The Girls Are Back in Town
This Caribbean season, Port Miami will have a total of 35 ships cruising in and out all winter long. While we won’t bore you with a long list of ships, we will fill you in on a few of the new Caribbean ships, new Caribbean ports of call, and the cruise lines with overnight and late night sailings to your favorite ports of call.
Two New Caribbean Ports…
- Cuba is more of a destination than a port. Europeans have been cruising to this island nation non-stop, but the last time Americans could travel there was just about the same time the sounds of The Andy Griffith Show started filling living rooms in America. That is starting to change, but at a slow rate. Most cruise lines, like MSC, will add Cuba as a port of call rather than make it an entire cruise destination like Fathom and Cuba Cruise do. One of our writers cruised to this Caribbean gem on Cuba Cruise and here’s what she saw.
- Amber Cove is the most recent addition to the Caribbean island ports. It’s located along the north coast of the Dominican Republic, and just opened last week with the arrival of Carnival Victory. There’s a great deal to do here, from waterslides and beach side lounging to shopping and dinning, but the main purpose of the port seems to be as a way to get cruisers to the top attractions in the Dominican Republic’s Puerto Plata area.
Random fact: If you’re wondering where the name Amber Cove came from, it’s named after a nearby amber mine.
Four New Caribbean Ships…
- Norwegian Escape will begin sailing out of Port Miami in November as Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship. She’s part of the Breakaway class of ships and will be an expanded version of her sisters, Norwegian Getaway and Breakaway. Of course, she will have all of the Breakaway favorites like the Waterfront, ropes course, five-slide Aqua Park and staterooms specifically designed for solo cruisers, but she will also have some new features of her own. From the District Brew House where cruisers can choose from 50 different bottled beers or 24 drafts beers, to the first Jimmy Buffet’s 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar where you can order one of the signature margaritas. There will also be a Snow Room where the powdery white stuff falls every 15 minutes, and three Sky Rails that let you ride along the ropes course like you’re zip lining. Here’s what else you can expect on Norwegian Escape.
- MSC Divina started her Caribbean season just last year and after only a few months of being here, she decided to go to Europe for the summer (wish we were all that lucky). Well, MSC Cruises says that when she comes back this winter, she is here to stay. MSC Divina adds a little spice to the ships sailing in the Caribbean. She’s Italian and she has flair. She does everything with sparkles, a lot of crushed red velvet, and always with freshly made pasta. Here are five reasons why we love MSC Divina.
- Fathom is Carnival Corporation’s newest cruise line with a unique spin. Forget the Fun Ships of Carnival Cruise Lines, Fathom Adonia is a 710-passenger ship that is all about social-impact travel. Voluntourism is what they’re calling it. Some cruise lines offer volunteering options as an excursion, but this is a cruise completely focused on volunteering. No joke, that’s your vacation and you use the cruise ship as a means to get there (among other things).
Right now Fathom has two cruises planned, the first is to the Dominican Republic starting in April 2016 to help plant trees, make ceramic water filters, and other important things needed in local villages near Amber Cove. The other cruise is not 100% approved by the Cuban authorities, but it’s a 7-night cruise to Cuba, with people-to-people tours of Cuba that will focus on the historic cities of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. This cruise is open for booking.
- Azamara Journey is the only Azamara ship sailing from Port Miami this winter. She’ll sail out of Port Miami on December 11, 2015 and explore the West Indies with stops at St. John, IIes Des Saintes, Roseau, Nevis, St. Barts and Virgin Gorda.
…And Who To Stay Overnight With
One of the major complaints we hear about cruising is you don’t get to spend enough time in each port of call. Some cruise lines like Azamara Club Cruises already include overnight stays in Europe and Asia sailings, but not the Caribbean.
- Celebrity Cruises announced they would be adding overnight stays to 43 Caribbean itineraries (primarily on Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Eclipse) in 2016. Allowing you more time to explore popular Caribbean ports like Cartagena, Colombia, Aruba, St. Maarten, Cozumel and Curaçao.
- Carnival Cruise Lines offers a handful of overnight stays, mainly on Carnival Ecstasy in Nassau, and late night departures (11 p.m.) in Cozumel and Curaçao during their Carnival LIVE concert series.
- Princess Cruises also offers a few late departure sailings when Caribbean Princess calls to Aruba, and Regal Princess calls to St. Thomas and Cozumel.
So, now that we’ve told you what we’re excited about, it’s time for you tell us what you’re excited about this Caribbean season?