Those are among the siren calls of ocean and river cruises for 2017 that are expected to attract more than 25 million to set sail, an increase of more than a million from last year. Cruise companies such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises seem to have found a winning sales formula that goes something like this: Sweeten the pot with value-added itemsf such as free drinks, free Wi-Fi or an on-board spending credit and more people will book. Look for frequent promotions like these, but be aware they may be offered for only a limited time, said Mike Driscoll, the editor of Cruise Week, an industry publication. At-sea cooking classes are all the rage, and Holland America Line has jumped into the mix in collaboration with the public TV show "America's Test Kitchen." A replica of the show's set is already on the Westerdam, cruising this winter from San Diego to Mexico, and it's coming to the rest of the line by July.
If you're already in cruise-planning mode for the new year, Cunard has a cool upgrade offer. For a limited time, you can snag a balcony room for the price of an inside cabin on selected sailings on all three ships in the luxury line. The deal: Upgrades on Us applies to certain 2017 and 2018 cruises, including transatlantic crossings and sailings in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, and the U.S. East Coast and Canada. Book a standard inside room (category IA) and you'll be upgraded to a balcony room (category BZ). Cunard also takes half off the cost of your cruise deposit, and covers gratuities of $11.50 to $13.50 daily for passengers who have previously sailed with the line.
Those who currently serve in the military and retired servicemembers deserve a real vacation where they can kick back, relax and sail to paradise-- without breaking the bank. This summer, several cruise lines are offering special discounts for the brave men and women who work tirelessly to protect the U.S. Whether you want to sail the turquoise waters of the Caribbean or investigate the unspoiled beauty of Alaska, here are some of the industry's best deals that cater just to those who serve: Carnival makes it easy to find and book special rates for both active and retired military members. Using an online calendar, travelers can view available dates, destinations and starting military rates. Vacation packages start at just under $300 for four-day Caribbean cruises from Miami or Charleston, S.C. Military cruisers also receive a reduced required deposit of only $49. Some Carnival cruises also allow military personnel to book up to three other cabins at the same rate, as well as upgrade the room location at no charge.
Norwegian Cruise Line is doubling down on Cuba. Its Norwegian Sky will be adding more round-trip cruises from Miami to Cuba through December, the line announced Tuesday. Norwegian announced earlier that it would begin bringing the Sky -- the largest cruise ship to visit Cuba -- to the island nation starting in May. Twenty-five cruises scheduled from June through the end of the year have been added because of "great demand from our guests for sailings to Cuba," company President Andy Stuart said in a statement. Cabins for the added cruises go on sale Feb.