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!)
Where: Paris and the Seine River, with stops in Versailles and Les Andelys.
Who: Jamey Bergman, UK River Section & Production Editor
Why There? It’s River Venture’s inaugural sailing on the Seine River.
We Can’t Wait: I’m excited to get onboard a Vantage ship for the first time and see what the line has to offer. The itinerary, although short, is pretty appealing … Paris and Versailles in the springtime, you can’t really go wrong.
Ship: The “great ship” of Miami Beach’s Convention Center
Where: At the 30th annual Cruise Shipping Miami, a weeklong cruise industry conference.
Who: Carolyn Spencer Brown, Colleen McDaniel, and Dori Saltzman
Why There? Cruise Shipping Miami is a massive annual gathering that consists of two parts. On the one hand, cruise line executives speak on panels about topics as diverse as as “new directions in onboard entertainment” to “technical innovations at sea.” On the other, any company wanting to sell its wares to cruise lines – from manufacturers of balcony furniture to makers of hand sanitizer – host booths on the trade show floor. It’s a great way to learn about how a ship gets made.
Even more fun: Itinerary planners for the cruise lines flock to the show to learn about what’s new, destination-wise. The booths sponsored by ports of call are the most fun of all (particularly Italy, which offers espresso, Jamaica, which pours rum, and Finland which features vodka tastes).
Personally, we love the booths hosted by shipbuilders like Fincantieri, STX and Meyer Werft, which feature fascinating large-scale models of new cruise ships. One year we caught Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited Chairman Richard Fain taking time to check out the then-new Norwegian Epic.
We Can’t Wait: Cruise Critic’s trio, joined by Community Manager Laura Sterling, will hit the ground running Monday, attending meetings, dinners and events; the big news day occurs Tuesday, when the conference officially opens (stay tuned for news announcements throughout Thursday). And we’ll capture the color of what goes on behind-the-scenes as cruise lines build new ships and create fresh itineraries.