them comes from Thomas Keller — chef and mastermind behind New York City’s Per Se, where the multi-course tasting menu starts at $310, and the San Francisco-area French Laundry, where the prix fixe is $295. Reservations at these top tables open a month in advance and, more to the point, sell out as soon the line opens.

Have a hard time getting your name into the books? Try heading for the high seas. Thomas has signed a contract with Seabourn Cruise Line to first bring his menu dishes to the line’s various restaurants before the end of 2015 — and then to introduce his namesake restaurant onboard Seabourn Quest in the spring of 2016. Booking this restaurant onboard the cruise ship could be easier than getting a table at Per Se, and meals are included in the fare. (Previous Seabourn Quest sailings have started at $2,999 for seven nights.)

Keller isn’t the first chef to lend his name to a cruise ship restaurant. Book a cabin on one of the following vessels to get a front row table to award-winning, celebrity chef restaurants.

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Mantis - facebook.com_ZambeziQueen

Mantis / Facebook.com/ZambeziQueen

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.

Ooh-la-la! A dreamy French replica is hitting the seas.
Tall ship line Star Clippers is constructing a five-masted, square-rigged barque that will be a near-replica of the France II, a famous French sailing ship built in 1912. But the new vessel will feature modern-day amenities — like three pools, a water sports platform, four lounges, and a restaurant with open-seating dining — as well as a variety of cabins and 34 suites. The 300-passenger ship will debut in Europe in 2017, and it’ll be the fourth ship in the Star Clippers fleet.

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viking star stateroom - secret desk vanity compartment - christine dayao

Christine Dayao

Viking Cruises’ first foray into ocean cruises is causing quite a stir in the cruising industry. Up until now, they’ve been among the heavy hitters of river cruising, and everyone’s been eagerly awaiting how river’s all-inclusive model, education programs, and more will be translating to the high seas. But after a recent Lisbon-to-London media preview, we think the Viking Star also deserves an identity of its own. Irrespective of its history, luxury doesn’t even begin to describe the experience of being on the nine-deck, 930-passenger “small ship.” So here’s a first, objective look at one of the most important areas of any cruising vessel: the staterooms.

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Santorini, Greece - Susan B. Barnes

Susan B. Barnes

Just when we thought we couldn’t love Eurail any more, it decided to add a new ferry program to its roster. Travelers who land in Greece (perhaps by way of Italy) will now have a much easier time getting off the coast to the surrounding islands, thanks to the new Attica Pass.

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Disney Magic - Flickr_Bob Owen

Flickr/Bob Owen

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.

Disney Cruise Line is taking its magic back to the Big Apple in the fall of 2016, after homeporting elsewhere since 2012. The 950-guest Disney Magic will sail a series of five- to eight-night voyages from New York to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean, and Canada. On three of these sailings, guests can visit Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay — and, in Florida, enjoy a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket with roundtrip transportation between the ship and the resort.
Rates not yet released.

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zumba cruise - royal caribbean internatinal

zumba-cruise.com

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. 

Grab your workout shoes. The first Zumba cruise, featuring 130 Zumba celebrity instructors from around the world, will cast off from Fort Lauderdale next January aboard Royal Caribbean International‘s 1,360-passenger Independence of the Seas. The four-night sailing will visit Falmouth, Jamaica, and Royal’s private island, Labadee. Onboard, dance and fitness sessions will reign.
From $842 per person, based on double occupancy.

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Cruise Tracker: Cuba Sailings in December & More

Flickr/Bryan Ledgard

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.

Dreaming of Cuba like everyone else? This December through April 2016, American cruisers will be able to sail into five ports in the country aboard a three-masted, 49-guest schooner. Small ship company AdventureSmith Explorations is adding Cuba to its roster of destinations, which currently includes Alaska, Europe, and the Galapagos. The seven-night People to People Cruise begins in Havana and visits a handful of ports along the island’s western and southern shores.
From $4,799 per person based on double occupancy, covering roundtrip air from Miami, visa, and mandatory Cuban medical insurance.

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drinks on the balcony - norwegian cruise line

facebook.com/NorwegianCruiseLine

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.

In a first for ocean-going cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line is expanding its all-inclusive concept to cover free beer, wine, and cocktails (up to $11 in value) for adults, plus free soda and juices for youngster ages 3 to 20. It’s a practice typically found only on luxury lines and on river ships, and it’s being rolled out next January on just one ship, the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Sky (at least for now). But how much of a bargain is it, exactly? It would depend on your typical bar tab. Here’s a comparison: The cruise fare for a three-night Bahamas cruise from Miami in January aboard Norwegian Sky starts at $339 per person — while a Carnival cruise for three nights to the Western Caribbean the same month, aboard the 2,000-passenger Carnival Ecstasy, begins at $179 per person sans free drinks.

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free room service on celebrity cruises

Celebrity Cruises

For a lot of travelers, few things are as indulgent as ordering room service. Getting our favorite foods catered to us as we lounge about practically shouts “I’m on vacation!” and it’s a luxury that we’re used to paying small markups for. But did you know that on cruises, room service is largely free for all meals? A gratuity for the crew member who delivers the meal is suggested (though optional), of course, otherwise you only may have to pay additional when ordering during late-night hours.

That said, two major cruise lines have recently changed their room service policies. Here’s the scoop:

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Sydney, Australia harbor

Flickr/Kay Adams

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.

Remember our mention last week of Anthem of the Seas, sister ship to Quantum of the Seas? Yet another is joining the Royal Caribbean International megaship clan. The 4,180-guest passenger Ovation of the Seas will head to Australia in winter 2016 — becoming the biggest ship ever to homeport in the Land Down Under. Itinerary and fare details haven’t been released, but we’re tickled by the fact that the North Star aerial observatory will reach higher than the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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All Aboard! 5 Dinner Cruises We Love

Facebook.com/TheWaterTable

Sure, they may be a little cheesy, but what’s wrong with combining a delicious dinner with exploring new sights? This is especially true when you consider the recent renaissance in culinary quality, service, and atmosphere in recent years. Here are just five favorites we love hopping onto for delicious eats and smooth sailing.

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Deal Alert: 4 Perks Worth Up to $1,550 on Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises

Is 2015 the year that you’ll take a cruise? If you’re still on the fence about getting on the high seas, we’ll let Celebrity Cruises’ Pick Your Perk offer do the persuading. Until May 10, the cruise line is giving guests a choice of one of four perks when they book cruises of four nights or more, for sailings June through December. To be eligible for the special, you must book an ocean view or higher stateroom. (It excludes Celebrity Xpedition, transatlantic, transpacific, and repositioning cruises.)

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