From combined ocean & river cruise vacations to increasingly luxurious expeditions – a sneak peek at what the year will bring to the cruise world


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[–articleimage id=”1435" –]Each year, the world of cruising expands and evolves, adding ever more options for the destinations and experiences travelers can enjoy on a cruise. So what can cruisers expect to see in 2015? From increasingly luxurious expedition voyages to the development of combined ocean & river cruise vacations, here are three trends picking up speed in 2015.

Combined Ocean & River Cruise Vacations
One of the most exciting emerging cruise trends? The option to combine ocean and river cruising into a single, seamless vacation. Celebrity Cruises has introduced Celebrity Explorations, packages that begin with a river cruise, then follow with an ocean cruise. The line is offering a variety of options that include a Europe river cruise (operated by Amras Cruises), paired with the Caribbean or Mediterranean onboard a Celebrity ship, as well as several packages for an Amazon river cruise followed by a South America journey.

Other lines are taking a different approach, offering a combined experience on a single ship that is small enough to sail on certain rivers. Voyages to Antiquity will do so this year, sailing up the Guadalquivir River to Seville as part of a Mediterranean voyage. In South America, Seabourn will send the Quest into the Amazon River as part of Caribbean and South American coastal cruises – in Europe, the ship sails up the Neva River at St. Petersburg, and on the Seine in France. The line’s Sojourn and Odyssey will sail the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, while Legend and Sojourn will cruise the Saigon River. Silversea also offers options for ocean and river combinations, including Silver Whisper’s Barbados cruise that goes into the Amazon, as well as New England/Canada cruises that sail both the Atlantic and Saguenay River. Learn more about combined ocean and river cruising here!

[[–articleimage id=”1436" –]trong>Expedition Cruising Goes Upscale
Expedition ships are coming a long way from the simple vessels of the past. Many of today’s ships and itineraries are offering an upscale, luxurious experience in some of the world’s most exciting destinations. Already, Celebrity Cruises’ Xpedition sub-brand ventures to the Galapagos Islands, while Seabourn offers cruises that sail into the Amazon. Silversea has recently expanded its Silversea Expeditions offerings, with the Silver Explorer sailing a range of destinations from the Galapagos to the Arctic. The refurbished, all-suite Silver Galapagos recently added marble bathrooms, a fitness center, massage room, The Grill dining venue, and more. In addition, the line’s Silver Discoverer added an array of expeditions in the Asia/Pacific region.

 Haimark Cruises, a three-year-old company that is quickly expanding, is building a number of luxury ships for the expedition market as well, on rivers such as the Amazon, Irrawaddy, Mekong, and Ganges. The line – which partners with familiar river cruise brands such as Uniworld and Avalon – is currently developing an all-suite spa ship for the Mekong River, which will be a first for the expedition cruise industry. Find out more about luxury expedition cruises here!

Expanded Options for Cruising from the West Coast
West Coast cruisers, rejoice! Options for setting sail from your neck of the woods are on the rise. An impressive number of sailings are being scheduled along the Pacific coast, to the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Asia, Australia, South America, and the Panama Canal. In addition, West coast ports are attracting updated ships and interesting itineraries, while nearby destination ports are modernizing to welcome them.

Un-Cruise Adventures, based in the Pacific Northwest, sails Columbia & Snake River cruises, the San Juan Islands, Alaska, Washington State & Canada, the Sea of Cortez, and Hawaii. American Queen Steamboat Company sails the American Empress on the Columbia & Snake Rivers, as does American Cruise Line’s Queen of the West paddlewheeler. The line’s American Spirit cruises Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and Alaska. Holland America Line is also a big player in the West, with cruises from San Francisco to the Panama Canal; itineraries from Los Angeles to the South Pacific, Australia, and Asia; and sailings from San Diego to South American and Australia. Get more details on cruising from the West Coast here. 

Ready to try out these cruise trends? Find your perfect cruise here.