Monthly Archives: August 2013

Canada-New England Cruises from New York

carnival-glory-suiteNew York City is known as a popular cruise departure point for trips to Bermuda, the Bahamas, Caribbean and across the Atlantic, but another group of cruises travel from New York to New England and Canada.  These cruises are especially popular as leaves of the coastal forests change colors in autumn.

The shortest of these cruises are quick 4 or 5-day round-trips to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  These are offered by Carnival Cruise Lines and include stops in St. John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.  It’s just enough time to get acquainted with those historic towns and to view the Nova Scotia coast.

new-york-7-day-canada-new-england-mapThere are many more cruise line and ship options for 7-night cruises to Canada and New England.  Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises all expand upon the 5-day itineraries to include stops in Boston and Bar Harbor, Maine.  A day in Bar Harbor gives cruisers a chance to do some quick exploration of the beautiful Acadia National Park.

If you can afford to spend more than a week exploring New England and Canada, then you may want to consider one of the 10-day cruises that start in New York and end in Quebec City or Montreal.  After visiting Boston, Bar Harbor and Halifax, these cruises continue north, traveling around the north side of Nova Scotia and visiting Prince Edward Island.  They then go even farther north, around the Gaspe Peninsula and down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City or Montreal.  These 10-night voyages are offered by some of the luxury cruise lines, including Holland America and Regent Seven Seas. always has the latest schedule of cruises departing from New York City, as well as the Cape Liberty port in nearby New Jersey.

Featured Ship: Disney Fantasy

Launched in 2012, Disney Fantasy is the most recent addition to Disney’s “family-oriented” fleet of cruise ships. The ship carries up to 2,500 guests and offers them all the usual cruise amenities – many with a Disney touch.  And while the kids will be well entertained, they haven’t forgotten the adults.

disney-fantasy-concierge-royal-suiteWe can’t say that we often give much thought to the weight of cruise ships, but it is kinda impressive that Fantasy weighs in at a hefty 130,000 tons.  There are fourteen decks with 1,250 staterooms spread across nine of ’em.  Family oceanview staterooms with verandah have sufficient space for a family of five, albeit a cozy situation.  Standard oceanview staterooms with verandahs can handle 3 or 4 guests.  (There are also variations on the oceanview staterooms without verandahs.)  Deluxe and standard inside staterooms are designed to accommodate 3 or 4.  At the top end of accommodations on Disney Fantasy are the Concierge One-Bedroom Suite and the Concierge Royal Suite, both with verandahs.

There are nine “youth clubs” on Disney Fantasy, offering a variety of fun for kids based on interests and age.  The “Arr-cade” is what you think it is: a pirate-themed video arcade.  The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is fun to say and a fun place for kids willing to undergo princess and pirate makeovers.  The “D Lounge” is a family lounge and nightclub with karaoke, game shows, dancing and more.  “Edge” is a hangout for tweens, “It’s A Small World Nursery” is place for Fantasy’s youngest guests and “Vibe” tries really hard to be a cool place for teens (we leave it to your teen to determine whether it succeeds).

disney-fantasy-enchanted-gardenDisney Fantasy’s dining options range from the fancy-shmancy, adults-only restaurants “Palo” and “Remy” to the very kid-friendly and ever-popular “Animator’s Palette”.  The other main dining rooms are “Royal Court” (more princess-themed ambiance) and “Enchanted Garden” (a rather pretty Versailles-themed eatery).  Casual eating is available at the indoor/outdoor “Cabanas” cafe and the poolside “Flo’s Cafe”.

Fantasy’s three swimming pools are designated for kids, families and adults.  Other entertainment includes movies in the Buena Vista Theatre, Disney character meet-and-greets and a live version of Disney’s Aladdin.  You can stay in shape – or just allow yourself to be pampered – in the fitness center and Senses Spa & Salon.  Goofy’s Sports Deck includes a basketball/volleyball court, miniature golf and virtual simulators for golf, basketball, football, soccer and baseball.

disney-fantasy-eastern-caribbeanDisney Fantasy currently spends 365 days a year making trips out of the cruise port closest to Orlando – Port Canaveral.  Voyages are 7 days in length, alternating between the eastern Caribbean (Sint Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay in the Bahamas) and the western Caribbean (Cayman Islands, Costa Maya, Mexico and Castaway Bay).

In addition to those offered by Disney Fantasy, TheCruiseNexus can tell you about hundreds more 7-night cruises to the eastern Caribbean and all the other cruises scheduled to depart from Port Canaveral.

Featured Cruise: One-Way Cruises From Barcelona

norwegian-epic-le-bistroWhile most cruises start and end at the same port, there are also hundreds of one-way cruises scheduled every year.  In general, there are two types of one-way cruises: “repositioning cruises” (when a ship is being moved to a new home port) and cruises that are pieces (or “legs”) of longer cruises.  There are lots of both kinds of one-way cruises that depart from Barcelona – we currently know about cruises that end in 27 different destination cities.

Because most of the ships that cruise the Mediterranean Sea don’t do it year-round, there are one-way repositioning cruises to and from Barcelona every year.  The Med cruise season ends in the Fall, so you’ll find quite a few cruises in October and November that move ships from Barcelona to southern U.S. ports such as Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa.  These Trans-Atlantic cruises vary in length, with some that visit cities in southern Europe before heading across the ocean.  They’re a great way to spend a lot of time on a popular ship like Norwegian Epic.

norwegian-epic-sports-complexUnlike Caribbean cruises that usually only involve one major port, ships that cruise the Mediterranean usually make large, looping voyages that visit several popular ports.  Guests can choose to make the entire round-trip circle or end their cruise elsewhere.  Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona can end in Civitavecchia (near Rome), Istanbul, Piraeus (near Athens), Venice and other cities on the Mediterranean Sea. has a comprehensive schedule of cruises departing from Barcelona, as well as dozens of other cities around the world.

Featured Ship: Costa Fascinosa

Costa Fascinosa joined the Costa cruises in 2012, matching its sister ship Costa Favolosa as the largest in the fleet with a capacity of 3,016 passengers.  Let’s see…3,016 divided by 2…that means there are 1,508 guest rooms on the ship.  For those looking for a special relaxing experience, there are 91 Samsara cabins and suites with direct access to Fascinosa’s spa facilities, as well as a bunch of exclusive spa/wellness amenities.  In total, there are 524 cabins with private balconies (including all of the suites).

“Wellness” is emphasized on Costa Fascinosa.  The Samsara Spa facilities are spread across two levels and include a gym, baths, a “thalassotherapy” pool, treatment rooms, sauna, Turkish bath and a UVA-ray solarium.  The ship also has four pools, 5 Jacuzzis, an outdoor jogging track and a “multipurpose pitch” for group sports.

costa-fascinosa_poolFor your eating and drinking enjoyment there are five restaurants and 13 (!) bars on-board.  The restaurants include two “specialty” venues (i.e. “additional fee required”), the Club restaurant and the Samsara restaurant.  As you may have guessed, Samsara specializes in healthier fare – and those staying in the Samsara cabins and suites don’t have to pay that “additional fee”.

Entertainment on Fascinosa includes a big theatre with live entertainment, a 4D cinema, a Grand Prix racing simulator, a disco and a casino.  The public spaces on the ship are also entertaining, with over 300 original works of art.

As of August 2013, Costa Fascinosa is scheduled to spend most of the year sailing the Mediterranean and around South America, with departures from cities like Barcelona, Venice, Istanbul and Buenos Aires.  And we also have early schedule information for Costa’s next, even bigger ship: Costa Diadema, due to launch November 2014.

Featured Cruise: 7 Night Alaska Cruises

There are cruises that include days of nothing but water out your window and then there are cruises that a voyage full of never-ending scenery – like the popular week-long cruises that travel along Alaska’s southeastern coast.  There’s still some time to take an Alaska cruise this year or you can get a head-start on planning for next year.

These seven day Alaska cruises are available out of Seattle, Vancouver, Seward and Whittier.  Some are round-trips while others are one-way, providing quite a few options for where to start and what you’ll see at sea.

celebrity-solstice-alaskaVancouver, British Columbia, Canada is the busiest port offering cruises to Alaska.  Holland America, Celebrity, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess all sail 7 nights to Alaska from Vancouver starting in early May through mid-September.  Vancouver is one of North America’s prettiest cities and you’ll find plenty of interesting stuff to see and do if you decide to extend your visit before or after your cruise.

Close behind Vancouver in terms of Alaska cruise popularity is Seattle.  It’s another very vibrant place and well worth a couple of days – at least – to take in what northwestern Washington has to offer.  Most Alaska cruises from Seattle are round-trip and include visits to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and other scenic spots on Alaska’s “Inside Passage”.

Copyright 2004 Alsek Technologies, Inc.Less well-known are the cruises that start in Alaska and end in Vancouver.  Whittier, Alaska is a very (very) small town on the western end of the Passage Canal off of Prince William Sound.  Starting your cruise from Whittier gives you the opportunity to see much more of Alaska in your week.  It’s located about about 60 miles southeast of Anchorage.  You’ll fly into Anchorage and then take train or bus to Whittier.  There are guided bus tours available that make the trip much more interesting than just a bus ride from point A to point B.  There are also 14-night round-trip cruises from Whittier on NCL’s Norwegian Sun that take you to Vancouver and back.

Located at the northern end of Resurrection Bay and Kenali Fjords National Park, Seward is the other spot in Alaska from where you can take a seven night cruise.  All of the cruises out of Seward are one-way to Vancouver.   They include visits to Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay before following a path similar to the round-trip cruises out of Vancouver.  Anchorage is again the closest city with a major airport – and a very memorable 130-mile bus ride from Seward.

In addition to the complete schedule of 7-night Alaska cruises, also has information about longer 10-night, 11-night, 12-night, and 14-night voyages.