This year looks like another good one for the cruise industry, with over 20 million travelers expected to fill hundreds of ships. With all the diversity in ship sizes, fares, and destinations, there’s bound to be a cruise to suit almost everyone. Here are some ideas for planning a 2014 cruise vacation.Be the First of Your Friends to Sail on a New ShipCruising welcomes four new large ships this year. Two ships, the Norwegian Getaway and Regal Princess, are the same basic design as sister ships launched in 2013. The other two, the Costa Diadema and Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas, are new designs. All promise to deliver new features, fun, and excitement to a cruise vacation.
Roll On the River
European river cruises continue to grow in popularity, with the largest number of passenger vessels sailing on the Danube and Rhine Rivers. Since 2014 is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, many riverboats will be sailing down the Seine River from Paris to the Normandy coast in honor of this major event. Another possibility is Bordeaux and the Garonne River in France, which is a new river cruise destination for 2014.
River cruise companies will launch over two dozen new river vessels on European rivers in 2014. Sixteen of these riverboats will join the Viking River Cruises’ fleet. English-speaking riverboats are found on all of the navigable rivers in Europe, so travelers can pick from dozens of itineraries and visit many countries on the continent.
Cruise lines also plan to launch six new riverboats in Asia in 2014. Cruise travelers looking for new exotic destinations might plan a river cruise on either the Mekong or the Irrawaddy Rivers in Southeast Asia.Sail to a Hot Cruise Destination
This year, the Panama Canal turns 100 years old, and anyone who appreciates engineering marvels should travel to Panama at least once to see it up close. Many cruise lines and tour companies offer Panama itineraries with a transit of the Canal.
Cruise ships visit all seven continents, and South America is a great destination to consider. The continent has fascinating history and culture, friendly people, diverse scenery, exotic wildlife, great shopping, and favorable exchange rates for North American travelers. Brazil is the site of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, so expect lots of attention directed towards that country. In addition to Brazil, ships stopover in exciting ports on itineraries that circumnavigate the continent, or provide lifetime outdoor memories on cruises of the Amazon River, the Galapagos Islands, or the Chilean fjords.Linda Garrison has been the Cruises Expert at About.com since July 2000. During that time, she has been on 100 cruises, sailed for 800 days, and gone ashore on all seven continents from a ship.