7 Hot New Cruise Destinations
The Caribbean is becoming old news as more cruise lines are setting their sights on far-flung destinations with exciting ports of call. Adventurous new itineraries are being offered to all corners of the globe, but these seven cruise regions are emerging hot spots to keep an eye on.
Iceland has seen a significant increase in the number of expedition vessels visiting its 13 cruise destinations. In 2014, there were 305 calls and this year there are 415 booked ? a 36 percent increase.
As more passengers visit the capital city, the Port of Reykjavik is working to accommodate larger cruise vessels and has invested in a new pier that will allow two mega ships to be berthed at the same time. Princess, Ponant, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and even Disney have all announced cruises that visit the island nation.
Southeast Asia (Particularly Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam)
Asia has seen tremendous growth in the cruise industry, so much so that in 2014, the Cruise Lines International Association established CLIA Southeast Asia and CLIA North Asia as regional branches. The newly formed groups recently announced that a staggering 2.17 million passengers will be carried on cruises in Asia during 2015. The trend isn’t limited to large ocean vessels; many river cruise lines are deploying ships throughout the region with particular attention to Southeast Asia.
New luxury companies like Sanctuary Retreats and Haimark Luxury River Expeditions will ply the waters of Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, and Vietnam. The Aqua Mekong was just built in 2014 from Amazon River cruise specialists, Aqua Expeditions, and will sail throughout Southeast Asia. Leading river cruise lines, Ama Waterways, Avalon Waterways, and Viking River Cruises will also be deploying ships on the Irrawaddy and Mekong Rivers for exotic sailings.
India is becoming a “new” destination for river cruises as several lines turn their sights on its waterways. Pandaw River Expeditions will introduce its weeklong, “Backwaters of Kerala” itinerary in late 2015, Haimark Travel just set sail on the Ganges River for a seven-night voyage, and Uniworld will follow in 2016 with a 12-night program.
United Arab Emirates
The Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi has been welcoming ships with record numbers of maiden calls ? the most recent being P&O Cruises’ ms Balmoral. Plans are underway for the port to open a new terminal in 2016 that will celebrate the UAE’s cultural heritage. The Costa Serena is now offering regularly-scheduled, round-trip voyages from Dubai, while the MSC Orchestra is also positioned in the region with new itineraries throughout 2015. The Celebrity Constellation will use Zayed Port as a home port for the 2016 and 2017 season.
Disney will be sailing in Norway for the first time in 2015 on seven- and nine-night fjord cruises inspired by the movie “Frozen.” Several brand new vessels will also be cruising in Norway, including the Viking Star, P&O’s Britannia, and Windstar’s Star Legend.
According to CLIA, Australia has seen tremendous growth in cruise travel: in 2014 the region (Australasia) saw a 22 percent increase in ship deployment. More ships will be stationed in Australian ports, including three vessels from P&O Cruises, the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl, which will be based in Australian ports year-round. Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden will also join the fleet for similar itineraries. This month, MSC Orchestra will cruise to Australia for the first time on a 33-night maiden voyage from Dubai. In addition, Azamara Club Cruises will be visiting the area beginning in December.
More cruise lines are claiming “bragging rights” by navigating the famed Northwest Passage over the Canadian Arctic. In late 2014, Ponant finished its second crossing while Silversea successfully completed the route for the first time. The Crystal Serenity will follow suit in 2016 on a 32-day pilgrimage from New York. In addition, the northern expedition company, Adventure Canada, will offer two Northwest Passage cruises as its signature voyage this summer.
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