Today’s cruise ships are less shuffleboard and buffets and more rock climbing walls, celebrity chef restaurants, and rich cultural excursions. Set sail aboard the world’s hottest vessels on your next vacation!
1. Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic Endeavor
This 96-guest ship with 56 outside cabins sails primarily in the Galápagos, with special 10-day family- and photo-centric sailings on offer. There is, however, a 16-day Galápagos and Peru trip available.
Why We Love It: You’ll go home smarter than when you left.
- Up-close encounters with endemic wildlife, including the giant Galápagos tortoise, whale sharks, sea lions.
- Nightly cocktail hour “recap” of the day’s excursions includes talks, videos, and insights by naturalists and expedition leaders
- Onboard photo instructor and undersea specialist ensure you absorb the full experience and capture quality images
- Items bought in the ship’s global gallery go to the Lindblad Artisan Fund, which supports international artisans’ economic and creative development
Perfect for: Philanthropists and Intellectuals
2. Royal Caribbean – Harmony of the Seas
Debuting in May 2016, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas will spend her inaugural summer season sailing in and out of European ports including Barcelona, Provence, and Florence. In November, she’ll dock in Florida and commence sailing in the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
Why We Love It: You’ll never be bored.
- “The Ultimate Abyss,” a 100-foot-high slide, is the tallest slide at sea.
- 16 decks feature seven “neighborhoods,” including Central Park, Boardwalk, and Sports Zone.
- Internet connectivity by VOOM is lightning fast.
Perfect for: Families & Extended Families
3. Norwegian Cruise Lines – Norwegian Escape
This stunning ship in one of the world’s most recognizable fleets, offers 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises to St. Thomas, Tortola, and Nassau. It calls Miami home year-round in 2016.
Why We Love It: Dining options abound, and you make the rules when it comes to what and when you eat.
- James Beard Award-winning Iron Chef Jose Garces has two restaurants on board: Cuban-inspired Bayamo by Jose Garces and Pincho Tapas Bar by Jose Garces.
- Food Republic, an onboard food hall created by Miami’s award-winning Pubbelly Restaurant Group, serves global cuisine in small plate format.
- An urban craft beer hall designed in partnership with Miami’s Wynwood Brewing company features a keg room, 24 draft beers on tap, and more than 50 bottled beers, as well as handcrafted cocktails by Bar Lab’s James Beard Award-nominated mixologists Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi.
Perfect for: Foodies and Craft Beer & Cocktail Enthusiasts
4. Un-Cruise – Safari Endeavor
From November through March, the 84-guest Safari Endeavor sails from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, through the Sea of Cortés, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its magnificent marine life.
Why We Love It: Spectacular, off-grid excursions inspire and amaze.
- Ride a burro into the arroyo with local rancheros.
- Snorkel with whale sharks in Bahía de la Paz and see gray whale calves up close in Bahía Magdalena.
- On board, enjoy fresh, local food purchased in La Paz and sustainable seafood approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.
Perfect for: Adventure Travelers and Eco-Tourists
5. Regent Seven Seas/Oceana Cruises – Seven Seas Explorer
Regent’s new Seven Seas Explorer sets sail July 2016 and offers numerous 10- to 20-day itineraries with stops in the Caribbean, South America, and Mexico. Most itineraries sail out of Miami, with one departure from Los Angeles.
Why We Love It: One word… luxury.
- All 750 guests enjoy rooms with balcony.
- The ship’s lobby boasts marble floors and crystal chandeliers.
- Onboard restaurant options include Prime 7 steakhouse and the dining al fresco, Italian Riviera-inspired La Veranda.
Perfect for: Couples and Honeymooners