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: Hebridean Princess
Where: Glasgow, Scotland
Who: Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor (on Monday)
Why Onboard? Review update
We Can’t Wait: This is the ship HM The Queen chartered – twice – so I am particularly excited about seeing a ship fit for royalty!
Ship: Costa Diadema
Where: Venice, Italy
Who: Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor (on Thursday)
Why Onboard? Ship is floating out for the first time.
We Can’t Wait: To see the largest Italian flagged cruise ship afloat, and the new flagship for Costa. Plus, it’s a chance for Costa to look forward, after a tough year.
Ship: Carnival Sunshine
Where: Nowhere, the ship is staying pierside in New Orleans
Who: Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor
Why Onboard? The ship is officially being christened, with Lin Arison serving as godmother
We Can’t Wait: Carnival Sunshine, nee Carnival Destiny, has been sailing the Mediterranean since its massive makeover in April. Now, it’s coming to the U.S., and it’s kicking off its Caribbean season with a naming ceremony. Our Cruise Critic members have been talking about the ship for months, and I’m excited to see the features on Sunshine up close. I also love christenings and am looking forward to seeing how this one compares with the one I most recently attended, on Norwegian Breakaway.
Where: A seven-night cruise along the upper Amazon River, starting with an overnight in Lima, Peru
Who: Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Why Onboard? La Estrella Amazonica is a brand new ship for International Expeditions, so the chance to check out this line — which is actually new to Cruise Critic too — is one lure. And after cruising twice on mainstream ships down the lower Amazon (Manaus – Rio de Janeiro in Brazil), the opportunity to have a small ship experience on a section of the mighty river that’s less touristic is absolutely intriguing.
We Can’t Wait: I’m equal parts curious and excited for my first-ever expedition/soft adventure cruise; the cruise line’s pre-trip info definitely hints at this being an unusual voyage. International Expeditions suggests packing super-strong mosquito repellant, warns of limited (very limited) phone and Internet access, and notes that diet sodas are not always available on the riverboat (yikes!). Also anticipated: The chance to hone photography skills with this voyage’s expert and, I’ve got to admit, hanging out on a gorgeous new ship and watching the river, and the world beyond it, pass by.