Where to Go: 5 Ways to Cruise Now

Cruising has never been more enlightening or fun. In this special report, we bring you the latest trends to help you navigate a sea of options. You may soon find yourself cheering on deck


1 For emerging ports of call

The hottest new itinerary is a cool excursion to the Antarctica where Zodiac landings on the icy continent allow intimate viewings of whales, penguins and seals. Sail in absolute luxury on the all-suite-all-balcony Seabourn Quest, where lectures by ornithologists, geologists and photography experts magnify the thrills. www.seabourn.com/luxury-cruise-destinations/South-America

See the bounty of Galapagos wildlife – from giant tortoises to Darwin’s finches – in style on Silversea’s 100-passenger, all-suite Silver Galapagos expedition ship. Broaden the experience with pre- and post-cruise South America adventures to Quito and Machu Picchu www.silversea.com/expeditions/silver-galapagos   

Circumnavigate the globe while ogling 89 ports of call, including 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites as Oceania Cruises’ Insignia crosses the equator four times on a 180-day cruise looping from Miami. www.oceaniacruises.com

2 For history

Cruise to a global perspective of the wars that impacted generations. Mingling locales with historical lectures, Crystal Cruises’ World Cruise takes in key sites of the Second World War’s Pacific Theatre – from Honolulu to Japan – and includes visits to Guam and Saipan. www.crystalcruises.com/world-cruise/2014-full-world-cruise–4302-4306

Enjoy beauty and history on an Avalon Waterways river cruise that showcases tulips, castles and gardens in Holland and Belgium, yet stops at places that commemorate the First World War. Visit poignant sites from Amsterdam and Maastricht to Antwerp – where the new Red Line Museum documents European migration to America – to the historic Flanders fields of Passchendaele and Ypres. www.avalonwaterways.ca

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3 For multi-gen

Consider a cruise segment as a lovely interlude for grandparents on extended holidays and families strapped by school schedules. For example: young families can delight in the Los Angeles to Hawaii segment of Crystal Cruises’ World Cruise, then disembark while the seniors remain onboard to circumnavigate the globe. www.crystalcruises.com  

Segments on Cunard’s and Holland America Line’s Baltic, Mediterranean and South America itineraries are wonderfully conducive to family reunions. These lines’ wholesome kids programs are a boon for those families who are based overseas, or grandparents craving to show the grandkids the villages of their youth. www.hollandamerica.com; www.cunard.com

4 For thrills on board

Sporty for all ages, Royal Caribbean’s new 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas features zip-lining, the first bumper cars at sea, virtual sky-diving; a circus school with a flying trapeze, rock-climbing walls, a glass capsule on swinging arm that carries passengers above the sea. www.royalcaribbean.com/quantumoftheseas.

5 For themed

cruises Twirl to your heart’s content on a Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme aboard select Holland America Line cruises. The professional celebrity dancers perform and teach their classic moves. www.hollandamerica.com. For Royalists, the most excitement at sea is aboard the new 3,600-passenger Royal Princess, recently launched by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Besides its luxurious adults-only Sanctuary, the gleaming ship features a glass-bottomed SeaWalk that offers ocean views 128 feet (419 metres) deep. www.princess.com/learn/ships/rp