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CruiseCompete Currents
Cruise News and Information
March 19, 2014

Our Guests Rank Their Favorite Ships and These Cruise Lines Come Out on Top: Crystal Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Disney Cruise Line,Princess Cruises & Royal Caribbean

EUROPA Winegrowers, Chocolatiers, Patissiers & Fromagers;

The Beatles Experience on Queen Mary 2 and All-Inclusive Cruise Lines

What do passengers really think about their cruise experiences? asks travelers to review their cruises right after they return, while impressions are still fresh in their minds. Over the past few years, several thousand consumers have done so and this has provided insight as to their favorite ships and cruise lines. Reviewers ranked the tops ships in four categories: Ultra-luxury, Luxury, Premium and Contemporary. Click here to see the winners for all categories.

We've designed a new search category, to make your cruise searches even easier! Cruise Specials by Price:

Under $300 ~ Under $500 ~ Under $1,000 ~ $1,000 to $2,000 ~ $2,000 to $3,000 ~
$3,000 to $5,000 ~ $5,000 to $10,000 ~ $10,000 to $25,000 ~ Over $25,000

Looking for an all-inclusive cruise line? This chart outlines which line includes what:

Time-sensitive offers directly from the cruise lines, just for you! We have compiled the latest amenities (cabin upgrades and cabin credits, plus more) and other special offers directly from the cruise lines for you to see here:

AmaWaterways: AmaWaterways is offering several fantastic promotions during March –  there are too many to list! Click here for details.

American Queen Steamboat Company: American Queen Steamboat Company is offering a great last minute deal on March 2014 Mississippi River Cruises. For a limited time they are offering 2 for 1 prices on select March 2014 cruises. For sailings and detail, click here.

Compagnie du Ponant: For a limited time Compagnie du Ponant is offering complimentary single supplement on select sailings. The supplement for single usage of a double cabin is waived, based on availability. Click here for info.

MSC Cruises: MSC is offering 2 for 1 cruise fares plus your choice of up to $400 shipboard credit – up to $50 for Interior staterooms, up to $300 for Oceanview staterooms, Complimentary beverage package – 10 Voucher Carnet White package for Interior Stateroom, up to 60 Voucher Carnet Green Package for Ocean view Stateroom, up to 80 voucher Carnet Black Package for Balcony stateroom or higher or prepaid service charges. Offer expires March 31, 2014. Click here for details.

Oceania Cruises: Oceania’s offer is special savings on Mediterranean sailings through April 1, 2014. Click here for details.

Princess Cruises: The magnificent heart of Alaska takes center stage with Princess Cruises’ new “Denali on Sale” cruise deal, offering fares as low as $99 per day for a cruisetour vacation, or an upgrade from a balcony to a mini suite for just $199. The sale offers special rates on Alaskan land and sea vacations to popular attractions such as Denali National Park and Glacier Bay National Park. This promotion ends April 3, 2014. Click here for more information.

Silversea Cruises: For a limited time Silversea is offering discounted single supplements of only 25% above their Silver Privilege Fares on select voyages. Click here for sailings and more information.

Windstar Cruises: Windstar is offering special savings on their 2015 Asia and Arabia Sailings. Savings include 2 for 1 Cruise Fares, Free Exclusive private event on each sailing, 2 free hotel nights. The promotion expires March 28, 2014. Click here for details and sailings.

For the luxury lover in you:

This year the popular annual gourmet festival, “EUROPA’s Best,” celebrates a truly special anniversary. For ten years now, numerous Michelin-starred chefs and other high flyers in the world of fine dining, including winegrowers, chocolatiers, patissiers and fromagers, have gathered together once a year on board the EUROPA to transform the Lido Deck into a gourmet mile. To mark this 10th anniversary in 2014, appropriately EUROPA’s chef de cuisine, Thorsten Gillert, is to welcome on board 10 star-crowned chefs. More…

If you have an interest in this 6-star ultra-luxury line, please email me and I will connect you to a specialist for Europa.

Cunard Line will proudly celebrate its 175th Anniversary in 2015 with a special collection of remarkable anniversary cruises and events that will pay homage to significant moments in the company’s illustrious history. These highly anticipated sailings will give loyal and new Cunarders exciting opportunities to explore the ultimate in cruising adventures with Cunard’s luxurious vessels – flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

The 175th Anniversary Cruises will go on sale to the public on 13 March. Diamond and Platinum World Club members will be able to book beginning on 11 March 2014, two days earlier than the public sale date, in anticipation of a high demand for these historic commemorative sailings. Past passengers may also receive 5% off fares through 31 August 2014. More…

River Cruising

Supermodel icon Twiggy is named godmother of Emerald Waterways new ‘Star-Ships’ – Emerald Sky & Emerald Star. Emerald Waterways, Europe’s first new river cruise company in six years, has named the British style icon and the world’s first supermodel, Twiggy, as godmother to their new ‘Star-Ships,’ Emerald Sky and Emerald Star. The April 9 celebration and official christening will take place in Amsterdam. More…

Consumer Reviews Reveal Most Popular, Pros, Cons and Highlights of Individual Cruise Ships

What do passengers really think about their cruise experiences? asks travelers to review their cruises right after they return, while impressions are still fresh on their minds.

Over the past few years, several thousand consumers have done so and this has provided insight as to their favorite ships and cruise lines.

“Not only is this information helpful to those who write and report on the industry, but the first-hand reviews give real insight to the onboard experience and are extremely helpful to consumers who are trying to select a ship for their precious vacation time,” says Cynthia Boal Janssens, editor of the website, who sees most of the reviews before they are posted.

AllThingsCruise has tabulated the ratings given to ships in its reviews and the results are below:

The Most Popular Ships by the Highest Score 

Rated by AllThingsCruise Consumer Reviews

10 Most Popular Ultra Luxury Ships for 2014

  1. Crystal Cruises – Crystal Serenity
  2. SeaDream Yacht Club – SeaDream I
  3. Paul Gauguin – m/s Paul Gauguin
  4. Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Seven Seas Voyager
  5. Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Seven Seas Mariner
  6. Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Seven Seas Navigator
  7. Seabourn – Seabourn Spirit
  8. Crystal Cruises – Crystal Symphony
  9. Seabourn – Seabourn Sojourn
  10. Silversea Cruises – Silver Shadow

10 Most Popular Luxury Cruise Ships for 2014

  1. Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Quest
  2. Cunard Line – Queen Victoria
  3. Oceania Cruises – Oceania Insignia
  4. Oceania Cruises – Oceania Regatta
  5. Cunard Line – Queen Mary 2
  6. Oceania Cruises – Oceania Nautica
  7. Oceania Cruises – Oceania Riveria
  8. Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey
  9. Cunard Line – Queen Elizabeth
  10. Windstar Cruises – Wind Star

10 Most Popular Premium Cruise Ships for 2014

  1. Disney Cruise Line- Disney Dream
  2. Disney Cruise Line- Disney Fantasy
  3. Princess Cruises – Ocean Princess
  4. Holland America Line – ms Zaandam
  5. Princess Cruises – Star Princess
  6. Princess Cruises – Royal Princess
  7. Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Solstice
  8. Disney Cruise Line – Disney Magic
  9. Holland America Line – ms Eurodam
  10. Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Reflection

10 Most Popular Contemporary Cruise Ships for 2014

  1. Royal Caribbean International – Serenade of the Seas
  2. Royal Caribbean International – Oasis of the Seas
  3. Royal Caribbean International – Navigator of the Seas
  4. Carnival Cruise Lines – Carnival Breeze
  5. Carnival Cruise Lines – Carnival Sensation
  6. Royal Caribbean International – Liberty of the Seas
  7. Carnival Cruise Lines – Carnival Fantasy
  8. MSC Cruises – MSC Divina
  9. Royal Caribbean International – Allure of the Seas
  10. Carnival Cruise Lines – Carnival Magic

Click here to read more and see the winners for all categories.

Fun things happening with the cruise lines:

As celebrations continue marking the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ American debut, Cunard Line will help commemorate the group’s first crossing of the Atlantic with The Beatles Experience, a live musical tribute to the most popular band of all time. The premiere tribute band and Queen Mary 2 will come together during one of the ship’s legendary Transatlantic Crossings, departing from New York on 28 October 2014. More…

Cruise line news:

Summer 2015 will mark Royal Caribbean International’s 26th year in taking vacationers to experience the immense unspoiled wilderness of Alaska. Royal Caribbean will deploy two Radiance-class ships, Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas, to the Last Frontier and offer more oceanview and balcony staterooms for guests to take in the unfolding landscape on an Alaska vacation. For a more immersive Alaska experience, vacationers also can choose a Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Tour to explore deeper inland and encounter the multitude of wildlife that call Alaska home, or delve into the beauty and exceptional towns and cities of the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and the Okanagan Wine Valley. Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas’ 2015 Alaska seasons are now open for bookings. More…

Air-sea travelers will find Port Everglades even more convenient when a second runway at neighboring Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) opens September 2014. The new 8,000-foot runway will help improve flight times and reduce delays at FLL, which is one of the fastest growing airports in the country and a major hub for low-cost domestic carriers. In addition, FLL’s Terminal 4 will expand from 10 to 14 gates, with increased concession choices for passengers. More…

Autism on the Seas™ (AotS), the leading travel organization catering to vacationers with autism and other developmental disabilities, today announced the introduction of the travel industry’s first “Autism Friendly” Certification Standard & Training Program for cruise lines. Royal Caribbean International is the first cruise line to receive certification from Autism on the Seas, thereby assisting with reasonable accommodations for inclusion and participation by guests with autism and developmental disabilities. Effective immediately, Royal Caribbean’s entire fleet is comprised of Bronze Level certified “Autism Friendly” ships. The fleet is expected to achieve Silver Level certification by the end of 2014. More… 

Cruise line charity:

Carnival Foundation, in partnership with Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise company, has awarded a $200,000 grant to Create Common Good, a nonprofit social enterprise that uses innovative food-related job training programs to help at-risk people find, perform and retain work with the goal of attaining self-sufficiency for them and their families.

Carnival Foundation’s grant will support Create Common Good’s efforts to help more people overcome barriers to employment, while supporting the organization’s growth and expansion into new markets. The two organizations also will explore opportunities to introduce custom-crafted Create Common Good food products such as gourmet meals, dressings, sauces and soups into Carnival Corporation’s shipboard menus across the company’s 10 cruise line brands. More…

No cruise is complete without shore excursions:

Here’s a frequently asked question about CruiseCompete shore excursions: Will you refund my money if I miss my tour because the ship is late or cannot make it into port?

Yes. You will receive a full refund for your tour if you cannot make a tour departure due to a ship delay or a missed port call. You will of course also receive a full refund if weather or an equipment problem prevents the tour operator from delivering the tour. Simply let us know within two weeks of date of the tour, and we will issue a full refund.

See more frequently asked CruiseCompete Shore Excursion questions here.

Shore Excursion of the Week:

Whales and Wildlife

Escape the crowds on this personalized whale watching and wildlife viewing tour with a maximum of only 6 people! You will be guided by a lifelong resident of the area with over 30 years of experience on the local waters. Many who visit the area consider this the highlight of their trip to Alaska. 

See majestic humpback whales and other wildlife such as stellar sea lions, porpoise, harbor seal, bald eagles and on occasion a sea otter. While the humpbacks are the focus of this excursion it is not uncommon to find a pod of Orca (“killer” whales) cruising through in search of salmon or marine mammals.

Icy Strait is home to one of the largest summer populations of humpback whales found in Alaska and the whale watching is second to none. Individual humpbacks are easily identified by the unique shapes and patterns of black and white on the underside of their flukes. The majority of the humpback whales of Southeast Alaska migrate annually between the warm waters of Hawaii where they mate and bear their young and the cold, rich waters of Alaska where they spend the summer feeding. Humpbacks display many interesting behaviors in the waters of Southeast Alaska.

Bubble feeding is a unique technique employed by some of the whales in Icy Strait and can sometimes be observed in the area close to the harbor. Many times the whales work together in pods of three to a dozen whales and can be very vocal while feeding. You may enjoy hearing what the whales are “saying”, with the on-board hydrophone. Along with feeding, the whales engage in all sorts of frolic; breaching, slapping their flippers, waving their tails and exchanging trumpets, groans and grumbles. More…

Dreaming of a few hours with your family on a private island, swimming with the dolphins, or participating in a yacht race? Consider the shore excursion options on your next cruise by finding your cruise here, and seeing shore excursion ideas:

Or view shore excursions by port here:

Latest diaries of the AllThingsCruise writers

Heidi Allison-Shane sailed across the Atlantic on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. “Cunard never disappoints; their ships are unfailingly beautiful, luxurious and complete with amenities, yet they capture glamour of days gone by. I have been lucky enough to sail on this line several times!” Read her diary here.

Marcia Levin was aboard the Norwegian Getaway for its Miami christening and inaugural. Read her impressions here.

Jackie Finch sails on the Carnival Magic from Galveston, escaping the frigid weather in the Midwest. Read her reports here.

David G. Molyneaux travels in Cambodia and Vietnam aboard the 16-passenger Avalon Angkor riverboat. Follow his adventures here.

Barbara Orr is experiencing the Christmas Markets in Europe aboard the ultra-luxurious Scenic Crystal river ship. Read her reports here.

Gerry Barker and wife, Pam, are sailing on the new Royal Princess. Here are their reports

Kimberly Button brings us an up-close look at the much-anticipated Royal Princess. See her reports here.

Cindy Boal Janssens sails to Alaska with grandchildren on HAL's Oosterdam. Read their adventures here.

Cruise lines going all-inclusive? What is included on your cruise? We have put together this guide to help you know in advance what the lines are offering from airfare to pre- and post-hotel stays, to transfers, wine and liquor, shore excursions and gratuities. Some have it all, others don’t.

Helpful Travel Links:

An airline booking tool, cars, hotels and vacation packages that you might find of interest. Visit this new section here:

Private Jets, All-Inclusive Resorts, Tahiti and the South Pacific … If this is what you want for your vacation, try the new VacationCompete:

Also check out the “Deals” section on AllThingsCruise … There are some fantastic opportunities in cruising here:

Great quote about travel:

“The real home of man is not his house but the road. Life itself is a travel that has to be done by foot.”  - Bruce Chatwin

If you’d love a book of some of the very best travel quotes, take a look at:

No Foreign Lands – 100 of the Most Inspirational Travel Quotes of All Time

Click here to purchase this book:

A valuable unique feature of AllThingsCruise is a complimentary e-card with vital cruise line and cruise ship contact information travelers can send to family members and others prior to departure.

AllThingsCruise – Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter!

Looking for past Currents Newsletters? Just click here for more…

We are interested and truly welcome and encourage feedback about our Currents newsletter. Please email any comments or suggestions to Heidi Allison, Executive VP & Group Publisher, at

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