Winter Cruise Preview

By Linda Coffman

Winter-Cruise-Preview.jpgGearing up for a busy winter season, cruise lines are jockeying for the spotlight—even teaming up with celebrities—hoping for bookings. Check out our preview of the latest cruising news before you start planning.

Looking to book cruise travel for this winter? Check out or Cruise Travel Guide for the best planning information.

Stay the Day on Celebrity

Your flight takes off late afternoon, but early morning is when you need to leave the ship. What’s a cruiser to do other than figure out a day tour or kill time at the airport? Celebrity has the answer, letting passengers stay up until 90 minutes before the next cruise sets sail. For $59 ($29.50 for children under 12), spend the afternoon dining in, relaxing poolside, watching a movie, or getting in a workout. Spa services and bar drinks can be paid for separately with a credit card.

Stars Aboard Carnival

The world’s largest cruise line is ramping up the onboard fun with their "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative. New highlights on a select group of Carnival’s fleet include Guy’s Burger Joint—serving up celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s designer burgers at no extra charge—comedy club performances overseen by newly named "curator of comedy" George Lopez; specialty themed bars, and more. Carnival Liberty will be the first ship to feature the new line up this month.

Norwegian "Hearts" NYC

When Norwegian’s newest ship Norwegian Breakaway debuts next spring, the 4,000-passenger vessel will make New York City her year-round home port, offering weekly sailings from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal beginning in May. Happily for the Big Apple, Norwegian Breakaway’s passengers are expected to boost tourist spending by $13.5 million in the first year alone. You’ll recognize Norwegian Breakaway by her distinctive hull art, created by legendary 60’s pop artist Peter Max.

Royal Gets High-Profile Chef

James Beard Award-winning Michael Schwartz is taking the reins from current 150 Central Park chef from Keriann Von Raesfeld aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. Schwartz is known for his commitment to sustainable and seasonal food sourcing at his restaurants, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.

Looking Ahead to 2012: Another Luxe Liner for Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin Cruises, owner of the m/s Paul Gauguin—the longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific—just added a second ship to its fleet, due to set sail December 2012. Details for the new 90-passenger ship to be named m/v Moana won’t be released until early 2012, but current plans point to the Mediterranean for summer months and the Caribbean and Latin America for winter. As in the Pacific, emphasis will be on unique destinations larger ships can’t visit.

Photo credit: Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line