Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
(Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding? Ask us in the comments!)
Ship: Cunard Queen Mary 2
Where: Quebec City to NYC
Who: Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor
Why Onboard? Best-selling author Bill Bryson is joining the ship as a guest speaker (I’m in the middle of reading his latest, One Summer: America 1927).
We Can’t Wait: While I’m an experienced cruiser, most of my recent voyages have taken place on small sailboats, expedition vessels and European rivers — so a 2,500-passenger liner will be quite a change. As an avowed Anglophile — I never miss an episode of Downton Abbey — I’m interested in not only experiencing the ship’s oh-so-British touches, but donning my newly bought long gown for the line’s much-ballyhooed formal night.
Ship: Amadeus Silver
Where: Rhine River, Cologne to Amsterdam
Who: Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor
Why Onboard? We’ll be reviewing the ship, which launched earlier this year and is the largest (180 passengers) for the Austria-based line.
We Can’t Wait: The first part of back-to-back voyages with Amadeus, this trip marks the inaugural river cruise for this long-time ocean traveler. I’m excited to investigate whether this particular line — with its a la carte pricing — is a good choice for more traditional cruisers who might be curious about river cruising.
Ship: Costa Luminosa
Where: Western Mediterranean, from Barcelona (Marseilles, Palma de Mallorca, Genoa and Corsica’s Ajaccio)
Who: Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor-in-Chief
Why Onboard? The Italian-based line heads to the U.S. this winter, and will be offering Caribbean-based cruises out of Miami.
We Can’t Wait: Costa is a cruise line that always will own a little piece of my heart, since I met my husband aboard Costa Mediterranea, a decade ago. What intrigues about this trip is the ship itself, a hybrid in Costa’s fleet. Along with sister ship Deliziosa, its design reflects Costa’s most-popular traditions (unusual artwork, fabulous spa, solid childrens’ programs) and also offers some of the more upscale touches found on the ships of Holland America, a sister company (such as a beautiful and elegant pool deck).
Ship: Disney Magic
Where: Nowhere, out of Miami
Who: Gina Kramer, Associate Editor
Why We’re Onboard: This will be the first cruise for Magic since it was refurbished.
We Can’t Wait: I remember my first trip to Walt Disney World 18 years ago, when my younger siblings were finally of age and no longer able to hold me back from every kid’s dream. In college, I returned to the resorts through a volunteer program and fell in love all over again. Now, as a 20-something adult, I’ll be embarking on my first Disney cruise — and I’m eager to see the upgrades made to newly refurbished Magic. I also have never taken a two-night cruise, so I’m excited to focus all my time on exploring the ship. AquaDuck water slide, here I come!