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!)
Where: Eastern Mediterranean
Who: Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor
Why There? We’ll be onboard for the inaugural sailing of this brand-new Princess ship.
We Can’t Wait: We love newbuilds, both for their ingenuity and how they define a brand. Sister ship Royal Princess debuted in 2013 with innovations like the SeaWalk, a walkway that hangs off one side of the ship 16 decks up and offers vertigo-inducing views through strengthened glass, and Princess Live!, the first TV studio in cruising. What loyal Princess passengers missed were brand hallmarks like the aft pool and promenade deck. Princess heard the complaints and tweaked the design of Regal Princess, so both features appear this time around. We’ll chat live with you from onboard at 3 p.m. EDT May 30. In the meantime, bookmark this chat and leave your questions. We’ll do our best to answer them live Thursday.
Who: Ashley Kosciolek, Ports and Copy Editor
Why There? While there, I’ll be updating Cruise Critic’s Martinique coverage, writing a feature about some of the best excursion options there and blogging about the nuances of traveling in the French West Indies.
We Can’t Wait: In addition to snorkeling, kayaking and exploring a bat cave, I’ll be taste-testing local cuisine and trying my hand at the French language — all new experiences for me.
Where: Tokyo roundtrip to South Korea and Taiwan
Who: Dori Saltzman, News Editor
Why There? This will be Cruise Critic’s first opportunity to check out Diamond Princess since it underwent a total ship refurbishment to better appeal to the Japanese market.
We Can’t Wait: Diamond Princess is Princess’ first attempt to market a ship specifically to the Japanese market with amenities and services designed for that demographic. Among the new features added during dry dock are the Izumi Japanese bath — an 8,800-square-foot bath and garden complex with indoor and outdoor bathing areas — and the line’s largest sushi restaurant. I’m looking forward to experiencing a ship marketed at a different demographic than myself. Plus, I can’t wait to check out the funky new cabin toilets.