A new year calls for new adventures, and there's no better time than now to book your next cruise. It's officially the Winter Wave Season, which is like the cruise industry's Black Friday.
Here's what you need to know about getting the most bang for your buck on your next at-sea vacation:
What's new in cruising? This year, experiential travel continues to reign supreme. People are craving all-inclusive experiences that offer a true adventure and escape from the everyday. Here is what's trending for 2019:
- While not new, the popularity of river cruises continues to explode with those who have cruised the traditional ocean-going vessels. These popular sailings take you through the heart of a region and provide easy access to historic cities, beautiful landscapes, and local culture. In addition, the smaller river boats afford you a more intimate and exclusive cruise experience.
- Whether you enjoy perfecting Tree Pose, sipping a sauvignon blanc or hobnobbing with celebrities, themed cruises offer an exciting twist on travel. Many cruise lines are teaming up with local wineries and wellness companies to offer new itineraries that will turn your entire trip into a curated, specific experience. And if casually sharing a cocktail with Samantha Brown sounds like a dream come true, check out AMA Waterways' special sailing (Rhine & Moselle Delights) with the popular TV travel host.
- Cruise lines are beginning to open up their schedules and itineraries earlier in the year, meaning that you can reserve your cabin farther in advance. This is especially important for more exclusive sailings or themed cruises that cater to small groups and tend to book up early.
How do you choose a ship? Cruise ships continue to evolve with added amenities, sports activities, entertainment, and restaurants. It can be a daunting task to choose the best one for your vacation. A travel agent can be your best ally for navigating the cruise ship options. Check out some of the exciting new features on the latest ships to hit the high seas:
- Celebrity Edge: This ship has the world's first cantilevered, floating platform that can move up and down (along the side of the ship) to create multiple different views and experiences. Just imagine sipping a cocktail from 13 stories above sea level!
- Holland America Nieuw Statendam: With Oprah as its Godmother, this ship already seems to have a blessed existence. Highlights include America's Test Kitchen cooking classes, BBC Earth Experiences concerts and films, and a special Rolling Stone Rock Room blasting iconic hits every night. And best of all, local winery Chateau Ste. Michelle is highlighted at BLEND, the first wine-blending venue at sea.
- Azamara Pursuit: The Pursuit isn't a new ship, but with her addition to the Azamara fleet, the company has outfitted her with an impressive array of new destinations (73, to be exact). Many of these itineraries feature overnight stays or late nights, which allow travelers to explore port cities in more depth.
What is the best time of year to book a cruise? Ever wonder what it's like to cruise? Or, are you a veteran cruiser looking for a new cruising adventure? These questions and many more will be answered at AAA Travel's FREE Cruise Shows. At these shows, travel experts from the cruise industry will share the latest cruise trends, packing tips and Wave Season deals. AAA Cruise Shows take place across the state from January 12 – February 9.
- AAA Everett Cruise Show – January 12
- AAA Tacoma Cruise & Travel Show – January 19
- AAA Bellevue Cruise Show – January 26
- AAA Olympia Cruise Show – February 9
One-hour seminars include:
- PackSmart – learn how to pack like a pro.
- First-time cruisers – learn about all of your options and how to pick the best cruise for you.
- Cruise Companies – hear about itineraries, ships, and deals.
Wave Season perks may include, depending on the cruise you choose:
- Onboard spending credits
- Savings on packages
- Unlimited drinks or specialty dining packages
- Special deposit discounts
Check out the complete details and RSVP at AAA.com/cruiseshow.