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!)
Ship: Norwegian Breakaway
Where: Departing from Norwegian Breakaway’s home city of New York, we’re heading to Bermuda, where we’ll have three full days to explore.
Who: Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Why There? The appeal of this cruise is split right down the middle. I’m intrigued to cruise on Norwegian Breakaway, my first look at the line’s newest model of ship. More than any other cruise line, at least for now, Norwegian’s voyages are more resort-oriented than traditional, and I’m curious to try the Vegas-style experience. And Bermuda – which consists of some 120-plus islands and is a British overseas territory – has beautiful beaches, lively culture, and fun pubs. Another plus: New York is a drive-to port for us, so I’m pleased to cruise without flying.
We Can’t Wait: Onboard, Breakaway is a nightlife ship so I’m planning to jump in wholeheartedly — friends just back from a cruise on Breakaway raved about the White Hot Party and “Burn the Floor,” in particular. We love its range of restaurants – with 29 different options it’s going to be hard to get to all of them, but we’ll try. In Bermuda, we’re excited to be there for Wednesday’s Harbour Nights street festival and a cycling trip along the 18-mile Railway Trail. We’re also very excited to co-host Cruise Critic Live! — our weekly chat — from the ship. Since Norwegian Cruise Line recently announced major new upgrades to its onboard menus, we’ll be chatting with the cruise line’s VP of Product Development Frank Weber. Come by and join us on Thursday, August 28 at 3 p.m. (Eastern).
Where: Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany
Who: Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor
Why There? We’re visiting to see the progress on Royal Caribbean’s two newest ships and checking in on the cabin factory. We’ll have plenty of photos and maybe a little news to report from the trip.
We Can’t Wait: The two ships are full of innovation, and I’m excited to see what they look like up close and personal. Quantum of the Seas will be further along than its fleetmate, Anthem, so I’m looking forward to seeing the spaces the line has been touting for more than a year: Two70, the dining spaces and of course, the pool deck. This will be my first shipyard tour, and I’m thrilled to see how the building works and comparing the progress on Quantum and Anthem, which is still in blocks.
Tour/Ship: A Holland America Cruisetour to Alaska
Where: The cruisetour begins on land in Anchorage, before heading up to Denali and Fairbanks. We then explore Dawson City and Whitehorse, Yukon, before boarding Holland America’s Zuiderdam in Skagway for four days along Alaska’s Inside Passage.
Who: Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor
Why There? Cruisetours continue to be one of the best ways to see a lot of the 49th State in a short amount of time. Besides taking a look at Holland America’s Zuiderdam, I’ll give you the scoop on excursions, lodging and other nuts and bolts of what a typical cruisetour is all about.
We Can’t Wait: I’m no stranger to Alaska’s Inside Passage (read my review of Alaska expedition cruising), but the interior will be completely new to me. I’m interested to see how a cruisetour compares in value to a land vacation, and also how the experience on an Alaska mainstream cruise ship compares to the smaller vessels I’ve been on.