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CruiseCompete Currents
Cruise News and Information
April 3, 2014

The Emerald Isle on Crystal Cruises, Waterford, Dublin, Gothic Castles, Irish Whiskey, the Blarney Stone; 

Luxury Hotel Barges of Europe Visit Castles, Canals & Lochs; Crystal Cruises Impressive Rankings;

An Unbelievable Offer from MSC - 7-Night Cruise from $199

Do you believe in the luck of the Irish? If you’re a guest on Crystal Cruises new Ireland cruises, you are certainly one of the fortunate, as these cruises offer an amazing exploration of the Emerald Isle!
Crystal's new luxury cruises voyage to and from Dublin, plus include eight calls to the Emerald Isle in 2014. Crystal Symphony will visit Gaelic grounds during two seven-day British Isles voyages, the first departing from London on August 17, and the second ending there after an August 24 sailing. Crystal Serenity also visits Ireland during a 14-day Trans-Atlantic voyage that departs September 5 and ends in America’s most Irish city, Boston. 

A total of six ports, including two maiden calls, are planned for Ireland, the land of leprechauns and emerald green landscaping:

The Ports in Ireland Include:

  • Waterford – With Georgian architecture as beautiful as the town’s famous crystal, Ireland’s oldest and windiest city is surrounded by craggy beaches, fishing villages and walking trails throughout the county. 
  • Dublin – Ireland’s literary and political capital, this relaxed metropolis combines the classic pubs and stone townhouses of yesteryear with modern architecture and acceptance.
  • Galway (maiden call) – Considered the “most Irish” of all cities, here, one is surrounded by Gaelic language, traditions and glee while strolling medieval streets, scenic shorelines and historic squares.
  • Cork/Ringaskiddy – Gothic castles, the home of Irish whiskey and the Blarney Stone can all be found in County Cork.
The Ports in Northern Ireland Include:
  • Londonderry (maiden call) – “Derry,” as locals still call it, is the only remaining walled city in the UK with its historic walls still intact.
  • Belfast – Gentrified quaysides, hip hotels and huge urban renewal have transformed this former battleground city into an enticing place of Irish pride for visitors.
Crystal Adventures will take guests by coach, foot, helicopter, horseback and boat over, past and into such sites as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway, Jameson’s Distillery and Lough Erne Resort, home of 2013’s G8 Summit, where guests can stay overnight during a new Belfast-to-Londonderry Overland Adventure.

Want to find out more about these Crystal Cruises voyages or book one? Please visit CruiseCompete. Or email and she will have an expert contact you.

There are some fascinating shore excursions, too many to list here, in Ireland. Just visit the shore excursions by port page here:

All about Crystal Cruises
Crystal Cruises consistently ranks among the top luxury cruise lines in the world, having won an unprecedented number of major awards. They have been voted World's Best by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, more than any other cruise line, hotel or resort. More…

Read Crystal Cruises Reviews:

Voyages offered:

Amenities offered:

Dining options:

Crystal Cruises’ Alcohol beverage policies:

About Crystal Cruises’ Weddings at Sea or Vow Renewals at Sea:
New itineraries to and from Quebec highlight Crystal Serenity’s first ever new England/Canada season

Canada New England News from Crystal
Crystal Cruises’ fall Canada/New England season is one of big firsts: the first time itineraries will begin and end in French Canada’s picturesque Québec City and the first time the award-winning Crystal Serenity will be sailing the season.  Also a first, the ultra-luxe line will offer complimentary transfers to/from Québec and Montréal on embarkation and debarkation days to further expand guests’ flight and sightseeing options.  More…………

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:

Here is an unbelieveable deal from MSC:

Find out more about this deal here:

And here are some more current offers:

AmaWaterways: Book a 2015 AmaWaterways river cruise now and take advantage of an early booking discount! Save $1,500 on select Food & Wine cruises on a variety of itineraries, or receive 5% off any other river cruise around the world. This offer expires July 31, 2014. Click here for more information.

American Queen Steamboat Company: For a limited time American Queen Steamboat Company is offering up to $2000 savings per stateroom on select 2014 summer sailings when you pay in full at time of booking. For details and sailing dates click here.

Lindblad Expeditions: Lindblad Expeditions has great offers on several sailings. These offers expire July 31, 2014, so book soon. Click here for sailing and deals.

Star Clippers: For a limited time Star Clippers is offering special fares on their new Summer 2014 Balearic Islands Sailings. Save 20%, FREE 2-night hotel and $195 Roundtrip Air to Palma de Mallorca. For details and sailings click here.

Windstar Cruises: For a limited time Windstar is offering 2 for 1 cruise fares, 2 free hotel nights and a free exclusive private event on select 2015 Asia and Arabia sailings. This offer expires April 25, 2014, so book now. For details and sailings click here

For the luxury lover in you

SeaDream Yacht Club announces new wine education voyages. SeaDream Yacht Club announces four niche Wine Voyages, including a special Wine Education Voyage, taking place from September 20 through November 8, 2014. These experiences add to the two mega-yachts’ innovative culinary and beverage program, which features the first and only full raw cuisine menu onboard as well as showcasing local delicacies from ports of call. SeaDream most recently introduced a new Scandinavian menu for summer 2014 Northern Europe voyages that features reindeer, moose and fish caught from local fisherman dailyMore…

Fresh from a major refurbishment, the 5,218-ton Silver Discoverer has been updated with elegant carpets, upholstery and photography. Up to 120 guests are accommodated in 62 all ocean-view suites, each featuring an in-suite bar set-up, refrigerator, and a totally renovated bathroom, enhanced with rich marble detailing. Besides a new walk-in rainforest shower, each bathroom features a new vanity, shelving, mirrors, lighting fixtures, and wood flooring. Plus, all suites have been redecorated and outfitted with reupholstered furniture, new flat screen TVs, and new mattresses topped with luxurious Pratesi bed linens. Select suites benefit from a small private balcony. More…

River Cruising

Emerald Waterways, Europe’s first new river cruise line in six years, has taken delivery of the first of four revolutionary new “Star Ships” it ordered for 2014 and 2015. The Emerald Sky, the line’s first new “Star Ship,” was delivered to the company’s owners on March 21 in Lobith, Northern Holland, and will be christened by British style icon Twiggy on April 9 in Amsterdam. The Emerald Star will be delivered by the end of April, and the Emerald Sun and the Emerald Dawn are currently under construction for delivery in early 2015. More…

In celebration of the American Empress inaugural season and her itineraries through the heart of Oregon and Washington wine country, the American Queen Steamboat Company announces an innovative wine program featuring over 40 vineyards from across the region. Special tastings, visits to wineries and onboard winemaker lectures are among the program highlights. To kick off the christening voyage and VIP celebration on April 5, Willamette Valley Vineyards has been selected as the first featured vineyard. More…

Helpful Links

We've designed a new search category, to make your cruise searches even easier! Cruise Specials by Price:
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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. Click here to read more and see the winners for all categories.

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

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:

Luxury Barging, Anyone?

The Allure of the Luxury Barge – Originally designed to carry wine, grain and other products from farms to market, hotel barges now carry affluent passengers on the rivers and canals of France, Belgium, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands, the U.K. and Southeast Asia. They vary in size, configuration and the quality of their accommodation, hosting anywhere from four to 100 guests.
Typically, the barges sail on narrow canals, often passing through several sets of locks. They usually stop during meals and tie up overnight. The pace is slow … so slow you can opt to walk or bicycle to a future stop and be picked up again. More…

Whether it’s catching a tennis match at the French Open, betting on the favorite in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe horse race, or cheering on a driver at Le Mans, Europe’s large selection of annual sporting events promises to satisfy fans of every kind. For some travelers, watching one of these world famous competitions represents only one segment of their European journey, and complementing their trips with a European Waterways luxury hotel barge cruise may be the perfect way to either commence or complete their adventure. More…

Cruise line news

Royal Caribbean announced that Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas will sail the Caribbean from convenient Florida homeports for the winter 2015-16 season, which are now open for sale.

The world’s largest and most innovative sister-ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, will offer vacationers still-matched Caribbean cruises in the 2015-16 winter season. Both ships will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and alternate a seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Eastern Caribbean ports of call include Nassau, the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, while Western Caribbean ports include Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti. More…

Want to know more about the Private Islands?  They are a fantastic cruise experience. Read more about them here.

Fun things happening with the cruise lines

As part of the new Seuss at Sea program, Carnival Freedom will be the first ship to feature Bookville, a dedicated Seuss-themed play space featuring iconic décor, colors, shapes and funky furniture inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. The perfect place for families to relax and unwind, guests can read beloved Dr. Seuss books or stretch their imagination through family-fun activities such as arts and crafts, toys and Dr. Seuss-inspired games.   More…

No cruise is complete without shore excursions

When should I reserve my shore excursion?

Because some tours book up well in advance of the tour departure date, we recommend reserving your excursions as far in advance as possible. This will give you the best chance of reserving your first choice in each of the ports.

See more frequently asked CruiseCompete Shore Excursion questions here.

Shore Excursion of the Week:

Exclusive Kilauea Volcano Adventure
Escape the large cruise line tour crowds and experience the awesome spectacle of Pele’s creation at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. On your exclusive Kilauea Volcano Adventure Tour, a small group excursion limited to only 12 people, you'll see the timeless battle between the elemental forces of fire and water.

The park is listed as a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere preserve.

Upon your arrival, you'll see a splendid native rainforest, visit a lava tube, discover remarkable volcanic formations and experience an incredible diversity of geography and climates.
Through detailed geologic and natural history interpretation, short walks and driving, you'll explore and learn about the world's most active volcano. A picnic lunch is served en route during your unforgettable and exclusive Kilauea Volcano Adventure at Volcanoes National Park.

Find out more about this shore excursion here.

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

David Molyneaux discusses ship size: When I boarded the newly renovated Carnival Sunshine for a week’s cruise out of New Orleans, my mission was to find out whether the 182 cabins that were added to the ship — now housing at least 364 additional passengers — made life onboard more crowded. More…

And then he takes us to Australia…. A giant clam, which is a mollusk as big as a bear, opens wide to catch the sunlight. It sits on the shallow ocean floor at the Great Barrier Reef, where famed explorer Captain Cook scraped some serious wood off the bottom of his ship, the Endeavour, trying to squeeze through the coral in 1770.

Nearby, along the coast of Queensland, Australia’s northeastern state, rain drips from the fronds of prehistoric ferns; cave drawings and paintings describe ancient birthing procedures, and, in a town named for Cook, a local museum and annual reenactments celebrate the exploits of sailors from Europe nearly 250 years ago. More…

Kimberly Button travels to Europe for the christening of Viking's new longships. She follows that with a river cruise. Read her reports here.

Heidi Allison-Shane sailed across the Atlantic on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. 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

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.

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.

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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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