Celebrity Cruise Ships

Celebrity Cruise Line

Celebrity Cruises was founded in 1988 by the Greece-based Chandris Group. In 1997, Celebrity Cruises Ltd. merged with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to form Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the latter since then. The company has its headquarters in Miami, Florida. Celebrity’s signature logo is an “Χ” displayed on the funnel of Celebrity ships, and is the Greek letter chi, for “Chandris”.

Celebrity consistently has the highest overall rating on CruiseCritic surveys along with the most ships on their top ten cruise ship survey.

A Veranda Stateroom

Celebrity Millennium 2000 • 91,000 GT •2,137 passengers • refurb in 2019

Celebrity Infinity 2001 • 91,000 GT 2,170 • passengers • Refurb November 2020

Celebrity Summit 2001 • 91,000 GT • 2,158 passengers • refurb in 2019

 

Celebrity Constellation 2002 • 91,000 GT •  2,170 passengers • Refurb April 2020

Celebrity cruises characterizes itself as a more upscale experience featuring longer and farther reaching itineraries. They are also noted for their onboard lecture series called Beyond The Podium, with notable guest lecturers often with a focus on the region being visited. They often provide a number of onboard classes from painting to jewelry making and “behind the scenes” tours. Celebrity also pride themselves on their live musicians performing in venues throughout the ship along with the quality of their theatre stage productions.

The Solarium

Onboard you are more likely to find lawn croquet than water flumes and naturalist lectures rather than scavenger hunts. Every ship features a number of speciality restaurants, wine bars and cafes.

 

 

Solstice Class

Croquet on the Solstice lawn

Celebrity Solstice 2008 • 121,878 • GT 2,850 passengers • Refurb October 2021 – Celebrity Solstice is one of our most decorated ships at sea with a world of innovations. The first Lawn Club at sea. The first cruise line to have five women redesign its staterooms. Outstanding cuisine takes dining to a whole new level. Celebrity Solstice® also features Canyon Ranch Spa® and fitness center. Pamper yourself with spa treatments.

Celebrity Equinox 2009 •121,878 GT •2,850 passengers• refurb in 2019

Celebrity Eclipse 2010 •121,878 GT• 2,850 passengers• Refurb November 2020

Celebrity Silhouette 2011 • 122,210 GT• 2,886 passengers • Refurb January 2020

Celebrity Reflection 2012 •125,366 GT •3,046 passengers • Refurb February 2023

The lawn on the Eclipse

Edge Class

The Wine Cellar

Celebrity Edge 2018 •130,818 GT • 2,918 passengers – The Edge Class of ships was designed to shatter expectations. Featuring luxuriously designed rooms that erase the boundary between indoors and out, a cantilevered Magic Carpet SM soaring above the sea, and a collection of 29 world-class restaurants, bars, and lounges, Celebrity Edge has been voted Best New Ship by the editors of Cruise Critic.

Galapagos Expeditions Ships

Celebrity Xpedition 2001 •2,842 GT •96 passengers • refurb in 2015

Celebrity Xperience 2017 • 1,610 GT • 48 passengers

Celebrity Xploration 2017 • 319.5 GT

Celebrity Flora 2019 •5,739 GT •  100 passengers

Future Ships

Celebrity Apex (Edge class) 2020 129,500 GT 2,918 passengers

Coffee in The El Bocio

 

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A Cruise Ship Directory

Information On Most Cruise Ships In Service

As the travel industry entered the twenty-first century an amazing thing happened. The popularity of cruising was growing rapidly and cruise line companies reacted by launching a whole new generation of mega-ships. To attract passengers they added amusement parks, dozens of gourmet  restaurants, water features, nightclubs, sports facilities, spas and more. They are marvels of engineering and have become actual floating cities.

In the last century the aircraft carrier was the unchallenged behemoth of the seas but now in comparison they are shorter and while still wider, the new class of cruise ships have significantly more length, mass, and total displacement.

Not only are these wonders a total, all inclusive resort experience that put most land based resorts to shame. They also take their guests on an adventure, visiting countries and wonders all around the world. I don’t know any other experience that comes close.

Not sure what cruise line to explore and ships to consider? Her we offer the most complete list of current cruise ships anywhere. Each ship listing includes date launched, size, number of passengers and most recent refurbishment. Each ship listing is also a link to its cruise line description page for additional information. Our plan is to add to and update this list every three to four months.

The following listings include key information for understanding what the cruise ship offers including:

Date the Ship Entered Service– How old a ship is matters. Each new generation incorporates new features that older ships normally didn’t include.

GT or Gross Tons – Just like age, size matters too and GT is a good indication of how big the ship is. The bigger the ship the more things are included onboard.

Number of Passengers – Like gross tons the number of passengers is something to consider. Consider your taste. Small and intimate or big and bold.

Refurb (refurbishment) – At the least that means new furniture and upgraded decor but major refurbishments can add major redesigns adding features like more restaurants and lounges.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line is a The Walt Disney Company. The company was incorporated in 1996 as Magical Cruise Company Limited

Disney Magic 1998 • 83,000 GT  •  2,713 passengers

Disney Wonder 1999 • 83,000 GT  • 2,713 passengers • Refurb September 2019

Disney Dream 2011 • 130,000 GT  •  3,500 passengers

Disney Fantasy 2012  •  130,000 GT  •  3,500 passengers

Princess Cruise Line

Princess Cruises is owned by Carnival Corporation and is incorporated in Bermuda with headquarters are in Santa Clarita, California. It is the second largest cruise line by revenue.  It was previously a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, and is managed by Holland America Group, which controls the Princess Cruise brand.

Royal Class 3,600 passengers

Royal Princess 2013  •  141,000 GT

Regal Princess 2014 • 141,000 GT  – Featuring more than 1,400 balconies and the SeaWalk®, a glass-floor walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship! From the tranquil Sanctuary, a retreat reserved for adults, to the dazzling Princess WaterColor Fantasy light and water show and more, you’ll find something for everyone on the Regal Princess.

Majestic Princess 2017 • 143,000 •  GT

Grand Class 2,600 passengers and 1,150 crew

Grand Princess 1998 • 107,517 GT • refurb in December 2016

Golden Princess 2001 • 108,865 GT •  refurb in 2015

Star Princess 2002 • 108,977 GT • refurb in 2017

Diamond Princess 2004 • 115,875 GT

Sapphire Princess 2004 • 115,875 GT

Caribbean Princess 2004 • 112,894 GT •  Last refurb in 2017

Crown Princess 2006 • 113,561 GT

Emerald Princess 2007 • 113,561 GT

Ruby Princess 2008 • 113,561 GT •  Last refurb October 2018

Panamax-Class 1,970 passengers and 895 crew

Coral Princess 2003 • 91,627 GT

Island Princess 2003 • 91,627 GT

Sun Class 1,990 passengers and 924 crew

Sun Princess 1995 • 77,499 GT •  Last refurbished in April, 2016

Sea Princess 1998–2003 and 2005–present • 77,690 GT •  Sailed as P&O Adonia from 2003 to 2005

R Class    680 passengers and 373 crew

Pacific Princess 1999 • Princess ship 2003–Present • 30,277 GT

Future Fleet

Sky Princess Royal class 2019 143,700 GT

Enchanted Princess Royal class 2020 143,700 GT

TBA Royal class 2022 143,700 GT

TBA 2023 175,000 GT

TBA 2025 175,000 GT ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas

Holland America Line

Holland America Line is a British/American-owned line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Holland America Line was founded in the Netherlands and from 1873 to 1989, it operated as a Dutch shipping line, a passenger line, a cargo line and a cruise line, operating mostly between the Netherlands and North America.

MS Maasdam 1993 • 55,575 GT •  1,258 passengers

MS Veendam 1996 • 57,092 GT •  1,350 passengers

MS Rotterdam 1997 • 61,849 GT • 1,404 passengers

MS Volendam 1999 • 61,214 GT • 1,432 passengers

MS Zaandam 2000 • 61,396 GT •  1,432 passengers

MS Amsterdam 2000 • 62,735 GT •  1,380 passengers

Vista Class

MS Zuiderdam 2002 •  82,305 GT • 1,916 passengers

MS Oosterdam 2003 • 82,305 GT • 1,916 passengers

MS Westerdam 2004 • 82,305 GT • 1,916 passengers

MS Noordam 2006 • 82,318 GT • 1,924 passengers • Refurb September 2019

Signature Class

MS Eurodam 2008 • 86,273 •  2,104 passengers – The Eurodam recently received many exciting updates. Guests on this graceful ship can enjoy the full Music Walk™ experience, including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Billboard Onboard. Explore onboard at a cooking class or hands-on workshop with America’s Test Kitchen, BBC Earth Experiences and a Digital Workshop Powered by Windows®. Dine in your choice of specialty restaurants.

MS Nieuw Amsterdam 2010 • 86,700 GT • 2,106 passengers

Pinnacle Class

MS Koningsdam  2016 • 99,863 • 2,650 passengers – at 975 ft. long and a width of 114.8 ft. The first of Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ships, Koningsdam inspired by music, her design features innovative, new dining and entertainment venues, with the dazzling, two-story World Stage to Music Walk™, Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Billboard Onboard.

MS Nieuw Statendam Nov 2018 • 99,863 GT • 2,650 passengers

MS Nieuw Amsterdam  Nov 2018 • 99,863 GT • 2,650 passengers

Future Fleet

MS Ryndam May 2021 • 99,863 GT • 2,650 passengers

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is an international cruise company with headquarters in Doral, Florida. Its logo is the funnel found on their ships, with red, white and blue colors. The funnels are shaped like a whale’s tail. Currently, Carnival is the largest cruise line in the world, based on passengers carried annually, and total number of ships in fleet. Carnival is one of ten cruise line brands owned by the world’s largest cruise ship operator, the American-British Carnival Corporation.

Vista Class

Carnival Horizon 2018 • 133,500 GT • 3,960 passengers – Horizon features lots of fabulous restaurants, a popular pub and brewery, a thrilling bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction, an IMAX movie theatre and a huge water park with an exhilarating 455-foot-long water tube slide.

Carnival Vista 2016 • 133,500 GT • 3,934 passengers

Dream Class

Carnival Breeze 2012 • 128,000 GT • 3,690 passengers

Carnival Magic 2011 • 128,000 GT • 3,690 passengers

Carnival Dream 2009 • 128,000 GT • 3,646 passengers

Splendor Class

Carnival Splendor 2008 • 113,300 GT • 3,012 passengers

Conquest Class

Carnival Freedom 2007 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Carnival Liberty 2005 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Carnival Valor 2004 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 Passengers – Onboard are food spots like Blue Iguana Cantina and Guy’s Burger Joint, Scarlett’s Steakhouse. Let yourself be swept away to RedFrog Pub or Alchemy Bar, or get a little carried away in SkyBox Sports Bar. Kids get caught up in the excitement of being kids, hanging with others their age at Carnival Valor’s three supervised youth venues.

Carnival Glory 2003 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Carnival Conquest 2002 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Spirit Class

Carnival Miracle 2004 • 88,500 GT • 2,124 passengers

Carnival Legend 2002 • 88,500 GT • 2,124 passengers

Carnival Pride 2002 • 88,500 GT • 2,124 passengers

Carnival Spirit 2001 • 88,500 GT •  2,124 passengers

Destiny/Sunshine Class

Carnival Victory 2000 • 101,509 GT • 2,754 passengers

Carnival Sunrise 1999–2019 as Carnival Triumph • 101,509 GT • 2,754 passengers

Carnival Sunshine 1996-2013 as Carnival Destiny • 102,853 GT • 3,002 passengers

Fantasy Class

Carnival Paradise 1998 • 71,909 GT •  2,124 passengers

Carnival Elation 1998 • 71,909 GT •  2,130 passengers

Carnival Inspiration 1996 •  70,367 GT •  2,056 passengers

Carnival Imagination 1995 •  70,367 GT •  2,056 passengers

Carnival Fascination 1994 • 70,367 GT • 2,056 passengers

Carnival Sensation 1993 • 70,367 GT •  2,056 passengers

Carnival Ecstasy 1991 • 70,367 GT • 2,056 passengers

Carnival Fantasy 1990 • 70,367 GT • 2,056 passengers

Future Ships

Carnival Panorama 2019 135,500 GT

Mardi Gras 2020 185,000 GT

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International (RCI), also known by its former name Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), is a cruise line brand founded in 1968 in Norway and organized as a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. since 1997. Based in Miami, Florida, United States, it is the largest cruise line by revenue and second largest by passengers counts.

Empress of the Seas     1990 • 48,563 GT • 1,840 passengers

Majesty of the Seas       1992 • 74,007 GT • 2,350 passengers

Vision Class

Grandeur of the Seas 1996 • 73,817 GT • 2,440 passengers

Rhapsody of the Seas 1997 • 78,491 GT • 2,416 passengers

Enchantment of the Seas 1997 • 82,910 GT • 2,730 passengers

Vision of the Seas   1998 • 78,340 GT • 2,514 passengers

Voyager Class

Voyager of the Seas 1999 • 137,276 GT • 3,840 passengers •   Refurb October 2019

Explorer of the Seas 2000 • 137,308 GT • 3,840 passengers • Refurb April 2020

Adventure of the Seas 2001 • 137,276 GT •  3,807 passengers

Navigator of the Seas 2002 • 139,999 GT •  4,000 passengers

Mariner of the Seas 2003 • 138,279 GT • 3,807 passengers

Radiance Class

Radiance of the Seas 2001 • 90,090 GT • 2,466 passengers

Brilliance of the Seas 2002 • 90,090 GT • 2,543 passengers

Serenade of the Seas 2003 • 90,090 GT • 2,476 passengers

Jewel of the Seas 2004 • 90,090 GT • 2,502 passengers

Freedom Class

Freedom of the Seas 2006 • 154,407 GT • 4,515 passengers • Refurb March 2020- To be refurbished in 2020 – Freedom Class features an interior promenade with food and drink venues, dual racer water slides the Typhoon℠ and Cyclone℠, 40-foot-long FlowRider® surf simulator and completely reimagined restaurants, onboard games for all ages and Broadway quality stage shows.

Liberty of the Seas 2007 • 155,889 GT • 4,960 passengers

Independence of the Seas 2008 • 154,407 GT • 4,375 passengers

Oasis Class

Oasis of the Seas 2009 • 225,282 GT • 6,360 passengers • Refurb December 2019

Allure of the Seas 2010 • 225,282 GT • 6,410 passengers • Refurb April 2020

Harmony of the Seas 2016 • 226,963 GT • 6,687 passengers

Symphony of the Seas 2018 • 228,081 GT • 6,680 passengers

Quantum Class

Quantum of the Seas 2014 • 168,666 GT • 4,905 passengers Features the “Sports Court” on deck 15 with the Wave Loch Flowrider surf simulator a rock-climbing wall and new a feature on the Quantum class the “RipCord by iFLY”, a skydiving simulator. The “North Star” observation tower a glass-walled capsule on the end of a 41-meter-long crane arm lifts groups of up to 14 guests over the edge of the ship, reaching heights of up to 91 meters above sea level.

Anthem of the Seas 2015 • 168,666 GT • 4,905 passengers

Ovation of the Seas 2016 • 168,666 GT • 4,905 passengers

Spectrum of the Seas 2019 • 169,379 GT • 4,246 passengers

Future Ships

Odyssey of the Seas 2020 •  169,379 GT • 4,200 passengers Quantum Ultra-class cruise ship

TBA Oasis class 2 021 230,000 GT Under construction


Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), also known in short as Norwegian, is a cruise line founded in 1966 and based in the United States. It is the third-largest cruise line in the world by passengers.

Norwegian Spirit Launched 1998 Joined Norwegian in 2004  • 75,904 GT • Refurb February 2020

Norwegian Sky 1999 • refurb in 2019

Norwegian Sun 2001 • 77,104 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Star 2001• 91,740 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Dawn 2002• 92,250 GT• refurb in 2016

Pride of America 2005 •80,439 GT • refurb in 2016

Jewel Class

Norwegian Jewel 2005 •93,502 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Jade 2006 •93,558 GT • refurb in 2017

Norwegian Pearl 2006 • 93,530 GT • refurb in 2017

Norwegian Gem 2007 • 93,530 GT •  refurb in 2015

Epic Class

Norwegian Epic 2010 • 155,873 GT • refurb in 2015

Breakaway class

Norwegian Breakaway 2013• 145,655 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Getaway 2014 • 145,655 GT • refurb scheduled in 2019  – Stroll The Waterfront, an innovative, industry-first open-air promenade designed to connect guests with the ocean like no other cruise line. Explore more than 28 dining options, experience the thrill of five water slides, and three levels of action-packed activities in the sports complex. The excitement and entertainment continues with Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet.

Breakaway Plus class

Norwegian Escape 2015• 164,600 GT

Norwegian Joy 2017• 167,725 GT • refurb in 2019

Norwegian Bliss 2018 •168,028 GT

Norwegian Encore 2019 •169,145 GT


Celebrity Cruise Line

Celebrity Cruises is a cruise line which was founded in 1988 by the Greece-based Chandris Group. In 1997, Celebrity Cruises Ltd. merged with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to form Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the latter since then. The company has its headquarters in Miami, Florida. Celebrity’s signature logo is an “Χ” displayed on the funnel of Celebrity ships, and is the Greek letter chi, for “Chandris”.

Celebrity Millennium 2000 •91,000 GT •2,137 passengers • refurb in 2019

Celebrity Infinity 2001 • 91,000 GT 2,170 • passengers • Refurb November 2020

Celebrity Summit 2001 • 91,000 GT • 2,158 passengers • refurb in 2019

Celebrity Constellation 2002 • 91,000 GT •  2,170 passengers • Refurb April 2020

Solstice Class

Celebrity Solstice 2008 • 121,878 • GT 2,850 passengers • Refurb October 2021 – Celebrity Solstice is one of our most decorated ships at sea with a world of innovations. The first Lawn Club at sea. The first cruise line to have five women redesign its staterooms. Outstanding cuisine takes dining to a whole new level. Celebrity Solstice® also features Canyon Ranch Spa® and fitness center. Pamper yourself with spa treatments.

Celebrity Equinox 2009 •121,878 GT •2,850 passengers• refurb in 2019

Celebrity Eclipse 2010 •121,878 GT• 2,850 passengers• Refurb November 2020

Celebrity Silhouette 2011 • 122,210 GT• 2,886 passengers • Refurb January 2020

Celebrity Reflection 2012 •125,366 GT •3,046 passengers • Refurb February 2023

Edge Class

Celebrity Edge 2018 •130,818 GT • 2,918 passengers – The Edge Class of ships was designed to shatter expectations. Featuring luxuriously designed rooms that erase the boundary between indoors and out, a cantilevered Magic Carpet SM soaring above the sea, and a collection of 29 world-class restaurants, bars, and lounges, Celebrity Edge has been voted Best New Ship by the editors of Cruise Critic.

Galapagos Expeditions Ships

Celebrity Xpedition 2001 •2,842 GT •96 passengers • refurb in 2015

Celebrity Xperience 2017 • 1,610 GT • 48 passengers

Celebrity Xploration 2017 • 319.5 GT

Celebrity Flora 2019 •5,739 GT •  100 passengers

Future Ships

Celebrity Apex (Edge class) 2020 129,500 GT 2,918 passengers

Cunard Line

Cunard Line is a British–American cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, England, operated by Carnival UK and owned by Carnival Corporation. Since 2011, Cunard and its ships have been registered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Queen Mary 2 2004 • 149,215 GT

Queen Victoria 2007 • 90,049 GT

Queen Elizabeth 2010 • 90,901 GT

In addition to the major lines listed above there are a number of smaller and often luxury cruise companies in the marketplace. They include:

Click a line to find our more.

There are also Azamara Cruises,  P&O Cruises (America)  and Costa Cruise Line  that are European based cruise lines.

P&O is based in England and is owned by Carnival Corp. Founded in 1977 as a subsidiary of a shipping line  which was founded in 1837 and first operated a cruise ship in 1844 making P&O Cruises, along with its sister company in Australia the oldest cruise line in the world.

Azamara is part of the Royal Caribbean family and Costa is also owned by Carnival Corp.

MSC Cruise Line 

Founded in 1970 MSC the Mediterranean Shipping Company, is now the 2nd largest ocean container carrier in the world. A European based company MSC Cruises launched in 1988 and has become one of the fastest growing cruise companies in the world, with a fleet of 16 ships currently in service. More and more MSC cruises are being offered out of U.S. ports primarily for trips to the Caribbean

 

A Viking Rhône River Cruise

The Rhône With Viking River Cruises

The Rhône region of France extends from Marseille, through historic Avignon, Arles, the Roman city of Vienne, Lyon, France’s culinary heart and west of the Beaujolais wine region and includes dozens of quaint Provençal villages along its banks.

The Rhône River winds its way from Switzerland into France beginning at the Rhône Glacier in Valais, and flows to join the Saône River in the city of Lyon. From there it winds on past some of the region’s most significant landmarks with many dating back to the Roman era. Going on south past the Ardèche, the river moves past expanses of lavender and sunflower fields and past Avignon before it empties into the Mediterranean west of Marseille.

Most people, when they think of France, picture Paris, the French Riviera – Cote d’Azur, the beaches of Normandy, but usually not Roman ruins and Medieval castles. It’s probably not on the short list of most peoples travel plans, but it should be. River cruising on the Rhône through the heart of France is an enjoyable experience. There’s a lot to see, the people where amazing and chances are you will learn some surprising history. You will discover Avignon, the “City of Popes,” and the historic Papal palace, see the massive Roman Colosseum of Arles, still hosting bull fights today, experience the ancient Roman city of Vienne and a number of riverside villages dating back almost a thousand years.

Viking River Cruises

We are long time cruisers but have come to river cruising just recently. In the Summer of 2019 we cruised for eight nights on the Viking Longboat Buri from Avignon to Lyon, France and both the ]boat and this region greatly exceeded our expectations. This was only our second river cruise and will probably not be our last. If you are an ocean cruiser and haven’t taken a river cruise before here’s what we see as the differences.

Level of Service

Because the passenger compliment is counted in the dozens and not thousands the atmosphere is much more intimate and the staff seems a bit more focused on your individual needs. It is also easy to become quickly acquainted with a number of the staff and the quality of the wait-staff, servers, bar staff seems higher than our experience on cruise ships.

Accommodations

The cabins are smaller compared to ocean staterooms but if you are like us and don’t spend time in your room this isn’t much of an issue. On our first river cruise we had booked a room with a balcony and decided this wasn’t worth the expense. Most evenings we tied up side-by-side with other longboats and when we opened our curtains we usually found the view being another stateroom only inches away.

Life On Board

The boats lounge or the top deck is where you will spend most of your time on board. The lounge is the central gathering place and extends to a patio deck where breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed. The lounge usually features live music at lunch and in the evening features music for dancing.

There aren’t any stage shows or swimming pool or gym but we assure you they won’t be missed and with walking tours most mornings you’ll still get some good exercise. A lot of people are fond of cruising because of the food and again river cruising will probably not disappoint. Also in the case of Viking they work very hard to expose their guests to tastes of the region being visited and also bring on local entertainment on a few occasion.

Stops Along The Rhône

This particular cruise provides a number of interesting stops along the river which include;

Avignon

Avignon, the “City of Popes” is normally the starting point for the cruises going north. This walled city’s name dates back to the 6th century BC. The first citation of Avignon (Aouenion) was made by Artemidorus of Ephesus. The historic walled city, which includes the Palais des Papes, the cathedral, and the Pont d’Avignon, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The Papal Palace, the medieval monuments and the annual Festival d’Avignon have helped to make the town a major center for tourism.

The Festival d’Avignon is an annual festival held every summer in July in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes and other locations in the city. Founded in 1947 it is the oldest festival in France and one of the world’s largest. In addition to the official festival, often hundreds of shows are presented in Avignon at the same time of the year adding to the festivities.

Arles

Near to Avignon is Arles. The Arles Colosseum and Amphitheater are one of the most popular tourist attraction in this city. They were built around the 1st century BC and the Colosseum was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators on three tiers. Today it has been mostly restored and is home to regular bullfights. After the Roman Empire fell the amphitheater became a shelter for the population of Arles and the Colosseum was transformed into a fortress with four towers added on.

Vienne

Traveling north toward Lyon you will come to the ancient Roman city of Vienne. Before the arrival of the Romans, Vienne was the capital city of the regions Gallic people. It was established as a Roman colony in 47 BC under Julius Caesar, with Vienne becoming a major Roman city, ideally located along the Rhône, a major transportation route. Numerous remains of Roman buildings are still visible in modern Vienne today.

Jazz, A Vienne Festival

For two weeks in July Vienne plays host to a jazz festival. It is recognized as one of the best jazz festivals in Europe, featuring way over 100 jazz musicians. With one of the most picturesque settings amongst Roman amphitheater structures the mostly outdoor music festival creates the perfect atmosphere for music lovers featuring full days and nights of the new and old sounds of jazz music.

Nobody should spend time visiting this region of France without planning on sampling French wine. Some of the widely recognized names include Côtes du Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Beaujolais. All within easy reach of the river with numerous tours leaving from the riverboats. Unlike many ocean cruise ships, the river boats usually tie up right in the center of towns within an easy walk to many sights. Most river cruises also include daily tours in the cost of the cruise and we really enjoyed this option. The atmosphere onboard a river cruise also strikes us as much more relaxed and accommodating even though we seemed to do less reading than on ocean cruises probably because our days were so full.

Mediterranean Itineraries

Considering A Mediterranean Cruise

Venice

Summer is cruising season in the Mediterranean and the major cruise lines are well established in the market and offer a wide variety of itineraries. There are a number of similarities in most itineraries with the two main embarkation ports being Barcelona and the port for Rome, Civitavecchia. Venice, Italy is another popular embarkation port with some cruises to the eastern Mediterranean sailing out of Piraeus, the seaport of Athens, Greece. Itineraries vary in length with cruises of around seven days usually including four or five ports of call, those of nine to eleven days make six to eight stops and fourteen day itineraries calling on up to ten ports.

Dubrovnik

Cruises from Barcelona often stop at a series of ports east along the coast that usually include Villefranche-sur-Mer on the French Riviera, located near to Nice and Monte Carlo. Favorite Italian ports visited include Rome/Civitavecchia, Naples and Venice, with Venice often being an overnight visit. Additional popular ports include Livorno, for its proximity to Pisa and Florence, along with Genoa on the west coast and Ravenna on the east coast.

Kotor

Most cruises out of Rome/Civitavecchia go south and cruise around the Italian boot passing through the Straights of Messina. Popular destinations on shorter cruises (6 to 8 days) include Naples, Venice, Dobrovnik, Kotor in Montinegro, the Greek island of Corfu and Malta. Longer cruises can add Messina, the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini, Ephesus, Turkey and Athens.

Pisa

There are also Rome itineraries that sail west and often include Livorno, Villefranche, Provence France, with stops in the Spanish ports of Barcelona, Cartagena, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca and at times a visit to Gibraltar.

With the popularity of cruising growing there are more and more returning passengers. The cruise companies are always looking to add new ports as an enticement to get them to cruise again. For that reason there are always differences and surprises in searching itineraries so look for one that hits your “must see” destinations or new stops.

Santorini

There are some important things you need to consider when planning how you are going to get the most out of your cruise port visits. For most ports of call visits have a serious time limit and if you go off on your own you cannot be late returning to your ship. The ship just won’t normally wait for you. If you take a cruise sponsored tour the ship is obligated to get you and your fellow passengers back on board before sailing. That doesn’t mean that you are locked into taking only sponsored tours but you need to plan and allocate extra time to get back to the ship.

Corfu, Greece

When making your plans there are a few ports that many people put high up on their list to visit when they decide to cruise the Mediterranean. Here we offer a few highlights along with ideas on getting the most from those all-to-brief stops.

Florence

Livorno with trips to Pisa and Florence – You can easily take a train from Livorno Centrale to Florence Santa Maria Novella for €6 and €14 per person one way. You do have to get from the pier to the train station but most cruises offer a shuttle service at a reasonable price into town center. In Livorno you can also buy a combination round-trip ticket that includes the train tickets and a bus to the train station that can be purchased at many convenience shops. The trip takes about one and a half hours and trains run about every half hour. In Florence from Santa Maria Novella you can walk into the historic district in only a few blocks. You can get to Pisa in much the same way but the train trip is only twenty minutes with a moderate walk to the Cathedral and old city walls.

Rome

Civitavecchia / Rome – This is a city that everyone should make an effort to visit. From the buildings of the ancient Roman Empire to the Vatican there are days worth of sightseeing to be experienced. There is good information on seeing Rome in one day HERE.

You can find a good article on getting into Rome HERE. In Civitavecchia the train station is a moderate walk along the waterfront from the port and a train to S. Pietro station (Vatican City) takes about 40 minutes. Fares start at €5 per person one way on the commuter trains and up to €20 round trip using regional trains. There is a manned ticket booth at the Civitavecchia station along with automated vending machines. A round-trip bus booked through the ship will cost over €80 and take about two hours depending on traffic.

Barcelona

Barcelona -Barcelona is one of the two largest cruise ports in the Mediterranean and is used as an embarkation port as well as a popular port of call. The city is a modern and historic place with a number of iconic neighborhoods and attractions. If you are cruising out of Barcelona do not miss the opportunity to spend a couple of extra days visiting this vibrant city.

There are 3 cruise terminals at the World Trade Centre pier called North, South and East terminals and are much closer to the Columbus Monument on the waterfront at La Rambla.

The third terminal is Sant Bertrand, and it to is near the World Trade Center (refer to our cruise terminal map). Sant Bertrand is usually used for ferries to the Balearic Islands.

Palma, Spain

Transportation – The T3 PORTBUS (the “Blue Bus”) runs a circuit from all cruise port terminals to the monument of Christopher Columbus. The tickets for the T3 need to be purchased with cash on the bus itself. Single ticket: €3.00, with Return ticket: €4.00. Many of the cruise ships also provide a shuttle bus to their passengers for free or a small charge (usually about $5 to $8). Getting to the Gothic Quarter by

taxi from the port is normally less than 10 minutes with a fare of about €20.00. A Taxi to Barcelona airport from the cruise port should take about 25 minutes with a fare: of €30.00 – €35.00.

Malaga, Spain

Barcelona is a city steeped in culture and history and many think it is the city itself that is the main attraction. From great food to an exciting night life, from the old Gothic quarter to the modern shopping districts this is truly a remarkable city. The Gothic Cathedral in the heart of the Gothic quarter is a must-see as is a walk up Las Ramblas. Make sure to save time to explore the winding side streets with their shops and restaurants. There are also a number of great museums in the city. The MACBA (museum of modern art) and the CCCB next door are worth an hour or two. The Picasso and the permanent Dalí exhibition in the Gothic Quarter are always worth a visit. The Caixa Forum is a museum which has different art exhibitions every month. It is just off Plaça Espanya, on Avenida Marques.

Venice – Cruise ships dock at the cities cruise port and most ships offer water shuttles into the area near Piazza San Marco. That’s a good option but you can also walk out of the port. With a good map or phone app you can navigate through the city and reach the Piazza in only about a mile and a half through a number of interesting neighborhoods.

Pompeii

Naples – This city is near to the ruins of the Roman city Pompeii and well worth the time , but Naples is also not far from the Amalfi coast. There are frequent Trains from Naples to the Amalfi Coast. To get from Naples to Salerno, you can take one of Trenitalia’s Alta Velocità (AV) trains from Napoli Centrale station. The trip is about 30 miles and there are also InterCity and Regionale trains serving this route, with over three dozen trains a day costing €5 each way. From the Positino station it is a good idea to know where you want to visit and take a taxi but this is still an easy day trip.

The Acropolis

Piraeus and Athens – You can find a good piece on Piraeus HERE. The main attraction is the Acropolis in Athens and it’s well worth a day if this is your first visit. If you wold like to save a good amount over the cruise tours you can use the metro to travel from Piraeus to central Athens. A trip to Athens using the metro costs less than €1. Also a free shuttle bus usually operates in the port taking passengers from the ships to the metro station. Visiting the Acropolis has a general admission €10 and hours vary by season and day of the week. You should also expect a good uphill climb to reach the top but the is an elevator fro people with disabilities.

Monte Carlo

Villefranche-sur-Mer – You can find a good piece on Villefranche HERE. Less than a half mile around the waterfront is the train station where you can catch frequent trains to Monte Carlo, Nice or Cannes. They run about every twenty minutes and a trip to Monte Carlo takes only fifteen minutes and costs usually under €7.00. So before you sign up for that expensive tour consider some exploring on your own.

Cruising Alaska Newsletter

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Guide To Alaska Cruising

CRUISING ALASKA – Get The Intentional Traveler’s newsletter on cruising Alaska. It’s Free to download and you can print a copy. A good reference to take with you on an Alaska cruise. It features information on Alaska cruise ports of call, tours and what to look forward to on your Alaska cruise.

CLICK THE NEWSLETTER IMAGE TO ACCESS A PDF COPY YOU CAN READ OR DOWNLOAD TO PRINT. TAKE A COPY ALONG WHEN YOU CRUISE ALASKA.

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Port of Call Ketchikan

 

The town gets its name from the Tongass and Tlingit Indians who named their fish camp kitschk-hin, meaning stream with “thundering wings of eagles.” While Skagway attracted gold prospectors, Ketchikan was a treasure trove of abundant fish and timber that attracted Americans to the area. In 1885, Mike Martin bought 160 acres from Chief Kyan to found the township. The first cannery was built in 1886 near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek and by 1912 four more were in operation.

By 1936 there were seven canneries in working, producing almost two million cases of salmon a season. The need for lumber fostered the Ketchikan Spruce Mills built in 1903, which operated for over 70 years. The lumber industry collapsed when the Clinton administration moved to reduce timber cutting in Alaska by having the U.S. Forest service cancel contracts for timber in March 1997.

Where Your Ship Docks

Getting from your ship into town is convenient as there are several piers near downtown for berthing cruise ships.

Transportation

Ketchikan is a small town with the central district encompassing only a few dozen blocks. Most trips out of town involve specific nature tours by bus, car, boat or plane. The town is located on one of Alaska’s large coastal islands with most of it covered in large tracts of undeveloped forest.

Currency

Ketchikan is an American town and uses the U.S. Dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted and so are ATM machines.

Attractions

Ketchikan is home to Tongass Historical Museum along with a waterfront cannery exhibit and the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Salmon fishing charters are readily available and you can have your catch flash frozen or smoked and couriered home (a bit pricey but worth the bragging rights). Additional tours include wilderness expeditions, trips to the Misty Fjords and whale watching.

Shopping offers a number of opportunities with the smoked and canned salmon being high on everyone’s list being a reasonably priced prize.