Crystal Cruises announced a craft beer theme for fall culinary cruises. Crystal's popular Experiences of Discovery program has long featured a "Wine & Food" event. In a twist to cater to the rising interest in craft brews, the line is offering a microbrew-themed luxury sailing. Passengers can take part in beer-focused experiences such as expert presentations, cooking classes, tasting sessions and dinners on Crystal Serenity during its Nov. 5 sailing from New York to Miami with East Coast and Caribbean port stops in between. Shore excursions also will be offered to visit microbreweries in and around New York and Charleston, South Carolina. I'll raise a bottle to this great plan.
Princess Cruises has revealed its 2015-16 "Exotics" program. These sailings take passengers dozens of unique destinations across six continents. You can finally try Tahiti or Australia or Asia or Africa. How about an 111-day world cruise circumnavigating the globe? (Pack extra underwear.) Here's some of what you can choose from:
Asia and Africa sailings -- Sapphire Princess will sail from Singapore to ancient Asian cities, and small ship Ocean Princess will set off on a 36-day West African voyage from London to Cape Town, followed by a 35-day trip that ends in Rome. You can combine the sailings, too.
Australia and New Zealand -- Golden Princess joins the Australia fleet, making five Princess ships in four Australian homeports -- in addition to Diamond Princess, Dawn Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess. Choose from itineraries that include Vanuatu, Tasmania, New Caledonia or a 33-day circumnavigation of Australia.
Tahiti and Polynesia -- Pacific Princess heads to Tahiti to offer 10-day cruises sailing from Papeete throughout the fall. Each trip includes two full days in Bora Bora.
Pacific Princess also will sail roundtrip from Los Angeles or Fort Lauderdale on an 111-day world cruise visiting 35 destinations, 26 countries and includes overnight stays in Hong Kong, Dubai and Venice, as well as maiden calls to Chania, Crete and Bari, Italy.
AmaWaterways says it is launching a new river ship, AmaDara in August 2015. The ship is scheduled to make its debut with an inaugural sailing Aug. 17 and will join sister ship AmaLotus in offering 16-day river cruises on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia in 2015 and 2016. Both ships will sail as part of the AmaVoyages program, which focuses on travel in remote, undiscovered destinations.
Holland America Line has launched a "Perfect Day Cruise Sweepstakes" on Facebook. One winner gets a seven-day cruise for two in a verandah stateroom to Europe, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Mexico or Alaska. The sweepstakes runs through June 24, and the winner will be selected in a random drawing in early July.
To enter the contest, new visitors to Holland America Line's Facebook page must "like" the cruise line page. HAL fans click on the Perfect Day Cruise Sweepstakes tab and complete an entry form. Participants can enter once per day through June 24 for a chance to win the cruise. The sweepstakes is available to persons 18 or older who are legal residents of the United States, District of Columbia, United Kingdom or Canada -- except Quebec.
VIDEO: The extravagant water fountain show on Princess Cruises' Regal Princess?