The Caribbean continues to be the most popular cruise destination industry-wide, accounting for more than a third of the cruise business globally. It’s been estimated that 60% of cruise passengers are repeaters, which heightens the need for the Caribbean to constantly re-invent itself and for cruise lines to find or create new ports of call that are rich with attractions.
Though holiday cruises tend to be pricier than those at other times, they continue to grow in popularity, particularly among family groups. The appeal of being served attractive meals, of freedom from household chores and inclement weather - plus the ability to spend quality time with loved ones - make a holiday cruise a compelling choice for many clients. If a particular date or ship is desired, early booking is advisable.
A lot has changed since New England/Canada cruises were considered “fall foliage” excursions that sold mainly to seniors. The appeal of that itinerary has grown as the charm, natural beauty, cultural experiences and culinary variety of the ports has become better known. Now the season has grown longer and most major lines participate in this market, not only with the usual itineraries, but also as part of repositioning cruises. This has led to some upgraded port facilities and expanded shore excursions.
As river cruising continues to grow more rapidly than ocean cruising, and as growing demand can fill river boats months in advance, river companies continue to build -- and to add competitive features and amenities and new exotic itineraries.
This expansion has taken river cruises from the major rivers in Russia, Germany and Austria to the rivers of France, the Douro in Portugal - and beyond, to Australia, Asia and Africa. Even more interesting to clients who would rather not fly internationally, river cruises have returned to the United States, aboard the American Queen and the American Empress, the ships of American Cruise Lines and Un-Cruise’s replica coastal steamer, the S.S. Legacy.
Though there are thousands of Greek islands, only 227 are inhabited and far fewer are cruise ports. Here, we include the most popular, as well as a few that are visited only by small ships.
Clients who love cruises are lucky; they never have to be bored. If they’ve tried the mega-ships and had enough of rock climbing and zip-lining and rubbing shoulders with thousands of fellow passengers, there are plenty of smaller vessels that offer a quieter cruise experience but with plenty to do and see. And if they don’t enjoy days at sea, river cruises showcase a new destination every day. Best of all, each new year brings with it new ships, new itineraries and new options for the cruise lover.
Mexico’s cruise ports truly provide something for everyone, from the adventure seeker who wants to scuba dive with sharks to the passenger who simply wants to stroll, explore and shop for souvenirs.
As a Panama Canal cruise is on many bucket lists, and as this iconic link between two oceans celebrated its hundred-year anniversary in 2014, a number of ports offer a variety of memorable shore excursions that highlight natural and man-made wonders.
Port stops vary, depending on the length of the cruise, which may range from 7 days to 18 days and longer. With so many itineraries, stops may include ports in Mexico and the Caribbean. Here,we have a few popular ports.
There are Med ports I would gladly visit again and again. A pre- or post-cruise stay is recommended for several - because there is just too much to see and do in a single day.
Athens: The glory that was Greece is still here, evidenced by centuries-old monuments alongside high-rises, neoclassical buildings, tavernas, cafés and shops. A pre-cruise stay is recommended for itineraries that start here. Major tours include the Acropolis, the museums and the great temples of Zeus. But it’s being part of Athenian life for a while, lingering in the cafes, having a great mezze with some ouzo or local beer in a taverna that makes for a satisfying feeling of having actually “been there,” instead of just passing through.
The American Queen was born in 1995, the biggest river steamboat ever built: 418 feet long and 89 feet wide, a six deck re-creation of a classic Mississippi riverboat with 222 staterooms for a capacity of 436 guests and a crew of 160.