Leppert's List: Top 10 Cruises
Pack your bags and hit the high seas! Check out cruise expert Jason Leppert's list of the hottest cruises to set sail this year, including the Queen Mary 2 and Disney Magic.
Photo By: Cunard Line
Photo By: ChrisCruises, flickr
Photo By: Royal Caribbean
Photo By: Holland America Line
Photo By: Carnival Cruise Line
Photo By: Norwegian Cruise Line
Photo By: Celeberity Cruises
Photo By: Princess Cruises
Photo By: Disney/Matt Stroshane
Photo By: Viking River Cruises
10th Anniversary of Queen Mary 2
Go back in time aboard the Queen Mary 2 and experience the grand elegance of transatlantic luxury. Cunard Cruise Line’s flagship, the last cruise ship to be built as a true ocean liner with a deeper draft and faster speed, celebrates 10 years of service this year. The ship preserves the aesthetics and lifestyle of a bygone era while providing the most modern comforts, including plush accommodations and the first ever planetarium at sea.
Destination Immersion with Azamara
Is this the year you seek a truly unique cruise? Escape the mega ships and hop onboard Azamara Club Cruises. The line’s luxurious 700-passenger ships avoid retracing the same old routes and instead cast off for exotic locales week after week. With next to no repetition, you can even create your own world cruise by staying on for as many consecutive sailings as you desire. Frequent latenight and overnight stays in port ensure plenty of time to experience destinations like no other cruise line.
The All-New Quantum of the Seas
Of the 3 mainstream American ships launching this year, only 1 is an entirely new design – Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas. Setting sail in November, the ship will introduce a number of innovations. North Star will leisurely crane guests 300 feet above sea level for unprecedented vistas, and more thrillingly, RipCord by iFly will simulate skydiving up on deck. Two70° will be an expansive observation lounge by day and entertainment venue for aerial shows by night.
Dancing with the Stars: At Sea
Taking to the floating stage once more in 2014 is Dancing with the Stars: At Sea. Holland America has renewed its partnership with the hit TV show, and on nearly every sailing, passengers can participate in complimentary DWTS-branded dance classes and join a competition to possibly win a free cruise and become the year’s singular guest champion. Plus, professional dancers and celebrities from the show come aboard select theme cruises to mingle with passengers and showcase their signature moves.
Enjoy epic concerts and fun cruises? Carnival Cruise Lines has you covered with this year’s Carnival LIVE Concert Series. Guests booked on any of 49 special sailings have the chance to attend onboard performances by their favorite musicians including Chicago, Foreigner, Lady Antebellum, REO Speedwagon and STYX. Individual tickets range in price from $20-40, depending on the performers, and $100-150 will grant you VIP access to preferred seats and an exclusive meet-and-greet with the band.
Cruise Miami-Style on the Norwegian Getaway
The New York-inspired Norwegian Breakawaymade quite the splash when the ship began sailing from the Big Apple last year. Norwegian Cruise Line’s follow-up is this year’s sister ship, Norwegian Getaway, sailing year-round from Miami. Only on this ship will you find the “Illusionarium” dinner magic venue and the GRAMMY Experience with performances by past award winners and nominees. Also, “Legally Blond” is exclusively onboard as the ship’s signature production show.
Top Chef on Celebrity Cruises
Culinary connoisseurs rejoice! Celebrity Cruises and Bravo have teamed up to present Top Chef at Sea. Excluding the Celebrity Xpedition, all cruises on the line’s ships feature Quickfire Challenges and main dining room menus inspired by the Emmy award-winning TV show. Activities expand on Top Chef Signature Sailings with the opportunity to meet and enjoy the food of 4 chef contestants from the show, as well as enjoy chef demos, private cooking classes and special dinners of their creation.
The Royal Experience on the Regal Princess
Be treated like royalty onboard Princess Cruises. Following last year’s introduction of the new Royal Princess – christened by Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge – its sister ship, the Regal Princess, will set sail this May. It’s not yet known who will christen the new cruise ship, but it will feature the same amenities as the Royal Princess including the cantilevered and glass-floored SeaWalk.
Family Fun on the Disney Magic
Telling new stories through new features, the redesigned Disney Magic from Disney Cruise Line is a cruising haven for families. The new AquaLab, along with the free-fall AquaDunk and oscillating Twist ’n’ Spout water slides, energizes aquatic play. Everyone can see their own character drawings come to life onscreen at Animator’s Palate, and kids can become an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. at Marvel’s Avengers Academy. Meanwhile, adults can escape to After Hours, an exclusive spot for those 18 and older.
River Cruising Expands
Looking for a more intimate cruising experience beyond the sea? Ever popular river cruises continue to make waves in 2014. Viking River Cruises has 14 new riverboats coming online for 2014, bringing the total count of its revolutionary new Longship vessels to 30. Also this year, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises goes entirely all-inclusive, bundling complimentary gratuities and unlimited beverages into the cruise fare.