Enhanced Itineraries

Ships reposition for their 2006 lineups

By: Ana Figueroa

Location. Location. Location!” is no longer a rallying cry reserved exclusively for real estate agents. Travel agents will find themselves uttering the same words to clients looking for something new in cruising in 2006. Enhanced itineraries and unique destinations offer more choices and far-flung ports than ever before. Look for extended cruises to the deep Caribbean, including more sailings from New York City. More ships will position in Europe, offering voyages of seven to 28 days or more. Remote ports in exotic locations, such as the Arctic Circle are welcoming cruise ship passengers in 2006. And, the world’s southernmost region, Antarctica, is gaining in popularity as a cruise destination, as well.

“Today’s cruise destinations appeal to first-time travelers in search of new experiences and veteran cruisers pursuing a true wanderlust,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. “In 2006, travelers are bound to find something that perfectly fits the bill from shorter Caribbean voyages to extended sailings from Asia to Alaska.”

Here’s a preview of what’s in store for 2006:

Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival is introducing three-, six- and eight-day exotic Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., aboard the new Carnival Liberty the only program of its kind from that port. The six-day cruises will sail on a western route while eight-day voyages alternate between the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium will embark on a 14-night South America itinerary Feb. 19, which is timed to coincide with Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. The roundtrip Buenos Aires itinerary includes an overnight onboard the ship in Rio and will call at Brazil’s Porto Belo and Buzios; and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Crystal Cruises: Crystal Serenity’s 14-day Arctic Circle voyage departs Copenhagen on June 26, making a maiden call at Norway’s Spitsbergen, the northernmost port the line has visited and the best port for viewing the midnight sun.

Cunard Line: The Queen Mary 2 will make history in 2006 as the largest passenger vessel ever to navigate around Cape Horn. A 36-day Path of Magellan South American voyage departs Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 17, sailing around Cape Horn via the Drake Passage, Beagle Channel and the Straits of Magellan. The eastbound journey reverses the itinerary, concluding in Fort Lauderdale on April 13.
Disney Cruise Line: The Disney Wonder will embark on two special 10- and 11-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Southern Caribbean on Sept. 7 and 17, marking the first time the line has offered cruises longer than three or four nights aboard the ship.

Holland America Line: The Noordam debuts in February, offering 10- and 11-day Caribbean cruises out of New York. Thirteen sailings will visit the Southern and Eastern Caribbean.

Norwegian Coastal Voyage: Norwegian Coastal Voyage is introducing a four-night Northern Lights Festival cruise in January aboard MS Trollfjord from Bergen to Tromso, Norway, where passengers can join the Northern Lights Festival to celebrate the sun’s return after the long polar night.

Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Jewel will sail in Europe for six months, featuring seven itineraries, six of which are offered on a one-time only basis. Sixteen seven-day itineraries will sail roundtrip from Barcelona to Messina, Sicily; Naples, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Florence; and Villefranche (Nice), France.

Oceania Cruises: A new 14-day itinerary aboard Oceania Cruises’ Insignia mixes the best of Norway and the British Isles, sailing roundtrip from Dover, England. A highlight of the June cruise is an overnight in Iceland’s Reykjavik.
Princess Cruises: Crown Princess’ debut in the summer will usher in the line’s first-ever roundtrip Caribbean sailings from New York. This inaugural season, beginning June 14, will feature nine-day roundtrip voyages to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean and will include Princess’ return to Bermuda.
Royal Caribbean International: Voyager of the Seas’ new summer itinerary marks the first time a Voyager-class ship is positioned in Europe. The seven-night itineraries, roundtrip from Barcelona, will call at ports in France, Italy, Malta and Spain.

Silversea Cruises: The ultra-luxurious Silver Shadow departs on May 29 for a 14-day cruise across the Bering Sea from Tokyo to Anchorage. Guests will have ample opportunities for unique adventures from visits to the imperial palaces of Japan to the remote Russian outpost of Petropavlovsk.