Welcome to our newest blog, Ship to Shore. I’m Erica Silverstein, SmarterTravel.com’s Cruise editor, and I’ll be bringing you news of all that’s happening in the cruising world, from announcements of new ships and itineraries to details of onboard amenities and updates on one-day sales. Check back frequently to stay up-to-date on the cruise industry.
I’ve just returned from a week on no-frills easyCruise, where onboard amenities are given up in favor of long days exploring six southern Caribbean islands. My favorite ports-of-call were Grenada and Bequia (one of the Grenadine islands). You’ll be able to read my full trip report online in a few weeks.
In the meantime, here’s what happened last week while I was blissfully out of touch with reality in the tropics.
- Holland America’s newest ship, the ms Noordam, was the first ship to call at the new Grand Turk port in the British West Indies. The port features an 800-foot white sand beach, a swimming pool and cabanas, and retail shops. Shore excursions on the island range from horseback riding to kayaking, island tours, and snuba. You can visit Grand Turk this year with Holland America, as well as Crystal, Silversea, Oceania, and Radisson.
- Italian-based Costa Cruises announced it will begin sailing to Asia in July. The Costa Allegra will cruise round-trip from Shanghai and call at Nagasaki, Japan, and Cheju, Korea. These voyages will be marketed to Chinese travelers, so you might need to brush up on your Mandarin or Cantonese before embarking.
- Travelocity has added another enhancement to its cruise product. On select sailings, representatives will staff an onboard desk to assist cruisers who booked through Travelocity. Travelers who book these sailings will also receive special gifts, such as a complimentary bottle of wine, pre-paid gratuities, or shipboard credit. Travelocity is rolling out this product with Celebrity, Crystal, and Holland America, but Travel Weekly (registration required) says Holland America isn’t exactly cooperating.