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Cruise Guide: Cruise trends 2007

By Mike Coleman

There’s no shortage of cruise ideas for the upcoming year. From epic world journeys to brief, lazy days in the sun, there’s a voyage and price range for just about everyone.

Not sure which cruise line, or ship, to take? It’s never been easier to decide. Your nearest bookseller has a host of offerings. Look for the industry “bible”: the Berlitz 2007 Complete Guide To Cruising & Cruise Ships, by Douglas Ward.

Cruise travelers on your wish list might also enjoy Queen Mary 2: The Birth Of A Legend by Philip Plisson; Building The Titanic: An Epic Tale Of The Creation Of History’s Most Famous Ocean Liner by Rod Green, or enthrall a loved one with how the modern industry began – warts and all – in Devils On The Deep Blue Sea, The Dreams, Schemes And Showdowns That Built America’s Cruise-ship Empires, by Kristoffer A. Garin.

If it’s the world you’re after, luxury operator Regent Seven Seas Cruises will hit the mark. The line will embark on the longest and most extensive voyage in its history when it departs San Francisco, Jan. 6, 2008 on a 115-night world cruise. Guests will sail aboard the 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager as she circumnavigates the globe, visiting 51 ports in 26 countries throughout the South Pacific, Orient and Arabia, as well as the Mediterranean and Bermuda.

Crystal Cruises will be hosting its 11th Annual Wine & Food Festival in 2007. Given the growing fascination with the nuances of fine wine and food, the 2007 series aboard the elegant Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony features 11 diverse voyages of 10 to 17 days through the Panama Canal, Caribbean, South America, Africa and the Red Sea, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and New England/Canada.

During each cruise, A-list chefs are paired with the finest names in wine to host cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, share recipes and cooking tips, and prepare a four-course gala dinner spotlighting the signature cuisine of each guest chef. Complementing most itineraries is a mouth-watering collection of culinary-themed Crystal adventures – from an outdoor evening dining experience in the Dubai desert to lunch at the Michelin-starred Relais Château Saint-James in Bordeaux.

Oceania Cruises, meanwhile, will introduce Greco-Roman revelations during an epicurean odyssey to commence its 2007 European season aboard Regatta. Sailing from Barcelona to Athens on April 17, the 10-day voyage combines the fabled history of Rome, Crete and Olympia, the beauty of Amalfi, and the medieval majesty of Taormina with maiden calls in Mahon; Porto Cervo; colorful La Spezia, gateway to Cinque Terre; and Monemvasia, for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Epidaurus.

Master Chef Jacques Pepin and famed pastry chef Jean-Claude Szurdak will be onboard. Pepin will treat guests to evenings of specially designed signature menus in the four onboard gourmet dining rooms, and by day, guests may participate in culinary demonstrations, question-and-answer sessions, and special epicurean-related shore excursions.

The adventuresome soul may enjoy a Princess Cruise. Look for shore excursions to Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat and northern Australia’s stunning Kakadu National Park – both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The new multi-day tour options are available to passengers on Asia and Australia cruises aboard Sapphire Princess. The shore excursion options, designed to flow seamlessly with the ship’s itinerary, allow passengers to easily explore some of the world’s most dramatic wonders by leaving the ship in one port and rejoining in another. Packages include hotel stays, meals and transportation.

Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, will launch San Diego’s first year-round cruise schedule with four-and five-day Baja Mexico voyages aboard Elation, beginning in June, 2007.

The ship will depart Thursdays on four-day cruises to Cabo San Lucas and on Mondays and Saturdays on five-day cruises to Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, on a rotating schedule.

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