To many cruise travelers, ‘exotic itineraries’ have been defined by a swing through the Caribbean on a number of grand cruise ships, custom designed for that part of the world. Over the years, millions of cruise fans have been there and continue to go back, choosing from a variety of great cruise lines, wonderful ships and interesting itineraries. For others, that Caribbean cruise bucket list dream was checked off long ago, but seeing the world by cruise ship continues to be their preferred way to travel. That often means branching out to try sailing in different waters.
After the Caribbean, North American cruise travelers often venture to Alaska, Mexico, New England and Canada or Bermuda as next-easy destinations. Still more go further, sailing longer exotic itineraries to different parts of the world. Such is the case with fans of Crystal Cruises and Princess Cruises, both of which recently released details on upcoming 2015-16 sailings.
“All travelers – those cruising Asia for the first time and those who have long loved visiting there – will find something new to broaden their perspectives on these ancient lands.” – Crystal President Edie Rodriguez
Crystal Cruises 25th Anniversary Features Exotic Destinations, Maiden Calls
Crystal Cruises 2015 Asia cruise season features a number of 12- and 13-day itineraries, plus five shortened “Getaways” of six- to seven-days, kickicking off the ultra-luxe line’s 25th year of sailing.
“The 2015 Asia voyages amount to one of our most immersive, wide-ranging seasons in the region in our 25-year history,” says new Crystal President Edie Rodriguez, very comfortable with destination-focused Crystal Cruises.
Cruising through Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia. Highlights include:
- Maiden calls to Belawan, Indonesia; Sanya, China; Kōchi and Aomori Japan;
- Later evening stays in Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Chan May, Vietnam; Bali, Indonesia; Pusan, South Korea; Taipei/Keelung, Taiwan; and Singapore;
- Culture/region-intensive itineraries, including two all-China cruises, with multiple overnights in the country’s major cities, and other voyages concentrating heavily on Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
- At least two separate overnights offered on every cruise;
- Calls to gems “less-visited” by the line, such as Yantai, China (Crystal’s first visit since 1996); Malacca City and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; and Taipei/Keelung, Taiwan;
- Two-night stays in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon (formerly Burma);
- A three-day pre-/post-cruise overnight land program to Beijing and the Great Wall, included with two March/April cruises.
Crystal’s 2015 Asia itineraries collectively call in Ho Chi Minh City and Chan May, Vietnam; Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia; Surabaya, Bali, Semarang, Jakarta and Belawan, Indonesia; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Pusan, South Korea; Taipei/Keelung, Taiwan; Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sanya, Dalian, Xiamen, Yantai and Beijing, China; and Kōchi, Osaka, Aomori, Otaru and Tokyo, Japan.
Princess Cruises Exotics Feature Their Largest Australian Deployment Ever
Princess Cruises has a bit of an advantage in the worldwide coverage areas with a larger fleet, able to cover more ground. In 2015, their 50th year of sailing, the Princess Cruises Exotics program includes more than 40 unique itineraries to 140 destinations in 70 countries on six continents.
Divided between Tahiti and the South Pacific, South America, Australia/New Zealand, Asia and Africa, Princess Cruises passengers will experience less-traveled ports on a number of ships including the line’s small ships that can visit places big ships can’t access. Those wanting to circumvent the globe can do so on a 111-day World Cruise sailing roundtrip from North America too.
Among the highlights of next season’s offerings are
- The largest ever deployment of cruises in Australia with five ships sailing in the area
- Princess Cruises’ first Perth-based deployment during the Australian summer;
- Longer cruises to Africa, Asia and the South Pacific
- Sailings roundtrip from Singapore on Sapphire Princess.
“Our award-winning itineraries offer our guests the chance to travel the globe and enrich their lives by being introduced to the worlds’ cultures and peoples,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.
Princess’ 2015-16 Exotics cruise program includes:
Asia & Africa Cruises
- Sapphire Princess will sail from Singapore to both ancient locales and bustling cities; roundtrip from the port of Singapore and to Hong Kong or Beijing as well. In addition, Sapphire Princess will continue offering the line’s most popular Asia cruise- the 17-day Grand Asia itinerary,
- Ocean Princess will sail on a 36-day West Africa Adventure from London (Dover) to Cape Town, followed by a 35-day voyage ending in Rome, or a combined 71-day Grand Adventure cruise to a number of exciting destinations around Africa, home to a variety of vibrant cultures and fascinating wildlife.
Australia & New Zealand Cruises
- Golden Princess will debut for the first time in Australia sailing during summer “Down Under” from Melbourne on five different itineraries visiting New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Tasmania.
- Diamond Princess will offer voyages to an of assortment destinations, including a 33-day full circumnavigation of Australia, and two special sailings between Sydney and Auckland.
- Dawn Princess will offer two-week cruises throughout the season to New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands.
- Sun Princess will sail year-round, from Pertin in the summer, remaining in Sydney winter through June 2015 for a mix of cruises, including a 46-day voyage to South Africa and the Indian Ocean.
- Sea Princess will return to Brisbane for the Australian summer season sailing seven-, 10- and 11-day voyages to New Zealand and islands in the South Pacific including Papua New Guinea.
South America Cruises
- Star Princess sails between Santiago (Valparaiso) and either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires on itineraries sailing the southernmost tip of South America and the Chilean Fjords. In addition, Star Princess will sail between two continents and cross the Equator on two departures of Andes and South American cruises featuring Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and and optional overland tour of Machu Picchu.
- Ocean Princess sail on her first-ever full circumnavigation of South America, sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. This 64-day Grand South America voyage will offer guests the opportunity to visit Antarctica on an optional overflight tour from Punta Arenas.
Tahiti & Polynesia Cruises
- Pacific Princess will return to Tahiti’s clear blue waters and offer 10-day voyages sailing from Papeete throughout the fall to explore this beautiful destination. Each departure includes two full days in Bora Bora. Adding variety to the 10-day program, Pacific Princess will include one departure of a 10-day Marquesas & Polynesia itinerary featuring the remote island of Nuku Hiva.
Don’t want to fly far but have a dream cruise bucket list item that includes around the world travel? Princess’ World Cruise will once again depart from and return to North America. The 111-day voyage on Pacific Princess will sail roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale visiting 35 destinations, 26 countries and includes overnight stays in Hong Kong, Dubai and Venice, as well as maiden calls to Chania, Crete and Bari, Italy.
Flickr photo by Les Haines