“Despite rough economic seas, the cruise industry is staying the course,” said Elaine Glusac in The New York Times. To appeal to an “increasingly fragmented clientele,” ships provide a dizzying variety of special activities and itineraries.
Rolling down U.S. rivers
“Not since Lewis and Clark, perhaps, have America’s rivers seen so much cruising action.” Starting in June, American Cruise Lines sets off along some of the country’s most celebrated watercourses. Featuring a glassed-in dining room and staterooms with private balconies, its 104-passenger Independence will hug Maine’s coast in the summer and head south in the fall for the foliage along the Hudson River. The Queen of the West offers seven-night cruises along the Snake and Columbia rivers in the Northwest, with stops in Portland, Ore., and Clarkston, Wash. The company also offers routes along the Potomac and Delaware Rivers.
Shape up, ship out
Gaining weight from cruise ships’ buffets is “one of the perils of the high seas”—but not on trips run by one nonprofit, A Taste of Health. Its seven-night cruises set out from Fort Lauderdale to St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Turks and Caicos, and provide passengers with macrobiotic menus, health lectures, yoga and Pilates sessions, and vegan cooking classes.
A trip down the Mekong
Steer away from the usual tourist spots and venture into “uncharted waters,” like those of Asia. AMA Waterways’ 92-passenger La Marguerite will follow the Mekong River. Traveling between Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia’s Siem Reap, the ship passes ancient temples and trade routes, as well as still-active fishing villages. This itinerary includes a trip on a junk, the traditional Chinese sailing ship.