We might be less than halfway through 2014, but cruise lines already are thinking about next year. Most lines have released either full or partial itineraries for 2015, and early planners are booking quickly to ensure space on their dream trips. Here's what's new for 2015.
Windstar Cruise Line
In 2015, Azamara continues to send its two ships to new places, including Australia, a first for the line.
Azamara Journey will spend the first part of 2015 in South America, with cruises embarking in Brazil and Buenos Aires before heading to Miami for some Costa Rica trips. The ship will then be based in Europe from April to November, sailing various itineraries in the Mediterranean, Greek Isles and Black Sea. December finds the ship back in Miami for cruises in the West Indies and Costa Rica.
Azamara Quest begins 2015 in Southeast Asia, with trips embarking in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali and Osaka, before heading to Turkey's Turquoise Coast in April. In July, the ship sails the British Isles and the Baltic Sea before heading to the western Mediterranean for the fall. Come November, the ship is back in Asia before ending the year at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Carnival is developing its 2015 itineraries, but the line has released a few sneak peeks for fans who want to plan early.
More choices are being given to cruisers out of Texas, with voyages planned between San Juan and Galveston on Triumph in 2015. Stops on the route include Bonaire -- a first for the line -- as well as Antigua, Grenada and Martinique. Freedom will also head to Galveston, starting in February.
Travelers who live in Baltimore and Norfolk are thrilled the line is returning with regular sailings from those ports. After undergoing refurbishment, Carnival Pride will resume yearlong departures from Baltimore, visiting the Eastern Caribbean, as well as Florida and the Bahamas.
Starting in May, Splendor will embark from Norfolk and sail to the Bahamas and Bermuda. That vessel also will sail from New York later in 2015, visiting the Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada and Florida before finishing the year in Miami.
On the West Coast, Carnival Miracle will be adding year-round cruises to the Mexican Riviera from Long Beach, Calif. that include a return to Mazatlan. Carnival Legend will go to Alaska out of Seattle, starting in May 2015. Both ships will also make cruises to Hawaii in 2015-16.
Celebrity continues its trend of expanding into exotic locations; new ports for 2015 include Haines, Alaska; Fredericia, Denmark; Beppu and Kanazawa, Japan; Vladivostok, Russia and Dublin Bay, Ireland. The line is also increasing the number of cities where it will stay overnight so passengers can experience more nightlife and local flavor.
Celebrity Summit will continue to be the line's main vessel on the East Coast, offering trips to Bermuda during the summer and Canada/New England in fall 2015. On the West Coat, three ships will be based in Alaska, including Millennium, Infinity and Solstice.
Five Celebrity ships will be in Europe during summer 2015. Constellation will sail Eastern Mediterranean out of Venice, while Equinox and Reflection will also ply the region with embarkations in Athens, Istanbul, Rome and Barcelona. In northern Europe, Eclipse will cruise to the Canary Islands from Southampton and travel to the Baltic, joined by Silhouette.
Within the Caribbean, Eclipse will sail from Miami to the Southern Caribbean starting in late 2015. Reflection will also depart from Miami, visiting the Western or Eastern Caribbean. From Fort Lauderdale, cruisers can board Silhouette to the Western and Eastern Caribbean or Equinox to Panama and Central America. They can also take Constellation on short four- and five-night voyages or longer trips to more exotic islands like St. Barts. Finally, Summit visits the Southern Caribbean from San Juan. Also in the region, Infinity is adding Roatan and Costa Maya to its list of ports.
Infinity will spend most of late 2015 and early 2016 in South America, including a voyage that features an overnight in Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval and a trip to Antarctica. That ship will also sail the bulk of the line's Panama Canal itineraries.
For truly exotic voyages, Millennium will be deployed in Asia for much of 2015. Itineraries include roundtrip Japan sailings and visiting Indonesia and Hong Kong from Singapore. Solstice will tackle trips in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, departing from Auckland, Sydney and Perth.
Costa continues to offer slightly exotic sailings that appeal to those who want to give a European line a try. Two ships -- Costa neoRiviera and Costa Serena -- will sail in the Arabian Gulf, visiting ports in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Meanwhile, Classica will sail out of Port Louis in Mauritius on 14-night cruises that include stops in Madagascar and the Seychelles. Within South America, Favolosa will spend the first quarter of 2015 on six- and eight-night cruises departing from Santos, Brazil, while Pacifica will offer numerous sailings from Buenos Aires.
Costa Serena will head to Shanghai, joining Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica in the region.
Back in its home waters of Europe, Diadema will sail seven-night cruises between Barcelona and Savona. Fascinosa will also sail from Savona on itineraries that hit Tunisia, Morocco, Spain and Portugal, as well as Marseille. Costa neoRomantica will make 12-night trips from Savona and Marseille.
In the Caribbean, Fortuna and Magica will be based out of Guadeloupe for seven- and 14-night itineraries that sail throughout the region. Luminosa will spend the first part of the year in Miami, making 10-night trips to the Western and Eastern Caribbean before heading back to Savona.
Next year marks a significant one for Cunard, as the line celebrates its 175th anniversary. Its three ships will visit 96 destinations in 35 countries, with seven maiden ports of call, including Oban in the Orkney Islands and the Cote d'Azur resort of St. Raphael.
Queen Mary 2 will continue to sail roundtrip from New York, with voyages to the Caribbean and New England/Canada planned, as well as transatlantic crossings. Queen Elizabeth will stay in Europe for much of its season, offering overnight stays in Monte Carlo, Amsterdam, Madeira, St. Petersburg, Athens, Barcelona, Istanbul, Liverpool and Venice.
Queen Victoria will stick to the Mediterranean for seven-, 14- and 21-night trips from June to October, adding two embarkation ports: Istanbul and Trieste. Overnight stays include Venice, Istanbul, Athens, Barcelona and Monte Carlo.
Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are adding a significant number of new ports in 2015, with 22 maiden calls -- the most debuted in a single year. Inaugural ports include
Albany, Australia; Ambodifotatra and Taolanaro, Madagascar; Burgas, Bulgaria; Chania/Souda, Greece; Macapa, Brazil; Richards Bay, South Africa; Rijeka, Croatia; Sanary-sur-Mer, France; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Aomori, Japan; Archangel, Korsakov and Solovetsky Islands, Russian Federation; Belawan, Indonesia; Bodo, Narvi and Oye/Hjorundfjord, Norway; Helgoland, Germany; Kochi, Japan; Sanya, China; and Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago.
The two ships will also have three-night stays in Shanghai, Bordeaux's port of Bassens, Hong Kong, Monte Carlo, St. Petersburg and Yangon (Rangoon). A dozen voyages are scheduled roundtrip from New York, London's port of Dover, Monte Carlo, Singapore, Los Angeles, Montreal and, for the first time, Copenhagen (for a new Baltic route) and Istanbul (for a new Black Sea cruise). One-third of the cruises are 10 days or fewer.
Other new cruises include a White Sea cruise from Reykjavik, a Holy Land cruise, new European cruises from Amsterdam and Marseille, a transatlantic that stops overnight in Bermuda and a Christmas cruise from San Juan to Rio. Mexico is also back on Crystal's schedule.
Disney Magic to the Norwegian fjords, Faroe Islands and Iceland for summer 2015, the first time the line has done this itinerary. Magic will also make several Baltic trips before heading to the Western Mediterranean in August.
Wonder will spend summer 2015 back in Alaska, sailing seven-night cruises from Vancouver. Wonder is also heading to Hawaii from San Diego and Galveston, marking the line's first time back to the islands since 2012.
Dream and Fantasy will continue to sail to the Caribbean and Bahamas on a variety of itineraries leaving from Port Canaveral and Miami. All cruises include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.
HAL hasn't yet released its 2015 itineraries. Ryndam and Statendam will be leaving the fleet and heading Down Under in late 2015 to join P & O Cruises Australia.
MSC has released itineraries for the first quarter of 2015, with voyages to several continents. In South America, Preziosa, Poesia and Lirica will be based in Brazil, while Magnifica will be sailing from Buenos Aires.
In Europe, Fantasia will take longer trips to the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the Canary Islands, while Splendida will focus on seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean. Armonia will be based in the Canary Islands. Orchestra will make regular seven-night cruises in the Arabian Gulf, while Opera will be based in South Africa, making trips to Namibia, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Within the Caribbean, Musica will make seven-night voyages departing from Guadeloupe, Martinique and La Romana. Divina will continue to woo North Americans with Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises out of Miami for part of 2015 but then will move the ship to Rome between May and October 2015. It will return to the Caribbean in November 2015.
For 2015-2016, Norwegian is returning to South America, sending a larger Jewel-class ship to the Mexican Riviera and adding Port Canaveral as a seasonal homeport.
Norwegian Escape joins the fleet in November 2015. It will offer seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailings from Miami, visiting Tortola, St. Thomas and Nassau. Getaway, also based in Miami, will sail the Western Caribbean, including Great Stirrup Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
From New York, Breakaway will sail to the Bahamas and Florida, as well as the Southern Caribbean, stopping in San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Kitts. Gem will travel from NYC to the Eastern Caribbean.
Norwegian is adding a new destination in Belize with Harvest Caye. Ships that will sail there include Star out of Tampa, Dawn out of New Orleans and Jade from Houston.
The Mexican Riviera will continue its comeback, with both Jewel and Sun visiting, starting in October 2015.
Coming to Port Canaveral, Spirit will alternate between Western and Eastern Caribbean. Sun moves down to South America for the first time since 2010, adding voyages between Santiago and Buenos Aires.
In happy news for European cruisers, Epic will be based in Barcelona from late November 2015 through April 2016, sailing to the Canary Islands, Morocco and the Western Mediterranean. It will also do a handful of sailings out of Southampton.
Oceania's ships in 2015 seem to travel the globe, never staying in one place too long.
Marina starts out the year with roundtrip cruises from Papeete, with some stops in Australia and New Zealand. In March, the ship heads to Lima before traveling through the Panama Canal en route to New York. It will also visit Canada before heading to London. Most of the vessel's summer stops will be in the British Isles, as well as the Baltic Sea. Fall finds the vessel in the Mediterranean before sailing to Cape Town. It finishes the year in Rio de Janeiro.
Riveria is one of the line's main ships in the Caribbean, with 10-day voyages in early 2015 out of Miami. In March, the ship heads to Barcelona for European voyages that extend in the Western Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. In November, the ship returns to Miami for Caribbean sailings.
Regatta stays primarily in the Americas, beginning the year in Miami with sailings into South America in the Amazon and Buenos Aires. Caribbean cruises are notable for stops in Havana. In April, the ship goes through the Panama Canal for a full summer season in Alaska. Fall finds the ship on the East Coast, with sailings into Canada before returning to Miami at the end of October.
Nautica and Insignia make world tours in 2015. The former essentially traverses the eastern hemisphere starting in Cape Town in January before going to Asia, back to Europe, up to the British Isles, over to the Baltic Sea, down to Rome and stopping in Dubai before returning to South Africa at the end of October. Insignia follows a similar path, with Miami as its beginning and end point.
Princess continues its expansive program in Alaska, with seven ships based there in summer 2015. Ruby Princess is the latest addition, sailing along with Crown Princess from Seattle. The line's popular "Voyage of the Glacier" itinerary, which runs from Vancouver to Anchorage, will be offered by four ships, including Pacific Princess, Star Princess and Coral Princess. Golden Princess will head to Alaska from San Francisco. Numerous cruisetour offerings are also available.
Princess will also continue to grow in Europe, with its newest ships -- Regal Princess and Royal Princess -- deployed in Copenhagen and Southampton, respectively, for Baltic and British Isles cruises. Caribbean Princess will also be based out of Southampton for Northern Europe and Mediterranean itineraries, while smaller Ocean Princess will sail routes that include Iceland, Norway and the Baltic Sea. In the Mediterranean, Island Princess sails in Europe for the first time on the Venice-to-Barcelona route, and Emerald Princess will traverse the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Aegean and Black seas.
Regent Seven Seas
Mariner starts 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand, where it cruises to Sydney before ending up in Tahiti for a handful of south Pacific roundtrips. The ship then traverses the Pacific to Lima, where it heads around the horn to Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro before making the transatlantic trek to Barcelona in late March. Mariner remains in the Western Mediterranean through August before it picks up Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean cruises in September. After a few final Western Mediterranean trips, the ship goes to Cape Town for roundtrip voyages leaving from South Africa. It finishes the year en route to Rio de Janeiro.
Voyager begins 2015 in Asia, with stops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. It then repositions to Southampton and the Baltic Sea, making stops in Dubai and Barcelona. The ship sails northern Europe itineraries before transitioning to the Mediterranean for the fall. Finally, in October, the ship begins its return to Asia, stopping in Dubai and Cape Town en route to Singapore.
Navigator anchors the line's North America presence, with numerous Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises from Miami in the winter 2015 season. In April, the ship repositions through the Panama Canal to Alaska for summer 2015, and back again to New York for Canada/New England fall foliage cruises. The ship returns to Miami at the end of October, continuing roundtrip Caribbean itineraries from Miami that occasionally dip into the Brazilian Amazon.
Royal Caribbean made news this year when it announced its newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, would homeport in Shanghai, starting in May 2015. There, it will join fleetmates Mariner of the Seas, which sails from Singapore, and Voyager of the Seas, which attracts the Australian market.
Also in Australia in 2015 are Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, which will be replaced in the 2015-16 summer season by larger Explorer of the Seas. The latter ship will be refurbished in April 2015 with the line's signature FlowRider, new restaurants and other bells and whistles. In addition, Legend of the Seas will move to Brisbane for a five-month season spanning 2015 and 2016.
In the summer, Radiance of the Seas will move to Alaska, where it will be joined by Jewel of the Seas. Before it reaches the Northwest, Jewel of the Seas will make a Panama Canal voyage from San Juan. Legend of the Seas will continue to make regular Canal transits for the line.
Royal Caribbean has committed to South America for 2015, basing Splendour of the Seas in Santos from January through April. That ship will also visit Dubai in December, following Rhapsody of the Seas' return to the Arabian Gulf in the spring.
As always, Royal will sail year-round to the Bahamas and the Caribbean from various homeports: Miami (Majesty of the Seas), Fort Lauderdale (Allure of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Independence of the Seas), Galveston (Navigator of the Seas), Port Canaveral (Enchantment of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas), New Orleans (Serenade of the Seas), Tampa (Vision of the Seas) and San Juan (Adventure of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas). New ship Anthem of the Seas will sail from New Jersey for the winter 2015-16 season.
East Coast residents are particularly excited to get regular Bahamas and Bermuda sailings from Baltimore on Grandeur of the Seas. Liberty of the Seas will replace Quantum of the Seas from Cape Liberty; the ship will make trips to Bermuda and sail the Canada/New England route.
Before it heads to New Jersey, Anthem of the Seas will spend summer 2015 in Europe, homeporting in Southampton, where Explorer of the Seas will also spend time. Brilliance of the Seas will also see some time in England, based in Harwich. Vision of the Seas will do Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, starting in April. Splendour of the Seas will handle a variety of itineraries from Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Venice. Rhapsody of the Seas will conduct several cruises from Istanbul and Rome, while Allure of the Seas -- still the world's largest cruise ship -- will make regular trips from Barcelona to Rome.
Seabourn starts out 2015 with a solid presence in the Caribbean. Seabourn Spirit will make seven- and 14-night roundtrips from St. Maarten and Barbados, while Seabourn Legend sails the southern Caribbean route.
Seabourn Sojourn starts 2015 by journeying from Cape Town to Singapore, where it will make several cruises throughout Asia, including stops in Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. From Singapore, it will depart to the Mediterranean, where it will primarily cruise the western route.
Seabourn Odyssey will also spend significant time in Singapore in 2015, making roundtrip voyages to Indonesia. The vessel then heads to the Eastern Mediterranean, where it sails through the region and Black Sea until October, when it goes to Fort Lauderdale.
Seabourn Quest will make Antarctica trips in January before heading north from Buenos Aires to the Amazon. After a stop in Fort Lauderdale, the ship heads to Barcelona and Rome, with the Baltic Sea as its eventual destination. Throughout summer 2015, the ship will sail Baltic and Norwegian itineraries before going to Quebec in late August, stopping at Greenland on the way.
The luxury line continues to develop maiden calls for its loyal customers, both on its five oceangoing ships and its three expedition ships, with 21 new ports added for the classic fleet and 50 new destinations for the smaller ships.
Inaugural calls for the ocean fleet include Huelva, San Antonio (Ibiza) and Alcudia (Mallorca), Spain; Rethymnon (Crete) and Igoumenitsa, Greece; Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy; and Amasra, Turkey in Europe. In Asia and the Pacific, new ports include Haikou, China; Hambantota, Sri Lanka; Bintulu, Malaysia; Savusavu, Fiji; Lifou Island, New Caledonia; and the Philippines' Bohol Island, Boracay Island, Busuanga Island and Hundred Islands. Africa and the Indian Ocean offer inaugural visits to Luanda, Angola and Mahajanga, Madagascar. In North America, first-time calls include Norfolk, Virginia; Morehead City, North Carolina; and Falmouth, Jamaica.
Silver Discoverer will be visiting Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, the Russian Far East, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia on its 2015 voyages, including the Kimberley Coast. After a year's absence, Silver Explorer is heading back to the west coast of Africa, as well as Antarctica, South and Central America, the British Isles, Northern Canada, Greenland and Arctic Norway. Silver Galapagos will again operate year-round voyages out of the Galapagos Islands.
In 2015, Windstar is adding seven new itineraries, including a first-time visit to Reykjavik, Iceland. One of the line's newest yachts, Star Legend, will sail six-night cruises through Northern Europe, departing England and visiting the Kiel Canal between the North and Baltic Sea, and also head up to Norway and the Arctic.
Wind Surf and Star Legend will make 10-day Baltic sailings that have overnights in St. Petersburg. Wind Surf will also sail Norwegian fjords and visit many of Scandinavia's capitals before heading south to Lisbon, Portugal; it also will make a special stop in Amsterdam to take part in the world's largest sailing parade (Sail Amsterdam).
Summer finds Star Legend and Star Breeze -- also one of Windstar's newer yachts -- in Spain and Portugal on eight-night trips along the Spanish coast. Those ships, along with Wind Star, will also sail throughout the Med, with itineraries stopping at the French Riviera, Italy, Croatia, the Canary Islands, Greece and Turkey.
Wind Spirit will return May 1, 2015, to spend a second season in Tahiti. Sailing from Papeete, the cruise stops at Moorea, Tahaa, Raiatea, Huahine and Bora Bora. Star Pride will be based in Asia for the first half of 2015, moving to the eastern Med for the rest of the year.
--by Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor