8 cruises offer respite from winter Blahs

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Departures from $669 per person.

While most Hawaii cruise itineraries last at least 14 days, Norwegian's Hawaii Island tour visits all four major islands in just seven days. There are no days at sea, allowing guests more time to explore Honolulu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai with excursions that include lava field tours and ziplining through rainforests. The Pride of America, which has a capacity of 2,186 passengers, underwent a multimillion-dollar refurbishment in 2016. All guest rooms were renovated, decks and entertainment spaces were remodeled, and all major features were upgraded, including spa areas. and lounge. . The ship features a variety of specialty restaurants and a center dedicated to Hawaiian culture.

Departures from $1,250 per person.

Azamara is a small ship cruise line that focuses on longer port calls, overnight stays and unique shore excursions. Starting in January, the Quest, a medium-sized, intimate and elegant ship with capacity for 700 passengers, will set sail from Buenos Aires and will stop in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the resort of Punta del Este, Uruguay, famous for its beaches. , high-end restaurants and nightlife. Before sailing through the Beagle Channel, teeming with marine life including sea lions and penguins, the ship will stop at the Falkland Islands, where guests will meet some of its 3,000 inhabitants. Then, heading to the Chilean Fjords, the Quest will make a stop in Puerto Chacabuco, in southern Chile, offering hikes on foot and horseback through forests, rivers, waterfalls and forested mountains. There are also opportunities to explore the snow-capped volcanoes of Puerto Montt, the capital of Chile's Lake District, before disembarking on the 16th in San Antonio, Chile.

Departures from $2,812 per person.

While Celebrity just launched its newest ship, the Ascent, with Caribbean itineraries, the line's Asia cruises remain among the most popular winter getaways for those looking to travel further afield. Departing Hong Kong, Celebrity Solstice's 12-night cruise will sail to Hanoi, Vietnam, making an overnight stop in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay to allow time to hike the Sapa Mountains before Explore the rich culture of the country's capital. The next stop is Hue and Da Nang, full of temples, pagodas, palaces and tombs. During the second half of the trip, the ship will make an overnight stop in Bangkok, followed by a visit to the tropical island of Koh Samui. The cruise ends in Singapore, which, beyond its skyscrapers and mega-malls, has a rich cultural heritage and one of the best airports in the world from which to fly home.

Departures from $694 per person.

With so much to explore in the Pacific Ocean, it may be worth taking a longer cruise to cover more ground. The 36-day Oceania Regatta voyage offers just that, embarking from Auckland with multiple stops in the country's North and South Islands, to the east coast of Australia and finishing in the pristine waters of French Polynesia. The Regatta is a small luxury ship with capacity for 684 passengers that has a swimming pool, casino and spa. It has a fine dining culinary program and aims to offer a refined cruise experience for people looking to escape the crowds.

Departures from $12,295 per person.

While several cruise lines have canceled or modified itineraries in the Middle East due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, cruises to the Emirates, which are relatively far from the conflict, have not been affected. MSC offers a variety of itineraries and a choice of three, five or seven-night voyages on its Opera and Virtuosa ships. From skyscrapers, luxury shops and dazzling nightlife to turquoise waters and hot sandy deserts, there are plenty on offer for young boaters, families and couples. On the seven-night Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar cruise, ships call at Sir Bani Yas Island, known for its wildlife reserve, bird sanctuary and crystal-clear waters. The island offers a variety of activities, including safaris, snorkelling, kayaking or mountain biking. There is also a water park and a children's play area. MSC Opera is a mid-sized ship with a capacity of 2,150 passengers and underwent a two-year refurbishment program in 2014, adding more than 90 rooms with balconies, a new spa and a water park. Virtuosa is one of MSC's newest and largest ships, featuring a “Himalayan Bridge” spanning more than 260 feet, a water park and a Formula One simulator.



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