FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Select the Cruise Line and Vessel Category to Fit your Vacation Style

by Katie McElveen

Nov 14, 2022

PHOTO:
© CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

November 2022

In 1817, when New York’s Black Ball Line launched the first regularly scheduled passenger service between New York and England, the journey eastward took about 40 days and the return 23. Amenities were limited and included in-cabin skylights and, in the dining room, whale-oil lanterns and silver service.

That all changed in June 1900 when Victoria Luise, the world’s first purpose-built passenger ship, launched from Hamburg for a 35-day journey through the Caribbean to Venezuela. The well- appointed, 240-passenger ship was outfitted with a promenade for strolling, a gym and, surprisingly, a darkroom for amateur photographers. Live musicians provided entertainment during meals and social events.

The owners of Victoria Luise were on to something. More than 100 years later, cruising has become one of the most popular forms of leisure travel: According to a recent survey by AAA, 41 percent of Americans are considering booking a cruise in the future.

One reason for cruising’s popularity might be the sheer number of choices available. Currently, about 323 cruise vessels ply the world’s oceans. The smallest is generally recognized as Emerald Azzurra, which carries 100 passengers on a variety of itineraries, while the largest is Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s 6,988-passenger behemoth. In between, passengers can choose from not only a range of sizes but a vast range of experiences as well.

Though no official size classes exist in the cruise industry, ships are generally organized into five categories, based on the number of passengers they carry. It makes sense the larger the ship the more amenities it will offer, but that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. Ships within the fleets of Disney Cruise Line and Cunard Line, for instance, may be of similar size but offer very different activities.

PHOTO:
© CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

AT ONE TIME, 3,500 passengers aboard a single ship seemed mind-blowing, but today three cruise lines — Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line — boast several mega ships within their fleets that cross the 6,000-passenger mark. Thesehuge vessels, larger than aircraft carriers, offer a remarkable array of diversions. Carnival’s 6,465-passenger Mardi Gras features the world’s first roller coaster at sea — and multiple dining experiences.

Slightly smaller mega ships, operated by Disney, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line, carry closer to 4,000 passengers and are nearly as action-packed, offering everything from go-karts and multistory water slides to ice skating rinks and surf simulators. Adult-focused Princess Cruises, sneaking into this category at just more than 3,500 passengers, is a bit of an outlier, offering lots of live shows, immersive cultural activities and a variety of dining options but without the hair-raising diversions.

THOUGH THEY’RE NOT the biggest ships at sea, there’s nothing dainty about large ships, carrying the flags of Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Disney, Holland America Line, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean and packing a strong amenity punch. Note that instead of going bigger, Norwegian chose to go a bit smaller with its newest Prima class of ships, each having a capacity of 3,099 passengers but chock-full of experiences, including a 10-story free-fall slide. The first, Prima, entered service in August 2022.

JUST FOUR LINES — Cunard, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean — sail ships in the mid-sized category. Since the Norwegian and Royal Caribbean ships in this size range are a bit older and don’t offer the same level of excitement as their newer ships, fares tend to be a bit more moderate. Traditionalists will love the classic lines and approachable size of the Cunard and Holland America vessels.

HOLLAND AMERICA, OCEANIA Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises found the small mid-sized ship is large enough to offer diverse dining experiences and activities but with the intimacy of a smaller vessel. It’s proved a particularly sweet spot for Viking, which added seven 930-passenger ships to its fleet since it launched ocean voyages in 2015, with more on the way.

PHOTO: © WINDSTAR

YOU’LL FIND THE MOST DIVER- SITY within the small ship category. This includes not only boutique cruise ships and yachts operated by Celebrity, Emerald, Oceania, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Star Clippers and Windstar but also expedition-class ships — floating luxury SUVs outfitted for the polar regions — from Ponant, Scenic, Seabourn, Silversea and Viking.

Beyond offering a more intimate experience, these smaller ships offer the chance to visit destinations off-limits to larger ships. Expedition ships, which carry Zodiac inflatable rafts, submersible vessels, kayaks, weatherproof clothing and other gear as well as a full crew of highly specialized guides, allow guests to explore remote natural areas on land or sea directly from the ship.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jun 24, 2024

Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat on French Riviera Completes Redesign of 2 Villas and Penthouse

Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel is a 5-star luxury resort located in the former fishing village of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera. Welcoming guests for more than 100 years, the property is set on 17 lush acres with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and 74 spacious guestrooms and suites. This year, noted Parisian designer Sybille de Margerie redesigned two of the hotel’s three villas on the property, Villa Beauchamp and Villa Clair Soleil, as well as the Penthouse.

Tips to Plan a Destination Event Worth the Trip

It's time to shake things up and inject some serious excitement into your next gathering. Whether  planning a corporate conference, black-tie gala or milestone celebration, choosing the right venue can make all the difference. City Winery shares some tips to make your next gathering a rockin' success.

June 2024
Jun 24, 2024

Plan Your Summit in Savannah, the Hostess City of the South

In Savannah, taking care of business comes with an array of fringe benefits: fireflies and magnolia trees, warm breezes and Southern hospitality, live oaks garlanded in Spanish moss, and plenty of perfect addresses for meetings and gatherings. One of the most anticipated developments in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions space is the enlargement of the existing Savannah Convention Center. Amplifications to the site include an additional 40,000 square feet of ballrooms space; 13 new meeting rooms; and a further 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. Positioned on Hutchinson Island, the convention complex sits an easy 20 minutes from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and is easily accessible from other East Coast destinations via the I-95 and I-16 highways.

Daily
Jun 24, 2024

5 Beach Hotels to Celebrate Fourth of July

Plan your Fourth of July escape to one of these five beachside pools.

Why Buy Trip Cancellation Insurance?

Don’t risk losing all the money you’ve spent if you must cancel your trip at the last minute. Allianz Travel Insurance can give you:

Daily
Jun 24, 2024

A Banyan Group-Branded Hotel Opens in Sokcho, South Korea

Banyan Group announced the newest addition to its growing portfolio with the opening of Cassia Sokcho, marking the debut of the Cassia brand in South Korea. This 674-room hotel, located between the East Sea and Mount Seorak, also features suites and penthouse apartments equipped with kitchen facilities, private balconies and bathtubs.

June 2024
Jun 20, 2024

Bask in the Warmth and Cultural Fusion of Cabo Verde’s Islands

Césaria Évora, Cabo Verde’s “Barefoot Diva,” often sang about her home, the stunning island of São Vicente, one of the 10 inhabited islands comprising the nation of Cabo Verde. When Évora died in 2011 at the age of 70, all of Cabo Verde mourned.

Explore Gyeonggi Province in South Korea

Gyeonggi Province, encircling Seoul, offers seamless travel with access to two major airports and a well-connected transportation system. It boasts top-notch MICE facilities, like KINTEX and Suwon Convention Center, along with a wide array of international-branded and resort-style hotels spread across its 31 cities and counties. Visitors can explore rich historical sites, including UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites like the DMZ and Suwon Hwaseong Fortress.

Daily
Jun 20, 2024

4 Destinations Inspired by Great Summer Reads

Calling all literary lovers! Pick up one of these books and set out to explore the destination inspired by the pages.