TRAVELCHANNEL.COM NAMES THE TOP 10
‘TRAVEL’S BEST: CRUISES’ OF 2014
Awarded Cruises Encompass the Following Categories: Alaskan, Caribbean, European River, Family, Hawaiian, LGBT, Luxury, Mediterranean, Mexican and Unexpected Food
CHEVY CHASE, MD (August 4, 2014) – TravelChannel.com names the “Travel’s Best: Cruises” of 2014. From dining at five-star restaurants and relaxing at world-class spas to enjoying exclusive excursions, this year’s list recommends ships of all sizes that offer unique opportunities for their passengers on-board or on the shore. The awarded cruises were divided into the following categories and destinations: Alaskan, Caribbean, European River, Family, Hawaiian, LGBT, Luxury, Mediterranean, Mexican and Unexpected Food.
TravelChannel.com editors enlisted a panel of experts to help determine the 10 best cruises for 2014, including: Samantha Brown (Host, Travel Channel), Anne Campbell (Editor; CruisingFromNewYork.com & ShipCriticBlog.com); Stewart Chiron (President and CEO, CruiseGuy.com) and Jason Leppert (Editor-in-Chief, PopularCruising.com).
These curated picks help cruisers choose the right vessel for every destination, avoid the most overcrowded ports and prove there’s much to do out at sea – while seeing the world! The expert judging panel shared their top ten list in the 2014 “Travel’s Best: Cruises” (in alphabetical order by category):
Best Alaskan Cruise: Princess Cruises; Island Princess
With dramatic glaciers surrounding you, take a breath of crisp air while gazing upon the pristine greenery of spruce trees lining the mountains of the Inside Passage. Princess Cruises offers a variety of multi-day shore excursions, including a rail trip that allows you to head deeper into the heart of this majestic region. Sized to fit through the Panama Canal, the Island Princess is a cruise-favorite being more intimate in scale and more manageable to navigate once on-board. Unique to this class of vessel, the Bayou Café & Steakhouse serves Cajun cuisine. It should also be noted that fleet-wide, Princess Cruises bakes some of the best pizza pies at sea.
Best Caribbean Cruise: Star Clippers; Royal Clipper
You’ll find a different Caribbean seagoing experience aboard Star Clippers’ 227-passenger Royal Clipper, the world’s largest and only five-mast, full-rigged sailing ship. The elegant tall ship frequents small exclusive ports including Bequia, Tobago Cays and Iles des Saintes. Attracting sophisticated travelers, the Royal Clipper offers open-seated dining on sumptuous fare and fine wine. After dinner, guests either gather around the grand piano or on deck to watch the enormous sails unfurl in the wind. The cruise also offers a beach-side barbecue on a deserted beach, which should not be missed.
Best European River Cruise: Viking River Cruises; Viking Longships
The popularity of river cruising has exploded in recent years, and for good reason. There’s no other way to conveniently unpack one time and then leisurely visit a string of legendary European cities. At the forefront of such travel is Viking River Cruises and the line’s innovative new Viking Longships. These intimate vessels feature a clever offset cabin configuration that provides more spacious accommodations closer in size to those found on larger seafaring ships. Meals feature destination-inspired cuisine and include house wines and beers. Couples can take a romantic cruise on the appropriately titled “Romantic Danube” itinerary while everyone can take advantage of Viking River Cruises’ exceptional value in luxury river-cruising across the board.
Best Family Cruise: Disney Cruise Line; Disney Fantasy
Get the best family Caribbean cruising experience on-board the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Fantasy, which features some of the best entertainment at sea. Watch Aladdin take flight on his magic carpet or meet Mickey Mouse and the gang dressed in nautical attire. Don’t miss a unique dining experience at Animator’s Palate, where guests live out their fantasy of being a Disney animator. “At the end of the meal, you get the thrill of watching the artwork you created (before dinner) come to life,” said Samantha Brown, Travel Channel host. “I watched as my drawing danced with ‘Jungle Book’ characters Mowgli and Baloo. Let’s just say I felt eight years old again.” Regardless of your age, there’s something to keep everyone engaged with such amenities as the full-service spa, two large theaters, three freshwater pools, six adults-only nightclubs/lounges and nine clubs to keep all the kids, tweens and teens happy.
Best Hawaiian Cruise: Norwegian Cruise Line; Pride of America
While there are several cruise lines that set sail in the Pacific to tour the Hawaiian Islands, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America is the only US-flagged ship, which means it receives a maximum port time of 85 hours for a seven-night cruise. Passengers can enjoy two days in Maui and Kauai in addition to visits in Kona and Hilo. Along with great food and entertainment, this ship has more balconies than the others that cruise in Hawaii, making it perfect for whale watching, viewing the glow of Kilauea Volcano or witnessing the awe-inspiring views of the Na Pali Coast.
Best LGBT Cruise: Atlantis Events; Celebrity Equinox
As summer starts to wind down, cruisers begin to pack their suitcases for Atlantis Events’ largest gay European cruise on the Celebrity Equinox. An annual trip, this year’s new route takes passengers to four countries and eight cities including Barcelona, Ibiza, Rome, Florence and Monte Carlo. While at sea, this ship has plenty of amazing amenities to keep everyone occupied including sipping on a frozen cocktail at Slush, rejuvenating at Canyon Ranch SpaClub and dining at one of the seven restaurants on board – including the Italian steakhouse, Tuscan Grille. Passengers can dance into the wee hours of the morning thanks to organized, themed parties every night.
Best Luxury Cruise: Silversea Expeditions; Silver Discoverer
Embark on an exciting adventure on Silversea Expedition’s newest ship, the Silver Discoverer. In March, this small cruise ship became the third member of the fleet, and its inaugural expeditions allow guests to encounter Stone Age cultures in Melanesia, spot the rare yellow-eyed penguin in New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands and more. Every cruise includes a team of experts including an expedition leader, anthropologist, marine biologist/dive master and pro photographer. Intimate shore experiences of hiking, snorkeling and diving in some of the most remote parts of the world are led by expert guides and are included in Silversea Expedition’s all-inclusive package! Follow the routes of ancient seafarers to some of the most isolated ecosystems of Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Melanesia and the Russian Far East. All you need to pack is your sense of adventure.
Best Mediterranean Cruise: Windstar Cruises; Wind Surf
The Greek Islands and the coastline of Turkey may be unrivaled for world-famous antiquities and spectacular beauty. These locales are best visited aboard Windstar Cruises’ intimate 148-passenger Wind Surf. The motorized sail-vessel boasts refined dining and spacious staterooms for pampering the body after a day exploring the trendy beaches and towns of Mykonos and Santorini. Cruisers visit the Turkish port Kusadasi, the hopping-off point to see the ruins of Ephesus, where Cleopatra and Marc Antony began their fabled romance. Wind Surf passengers get an extra special treat of an after-hours tour of Ephesus and a five-course banquet in the ruins’ library courtyard serenaded by a string quartet.
Best Mexican Cruise: Holland America; ms Veendam
Experience the best of the Mexican Riviera on Holland America’s ms Veendam. The seven-day cruise is a nice option for both seasoned cruisers and first timers looking for a traditional cruise experience on a medium-sized ship. The line offers dozens of amazing excursions including: horseback riding on the beach; a snorkeling-kayaking adventure in Cabo San Lucas; sports fishing; watching traditional Hispanic dance in Mazatlan; swimming with dolphins and exploring the hidden beaches of Puerto Vallarta. New staterooms offer special spa amenities and a private resort-style pool. The ‘Showroom at Sea’ and ‘Mix’ are just two of the public gathering places where passengers can mingle and meet new friends while sipping on a microbrew, mimosa or martini.
Best Unexpected Cruise for Food: Carnival Cruise Lines; Carnival Dream
The Carnival Dream offers some of the best food in cruising with the Chef’s Table experience, which allows passengers to tour the gallery that includes an amazing full-service dinner of tasty appetizers, entrees and desserts not found on regular menus. The ship’s restaurants and buffets have left lasting impressions on those who have traveled the world including Samantha Brown. “The best food I’ve ever had on a cruise was on Carnival,” said the Travel Channel host. “They have an excellent chef and kitchen staff from India and Bangladesh. I found a small buffet off the side of the pool area, where they served wonderful curries, cumin-spiced vegetables, freshly-made naan and even a refreshing mango lassi.” Other must-try restaurants on this ship include The Taste Bar, Steakhouse and Mongolian Wok.
For more details on the “Travel’s Best: Cruises” of 2014, go to: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/travels-best/articles/best-cruises-2014
Source: ©2014 Travel Channel/TravelChannel.com. All Rights Reserved.
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