Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed October 21 2015

Opinion Home | Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

  • Amber Nolan | October 21, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    9 Exciting Happenings in the Cruise Industry

    9 Exciting Happenings in the Cruise Industry

    Fall is the season of change, and there are some exciting things happening in the cruise industry just in time for the winter cruise season. From new ships, destinations and onboard programs, here are nine reasons to get excited about cruising this fall and winter.

    The Norwegian Escape Debuts

    NCL’s latest buzz-worthy ship sets sail on her inaugural voyages from Hamburg and Southampton in October, before settling in to her new home in Miami by mid- November. Exclusive to the new ship are two Jimmy Buffett venues: Margaritaville at Sea and the 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar, as well as new restaurant concepts from Iron Chef Jose Garces. Shoppers can appreciate the two latest boutiques: Lacoste and Carolina Herrera.

    Cruise Port Opens in the Dominican Republic

    In October, the first cruise ship called at Amber Cove, the newest port in the Dominican Republic. Built by Carnival just outside Puerto Plata, the port features a craft marketplace, restaurants and bars.

    Arriving October 6, the 2,754-passenger Carnival Victory will marked the milestone, the first of 37 callings for Carnival between October and April. Additional cruise lines — such as Costa and P&O — will begin calling at Amber Cove in December.

    Ecoventura Goes Luxury with New Vessel

    Earth-friendly cruise line Ecoventura specializes in Galapagos cruises on small ships, and is now branching out with its first luxury vessel. The MV Origin will debut January 17, with amenities like a sun deck and Jacuzzi, gourmet al fresco dining, Peruvian and Ecuadorian cooking demonstrations, a fitness center and modern staterooms that are significantly larger that those on the rest of the fleet (140 square feet of space versus 90 to 110 square feet).

    Christmas Market Magic Comes to the Mississippi

    Now Mississippi River cruisers can experience the magic of Christmas markets — made popular on European river cruises — when sailing with the American Queen Steamboat Company. On voyages between New Orleans and Memphis, guests can meander the grounds of the Nottoway plantation in Louisiana, where Christmas markets offer decorations, ornaments and other local gifts. In Greenville, Mississippi, local crafters including jewelers, artists and other vendors also gather in the main square.

    New River Cruise Ship on the Amazon

    Haimark continues to expand its list of destinations by introducing Amazon River cruises. The new ship, Amazon Discovery, launched this month, sailing round-trip from Iquitos, Peru, calling at local villages and wildlife preserves. It is fitted with 22 suites ranging from 237 to 597 square feet with panoramic windows, telescopes for stargazing, pillow menus and other luxurious amenities.  

    Crystal Yacht Cruises is Born

    The Crystal Esprit will embark on its maiden voyage December 23, marking the first phase of Crystal’s major expansion that will include Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises and the Crystal Exclusive Class (expedition ships). The 62-passenger, all-suite yacht will offer some extraordinary additions, like a two-passenger submarine; jet skis; water skis; and a 12-passenger, 32-foot yacht tender for special shore excursions. 

    Cuba Cruises Set Sail

    International Expeditions is set to launch the Panorama, a 48-passenger, three-masted schooner on its first Cuba voyage December 17. The cruise begins in Cienfuegos and concludes in Havana (and reverse). In February, Haimark Line will launch its Cuba cruise (a circumnavigation of the island), followed by Pearl Seas Cruises in March — with both companies offering departures from South Florida.

    The “Voice of the Ocean” on Princess

    Capitalizing on the popular hit television show, “The Voice,” Princess has rolled out its own concept of the musical competition at sea. Started earlier this month on the Regal Princess, passengers can join the fun by auditioning for the show during karaoke tryouts.

    Chosen singers will meet with the coach to rehearse their song selections. Next, the audience gathers in the theater as the cruise director hosts the competition — complete with the television show’s signature swinging chairs. The audience will get to vote on the winner who then receives a trophy and title of the “Voice of the Ocean.”

    Luxury Freighter Ship Debuts in the Marquesas

    The much-anticipated Aranui 5 is slated to launch in January 2016 on two-week, round-trip cruises from Papeete, Tahiti. The hybrid freighter-luxury cruise ship will deliver supplies and materials throughout French Polynesia, while offering passengers a unique experience onboard. The ship will feature all-inclusive rates and contain 103 cabins and suites — 61 with balconies — and the rest with porthole windows. 


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Amber Nolan Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

Amber Nolan Amber Nolan loves to be on the water, and although she enjoys the fun and excitement of larger cruise ships, she prefers setting sail on smaller vessels to unique destinations. Originally from western New York, this restless traveler has a knack for finding creative ways to travel and befriending interesting characters along the way. On her most recent adventure, she hitchhiked on private aircraft across the United States. She previously served as the cruise editor at Sherman’s Travel but her work can also be found on and USA Today Travel. She current resides in South Florida.
Finding Your Transportation at the Cancun Airport

Vacation Packages