As the tide of cruise-ship travel rises, major cruise lines have not been slow to lift new ships into service. This year saw the introduction of Holland America Line’s 2,650-passenger ms Koningsdam, its first new vessel since 2010 and largest ever, with solo and family cabins a fresh option. Royal Caribbean International’s new 4,180-passenger Ovation of the Seas also set sail straight into the booming China market this year, complete with such novelties as a skydiving simulator, onboard bumper cars and “virtual balconies’’ for inside cabins. Regent Seven Seas Cruises took to the waves with its first new ship since 2003, the 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, “the most luxurious cruise ship ever,” with the highest space-to-passenger ratio in the industry. Viking Cruises cast a second ship into the ocean-going fray in 2016, the 930-passenger Viking Sea, a vessel that remains true to Viking’s river-plying origins with extensive deck space, including a wrap-around promenade. And come this December, Seabourn is slated to launch its largest ship ever, the all-suite, all-balcony, 604-passenger Seabourn Encore.
The future at sea appears to be even more ambitious and luxury-laden. Holland America means to add a sister ship to this year’s king-sized Koningsdam in August 2018. Royal Caribbean puts two more Quantum-class giants in the water in 2019 and 2020. Viking Cruises expects to have six ocean-going ships in its fleet by 2020. Seabourn plans to christen a second new 604-passenger luxury vessel, the Seabourn Oration, in 2018. Not to be scuttled by future competition, Silversea Cruises will weigh anchor with its largest ship ever, the 596-passenger Silver Muse in April 2017, to be joined by five more same-sized “ultra luxury ocean cruising” ships by 2020.
Next year alone should see the introduction of an armada of new cruise ships both big and small, all with enhanced technologies, amenities and luxuries. Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic will set out with the first of two new 100-passenger ships in 2017. Star Clippers will launch the 300-passenger Flying Clipper — the world’s largest square-rigger — next year, too. Celebrity Cruises has its own entrants in this race to the future: the first two vessels of its Project Edge series, each accommodating nearly 3,000 guests, set to launch in 2018 and 2020. Meanwhile, Princess Cruises will deploy the new 3,650-passenger Majestic Princess to China in April 2017, to be followed by two more liners of the same size in 2019 and 2020.
Other cruise lines are also expanding their fleets in the coming years. Ultra-luxury line Crystal Cruises, for example, will deploy three new all-suite, all-veranda, 1,000-passenger ships starting in 2019, each with one-to-one crew-to-guest ratios and 42 top-deck residences. Crystal will also introduce all-suite river boats with butler service to its fleet for European cruises in 2017 and 2018.
New ships aren’t the only ones making a splash, as Cunard Line’s iconic Queen Mary 2 recently unveiled its remastered appearance, featuring updates to all its staterooms, from the Queens Grill to Britannia Club, as well as the addition of 15 single-traveler staterooms. Other changes include the addition of The Verandah and Carinthia Lounge; updates to the Queens Grill, Princess Grill and King’s Court restaurants; and an enhanced kennel.
At this point there are, perhaps surprisingly, no megaships on the horizon larger than the 5,000-passenger carriers we have today, but there will be the debut of an entirely new cruise line, Virgin Cruises, the brainchild of iconic airline founder Richard Branson. Three 2,860-passenger ships are envisioned, the first for early 2020, and all geared to the needs of a surging new cruise constituency: millennials.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
On Location Experiences makes it easy for travelers to head to London or Mexico City for upcoming NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders Oct. 6, and the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 13; Wembley Stadium hosts the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Oct. 27, and the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 3; and Estadio Azteca hosts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 18.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Hotel brands all over the world have pushed for sustainability. For many, it began with reducing single-use plastics, like straws. InterContinental recently announced the end of in-room miniature toiletries.