Top Cruise Destinations in the Caribbean

All inclusive pricing, wonderful on-board dining and entertainment, and the opportunity to visit multiple ports are well-known reasons to choose a cruise vacation: and, the toughest part may be deciding where to sail.

Princess cruise ship

Travel Leaders recently asked its front-line agents to share the cruise destinations they are booking most often for 2014:

1. Alaska. From May through September, most major cruise lines have at least one ship cruising past the spectacular scenery and wildlife of Alaska. You’ll want to take advantage of opportunities presented by shore excursions to walk on a glacier, follow a historic Gold Rush trail (by train, not on foot), or get closer to whales and other impressive sea life.

2. (Tie) Western Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean.
The Western Caribbean offers sun, sand and surf, as well as remnants of ancient Mayan civilization in Central America. This cruise region includes Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and islands and ports along the Caribbean coasts of Mexico, Belize and Honduras. Home ports for these cruises stretch from Florida to Texas, helping to minimize home-to-port travel.

3. Eastern Caribbean. The Eastern Caribbean has a wonderful variety of islands – the British and American Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and St. Martin/St. Maarten, as well as the Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas (although those two groups are technically north of the Caribbean). Home ports, once limited to Florida, now stretch as far north as New York.

Best Cruises in Europe

4. European Rivers. Cruises of the Rhine, Danube, Seine and other historic rivers are a wonderful way to see interior towns and scenic countryside. River cruise ships are built small and low, but are typically quite luxurious. Some newer ships even have the type of amenities featured on ocean-going ships, such as outdoor pools, multiple dining spots and balcony staterooms.

5. Mediterranean. For those who find it difficult to select a specific vacation destination around the Mediterranean Sea, a cruise is the way to go. How else could you travel from Spain to France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey with such ease and comfort? Some longer itineraries also include islands like Majorca or Malta, or a port call in North Africa.

For more information on the terrific variety of cruises available to these destinations (you can choose a small or large ship, a contemporary or luxury cruise line, a short or long itinerary), talk with your travel professional.

More about
cruise vacation packages.

Best Domestic Travel Destinations for 2014

What are the hottest domestic U.S. destinations already being booked for 2014?

Hawaii Golf

In their never ending battle to reign supreme, it’s Las Vegas vs. Orlando. But this year, the destination where what happens there stays there very narrowly edges out the perennial family favorite. Travel Leaders recently asked its front-line agents throughout North America to share the domestic destinations they’re booking most often for the New Year. The top responses are:

1. Las Vegas, Nevada. High rollers, take note. Caesars Entertainment is building a new open-air retail, dining and entertainment district called the LINQ that includes what’s billed as the world’s tallest observation wheel named in your honor: the High Roller, standing at 550 feet and featuring 28 glass-enclosed cabins offering great views of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

If you’re seeking live entertainment, the biggest news on the Strip is the new resident artist at Planet Hollywood, Britney Spears, and her show, Britney: Piece of Me. Headliners will pop up in Vegas throughout 2014, from The Eagles and Elton John to Lady Antebellum and David Guetta.

Later in the year, the glamorous SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino will open in the space previously occupied by the legendary “Rat Pack” era Sahara Hotel.

2. Orlando, Fla. Walt Disney World Resort – the idyllic collection of family friendly theme parks, water parks, golf courses, hotels and restaurants – always offers something new.

Disney is completing its expansion of the Fantasyland themed area, by more than doubling its size. As part of the expansion, the exciting new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride is expected to make its long-awaited formal debut in early 2014. There are also new rides featuring Disney favorites Dumbo, Belle and Ariel.

3. Maui, Hawaii. Maui’s beautiful beaches, mountains and valleys beckon, but if you’re looking for a change of pace, spend a day touring the Maui Ocean Center at Ma’alaea Harbor Village. The three-acre marine park is starting 2014 with a “Crazy for Koholā” event that celebrates the annual return of humpback whales to the waters around the island.

4. Alaska Cruises. Some of Alaska’s most stunning scenery is best enjoyed from a cruise ship sailing along the state’s southeastern coast, including areas that are simply not accessible any other way.

The breathtaking views can often include calving glaciers, misty rainforests, majestic mountains and glorious wildlife. More than 20 ships from major cruise lines will offer Alaska cruises from May through September – talk with your travel professional to choose the right one for you.

5. New York City, N.Y. All eyes will be on the Big Apple this February as festivities surrounding this year’s Super Bowl XLVIII make the “City that Never Sleeps” more alive than ever.

Sure, the big game itself might be played across the Hudson River in New Jersey, but with Broadway (between 34th and 47th Streets) transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard, football fans can meet and greet their favorite NFL stars, enjoy concerts and even experience a special 60 foot tall, 180 foot long Toboggan Run.

Beyond sports, there are always new shops, restaurants, attractions and nightlife venues cropping up in the diverse neighborhoods of New York, making every visit a new experience.

Savvy travelers are booking their 2014 vacations early to make sure they get the flights and accommodations they want at the best prices. To visit these or other popular U.S. destinations during 2014, talk with your travel professional soon.