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 or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
Who: Dori Saltzman, News Editor
Why There? MS Inspire is Tauck’s first river boat in the Inspiration class, which is notable for having only 130 passengers on a longship set-up. Considered part of the luxury end of river cruising, Tauck’s Inspire also has 22 300-square-foot suites, with upscale features such as 400-thread-count sheets and Molton Brown bath products. For 2014, Inspire will sail a variety of Rhine and Moselle river itineraries.
We Can’t Wait: This will be the first sailing of Tauck’s newest boat, which features a handful of unique lower deck “loft” cabins with larger windows — that actually open! (besides fresh air, these windows will allow lower deck passengers much more natural light than you’d normally get in this cabin class).
Ports: The U.S. Virgin Islands, all three of them (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas).
Who: Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor
Why There? The Virgin Islands receive an astounding number of cruise passengers per year. In 2013, 626 ships stopped in the islands, with nearly 2 million visitors coming from the vessels. We will be updating all of our port profiles and writing features to help our members get the most out of their stops here.
We Can’t Wait: St. Thomas is more than just a duty-free shopping Mecca; the hub of the Virgin Islands has beautiful beaches and natural attractions for those who hate the idea of spending time in a store. I’ve also never been to St. Croix, and am interested in exploring the Danish history of its towns, the snorkeling in its clear waters and the foodie culture that has emerged.