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MSC's Seaside named best new ship, Carnival deemed best cruise value

Los Angeles Times

Dozens of cruise lines received kudos Tuesday as cruise review website Cruise Critic announced its 10th annual Editors' Pick Awards. Winners range from small riverboats to some of the largest passenger ships sailing the world's oceans.


New 100-passenger Celebrity Flora will explore Galápagos Islands on weeklong itineraries

Los Angeles Times

The Galápagos Islands in Ecuador give visitors a once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness animals found nowhere else on the planet. Now Celebrity Cruises has announced it is designing a ship expressly for touring those dazzling shores.


Enjoy dining in the great outdoors on the great blue seas

Los Angeles Times

Most cruise ship dining is done indoors, but you'll find some wonderful opportunities for dining outdoors. Watching the sun set over the water and admiring the moon and stars are experiences worth seeking, even if you go to the buffet and take your selections to a table outside. If your ship is visiting a port of call, you may be treated to even more scenic views -- the volcanic peaks of Bora-Bora, for instance, or the magnificent hilltop casino and fancy yachts in Monte Carlo. Part of the attraction of outdoor dining on cruise ships is that even if everyone indoors is in his or her finery, the dress code in the open air usually is casual. Here are some of the best spots for dining outdoors on cruise ships.


The siren song of cruising in 2017: Giant vessels, big bargains, cooking classes, Carrie Underwood and go-karts

Los Angeles Times

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.


AmaWaterways introduces European river cruises designed for Spanish speakers

Los Angeles Times

Spanish-speaking passengers will get a boost in 2018 with a new series of European river cruises by AmaWaterways, which include briefings and excursions in English and Spanish.