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8 Cruises Offer Respite From the Winter Blahs

As winter settles in 8 Cruise lines are offering an array of warm weather escapes to destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, the South Pacific, and the Persian Gulf. This season brings the launch of new ships and itineraries designed to attract a diverse range of cruisers, including young first-timers. Among the most highly anticipated trips are those aboard the Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, offering a seven-night eastern Caribbean and Coco Cay cruise.

Other options include luxury cruises with Explora Journeys, an intimate journey through the Chilean Fjords with Azamara, and a Vietnam and Thailand exploration with Celebrity. With a wide variety of destinations and activities, these cruises offer respite from the winter blahs and promise a memorable vacation experience.

Cruises1 : Icon of the Seas

The Icon of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, is the largest cruise ship in the world and offers a seven-night eastern Caribbean and Bahamas itinerary. Departing from Miami, the ship stops at St. Kitts, St. Thomas, and Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, Coco Cay. Along with the exciting ports of call, guests can enjoy numerous onboard attractions. The ship boasts the largest water park at sea and an immersive entertainment space where athletes perform acrobatics under a cascading waterfall. With eight different “neighborhoods,” including “Thrill Island” and “the Hideaway,” the Icon of the Seas offers guests a wide range of activities and amenities.

The ship features 28 accommodation categories, including family-friendly cabins and a three-story townhouse with an en-suite slide and a cinema room. Despite its size, the Icon of the Seas is the most sustainable ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, powered by liquefied natural gas and energy-efficient technology to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Prices for sailings start at $1,577 per person.

Cruises1 : Explora I

Explora Journeys introduces the luxury cruise line’s first ship, the Explora I. This midsize ship can accommodate up to 922 passengers and offers a unique blend of luxury and lifestyle travel. With over 400 oceanfront suites, four swimming pools, and nine culinary experiences, the Explora I embodies elegance and tranquility. The all-inclusive voyages explore warm destinations in the Caribbean and America, showcasing rainforests, cocoa plantations, pastel-hued villages, and coral reefs.

One of the exciting trips available this winter is the “Yachtsman’s Caribbean of Remote Harborages” journey. Departing from Bridgetown, Barbados, this six-night sailing takes guests to lesser-known hideaways typically reserved for yachts, such as St. Lucia, Deshaies, Guadeloupe, and St. Barts, before concluding in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Prices for sailings on the Explora I start at $3,600 per person.

Cruises3 : Carnival Jubilee

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Carnival Jubilee, offers a seven-day western Caribbean itinerary from Galveston, Texas. This sailing includes stops at Mahogany Bay in Honduras and Costa Naya and Cozumel in Mexico. Guests on the Carnival Jubilee can indulge in the ship’s many attractions and dining options during the two “fun days at sea.” The ship features a thrilling roller coaster, a three-story atrium showcasing various dining options, 20 restaurants, and 13 entertainment spaces. Designed to provide fun for the whole family, the ship also offers activities for children, including a high ropes course, water park, and mini-golf course. Prices for sailings on the Carnival Jubilee start at $669 per person.

Cruises4 : Norwegian Pride of America

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America offers a unique seven-day Hawaii Island cruise. Unlike most Hawaii cruise itineraries, the Pride of America visits the four main islands in just seven days, allowing guests to maximize their time exploring Honolulu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai. Excursions include tours of lava fields and zip-lining through tropical rainforests. The Pride of America underwent a multi-million-dollar refurbishment in 2016, refreshing all rooms, upgrading decks and entertainment spaces, and enhancing major features, such as the spa and lounge areas. The ship offers a range of specialty restaurants and a center dedicated to Hawaiian culture. Prices for sailings on the Norwegian Pride of America start at $1,250 per person.

Cruises5 : Azamara Quest

The Azamara Quest, operated by Azamara, specializes in small-ship luxury cruises that focus on longer port stops and unique shore excursions. This winter, the Quest sets sail from Buenos Aires, offering the chance to visit the Uruguayan and Falkland Islands. The journey begins with stops in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay known for its beaches, restaurants, and nightlife. Guests will then make their way through the Beagle Channel, encountering marine life such as sea lions and penguins, before reaching Puerto Chacabuco in southern Chile.

This port offers opportunities for treks by foot and horseback through forests, rivers, waterfalls, and wooded mountains. The Quest will also stop at Puerto Montt, where guests can explore snowcapped volcanoes. The voyage concludes in San Antonio, Chile. Prices for sailings on the Azamara Quest start at $2,812 per person.

Cruises6 : Celebrity Solstice

The Celebrity Solstice, part of Celebrity Cruises, offers an exciting Asia cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. This 12-night cruise allows guests to explore the vibrant destinations of Vietnam and Thailand. The ship makes an overnight stop at Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Vietnam, where guests can trek around the mountains of Sapa.

The cruise continues to Hue and Da Nang, filled with temples, pagodas, palaces, and tombs. The second half of the sailing includes an overnight stop in Bangkok and a visit to the tropical island of Koh Samui. The cruise concludes in Singapore, a city known for its rich cultural heritage and world-class airport. Prices for sailings on the Celebrity Solstice start at $694 per person.

Cruises7 : Oceania Regatta

Oceania Cruises offers a remarkable Auckland to Papeete voyage aboard the Oceania Regatta. This 36-day cruise explores the stunning destinations of New Zealand and French Polynesia. Embarking from Auckland, the Regatta stops at multiple locations on the North and South Islands of New Zealand, including Australia’s east coast, before reaching the sparkling waters of French Polynesia. The Regatta is a small luxury ship accommodating 684 passengers and features a swimming pool, casino, and spa. The ship offers a fine-dining culinary program and aims to provide a refined cruise experience for those looking to avoid crowds. Prices for sailings on the Oceania Regatta start at $12,295 per person.

Cruises8 : MSC Opera and Virtuosa

MSC Cruises offers cruise options in the Emirates, providing opportunities to explore Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The MSC Opera and Virtuosa ships offer a range of itineraries, including three-, five-, or seven-night sailings. The Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar seven-night cruise stops at Sir Bani Yas Island, known for its wildlife reserve, bird sanctuary, and crystal-clear waters. Activities on the island include safaris, snorkeling, kayaking, and mountain biking.

The MSC Opera, a midsize ship, underwent a two-year refurbishment in 2014, adding more than 90 rooms with balconies, a new spa, and a water spray park. On the other hand, the Virtuosa is one of MSC’s newest and largest ships, featuring an aqua park, a Formula One simulator, and a “Himalayan Bridge” spanning over 260 feet. Prices for sailings on the MSC Opera and Virtuosa start at $485 per person.

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For those seeking respite from the winter blahs, there are a variety of warm destination cruises available this season. From the world’s largest cruise ship, the Icon of the Seas, to luxury voyages on the Explora I, Carnival Jubilee, Norwegian Pride of America, Azamara Quest, Celebrity Solstice, Oceania Regatta, and MSC Opera and Virtuosa, there are options for every type of traveler. Whether exploring the Caribbean, Hawaii, Chilean Fjords, Asia, Pacific Islands, or the Emirates, these cruises offer a chance to escape the winter chill and enjoy beautiful destinations.

With a range of onboard attractions, dining options, and luxury amenities, these cruises provide unforgettable experiences. Travelers can start planning their winter getaway now and look forward to an incredible vacation in a warm and exotic locale.

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